'We were calling him Zidane!' - Mourinho praises Hojbjerg and Vinicius after Tottenham's Europa League win

The Danish midfielder sported some notable headwear after a clash of heads early in the match

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was jokingly referred to as Zinedine Zidane by Jose Mourinho during their 3-0 win over LASK in the Europa League on Thursday night. 

The 25-year-old required stitches after a head clash in the 21st minute and returned to the pitch sporting a heavily bandaged head. 

Despite the heavy knock, Hojbjerg would play on until the 62nd minute as he showed his willingness to play through the pain for his new club after a summer move from Southampton.

Mourinho admired the spirit of his Denmark international and couldn't help but make a joke about his eye-catching headwear. 

"We were having a laugh at half-time and we were all calling him Zidane. Very nice but don't do it again Pierre!" Mourinho said in his post-match press conference. 

"He's a very good player, a good leader and a captain without the armband."

Another player that caught the eye for Spurs against LASK was debutant Carlos Vinicius, who claimed two assists and created an equal-game high five chances. 

The 25-year-old scored 18 league goals for Benfica last season and Mourinho was happy to see his new player begin his adaption to a new set-up so strongly. 

"He played well but he can do better. Not easy to not speak English so the adaptation to the group isn't an easy situation," Mourinho said about the young Brazilian.

"Different football, different way to play, how we want to press. It's about learning. But with these circumstances, first match he did well.

"Only thing that was missing was one goal. Showed he's more than that and that he can play with Harry Kane as well."

Gareth Bale also made his first start for Tottenham since sealing a loan move from Real Madrid and conceded after the match he's still getting back up to speed after struggling for game time in Spain

Spurs next face Burnley in the Premier League on Monday and have now gone 10 matches without defeat. Tottenham's strong start to the season has also seen them score 31 goals in all competitions so far - five more than any other Premier League side. 

Original author: Josh Thomas
  1 Hits

'The best goal I have ever seen live!' - Gerrard lauds Roofe's 'world-class' Rangers strike against Standard Liege

The Blues coach described the English forward's stunning effort from inside his own half as a "moment of genius" after seeing his side win in Belgium

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has lauded Kemar Roofe for his "world-class" strike against Standard Liege, insisting "it is the best goal I have ever seen live".

The Scottish Premier League leaders opened their latest Europa League campaign with a 2-0 victory in torrential rain at Stade Maurice Dufrasne on Thursday night.

James Tavernier put Rangers in front from the penalty spot 19 minutes in, but the hosts were unlucky not to equalise before the break as Jackson Muleka saw two headers bounce off the woodwork.

Gerrard's men upped their game in the second period though, with Alfredo Morelos denied from close range on two occasions and Scott Arfield squandering a good opening from the edge of the box.

Conditions worsened as the clock began to run down with water standing on the pitch, but Rangers were able to make sure of the three points in spectacular fashion in stoppage time.

Roofe picked up the ball just outside Rangers' box before shaking off three defenders and letting fly from inside his own half, and the ball nestled into the back of the net past the flailing Liege goalkeeper to spark wild celebrations on the away bench.

Former Liverpool midfielder Gerrard, who scored plenty of memorable goals during his own playing career, told a post-match press conference of the 27-year-old's spectacular effort: "The goal was a moment of genius - a world-class moment. I have been playing football professionally since 1998 and it is the best goal I have ever seen live with my own eyes.

"He collects the ball 15 yards outside our box, he is strong for two challenges, he holds the player off with the third challenge and then he actually takes the player on in the worst conditions I've seen.

"And then, to have the vision, the power and the class to score from 55 yards - I don't think I've seen a better goal and I don't think I will see a better goal."

Asked to assess Rangers' latest performance, the 40-year-old manager responded: "I think it is a very important victory to start the group in a positive way. We have beaten a good team tonight and I think we deserved the victory.

"We were good defensively in the first-half besides one moment from a cross with the header off the crossbar, but in possession, we needed to improve and we needed to be better.

"I think in the second half, we were outstanding for 20 minutes and then the game changed with the weather - it was very unpredictable and it was difficult for both teams.

"But we managed the game extremely well and we take three important points away."

Gerrard added on how his players dealt with the extreme weather in Belgium: "It is in your mind the officials might delay and take the teams off - I am happy he decided to play on obviously, but the conditions for both teams and every player were really unpredictable.

"Everything was very difficult - the rain was incredible. I think in the last 20-25 minutes it was about which team wanted the victory the most. We had one scary moment at the very end - thankfully, Standard never scored as it might have changed the game.

"But from the second half tonight, I was very proud of my team as we were much better and we deserved the victory.

"We had two or three other really good chances to score, and I think that is important for the next time we play Liege we know we are capable of creating big chances which is good for the confidence and belief for the next game."

  1 Hits

'I am a bit stiff' - Bale admits to rustiness after first Tottenham start since loan move from Real Madrid

The Wales star played a telling part in one of his side's goals but overall struggled to make an impact

Gareth Bale conceded he was 'a bit stiff' after making his second full debut for Tottenham in their 3-0 Europa League win over LASK on Thursday night. 

