Giroud brace gives AC Milan derby win over Inter

Giroud brace gives AC Milan derby win over Inter
AC Milan’s Olivier Giroud duels for the ball with Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij during their Serie A match at the San Siro Stadium in Milan on Saturday. (AP)
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Updated 05 February 2022

Giroud brace gives AC Milan derby win over Inter

Giroud brace gives AC Milan derby win over Inter
  • France international Giroud poked Milan level with 15 minutes remaining
  • The 35-year-old was only playing because Zlatan Ibrahimovic was out with an Achilles tendon injury

MILAN: Olivier Giroud bust the Serie A title race wide open on Saturday with a quick-fire derby double in a 2-1 win which moves AC Milan to within one point of leaders Inter.
France international Giroud poked Milan level with 15 minutes remaining after Ivan Perisic had given champions Inter a deserved first-half lead, and three minutes later sent the Milan fans at the San Siro wild with a neat low finish to win the match.
The 35-year-old was only playing because Zlatan Ibrahimovic was out with an Achilles tendon injury but pounced just as Inter looked to be headed for what up to that point would have been a deserved win.
Milan had hardly created anything until Giroud pushed Brahim Diaz’s mishit and deflected shot past Samir Handanovic but now are right back in a title race which seemed to be heading in Inter’s favor.
Napoli can pile even more pressure on Simone Inzaghi’s Inter, who have a game in hand, when they face Venezia with the chance to pull level on 52 points with Milan.
Inter travel to Napoli next weekend in a huge fortnight which also includes the visit of Liverpool for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.


Neymar nets 2 as PSG beats Montpellier 5-2 in French league

Neymar nets 2 as PSG beats Montpellier 5-2 in French league
Updated 9 sec ago

Neymar nets 2 as PSG beats Montpellier 5-2 in French league

Neymar nets 2 as PSG beats Montpellier 5-2 in French league
  • Neymar scored twice to take his tally to three goals in two league games for the defending champion on a night when Lionel Messi was held scoreless

PARIS: Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain’s high-powered attack put on another impressive display in a 5-2 win over Montpellier in the French league on Saturday as Kylian Mbappe opened his account but missed a penalty in his return from a groin injury.
Neymar scored twice to take his tally to three goals in two league games for the defending champion on a night when Lionel Messi was held scoreless. The Brazil striker was also PSG’s best player in preseason friendlies as he looks to find his peak form for the World Cup in Qatar, which starts in November.
PSG also netted five goals in its league opener and Montpellier opted for a low defensive block to deny space for the hosts. But the pressure was too much for center back Falaye Sacko, who diverted Mbappe’s off-target shot into his own net in the 39th minute.
Sacko then handled the ball in the 42nd when Lionel Messi juggled the ball on a dribbling run. Neymar wrongfooted Jonas Omlin to convert the subsequent penalty for a 2-0 lead.
PSG capitalized on another blunder to add a third goal in the 51st. Mbappe blocked Omlin’s pass and found Achraf Hakimi, whose deflected cross was headed home by Neymar.
Far from his best level, Mbappe still found the net with a flick from a corner in the 69th.
“(Mbappe) is a competitor, he wants to be good, and he wants to be good quickly,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier told Canal Plus. “He needs a bit of time to be 100 percent fit. He will make even more difference when he will be 100 percent fit.”
In his PSG debut, Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches rounded off the scoring with a first-time effort in the 88th.
Omlin pulled off some outstanding saves to frustrate PSG for more than 30 minutes. The Swiss goalkeeper saved a penalty from Mbappe in the 23rd after Jordan Ferri had handled the ball. He then turned around the post a curling free kick from Messi in the 26th.
Montpellier scored with a close-range effort from Wahbi Khazri in the 58th and a half-volley from Enzo Tchato in stoppage time.
Earlier, Rennes’ defensive issues were exposed as it squandered the lead to draw 1-1 with 10-man Monaco.
In a clash between two contenders for European spots, Monaco forward Breel Embolo pounced on a heavy touch from goalkeeper Dogan Alemdar to equalize with a sliding effort in the 73rd.
Rennes striker Gaetan Laborde opened the scoring by converting a rebound in the 59th.
Monaco was down to 10 men in the 15th when midfielder Youssouf Fofana was red-carded for a stamp on Martin Terrier’s ankle.
“We are extremely disappointed,” Laborde said. “When you play with 11 men against 10 almost the entire game, you must come away with three points. It was tense in the dressing room.”
Despite its numerical superiority, Rennes looked shaky at the back. Embolo proved a magnet for fouls and Joe Rodon and Arthur Theate were booked for holding the forward in the 21st and the 23rd, respectively.
Steve Mandanda also received a yellow card in the 31st for catching Embolo in the face while attempting to punch the ball away. The Rennes goalkeeper made amends by stopping the subsequent penalty taken by Axel Disasi before denying Krepin Diatta in the 36th.
However, Mandanda picked up a knock and was replaced by Alemdar at halftime.
Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nubel helped salvage a point by turning Baptiste Santamaria’s long-range strike around the post in the 27th and parrying a close-range header from Terrier in the 28th.


