Sadio Mane and Divock Origi helped Liverpool
brush aside fierce rivals Everton with a 5-2 win at Anfield.
Origi scored twice either side of strikes
from Xherdan Shaqiri and Michael Keane, before Mane struck towards the end of
the first half.
Richarlison’s first half injury-time strike
gave Marco Silva’s men hope, but they failed to build upon any lifeline offered
by a superior Liverpool, who wasted multiple chances towards the game’s end
before Georginio Wijnaldum struck at the death.
And the win meant the Reds maintained their
gap of eight points at the top of the league, as well as extending their
stunning unbeaten league home run to 49 matches.
A blistering start by the hosts set the scene
for a stunning night of Premier League action, on a night where they were
missing Mohamed Salah, Alisson and Roberto Firmino among others.
Less than two minutes were on the clock when
Mane headed an early chance from Andrew Robertson as Liverpool fired a warning
In the sixth minute, Jurgen Klopp’s men led.
Mane’s pass dissected a five-man defence and picked out Origi, who rounded the
onrushing Jordan Pickford and slotted home.
Less than ten minutes later, the hosts
doubled their lead and again Mane was at the heart of the move.
With a brilliant, disguised reverse, the
Senegal forward picked out the run of Shaqiri who nonchalantly rolled the ball
beyond Pickford once more.
The heat of this derby had the additional
spice of the hosts gunning for Premier League glory while the visitors were
struggling to maintain their status in the top flight.
As a result, the first six shots of the match
resulted in as many goals – the most ever scored in the opening half of a
Premier League Merseyside derby.
pulled a goal back midway through the half with a clever finish after a scuffed
clearance from Alex Iwobi’s cross handed him a close range chance.
Ten minutes later, it was 3-1 with another
piece of brilliant from Origi – who, it seems, only scores important goals for
The Belgian striker, who proved the hero of
the last home league derby, received a quarterback-esque ball over the top from
Dejan Lovren, brought it down with his first touch and clinically dispatched it
over Pickford with his next.
Everton, in a sign of pure desperation, took
off Djibril Sidibe and replaced him with Brazilian playmaker Bernard in a
bid to change things.
And they did. Just not immediately.
Richarlison almost picked out Dominic
Calvert-Lewin with a brilliant cross-shot which required Lovren to toe the ball
behind, and not long after, Liverpool had a fourth.
A whirlwind counter attack saw Mane fouled
outside his own penalty area, but picked out Trent Alexander-Arnold who burst
into space as the hosts broke with men over.
The Liverpool star striker made a
lung-bursting run to collect a return pass from the England right-back and
clinically dispatched a left-footed first-time strike past Pickford.
The visitors’ hopes were seemingly dead, but
they pulled another goal back in stoppage time when Richarlison headed past
Adrian from a delightful Bernard cross.
It left Silva’s men with some hope to cling
on to, but Origi looked determined to bag a third and almost did just that when
Robertson picked him out and his wonderful swivel-and-strike was blocked at the
Just after the hour mark, though, Richarlison
might have truly hauled his side back into the game when he headed straight at
Adrian under minimal pressure.
Mane, the man of the night, should have put
the result beyond doubt on 80 minutes after bringing down a delightful diagonal
pass, but slid wide of the post with the goal gaping.
He had another gilt-edged opportunity in the
85th minute when he rounded Pickford only to be denied by a combination of the
England goalkeeper and Mason Holgate.
The hosts were almost made to pay immediately
as Moise Kean threatened to reduce to deficit to one goal but contrived to
slide the ball just past the post at the other end.
though, the game was put to bed when Wijnaldum picked up the ball some 12 yards
out and hammered into the far corner.
Defeat for Everton leaves the Toffees in the
relegation zone and means manager Silva faces further scrutiny after already
being under intense pressure ahead of the match.
Jose Mourinho suffered his first defeat as Tottenham boss
at the hands of his former club.
Two Marcus Rashford
goals, one at the beginning of each half, gave Manchester United a 2-1 win at
Old Trafford and eased the pressure on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The home side were
more than worth the three points and put in an assured performance, while Spurs
were lacklustre from start to finish with only a moment of brilliance from Dele
Alli offering a glimmer of brightness on a damp night in Manchester.
Mourinho made two changes to the side that beat
Bournemouth, with Harry Winks and Lucas Moura replacing Tanguy Ndombele and
meanwhile, made four changes to the team that drew with Aston Villa at the
weekend. Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young, Mason Greenwood and Scott McTominay were
all brought in, at the expense of Anthony Martial, Brandon Williams, Juan Mata
and Andreas Pereira.
