Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti wary of out-of-form Harry Kane ahead of Champions League clash

Harry Kane may have won the Golden Boot at this summer's World Cup, but has looked tired since returning to domestic duty with Spurs. (AFP)
Updated 17 September 2018
0

Inter Milan boss Luciano Spalletti wary of out-of-form Harry Kane ahead of Champions League clash

  • Inter boss fears England striker as San Siro side return to Champions League for first time in seven years.
  • Kane has struggled for form so far this season.

LONDON: Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti believes Harry Kane will be the man to watch but hopes the enthusiasm of returning to “the Disneyland of football” will spur on his Italian side in Tuesday’s Champions League opener against Tottenham.
Against the backdrop of a disastrous start to their domestic campaign, Inter host the English club at a sold-out San Siro in what is their first Champions League match since the 2011-2012 season.
Both teams are coming off weekend league defeats — Inter losing 1-0 to Parma in Milan and Tottenham falling 2-1 at home to Liverpool.
“Harry Kane tired? I don’t agree, we have seen Tottenham matches and we have seen him working in any situation. Tottenham rely a lot on this player,” Spalletti said.
The Inter coach believes the game could be a “turning point” for his side, who have just four points from four games in Serie A.
“The Champions League is the amusement park of football, the Disneyland of football. It’s a beautiful and fun world.
“These games are worth so much in terms of enthusiasm and conviction. I think that with the period we’re going through this is the game we needed.
“It’s one of those matches and one of those competitions you wouldn’t swap for anything,” added Spalletti.
“I’ve been lucky enough to experience them several times, there are incredible emotions and if you’ve been there you can’t do without it.
“The previous times I entered a world that’s particularly beautiful and entertaining, you can hear the music from inside the dressing room.”
Inter Milan snatched Italy’s final Champions League berth at the death last season by finishing fourth in Serie A.
“The effort we put in last year to play in this competition is a motivation that can overcome any lack of experience or fear,” continued Spalletti.
“We cannot feel any pressure or be intimidated by the English players’ greater experience. Rather, I believe that this match is the chance to kick into gear.”
Slovakian international defender Milan Skriniar added: “I’ve never played in the Champions League and I can’t wait.
“Doing well against Tottenham can put everything right, it can be the turning point.
“The danger man? As a defender I’d say Kane, he’s someone who even if you don’t see him for 20 minutes, he can score with his first chance.
“I played against him in the national team and we lost,” said Skriniar. “We need to be ready for him, but also the other players too.”


Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

Updated 54 min 10 sec ago
0

Algeria sink Senegal in fiery final to claim second Africa Cup of Nations

  • Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute
  • For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on

CAIRO: Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.

Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.

For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.

It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.

With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.

Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.

As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.

It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.

Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch Rais Mbohli out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.

Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.

Niang rounded an advancing Mbohli after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.

The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.

Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman telephoned Algeria’s interim president Abdelkader Bensalah to congratulate him on Algeria’s African Cup of Nations win, with Bensalah thanking the king for his phone call.