On loan from Real Madrid, the winger came off the bench for Spurs over the weekend as they squandered a three-goal lead against West Ham in the Premier League.

Bale's first start since returning to Tottenham faired much better however as he forced an own goal in the 28th minute as Jose Mourinho's side ultimately strolled to a comfortable victory.

After struggling for game time at the Santiago Bernabeu over the past few seasons, Bale admitted he needs to work on his match fitness but is savouring the chance to play regularly again. 

"We know these games are important. We went out there and did a great job. It wasn't our best performance but we were solid and most important is the three points," Bale told BT Sport post-match. 

"I am a bit stiff. It is like a mini pre-season for me and I am trying to get minutes into the legs. Hopefully it won't take me long to get back up to full speed and I am enjoying being on the pitch and being back at this amazing club."

Asked what it's like being back at Spurs, Bale added: "It is amazing. It is a big reason why I play well and why I came back. You want to be loved and appreciated. I will give everything for this shirt.

"This is a great squad that has a lot of depth, hopefully we can use that to our advantage. It is always good to have competition to keep you on your toes."

Brazilian forward Lucas Moura opened the scoring for Tottenham in the 18th minute against LASK and believes Mourinho is the man to steer the club to a deserved piece of silverware this season. 

"It is the best way to start the competition. Of course we need to improve some things but 3-0 at home is a good result," Moura told BT Sport.

"We missed a lot of opportunities and gave some space for them but I think we are solid. It is always good to score, especially for strikers. It is my job. If I help my team-mates I am happy, if I can score it is even better.

"I know Jose Mourinho is a winner and wants to win a trophy here. I think the squad deserves a trophy. I am very positive for the season but let's do it step by step. We will fight for it because I think the fans and the club deserve it."

Spurs next face Burnley in the Premier League on Monday night and have now gone 10 games in all competitions without losing. 

Original author: Josh Thomas
  1 Hits

Red-hot Milan equal 56-year-old club record after beating Celtic in Europa League

The Rossoneri maintained their perfect start of the new season by picking up a hard-earned victory at Parkhead

Milan's red-hot form continued as they equalled a 56-year-old club record by beating Celtic in their Europa League group stage opener.

Celtic suffered a 3-1 defeat at home to Milan on Thursday night after a pulsating 90 minutes of end-to-end action.

The Hoops made a strong start to the match but ended up falling behind after 14 minutes when Rade Krunic headed in a Samu Castillejo cross.

The visitors doubled their advantage towards the end of the half via a cool finish from Real Madrid loanee Brahim Diaz, forcing Neil Lennon to shuffle his pack at the interval.

Celtic brought on Mohamed Elyounoussi and Ryan Christie for the second period, which prompted a momentum shift as Milan retreated to try and protect their two-goal advantage.

Their stubborn rearguard was eventually breached in the 76th minute, with an Elyounoussi header giving the hosts hope of a late comeback, but the Italian outfit had the final say in stoppage time.

Lennon's side were caught cold on the break as they pushed for an equaliser, and Jens Petter Hauge calmly slotted the ball past Vasilis Barkas in the Celtic net after being played in by Alexis Saelemaekers.

Milan moved into second in the early Group A standings on goal difference after the result, with Lille going top after earning a 4-1 win away at Sparta Prague in the group's other fixture.

The Rossoneri have now scored two or more goals in 10 consecutive games for the first time since 1964, extending their perfect start to the 2020-21 campaign in the process.

Stefano Pioli has already seen his side storm to the Serie A summit with four successive wins, including a derby victory over Inter last weekend, with a home fixture against Roma up next on Monday.

The seven-time Champions League winners will be back in Europa League action three days later when Sparta Prague arrive at San Siro, before focus switches to a Serie A meeting with Hellas Verona.

 

  1 Hits

USWNT star Dunn joins Thorns in blockbuster three-team trade

The forward/defender served as a centerpiece of a big-time deal as she heads to Portland to be closer to family

U.S. women's national team star Crystal Dunn has joined the Portland Thorns in a blockbuster three-team trade.

The forward/defender, a former NWSL MVP and Golden Boot winner, joins the Thorns after asking her previous club, the North Carolina Courage, to facilitate a move to Portland to be closer to her family.

In order to facilitate that trade, OL Reign were brought into the mix, initially completing a trade to acquire Dunn in exchange for goalkeeper Casey Murphy and allocation money.

The Reign then completed a deal to send Dunn to Portland as desired with the Thorns providing allocation money, an international roster spot for the 2021 season and their first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL College Draft to sign the USWNT star.

In total, OL Reign will receive $150,000 in allocation money immediately, $50,000 on January 1 and additional allocation money conditioned upon Dunn’s future playing status in the NWSL.

“We are delighted to add a world-class player to an already talented group,” said Gavin Wilkinson, Thorns FC general manager and president of soccer.

“Crystal has proven herself on the international level and been a dominant player in the NWSL for many years. Her professionalism and presence will reinforce and add to the strong culture we have in this club.”

