Sommer heroics see Gladbach hold on for draw at Bayern

Sommer heroics see Gladbach hold on for draw at Bayern
Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Joshua Kimmich reacts during their Bundesliga match against Borussia Moenchengladbach in Munich on Saturday. (AFP)
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Updated 27 August 2022

Sommer heroics see Gladbach hold on for draw at Bayern

Sommer heroics see Gladbach hold on for draw at Bayern
  • Gladbach have performed better than any other Bundesliga club against Munich in recent seasons
  • Frustration began to creep into the home side's game, with Joshua Kimmich, Marcel Sabitzer, Sane and manager Julian Nagelsmann all picking up yellow cards

BERLIN: Borussia Moenchengladbach maintained their strong recent record against Bayern Munich with an outstanding performance from ‘keeper Yann Sommer securing a 1-1 away draw on Saturday.
Gladbach have performed better than any other Bundesliga club against Munich in recent seasons, with two wins and a draw in the 2021-22 season.
Bayern began the match in the same manner they started the season, dominating possession and pinning Gladbach in their own penalty area.
Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane had the ball in the net twice in two minutes in the first half, but had both efforts pulled back for offside.
With Bayern launching wave after wave of relentless pressure on Gladbach, a goal seemed a mere formality, but it was the visitors who took the lead when French striker Marcus Thuram took advantage of a poor error from countryman Dayot Upamecano to put his side up 1-0 in the shadows of halftime.
Bayern continued to dominate and almost equalized in the 61st minute through Mane, but Sommer somehow stopped the Sengalese twice in quick succession from close range.
Sommer again saved his side in the 65th minute, somehow preventing Bayern winger Leroy Sane from scoring when one-on-one with the former Man City man.
As the game wore on, frustration began to creep into the home side’s game, with Joshua Kimmich, Marcel Sabitzer, Sane and manager Julian Nagelsmann all picking up avoidable second-half yellow cards.
Musiala, brought on by Nagelsmann with 67 minutes gone, set up the equalizer in the 82nd minute, sliding a pass through for Sane to curl the ball past Sommer into the bottom left of the net.
Bayern went close several times in the closing stages, but Sommer was equal to the task to ensure his side remain unbeaten so far this season.
Alongside Bayern in top spot sit Union Berlin, who won 6-1 away at Schalke earlier on Saturday.
Union, who welcome Bayern to the German capital on Saturday, won through braces from Sheraldo Becker and Sven Michel, along with strikes from Morten Thorsby and Janik Haberer.
The Berlin club, who will begin their first ever Europa League campaign in September, are unbeaten (four wins and a draw) after five competitive games in 2022-23.
Berlin coach Urs Fischer did not want his team to get carried away with the “lucky” win.
“Our 3-1 half-time lead was lucky. Sc halke were better, more aggressive and more agile than us,” the Swiss manager told Germany’s SID.
“What was good was that we were more efficient.”
Elsewhere, RB Leipzig gained their first Bundestags win of the season with a 2-0 home victory over Wolfsburg.
Leipzig’s French forward Christopher Nkunku converted a penalty after five minutes to open the scoring.
Former Chelsea striker Timo Werner, who started from the bench after an infection, set up Nkunku’s second in the 90th minute to relieve some pressure from Leipzig coach Domenico Tedesco.
Bayer Leverkusen picked up their first points of the season with a 3-0 win away at Mainz.
Leverkusen, who had scored just one goal in three Bundesliga games and had already been eliminated from the German Cup, scored three first-half goals, including a brace for Dutch wing back Jeremie Frimpong.
Hoffenheim won their third game of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 home victory over Augsburg, thanks to a first-half goal from Dennis Geiger.


Saudi Arabia has not put in a formal bid to host the Fifa World Cup

Saudi Arabia has not put in a formal bid to host the Fifa World Cup
Updated 12 sec ago

Saudi Arabia has not put in a formal bid to host the Fifa World Cup

Saudi Arabia has not put in a formal bid to host the Fifa World Cup

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has not submitted an official bid to host the FIFA World Cup, the tourism ministry said on Wednesday.

