Real Madrid back to winning ways as Girona go top after their 6th straight victory in Spanish league

Real Madrid back to winning ways as Girona go top after their 6th straight victory in Spanish league
Real Madrid's Joselu, top, heads the ball to score his side's second goal during a Spanish La Liga soccer match against Las Palmas, at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, in Madrid, Wednesday. (AP)
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Updated 28 September 2023
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Real Madrid back to winning ways as Girona go top after their 6th straight victory in Spanish league

Real Madrid back to winning ways as Girona go top after their 6th straight victory in Spanish league
  • The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium moved Madrid to second place, one point behind Girona, which came from behind to win 2-1 at Villarreal
  • Girona are two points ahead of fellow Catalan club Barcelona, the defending champions that had their five-game winning streak halted by a 2-2 draw at Mallorca on Tuesday

MADRID: Real Madrid got back to winning ways by beating Las Palmas 2-0 on Wednesday while Girona are top of the Spanish league after their sixth straight victory.

Brahim Díaz and Joselu scored for Madrid, who were coming off a 3-1 loss at city rivals Atletico Madrid after opening the season with five straight league victories.

The win at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium moved Madrid to second place, one point behind Girona, which came from behind to win 2-1 at Villarreal.

Girona, who are enjoying their best-ever start to the league with six wins and a draw in seven games, host Madrid on Saturday.

“It’s not easy to win six in a row in the first division,” Girona coach Michel said. “We have to enjoy this moment. The game against Madrid will be precious, against one of the best teams in the world.”

Girona are two points ahead of fellow Catalan club Barcelona, the defending champions that had their five-game winning streak halted by a 2-2 draw at Mallorca on Tuesday.

Madrid were in control from the start at the Bernabeu and missed chance after chance until Díaz finally opened the scoring with a high shot from near the penalty spot three minutes into first-half stoppage time.

The hosts had 18 attempts in the first half alone, with eight of them on target. Las Palmas had no shots on target until after halftime.

Newly arrived striker Joselu grew increasingly frustrated after failing to capitalize on several good scoring opportunities until finally finding the net with a header in the 54th.

Díaz started in place of new signing Jude Bellingham. The 20-year-old England midfielder started on the bench for the first time this season after scoring six goals in his first seven matches with Madrid in all competitions.

Forward Vinícius Junior, returning from injury, also started on the bench. He replaced Joselu early in the second half.

“The players are well aware how important it is to rotate,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “I try to manage the squad and we have to do that the best we can in the coming games. That will be the case until the next international break because fatigue does play a big part and there are lots of injuries in this period.”

Madrid endured yet another injury setback when defender David Alaba was substituted in the first half because of an apparent muscle problem. The club has been playing without goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Éder Militão because of long-term knee injuries.

It was the fourth loss for promoted Las Palmas, who beat Granada in the previous round for their first win of the season.

GIRONA KEEPS WINNING

Girona rallied to beat Villarreal and extend their stunning start to the season.

Dani Parejo put the hosts ahead by converting a 49th-minute penalty kick, but Artem Dovbyk and Eric García gave Girona the lead with goals in the 56th and 61st minutes.

Girona, controlled by City Football Group, the parent company of Manchester City, opened the season with a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad.

Villarreal are winless in three matches in all competitions.

OTHER RESULTS

Fourth-place Athletic Bilbao drew 2-2 against Getafe at home, while Cadiz and Rayo Vallecano finished 0-0.

Valencia lost 1-0 to visiting Real Sociedad.


Anthony Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United giving Gareth Southgate a Marcus Rashford headache

Anthony Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United giving Gareth Southgate a Marcus Rashford headache
Updated 03 December 2023
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Anthony Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United giving Gareth Southgate a Marcus Rashford headache

Anthony Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United giving Gareth Southgate a Marcus Rashford headache

NEWCASTLE: In Paris, many were keen to compare Newcastle United’s Anthony Gordon with Kylian Mbappe. And while the young Scouser was overshadowed by his more storied opponent that night, he showed many, four days later, including Gareth Southgate, that there are few more electric forwards in English football right now.