Lukaku nets seconds into Inter return at Lecce

Lukaku nets seconds into Inter return at Lecce
Updated 13 August 2022

Lukaku nets seconds into Inter return at Lecce

Lukaku nets seconds into Inter return at Lecce
  • Belgium forward Lukaku nodded home from close range with just 81 seconds gone to give Inter the lead
  • The 29-year-old had the easiest task to open his account for the campaign

LECCE, Italy: Romelu Lukaku made a dream start to his return to Inter Milan on Saturday after scoring less than two minutes into the Serie A club’s season opener at Lecce.
Belgium forward Lukaku nodded home from close range with just 81 seconds gone to give Inter the lead at the Stadio Via del mare as they begin their bid to reclaim the Scudetto from local rivals AC Milan, 4-2 winners over Udinese earlier on Saturday.
The 29-year-old had the easiest task to open his account for the campaign after Matteo Darmian knocked Federico Dimarco’s cross straight into his path.
Lukaku reportedly took a pay cut to 8.5 million euros for the coming campaign to get out of Chelsea.
He performed poorly in England and enraged Chelsea fans by saying in an interview with Sky Sport Italia that he wanted to return to Inter, where he won the Serie A title in 2021 and scored 64 times in 95 games over two years.
That move came sooner than expected, with Inter paying an initial eight million euros plus a potential three million in bonuses for the loan.
Italian media report that Inter and Chelsea have a gentleman’s agreement that the loan could be extended for another season should the move work out.
After the deal was done his lawyer Sebastien Ledure said that “anything can happen” between now and the end of next season.


’Emotional’ Werner scores for Leipzig on Bundesliga return

’Emotional’ Werner scores for Leipzig on Bundesliga return
Updated 13 August 2022

’Emotional’ Werner scores for Leipzig on Bundesliga return

’Emotional’ Werner scores for Leipzig on Bundesliga return
  • Leipzig played the majority of the game with 10 men
  • Leipzig's record goal-scorer Timo Werner put his side ahead in the 36th minute

