Majestic Mata inspires Manchester United to first Champions League win in 18 months

first_img1 Juan Mata Juan Mata scored one and set up the other as Manchester United recovered from a goal down to pick up their first victory in the Champions League proper since March 2014 with a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg.The Bundesliga side went ahead after just four minutes at Old Trafford as Daniel Caligiuri beat the offside trap to slip past David De Gea.United pressed hard for an equaliser and it came before half-time through Mata’s penalty after Caligiuri had handled.The Spaniard then turned provider with an outrageous piece of skill for Chris Smalling to strike the winner after the break and, despite substitute Andre Schurrle’s late chance, the Red Devils held on for a vital three points.With United seeking to recover after a 2-1 defeat to PSV on Matchday 1, it was the visitors who exposed the Red Devils’ flimsy defence to steal an early lead.Antonio Valencia, never the most natural right-back, failed to step up with the rest of the home backline, allowing Caligiuri to confidently finish past De Gea with no player in red within yards of him.United’s response was impressive though, and Mata looked destined to find the far corner but saw his curling effort cleared away by a last-ditch dive from Dante.Anthony Martial was in sparkling form yet again after his exhilarating start to his United career, and he showed individual inspiration to jink past a few Wolfsburg defenders before firing narrowly wide.The French teenager then raced to the byline and squared for Wayne Rooney, who inexplicably blazed over with the goal at his mercy.United did level proceedings just after the half hour mark and it was goalscorer Caligiuri who became the villain, handling Mata’s cross before the Spaniard coolly dispatched the resultant spot-kick.Mata then brilliantly engineered a chance for Memphis Depay, but the Dutchman was denied by Diego Benaglio’s feet to maintain parity at the break.Eight minutes into the second half, Mata produced a sublime piece of improvisation to scoop a through ball to Smalling who steered past the despairing Benaglio.United’s intensity then dropped drastically after edging ahead, and former Chelsea man Schurrle nearly made them pay for their complacency but could only drag wide after twisting and turning past Daley Blind.While Rooney had a relatively quiet night in front of goal, the United captain made a vital block to clear Dante’s goal-bound effort as the Bundesliga runners-up pushed in vain for a late leveller.In the other match in Group B, CSKA Moscow survived a late fightback from PSV Eindhoven to win 3-2 in Russia, meaning all four sides are level on three points after two games.last_img read more

Europa League: Monaco 1-1 Tottenham – Stephan El Shaarawy denies Spurs laboured victory

first_imgStephan El Shaarawy scored late on to deny Tottenham a laboured victory against Monaco in the Europa League.A dull first half was eventually lit up with a good goal on the break from Spurs which was both started and finished by Erik Lamela.As the game looked like it was petering out, El Shaarawy pounced and scored to set up a frantic finish.And Monaco might have won it if not for a last-ditch Danny Rose challenge, but Mauricio Pochettino’s men held on for the draw.It was a low-key start from both sides with neither making any inroads into the opposing half as Spurs were limited to some hopeful crossing from Rose.But Spurs burst into life after 20 minutes when Harry Kane evaded the Monaco goalkeeper before laying the ball back to Nacer Chadli, who tried to dink the ball over the covering defenders but his effort landed on the roof of the net.Another stale 15 minutes ensued but on 35 minutes Tottenham broke the deadlock with a lightning-quick breakaway goal.Lamela started the move on the right wing before Chadli took over, skipping past two men to set up Dele Alli who saw his shot saved, only for the Argentine forward to follow up into an empty net.There was a heart-in-mouth moment for Toby Alderweireld when Thomas Lemar’s dangerous cross deflected off the Belgian before flying a yard wide of the post as Spurs went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.If the first half began quietly, then the second half began even more so with the only action of note was Rose getting his hand trodden on – accidently – leaving it covered in blood.In truth, the majority of the half was a non-event but in the 78th minute, Spurs broke again as Kane played in to substitute Clinton Njie but the Cameroonian had strayed just offside.Moments later he was made to pay as Monaco drew level through a substitute of their own – El Shaarawy.The on-loan AC Milan forward headed past Hugo Lloris from close range after a brilliant cross from Nabil Dirar.And the hosts were a left boot away from taking the lead a minute later as Rose put in a brilliant last ditch tackle to deny Andre Carrillo a tap-in into an empty net.Both sides pushed for a late winner but it didn’t come as the points were shared among the two Group J sides. Erik Lamela 1last_img read more