While Marcus Rashford still edges ahead of Gordon in England squads, the time is nearing where questions must be asked about the validity of that call. On Saturday night’s evidence, Gordon is head and shoulders the man who should own England’s left.

On the day when England’s European Championship opponents were announced — they face Serbia, Slovakia and Denmark in Germany in the summer of 2024 — Gordon sparkled, providing the only goal in a dominant 1-0 victory over Manchester United.

Rashford, like many others in red, wilted in St. James’ Park’s unforgiving atmosphere.

“I couldn’t be happier with the players,” said Howe. “The performances we put in against three top teams (Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Man United) were brilliant, so that will give us confidence. Then, when we get some players back, we can push on even further.

“(An) Incredible physical and mental effort. The level of technical performance, I don’t think should be underestimated, I thought we dominated the first half and attacked really well down both sides.

“The left side of Tino, Anthony and Joelinton was really productive for us. And on the right side, I thought that was Lewy Miley’s best game for us out of the three, which is saying something given how well he played in the other two but I thought he was, especially in the first-half, excellent. He, Miggy (Almiron) and Kieran (Trippier) worked really well down that righthand side so a good balance to the team today.”

Gordon was judged by many last summer to be a player who looked an ill-fit for Newcastle’s high-intensity, high-pressing style. He’s now the main man in the Magpies’ front three after netting his sixth strike of the season. Gordon has now scored seven in his last 21 games for the Magpies, matching his goalscoring tally for the rest of his career combined.

Howe said: “From day one, when he arrived at the club, you could see the passion he had and his desire to achieve and be successful. He puts the work in every day and sometimes we have to go and get him off the training pitch.

“He was very good again up against a very good defender in (Aaron) Wan-Bissaka. Physically he was so good today, it was a really good battle between the two of them.

“I am delighted he is scoring the goals now and getting the recognition he deserves.

“I thought he played really well at the start of the season but every attacker needs to score to get that feeling and the confidence that brings. Not just the goals but he’s getting assists as well, he’s involved in match-winning moments. I thought he played really well again today. It was a brilliant cross from Kieran. A good move and good finish.”

Gordon was overlooked by Southgate for the recent England internationals, in which only Kieran Trippier was called up from the Newcastle squad. Howe thinks it’s only a matter of time before all of that changes.

“I’d agree he’s playing at a very high level and he has done for this season,” said the head coach when asked about a possible call-up.

“When you come here to watch Anthony, that’s been his level. He’s getting the goals and you need the headlines really if you’re going to force your way into the England squad and the competition he has in those positions.

“There’s a long way to go, I just think he’s got to keep very level and focused on playing well for us then the rest will take of itself.”

Another who may well force his way into Southgate’s thinking, in a very stacked and competitive department, is full-back Tino Livramento. A star in Paris in the Champions League, the youngster’s tireless running down the left was a real feature of the Magpies’ win.

Howe said: “Very good in maybe a slightly different way to Paris to when he was having to deal with (Ousmane) Dembele. He was having to play against various opponents but good opponents in Antony and Rashford but he gave them a problem going back the other way, which was great to see. His athleticism, pace, speed and positioning, although he’s playing on a side maybe not natural to him, was of the highest level.”

The only real negative to take from the encounter was yet another injury to another key player, as Nick Pope was taken off with a shoulder problem.

“It will be a massive blow for us if he is ruled out for any length of time,” said Howe. “It looked really innocuous, but that is usually the way and they are normally the more serious ones. You could see he was in distress and it looked like he dislocated his shoulder just diving.

“Martin Dubravka came on in a tricky situation with 10 minutes to go with a narrow lead, which is not nice for any goalkeeper, so I have to compliment him for doing so well.”