Dunn heads to Portland after emerging as a legitimate star in the NWSL and with the USWNT. Dunn, who previously played for the Washington Spirit and Chelsea, won the NWSL MVP in 2015 along with the Golden Boot, scoring a league-best 15 goals, while also earning two Best XI selections throughout her career.

In total, Dunn has appeared in 89 games, recording 32 goals and 20 assists throughout her NWSL career.

While generally featuring in attack on the club level, Dunn has starred as a fullback for the USWNT, earning a total of 104 caps while providing 24 goals and 17 assists on the international stage.

She was a member of the USWNT"s 2019 Women's World Cup squad, as she started six of the team's seven matches en route to victory in France.

The Courage, meanwhile, bring in a much-needed goalkeeper in the 24-year-old Murphy, who joins after stints with Montpellier and OL Reign.

Murphy is a familiar face for the Courage, as the goalkeeper made a season-high and NWSL career-high 11 saves against her new club in the 2019 NWSL semifinals.

“Casey is a young, super talented goalkeeper,” said NC Courage head coach Paul Riley. “She has a ton of fantastic qualities and as she garners experience, we thoroughly expect her to be banging on the USWNT door.

"She comes to a team with a consistent, dynamic lineup and that will help her settle and grow into a bonified exceptional professional goalkeeper.” 

  1 Hits

'I didn't want to rush' - Ziyech on why he waited to leave Ajax and why Chelsea move came at the right time

The Blues creator spoke about his journey to Stamford Bridge and how he waited for a big opportunity like Frank Lampard's side to come along

Hakim Ziyech says he took his time to find the right move away from Ajax after he has to wait until he turns 27 to play in a top league with Chelsea.

Indeed, the Morocco international earned global acclaim in one of Ajax's great teams, which reached the Europa League final and Champions League semi-final.

As the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt got moves to Barcelona and Juventus, respectively, Ziyech rejected concrete proposals from the likes of Roma and Sevilla.

The playmaker was waiting for his shot at one of the world's super clubs and he was rewarded when Chelsea activated his £37 million ($48m) release clause on Frank Lampard's instructions.

And the midfielder thinks that he was being careful in waiting for his chance, even if it went a bit against his outspoken nature.

"I am not afraid to have my opinion and I always speak from my heart and what I am feeling, I am just saying. I don’t really care what people think about," Ziyech told reporters ahead of his side's clash with Manchester United on Saturday.

"They can take it how they want to take it. In the end, I always believe in myself and trust in myself and always believed in my own strengths so it didn’t really bother me what other clubs and people think.

"At the end of the day, if you perform on the pitch, that’s why most of the clubs are buying you or not. I also took my time. I didn’t want to rush myself to go to another club early at the youngest age. I took my time to improve and learn and grow as a person and now I am 27 and now is the time to move on."

The deal was agreed in February with Ziyech joining in July, but he wasn't able to play for Chelsea with the season being delayed due to coronavirus.

After returning from a knee injury in Chelsea's only preseason game, Ziyech finally played his first minutes for his new club in substitute appearances against Southampton and Sevilla.

With question marks still on his abilities to adapt to a physical league like the Premier League, Ziyech insists that he is tough enough to handle what will be coming his way.

"Yeah, things that happened in the past when I was younger, all this stuff when you're playing on the streets, it makes you hard as a person," he added.

"Especially when you get older you can play that hard as well, because when I was young and playing on the streets I always played against older guys and they didn't back down, even when you were too good for them they were just kicking and those types of thing make you hard as a person.

"It helps you to grow, even on the pitch, and from that mentality, it only helps you. I think I learned a lot from my past; it's made me become what I am now at this moment."

Part of Lampard's big sell to Ziyech was that Chelsea were indeed going places and going to spend big this summer as he became the first signing. Then followed Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Edouard Mendy for a combined total of around £220 million ($275m).

With plenty of depth in the attack, Ziyech knows he is in for a fight for places at Stamford Bridge.

"It wasn't a surprise to me, they told me already that I will not be the only one, because they had a ban for two windows," he concluded. "So I knew for myself already that I will not be the only one. I think it is only good to have more new players, more different styles.

"I mean like it's for every player, it makes them better to have a competition. And I think it's only good for yourself and, yeah, the only thing which you have to do is to keep pushing it to be the best of yourself and everything. Everything will be fine but you know you have a lot of competition so you have to work hard and keep pushing."

Original author: Nizaar Kinsella
  1 Hits

Iheanacho scores first Europa League goal and bags assists to inspire Leicester City past Zorya

The Nigeria international was at his best at the King Power Stadium, helping his side to a flying start in the European tournament

Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first Europa League goal and provided an assist as Leicester City secured a 3-0 victory over Zorya on Thursday.

The Nigeria international led the Foxes attack in the encounter in his first appearance in the competition and flourished as his side got off to a flying start.

The King Power Stadium outfit started the game on an impressive note, racing into the lead in the 29th minute when Iheanacho set up James Maddison for the opener.

The Super Eagles forward was again involved when he sent Harvey Barnes through on goal and the 22-year-old coolly beat goalkeeper Mykyta Shevchenko in a one-on-one situation to tuck home his effort.

