Newcastle finally record first win of the season against Burnley

Newcastle finally record first win of the season against Burnley
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Burnley's James Tarkowski in action with Newcastle United's Joelinton during their Premier League clash at St James' Park on Saturday. (Reuters)
Newcastle finally record first win of the season against Burnley
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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe celebrates his club’s 1-0 against Burnley after their Premier League match at St James' Park, Newcastle on Saturday. (Reuters)
Newcastle finally record first win of the season against Burnley
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Newcastle United fans celebrate their win after the match at St James' Park, Newcastle on Saturday. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 December 2021

Newcastle finally record first win of the season against Burnley

Newcastle finally record first win of the season against Burnley
  • This was a win the players, Howe, the fans, and most importantly the new owners so badly needed

NEWCASTLE: It’s lift-off for Eddie Howe at Newcastle United as the Magpies made it 15th time lucky by claiming their first Premier League victory of the season.

Fourteen fruitless encounters previous went out the window on Tyneside, with the roof nearly coming off St James’ Park as Callum Wilson’s solo strike claimed a vital victory in this relegation battle six-pointer.

And with it, United climbed off the foot of the Premier League table, where they’ve sat for most of Howe’s reign, as well as claiming their first clean sheet of the campaign.

This was a win the players, Howe, the fans and most importantly the new owners — PIF, RB Sports & Media and PCP Capital Partners — so badly needed.

As has been the case in all of his four games since officially taking the reins, Howe decided again to tweak things, making two changes to the side who drew with Norwich City last time out.

One of those changes was enforced with Ciaran Clark suspended, in came returning skipper Jamaal Lascelles, while Miguel Almiron replaced Ryan Fraser.

Cagey and tentative about sums up the first half hour for United, who were unwillingly drawn into playing the Clarets’ game.

High balls, percentage football and plenty of crosses into the box set the early tone of this one as the Magpies relied upon Martin Dubravka to keep things even.

The Slovak, instrumental since his return two games previous, needed the strongest of strong hands to deny Johann Gudmundsson’s powerful, driving effort.

Again Dubravka was on hand to deny a header from Burnley form man Maxwel Cornet, who was forced off with an injury late in the half — and with the Frenchman’s exit, so United began to establish a foothold.

And with that, the chances began to flow. Wilson, largely anonymous to this point, saw a goalward volley blocked from an Allan Saint-Maximin cross.

Moments later and the goal the whole of Tyneside craved arrived. And it was talisman and top-scorer Wilson who delivered.

England keeper Nick Pope rose highest above a crowded area to pluck a telegraphed Joe Willock cross. But a slip of concentration later and the tumbling Pope had spilled it and Wilson was cool and calm in his finish to crash home over three defenders blocking his path to goal.

Seemingly heading into half-time ahead, this wouldn’t be Newcastle United without a scare — and they almost gifted the Clarets a way back in on the cusp of the break.

Matt Lowton’s searching ball from the right found Cornet’s replacement Matej Vydra in acres of space and the Czech Republic international spooned his poor effort over, when well-placed.

After the break there was an air of calm about United, that was to remain until the predictably nervy later moments.

Jonjo Shelvey began to dictate, with Lascelles imperious on his return to the centre of defence.

The Magpies almost doubled their lead on a number of occasions, Almiron coming closest when he saw a goal-bound curler at the famous Gallowgate End flicked over the top by Nathan Collins.

Almiron, unlucky not to net his first of the season on the day, also saw Pope produce one of the saves of the season to tip around the post as United pushed for a second.

That second didn’t come and the invitable retreat to their own half began but this time, where they have failed so often this season, the Magpies saw out the game for the win — a win which will resonate around the top flight, with January just around the corner. The crisis of confidence is over.

No longer are United the only team in the Football League pyramid not to have won a game, no longer are they the top flight’s whipping boys. They’ll have to create history to stay in the Premier League, and survival looks a long, long way off, but this is a start.

Meanwhile, the visit to Leicester City next weekend now looks a whole lot more winnable, especially with that three-point hoodoo gone up in smoke.