Mourinho’s return to the Old Trafford dugout did not start
as he would have liked. His Spurs side began sluggishly and failed to keep hold
of the ball. As a result, United’s first real attack brought with it the game’s
Marcus Rashford was
fed on the left of the Spurs box and shot from a tight angle. Paulo Gazzaniga
in the Tottenham goals should have saved comfortably at his near post but it
bounced up and went in off the post.
Ten minutes later the England striker nearly doubled his
own and his team’s tally. The 22-year-old, who looked particularly lively in
the opening exchanges, had a central free-kick 20 yards out but his effort went
just wide of the left post.
And Solskjaer’s side
continued to impress. A tidy move started from the back eventually found Daniel
James wide. His cutback found Lingard who laid the ball off to Mason Greenwood,
but Gazzaniga was equal to his low drive.
Two minutes later, Rashford crashed an effort back off the
bar, with Gazzaniga getting the faintest of touches. The Argentine had to save
again from Rashford moments later. Nearly half an hour gone and the home side
had utterly dominated.
approaching, the first moment of quality from a Spurs player brought about
their first goal. Serge Aurier’s shot was parried up in the air and Alli took
the ball between Ashley Young and Fred with a wonderful first touch before
dispatching a strike past David de Gea’s right-hand side.
world champions, the Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have landed in the city of
Gioania, Brazil, where the team will tackle Hungary at the Estadio Olimpico in
the opening game of Group B of the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup finals on Saturday.
Players and the officials were received by FIFA and local
organizing committee officials at the airport and they were ushered into the
bus that took them to their hotel at the Metropolis area of the city.
The Eaglets have been in the football –passionate South American
country since October 10, in the city of Sao Paulo, where the team had their
training camp and played three warm up games against Sao Paulo U 17 side, which
they lost 1-2, before defeating South Korea 4-2 and then losing by the odd goal
record holders of the title had their first training in Gioania Tuesday evening
by 4.00pm local time.
Nigeria, champions in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015 will
tussle with Hungary, Australia and Ecuador in Group B of the three –week, 24
Meanwhile, ahead of Saturday’s FIFA U-17 World Cup opener
against Hungary, Golden Eaglet Coach, Manu Garba took his team to the classroom
as they bid to clinch a record 6th crown.
The 2013 World Cup winner, who is very much determined to see
Nigeria excel in Brazil, gave the players a dose of what to expect in the
competition following their 1-0 loss to Japan in their final preparatory game
for the World Cup.
Football Association is set to battle it out with the Nigeria Football
Federation for the services of Bayern Munich goal machine Melissa Ugochukwu.
she has a German passport, Ugochukwu has Nigerian background through her
debuting for Bayern Munich’s U17 team in the 2017-2018 seasons, the 2003-born
striker has been involved in 37 games in the B-Juniorinnen U17 Bundesliga Süd,
scoring an impressive 19 goals.
has not been capped by Germany but she is believed to be on the radar of the
German Football Association, having represented Bayern’s regional selection.
most notable player of Nigerian descent to represent Germany’s Women’s teams is
Navina Omilade-Keller who won the
Champions League with Wolfsburg in 2013 and Ugochukwu could follow in her
footsteps if she is not convinced to pledge her allegiance to the Super
Eagles defender Leon Balogun was eligible for Germany before becoming cap-tied
Karim Adeyemi, Kevin Akpoguma, Felix Uduokhai,
Jordan Torunarigha and Emmanuel Iyoha have earned competitive caps for
Germany’s youth teams but remain eligible to turn out for the Super Eagles
Enugu State governor, Rt.
Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has approved the 2nd edition of Coal City Marathon to hold
November 23, 2019 in Enugu state.
This was made known by the
Permanent Secretary Enugu State Ministry of Youth and Sports, Barr. Henrietta
Ngozi Ani, in her office on Monday while inaugurating members of 2019 Coal City
Marathon organizing committee.