Iheanacho then scored a goal of his own in the 67th minute when he fired home for his first strike in the European competition.

The 24-year-old centre-forward spent four more minutes on the pitch before he was replaced by former Newcastle United star Ayoze Perez.

His compatriot Wilfred Ndidi was not involved in the encounter as Leicester clinched their first win in the competition this campaign.

 Iheanacho has now featured in five games across all competitions for the King Power Stadium outfit in the 2020-21 season.

Victory over the Ukrainian Premier League side ensured Brendan Rodgers’ men top Group G ahead of Braga and AEK Athens.

The forward experienced his first European action during his time in Manchester City, featuring eight times and scoring two goals in the Champions League for the club.

Iheanacho scored five league goals amid other dazzling displays in the 2019-20 season to help Leicester qualify for the Europa League, after finishing fifth on the Premier League table.

The attacker will be expected to continue his impressive form in front of goal when Leicester City take on AEK Athens in their next encounter in the competition on October 29.

Before then, Iheanacho will hope to play a part when the Foxes square off against Arsenal in a Premier League game on Sunday.

 

 

 

Original author: Gbenga Adewoye
  1 Hits

Kayode, Yatabare and Gradel on target as Sivasspor lose eight-goal thriller against Villarreal

Despite their goals, the African stars could not secure maximum points for Riza Calimbay's side at Estadio de la Ceramica on Thursday

Nigeria's Olanrewaju Kayode, Mali's Mustapha Yatabare and Ivory Coast's Max Gradel scored for Sivasspor as they bowed to a 5-3 defeat against Villarreal in Thursday's Uefa Europa League match.

Villarreal took an early lead at home with two goals from Takefusa Kubo and Carlos Bacca within the first 20 minutes but Kayode pulled one back for the visitors at the Estadio de la Ceramica.

It was the Nigeria international’s first Europa League goal since his strike against Roma in November 2016 during his playing stint at Austria Wien.

A few minutes after Kayode’s effort, Yatabare grabbed the equaliser for Sivasspor as both teams found themselves level at the break.

After the restart, Juan Foyth restored Villarreal's lead in the 57th minute but it was short-lived as Gradel made it 3-3 seven minutes later with his maiden goal in the European competition.

The encounter turned to a dramatic finish following the introduction of Paco Alcacer for Bacca in the 70th minute.

Four minutes later, Alacacer fired Unai Emery's side ahead again and he sealed their victory with his second goal of the night in the 78th minute.

Mali goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa was in goal for Sivasspor while Kayode and Gradel were in action for 82 minutes before they were replaced by Ivory Coast's Arouna Kone and Oztekin respectively.

On the other hand, Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze delivered an impressive performance for Villarreal and he was in action from start to finish.

Following the thrilling home victory, Emery's Villarreal will shift their attention to Sunday's La Liga clash against Cadiz while Sivasspor are scheduled to play Rizespor on Monday before resuming their Europa League campaign on October 29.

Original author: Taiye Taiwo
  1 Hits

LA Galaxy not ready to give up on Chicharito despite Chivas exit rumors

The 32-year-old was a statement signing for the Galaxy when he joined from Sevilla but has only scored one goal for the club so far

LA Galaxy has faith in Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez and are not looking to loan him out despite speculation surrounding his future in MLS.

The 32-year-old has been linked with a return to Mexico with Chivas, the club where he made his professional debut in 2006.

Hernandez got one goal in a losing cause against Portland Timbers in the MLS Is Back tournament in July, with that being his only league goal since December 2019 – when he was playing in La Liga for Sevilla.

Chivas sporting director Ricardo Pelaez recently opened the door to a move for Hernandez, suggesting he could be an option in an interview with Azteca Deportes.

"Any player who comes to Chivas, including Chicharito, whoever it is, has to come and work his heart out to achieve our objectives,” Pelaez said.

“We have an obligation to our fans, not for celebrations or parties, but to win titles.”

However, Goal has learned that such a move is not likely ahead of the Clausura 2021, which is due to get underway in January.

Most importantly, the Galaxy have no intention of loaning out Hernandez. They made a significant investment in making him a marquee signing earlier this year, paying $10 million (£8m) to Sevilla and making him one of the highest-earning players in MLS.

“Javier is a landmark signing for our club and this league, highlighting our ambition to continue to be the best in Major League Soccer," said Dan Beckerman, president and CEO of Galaxy owner​ AEG.

Moreover, the board of directors led by Chris Klein, manager Dennis te Kloese and coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto, have faith in Hernandez to overcome his current goalscoring drought.

The veteran poacher has scored goals in England, Spain, Germany and Mexico and, with 52 strikes in 109 games for his country, has an enviable pedigree when it comes to finding the net.

Therefore, Chivas has little prospect of re-signing Hernandez in the short term.

However, many Mexican soccer fans hope to see ‘Chicharito’ finish his playing career back in his home country, and that possibility remains open for the future.

The Galaxy’s next fixture is a Los Angeles Derby against rivals LAFC this weekend.