Tottenham stages latest-ever comeback to win an EPL game

Tottenham stages latest-ever comeback to win an EPL game
Updated 7 min ago

Tottenham stages latest-ever comeback to win an EPL game

Tottenham stages latest-ever comeback to win an EPL game
  • As an extra reward for Tottenham, the victory took the team above fierce rival Arsenal and into fifth place in the league

LEICESTER, Britain: Tottenham staged the latest-ever comeback to win a Premier League game on Wednesday.
Manchester United’s second-half turnaround was quite the surprise, too.
On a dramatic night in England’s top flight, Tottenham was losing to Leicester after 94 minutes and 52 seconds. Within two minutes, Steven Bergwijn had scored two goals to seal a 3-2 win pretty much out of nowhere.
As an extra reward for Tottenham, the victory took the team above fierce rival Arsenal and into fifth place in the league — only one point off the Champions League positions with games in hand.
“My team showed they don’t want to give up and until the end we have to fight,” said Tottenham manager Antonio Conte, whose unbeaten league record at the London club was preserved.
The previous latest comeback came in arguably the Premier League’s most famous game, when Manchester City scored in the 92nd and 94th minutes to beat Queens Park Rangers 3-2 and clinch the title in May 2012.
As for Man United, Ralf Rangnick’s under-pressure team put in a wretched first-half display at Brentford and was lucky to be 0-0 at halftime, only for Anthony Elanga — with his first Premier League goal — Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford to score after the break in a 3-1 win. Ivan Toney pulled a late goal back for Brentford.
United stayed seventh but is one point behind Tottenham having played two games more.


Man United beats Brentford 3-1 after 2nd-half turnaround

Man United beats Brentford 3-1 after 2nd-half turnaround
Updated 47 min 18 sec ago

Man United beats Brentford 3-1 after 2nd-half turnaround

Man United beats Brentford 3-1 after 2nd-half turnaround
  • United stayed in seventh place, but is only two points behind fourth-place West Ham in the race for Champions League qualification

LONDON: Manchester United staged a second-half turnaround as goals from Anthony Elanga, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford earned a 3-1 win at Brentford to boost the team’s top-four ambitions in the Premier League on Wednesday.
It was another less-than-convincing display from United, though, with Cristiano Ronaldo ostensibly far from impressed at being substituted with 20 minutes left.
Elanga, a 19-year-old winger starting only his fourth Premier League match, broke the deadlock in the 55th minute after Brentford had wasted a host of chances to take the lead in the first half.
Greenwood then notched his first Premier League goal since October, tapping in from Bruno Fernandes’ pass, to make it 2-0 in the 62nd and Rashford climbed off the bench to add the third in the 77th for a first league win of 2022.
It was a tough blow for Brentford, which had dominated the first league meeting between these sides since 1946 but only had Ivan Toney’s late consolation to show for it.
United stayed in seventh place, but is only two points behind fourth-place West Ham in the race for Champions League qualification.


Egypt make Cup of Nations last 16 as Cape Verde, Malawi advance

Egypt make Cup of Nations last 16 as Cape Verde, Malawi advance
Updated 20 January 2022

Egypt make Cup of Nations last 16 as Cape Verde, Malawi advance

Egypt make Cup of Nations last 16 as Cape Verde, Malawi advance
  • Egypt defeated neighbors Sudan 1-0 — a result which sent Cape Verde and Malawi through
  • Nigeria finished Group D with a third successive win as they beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0

YAOUNDÉ: Seven-time champions Egypt clinched a place in the Africa Cup of Nations last 16 on Wednesday by defeating neighbors Sudan 1-0, a result which sent Cape Verde and Malawi through as well.
Nigeria finished Group D with a third successive win as they beat Guinea-Bissau 2-0, leaving Egypt to face the winners of Group E in the next round, and a potential clash with Ivory Coast in Douala.
Mohamed Abdelmonem headed home the winner at a corner 10 minutes before half-time in Yaounde to send the Pharaohs through and eliminate Sudan.
Egypt’s victory guaranteed Cape Verde and Malawi will qualify as two of the four best third-placed sides. It is the first time Malawi have reached the knockout rounds of the tournament.
Three-time former winners Nigeria continued their fine start to the competition by sweeping aside Guinea-Bissau courtesy of second-half goals from Umar Sadiq and captain William Troost-Ekong.
The Super Eagles will stay in Garoua to play a third-placed team in the last 16 on Sunday.
Cape Verde will take on Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Bafoussam on January 25, while Morocco await Malawi on the same day in Yaounde.