Five goals in 20 minutes, a penalty save, a red card – PL round-up

first_img1 There were a lot of happy Fantasy Premier League managers after Sergio Aguero’s performance…Aston Villa 0-1 StokeA chorus of boos greeted the home side at the final whistle, with some fans rounding on manager Tim Sherwood. The only goal of the game came from Marko Arnautovic, who put Stoke ahead ten minutes into the second half.Bournemouth 1-1 WatfordGlenn Murray scored his first goal for Bournemouth, heading in from Matt Ritchie’s cross, but there was farcical goalkeeping from Artur Boruc for Watford’s equaliser. His attempted pass, with no danger around, was intercepted by Odion Ighalo who slotted the ball into an empty net. At the other end, Heurelho Gomes saved a Murray penalty to keep the scores level.Man City 6-1 NewcastleSergio Aguero scored five goals in 20 minutes as Man City hammered Newcastle at the Etihad. Kevin De Bruyne scored the other, though Newcastle actually took the lead through Aleksander Mitrovic, with Aguero hitting back just before the break. He was given a standing ovation when substituted on 66 minutes.Norwich 1-2 LeicesterEven though Riyad Mahrez began on the bench, Leicester managed to win without their goal scoring midfielder. Jamie Vardy scored his seventh goal of the season, putting the visitors ahead from the penalty spot. Jeffrey Schlupp doubled the lead right at the start of the second half, but Norwich really fought for that equaliser after Dieumerci Mbokani pulled a goal back but they couldn’t find a way through.Sunderland 2-2 West HamWest Ham were stunned by Sunderland who scored two early goals, courtesy of Steven Fletcher and Jeremain Lens, however, just before half-time Carl Jenkinson pulled one back for the Hammers. Lens was then sent off in the second half, forcing the Black Cats to play half an hour with ten men. Dimitri Payet then made the hosts pay when Costel Pantilimon spilled Manuel Lanzini’s shot. Sergio Aguero last_img read more

Liverpool and Tottenham summer signings must start in what could be crucial games this week

first_img1 Danny Ings Stephen Tudor of TheDaisyCutter.co.uk explains why England’s final Euro qualifiers, despite being ‘dead rubbers’, could be vital for the national team.With England’s passage to next summer’s European Championship secured, Roy Hodgson must be sorely tempted to utilise the full depth of his squad against Estonia and Lithuania this week and introduce his newest recruits to the pressure and demands of international football.It is an opportunity he would be remiss to pass up.Even with eight months to go before the tournament gets underway, it is possible to predict Hodgson’s starting XI and he is deserving of credit for successfully balancing a qualifying campaign with establishing a system familiar to and favoured by his key personnel.That however does not take into account the inevitable loss of form from some and injuries to others that will surely occur between now and June 2016.The expected presence of Joe Hart between the sticks at Wembley this Friday evening is a prime example of the England manager’s tendency to over-rely on an individual, a strategy that could ultimately prove costly.The Manchester City stopper has been in fine form this season and once again showed his class in City’s recent Champions League win in Monchengladbach. He is clearly head and shoulders above his rivals for the number one jersey and a guaranteed starter in France.Yet in the thousands of hours of top level football Hart will play between now and then it is perfectly conceivable he will succumb to injury and that wholly unwelcome scenario would present a further sting in the tail.The queue to replace him is worryingly short and even collectively there is a dearth of experience. The most likely stand-in, Stoke City’s Jack Butland, presently boasts only 45 minutes of full international duty and it would be far from ideal to throw the 22 year old into a major tournament with only that under his belt.Granted there will be friendlies for Roy to assess those on the fringes – most notably against Spain and France next month – but what this weekend affords competitive fixtures that amount to nothing to lose but pride. For any manager looking to experiment that‘s the best of both worlds and at the risk of hubris it also helps that they are eminently winnable. This then surely represents the perfect opportunity to blood debutants Danny Ings and the exciting Dele Alli, while offering a further chance for Butland, Shelvey and Vardy to find their feet on the international stage.Whereas if Hart, Milner and Sterling start against Estonia it will achieve little more than telling us things we already know while sticking an extra cap in their cabinets.With our passport to France attained now is the time to begin preparations and first and foremost that means strengthening the peripheries of a squad that might well be stretched come June.Success in any tournament always comes at a price. It’s time for Roy to start saving up for the unexpected.To read more from Stephen Tudor, follow @TheDaisyCutter1 on Twitterlast_img read more