  1 Hits

Celtic 1-3 Milan: Rossoneri extend winning run in Glasgow

Stefano Pioli's Milan made a winning start to their Europa League group campaign, but Scottish giants Celtic gave them a late scare.

Rade Krunic opened his Milan goalscoring account as the in-form Serie A giants won 3-1 at Celtic in their Europa League Group H opener.

Bosnian midfielder Krunic headed the first and Brahim Diaz scored a neat second for the Rossoneri, before Jens Hauge added a late third, as they produced an efficient performance in Glasgow against the Scottish champions.

With Celtic reeling from a derby defeat to Rangers and weakened by a string of injuries, this match always looked unlikely to provide the succour for which they were hoping.

Milan were so in charge that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could effectively stroll through 65 minutes before being replaced, but they were hanging on after Mohamed Elyounoussi's header gave the hosts a surprise foothold, until Hauge made sure.

Celtic wanted an early penalty when Albian Ajeti's shot hit Alessio Romagnoli, but it did not look to strike the Milan captain's hand, and Olivier Ntcham's follow-up strike was tame.

It was downhill from there for the hosts, with Milan snatching a 14th-minute lead when Samu Castillejo sent in a teasing cross from the right and former Empoli man Krunic headed beyond the dive of goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas, finding the left corner.

Jeremie Frimpong was at times lively for Celtic on the right, but Milan are eager to make their presence felt in this competition, despite having only edged into the group stage after beating Rio Ave 9-8 on penalties in their play-off.

Diaz got the second goal for Stefano Pioli's men in the 42nd minute, taking a pass from Theo Hernandez and showing nimble footwork before burying a low shot into the left corner.

Uruguayan winger Diego Laxalt sent a shot a yard over the Milan crossbar early in the second half as Celtic searched for a way back into the game.

Ryan Christie's corner was nodded in by fellow substitute Elyounoussi in the 76th minute to give the hosts hope, but Milan were in no mood to be denied and Hauge finished well from Alexis Saelemaekers' pass in stoppage time.

 

What does it mean?

Pioli can reflect on a positive start and Milan are now unbeaten in 21 games in all competitions.

With Krunic and Hauge scoring their first goals for the club, there was much to enjoy, even if they will feel they should not have allowed Celtic a sniff over those closing 15 minutes.

Diaz decisive, Castillejo class

Diaz has played for Manchester City, Real Madrid and now Milan by the age of 21, and his finish was one of an accomplished player. However, Castillejo was the Milan attacker who most caught the eye, his cross for the opener being perfect for Krunic. Castillejo barely wasted a pass and was always looking for a killer ball, playing four crosses, three of which were rated as good deliveries by Opta.

Will Zlat do?

Ibrahimovic could not make his presence felt - or perhaps he was simply not in the mood. The Swede might have revelled in the atmosphere provided by a full Parkhead, where European nights can be seriously special - as Milan found out when they lost to the Scots in the Champions League 13 years ago.

But behind closed doors in Scotland his influence was negligible; he played one key pass, found his target with just 75 per cent of all passes, did not take a single shot and won only 33 per cent of his duels.

What's next?

Celtic travel to Aberdeen in the SPL on Sunday, before heading to Lille in the Europa League next week. Milan have back-to-back home games, against Roma in Serie A next Monday and three days later against Sparta Prague in this competition.

  1 Hits

Tottenham 3-0 LASK: Bale starts as Spurs ease to Europa League win

Gareth Bale forced an own goal after fellow new signing Carlos Vinicius provided an assist in a comfortable Tottenham win.

Tottenham outclassed LASK as they cruised to a 3-0 home victory in their opening Europa League group stage match on Thursday.

Jose Mourinho's side took control early on as a Lucas Moura strike was followed by an Andres Andrade own goal, with substitute Son Heung-min adding a third goal late on.

Spurs' starting line-up featured two eye-catching names, with recent signings Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale included.

But, while the first 10 minutes saw Bale evidencing his threat from a starting position on the right wing, they also featured a poor Vinicius miss, the striker heading wide on his full debut when he should have done better with a teasing Matt Doherty cross.

He did, though, waste little time in making up for that error, latching onto a Ben Davies ball over the top soon after to tee up compatriot Lucas for a composed finish.

Bale, too, had his moment before the half-hour mark, forcing Andrade to put through his own net with a low, outside-of-the-boot cross at the end of a sweeping move started by Sergio Reguilon's brilliant surge forward.

At that point it looked like Spurs might run away with it, but LASK rallied to enjoy a strong finish to the half, with Andreas Gruber coming closest to making it count courtesy of a fine drive from distance.

They were also not far away form reducing the deficit on the hour mark, Petar Filipovic's header from a corner sailing just over the bar with Joe Hart and his defenders beaten.

However, with the Austrians enjoying their best spell of the game, Mourinho was able to call for the cavalry in the form of Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli and Son.

It was the latter pair who made the most telling difference, with Alli forcing a smart save after being played through by Vinicius after Son firing over the bar from close range.

