Late Brozovic winner rescues Inter in Genoa thriller

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Milan (AFP) – Croatia’s Marcelo Brozovic grabbed a late winner as Inter Milan followed their Champions League heroics against Tottenham with a 1-0 Serie A win at Sampdoria on Saturday as tensions ran high during a game in which three goals were disallowed. World Cup runner-up Brozovic scored four minutes into injury time in Genoa after Radja Nainggolan and Kwadwo Asamoah both had goals ruled out for Inter, with Sampdoria’s Gregoire Defrel also denied by VAR. Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti was also banished from the touchline by officials for his wild celebration of the winning goal. “I turned towards the camera to shout ‘goal’ and the fourth official told me I had done it with too much force,” Spalletti told streaming service DAZN. “It was too important a goal, like a liberation, and they interpreted it as something with too much emotional reaction,” added Spalletti. “I didn’t do anything Continue reading "Late Brozovic winner rescues Inter in Genoa thriller"

Marco Asensio winner against Espanyol sends Real Madrid top of La Liga

• Julen Lopetegui shuffles pack but midfielder comes up trumps
• Bayern continue perfect Bundesliga start with defeat of SchalkeMarco Asensio’s strike earned Real Madrid a 1-0 home win over Espanyol to send them provisionally top of La Liga on Saturday. After an emphatic Champions League win over Roma on Wednesday, Julen Lopetegui shuffled his pack for the visit of Espanyol, sixth in the table after a good start to the season. The coach rested Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Toni Kroos, handing a debut to the defender Álvaro Odriozola in place of the injured Dani Carvajal. Continue reading...

Marko Arnautovic: ‘I love Slaven Bilic but I let him down a little bit’

The Austrian forward endured a difficult start at West Ham last season that didn’t improve until the arrival of David Moyes. Now he is in form and enjoying proving his critics wrong“I love it when people criticise me,” Marko Arnautovic says on a blustery afternoon at West Ham’s training ground. “There is no better feeling than when you make them quiet. You do what you have to do, the people on the television do what they have to do. They get paid for this. I get paid to play football and show everything I’ve got.” Arnautovic is in good form going into Sunday’s game with Chelsea at the London Stadium and it does not take long for his self-confidence to appear. West Ham’s main man is only too happy to talk about his memories of scoring the winner in this fixture last season and he runs his index Continue reading "Marko Arnautovic: ‘I love Slaven Bilic but I let him down a little bit’"

Brozovic rescues Inter in Genoa thriller

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Milan (AFP) – Croatia’s Marcelo Brozovic grabbed a late winner as Inter Milan followed their Champions League heroics against Tottenham this week with a 1-0 victory at Sampdoria in a chaotic game on Saturday in which three goals were disallowed. World Cup runner-up Brozovic scored four minutes into injury time after Radja Nainggolan and Kwadwo Asamoah both had goals ruled out for Inter, with Sampdoria’s Gregoire Defrel also denied by VAR. Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti was also banished from the touchline by officials for his wild celebration of the winning goal. “I turned towards the camera to shout ‘goal’ and the fourth official told me I had done it with too much force,” Spalletti told streaming service DAZN. “It was too important a goal, like a liberation,” added Spalletti. “We played with great character, always remaining in the game and fighting for every ball.” The win followed Inter’s Continue reading "Brozovic rescues Inter in Genoa thriller"

Frustrated Ibrahimovic coy on Galaxy future

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic plans to discuss his future with Los Angeles Galaxy chiefs after a frustrating first season in Major League Soccer. Swedish star Ibrahimovic has made a prolific start to his MLS career, scoring 17 goals in 22 games since joining the Galaxy from Manchester United in March. However the 36-year-old striker’s efforts have not been enough to transform the Galaxy’s fortunes, with the club languishing in the bottom half of the Western Conference and struggling to make the playoffs. Ibrahimovic, who has a contract through the 2019 season, was reluctant to confirm his plans for next year, according to comments in the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t know. This I have to discuss,” Ibrahimovic said when asked about 2019. “This is not the moment to talk about that. It’s something I’ll discuss with the club. What they want, what I want. So let’s see.” Continue reading "Frustrated Ibrahimovic coy on Galaxy future"

