Thailand sack coach Milovan Rajevac after humbling at hands of India

Milovan Rajevac was given just one match at the Asian Cup before he got the axe. (AFP)
Updated 07 January 2019

Thailand sack coach Milovan Rajevac after humbling at hands of India

  • Coach given marching orders after just one match in the UAE.
  • Thailand were favorites to beat India in their Group A clash.

ABU DHABI: Thailand have fired coach Milovan Rajevac following the side’s humiliating 4-1 thrashing by India in their opening Asian Cup game on Sunday.
The 65-year-old Serb, who took charge of Thailand in 2017, paid the price after the War Elephants conceded three second-half goals to slump to a shock defeat in Abu Dhabi.
Thai football chiefs took a dim view of their Group A flop and acted swiftly to remove Rajevac the morning after.
“The result is not what is expected of the Thai national team and that our supporters deserve,” Thailand’s FA president Somyot Poompanmoung said.
“Like all Thai football fans across the country, I am also disappointed with the result. But as president of the football association, I cannot stand still with this problem.”
Former assistant coach Sirisak Yodyardthai will assume control of the team when they face Bahrain and hosts UAE in their remaining Group A matches.
Rajevac, who has had spells in charge of Algeria and Qatar, famously steered Ghana to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup where they were beaten on penalties by Uruguay.
But he was left shell-shocked by Thailand’s horror show against underdogs India, whose veteran striker Sunil Chhetri scored twice, overtaking Lionel Messi’s 65 international goals in the process.
Lamenting his side’s abject display, Rajevac admitted that India were worthy winners.
“They were phenomenal — they ran more, were more aggressive and wanted it more,” he said.
“They absolutely deserved to win. But we underperformed, especially in the second half.”
Rajevic has been criticized for his defensive style but the Serb clearly felt otherwise after watching Thailand over-run by a hungry India side.
“It’s not always about technical ability and skill on the ball,” he said. “We lacked power, strength and aggression. We need to put more pressure on the ball and show more passion.”
Thailand, appearing for the first time since co-hosting the Asian Cup in 2007, have now won just one of 21 games at the continent’s showcase competition.
India find themselves as unlikely leaders of Group A thanks to their first Asian Cup win in 55 years.
The Emiratis were held 1-1 by Bahrain in Saturday’s curtain-raiser.


Mohamed Salah scores two as Liverpool outclass Arsenal in 3-1 win

Updated 24 August 2019

Mohamed Salah scores two as Liverpool outclass Arsenal in 3-1 win

  • Salah converted a penalty after being fouled by David Luiz
  • Liverpool will end the third round of games as the only team with nine points from a possible nine

LIVERPOOL, England: Mohamed Salah converted a penalty before scoring a sublime solo goal as Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 to open up a three-point gap at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.
Liverpool hadn’t found its best form in opening wins over Norwich and Southampton, and faced the only other top-flight team with a 100 percent record.
It proved to be a mismatch.
After Joel Matip’s first league goal in 11 months broke the deadlock just before halftime, Salah converted a penalty after being fouled by David Luiz and then made it 3-0 by turning Luiz near halfway, sprinting down the right wing and cutting in to deliver a finish into the bottom corner.
Substitute Lucas Torreira scored a consolation for Arsenal five minutes from the end.
Liverpool will end the third round of games as the only team with nine points from a possible nine.
The game started at a frenetic pace, with the hosts setting a high tempo that penned Arsenal back in the final third. Within 80 seconds, Andy Robertson whipped a ball across the six-yard area which Roberto Firmino narrowly missed.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery’s tactics were to defend deep with eight men behind the ball in an attempt to draw the opponent in before trying to release the explosive pace of offseason signing Nicolas Pepe, given a full debut at the expense of Alexandre Lacazette.
Pepe had three chances in the first half, while Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian — fresh from the error that cost his team a goal at Southampton last week — came out of his area to clear the ball only to find Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who lobbed the ball back just past the far post.
Pepe’s best chance came when Jordan Henderson’s mistake on the halfway line allowed the Ivory Coast international to run past Robertson but, in a one-on-one situation with Adrian, he shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Soon, incessant pressure on Arsenal’s defense began to tell and after Salah held off Granit Xhaka to cleverly turn and fire wide, the breakthrough came.
From a corner, Trent Alexander-Arnold finally found his range and Matip benefited from the space created by Virgil van Dijk’s tangle with Matteo Guendouzi to power home a 41st-minute header.
Sadio Mane should have done better with his header in injury time but if the interval was a period for Arsenal’s players to clear their heads, no one told Luiz who, in a moment of madness four minutes after the break, tugged on Salah’s shirt.
The Egypt international confidently dispatched the penalty and added a second by brilliantly putting the seal on a three-pass move which eliminated most of the opposition.
Started by Adrian and including Alexander-Arnold, the ball came to Fabinho who flicked forward an inviting ball allowing Salah to skip past Luiz with embarrassing ease 40 yards out. He ran into the penalty area before placing a shot inside the far post with his left foot.
It was then an exercise in damage limitation for the visitors, with Emery’s first change being to send on combative midfielder Torreira for playmaker Ivan Ceballos.
Lacazette, scorer of 19 goals last season and one in one match this season, was not introduced until the 81st minute — and even then it was Torreira who eventually found the net, drilling home a loose ball 15 yards out.