Spurs never looked like rueing those misses, however, and had time to cap their win with a third goal courtesy of a side-footed Son from close range.

 

What does it mean? Spurs' show of strength

Although three points will have been Mourinho's main concern, he was also given welcome evidence of Spurs' new-found strength in depth.

Talismanic striker Harry Kane was barely missed, while the hosts were able to bring the likes of Son and Alli off the bench late on.

Dominant Doherty

Doherty gave another demonstration of why Spurs lured him from Premier League rivals Wolves.

The Irish full-back took a team-leading 104 touches, provided two key passes, made four tackles and completed over 80 per cent of his passes in the opposition half.

More to come from Bale

Although he played a key role in Tottenham's second goal on his first start since returning, Bale should have much more to offer once he builds up match fitness in the coming weeks. 

In his hour on the pitch, the Welshman took just 44 touches, and failed to produce a shot or a key pass while losing possession on 20 occasions.

What's next?

Tottenham must wait until Monday for their next Premier League outing against Burnley at Turf Moor, with their European campaign continuing away to Antwerp next Thursday.

  1 Hits

Leicester City 3-0 Zorya Luhansk: Foxes cruise in Europa League opener

After a sluggish start, Leicester City clicked into gear to comfortably defeat Zorya Luhansk in their opening Europa League fixture.

James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho all scored as Leicester City began their Europa League campaign with a routine 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk. 

In their first meeting with Ukrainian opposition, Leicester had to withstand a sharp start from their Group G rivals at the King Power Stadium on Thursday. 

However, Maddison's 29th-minute effort put Brendan Rodgers' side ahead, with Barnes – who had played a crucial role in the opener – doubling the lead on the stroke of half-time. 

Wesley Fofana missed a chance to make matters even more comfortable, though the points were wrapped up when Iheanacho slotted in a low finish.

Vladyslav Kabaev should have capped a dominant start for Zorya with an opener in the 22nd minute, only for the forward to fail to beat Kasper Schmeichel from close range.  

Maddison saw a goal rightly disallowed for offside from the counter-attacking move that followed, but he broke the deadlock moments later.  

Barnes' wonderful strike hit the post but Iheanacho managed to turn the rebound into the path of Maddison, who prodded into an empty net.  

Leicester got lucky when Dmitriy Ivanisenya volleyed wide from Schmeichel's poor clearance, yet they had their second when Barnes raced onto Iheanacho's flick and lifted a sublime finish over Mykyta Shevchenko.  

Fofana headed just wide 10 minutes after the restart, with Maddison then curling over from the egde of the penalty area. 

A third for the hosts did eventually arrive in the 67th minute, Iheanacho – who became the first Nigerian to assist two goals in a single Europa League game – rounding off a fine individual display with a brilliant finish to add further gloss to the scoreline.


What does it mean? Foxes back to winning ways

Without the injured Jamie Vardy, Leicester went down 1-0 to Ross Barkley's late goal for Aston Villa on Sunday, following on from a 3-0 defeat to West Ham before the international break.

However, they bounced back from those disappointing results, securing their maiden win in UEFA's second-tier club competition, though they had only previously played in it during the 2000-01 season.

Leicester's front three run the show

Barnes was key to both of Leicester's first-half goals, while Maddison, who has scored twice in his last three appearances in all competitions, proved instrumental in a free role, having three shots and creating two chances. 

Yet Iheanacho was arguably the star performer, with his persistence integral to Leicester's opener. He also displayed brilliant skill for the second, then dispatched his goal with pinpoint accuracy.

Kabaev left to rue glaring miss

Schmeichel rushed off his line to close the angle on Kabaev, but Zorya's striker should have done better from less than 10 yards out. It proved to be his only attempt of the game as he was taken off in the 65th minute.

What's next?

Leicester visit Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday before facing AEK Athens in their next European outing. Zorya's second Group G fixture sees them take on Sporting Braga. 

  1 Hits

Arteta responds to Ozil's Twitter comments following Arsenal's Europa League win over Rapid Vienna

The German playmaker tweeted along during the game after being left out of the Gunners' squad for the tournament

Mikel Arteta says he was pleased to hear Mesut Ozil had been supporting Arsenal from afar during their 2-1 win over Rapid Vienna on Thursday.

Ozil did not travel with his Gunners team-mates as Arteta left him out of his squads for both the Europa League and the Premier League.

The 32-year-old has not played for Arsenal since football returned from coronavirus lockdown but has been at the centre of attention regardless, with speculation around his future rife.

Ozil criticised Arsenal after being left out of Arteta’s squads, noting that “loyalty is hard to come by” in football in a public message.

Before kick-off against Vienna, though, he wrote on Twitter that he would be supporting his team-mates from afar, predicting a 4-1 Gunners win. Ozil continued tweeting throughout the game, and celebrated their victory with a Man of the Match poll.

Arteta was made aware of the tweets after the game and commented: “It’s great. It’s what I want from all the players that are in our squad, I wouldn’t expect anything different - so it’s good to hear.”

The Spaniard was also asked whether he was frustrated at the amount of media coverage surrounding a player who hasn’t been on the pitch.