Asensio scores the winner as Real battle past Espanyol

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid moved top of La Liga on Saturday after Marco Asensio’s goal proved the difference in a scrappy 1-0 win over Espanyol.  Their victory at the Santiago Bernabeu may only reward Madrid with 24 hours above Barcelona, who play Girona on Sunday, with their perfect league record still intact.  More pressing for Julen Lopetegui will be the defensive slackness that made this arguably the least assured of the six competitive games he has overseen so far, including last weekend’s draw away to Athletic Bilbao.  There were changes, with Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Dani Carvajal all rested, the latter not even included on the bench, following Real’s win over Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.  But if Lopetegui’s side gift Atletico Madrid the same chances in the city derby next weekend, they may not find their opponents so generous. Atletico had earlier Continue reading "Asensio scores the winner as Real battle past Espanyol"

Pochettino hails Spurs’ mental strength to halt losing streak

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Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino praised the mentality of his side to grind out a much-needed 2-1 win in sodden conditions at Brighton on Saturday to halt a run of three straight defeats. Harry Kane ended a five-game goal drought from the penalty spot and Erik Lamela doubled Tottenham’s lead before Anthony Knockaert pulled a late goal back for Brighton. “The players were suffering a lot. The pressure was high, they wanted to deliver a result for the fans, for themselves, and for us (the coaching staff),” said Pochettino, after the first three-game losing run since he took charge in 2014. “I think the spirit we showed today was the spirit I wanted to see in the other games. “I’m so happy with the attitude, the spirit. Then we know very well we have great quality, great players, and we can play amazing football.” Continue reading "Pochettino hails Spurs’ mental strength to halt losing streak"

Rodriguez stars as Bayern maintain perfect Bundesliga start

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Berlin (AFP) – James Rodriguez shone for Bayern Munich, scoring a goal and winning a penalty, as the German champions made it four wins from their first four Bundesliga games with a 2-0 victory at Schalke to stay top on Saturday. Rodriguez struck with just eight minutes gone at Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins Arena, expertly slipping his marker, former Bayern team-mate Sebastian Rudy, to power home a header from Joshua Kimmich’s cross. It was a sublime effort which left Schalke with too much to do, as they ended up suffering a fourth consecutive league defeat after finishing second last season, while Bayern are the only team with a 100-percent record. The 27-year-old Colombian, making his first league start this season, should have scored his second when he squandered a golden chance five minutes after the break. Veteran winger Franck Ribery sliced through Schalke’s defence and squared with goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann beaten, but Continue reading "Rodriguez stars as Bayern maintain perfect Bundesliga start"

Get used to this.

Borussia Dortmund's Christian Pulisic netted his second goal on the week, this time leveling late to earn the 10-man visitors a 1-all share at Hoffenheim. I think this is the year he takes over as the BvB star man.
  • Greg Seltzer

Rostov denied by lowly Ufa as Anzhi stun Dynamo

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Moscow (AFP) – Second-placed Rostov stumbled to a goalless draw at home to struggling Ufa in the Russian Premier League on Saturday, potentially losing further ground on leaders Zenit St Petersburg.  A combination of poor finishing and solid defending by Ufa frustrated Rostov in front of a 35,000 crowd and could allow Zenit to pull seven points clear when they host misfiring champions Lokomotiv Moscow on Sunday.  “My men obviously lacked creativity in attack today,” said Rostov manager Valery Karpin. “Besides, we failed to put enough pressure on Ufa. “It’s good that we managed to keep a clean sheet today but we’re all upset as we failed to win at home.” Anzhi Makhachkala climbed off the foot of the table with a surprise 1-0 win at Dynamo Moscow, as Venezuelan striker Andres Ponce scored the only goal of the match four minutes after the interval. Dynamo had Continue reading "Rostov denied by lowly Ufa as Anzhi stun Dynamo"

