Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying

Updated 20 August 2013
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Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying

SINGAPORE: Oman swatted aside a tentative Singapore 2-0 on Wednesday to make it two wins from two as they went top of Group A in Asian Cup qualifying.
Singapore, under the guidance of new coach Bernd Stange, dominated possession in the first half but offered little in attack with Paul Le Guen's side proving clinical with their few chances.
Qasim Said eased past a static home defense to fire Oman into a 15th-minute lead with his fellow midfielder Eid Al-Farsi blasting a low drilled shot from 22 metres to double the advantage on the stroke of halftime.
The home side wilted in the second half with Oman guilty of wasting several chances to improve their goal difference in the four-team group, also featuring Syria and Jordan, where two sides will qualify for the finals in Australia in 2015.
"I think we did the job, it was vital to win and we did it," Le Guen, who had been concerned before the game that his players would still be feeling the effects of fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadam which ended last week, told reporters.
"During the first half we were average, not many chances but efficient.
"I was afraid of the context, the artificial pitch. But we prepared well ... the players accepted to leave Oman before Eid which is not easy for them and I want to thank them for the effort."
Syria host Jordan in Iran on Thursday in the other Group A match in the second round.
The teams are back in Asian Cup qualifying action in October along with the other 16 sides trying to reach the finals in Australia where the hosts, holders Japan and South and North Korea all have places and do not need to qualify.

Suarez scores as Uruguay beats Japan 4-2
In Rifu, Japan, unsettled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored for an impressive Uruguay in their 4-2 friendly win against Japan on Wednesday.
Suarez capitalized on some calamitous defending by the hosts to stroke home Uruguay's third goal seven minutes into the second half. Diego Forlan's two goals, including a fine free-kick, earlier gave the visitors a comfortable halftime lead.
Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa scored a tap-in to pull one back soon after Suarez's effort, but Alvaro Gonzalez restored Uruguay's three-goal advantage following a goalkeeping error by Eiji Kawashima.
Keisuke Honda responded with a free-kick to make it 4-2.
Suarez spent the summer pushing for a move away from Liverpool, but a newspaper in his home country on Wednesday quoted him as having had a change of heart and deciding to stay.
Japan, who lost all three of their Confederations Cup games in Brazil this summer, were back to full strength but remain far from convincing ahead of next year's World Cup finals.
"We haven't learned our lessons (from the Confederations Cup). There is still a lot to work on before the World Cup," Kagawa said.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, meanwhile, praised the strength of the opposition.
"You have to give credit to Uruguay," said Zaccheroni. "They are one of the best teams in the world. They showed that again by reaching the Confederations Cup semifinals this year."


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 20 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.