Man Utd fightback ends Liverpool’s quadruple quest in FA Cup classic

Man Utd fightback ends Liverpool’s quadruple quest in FA Cup classic
Manchester United’s Scott McTominay, right, celebrates with Manchester United’s goalkeeper Andre Onana at full time of the FA Cup quarterfinal soccer match. (AP)
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Updated 17 March 2024
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Man Utd fightback ends Liverpool’s quadruple quest in FA Cup classic

Man Utd fightback ends Liverpool’s quadruple quest in FA Cup classic
  • Twice Erik ten Hag’s men had to stage late comebacks to reach the last four

MANCHESTER: Manchester United ended Liverpool’s quest for a quadruple of trophies in Jurgen Klopp’s final season after Amad Diallo’s winner edged a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final 4-3 after extra-time.
The Ivorian winger was sent off for a second booking after taking his shirt off in celebration at the end of a chaotic 120 minutes that kept United’s chances of ending the season with silverware alive.
Twice Erik ten Hag’s men had to stage late comebacks to reach the last four.
Two goals in three minutes from Alexis Mac Allister and Mohamed Salah toward the end of the first half swung the game in Liverpool’s favor after Scott McTominay opened the scoring.
Antony’s first goal at Old Trafford for more than a year kept United alive to send the game into extra-time.
Liverpool edged in front once again when Harvey Elliott’s deflected shot found the bottom corner.
But Marcus Rashford, who had missed a glorious chance to win the tie deep into injury time, made amends by drilling home to make it 3-3.
Diallo then scored just his second ever United goal in added time of extra-time at the end of a breakneck counter-attack from a Liverpool corner, led by the impressive Alejandro Garnacho.
United trail Liverpool by 17 points in the Premier League and having made an early exit from both the Champions League and League Cup, the pressure was on Ten Hag if he is to remain in charge for a third season.
The home team started like a side who knew their season depended on victory as they flew out of the traps and got their reward.
Garnacho’s effort was saved by Caoimhin Kelleher but only looped up for McTominay to blast home his ninth goal of the season.
Liverpool have had a far more intense schedule in recent weeks than United as they remain in three competitions, having already lifted the League Cup last month.
Klopp’s men took half an hour to awake from their slumber, but once they did were far more effective in the final third.
The visitors turned the tie around in the dying embers of the first half as Mac Allister’s deflected strike had too much power for Andre Onana.
Three minutes later, Liverpool led as Salah struck once more against his favored opponents.
United pleaded in vain for a foul on Bruno Fernandes by Joe Gomez and Salah was left with a simple task to knock in his 13th goal in 14 games against United after Onana parried Darwin Nunez’s initial effort.
Liverpool enjoyed far more control of the game after the break but they were also guilty of not taking their chances to kill the game off.
Onana kept his side in the game by parrying efforts from Dominik Szoboszlai and a piledriver from Nunez.
United were blunt and lacking ideas going forward as they chased the game until Antony became an unlikely hero.
The Brazilian had scored just once in his previous 38 games but showed no sign of a lack of confidence as he spun and fired into the far corner three minutes from time.
Liverpool nearly responded immediately as Elliott’s miscued cross came back off the post.
At the other end, Rashford should have completed the comeback as, after taking a brilliant first touch to cushion the ball into his path, he slotted wide with just Kelleher to beat.
A frenetic encounter continued to rage from end-to-end in extra-time as Elliott’s deflected effort looked set to again put Liverpool into the last four.
But United did not lie down as Rashford was more deadly when handed a second chance after Nunez gave the ball away deep inside his own half.
And as Liverpool sensed the chance to win it form a corner at the death, Garnacho broke clear and timed his pass to Diallo to perfection before he fired in off the far post.


