Injury blow as Green Falcons prepare for Asian qualifiers

Injury blow as Green Falcons prepare for Asian qualifiers
An injury to winger Salem Al-Dawsari has hit the Saudi national team’s preparation in Al-Ahsa for the second stage of Asian qualifiers to the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup. (Supplied)
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Updated 14 November 2023
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Injury blow as Green Falcons prepare for Asian qualifiers

Injury blow as Green Falcons prepare for Asian qualifiers
  • Winger Salem Al-Dawsari to miss the action due to an ankle injury
  • Hassan Al-Tambakti back in training with teammates

AL-AHSA: An injury to winger Salem Al-Dawsari has hit the Saudi national team’s preparation in Al-Ahsa for the second stage of Asian qualifiers to the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup.
The Green Falcons’ head coach Roberto Mancini has given Al-Dawsari permission to leave the side’s training camp to receive treatment on an ankle injury that the player received while playing for Al-Hilal against Al-Taawoun.
The player was ruled unfit to participate in upcoming qualification matches following checks by the team’s medical staff, and will now receive treatment at his club.
However, Al-Hilal’s Hassan Al-Tambakti is back in training after suffering health issues on Monday, although teammate Yasser Al-Shahrani was missing from the session due to muscle pain.
The Green Falcons were expected to continue their program with an evening training session at Al-Fateh Sports Club at 5:30 p.m.


Fernandes double not enough for Man Utd win at Bournemouth

Fernandes double not enough for Man Utd win at Bournemouth
Updated 13 April 2024
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Fernandes double not enough for Man Utd win at Bournemouth

Fernandes double not enough for Man Utd win at Bournemouth
  • A point leaves United still 10 adrift of Aston Villa and Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish with six games to go
  • The Red Devils have now won just once in their last seven Premier League games to leave Erik ten Hag’s future as United boss next season in doubt

BOURNEMOUTH, United Kingdom: Manchester United’s chances of Champions League football next season took another battering as Bruno Fernandes’ double could only salvage a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on Saturday.
Twice the Cherries led through Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert and Bournemouth were denied the opportunity to win the game at the death after a controversial VAR review overturned the decision to award the home side a penalty.
A point leaves United still 10 adrift of Aston Villa and Tottenham in the race for a top-four finish with six games to go.
The Red Devils have now won just once in their last seven Premier League games to leave Erik ten Hag’s future as United boss next season in doubt.
Once again it was United’s defensive deficiencies that were exploited as Bournemouth just missed out on a famous double after winning 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season.
French teenager Willy Kambwala kept his place at center-back with Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof among those absent due to injury.
But Kambwala had a moment to forget for the opening goal as his slip allowed Solanke to pick his spot and fire home his 19th goal of the season.
United had barely threatened as an attacking force before they levelled against the run of play on 31 minutes.
Alejandro Garnacho’s deflected cross fell perfectly into the path of Fernandes to volley into the roof of the net.
Bournemouth were back in front within five minutes as this time Kluivert took advantage of the acres of space offered by the United defense inside the box to drill low past Andre Onana.
Ten Hag’s future as United boss becomes more unsure with every passing week and poor performance.
However, the Dutchman was rewarded for a daring change at half-time as he replaced Garnacho with Amad Diallo.
The Ivorian winger shot to fame with an extra-time winner against Liverpool in a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final last month.
And he helped earn the visitors a point as his deflected shot was handled by Adam Smith inside the area.
Fernandes stepped up to slot the resulting penalty past Neto.
Bournemouth thought they had a spot-kick of their own deep into stoppage time when Kambwala blocked Ryan Christie’s charge into the box.
After a penalty was initially awarded, VAR intervened to say the foul had taken place just outside the box.
A point leaves Bournemouth still in 12th, eight points adrift of United in the European places.