James stars as Bayern maintain perfect Bundesliga start

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Berlin (AFP) – James Rodriguez shone for Bayern Munich with a goal, then won a penalty, as the German champions made it four wins from their first four Bundesliga games with a 2-0 victory at Schalke to stay top on Saturday. Rodriguez struck with just eight minutes gone at Gelsenkirchen’s Veltins Arena, expertly slipping his marker, former Bayern team-mate Sebastian Rudy, to power home a header from Josh Kimmich’s cross. It was a sublime effort which took the wind out of Schalke’s sails as they ended up suffering a fourth consecutive league defeat while Bayern are the only team in Germany’s top tier with a 100 percent record. The 27-year-old Colombian superstar, making his first league start this season, should have scored his second when he squandered a golden chance five minutes after the break. When Bayern’s veteran winger Franck Ribery sliced through Schalke’s defence and squared with goalkeeper Ralf
Continue reading "James stars as Bayern maintain perfect Bundesliga start"

Lemar shines as Atletico claim much-needed win over Getafe

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid have lift-off in La Liga and so does Thomas Lemar after the Frenchman scored one goal and instigated another in a 2-0 victory over Getafe on Saturday.  Lemar finished off a superb passing move for Atletico’s second and had been the protagonist for their first, even if his crashing drive struck the woodwork and went in off Getafe goalkeeper David Soria.  The result was all but secure when Getafe’s Ivan Alejo was sent off shortly after the hour for a dangerous tackle on Saul Niguez. The hosts started well at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez but were well beaten by the end.  Atleti had not lost to Getafe, or even conceded a single goal, in 13 previous meetings but this victory meant more to Diego Simeone’s side than a routine three points.  One win from their opening four league games hardly pointed
Continue reading "Lemar shines as Atletico claim much-needed win over Getafe"

Kane strikes in Spurs win to ease pressure on Pochettino

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Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Harry Kane ended a five-game goal drought as Tottenham secured a much-needed 2-1 win for manager Mauricio Pochettino at Brighton on Saturday. Spurs travelled to the soggy south coast on the back of three straight defeats for the first time since the Argentine took charge in 2014. But they bounced back to move back up to fifth in the Premier League, still six points adrift of leaders Liverpool. Like many of his team-mates, England captain Kane has looked jaded from his heroics in winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup in recent weeks. But he remains deadly from the spot as he hammered home his third goal of the season and Erik Lamela doubled Tottenham’s lead before Anthony Knockaert pulled a late goal back for Brighton. Pochettino hit out at journalists for lacking “respect” when questioning his decision to leave Kieran Tripper and Toby Continue reading "Kane strikes in Spurs win to ease pressure on Pochettino"

Érik Lamela’s sucker punch seals win for Spurs over spirited Brighton

Crisis averted. The vultures had been circling around Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham but, while this was hardly a sparkling display, they ended up short of fodder this time. Spurs came through in testing conditions thanks to Harry Kane’s penalty and a fine breakaway second from Érik Lamela; a fourth consecutive defeat, an ignominy that has eluded them since 2004, never looked especially likely and, as responses to adversity go, this will go down as a successful exercise. Pochettino had pointedly questioned his players’ resolve after the reverse at Internazionale and this looked an apposite stage on which to offer a response. Brighton had won three of their previous four home games against last season’s top six; this fixture started under portentous skies and amid hammering rain, offering few of the ingredients sought by anyone seeking a smooth confidence-booster. Continue reading...

Fiorentina spoil SPAL run to move second in Serie A

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Milan (AFP) – Fiorentina moved second in Serie A on Saturday with a 3-0 win in Tuscany spoiling SPAL’s promising start to this season’s Italian league campaign. Ferrara outfit SPAL had been riding high in second, three points behind champions Juventus, before the tie in Florence with just one goal conceded in four games. But Croatian World Cup runner-up Marko Pjaca opened the floodgates after 18 minutes with Serbian defender Nikola Milenkovic heading in a second ten minutes later. Italian international Federico Chiesa completed the scoreline after 56 minutes as Fiorentina bounced back from last week’s 1-0 defeat to Napoli to climb to second, two points behind Juventus who travel to promoted Frosinone on Sunday. SPAL drop to fifth. Earlier former Arsenal winger Gervinho scored a stunning goal as Parma beat Cagliari 2-0 to secure back-to-back wins after they shocked Inter Milan at the San Siro last weekend. Ivory Coast Continue reading "Fiorentina spoil SPAL run to move second in Serie A"