Barr, Ani who charged the committee to work
for the success of the 2nd edition of the marathon, revealed that Zippsports is
partnering with the ministry to organize the marathon. “Governor Ifeanyi
Ugwuanyi had in June this year approved the state hosting 2019 edition of coal
city marathon. Today, I am inaugurating you to go out to the field and work for
the success. Zippsports is partnering with Ministry of Youths and Sports to
organize the 2nd edition of the marathon billed to hold on Saturday 23rd
She said. She pointed out that both foreign
and local athletes from all parts of the world would participate in the
Speaking earlier, the
Managing Director Zippsports, Mr Nzube Ndiokwelu, who lamented the challenges
encountered in the last marathon, enjoined members of the organizing committee
to work for the success of marathon.
“We had financial,
technical and logistic challenges in the previous edition and will not allow
such to repeat itself. I am enjoying the members of organizing committee to
work for the success 2019 marathon edition”,
He explained that
Zippsports is the franchise owner and marketer of the marathon, while Enugu
State Ministry of Youth and Sports is providing the platform as other
interested marketers are invited to market the marathon.
Briefly after the
inauguration, chairman of Enugu state Football Association, FA, Mr Chidi Offor
Okenwa commended Enugu state government and Zippsports for organizing 2nd
edition of Coal City Marathon, charged media committee to market it to the
“I thank Enugu state government and Zippsports
for reaching an agreement conducting the marathon. Marathon is a media event,
we want media committee to commence the publicity of the marathon immediately”,
In his speech the Chairman
of Enugu State Athletics Association, Mr Mbonu Obiukwu said the committee would
overcome the problems encountered in the 2019 edition.
France won the World Cup, with their stars Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappé on the scoresheet, but Croatia will feel very hard done-by, thanks to an own goal, and VAR.
Croatia were the better side in the first half but fell behind when Griezmann dived to win a freekick, which the unfortunate Mario Mandzukic headed past his own keeper. A fine goal from Ivan Perisic got Croatia back on terms.
But then the ball hit Perisic on the hand, the referee went over to the side of the pitch to check VAR, and awarded a penalty that was, at best, dubious. Griezmann nervelessly slotted it away.
After half-time, the French pulled away thanks to a strike from Pogba, only for a terrible blunder from Hugo Lloris to let Croatia back into the match. He tried to dribble past Mandzukic and the big striker had the simplest tap-in.
However, Mbappé scored to settle the matter and give France their second World Cup.
The first question to be answered by Croatia will be the level of their physical preparedness after three consecutive extra time affairs and two penalty shootouts? They have the players and the experience at the highest level; but this France team cruised into the final without any major hiccup. Les Bleus may have just one question to answer – can they come back if they concede first?
Croatia have shown resolve, doggedness, heart, plus the ability to recover bad situations. They were behind against Denmark, against Russia, and against England but they triumphed in all three – getting better as the games progressed.
Stats tell us that in every match in which Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante have been paired, France have never lost. Will that stat still be true at the end of 90 minutes or 120 on Sunday? Croatia also have their talisman – having never lost when Andrej Kramaric has scored. Will Zlatko Dalic start the forward or Marcelo Brozovic to shore up his midfield?
All these questions will get answers, starting from 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Head to head [Last 5]
29/03/11 FRI France 0 – 0 Croatia
17/06/04 EUC Croatia 2 – 2 France
27/05/00 FRI Croatia 0 – 2 France
13/11/99 FRI France 3 – 0 Croatia
08/07/98 WOC France 2 – 1 Croatia
Three duels to watch
Luka Modric v N’Golo Kante
The two midfielders, both slight and short, and probably told at the beginning of their careers they would never succeed because of their stature; but here they are, giants of the game and driving their countries to a World Cup triumph. Kante has been neat, efficient and the workaholic we all know and respect, winning back possession 48 times plus 14 successful tackles; while Modric has been the Vatreni conductor, knitting it all together whether it is from a deep-lying position or behind the main striker.
Ivan Strinic v Kylian Mbappe
Strinic limped off on Wednesday night but should start and he will be crucial to curtail the fleet-footed Mbappe. France have continuously used the 19-year-old as a veritable outlet to attack and he will be sure to attack any space left by Strinic in partnership with Domagoj Vida.
Current Form [Last 6 matches]
2 – 0
2 – 1
0 – 3
1 – 0
2 – 1
0 – 0
P 1 – 1
4 – 3
P 2 – 2
0 – 2
1 – 2 E
0 – 1
Showing 1 to 6 of 6 entries
Mario Madzukic v Samuel Umtiti
Mandzukic has been awesome for Croatia in Russia, causing havoc and scoring very important goals. Umtiti has also had a wonderful tournament but he will need to stand up to the physical battle Mandzukic will offer on Sunday. If he gives an inch, Croatia will plough through that French defence like a hot knife through butter.
