Germany avoids blushes in 3-2 victory over Australia

Germany's Lars Stindl scores their first goal against Australia in the FIFA Confederations Cup Group B match at Fisht Stadium in Sochi. (Reuters)
Updated 19 June 2017
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Germany avoids blushes in 3-2 victory over Australia

SOCHI, Russia: Germany’s inexperienced side was given a fright by Australia at the Confederations Cup on Monday, holding on to win its Group B opener 3-2 after goalkeeper Bernd Leno gifted the Asian champions both goals.
Only two members of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad started the game in Sochi and, while the team was dynamic going forward, it was vulnerable at the back.
Lars Stindl marked his tournament debut with a goal after five minutes that was canceled out by Tommy Rogic when the Australia forward put the ball under Leno.
Julian Draxler, an unused substitute in the 2014 World Cup final win over Argentina, restored Germany’s lead from the penalty spot before halftime.
Although Leon Goretzka extended the German lead three minutes into the second half, another blunder by Leno ensured it was a nervy conclusion to the game in the Black Sea resort. A shot from Rogic through a crowded penalty area was spilled by the Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper and Tomi Juric stabbed the rebound into the net.
The Australian threat persisted but Germany clung on to collect three points in the Fisht Stadium, where around 20,000 seats were empty.

Video review causing confusion for FIFA in World Cup trials
Video reviews are not giving FIFA a quick solution at the tournament it is using to fast-track the system for the 2018 World Cup.
Both Confederation Cup games played on Sunday in Russia left teams confused by decisions — reached more slowly than expected — by referees taking advice from assistants watching multiple replays.
Portugal and Chile both had goals disallowed for offside. Portugal had to wait for what seemed an unnecessary review of a good goal scored.
FIFA has told referees they must use reviews to overturn only “clear errors” in game-changing situations such as penalty kicks awarded and offside rulings affecting goals.
In trying to define a clear error, FIFA has suggested when “almost everyone who is neutral agrees the decision is incorrect.”
Portugal ended 2-2 with Mexico and, perhaps fortunately for FIFA, Chile beat Cameroon 2-0.
“It is a little difficult for the players,” Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi said. “Even if it is the right decision, this has an impact on players’ emotions and feelings.”
Chile’s star player Arturo Vidal fiercely argued with referee Damir Skomina when a goal scored in first-half stoppage time by Eduardo Vargas was overruled almost one minute later. FIFA later released still images of a razor-thin margin of the offside ruling.
Video review seems to have plenty to prove to football’s rule-making panel, known as IFAB. Its decision is due in March whether to approve it for use at the World Cup, as FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants.
Four incidents on just the second day of the biggest tournament so far to conduct live trials has created more controversy than FIFA expected.
One “clear error” might be overturned every four or five games, FIFA head of refereeing Massimo Busacca suggested last year.
“If this is going to happen several times during a game, well it’s not very pleasant for the players,” Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said.
Count Vidal among the current skeptics. Chile players had done their choreographed goal celebration routine and were moving back into position for the restart when referee Skomina signaled for a review.
FIFA wants to keep fans in the loop by showing slow motion images on stadium giant screens. Vidal angrily directed the referee — relying on his three video assistant referees (VARs) to interpret images he was not watching — to check them himself.
The uncertainty lasted far beyond the six-second target FIFA had set last year for officials to review their opinions.
It took at least 30 seconds for Vargas’s goal in second-half stoppage time to be confirmed after Alexis Sanchez was judged not to have been in an offside position earlier in the move.
Against Mexico, Portugal had to wait to find out that the score would stay at 0-0 in the first half when Nani’s shot was overruled for an offside call that went unflagged in an earlier phase of play.
More confusion was caused when Argentine referee Nestor Pitana called a review for unclear reasons after defender Cedric Soares’s deflected shot in the 86th gave Portugal a 2-1 lead.
“It’s the new rule, and if it brings benefits to football, that’s fine,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “But we have to be careful because I don’t think people understand this new rule really well.”


Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

The gunners could not defeat 10-man Atletico Madrid. (AFP)
Updated 27 April 2018
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Profligate Arsenal punished by 10-man Atletico Madrid

  • The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes
  • Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week

LONDON: Arsenal’s hopes of sending outgoing manager Arsene Wenger off with a trophy suffered a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 with 10-man Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Europa League semifinal on Thursday.
The Gunners played with an extra man for over 80 minutes at the Emirates Stadium, with Sime Vrsaljko’s early red card handing them the initiative.
However, they were made to rue a host of missed chances before and after Alexandre Lacazette headed them in front on the hour mark.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone was also sent to the stands shortly after Vrsaljko’s dismissal, but the Spaniards resisted manfully and pounced when their chance came as Antoine Griezmann prodded home a vital away goal eight minutes from time.
Arsenal now need to become the first away team to score in 12 matches at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium next week if Wenger’s last game in charge is to be the final in his homeland in Lyon on May 16.
Moreover, Arsenal’s hopes of Champions League football next season also hang on becoming the first side other than Real Madrid to eliminate Atletico from Europe for five seasons.
There was a far more highly-charged atmosphere for Wenger’s penultimate home game in charge than there had been for last weekend’s game against West Ham United.
And the hosts were given plenty of encouragement early on, even when still up against Atletico’s full complement.
Lacazette volleyed off the outside of the post and forced Jan Oblak into the first of a series of fine saves with a header from close range.
Vrsaljko had been booked within two minutes for bringing down Jack Wilshere.

And the Croatian left his side a man light after just 10 minutes when French referee Clement Turpin showed no leniency for another late challenge on Lacazette.
Moments later, Simeone was also dismissed by the officious referee for taking his protests too far when an Arsenal player wasn’t booked for what he thought was a similar foul.
Atletico’s excellent defensive record is what has carried them to five European semifinals in seven seasons under Simeone.
The visitors battened down the hatches with 10 men, but were reliant on Oblak to keep them in the tie.
Wilshere headed straight at Oblak when unmarked at the back post at the end of a flowing Arsenal move.
And the Slovenian then spread himself well with an outstretched leg to deny Danny Welbeck.
Having weathered the Gunners’ early storm, Atletico only began to threaten themselves late in the first half and David Ospina had to be alert to parry a fiercely struck Griezmann shot following a fine run from Thomas Partey.
Atletico retreated ever deeper toward their own goal after the break and were finally punished on the hour mark when Wilshere’s deep cross found Lacazette rising above Lucas Hernandez to head in his seventh goal in seven games.
However, the French international and Arsenal could have had more.
Laczette’s dangerous ball across goal found no takers before he headed another good opportunity wide.
And Arsenal paid heavily for their profligacy, and some comical defending, when Atletico grabbed a vital away goal on 82 minutes.
Griezmann outmuscled French international team-mate Laurent Koscielny and then benefited from a slip by Shkodran Mustafi after his initial effort had been saved by Ospina to prod his 27th goal of the season into the roof of the net.
There was still time for Oblak to show why Griezmann isn’t the only Atletico player wanted by Europe’s elite with a spectacular one-handed save to turn Aaron Ramsey’s header behind and keep Los Rojiblancos on course for another European final.