Adama Traore double rocks Manchester City’s title defense as Wolves seal shock win

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Spanish striker Adama Traore celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the Premier League match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. (AFP)
Updated 06 October 2019

Adama Traore double rocks Manchester City’s title defense as Wolves seal shock win

  • It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Nuno Espirito Santo’s men
  • City were again made to pay for a series of key defensive injuries

MANCHESTER: Two late goals by from Wolves’ Adama Traore inflicted a stunning 2-0 defeat on Manchester City to leave the Premier League champions trailing leaders Liverpool by eight points.
It was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Nuno Espirito Santo’s men, who enjoyed the better chances and became the first team to stop City scoring at the Etihad Stadium for 34 matches.
Even with only eight games played, Liverpool now have a golden chance to win their first league title for 30 years after starting the campaign with eight straight wins.
And as time ticked on, the urgency of the situation for Pep Guardiola’s men was apparent as they have already dropped more points at home than in the whole of last season.
City were again made to pay for a series of key defensive injuries and badly missed the creativity of Kevin de Bruyne in midfield.
Wolves had two days less rest and a trip back from Istanbul to cope with after winning at Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday night.
However they never tired and finally took their chances through Traore in the final 10 minutes.
Twice in a matter of moments during the first-half, Raul Jimenez was played through by loose passes from City players, but the Mexican striker was unable to convert either opportunity.
He was first denied by an excellent tackle from Fernandinho and on the second chance he delayed and failed to get his shot away, although he felt he was impeded by City’s makeshift central defender and should have been given a penalty.
City looked like the team suffering a European hangover as they struggled to move the ball with their usual fluidity and Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio was not called into action until past the half-hour mark when he pushed away Raheem Sterling’s shot.
Guardiola was not happy and made a tactical switch at half-time as he sent on Oleksandr Zinchenko in place of Kyle Walker and pushed Joao Cancelo over to his preferred right-back position.
But there was not the speed in City’s play or the space to open up their opponents, even after Bernardo Silva was summoned from the bench for Riyad Mahrez.
The breakthrough they so badly wanted almost came when David Silva was brought down just outside the area before picking himself up to curl the free kick against the crossbar.
But with 10 minutes remaining, the decisive blow was delivered by Traore as he coolly slotted past Ederson after Jimenez had skipped away from Nicolas Otamendi for his first goal since August 2018.
And in the final minute of injury time with City pushing men forward, Traore repeated the trick when he was put clear with an almost identical goal as he beat Ederson again.


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”