Germany warns of Islamist threat on eve of Euro 2024 tournament

Germany warns of Islamist threat on eve of Euro 2024 tournament
Updated 13 June 2024
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Germany warns of Islamist threat on eve of Euro 2024 tournament

Germany warns of Islamist threat on eve of Euro 2024 tournament
  • “Our focus of course is above all on the threat of Islamist terrorism, hooligans and their offenses, everyday crime, violent criminals, but this time also on cyber-attacks,” Faeser said
  • Groups such as Daesh have already called for attacks at the month-long tournament

BERLIN: Germany welcomed police officers from across Europe on Thursday to bolster its defenses against potential threats at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament, with Interior Minister Nancy Faeser promising vigilance on the eve of the opening match.
“Our focus of course is above all on the threat of Islamist terrorism, hooligans and their offenses, everyday crime, violent criminals, but this time also on cyber-attacks,” Faeser said at a ceremony for around 350 foreign police officers dispatched for the event.
Groups such as Daesh have already called for attacks at the month-long tournament, which begins with the host country’s Group A opener against Scotland on Friday.
“Our security authorities therefore have the Islamist scene firmly in their sights,” Faeser said, while adding that authorities were not currently aware of any specific plots.
Germany expects 2.7 million people to attend matches in stadiums across the country and some 12 million in its fan zones for outdoor viewing, including on a long stretch of turf laid out in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.
The fan zones were popular during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but it remains to be seen whether the public mood at this event can rise above simmering tensions at a time of conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East, and as the far right sees its support surge in Europe.
“Some people are trying to bring these conflicts into our country,” the minister warned, adding that propaganda and hate speech on German streets would not be tolerated.
Some 22,000 police officers will be working each day at the tournament.
German security authorities are also working with international partners to identify potential threats and the country has ramped up its border controls.


Messi to miss Olympics but leaves door open for 2026 World Cup

Messi to miss Olympics but leaves door open for 2026 World Cup
Updated 13 June 2024
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Messi to miss Olympics but leaves door open for 2026 World Cup

Messi to miss Olympics but leaves door open for 2026 World Cup
  • Messi, who turns 37 on June 24, will be with defending champions Argentina at the Copa America from June 20 to July 14 in the United States, just a few weeks before the Olympics start on July 26

MIAMI: Eight-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has confirmed in an interview with US broadcaster ESPN that he will not attempt to win a second gold medal with Argentina at the Paris Olympics this summer.
“I spoke with (Argentinian Olympic coach Javier) Mascherano, and we immediately agreed on the situation,” Inter Miami forward Messi said in the interview broadcast on Wednesday.
“It’s a difficult moment, because there’s the Copa America, and that would mean two or three consecutive months away from my club.
“At my age, I don’t want to play everything and I need to make the right choices,” added the former Barcelona star who was a member of Argentina’s 2008 Olympic gold medal winning team.
Messi, who turns 37 on June 24, will be with defending champions Argentina at the Copa America from June 20 to July 14 in the United States, just a few weeks before the Olympics start on July 26.
Messi, however, has not closed the door on taking part in a record-breaking sixth World Cup, to be held in 2026 between the US, Canada and Mexico.
“It’s great to have records and continue to achieve things but I won’t take part in a World Cup just to say I’ve done six,” said Messi.
“If I feel good and everything is in place for me to be there, fine, but I won’t go just to go.”
“It’s very difficult to imagine what can happen because it’s still two years away. I don’t need to commit right now to whether or not I’ll be there.”


Team Falcons emerge champions in Saudi qualifier for Esports World Cup

Team Falcons emerge champions in Saudi qualifier for Esports World Cup
Updated 13 June 2024
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Team Falcons emerge champions in Saudi qualifier for Esports World Cup

Team Falcons emerge champions in Saudi qualifier for Esports World Cup
  • The Honor of Kings Invitational Midseason-Esports World Cup will take place in Riyadh from July 4 to Aug. 25

RIYADH: Team Falcons have guaranteed their spot at the $3-million Honor of Kings Invitational Midseason-Esports World Cup in Riyadh from July 4 to Aug. 25.