Nantes hand Nice first loss, Lens beat Lyon in French league after Arsenal nightmare

Nantes hand Nice first loss, Lens beat Lyon in French league after Arsenal nightmare
Updated 03 December 2023
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Nantes hand Nice first loss, Lens beat Lyon in French league after Arsenal nightmare

Nantes hand Nice first loss, Lens beat Lyon in French league after Arsenal nightmare
  • Nice were unbeaten in 13 league matches before kickoff and had won eight of their last 10 matches
  • Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont made three decisive saves in the first half to help his side weather intense pressure from the visitors

PARIS: Hiring new coach Jocelyn Gourvennec brought an immediate reward to Nantes.

The eight-time champions snapped a four-game winless run on Saturday to hand Nice their first loss in the French league just three days after Gourvennec was appointed.

Nice were unbeaten in 13 league matches before kickoff and had won eight of their last 10 matches.

The Riviera side remained in second place, one point behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who travel to Le Havre on Sunday. Nantes stood in eighth place, 12 points off the pace.

Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont made three decisive saves in the first half to help his side weather intense pressure from the visitors.

Florent Mollet broke the deadlock with a left-footed shot from close range in the 24th minute.

Douglas Augusto came close to doubling his team’s lead after an hour when his powerful half-volley hit the crossbar. Lafont was decisive again in the 63rd to deny Terem Moffi’s acrobatic kick.

Coach Pierre Aristouy, who helped Nantes avoid relegation last season, was fired on Wednesday and replaced by Jocelyn Gourvennec.

Gourvennec played 109 matches and scored 32 goals for Nantes from 1995-98. He started his coaching career in 2008 and also managed Guingamp and Bordeaux.

LENS BACK TO WINNING WAYS

Just days after getting hammered by Arsenal in the Champions League, Lens inflicted more misery on last-placed Lyon in a 3-2 victory.

Under the helm of interim coach Pierre Sage — who replaced Fabio Grosso this week — Lyon delivered a gritty display that will give the struggling seven-time champions some comfort in their fight against relegation.

Lyon made a strong start and led in the 14th minute from a goal by Jake O’Brien, who later completed a brace.

Wesley Said brought Lens level then Przemyslaw Frankowski gave the “Sang et Or” the lead from the penalty spot.

After O’Brien gave the visitors a glimmer of hope they could bring back a point from their trip to northern France, Frankowski connected with a cross from Ruben Aguilar and scored again with a left-footed shot to lift Lens within one point of fifth-placed Reims.

Unbeaten in their past nine league matches, Lens were thrashed at Arsenal 6-0 midweek for the biggest ever Champions League defeat by a French club.

Grosso were fired on Thursday after less than three months in charge at Lyon, a storied club known for its record run of seven straight league titles from 2002-08. The last time Lyon played in the second division was in 1989.


Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United, giving Southgate a Rashford headache

Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United, giving Southgate a Rashford headache
Updated 03 December 2023
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Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United, giving Southgate a Rashford headache

Gordon sparkles in Newcastle win over Manchester United, giving Southgate a Rashford headache

NEWCASTLE: In Paris, many were keen to compare Newcastle United's Anthony Gordon with Kylian Mbappe. And while the young Scouser was overshadowed by his more storied opponent that night, he showed many, four days later, including Gareth Southgate, there are few more electric forwards in English football right now.

While Marcus Rashford still edges ahead of Gordon in England squads, the time is nearing where questions must be asked about the validity of that call. On Saturday night's evidence, Gordon is head and shoulders the man who should own England's left.

On the day when England's European Championship opponents were announced - they face Serbia, Slovakia and Denmark in Germany in the summer of 2024 - Gordon sparkled providing the only goal in a dominant 1-0 victory over Manchester United. Rashford, like many others in red, wilted in St James' Park's unforgiving atmosphere.

"I couldn't be happier with the players," said Howe. "The performances we put in against three top teams (Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Man United) were brilliant, so that will give us confidence. Then, when we get some players back, we can push on even further.

