Lampard denied first win as Leicester draw at Chelsea

Chelsea's French striker Olivier Giroud, second left, saves a shot from Leicester City's Spanish striker Ayoze Perez,left. (AFP)
Updated 19 August 2019

Lampard denied first win as Leicester draw at Chelsea

  • Sheffield United make winning return to Premier League at Bramall Lane

LONDON: Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win as Chelsea manager after Wilfred Ndidi gave Leicester a 1-1 draw to spoil the Blues legend's homecoming on Sunday.

Thrashed 4-0 at Manchester United last weekend and beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the European Super Cup on Wednesday, Lampard's side took an early lead through Mason Mount's first goal for Chelsea.

But Ndidi atoned for the costly mistake that led to Mount's opener as the Nigerian midfielder headed Leicester's well-deserved second half equalizer.

Lampard had been given a thunderous reception in his first game as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge.

Yet the mood was far gloomier by the final whistle after a spluttering display raised the spectre of a potentially difficult season for the returning hero.

Sheffield United made a winning return to the Premier League at Bramall Lane as John Lundstram scored the only goal for a deserved 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. 

Lundstram, who has spent the majority of his career on loan spells in England's lower leagues, blasted into an unguarded net after Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita could only parry a low cross into the box two minutes into the second-half.

Despite the slender margin of victory, Chris Wilder's men were well worthy of the three points as they built on a promising 1-1 draw at Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the season.

Lampard, Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer, managed to avoid being the first Blues boss to lose his first two Premier League games in charge since Gianluca Vialli 21 years ago.

But on this evidence there is a lot of work for the 41-year-old to do if he is to emulate his 13-year playing spell at Chelsea, which included three Premier League titles and the club's first Champions League crown.

Greeted by a huge flag with the message "Frank Lampard's blue and white army" and another reading "Welcome home Super Frank,"  the former England midfielder emerged from the tunnel to cheers and turned to applaud the crowd as they chanted "Super Frankie Lampard." 

With his former Chelsea teammate John Terry in the stands to support his old friend, the Blues nearly gave Lampard a dream start in the first minute when Olivier Giroud chested Cesar Azpilicueta's pass to Pedro and the Spaniard volleyed into the side-netting.

Moments later, Mount threatened when he burst through, but the youngster shot too close to Kasper Schmeichel, who did well to block Christian Pulisic's attempt from the rebound.

Mount, a tenacious attacking midfielder in Lampard's mold, did not need to rue that miss for long.

The 20-year-old, who impressed while playing for Lampard on loan at second tier Derby last season, opened his Chelsea account in the seventh minute, with a helping hand from Ndidi.

When Caglar Soyuncu rolled a pass to Ndidi, he dithered on the ball too long and Mount alertly pressured him into conceding possession before sliding a clinical finish past Schmeichel.

It was just reward for a blistering start from Chelsea and Lampard celebrated by punching the air in delight.

Mount should have doubled Chelsea's lead when he headed straight at Schmeichel from Pedro's cross before N'Golo Kante shot wide from Giroud's flick.

But Chelsea could not keep up that ferocious pace and their dip gave Leicester a lifeline they should have taken when James Maddison miscued his pass after dancing around Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga early in the second half.


Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

Updated 15 September 2019

Mayor of town in north Japan bemoans lack of Olympic funds

  • Tokyo is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games
  • Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games

TOKYO: The mayor of a town in northeastern Japan that will host Olympic soccer games says his city has received no funding from the central government that has promised to use the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to help in the reconstruction of the region.

The Japanese government and Tokyo 2020 organizers are hoping to use the Olympics to showcase Japan’s recovery from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Several Olympic events, including soccer and baseball, will be held in northeastern Japan.

But with less than a year to go before the opening ceremony, Yutaka Kumagai, the mayor of Rifu in Miyagi Prefecture, says his city has seen no funding from the central government.

“There is no help from the government, we don’t have any budget from them, none,” Kumagai said on Saturday. “Tokyo 2020 is said to be a symbol of the reconstruction but when it comes to the budget, we don’t have any budget from the Olympic games here in Rifu.”

Kumagai made the comments during a media tour of Miyagi Stadium, a 49,000-seat facility in Rifu that will host men’s and women’s football at the 2020 Olympics.

About 50,000 people are still displaced in the Tohoku region as of August, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Yoshiaki Suda, the mayor of Onagawa in Miyagi Prefecture, concurred with Kumagai. Like Rifu, Onagawa is a coastal city that sustained heavy destruction.

“We haven’t received any subsidy, even one yen, from the central government,” Suda said. “Whatever we do for the venues, for the hospitality for the Olympics, we have to do ourselves.”

Some media reports have made the claim that the Olympics have hampered the reconstruction efforts, taking workers away from the region to help with construction in Tokyo.

Japan is one of the most earthquake- and tsunami-prone areas in the world. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 quake offshore caused a tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The quake and tsunami heavily damaged coastal neighborhoods in northeastern Japan and took more than 18,000 lives.

Tokyo, which projected total costs of about $7.5 billion in its winning bid for the games in 2013, is reportedly spending about $20 billion to prepare the city to host the games.

A group of anti-Olympic activists, many from outside Japan, have held small protests and other events this summer under the Japanese title “Han-gorin no Kai” — which translates roughly to No Olympics. They oppose Olympic spending, which they say cuts into budgets for housing and environmental issues.

They also call for more money to rebuild Fukushima prefecture located northeast of Tokyo. Organizers say Fukushima is a main focus of the Olympics, staging baseball, softball and soccer games there to persuade the world the area is safe.

Tokyo organizers have faced a series of hurdles as they prepare to host the games. In August, Tokyo’s summer heat forced an Olympic women’s triathlon qualifying event to be shortened because of high temperatures that are likely to impact next year’s games.

Tsunekazu Takeda, the head of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was forced to quit earlier this year when he was implicated in a vote-buying scheme to land the games. He has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged he signed off on about $2 million that French investigators allege went to buy votes.