Team Falcons demonstrated their dominance in the Saudi Arabia qualifier, with Luban emerging as their best player.

They overcame rival Saudi Arabia esports clubs including Twisted Minds, R8 Esports, Geekay Esports, Onyx Ravens, RTG (Road to Glory), The Vicious, Dragons, and GS Team.

The tournament was broadcast live from June 9 to 11 on the official Honor of Kings Arabia channels and within the “Honor of Kings” game.

The “Honor of Kings” game has become the world’s most popular mobile multiplayer online battle arena contest. It has over 200 million registered users and more than 100 million daily players.

The free-to-play game was launched in the Middle East and North Africa in February 2024.


Germany braced for Euro 2024 kick-off with France, England the favorites

Germany braced for Euro 2024 kick-off with France, England the favorites
Updated 13 June 2024
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Germany braced for Euro 2024 kick-off with France, England the favorites

Germany braced for Euro 2024 kick-off with France, England the favorites
  • Germans are hoping for a repeat of 2006
  • England have never been European champions

MUNICH: Euro 2024 kicks off on Friday in Germany as the continent’s footballing heavyweights prepare to fight it out over the next month with the aim of taking the crown away from reigning champions Italy.
Germany play Scotland in the opening game in Munich and the host nation are hoping their journey will continue all the way to the final in Berlin on July 14.
It is the first time the country has hosted a major men’s international tournament since the 2006 World Cup, and it is a mouth-watering setting after the underwhelming nature of the last European Championship.
Euro 2020 was delayed by a year because of the pandemic, finally taking place in 2021 in front of limited crowds.
It was also staged in cities all across the continent, from Seville to Baku, and those factors stripped away much of what makes these tournaments so special.
This time all supporters will descend on Germany, where matches will be played in 10 stadiums, from Hamburg in the north to Munich in the south.
Germans are hoping for a repeat of 2006, when many fell in love with their national team again after a period in the doldrums similar to what they have experienced in the years leading up to this competition.
Philipp Lahm, the captain of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team and now Euro 2024 tournament director, also hopes the competition will bring people together at a time of division and disunity across the continent.
The tournament begins less than a week after far-right parties made significant gains in EU parliament elections, while Europe is still dealing with the crisis of the war in Ukraine.
“I hope at the very least the Euro will lead to a more united Germany again,” said Lahm.
A good performance by Germany on the field would help, and the outlook is more positive for Julian Nagelsmann’s team now than a few months ago.
A group also containing Hungary and Switzerland should be straightforward enough given the quality in Germany’s ranks, from veteran playmaker Toni Kroos to younger stars Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala.
“We have gone through difficult phases as a national team, but something big can happen here,” Musiala, of Bayern Munich, told Sportbild.
However, there are good reasons why France and England are so strongly fancied to raise aloft the Henri Delaunay trophy on July 14.
France are Europe’s top-ranked nation and have been in the last two World Cup finals. Fresh from sealing his move to Real Madrid, Kylian Mbappe is eager to make up for a disappointing showing at the last Euros, when his penalty miss sealed a shoot-out defeat to Switzerland in the last 16.
“Kylian is our captain and a great leader. We will need him to be at his best,” admitted France coach Didier Deschamps.
England have never been European champions, although they came mightily close in 2021 when they lost the final on penalties to Italy.
Optimism about their prospects this time is fueled by the fact that star players Harry Kane, of Bayern, and Jude Bellingham, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, should feel so at home on German soil.
“We want to make history,” said England midfielder Declan Rice this week.
“We say it all the time, but genuinely we have a group, a manager, that really believes. We have a confidence that we can go there and do something really special.”
England begin their tournament against Serbia on Sunday in Gelsenkirchen, home of fallen German giants Schalke 04.
The French and English will be on course to meet in the semifinals if they both top their groups.
The prospect of Italy — who are in the same group as Spain — successfully defending their title seems slightly remote, but it would be foolish to rule them out.
“This Italy team is underrated and very competitive,” insisted legendary former Azzurri goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Portugal, champions in 2016, are genuine contenders even if they are still led by Cristiano Ronaldo, now aged 39 and playing club football in Saudi Arabia.
This Euros is the third since the competition was expanded to feature 24 teams, a move that has afforded a chance to some smaller nations, including Georgia, debutants this time.
However, injuries at the end of a long season are taking their toll on some leading players.
Frenkie de Jong, the Barcelona and Netherlands playmaker, has been ruled out with an ankle injury, while his club colleague Robert Lewandowski will not play in Poland’s opening match due to a thigh problem.