"(An) Incredible physical and mental effort. The level of technical performance, I don’t think should be underestimated, I thought we dominated the first half and attacked really well down both sides.

"The left side of Tino, Anthony and Joelinton was really productive for us. And on the right side, I thought that was Lewy Miley’s best game for us out of the three which is saying something given how well he played in the other two but I thought he was, especially in the first-half, excellent. He, Miggy (Almiron) and Kieran (Trippier) worked really well down that right hand side so a good balance to the team today."

Gordon was judged by many last summer to be a player who looked an ill-fit for Newcastle's high-intensity, high-pressing style. He's now the main man in the Magpies' front three, after netting his sixth strike of the season. Gordon has now scored seven in his last 21 games for the Magpies, matching his goalscoring tally for the rest of his career combined.

Howe said: "From day one, when he arrived at the club, you could see the passion he had and his desire to achieve and be successful. He puts the work in every day and sometimes we have to go and get him off the training pitch.

"He was very good again up against a very good defender in (Aaron) Wan-Bissaka. Physically he was so good today, it was a really good battle between the two of them.

"I am delighted he is scoring the goals now and getting the recognition he deserves.

"I thought he played really well at the start of the season but every attacker needs to score to get that feeling and the confidence that brings. Not just the goals but he’s getting assists as well, he’s involved in match winning moments. I thought he played really well again today. It was a brilliant cross from Kieran. A good move and good finish."

Gordon was overlooked by Southgate for the recent England internationals, in which only Kieran Trippier was called up from the Newcastle squad. Howe thinks it's only a matter of time before all of that changes.

"I’d agree he’s playing at a very high level and he has done for this season," said the head coach when asked about a possible call up.

"When you come here to watch Anthony, that’s been his level. He’s getting the goals and you need the headlines really if you’re going to force your way into the England squad and the competition he has in those positions.

"There’s a long way to go, I just think he’s got to keep very level and focused on playing well for us then the rest will take of itself."

Another who may well force his way into Southgate's thinking, in a very stacked and competitive department, is full-back Tino Livramento. A star in Paris in the Champions League, the youngster's tireless running down the left was a real feature of the Magpies' win.

Howe said: "Very good in maybe a slightly different way to Paris to when he was having to deal with (Ousmane) Dembele. He was having to play against various opponents but good opponents in Antony and Rashford but he gave them a problem going back the other way which was great to see. His athleticism, pace, speed and positioning, although he’s playing on a side maybe not natural to him, was of the highest level."

The only real negative to take from the encounter was yet another injury to another key player, as Nick Pope was taken off with a shoulder problem.

"It will be a massive blow for us if he is ruled out for any length of time," said Howe. "It looked really innocuous, but that is usually the way and they are normally the more serious ones. You could see he was in distress and it looked like he dislocated his shoulder just diving.

"Martin Dubravka came on in a tricky situation with 10 minutes to go with a narrow lead, which is not nice for any goalkeeper, so I have to compliment him for doing so well."


Nervy Arsenal extend Premier League lead, Burnley score five

Nervy Arsenal extend Premier League lead, Burnley score five
Updated 02 December 2023
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Nervy Arsenal extend Premier League lead, Burnley score five

Nervy Arsenal extend Premier League lead, Burnley score five
  • Bukayo Saka opened the scoring and Arsenal doubled their lead when Oleksandr Zinchenko cut the ball back for Martin Odegaard
  • The home side came agonizingly close to a third goal when Gabriel Martinelli cannoned a shot off the post toward the end of the first half