Quotes to Ponder
“Statistics and records are here to be broken. It does not matter who is our opponent in the final. It is our goal to give our best, the whole world will be watching Croatia. We came here to enjoy the game and to win it. My players have played a lot of matches in the Champions League – including finals – but this is the biggest game of their careers.” – Zlatko Dalic, Croatia Manager
“In 2016, we made the mistake of being overconfident,” he said. “After beating Germany in the semi-finals, we felt we were destined to win. I can promise you we won’t make the same mistake again.” – Paul Pogba, France Midfielder
Stadium: Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium can seat 78,000 comfortably; but the spectators will be on the edge of their seats as the curtain is drawn on Russia 2018.
“The Moskva Riverflows right alongside the stadium and there is a cable-car connecting the two. Tens of thousands of Muscovites play all kinds of sports at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex and today it is a popular place for recreation and family strolls.”
Referee in charge: It will be the hulking Argentine, 43-year-old Nestor Pitana, who started the journey in the Russia, Saudi Arabia match, that also has the distinction of closing it. Before the final, he had refereed other matches at Russia 2018; Mexico-Sweden, Croatia-Denmark, in which he awarded Croatia a penalty in extra time, and France-Uruguay. He has handled both countries once each and gave out 12 yellow cards, no red cards and awarded two penalty kicks. He follows his compatriot, Horacio Elizondo, who also officiated the opening and closing matches of the 2006 World Cup.
World Cup fact: France became world champions in 1998 without their then main striker, Stephane Guivarc’h scoring and with Didier Deschamps as the captain. Olivier Giroud is yet to find the net in Russia with Deschamps as manager!
England Coach, Gareth Southgate, insisted Saturday he was proud of the fourth place finish of the Three Lions despite losing the bronze medal of the 2018 World Cup in Russia to Belgium at the St Petersburg Stadium.
Speaking at the Post Match Conference, the former England player said: “In the end we are very proud of what we’ve done. We’re under no illusions as to where we stand as a team; we’ve finished in the final four but we’re not a top-four team yet, we know that and we’ve never hidden behind that.
He admitted that the Three Lions played against some of the best teams of Russia 2018.
“Against the very best teams we’ve come up short but we’ve had a wonderful adventure and some experiences that will stand this group of players and staff in really good stead for the future.
“I couldn’t ask any more of any of the players today or right the way through the seven weeks we’ve worked together,” concludes Southgate who had hoped to emulate the Three Lions of 1966 by winning the trophy for England in Russia.
His Belgian counterpart, Roberto Martinez, admitted that after his team missed the final with the 0-1 defeat the Red Devils suffered against France, they worked extra hard to win the bronze as consolation to his star-studded team.
“We wanted to win it. When you beat Brazil and get into the semi-final, the focus has to be to try to win the World Cup. But you need to be realistic when you finish the tournament and look back. These players made history back in Belgium and that’s all that matters. These players deserve to have that accolade.
Martinez stressed that this generation of players have lifted the bar beyond those who set the benchmark for the country at Mexico ’86.
“The generation of Mexico ’86 set a real inspiration and real vision for all the footballers in Belgium. Now this group of players overcame that and that’s historic; it took 32 years to be able to be in this position, so there’s real satisfaction and real success.
“It’s the manner we achieved that – the football we played is Belgian football, it’s our brand. And the togetherness and flexibility we had tactically shows what we want to be as a footballing nation.
“It has been a really nice journey, a really successful journey but in football you need to look forward and try to improve in the next opportunity that we have.”
Also speaking on the game, England Captain, Harry Kane, said: “In the second half we played really well. We had them on the ropes for the first half-hour of that and we just couldn’t get a goal.
“We had one cleared off the line and we put the pressure on. But the lads couldn’t give any more, it has been a tough tournament. Belgium is obviously a good team. I can’t fault the lads, we gave it everything.”
With Saturday’s win, Belgium has become the fourth side to win six games at a World Cup but not lift the trophy (penalty shootouts counted as draws) – after Poland (1974, third), Italy (1990, third) and Netherlands (2010, runners-up).
Belgium claimed the third place at Russia 2018 with goals in either half from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard forcing England to settle for fourth.
Expectedly, Eden Hazard was voted Budweiser Man of the Match. He has been involved in 25 goals (12 goals, 13 assists) in his past 25 Belgium appearances.