Archive for the ‘AFP’ Category

‘They have to fix it’: Guardiola fumes after VAR denies City


Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola called for VAR to be “fixed” after Manchester City were denied a last-gasp winner in their dramatic 2-2 draw against Tottenham on Saturday.

Guardiola’s side failed to win for the first time in 16 Premier League games dating back to last season as a result of the latest VAR row.

The champions thought they had stolen the points when Gabriel Jesus fired home in stoppage-time, only for the goal to be disallowed for handball after a replay review showed Aymeric Laporte had flicked the ball on with his arm.

It was the second time City have been frustrated by VAR against Tottenham following last season’s Champions League quarter-final second leg when Fernando Llorente scored for Mauricio Pochettino’s team despite a potential handball, while Raheem Sterling had what would have been the winner ruled out for offside.

“I thought we left that situation in Tottenham in the Champions League last season. But it is the same. The referee and VAR disallow it. It’s the second time it’s happened. It’s honestly tough but it’s the way it is,” Guardiola said.

“It happened last week with Wolves (against Leicester) and we saw for Chelsea on Wednesday — the keeper wasn’t on his line — Adrian in the penalty shoot-out. They have to fix it. 

“The whistle inside matches now isn’t quite clear. But they believe it’s hands with Llorente in the Champions League and sometimes they don’t.

“It was incredible it wasn’t a penalty in the first half (for the foul on Rodri in the box) but VAR said it wasn’t and then at the end they did.”

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino shared a touchline conversation with Guardiola immediately after the goal was disallowed and after the match the Argentine joked he was “in love with VAR”.

“I didn’t agree when we started to talk about VAR, but sometimes you get the benefit like today and in the Champions League (last season),” Pochettino said.

“Of course it is difficult to accept because we love the football from 30 years ago where it was more the decision of the referee – sometimes unfair things happen but at the end of the season we find a good balance.

“But we need to accept a different era and technology is in football now. We need to accept that today it is a benefit for us and when it is against us we have to deal with it with patience.”

VAR denies Man City against Tottenham again in 2-2 draw


Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City suffered a familiar feeling of seeing a late winner against Tottenham ruled out by VAR as the visitors secured a 2-2 draw at the Etihad on Saturday despite being largely outclassed by the Premier League champions.

Spurs won a thrilling Champions League quarter-final tie between the sides on away goals last season when Raheem Sterling had an injury-time strike ruled out by VAR and City were denied once more when Gabriel Jesus saw a stoppage-time winner disallowed on review for a handball by Aymeric Laporte.

City twice led through Sterling and Sergio Aguero, but just like in last season’s European clash between the sides, the hosts were susceptible on the counter-attack and at set-pieces.

Erik Lamela’s long range effort briefly brought Spurs level in the first-half and substitute Lucas Moura equalised with his first touch 11 minutes into the second period as Mauricio Pochettino’s men scored with their only two shots on target.

A share of the points sees both sides fall two points behind Liverpool just two games into the new season, but on this evidence another shootout between City and Liverpool for the title looks likely.

Pep Guardiola made four changes to the side that started City’s title defence with a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham last weekend with the introduction of Nicolas Otamendi, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Aguero only underlining the incredible strength in depth amassed by the English champions.

However, it was Sterling, who scored a hat-trick on the opening weekend of the season, who posed the biggest threat early on and opened the scoring with a fine header from a delightful cross by Kevin de Bruyne.

City had been utterly dominant for the first quarter of the match, but were hit with a sucker punch just three minutes after going in front.

Lamela was afforded acres of space inside the City half and took advantage of poor position by Ederson to curl home an equaliser from well outside the box.

The goal briefly gave Spurs the belief Pochettino had talked of before the game that they can push City and Liverpool for a three-way title race this season.

However, that quickly evaporated as the hosts took control again thanks to another sensational De Bruyne assist as this time Aguero converted the Belgian’s low cross.

De Bruyne’s three assists in a 4-3 City win that still was not enough to progress in the Champions League when these sides met in April was his highlight of an injury-ravaged campaign.

City held by Spurs after late VAR drama, Liverpool extend perfect start


London (AFP) – Manchester City were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Tottenham after the Premier League champions were denied a dramatic winner by VAR, while Liverpool extended their perfect start to the title race with a 2-1 win at Southampton on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side failed to win for the first time in 16 Premier League matches dating back to last season following a controversial finish at the Etihad Stadium.

City thought they had stolen three points when Gabriel Jesus fired home in stoppage-time, but their celebrations were curtailed when a VAR review showed Aymeric Laporte had flicked the ball on with his arm.

The drama echoed Tottenham’s Champions League quarter-final second leg triumph at City’s expense last season when they went through on away goals after Raheem Sterling had a late goal ruled out by VAR.

City were in front in the 20th minute when Kevin De Bruyne’s sublime cross was met by Sterling at the far post and the City winger headed back across Hugo Lloris for his fourth goal of the season.

But Tottenham hit back inside three minutes as Erik Lamela beat slow-to-react City keeper Ederson from the edge of the area.

City’s lead was restored in the 35th minute when Sergio Aguero glanced in a close-range finish from another pin-point De Bruyne cross.