LONDON: Arsenal survived a late scare against Wolves on Saturday to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League as Burnley lifted themselves off the bottom with a 5-0 trouncing of 10-man Sheffield United.
The big win for Vincent Kompany’s men briefly sent Everton to the foot of the table but Sean Dyche’s team beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 in the evening kick-off to edge clear.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners, brimming with confidence after their 6-0 hammering of Lens in the Champions League in midweek, raced into a 2-0 lead at the Emirates within 13 minutes.
Bukayo Saka opened the scoring and Arsenal doubled their lead when Oleksandr Zinchenko cut the ball back for Martin Odegaard, who picked out the bottom corner as they threatened to run riot.
The home side came agonizingly close to a third goal when Gabriel Martinelli cannoned a shot off the post toward the end of the first half.
But they failed to put the game to bed and were made to sweat when Wolves forward Matheus Cunha found the top corner in the 86th minute to set up a tense finale.
Despite the wobble, Arsenal, last year’s runners-up, held on to win 2-1 and notch their 10th win in 14 league games, which moves them four points clear of champions Manchester City, who host Tottenham on Sunday.
“I can only praise the players,” said Arteta.
“They were excellent. We played against a really good side and generated so much and conceded almost nothing. The scoreline should have been very different. We were very unlucky because we hit the post three times I think.
“At the end we made an error close to the goal — in the Premier League you get punished big time for that. Then it’s game on. Overall I’m really happy with how we performed again.”
At the other end of the table, Burnley put five goals past Sheffield United at Turf Moor.
Jay Rodriguez fired the home side ahead with just 15 seconds on the clock — the fastest goal of the season so far.
Jacob Bruun Larsen extended their lead and Sheffield United’s task was made almost impossible when Oli McBurnie received a second yellow card shortly before the break.
Zeki Amdouni made it 3-0 in the 73rd minute, with Luca Koleosho and Josh Brownhill also finding the net as the floodgates opened.
Paul Heckingbottom’s men are now bottom — stuck on just a single win and they have now conceded five goals or more on three occasions this season.
But Burnley are just two points from safety after only their second win of the season — and Kompany said he hoped the three points would be a launch pad.
“I think the guys have deserved it,” he told the BBC. “They have performed well for a while. This league is brutal.
“I haven’t felt the nerves (from the team). I could barely contain them, they were raring to go. The frustration of last week (conceding two late goals against West Ham) didn’t turn into negativity. It turned into ‘we’ll show people’.”
Luton, just outside the drop zone, sank to a 3-1 defeat at Brentford, with Neal Maupay, Ben Mee and Shandon Baptiste on target for the Bees.
Everton, hit last month with a swingeing 10-point deduction for breaking Premier League financial rules, against which they have appealed, are above Burnley on goal difference.
Dwight McNeil broke the deadlock midway through the second half, smashing the ball into the top corner, as Everton secured a third consecutive away win.
In the late match, Newcastle face Manchester United at St. James’ Park, where a win for either side would lift them to fifth place in the table at the expense of Tottenham.


Euro 2024 draw ceremony interrupted by noises in German concert hall in claimed social media prank

Euro 2024 draw ceremony interrupted by noises in German concert hall in claimed social media prank
Updated 02 December 2023
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Euro 2024 draw ceremony interrupted by noises in German concert hall in claimed social media prank

Euro 2024 draw ceremony interrupted by noises in German concert hall in claimed social media prank
  • The interruption, which seemed to sound like sexual noises, was clearly heard for several minutes
  • A British prankster claimed credit on social media for the stunt

HAMBURG, Germany: The draw ceremony for the European Championship in men’s soccer was disrupted by unexplained noises that competed for attention with the team names being read out on stage on Saturday.
The interruption, which seemed to sound like sexual noises, was clearly heard for several minutes on the ceremony broadcast from a concert hall in Hamburg.
A British prankster claimed credit on social media for the stunt and posted footage of himself making cell phone calls to activate a ring tone in the venue which has excellent accoustics.
UEFA director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti noted the noise in his commentary before continuing with the draw for the last five places for lower-ranked teams in the 24-nation tournament lineup. The sound continued sporadically until the draw was completed.
Similar noises disrupted a BBC live broadcast of an English soccer game in January between Wolverhampton and Liverpool. It turned out to be a prank use of a mobile phone next to the studio.
Euro 2024 is being played in 10 Germany cities from June 14 to July 14.