Man United win in Shanghai but lose Bailly to injury

Manchester United's Anthony Martial scores during the match against Tottenham at Hongkou Football Stadium in Shanghai on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 25 July 2019

Man United win in Shanghai but lose Bailly to injury

  • Teenager Angel Gomes squeezes in winner 10 minutes from time

SHANGHAI: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left “hoping for the best” after defender Eric Bailly was stretchered off in a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.

The 25-year-old Ivorian appeared to get his foot stuck in the turf at Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai and a concerned Solskjaer said the player had hurt his knee.

Solskjaer, who has been linked with a move for Leicester City central defender Harry Maguire even before losing Bailly, said: “It’s never nice when you get an injury.

“It’s not worth it when you lose one. He’s done his knee but we are not sure how bad it is.

“We need to get back to Manchester and do the scan.

“Let’s hope for the best.”

Bailly, who had only come on as a substitute for Chris Smalling at halftime, was replaced in the 56th minute.

It took the gloss off a satisfactory evening for United, who have now won all four pre-season friendlies.

Teenager Angel Gomes squeezed in the winner 10 minutes from time in what was an occasionally bad-tempered friendly against their Premier League top-four rivals.

French striker Anthony Martial put United ahead in the first half, before Spurs substitute Lucas Moura replied with a scrappy effort in the second.

After wholesale changes from both sides — Solskjaer swapped out all 11 starters at the break —  Spurs had looked the more dangerous, before the 18-year-old Londoner Gomes struck.

The Norwegian Solskjaer, under pressure to prove that he is the man to take United back into the Champions League, named a strong side that included wantaway midfielder Paul Pogba and new signings Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Counterpart Mauricio Pochettino fielded a more experimental team, but started the England international duo of Dele Alli and Harry Kane, along with new man Tanguy Ndombele.

United nearly took the lead on just four minutes when Martial fired across stand-in goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga, but his powerful effort struck the post.

Despite the fierce humidity there was an edge to the International Champions Cup game not always present in pre-season friendlies.

Attacking midfielder Alli, perhaps frustrated after missing a golden chance, was booked on 12 minutes after a second late challenge in front of a full house. He was booed off when subbed on an hour.

Martial, whose United career has threatened to peter out at times, made no mistake on 21 minutes when he rifled the ball under Gazzaniga from close range.

United were incensed when Moussa Sissoko left the sprightly winger James in a heap by the corner flag, suspecting a stamp by the Spurs midfielder.

Tottenham captain Kane angrily waded in and there was a scuffle, with Gazzaniga leaving his goal to join in and several United players also involved.

Andreas Pereira, a combative midfield presence for United, was next to be booked after he cut down Kane. Young Spurs defender Japhet Tanganga was yellow-carded too. United face Norwegian side Kristiansund in their next friendly, on Wednesday, while Spurs play Real Madrid.


Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

Updated 10 December 2019

Free-scoring Salzburg pose serious threat to leaky Liverpool

  • Injury-hit Reds have consistently leaked goals despite streaking clear at the top of Premier League

LONDON: Liverpool travel to Salzburg on Tuesday needing to avoid defeat to the confident Austrian champions to guard against an embarrassing Champions League group stage exit for the holders.

Jurgen Klopp's men are used to getting through to the knockout stages the hard way. In each of the past two seasons they have needed home wins to secure a place in the last 16 before going on to make the final.

However, the specter of a free-scoring Salzburg, led by the Champions League's top scorer in Erlin Braut Haaland spells trouble for an injury-hit Liverpool backline that has consistently leaked goals this season despite streaking clear at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds' recorded a first clean sheet in 14 games in Saturday's 3-0 win at Bournemouth, but lost another center back as Dejan Lovren limped off in the first half.

Should the Croatian miss the trip to Austria, Joe Gomez will be Klopp's only fit partner for Virgil van Dijk in central defense.

Van Dijk narrowly missed out to Lionel Messi in the battle for the Ballon d'Or last week in recognition of the transformative effect he has had on Liverpool's fortunes over the past two years.

But even the towering Dutchman has been incapable of stopping the steady flow of goals against in recent months.

Injuries have meant there has been a constant rotation of Lovren, Gomez and Joel Matip alongside Van Dijk, while the attacking impetus offered by fullbacks Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold leaves space in behind to be exploited.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker also missed the first two months of the season due to a calf injury to further unsettle the backline.

The Brazilian is now back, but another injury to Fabinho has robbed the back four of the best player to protect them in the holding midfield role.

"I forgot how it feels, to be honest," said Klopp on finally ending the long wait for a clean sheet at the weekend.

"It's great, we should have them more often. It was the most-used word in the dressing room by the boys — "clean sheet, clean sheet, clean sheet."

"Obviously everybody was desperate for that, now we have it so let's have it more often.

"The next game where a clean sheet would be useful is already around the corner, against Salzburg on Tuesday."

That is easier said than done as Liverpool know from their first meeting with Jesse Marsch's men in October.

The hosts seemed to be cruising to another Anfield win in the Champions League as they raced into a 3-0 lead, but Salzburg hit back to level at 3-3 before Mohamed Salah's winner ensured Liverpool edged a seven-goal thriller.

Salzburg have scored 87 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season, 28 of which have come from Norwegian wonderkid Haaland in just 21 appearances.

The 19-year-old started on the bench when the sides met at Anfield due to injury, but came on to inspire the visitors' revival in the second half and scored one of his eight Champions League goals.

"He's not the only threat from Salzburg but he's a proper one," said Klopp of the danger posed by Haaland ahead of the sides' first clash.

Salzburg need to win to make the last 16 on their first appearance in the group stage in 25 years.

A point would be enough for Liverpool to progress, but they need to win to secure top spot in Group E ahead of Napoli.

Given Liverpool's paucity of clean sheets and Salzburg's thirst for goals, attack would appear to be the best form of defencse for the European champions.