Mourinho sack, Man United £130m signings, Ronaldo move, Kane £50m fee – Sunday paper gossip

first_img1 Here is a selection of the top stories from today’s Sunday newspapers.Jose Mourinho is close to the sack as Chelsea manager, with Blues owner Roman Abramovich preparing a £9.5m pay-off for the Portuguese. (Sunday Mirror) Mourinho, however, insists that Chelsea continue to back him and he is wants to stay and turn things round. (Sunday Express) The Blues will reportedly give Mourinho just two more games to save his job. (Sun on Sunday) Manchester United want Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale in January, with goalkeeper David de Gea potentially part of any deal. (Sunday People) United are also linked with a £40m bid for Lazio’s 22-year-old midfielder Felipe Anderson. (Sunday Mirror) Bayern Munich want Tottenham’s £50m-rated striker Harry Kane next season. (Sun on Sunday) Paris St-Germain captain Thiago Silva is trying to talk Cristiano Ronaldo into signing for the French champions in 2016. (L’Equipe) Arsene Wenger has told his former player, Remi Garde, to take the Aston Villa job. (Mail on Sunday)Real Madrid have held talks with Chelsea star Eden Hazard. (Don Balon) Pep Guardiola is in talks with Manchester City to become the Premier League leaders’ manager next season. (Sunday Express) Transfer rumours and paper review – Sunday, November 1 last_img read more

England youth international and Everton youngster sent on loan to League Two outfit Cambridge United

first_img Ryan Ledson recently featured for England’s U19s against Japan Everton teen ace Ryan Ledson has joined Cambridge United on loan for the next six weeks.The 18-year-old has come through the ranks at Everton and made his first-team debut last December in the 1-0 Europa League defeat to FK Krasnodar.And now the England youth international is set for more senior football after linking up with Shaun Derry’s side until January 3.The midfielder could make his Us debut against Accrington Stanley on Saturday. 1last_img

Arsenal boost! Danny Welbeck steps closer to first-team return with Under-21s outing

first_img Danny Welbeck 1 Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck took a step closer to a first-team return by playing an hour of Arsenal’s Under-21 encounter with Brighton on Friday.The England international has been out for almost ten months with a knee injury, having undergone surgery in September for the problem he initially suffered in April.Welbeck, who moved to Arsenal from Manchester United in the summer of 2014, has therefore not turned out for the first-team this season but continued on his path of recovery by playing 60 minutes of an Under-21 League clash at Arsenal’s London Colney training base.The Gunners led 3-0 when Welbeck was replaced by Josh Dasilva but the England international did not manage to get himself on the scoresheet – although he did play for longer than Wenger had anticipated.Talking about the striker’s return ahead of the game, Wenger said he hopes to have Welbeck back in first-team contention in as little as three weeks.“I believe that he needs to play two or three games before thinking about coming back into the first team,” the Frenchman said at his weekly press conference.“He has not played for ten months so we need to be patient with him. He has good basic fitness but after it is competitive decision-making and he needs to get used to that again.“We can organise games internally without being official games and I think in the next three weeks he should be available.”last_img read more

Sunderland boss Allardyce: Adam Johnson continued to protest his innocence

first_img Adam Johnson faces a lengthy spell in jail Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has insisted he only played Adam Johnson while he awaited trial on child sex offences because the player continued to protest his innocence.The 28-year-old midfielder, who was sacked by the club after admitting charges of engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl and grooming on the eve of his court appearance last month, was convicted on a further count of sexual activity with a child and acquitted of another on Wednesday.He now faces a lengthy spell in jail as pressure mounts on the Black Cats to explain what they knew and when amid claims made in court that they continued to play him despite knowing the detail of the allegations, something they have strenuously denied.Manager Allardyce, who was appointed in October, some seven months after Johnson’s arrest, admitted he was “gobsmacked” when he learned of the guilty pleas.He said: “I am hugely disappointed on Adam Johnson and what has happened, but my sympathies don’t lie with him, they lie with the victim and the family.“Adam, as far as I know, was pleading not guilty all the way through from the day I arrived – obviously, this incident had happened well before I got here.“On the basis of that information to me that he was pleading not guilty on all charges is why we continued to let him train and play for us.“We were all, at the football club, stunned and shocked the day before the trial started when we heard a guilty plea come out. I was sat at home when it came on the news and I just was gobsmacked because as far as we were concerned, it was not guilty on all charges.“Now the judgement has been made, we all feel extremely let down by what has happened and by what Adam has done, and certainly feel a lot of sympathy for the victim and the family.“That has now hopefully given them some peace and they can now get on with their lives and we can get on with our football.”The Professional Footballers’ Association said Johnson’s actions were “extremely disappointing” and showed the organisation still had work to do in educating players.The PFA said in a statement: “Players are role models and as such have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate way. It is extremely disappointing to see the damage caused by the actions of one of our members. Adam has clearly made very serious mistakes and in due course the court will determine his punishment.“As the players’ union we are very conscious of the role and responsibility of our members and we work hard to ensure they receive relevant information and important guidance regarding appropriate standards of conduct.”The PFA, whose chief executive is Gordon Taylor, pointed out it has developed a training programme that has received input from groups including Rape Crisis, White Ribbon and Women’s Aid, to make sure players were fully informed on issues including “sexual consent, standards of behaviour and respectful relationships in person and on social media”.The statement added: “Situations such as this, unfortunately, demonstrate that this is a vital area for our focus and that there is still much work to do.” 1last_img read more