“No, it’s part of the situation we have and we have big players in this position it’s normal that people want to know, that fans want to have information and you guys want to ask the questions,” he replied.

“So I take it in a natural way and try to respond with honesty and clarity and give the information that is available from the inside.”

Arsenal went behind in Vienna after a disastrous error from Bernd Leno, the goalkeeper giving away possession inside his own area to gift a goal to Taxiarchis Fountas.

Arteta admitted that individual errors are to be expected as he implements his tactical vision at the club.

He added: “They will understand better and better the type of balls we have to play in those areas and to who, in relation to where the pressure is coming from and the type of distances that you can manage from the opponent.

“After that, everything will be better. In a split second you have to make a decision, you have to make the right touch and the right pass. The opponents as well are intuitive and they are waiting for that.

“It's something we have to keep working on because we want to play the way I want to. It's necessary that I keep using both in our build-up play.”

  1 Hits

Cosafa Women's Cup draw: South Africa drawn against Eswatini, Comoros and Angola

Desiree Ellis' team have learned their foes for the seventh edition of the competition

The South Africa women's team has been drawn against Eswatini, Comoros and Angola in Group A in the upcoming seventh edition of the Cosafa Women's Cup, commencing on November 3.

Banyana Banyana are campaigning in the regional showpiece scheduled to end on November 15 in Port Elizabeth as the defending champions, having won the last three editions, and six overall.

Thursday's final draw held at the Cosafa House in Johannesburg also saw Zambia, Malawi and Lesotho pitted in Group B, while Zimbabwe, Botswana and Tanzania are polled in Group C.

Teams that finish at the top from each of the three groups after the preliminary stage matches, will progress automatically to the semi-final, with a best second-placed side claiming the last four spot.

Desiree Ellis' side will begin their title defence against Angola on November 3 and later take on Eswatini on November 6 before facing Comoros three days later at Wolfson Stadium.

The matches of the 10-nation regional women's tournaments will be played at the Wolfson and Gelvandale stadiums in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Having missed out on an Olympic ticket, South Africa will be eager to redeem their image at this year's tournament but will face stiff competition from Zambia and Malawi for the title.

 

COSAFA WOMEN’S CUP DRAW

Group A

South Africa

Eswatini

Comoros

Angola

 

Group B

Zambia

Malawi

Lesotho

 

Group C

Zimbabwe

Botswana

Tanzania

Original author: Samuel Ahmadu
  1 Hits

Nsame's strike not enough as Young Boys lose to AS Roma

The Cameroon forward put the hosts ahead with his opener but they failed to protect their lead in the second 45 minutes

Jean-Pierre Nsame scored Young Boys' only goal in their 2-1 defeat to AS Roma in Thursday's Europa League encounter.

The 27-year-old striker stepped forward to put the hosts ahead from the spot in the 14th minute after Fabian Rieder was fouled in the penalty area.

The strike was Nsame’s third goal in the European tournament this season after he fired them into the group stage with his brace in their 3-0 win over Albanian club Tirana on October 1.

The Cameroon international's opener was not enough for the Swiss champions to secure maximum points as Roma staged a dramatic comeback after the interval to overturn the result.

Bruno Peres grabbed the equaliser in the 69th minute and Marash Kumbulla scored the match-winning goal for the Serie A club four minutes later.

Nsame was in action for Young Boys alongside his compatriot Moumi Ngamaleu, and they were both replaced in the 79th minute and 65th minute respectively. Meanwhile, DR Congo's Meschack Elia was introduced five minutes after the hour-mark and Guinea's Mohamed Camara watched on as an unused substitute.

Nsame who scored 32 goals in 32 league matches last season, will hope to build on Thursday's strike when Young Boys welcome Luzern to Stadion Wankdorf for their next Super League fixture on Sunday.

Thursday's defeat moved Young Boys to third in their Europa League Group A table, behind CFR Cluj and Roma. In the Swiss top-flight standings, they are third with eight points after four games.

Original author: Taiye Taiwo
  1 Hits

'He held the midfield by himself!' - Arteta singles 'fantastic' Partey out for praise after Arsenal's win at Rapid Vienna

The Gunners bossed hailed the Ghanaian for his stellar display on his first start for the club the Europa League

Mikel Arteta singled out "fantastic" midfielder Thomas Partey after Arsenal's 2-1 win against Rapid Vienna.

Arsenal kicked off their latest Europa League campaign in Austria on Thursday night, and were made to work for the three points after falling behind early in the second half.

Taxiarchis Fountas set the hosts on course for an upset after intercepting Bernd Leno's poor pass out from the back and firing into the back of the net from a tight angle.

The Gunners goalkeeper almost gifted the Vienna a second when he directed a clearance straight into the path of Fountas again, but ultimately managed to redeem himself by pushing the Greek forward's effort away.

David Luiz then drew the visitors level when he headed home a pinpoint Nicolas Pepe free-kick, before Hector Bellerin set up substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to tap in the winner 16 minutes from time.