Haaland scores as Man City rout Luton 5-1 to go top of the Premier League

Haaland scores as Man City rout Luton 5-1 to go top of the Premier League
Updated 13 April 2024
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Haaland scores as Man City rout Luton 5-1 to go top of the Premier League

Haaland scores as Man City rout Luton 5-1 to go top of the Premier League
  • Arsenal host Aston Villa on Sunday, when Liverpool take on Crystal Palace
  • With City still in contention for a second straight treble of major trophies, manager Pep Guardiola took the opportunity to rotate his squad

MANCHESTER, England: Manchester City kept up the pressure on Arsenal and Liverpool with an emphatic 5-1 victory over relegation-threatened Luton on Saturday that put the defending champion back atop the English Premier League.
An early own goal from Daiki Hashioka gave City the lead at Etihad Stadium before a fierce shot by Mateo Kovacic and a penalty by Erling Haaland put the game beyond doubt after the break.
Luton earned a consolation goal through Ross Barkley in the 81st but Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol added late goals to wrap up the win, which lifted City two points above Arsenal and Liverpool.
Arsenal host Aston Villa on Sunday, when Liverpool take on Crystal Palace.
With City still in contention for a second straight treble of major trophies, manager Pep Guardiola took the opportunity to rotate his squad and left key midfielder Rodri on the bench after the Spaniard said publicly he needed a rest.
Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva and John Stones also were rested ahead of Real Madrid’s visit on Wednesday in the return leg of their Champions League quarterfinal. But goalkeeper Ederson returned to replace Stefan Ortega and Kevin De Bruyne was back after an illness.
It was a bit of luck, though, that gave City the opener inside two minutes.
Haaland attempted an acrobatic volley after his initial shot was saved, but the ball was heading well wide until it took a huge deflection off Hashioka’s head and ended up in the net.
But Luton defended with great determination and the second goal didn’t come until just after the hour when Kovavic unleashed an unstoppable effort from the edge of the area following a corner.
Doku then won a penalty after being brought down in the area and Haaland calmly sent Thomas Kaminski the wrong way to register his 31st goal of the season in all competitions, but only his second in six games.
Barkley robbed Nunes to pull one back but City finished with a flourish.
Doku claimed the fourth after weaving through the area in the 87th and Gvardiol followed up his fine strike against Madrid with another stunner in stoppage time.


Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party

Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party
Updated 13 April 2024
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Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party

Bayern beat Cologne to delay Leverkusen title party
  • Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel made seven changes to his side ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final second leg against Arsenal
  • Mueller added a second to seal the result in the third minute of stoppage time

MUNICH: Bayern Munich defender Raphael Guerreiro struck a brilliant second-half goal and Thomas Mueller scored late to beat Cologne 2-0 on Saturday, delaying Bayer Leverkusen’s Bundesliga title party to Sunday at the earliest.
Bayern’s win means Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen, who are 13 points clear of the Bavarians, need to beat Werder Bremen at home on Sunday to lift the Bundesliga trophy for the first time.
Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel made seven changes to his side ahead of Wednesday’s quarter-final second leg against Arsenal, with Harry Kane and Mathys Tel hitting the woodwork in the first half.
Former Borussia Dortmund player Guerreiro, starting at left-back ahead of Alphonso Davies, unleashed a curling shot from outside the box which broke the deadlock after 65 minutes.
Mueller added a second to seal the result in the third minute of stoppage time.
Dortmund and RB Leipzig continued their battle for fourth place — the final guaranteed Champions League spot — with both winning to stay level on points ahead of their clash in Saxony in late April.
Dortmund were reduced to 10 men and made to hold on to a 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach after Karim Adeyemi was sent off after picking up a second yellow with 35 minutes remaining.
Dortmund were in control after a first-half brace from Marcel Sabitzer, the second from the penalty spot, gave them a two-goal lead after 28 minutes.
Gladbach pulled one back late in the first half when Maximilian Woeber took advantage of some sleepy Dortmund defending from a corner.
Adeyemi, who won a penalty on 48 minutes but had it overturned by VAR, was dismissed seven minutes later after tripping Stefan Lainer.
Leipzig, who sit ahead of Dortmund on goal difference, won 3-0 at home over Wolfsburg thanks to goals from Dani Olmo, Benjamin Sesko and Lois Openda.
The victory came just days after surprisingly poaching Wolfsburg’s sporting director Marcel Schaefer, who won the title with the Wolves as a player in 2009.
Mainz boosted their chances of beating the drop, coming from behind to beat Hoffenheim 4-1 with four second-half goals to pull one point behind Bochum, who drew 1-1 at home with Heidenheim.
Bochum sit in 15th, the final safe spot, after Keven Schlotterbeck scored an own goal but then headed in the equalizer for the hosts in the final minute.
Later on Saturday, Stuttgart can draw level on points with second-placed Bayern with a win when they host Eintracht Frankfurt.


Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona

Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona
Updated 13 April 2024
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Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona

Griezmann strikes twice as Atletico sink Girona
  • Girona took the lead in Madrid with a fourth-minute goal from close range by Artem Dovbyk that took him on to a league-leading 17 goals.
  • Griezmann responded by converting a 34th-minute penalty

MADRID: Atletico Madrid on Saturday completed a good four days as they followed their Champions League quarter-final first-leg victory over Borussia Dortmund with a 3-1 Spanish La Liga victory over third-placed Girona.
Antoine Griezmann scored twice as Diego Simeone’s men moved to within four points of their opponents and pulled five clear of fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao in the race for Champions League qualification.
The Basques play Villarreal on Sunday.
Atletico won the home leg of their European tie 2-1 on Wednesday and visit Dortmund for the second leg on Tuesday.
Girona took the lead in Madrid with a fourth-minute goal from close range by Artem Dovbyk that took him on to a league-leading 17 goals.
Griezmann responded by converting a 34th-minute penalty.
Angel Correa then gave the home side the lead six minutes into added time at the end of the first half.
Griezmann extended his lead five minutes into the second half, taking advantage of a defensive error to fire home his 13th league goal of the season.
With an eye on the game in Germany, the France attacker was then replaced shortly after the hour mark by Marcos Llorente.
Girona’s fifth defeat away from home, gives Barcelona, buoyed by their midweek 3-2 Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain, the chance to tighten their grip on second when they visit struggling Cadiz in the last game of the day.
Real Madrid, eight points clear at the top, play at Mallorca later on Saturday.


Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race

Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race
Updated 13 April 2024
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Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race

Newcastle hit Tottenham for four to enliven Champions League race
  • Spurs’ lead over the Magpies is cut to 10 points with six games remaining, but Newcastle have a far easier run-in
  • Eddie Howe was forced into a switch to a back three due to Newcastle’s abundance of injuries in defense

NEWCASTLE, United Kingdom: Newcastle stormed into the Premier League’s top six as Alexander Isak scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Tottenham to rekindle their outside hopes of a place in next season’s Champions League.
Spurs’ lead over the Magpies is cut to 10 points with six games remaining, but Newcastle have a far easier run-in.
Tottenham conceded five times in the opening 21 minutes of a 6-1 humiliation on their last visit to St. James’ Park and were outmuscled and outclassed once more on Tyneside.
Eddie Howe was forced into a switch to a back three due to Newcastle’s abundance of injuries in defense.
But the home side’s makeshift backline was rarely troubled after Timo Werner skewed an effort wide in a bright start by the visitors.
The game swung decisively in Newcastle’s favor thanks to two goals in two minutes thanks to two errors from Micky van de Ven midway through the first half.
The Dutch center-back has been one of the signings of the season for Spurs, but had an afternoon to forget.
Van de Ven’s first slip allowed Isak to smash home from Anthony Gordon’s pass to open the scoring.
Straight from kick-off, Van de Ven fell over again as he tried to reach Pedro Porro’s backpass and Gordon took full advantage to score his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign.
Newcastle could have had more before the break as Destiny Udogie’s last-ditch challenge denied Isak a second before the Swedish striker headed over from a corner.
But any doubt over the outcome was dismissed six minutes into the second period when Isak again beat Van de Ven to Bruno Guimaraes’ long ball over the top and slotted home.
Isak is now only two behind Erling Haaland’s 19 Premier League goals in the race to win the Golden Boot.
Ange Postecoglou showed his dismay with the Spurs display as captain Son Heung-min was hauled off in a triple substitution before the hour mark.
The visitors also lost right-back Porro to injury to rub salt into the wounds of what could be a damaging day for their hopes of a return to the Champions League next season.
A poor week for English clubs in European competitions means that a place in the top four may be needed to qualify for the Champions League.
Spurs slip behind fourth-placed Aston Villa on goal difference.
But Tottenham have all three of the title contenders — Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City — to play in their final six games, while Villa face both Arsenal and Liverpool.
Postecoglou warned on the eve of the game that Newcastle’s struggles this season show how the demands of European football can drain a squad’s resources.
Yet they could still sneak back into the top four with a strong end to the campaign.
Fabian Schar inflicted the final blow when he rose highest to power in Gordon’s corner three minutes from time.