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
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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.


Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

Updated 19 September 2019

Di Maria scores 2 as PSG beats Madrid in Champions League

  • Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye

PARIS: No Neymar. No Kylian Mbappe. No problem.
With two first-half goals from Angel Di Maria and a rare late strike from right-back Thomas Meunier, a new-look Paris Saint-Germain missing its headline stars brushed aside a flat Real Madrid 3-0 in the Champions League to go top of Group A in an impressive start to its European campaign on Wednesday. 
Di Maria, a Champions League winner with Madrid in 2014, was rampant against his former club, using phenomenal speed and clever placing to torment a Madrid defense sorely missing the suspended Sergio Ramos.
The Argentine's first goal poked past Thibaut Courtois' near post in the 14th minute was his 25th in 100 European matches.
Some of PSG's new recruits were instrumental in the victory. Idrissa Gueye, bought from Everton, bossed the midfield.
Di Maria's opener originated with Mauro Icardi, a late loan-signing from Inter Milan. He linked up smartly with left-back Juan Bernat, who then found Di Maria in space in the box with a swift cut-back pass.
Di Maria doubled the advantage when he struck again in the 33rd minute, found this time by Gueye.
Di Maria caressed a pinpoint shot with his left foot from long range past the outstretched Courtois and celebrated enthusiastically as Paris fans lit red flares.
Gareth Bale thought he'd got a goal back moments later with a sweet volley over former Madrid teammate Keylor Navas, bought by Paris to provide added assurance behind the suffocating PSG defense that snuffed out Madrid at the Parc des Princes.
But referee Anthony Taylor spotted on video replay that the Wales winger had touched the ball with his right arm as he juggled it from his left foot to his right one before shooting.
Meunier's goal in second-half injury time was only his sixth in 48 European matches. Bernat's pass set up the strike. Up in the posh seats, the suspended Neymar and Mbappe, recovering from injury, chuckled together at the sight of the full-backs combining to score. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane scowled.
Zidane lamented the lack of urgency from his side that had zero shots on target other than Bale's disallowed goal and another disallowed for offside in the second half.
"It was a weird sensation," he said, speaking through a translator. "We hardly ever got into the match."
Zidane refrained from singling out any player, saying "it's everybody's fault when we lose."
But James Rodriguez, back from Bayern Munich, was particularly ineffective. And Eden Hazard, bought from Chelsea, looked ring-rusty as he makes his way back from injury. A trademark dribble in the PSG area in the second half ended with Hazard tripping over himself and landing on his backside.
Zidane replaced them both with 20 minutes to play.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, on the other hand, had no problem singling out Gueye for praise. He clicked with Marco Verratti and the deeper-lying Marquinhos in the PSG midfield that purred as if they'd played together for years.
"He's a machine. He never stops, never stops running," Tuchel said. "Against a team like Madrid, that is super-important."
Tuchel suggested the absence of Neymar, Mbappe and PSG's record scorer Edinson Cavani, also recovering from injury, may have been a help rather than a hindrance.
Without them, outside observers figured PSG was unlikely to win, and that eased pressure on Tuchel's other players, the coach said.
When Neymar has served out the rest of his two-match ban, and Mbappe and Cavani are fit again, expectations will quickly rise in the wake of this humbling of Madrid that showed the strength in depth of PSG's expensively assembled team.
But PSG knows from bitter experience how hard the road will become in the Champions League, having failed to get beyond the quarterfinals since the club's wealthy Qatari owners took over in 2011.
Tuchel was eager to tamp down any buzz.
"If someone asks me if we are going to win the Champions League, I'm leaving," he said.