Griezmann sees Atletico into Cup quarters despite defeat

Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, second left, kicks the ball to score beside Las Palmas' defender Aythami Artiles at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on Tuesday night. (AFP)
Updated 11 January 2017
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Griezmann sees Atletico into Cup quarters despite defeat

MADRID: Antoine Griezmann struck for the third time in as many games in 2017 as Atletico Madrid secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey 4-3 on aggregate despite losing 3-2 at home to Las Palmas on Tuesday.
Griezmann shrugged off the disappointment of finishing third behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for world’s best player at the inaugural Best FIFA Football Awards on Monday to force home the opener four minutes into the second half.
A fine individual effort from Marko Livaja gave Las Palmas a brief lifeline, but Angel Correa looked to have killed the tie off just after the hour mark.
However, the hosts were made to sweat in the final seconds of stoppage time as two goals in three minutes from Livaja and Mateo Garcia gave Las Palmas victory on the night.
Despite holding a commanding 2-0 first leg lead, Atletico boss Diego Simeone took no chances by naming a strong side.
Griezmann was included despite making the trip to Zurich to attend FIFA’s gala in Zurich just 24 hours earlier and had the first big chance when he fired straight at Raul Lizoain on 23 minutes.
Las Palmas had chances to get back into the tie as Miguel Angel Moya produced a great save to deny Livaja’s header at the near post before Tana blasted over when well-placed inside the area.
Griezmann scored for the first time in La Liga for three months in a 2-0 win at Eibar on Saturday, but the Frenchman is now on his best scoring run of the season as he tapped home Nicolas Gaitan’s cross at the start of the second half to give Atletico extra breathing space.
Livaja took advantage of some uncharacteristically lax defending from Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez to drive through the heart of the Atletico defense and smash the ball into the far corner.
However, just four minutes later Correa controlled a long ball from Koke and shrugged off his marker before finishing from a narrow angle to put Atletico back in front.
The game appeared to be petering out when a great touch and cross from Garcia teed up Livaja for a second equalizer a minute from time.
And Garcia then volleyed home himself from Jonathan Viera’s free kick deep into stoppage time, but Atletico held out to progress.


Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

Updated 23 April 2018
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Mohamed Salah named Premier League’s best player of the year at PFA awards

  • Egyptian superstar currently has 30 Premier League goals this season
  • Salah beat the likes of De Bruyne and Kane to the award

LONDON: Mohamed Salah was crowned the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year on Sunday, with his incredible 41-goal debut season at Liverpool beating out strong competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
“It’s a big honor. I’ve worked hard and I’m very happy to win it,” Salah said at the ceremony on Sunday evening.
Salah matched a Premier League record tally for a single season by scoring his 31st league goal of the campaign in a 2-2 draw at West Brom on Saturday.
“You’re comparing your name with some great names,” he said, on the prospect of breaking the record. “To break the Premier League record is something huge in England and all over in the world.
“There are still three games to go. I want to break this record.”
Salah has also netted seven times in eight Champions League games, including in both legs of Liverpool’s 5-1 quarter-final thrashing of City, to carry his side to a first semifinal for a decade.
De Bruyne showed why he had been many people’s early-season favorite for the prize with an incredible long-range strike for his 12th goal of the season to go with a league-high number of assists as champions City thrashed Swansea 5-0 on Sunday.
“From my point of view when you are analizing 10 months, there is no player better than him,” said City manager Pep Guardiola of the Belgian midfielder.
“Maybe there are numbers better but for me he was the best. But it is my opinion, the opinions of the players could be different. But in the end, in summer time he will be at home being champion.”
City did pick up a prize from the PFA gala in central London on Sunday, though, as Leroy Sane won the Young Player of the Year.
Sane, another City team-mate David Silva, De Bruyne, Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were the other five nominees for the main prize.