Late own goal saves Hungary from being frozen out

GIVEAWAY GOAL: Hungary's Laszlo Kleinheisler, rear celebrates as Iceland's Birkir Saevarsson, 2nd left, scores an own goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Iceland and Hungary at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille, France, Saturday. (AP)
Updated 18 June 2016
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Late own goal saves Hungary from being frozen out

MARSEILLE: An own-goal by Iceland’s Birkir Savarsson in the dying seconds rescued a draw for Hungary in a frenetic Euro 2016 clash that keeps both team’s hopes alive of a second round berth.
A first-half penalty by Gylfi Sigurdsson put little Iceland on course for a fairytale win. But the European Championship newcomers succumbed to waves of late Hungarian pressure.
With 88 minutes gone, substitute Nemanja Nikolic sent a low ball into the area and in the thick of a goalmouth scramble, Savarsson touched the ball into his own net.
Prior to the tournament both teams viewed this Marseille tie as their best opportunity to get a win. But unfancied Hungary’s shock 2-0 victory against Austria on Tuesday meant a slot in the last-16 beckoned if they could beat the Scandinavians.
Hungary had more of the ball in the first-half, but, more used to playing a counterattacking game, they failed to craft clearcut openings against a physical Iceland defense.
Their midfield trio of Laszlo Kleinheisler, Balazs Dzsudzsak and Zoltan Stieber probed industriously. But the nearest they came to hitting the target in the first half was a Kleinheisler effort that raked across the goalmouth on 33 minutes.
In contrast, Iceland attacks carried more direct menace, with their best chance falling to Johann Gudmundsson on the half hour.
Having shouldered right-back Tamas Kadar off the ball, he found himself one-on-one against Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly but angled a weak shot straight at the 40-year-old, the oldest player ever to play at a European Championship final.
Approaching half-time Kiraly took center-stage in a horror show he will want to forget.
Six minutes before the break he fumbled a corner from Johann Gudmundsson, then tripped Ragnar Sigurdsson while grappling to recover the ball.
In the scramble that ensued referee Sergei Karasev pointed to the spot for a kick by Kadar on Gunnarsson.
He dived the wrong way for the penalty as Sigurdsson fired smartly to the left to give the Scandinavians the lead. Kiraly kicked the ball away in disgust.
After the break the Magyars resumed their pressure with Kleinheisler blasting over over twice in five minutes.
But it was Iceland who could have extended their lead on the hour, Sigthorsson heading wide from point-blank range after a pinpoint cross by Sigurdsson.
The goal-shy Magyars — who only scored 11 goals in 10 qualifying games — toiled anxiously for the leveller with Dzsudzsak twice sending free-kicks straight at Hannes Halldorsson.
As Hungary anxiously sought an equalizer Bernd Storck sent on Nikolic as an extra striker but they appeared to lack the final breakthrough touch.
Nikolics cross finally secured the equalizer to break Icelandic hearts.
Iceland, who nearly stole a winner with the final kick, a snapshot by subsitute former Chelsea and Barcelona forward Eidur Gudjohnsen, face Austria on Wednesday in their final group game.
The Nordic minnows need a win to seal a berth in the knockout stages. Hungary can progress by avoiding defeat against Portugal in Lyon the same day.


Seeds tumble in Miami as Roger Federer remains on course for Novak Djokovic final

Updated 36 min 32 sec ago
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Seeds tumble in Miami as Roger Federer remains on course for Novak Djokovic final

LONDON: It was a weekend of shocks in both the men’s and women’s tournament at the Miami Open as world No. 1 Naomi Osaka was beaten, Serena Williams was forced to withdraw and Alexander Zverev fell to wildcard David Ferrer.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer kept the prospect of a matchup in the final with Novak Djokovic with a win over Radu Albot.
The Miami Open might have moved to a brand new location for this year, but Miami Gardens is already building a reputation as a seeds’ graveyard.
Williams withdrew on Saturday, blaming a previously undisclosed left knee injury. And less than two hours later, top seed Osaka lost to Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3.
Osaka’s shock exit equaled the record for the earliest ever in Miami by a top-seeded woman and, depending on results in the rest of the tournament, could see her lose her top spot in the world rankings.
“I feel like I’ve dealt with the stress of people asking me do I have pressure because I have the No. 1 next to my name,” Osaka said. “I thought I was doing fine with that, but I guess I’m not.”
She smiled when reminded it was the first time in 64 matches she lost after winning the first set.
“I know, it’s depressing,” she said. “I was thinking about it right after I lost.”
Osaka, 21, has won the past two Grand Slam tournaments.
Meanwhile, Williams’ withdrawal was surprising, having shown no signs of injury a day earlier while winning her opening match against Rebecca Peterson. Williams did not mention any injury problems during a news conference after the match, and the WTA had no information regarding when she was hurt.
Williams’ victory on Friday was her first at the Hard Rock Stadium, the Miami Open’s new center court. The tournament moved this year from Key Biscayne, where Williams has previously won eight titles.
“I am disappointed to withdraw,” she said in a statement. “It was an amazing experience to play at Hard Rock Stadium this year, and I would like to thank the Miami Open for putting on an amazing event. I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.”
Williams, 37, still hasn’t won a tournament since the 2017 Australian Open, before she took a break of more than a year to become a mother. She has played only eight matches this year.
Williams’ stay at the Miami Open was also brief last year, when she lost in the first round to Osaka. Friday’s match was Williams’ first since she retired from Indian Wells two weeks ago because of a viral illness.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer briefly seemed headed for the exit but instead advanced to the third round by rallying past qualifier Radu Albot 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
“Radu put me through the ringer,” Federer said.
Federer, a three-time champion, lost serve only once — in the first game — but was on the ropes until he swept the final three games, to the relief of an enthusiastic stadium crowd.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Federer said. “It was electric. I think that’s why I played so well at the end.
“I’m happy I got it out of the way. I’m happy I was able to find a way tonight,” the 23-time Grand Slam winner said.
But there was no joy for second seed Alexander Zverev, who double-faulted 12 times on his way to losing against Ferrer, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Ferrer was delighted with taking the scalp of the German.
“It means a lot, it’s a special day because it’s the last year of professional tennis for me. Winning these type of matches against a top 10 player like Sascha is a gift. I’m very happy and I’m trying to enjoy every point and every moment.
“My motivation is playing at a high level and be competitive. It’s my goal. I can’t play at my best level anymore, but I want to have good energy and play my best in every match,” he said.