Liverpool, Man City cruise as Man Utd, Chelsea flop again

Liverpool players celebrate their third goal during their match against Burnley on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 01 September 2019

Liverpool, Man City cruise as Man Utd, Chelsea flop again

  • The Reds stay top with club record-breaking win at Burnley

LONDON: Liverpool maintained their 100 percent start to the Premier League season with a 3-0 win at Burnley to retake top spot from Manchester City, who earlier thrashed Brighton on Saturday.

But Manchester United and Chelsea lost further ground on the leaders in disappointing draws with Southampton and Sheffield United.

Liverpool have now won a club record 13 straight Premier League games stretching back to last season when they missed out on the title to City despite amassing 97 points.

Another titanic title race between the two looks on as Liverpool withstood an early Burnley assault before two goals in four first-half minutes took the game away from the Clarets.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross looped in off Chris Wood for a fortunate opener, but Burnley were masters of their own downfall for the second as Bee Mee presented the ball to Roberto Firmino and the Brazilian teed up Sadio Mane to slot home. Firmino added Liverpool’s third himself 10 minutes from time.

City’s 4-0 victory came at a cost as influential center-back Aymeric Laporte was stretchered off with a knee injury that looks set to rule him out for the forseeable future.

“He has gone to the hospital. Tomorrow we will know exactly what he has. I think he will be out for a while,” said City manager Pep Guardiola on Laporte’s injury.

Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring after just two minutes at the Etihad before Sergio Aguero made the game safe by blasting high into the net just before the break.

The Argentine produced another sublime finish to curl into the top corner for his second 10 minutes into the second-half before Bernardo Silva then rounded off the scoring.

How United must wish they had some of their local rivals’ firepower as Southampton clung on for a 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s despite playing the last 17 minutes plus stoppage time a man down after Kevin Danso’s red card.

Daniel James had given the visitors the perfect start with his third goal in four appearances for United, but Jannik Vestergaard headed home an equalizer just before the hour mark.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men have now failed to win in their last three games and won just one of their last 10 dating back to last season.

“We’ve been dominating, creating chances and just haven’t been clinical in front of goal to win the games,” said Solskjaer. “It’s not a dip in form, (but) it’s a dip in results definitely.”

Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first win at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea manager after the Blues threw away a 2-0 half-time lead given to them by Tammy Abraham.

The Blades hit back at the start of the second half through Callum Robinson and Kurt Zouma’s own goal a minute from time earned the visitors an unlikely point in a 2-2 draw.

“We have to take responsibility, we allowed that to happen. It was on us to take the game away from them and we allowed them to get back into it,” said Lampard.

“If we can’t go on and get a third goal that’s something we have to work on, this is the Premier League, it’s ruthless.”

As United and Chelsea stumble, Leicester are the closest challengers to the top two as their unbeaten start continued with a 3-1 win over Bournemouth.

Jamie Vardy scored twice and set up Youri Tielemans for the Foxes’ second goal.

Crystal Palace backed up their shock victory at Old Trafford last weekend with a 1-0 win over 10-man Aston Villa thanks to Jordan Ayew’s goal 17 minutes from time to go fourth.


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.