Uzbekistan pay the penalty as Australia hold nerve to reach last-eight

Joy for the Socceroos as they came out on top in the nervy penalty shootout in Al-Ain. (AFP)
Updated 21 January 2019
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Uzbekistan pay the penalty as Australia hold nerve to reach last-eight

  • Mat Ryan the hero as keeper saves two Uzbek spotkicks.
  • Neither side could break deadlock in 120 minutes of goals football in Al-Ain.

AL-AIN: Goalkeeper Mat Ryan brilliantly saved two penalties as defending champions Australia won a dramatic shoot-out with Uzbekistan to reach the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Monday.
Australia had the better of a goalless 120 minutes before Brighton’s Ryan stopped spot-kicks from Islom Tukhtakhujaev and Marat Bikmaev in a tense shoot-out that finished 4-2.
Hertha Berlin’s Mathew Leckie, returning from a hamstring injury, buried the decisive kick to put the Socceroos into a clash against either hosts UAE or Kyrgyzstan.
Uzbekistan were well on top in the first half against a pedestrian Australia who managed just one shot on target before the break, an innocuous effort from Aziz Behich.
Central defender Trent Sainsbury, back from suspension, will have nightmares about how he was shrugged off by Eldor Shomurodov for a one-on-one chance saved by Ryan’s arm.
Javokhir Sidikov fizzed one wide of the upright after Jaloliddin Masharipov all too easily evaded the joint challenge of Rhyan Grant and Awer Mabil.
But Australia seemed determined to mix it up after the break and as they finally clicked, Jamie Maclaren had a shot blocked before Grant twice had opportunities with his head.
Leckie then made his long-awaited first appearance of the tournament, and he had an immediate impact in the forward line.
Leckie was part of a move that left Maclaren inches away from the opener, and then after dribbling into the box he was only denied by a smart stop from Ignatiy Nesterov.
Rogic’s sharp shot was turned around the post by Nesterov and after they went into extra time, the influential Celtic man curled another one just past the upright.
However, neither side could get the winner and ultimately Ryan was the difference as he stood up to Tukhtakhujaev’s kick straight down the middle, and dived low for Bikmaev’s.
But in a sour note for the holders, Rogic picked up a harsh yellow card in the first half which will rule him out of the quarter-final.


Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

Updated 18 February 2019
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Jurgen Klopp tells Liverpool to beware Bayern Munich ahead of Champions League clash

  • Reds boss worried about resurgent German giants ahead of second-round first-leg clash.
  • Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich claims Liverpool are the favorites.

LONDON: Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side they will have to be at their very best if they are to beat Bayern Munich.
The Reds head into the Champions League clash as slight favorites after months at the top of the Premier League. But having drawn the German giants in the second round, Klopp has told his players they have to keep their feet on the ground worthy could end up out of the competition before it really gets going.
“It’ll be very tough,” there Liverpool manager said.
“(Bayern are) only two points off Dortmund in the domestic league and have been consistent finalists and semifinalists.
“They’re a world class team but at the same time we’re confident we can cause them problems.
“They’ve got world class players so we know how difficult it will be.
“Everyone has to be at 100 percent otherwise we’ll get nothing from the game.
“Having said that we have confidence we have the ability to hurt them, and it’s up to us to show that.”

After a tough start to the season Bayern are up to second in the Bundesliga. 


Liverpool went al the way to the final last year, before losing to Real Madrid. But the momentum created by that surprise run has been maintained in the Premier League and another trip to the Champions League knockout stages.
Bayern currently lie second in the Bundesliga and are starting to look like their old levels agains after a tough start to the season. For Klopp, who managed Dortmund before arriving at Anfield, that could spell trouble for the Reds.
“After six years of pretty much dominating the league it was clear this year was going to be a tougher situation.
“It’s actually still the same, being at the top of the league and still in the last-16 of the Champions League.
“It’s a normal situation with a high quality team.
“Munich’s situation, from my point of view, makes them even more dangerous and even more of a threat from my point of view.
“This is a competition, in Europe, where they always do well.”
For the Germans the role of underdogs suits them perfectly. At least that is according to Joshua Kimmich.
The defender said: “Liverpool are the favorites.
“They have lost one league game all season and have let in only 15 goals. But when you look at us, we are not as consistent as before.”
Before a ball has been kicked Bayern did receive some good news. Winger Franck Ribery was originally left out of the squad to play at Anfield and did not fly with his teammates. But after becoming a father, the Frenchman has now decided to join up with the squad and will be available for selection. One man who definitely will not make the pitch is Jerome Boateng. The central defender is suffering from a stomach virus.
The Bavarians will also have to wait until Tuesdays to determine whether winger Kingsley Coman will be able to play after picking up an ankle injury on Friday.
The Frenchman scored twice but was injured in the final stages of their 3-2 win at Augsburg.

KEY MAN — ROBERTO FIRMINO 

Of Liverpool’s brilliant attacking trio the Brazilian is perhaps the most underrated and important. When he plays well the Reds usually do likewise. He links up the play well, settling up as many goals as he scores. Liverpool will be hoping he turns up with his A-game tonight, because if he does Bayern Munich could be in for a  long night. 

ARAB NEWS PREDICTS

For once Bayern are not having it all their own way in the Bundesliga. But they are improving and giving Borussia Dortmund something to think about in the race for the title. But home advantage will be key and a resurgent Reds will prove too strong for a Bayern defence that has, on occasions this campaign, looked less than watertight. The only question is can Liverpool get a decisive lead and put the tie to bed before the second leg?