BERLIN: Former Chelsea striker Timo Werner found the back of the net on an emotional return to Leipzig, but it was not enough to secure their first win of the season as Cologne snatched a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
Leipzig played the majority of the game with 10 men, after Hungary midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai received a straight red card for an elbow to the throat of Cologne’s Florian Kainz just before half time.
Werner left Leipzig for London in 2020 before returning earlier this week in a £25 million ($30.2 million, 29.5 million euros) deal.
Leipzig’s record goal-scorer put his side ahead in the 36th minute, when goalkeeper Marvin Schwaebe let Werner’s long-distance strike dip under his body and trickle across the line.
Cologne equalized just four minutes later however, when striker Florian Dietz dinked in from close range to chalk up his first ever Bundesliga goal.
French forward Christopher Nkunku gave the home side the lead in the 56th minute, but Cologne were able to equalize with 20 minutes to go through a clumsy own goal from Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol.
After the game, Werner — who was subbed off to warm applause in the 68th minute — said he was “very emotional” to return.
“It was something special for me, to return after two years.”
“Leipzig is always a part of me. I grew up here and I got my first Germany call up here.”
The 26-year-old, however, was less enamoured of the result which means Leipzig have drawn their opening two matches.
“When you see how we’ve lost points this season, it’s really bitter.
“Considering we were playing with a man down for so long, 2-2 is acceptable, but for our aims (this season), it’s far from satisfactory,” he said.
In Saturday’s late game, Schalke secured a last-minute 2-2 draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach when Marius Buelter converted a penalty in injury time.
Schalke opened the scoring in the 29th minute thanks to a stunning solo goal from Rodrigo Zalazar, who dribbled the ball from halfway before scoring via a long-range strike from the edge of the penalty box.
Jonas Hofmann — fresh off a midweek contract extension — skidded the ball over the line in the 27th minute, before France’s Marcus Thuram put Gladbach in front just six minutes later.
Gladbach winger Patrick Herrmann was adjudged to have handballed in the penalty area in injury time, giving Buelter the chance to convert from the spot.
Schalke striker Simon Terodde summed up his side’s emotional full-time celebrations.
“The people here — they’ve missed us,” he said.
“It’s beautiful that we could give them a point in the 93rd minute.”
Werder Bremen snatched a late point at home against Stuttgart through a 95th minute goal from Scottish winger Oliver Burke.
Bremen’s two-pronged attack of Niclas Fuellkrug and Marvin Ducksch again combined, putting the home side in the fourth minute.
Stuttgart equalized in the 38th minute through Wataru Endo and took the lead with just over ten to play through Silas Katompa Mvumpa, before Burke won a point for Bremen late.
Augsburg won 2-1 away at Bayer Leverkusen thanks to an 82nd minute goal from Andre Hahn, deepening the winless Leverkusen’s woes after their early German Cup exit.
In the German capital, under pressure Hertha Berlin drew 1-1 with Eintracht Frankfurt. Frankfurt had a late penalty overturned on VAR and Hertha held on to pick up their first point of the season.
In Sinsheim, Hoffenheim came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against an impressive Bochum, thanks to goals from former Liverpool defender Ozan Kabak, Christoph Baumgartner and an 88th minute header from Munas Dabbur.
On Friday, Dortmund scored three goals in the last 15 minutes away at Freiburg to win 3-1.
On Sunday, Wolfsburg travel to Bayern Munich while Mainz are at home to Union Berlin.


Gabriel Jesus scores 2 in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester

Gabriel Jesus scores 2 in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester
Updated 13 August 2022

Gabriel Jesus scores 2 in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester

Gabriel Jesus scores 2 in Arsenal’s 4-2 win over Leicester
  • The Brazil striker marked his home debut for Arsenal with two goals and two assists
  • “He was really disappointed in the dressing room, because he said he could have scored four,” said Mikel Arteta

LONDON: Gabriel Jesus didn’t take long to make an impression at Emirates Stadium.
The Brazil striker marked his home debut for Arsenal with two goals and two assists in a 4-2 win against Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday.
But apparently it wasn’t enough for Jesus himself.
“He was really disappointed in the dressing room, because he said he could have scored four,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “I wouldn’t like to play against him as a defender. He’s so mobile, so intuitive, always sharp.”
The 25-year-old Jesus, who joined from Manchester City as Arsenal’s marquee summer signing so far, opened his account for the Gunners in the 23rd minute with a brilliant, curling finish. He got his second in the 35th from a header and had several chances to finish the game with a hat trick.
The two times Leicester found a foothold in the match, Arsenal struck back right away.
The visitors made it 2-1 from an own goal by William Saliba in the 53rd, but Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka restored the home side’s two-goal cushion two minutes later. Xhaka scored after Jesus poked a loose ball into his path when Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward failed to hold on to a routine cross into the box and collided with defender Wesley Fofana.
Leicester attacking midfielder James Maddison made it 3-2 in the 74th when he sent a low shot through the legs of Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
A nervous murmur went through the crowd, but the Arsenal team didn’t panic as they did in similar situations in recent seasons. Jesus drove forward just a minute later and squared the ball to forward Gabriel Martinelli, who fired a left-footed shot from just outside the area to beat Ward at the back post to make it 4-2.
“It was a bit of a mixed bag for us today,” Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. “There were good moments. But in key moments of the game, we made mistakes.”
Leicester also had a penalty decision overturned just before halftime after the referee first pointed to the spot and then was asked to review a coming together of Ramsdale and Leicester forward Jamie Vardy in the box.
On a hot day when the mercury hit around 33 C (91 F), six goals and the pace of the game took a lot out of the players and water breaks were needed in each half. The result means that Arsenal have won both of their opening league games, with Leicester drawing their first match.
Jesus was the focus of Arsenal’s attack throughout the game, with teammates trying to get him the ball at every opportunity. For his first goal, he took one touch after receiving a pass from Xhaka, set himself and then bent a shot that took a slight deflection to sail in past Ward.
Jesus got a bit of help for his second from Vardy. The Leicester forward flicked the ball backward across the face of goal from a corner, and Jesus headed into an empty net at the back post.
The striker nearly scored a hat trick before halftime when he dominated Leicester defender Jonny Evans with his back to goal, spun around him into the box and fired a low shot saved by Ward. He had multiple chances in the second half as well.
The challenge for Arsenal when it comes to Jesus will be keeping him fit throughout the course of the season since he wasn’t used to playing in every match during his time at Manchester City.
“We have to manage that load,” Arteta said. “We have to be on top of that.”
But the manager said Jesus has already lifted the standards among the team in training and with the way he connects with his teammates.
Jesus says he’s enjoying being Arsenal’s No. 9, but he doesn’t harbor any bad feelings against his former club.
“I was not unhappy at City,” he said. “I just want to play. I understand the club, I understand the manager. But you know sometimes players want to play. And I’m the same. And here I come and I train every day.”
Unlike Arsenal, Leicester have been very quiet in the transfer market and will look to hold onto key players like Fofana and Maddison, who are attracting interest from other clubs. The team only announced their first signing of the transfer window on the eve of Saturday’s match. Alex Smithies, a 32-year-old backup goalkeeper who most recently played for Cardiff, signed with the Foxes on a two-year deal.
Rodgers hopes the transfer rumors involving some of his players doesn’t infect the team as a whole.
“I think it’s difficult for the young players,” he said. “But you could see the spirit in the team today. The players kept going right until the end.”


Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford

Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford
Updated 13 August 2022

Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford

Man United bottom of Premier League after 4-0 thrashing by Brentford
  • The former Ajax boss' reign began with Brighton's first ever win at Old Trafford last weekend
  • The jubilant home support taunted Ten Hag with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning"

LONDON: Erik ten Hag’s bad start as Manchester United manager descended into an embarrassment as a 4-0 thrashing by Brentford on Saturday left the Red Devils bottom of the Premier League.
The former Ajax boss’ reign began with Brighton’s first ever win at Old Trafford last weekend, but much worse was to come as the Bees punished a series of errors to score four times in the first 35 minutes.
Josh Dasilva’s strike slipped through David de Gea’s grasp to open the floodgates before Mathias Jensen pounced on United’s attempt to play out from the back to make it 2-0 inside 18 minutes.
Ben Mee then exposed the visitors’ frailty from set-pieces for his first Brentford goal and Bryan Mbuemo rounded off a stunning counter-attack 10 minutes before half-time to sink United to the bottom of the table for the first time in 30 years.
The jubilant home support taunted Ten Hag with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning.”
But the Dutch coach has inherited a rabble rather than being the root cause as United lost a seventh consecutive away league match for the first time since 1936.
That run included shipping four goals at Manchester City, Liverpool and Brighton last season.
The arrival of £57 million ($69 million) center-back Lisandro Martinez from Ajax has done little to shore up United’s leaky defense and questions will be asked of why Ten Hag has left Raphael Varane on the bench in favor of the Argentine and the out-of-sorts Harry Maguire.
Ten Hag did recall Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line-up, but the wantaway five-time Ballon d’Or winner played a part in the opening goal.
Ronaldo went to ground too easily seeking a foul as he was surrounded by Brentford bodies. Dasilva’s shot should still have been a comfortable save for De Gea, but the ball squirmed underneath the Spaniard.
De Gea compounded that mistake eight minutes later with an attempted pass to Christian Eriksen, who was outmuscled by his former teammate Jensen, and the Dane coolly slotted home to double Brentford’s lead.
Martinez’s diminutive 5ft 9in (1.8m) frame was raised as a red flag for his ability to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League.
And the Argentine was beaten at the back post by Mee for the third goal after Ivan Toney headed a corner across goal.
Credit to Brentford in just their second season in the English top-flight for 75 years may get swept away in the waves of criticism coming United’s way.
But Thomas Frank’s men produced a stunning move to tear United open again for their fourth goal.
Toney was released down the left wing and picked out Mbuemo with a precise first-time pass for the Frenchman to race in behind Luke Shaw and finish low past De Gea.
Ten Hag made his feelings clear at the break with a triple substitution with Shaw, Martinez and Fred the scapegoats.
United did at least stop the bleeding after the break and should have had at least one consolation as Ronaldo looped a header over before Eriksen’s header lacked the power to beat David Raya.
The damage, though, was long since done for Ten Hag and worse could still be to come.
United host Liverpool, who beat their historic rivals 5-0 and 4-0 last season, in their next game on August 22.