However, after less than 20 seconds on the pitch as a replacement for Harry Winks, Brazilian forward Lucas Moura climbed higher than Kyle Walker to head Tottenham level from Lamela’s corner.

Aguero exchanged angry words with Guardiola when he was substituted for Jesus, who was even more frustrated than his team-mate as he protested to the officials at the final whistle.

At St Mary’s, Liverpool matched a club record of 11 successive Premier League wins to move two points clear of City as they built on last week’s 4-1 thrashing of Norwich.

Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead in first half stoppage-time when Senegal winger Sadio Mane, who scored twice against Chelsea in the European Super Cup victory in midweek, returned to haunt his former club with an agile turn and curling strike into the far corner.

Roberto Firmino made it two with his 49th league goal for Liverpool, the Brazil forward taking Mane’s pass, dribbling and then firing home in the 71st minute.

– Liverpool, Arsenal stay perfect –

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian started despite suffering an ankle injury when a fan slid into him during the celebrations against Chelsea in Istanbul.

Zidane indicates Bale will stay after Madrid put three past Celta


Vigo (Spain) (AFP) – Zinedine Zidane indicated Gareth Bale will stay at Real Madrid after the Welshman led the way in a 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Bale was back in the team and back in form at Balaidos, with Zidane’s eagerness to sell him this summer perhaps fresh in his mind as he teed up Karim Benzema’s opening goal.

After the match, Zidane said he believes Bale will now stay, with the Spanish transfer window closing on September 2.

“We have spoken about it two or three times before, that he is going stay,” Zidane said. “All the players we have now we are thinking will be here for the season.”

Celta saw a potential equaliser chalked off before half-time and Luka Modric was sent off 11 minutes after, only for a stunning 30-yard shot from Toni Kroos to put Madrid back in control. 

By the time Lucas Vazquez added a delicious third, at the end of a silky passing move, it was possible to wonder where this Madrid have been for the last 12 months, particularly as this starting line-up included not a single summer signing. 

“I am a satisfied customer,” said Zidane. “We played a complete match from the beginning. Not many teams will come here and win like this.”

Zidane had wanted Paul Pogba but it was Casemiro, Modric and Kroos in midfield, the same trio he picked for the Champions League final in 2018. 

There was also Marcelo, arguably Madrid’s worst performer last term, and Bale. 

Only last month Zidane said it would be “best for everyone” if Bale were sold but a move to China fell through and, remarkably, the 30-year-old now looks likely to be reintegrated.

“I salute the effort of all the players, the defensive work of Gareth and Vinicius (Junior) was very important,” added Zidane.

Eden Hazard, who injured his thigh in training on Friday, will certainly start when he is fit again and there will be much tougher opponents than Celta, who finished 17th last season and were dead and buried before Iker Losada delivered a late consolation. 

But, after a poor pre-season, Zidane needed a positive opening and this one was made all the sweeter by Barcelona’s defeat by Athletic Bilbao on Friday night. 

Celta spent much of the match feeling aggrieved, no more so than after Benzema scored after just 12 minutes. 

The home team claimed a foul by Casemiro in the build up but Bale still had a lot to do, his dart one way and then the other freeing space for a drive towards the near post, where Benzema reacted fastest. 

Bamford double gives Leeds revenge over Wigan


London (AFP) – Leeds forward Patrick Bamford struck twice to claim a 2-0 win over Wigan in the Championship on Saturday which served as a measure of revenge for a damaging defeat by them last season.

The brace by Bamford against a Wigan side reduced to 10 men saw Marcelo Bielsa’s side go top on goal difference with five sides level on seven points after three matches of the campaign.

Wigan, also then with 10 men back in April, had inflicted what turned out to be a fatal blow to Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion to the Premier League last term coming from behind to beat Bielsa’s side 2-1.

The former Argentina and Chile coach said he was pleased with the manner in which the team’s performance was evolving in every match.

The eccentric Argentinian also believes the brace could be just the tonic 25-year-old Bamford needed after being guilty of some awful misses for the club.

“For a striker, scoring goals is always going to be important,” said Bielsa.

“It’s going to be a major positive for him and also for the team. Bamford is a player with a big personality, and to score two goals is obviously going to be exciting for him,” added the 64-year-old.

The unlikely duo of south London rivals Charlton Athletic and Millwall — who held on to beat Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 despite being down to 10 men — are among those on seven points.

– Buoyant Bilic –

The other two are teams expected who could well contest the promotions spots West Bromwich Albion and Swansea. 

Former Croatia and West Ham manager Slaven Bilic’s bright start at West Brom Albion continued as they came from behind to beat promoted Luton 2-1.

A double from substitute Grady Diangana turned the game on its head and changed Bilic’s mood.

“We have to be there, in the first half we weren’t there, so you have to be there and eventually the ball will hit you,” said Bilic.

“After that we gained confidence, they were knocked down of course, because they conceded a couple of goals in a period of the game where they were totally out-played.”

Swansea lost some key players in the close season but their expensive Spanish signing Borja Baston appears to have at last clicked and begun paying back the £15million the club paid to Atletico Madrid in 2016.

The 26-year-old — who scored his first goal for them in more than 1,000 days on the opening day of the season — grabbed a double as Swansea came from 1-0 down to beat Preston North End 3-2.