`Halo’ creator back on its own

first_imgGAMING: Microsoft reportedly will benefit from developments and shares of firm. By Jessica Mintz THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREChargers go winless in AFC West with season-ending loss in Kansas CitySEATTLE – Bungie Studios, the “Halo” video-game developer acquired by Microsoft Corp. in 2000, is once again operating as an independent company, Microsoft said Friday. The software maker will maintain close ties with privately held Bungie LLC and own a minority stake in it, the companies said. Bungie will develop games exclusively for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Windows PC platforms “for the foreseeable future,” said Harold Ryan, Bungie’s president and studio head, in an interview. The two companies said they will continue to work together to support the “Halo” franchise – including “Halo 3” released Sept.25 – and will expand their partnership to include new games. Executives declined to comment on the size of Microsoft’s stake or other financial terms of the deal, which was effective Friday. Microsoft acquired Chicago-based Bungie and its “Halo” concept in 2000, ensuring that the Xbox would be the only game console to run the multiplayer first-person shooter game. Bungie moved from Chicago to Kirkland, Wash., a few miles from Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters, and the first installment of the trilogy went on sale simultaneously with the first Xbox console in November 2001. “Working with Microsoft was great for us. It allowed us to grow as a team and make the ambitious, blockbuster games we all wanted to work on,” said Jason Jones, Bungie founder and partner, in a statement Friday. “But Bungie is like a shark. We have to keep moving to survive. We have to continually test ourselves, or we might as well be dolphins. Or manatees.” Gamers have plunked down more than $300 million for “Halo 3” since its release less than two weeks ago, and Microsoft said the game’s launch helped sales of the Xbox 360 console. The video game costs between $60 and $130, depending on special features and commemorative packaging. About 4.5 million copies of the first “Halo” title were sold in the U.S., and more than 6.2 million of “Halo 2,” according to NPD Group. “While we are supporting Bungie’s desire to return to its independent roots, we will continue to invest in our `Halo’ entertainment property with Bungie and other partners,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. The company said it is working on a new project with film director Peter Jackson of “The Lord of the Rings” acclaim. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

E for All video-gaming expo opens

first_imgWelcome to the biggest video gaming event of the year – maybe. The truth is no one knows exactly what to expect of the Entertainment for All Expo (E for All), which opens today at the Los Angeles Convention Center. It’s either going to be the circle-the-date event for gamers that E3 used to be, or it could be a middle-of-the-pack footnote in gaming history. “I thought it’d be a little bigger, but you can’t expect an E3 crowd right away,” said Michael Cable, 22, of Lenoir, N.C., who was standing in line waiting to play “Metal Gear Solid 4.” “You can’t expect much out of a show’s first year.” Last year’s E3 (aka the Electronic Entertainment Expo) was a glorified trade show that attracted gamers, media and developers. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.E for All’s focus is strictly on the average consumer. Instead of peeking at titles that aren’t coming out for a year, gamers get the chance to play stuff that’s only weeks from hitting stores. Titles like “Rock Band,” “Guitar Hero III” and “The Simpsons Game” are all here. Tonight also offers the renowned “Video Games Live” concert at the Nokia Theatre. If you want some of that attention, it’ll cost you. A pass for today costs $50, while a pass for Saturday and Sunday goes for $75. The expo is open noon-8 p.m. today and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.last_img read more