Tunisia hit by 12 Covid cases at Cup of Nations: federation

Tunisia hit by 12 Covid cases at Cup of Nations: federation
Updated 20 January 2022

Tunisia hit by 12 Covid cases at Cup of Nations: federation

Tunisia hit by 12 Covid cases at Cup of Nations: federation
  • 12 players in the 28-man squad contracted Covid-19, Tunisian football federation said on Facebook
  • Key player Wahbi Khazri is among the players to test positive

TUNIS: Tunisia’s preparations for their final Africa Cup of Nations group match against Gambia were thrown into disarray after 12 players in the 28-man squad contracted Covid-19, the country’s football federation said Wednesday.
Key player Wahbi Khazri is among the players to test positive.
“This evening (Wednesday) the players took part in a training session with 16 players present and the rest absent due to Covid-19 contamination,” the federation said on its Facebook page.
The federation also said: “Tuesday, the tests revealed the contamination of Ali Maaloul, Aymen Dahmen, Ghailene Chaalali, Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, Wahbi Khazri, Ali Jemal and Mohamed Amine Ben Hmida who have been isolated from the group.”
Right-back Mohamed Drager has though recovered from the virus and Tunisia are hoping that five other players, positive since the start of the tournament, will test negative before Thursday’s game.
Tunisia, the 2004 winners, need to at least draw their final Group F match to be sure of qualification for the last 16.
The Carthage Eagles bounced back from their controversial opening 1-0 loss to Mali, when the referee blew the final whistle early, by thrashing Mauritania 4-0 in their second game.


Expectations high for Godolphin in week 2 of Dubai World Cup Carnival

Week two and seven more races at the Dubai World Cup Carnival sees horses from 10 countries clash at Meydan Racecourse. (AFP/File Photo)
Week two and seven more races at the Dubai World Cup Carnival sees horses from 10 countries clash at Meydan Racecourse. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 19 January 2022

Expectations high for Godolphin in week 2 of Dubai World Cup Carnival

Week two and seven more races at the Dubai World Cup Carnival sees horses from 10 countries clash at Meydan Racecourse. (AFP/File Photo)
  • Meydan Racecourse’s 7 races will see runners from 10 countries including Greece, France, UK and Sweden

 

DUBAI: Remember how in last week’s column I mentioned how international the Dubai World Cup Carnival is? Well, that certainly proved to be the case on opening night, when we had wins for horses based in Uruguay (Bet Law, you read it here first, by the way) and France, with Pevensey Bay.

Now we are on to week two and seven more races, in which horses from 10 countries are set to clash at Meydan Racecourse. We welcome back the lesser-known racing nation of Greece with one runner, Revamp, for trainer Christos Theodorakis, while trainer Mohamed Saeed brings runners from Bahrain for the first time. There is also a strong contingent from Sweden, the UK and France.

Despite this welcome international flavor, this will be a good week for Godolphin. The excellent card has three Group races, including the Group 2 Al-Fahidi Fort which has gone to the “boys in blue” in each of the last four seasons. In 2021, it went to Land Of Legends, who will defend his title for Saeed Bin Suroor, although Charlie Appleby also holds a strong hand, with Naval Crown and La Barrosa. Naval Crown, a winner here last season, is the pick of stable jockey William Buick and will be hard to beat.

Godolphin might also be able to land the Group 2 Al-Rashidiya, race four, although a certain grey gelding will have something to say about that. The popular Lord Glitters, trained in the UK by David O’Meara, is two from five at Meydan, with both of those wins coming last year in the Group 2 Singspiel Stakes and the Group 1 Jebel Hatta. He won a strong edition of the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy when we last saw him in November, and he will not be far away again. His main rival looks to be Art Du Val, who returns to the Carnival for a fourth time.

The Group 3 Dubawi Stakes, race six, will not go to Godolphin, because they do not have a runner. It might well go to Doug Watson, who has two, with Canvassed resuming off a 10-month break and Al-Tariq coming here off a Jebel Ali win in November. Both are capable of landing this, as is Freedom Fighter, a new recruit to Bhupat Seemar, who is Grade 2-placed in the US.

Perhaps the race most likely to go to the internationals is the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial, race three, which has two runners from Uruguay: The unbeaten Kiefer and Quality Boone, a winner here in December. However, they must concede weight to Appleby’s Albahr, a Group 1 winner when last seen in September. If adapting to the dirt, he should give the South Americans most to think about. Steinar, two from two in Sweden, is also an interesting runner for dual Carnival-winning handler Susanne Berneklint.

The most Instagrammed runner on the night will be JJ Jumbo, who lines up in the Dubai Trophy. Trained in Ireland by Darren Bunyan, he is owned by TV presenter Sultan Harib and has become something of a social media star since arriving in Dubai. Watch out for him in the first race – you will not miss his big white face.