Partey was handed his first start for Arsenal since his £45 million ($59m) move to Emirates Stadium from Atletico Madrid on deadline day, and produced an all-action display in the middle of the park to limit the threat of an industrious Vienna outfit.

Arteta was delighted to see the 27-year-old build on a promising cameo appearance against Manchester City at the weekend by proving himself on the European stage, and believes he will go onto make a huge contribution to his side over the course of the season.

"Partey looked really solid, really comfortable. He held midfield by himself in the second half when we were more open... He was fantastic tonight and there's much more to come," the Gunners boss said post-match.

"We know with the price we paid for him he's going to have a lot of people looking to him."

Arteta added on Arsenal's response after falling behind at Allianz Stadion: "We knew it was going to be a difficult match. We made it harder in the beginning with the goal we conceded.

"I really like the reaction. The second half we understood much better the spaces we have to attack.

"In general we scored two good goals, the second was fantastic. We are delighted to start with a victory."

Asked if he will continue to encourage his team to play out from the back despite Leno's error: "It's part of our game. We need to understand when we can do that and when we should kick the ball into the stands.

"They will understand better and better the type of balls we have to play in those areas and to who in relation to the pressure that's coming."

  0 Hits

Caf postpones Zamalek vs Raja Casablanca Caf Champions League semi-final clash

With eight members of the People’s Club tested positive for Covid-19, their last four reverse fixture has been moved

The Caf Champions League semi-final second leg encounter between Zamalek and Raja Casablanca has been postponed by eight days, the Confederation of African Football (Caf) confirmed on Thursday.

The showdown billed for the Cairo International Stadium was due to be held on October 24 but has now been pushed back as eight players of Raja tested positive for the coronavirus and are currently quarantined by the Moroccan health authorities.

“Following a consultation meeting held immediately between the Caf experts, the authorities of Raja Casablanca and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), the president of Raja reaffirmed the willingness of the club to participate until about this competition,” a statement from Caf website read.

“Faced with this situation, in order to protect the integrity of the competition and promote a spirit of solidarity, the organizing committee for Inter-Club Competitions and Management of Club Licensing System has agreed to postpone the return match of the semi-final of the Champions League between Zamalek and Raja CA on November 1st, 2020.

“At the same time, the match Al Ahly SC vs WAC is maintained and the final of the 2019/20 Total Caf Champions League remains scheduled for November 6th, 2020.”

Several leagues across Africa were placed on a hiatus following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which claimed several lives as well as stopped several activities worldwide.

Achraf Bencharki scored the only goal that gave Zamalek a 1-0 victory over Raja Casablanca in the first leg of their Caf Champions League semi-final fixture on Sunday.

Bencharki broke the deadlock at Stade Mohamed V in the 18th minute with his header off Ahmed Sayed Zizo's cross.

The effort was the Morocco international's seventh goal on his seventh appearance in the Champions League this season. The winners over two legs will face either Wydad Casablanca or Al Ahly in the final.

Original author: Shina Oludare
  0 Hits

Roofe sets new Europa League record with stunning halfway-line goal for Rangers in win over Standard Liege

The 27-year-old Englishman was playing his first ever match in European football after joining the Glasgow side from Anderlecht this summer
  0 Hits

We want to prove Tanzania league is no two-team affair - Azam's Bahati

The Chamazi-based side has opened up a five-point gap at the top of the table after winning their seven games in the current campaign

Azam FC assistant coach Vivier Bahati insists his charges are keen on proving their critics wrong by winning the 2020/21 Tanzania Mainland League title. 

The Ice-cream Makers have started the campaign on a high and are the only team so far who have a 100% winning record. The Burundian has revealed the team is determined to change the mindset by some people that only Simba SC and Yanga SC are capable of challenging for the league.

"At the start of the season, we drew a plan to win the league title this season and that is why we are able to bag three vital points regardless where we are playing and that is the secret of any team fighting to win silverware," Bahati told reporters after their recent 2-0 win over Ihefu FC.

"We want to change the mentality by some people that the league's title is challenged by two teams only; that notion will soon become history."

Azam have so far collected 21 points from their opening seven games. They are followed by Yanga SC who have managed to collect 16 points from six games.

The 27-time champions reached the tally after defeating Polisi Tanzania by a solitary goal on Thursday.

Defending champions Simba SC are third with 13 points after falling by the same margin away to Tanzania Prisons.

In an initial interview, Bahati had stated the Chamazi-based charges will be going for nothing less than a win in their league matches. 

"We are ready to search for three more points that will keep us at the top of the table and our problem is not a slim win or how we do it, our main problem is three points and that is what we are going for, we don’t care how we do it, our problem is at the end of the match we want three points.  

"Even if we win 1-0, we will thank God, all we need this season is to win our matches and get maximum points, but if we get more than one goal and win the match that will also be good, but for now we need any win and three points and we will be okay."  

Original author: Seth Willis
  0 Hits

Top Five: New PSL signings to watch this season

Ed Dove picks out five signings in the Premier Soccer League who could well be set for a big campaign
Original author: Ed Dove
  0 Hits