Sacking of coach works for Thailand as they beat Bahrain

Thailand claimed only their second ever win at the Asian Cup. (AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019

Sacking of coach works for Thailand as they beat Bahrain

In terms of ideal preparation for a group game at the Asian Cup, sacking the manager after a poor 90 minutes, barely 48 hours before your second, must-win, match would not be at the top of most people’s lists.
But, bizarrely, that is what worked for Thailand who having axed Milovan Rajevac after their opening 4-1 loss to India registered only their second ever win at the Asian Cup with a 1-0 victory over Bahrain.
Blond talisman Chanathip “Messi Jay” Songkrasin was the hero for the War Elephants — the Consadole Sapporo midfielder’s second-half strike enough to get the points and reignite their campaign.
Early on it seemed as if only one result was possible with Thailand having no shots on target as Bahrain controlled the first half. Mohamed Jasim Marhoon and Sayed Dhiya Saeed came closest to firing the Gulf side in front as they forced goalkeeper Chatchai Bootprom into a sharp double save.
It was a miss they would end up regretting as bleach-blond Chanathip, whose fans compare him to Barcelona and Argentina star Lionel Messi, put the Thais in the driving seat near the hour-mark with a superbly struck first-time shot that rocketed past Sayed Shubbar Alawi in the Bahrain goal.
Chatchai then saved brilliantly from Ali Jaafar Madan’s snap-shot as Bahrain hunted for the equalizer, while Adisak Kraisorn, fed by Chanathip, belted one off the post at the other end.


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.