“Saudi Arabia is always considering to host a number of large sporting events, as part of promoting sport and tourism in the Kingdom in line with Saudi Vision 2030,” the ministry tweeted.

The Kingdom has hosted a number of major sporting events in Saudi Arabia including Formula 1, football and heavyweight boxing title fights.

Saudi Vision aims to reform the Kingdom on a number of fronts including in tourism, culture and innovative  technologies with a view to reorient the country’s economy away from a dependence on oil exports.


Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup

Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup
Updated 51 min 54 sec ago

Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup

Bale makes early exit for Wales against England at World Cup
  • Bale had been largely ineffective in the opening half, with only seven touches as England dominated possession

AL RAYYAN, Qatar: If it was Gareth Bale’s final game for Wales, it ended rather unceremoniously.
The Wales captain was substituted at halftime of the team’s match against England at the World Cup on Tuesday because of an injury.
While it was unclear when Bale was hurt, it appeared he was struggling late in the first half of the team’s final Group B match. He was replaced by Brennan Johnson.
Wales crumbled once Bale went off. England scored about five minutes into the second half and added another goal a minute later, finishing with a 3-0 victory.
Wales went into the match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium needing a victory for a chance to advance to the knockout round in the team’s first World Cup appearance since 1958. Instead, the Welsh are headed home.
Bale had been largely ineffective in the opening half, with only seven touches as England dominated possession.
The 33-year-old Bale, who made his senior debut with Wales in 2006, leads the team in all-time appearances with 111 and in goals with 41.
The forward came to Qatar dogged by questions about whether his time with the national team was coming to an end. Asked a day before the match, Bale curtly replied “Nope.”
Following the World Cup, the next match for Wales is a European Championship qualifier against Croatia in March.
Bale’s World Cup had started with promise. In a 1-1 draw with the United States to open the tournament, Bale pulled Wales even with a late penalty. A 2-0 loss to Iran put Wales in danger of elimination.
But time seems to be catching up with Bale, who won five Champions League trophies over nearly a decade at Real Madrid. He now plays for Los Angeles FC.
Bale helped Wales reach the semifinals at the 2016 European Championship before the team lost to eventual champion Portugal. Wales qualified for last year’s pandemic-delayed Euro 2020, where it lost to Denmark in the round of 16.
After nine years with Real Madrid, Bale came to the United States this past season to play for LAFC in Major League Soccer, signing a deal worth just under $2.4 million.
He was limited to only two starts because of injuries but helped LAFC win the MLS Cup when he scored the game-tying goal deep into stoppage time of extra time against the Philadelphia Union. LAFC prevailed in a penalty shootout for its first championship.
It was Bale’s third goal with LAFC and his first since Aug. 6 against Real Salt Lake. At 128 minutes, it was also the latest goal scored in MLS’ 27 seasons.


England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup

England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup
Updated 30 November 2022

England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup

England advance after beating Wales 3-0 at World Cup
  • England will next face Senegal in the round of 16
  • Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated

AL RAYYAN, Qatar: Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden both scored Tuesday to put England into the last 16 of the World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Wales.
England coach Gareth Southgate opted to add both players in the starting lineup for the team’s final Group B match and they responded with all three goals — two from Rashford and the other from Foden.
England will next face Senegal in the round of 16. Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated.
Southgate had faced calls to freshen up his team after the 0-0 draw with the United States. He brought in Rashford and Foden into a new look attack and it worked.
England had the game wrapped up just after halftime with Rashford scoring from a free kick in the 50th and Foden adding another in the 51st. Rashford got his second after a weaving run in the box in the 68th.
Wales captain Gareth Bale was forced off at halftime with an injury.


Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel

Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel
Updated 30 November 2022

Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel

Pulisic sinks Iran as US advance in World Cup duel
  • Christian Pulisic swooped to score the decisive goal in the 38th minute
  • The Americans will face Group A winners the Netherlands in the knockout phase

DOHA: Christian Pulisic fired the United States into the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday as the Americans downed Iran 1-0 in their politically charged grudge match.
Chelsea star Pulisic bundled home the do-or-die Group B game’s only goal on 38 minutes to set up a second round clash with Group A winners the Netherlands on Saturday.
The victory was no less than US coach Gregg Berhalter’s youthful side deserved in what was only the third international football clash between the bitter ideological rivals.
The build-up to a pulsating showdown had been marked by steadily escalating tension, with Iran’s Football Federation on Sunday demanding FIFA sanction US Soccer for posting a modified version of their country’s flag on social media.
But despite an electrifying atmosphere at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, Tuesday’s game played out without controversy as the US avenged their 1998 World Cup defeat to Iran to send the Asian qualifiers crashing out of the tournament.
Iran’s fans had roared their team onto the field at the start of the game amid a deafening cacophony of air-horns and cheers from the crowd of 42,127.
But despite the intimidating reception it was the Americans who looked more comfortable, quickly establishing their dominance.
US captain Tyler Adams and Juventus’ Weston McKennie controlled proceedings in midfield to leave Iran struggling to gain foothold.
The US signalled their attacking ambition after only two minutes, Pulisic surging forward menacingly before being dispossessed.
That was a shape of things to come as they laid siege to the Iranian goal.
Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah shot over the bar and Pulisic just failed to get enough power on a header after a cross from Antonee Robinson.
Fullback Sergino Dest was a constant threat down the right flank for the Americans, whipping a cross over in the 17th minute that Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand could only parry.
After sustained US pressure, the breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute.
A brilliant crossfield pass from McKennie picked out Dest down the right.
The AC Milan defender headed back across goal and Pulisic was on hand to bravely finish.
There was alarm for US fans with Pulisic needing sustained treatment after a heavy collision with Beiranvand but it was the Iranians and their noisy fans who were left winded by the goal.
The crowd instantly became more subdued and the US twice came close to doubling their lead before half-time.
Josh Sargent and Tim Weah combined well with a dazzling counter-attack but the final ball went astray.
Then in injury time McKennie’s sublime pass found Weah who finished brilliantly past Beiranvand only to be ruled just offside.
Knowing that an equalizer would send them into the second round, the Iranians stepped up the pressure in the second half.
But substitute Saman Ghoddos squandered two gilt-edged chances to get his team into the match, heading over from close range before blazing a shot over the bar on the 65th minute with the whole goal to aim at.
Saeid Ezatolahi curled a long-range shot over the bar soon afterwards as the Americans continued to live dangerously.
Iran threatened again inside the final 10 minutes when Ali Karimi just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross by Ezatolahi.
A diving header from Morteza Pouraliganji whistled just wide in injury time and then Mehdi Taremi had calls for a penalty after a tangle with Cameron Carter Vickers waved away as to leave American nerves jangling before their team hung on for a famous win.


Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday

Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday
Updated 29 November 2022

Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday

Saudi team ready for World Cup clash with Mexico on Wednesday
  • Green Falcons complete training session at Sealine Resort Stadium

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s national football team on Tuesday completed a final training session ahead of their last FIFA World Cup group stage clash against Mexico on Wednesday at Lusail Stadium in Qatar.
The Green Falcons trained at the Sealine Resort Stadium under the supervision of coach Herve Renard.
Training included warm-up exercises before players were divided into two groups for tactical work.
Defender Mohammed Al-Breik was supervised by medical staff as the 30-year-old continued a treatment program for a calf muscle injury.
The team was expected to leave its facility on Tuesday night and head to Doha as part of its preparations for the match the following day.
Saudi Arabia is in Group C alongside Argentina, Mexico and Poland.