Pulisic, Turner rescue US in 1-1 draw with Brazil

Pulisic, Turner rescue US in 1-1 draw with Brazil
Updated 13 June 2024
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Pulisic, Turner rescue US in 1-1 draw with Brazil

Pulisic, Turner rescue US in 1-1 draw with Brazil
  • US skipper Christian Pulisic’s rasping first half free-kick ensured a share of the spoils for Gregg Berhalter’s side
  • US goalkeeper Matt Turner was the hero for the hosts, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep Brazil at bay

ORLANDO, Florida: The US bounced back from their 5-1 defeat to Colombia to earn a morale-boosting 1-1 draw with Brazil in their final warmup game before the Copa America on Wednesday.

US skipper Christian Pulisic’s rasping first half free kick ensured a share of the spoils for Gregg Berhalter’s side after Brazil had taken the lead through Real Madrid striker Rodrygo at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium.

Berhalter, who faced calls to resign after watching his team get dismantled by Colombia on Saturday, had challenged his players to deliver an improved performance against the five-time World Cup winners.

Berhalter’s men responded with a dogged display that made them well worth their first-ever draw against Brazil after 18 defeats in 19 previous meetings.

US goalkeeper Matt Turner was the hero for the hosts, pulling off a string of fine saves to keep Brazil at bay.

At the other end, Brazil keeper Alisson twice denied what might have been winning goals for the US late in the game, saving from Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson in quick succession.

Earlier, an entertaining first half saw the US start brightly with two promising early chances that signalled a willingness to attack.

Yunus Musah was the first to threaten Brazil’s goal in the fifth minute, unleashing a ferocious shot from just outside the area which cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and almost ricocheted off Alisson and into the net.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was pressed into action moments later, saving smartly from Pulisic after the US captain surged forward from midfield and shot from long range.

But after those early scares Brazil settled down and the movement of Real Madrid duo Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo combined with Raphinha on the right flank was a constant menace to the US back four.

Rodrygo almost fired Brazil into the lead in the seventh minute but saw his shot from just inside the area saved by Turner after patient approach play by the South Americans.

Vinicius then shot over after Raphinha bamboozled Antonee Robinson wide on the right flank. Vinicius was soon tormenting the US again in the 17th minute, cleverly turning Joe Scally to go clear and bear down on goal.

Once again though Turner was equal to the challenge, narrowing the angle and blocking to frustrate Brazil again.

Yet Brazil did not have long to wait for the breakthrough. A poor goalkick by Turner handed possession to Brazil deep inside US territory and Raphinha picked out Rodrygo who took one touch to control before drilling a low finish into the bottom corner.

At that stage Brazil looked poised to overrun the US, and American fans were given more nervous moments when Raphinha curled a shot over the bar before Rodrygo went in on goal only to be denied by Turner again.

Yet the US refused to wilt and on 24 minutes Pulisic accelerated into space on the edge of the Brazil area before being fouled by Joao Gomes to win a free kick in a dangerous position.

Pulisic duly took full advantage from the set piece, driving a venomous low strike into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

An end-to-end second half saw Brazil continue to threaten, yet it was the US who came closest to breaking the deadlock.

A counter-attack culminated with Weston McKennie picking out Pulisic in space inside the area, only for the US captain to aim his shot too close to Alisson, who reflexively dived to his left to stop a certain goal.