Man United 1-1 Wolves: The Talking Points

(Image credit: Reuters)Manchester United failed to win at home for the second straight time this season after they drew 1-1 with Wolves. Fred scored his first goal for the Red Devils but a wonderful leveller from Joao Moutinho split the points for the two teams. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, of Citi Sports, Accra, Ghana picked out the main issues from the tie.  Intensity was absent on the day One would expect that with Sir Alex Ferguson returning to Old Trafford for the first time since his surgery, the team would be up for it and use it as fuel to drive the motors on. But the showing from the players lacked a lot of push and they could not stay hot to the end. Very often, this column has picked out the absence of the right attitude and desire in a lot of matches and the same old afflictions were there Continue reading "Man United 1-1 Wolves: The Talking Points"

‘It’s a surprise’: Klopp wowed by Liverpool’s hot start

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Liverpool (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s flying start has surprised him as they won their sixth successive Premier League game to return to the top of the table. The comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton at Anfield was wrapped up by half-time on Saturday courtesy of an own goal from Wesley Hoedt, Joel Matip’s header and Mohamed Salah’s simple finish. The victory marked Liverpool’s best start to a season since they won eight league games in a row in 1990-91. Klopp’s red-hot men have now won seven successive matches in all competitions this term. Southampton manager Mark Hughes, now without a league win in 12 visits to Anfield with six different teams, admitted the second half was simply “damage limitation” for the Saints. And Klopp was happy to welcome another unexpected milestone on his team’s journey. “I lost seven games in a row once, that felt different! But then we Continue reading "‘It’s a surprise’: Klopp wowed by Liverpool’s hot start"

Hearts miss chance to bolster title bid

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Glasgow (AFP) – Hearts dropped their first points in the Scottish Premiership this season as the leaders were held to a goalless draw by Livingston on Saturday. Having enjoyed five successive wins, Hearts were left frustrated by missed chances at Tynecastle. They saw a first-half penalty from Steven Naismith saved by Liam Kelly, while Craig Wighton nodded wide after the interval when he should have done better. Hearts are now five points clear of second-placed Hibernian, who won 3-0 at Dundee. Florian Kamberi capitalised on a superb pass by Martin Boyle to open the scoring before the winger turned from provider to scorer by finishing a slippery run with a fine strike. Thomas Agyepong made it three with a clinical late strike. Hamilton’s clash with St Mirren was delayed by 10 minutes due to a false fire alarm at Hope Stadium and it was the hosts who better dealt with Continue reading "Hearts miss chance to bolster title bid"

‘It’s an exceptional group’, Guardiola salutes City

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola insisted it was his players who deserved the spotlight after the Manchester City manager returned to the dug-out to inspire a 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff on Saturday. Guardiola was back on the touchline in the Welsh capital and the champions were back in the old routine after their shock midweek defeat at home by Lyon in the Champions League. The Spaniard had watched that match from high in the stands as he served out a suspension. But he played down any significance in being closer to the action as Riyad Mahrez scored twice, his first goals for the club, in an emphatic victory which kept them in touch with the Premier League pace-setters. “I don’t play,” said Guardiola, after watching Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan help his team score five or more goals for the 10th time since he took charge Continue reading "‘It’s an exceptional group’, Guardiola salutes City"

Football League: Birmingham inflict first league defeat on Leeds United

  • Che Adams brace causes Marcelo Bielsa’s first league defeat
  • Peterborough turn it around to go top of League One
Despite enjoying over 70% of possession at Elland Road, Leeds lost 2-1 to Birmingham and their undefeated league record under Marcelo Bielsa in the process thanks to two first-half goals from Che Adams. Goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell should have kept out the opener as he was beaten at the near post but he could not do anything about the second, a counter-attack which resulted in a cool Adams finish. Ezgjan Alioski gave Leeds hope with five minutes left on the clock but it was not enough to maintain their undefeated record but they do remain top as Middlesbrough could only draw 0-0 at home against Swansea. Continue reading...