Daily Archives: November 25, 2016

Miserable Internazionale crashes out of Europa League

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It was a stunning triumph for Hapoel Be’er Sheva as the Israeli club rose from behind to defeat Internazionale by 3-2 and eliminate the Italian side from the Europa League.

Inter already to survive an early scare when Maor Buzaglo’s deflected cross hit the top of the crossbar, but was able to change the game and threaten at the other end when Ever Banega flashed a free-kick across goal.

Icardi ensured another quality cross was not wasted, tidily finishing Eder’s fizzing centre at the near post in the 12th minute.

The Milan club then took full control of the game after 25 minutes, when Brozovic lashed home a left-footed shot from the edge of the box off the post after more good work from Eder.

However, Lucio Maranhao gave Hapoel a second-half lifeline with a fine header from Maharan Radi’s cross. Home fans were further roused after Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was sent off for bringing down Buzaglo.

Substitute keeper Juan Carrizo got a hand to Anythony Nwakaeme’s spot-kick but could not keep it out, and Hapoel levelled with 20 minutes remaining.

Carrizo kept the hosts at bay with a number of saves but was beaten three minutes into stoppage time for Hapoel’s winner. In an inspired team effort, John Ogu’s pass cut Inter open, and Mohammed Ghadir backheeled to give Ben Sahar a simple finish.

In what was a result that left the rest of Group K wide open, Inter looked set to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last 32, only to end up eliminated from the competition entirely with one game of the group stage remaining.

It also meant that Hapoel, who will next face Southampton in September 8, has to trump the Saints to keep their Europa campaign alive.

United thrashes Feyenoord thanks to Rooney leadership

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Wayne Rooney scored his 248th goal for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho’s team made short work of Dutch side Feyenoord and win 4-0.

The result also moves the Red Devils to within a point of the Europa League knockout stage, and the captain to just one more strike from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s record for the club.

It was also Rooney’s 39th European goal for the club, as he clipped the ball over opposition keeper Brad Jones from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s perfect through ball – with Feyenoord appealing unsuccessfully for offside.

Clearly intent on sending a message to critics pouncing on his recent underwhelming performances, Rooney contributed again by setting up Juan Mata with a reverse pass to slide home United’s second.

£26m summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan also produced an impressive show in what was only his second start for the club. His best moment came when he ran from his own half, taking on several Feyenoord defenders, before going down under pressure from Jens Toornstra. The Dutch champions were fortunate the referee did not give a free-kick, which would also have resulted in a red card.

Eitherway, the win was essentially secured when former Liverpool keeper Jones deflected Ibrahimovic’s cross into his own net, while Jesse Lingard, who later came on for Mkhitaryan curled in a fourth in injury time to complete Jose Mourinho’s biggest win as United manager.

As the final whistle blew at Old Trafford, a draw or win at Zorya Luhansk in the final Group A game on Thursday, 8 December would take United into the last 32.

Pochettino: Chelsea’s lack of European games is advantage

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Chelsea’s lack of European football gives them a major advantage over Tottenham in Saturday’s Premier League grudge match, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

Last season, Leicester City played just 43 games in total and won the Premier League, while Liverpool’s unexpected title challenge in 2013-14 also came without European football, leading Pochettino to believe that it was indisputably an advantage.

“I think it’s obvious and nobody can be disappointed or upset with that idea,” the Spurs manager said.

“If you are a big team like Chelsea and you are not involved in European competition or cups, you have one week to prepare for a game, in this case against Tottenham. And we were playing on Tuesday in Monaco and arrived [home] late, so you cannot have a proper week to prepare. It is normal that it is an advantage for the opponent.”

Tottenham were in pursuit of Leicester City last season for the Premier League title, when they were stopped short by Chelsea with a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge. A melee ensued by the dugout after the match as tempers flared, but Chelsea stays unbeaten in Stamford Bridge against Spurs for 26 years.

Additionally, now Spurs is disadvantaged in fielding a relatively depleted squad.

Toby Alderweireld (knee), Erik Lamela (hip) and Ben Davies (ankle) will have no part on the visit to Chelsea while Danny Rose is suspended. Jan Vertonghen is expected to fill in at left-back.

However, Alderweireld did some work with the ball in training on Thursday and Pochettino hoped the player could complete the session on Friday.

“Next week will be key to see if he can be involved next Saturday,” the manager said, looking further forward to Spurs’ home game against Swansea City.

Prediction:

Chelsea wins, (2) – (0) Tottenham