Monthly Archives: September 2017

Europa League: Arsenal half-time rally earns opening day win

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Arsenal came from behind to beat Cologne by 3-1 in their Europa League encounter that had to be delayed for an hour following crowd trouble.

Arsenal had fell behind early when, after receiving a poor clearance from Gunners keeper David Ospina, Cologne’s Jhon Cordoba controls the ball then fires the ball towards the Arsenal goal with Ospina out of position, who could only look in despair as Cologne led after just 10 minutes.

The Gunners mustered a reply but only after half-time, when Arsene Wenger brought in Sead Kolasinac in place of Rob Holding. Theo Walcott’s attempt to cross from the left side of the box was blocked, but it ricocheted into Kolasinac, who made no mistake in his first-time volley effort and equalized.

Finding the winds in their sails, Alexis Sanchez then doubled Arsenal’s lead with an incisive run infield, culminating with a successfully converted curling effort from the edge of the box.

Bellerin then sealed the win for Arsenal from close range, tapping in a rebound after another Walcott effort was saved.

Before the game started, the match had to be delayed by an hour “in the interests of crowd safety”.

There had been thousands of ticketless away supporters who turned up outside the ground, and scuffles had ensued between fans and stewards inside after the gates opened. Police later said that five people had been arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

However, there was no reports of trouble during the game itself, where the German side had only been given a ticket allocation of 2,900.

Malaysia set to host World Cup qualifier playoff for Syria

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Syria will be playing a vital World Cup qualifier playoff against Australia after receiving confirmation from the Asian Football Confederation.

This meant that the first leg between both national teams will be played at Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca, Malaysia, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates, the preferred locations for Syria.

The return leg is set for ANZ Stadium five days later on 10 October, with the winner advancing to another playoff. This time around their opponents would be one of three picks: Panama, Honduras, or the US.

That particular playoff would in turn be played in November, with the winner claiming a place at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Thus far in their bid to qualify for Russia 2018, Syria have played their “home” games in Malaysia due to the on-going conflict in country.

After this fashion, the middle-east team “hosted” three qualifiers against Uzbekistan, Qatar and China at the Hang Jebat stadium, winning the former two and drawing against the latter.

Australia had missed out on their chance to secure automatic qualification to Russia when they beat Thailand 2-1 and Saudi Arabia overcame Japan 1-0 last week.

The results meant that the Saudi Arabia team secured their automatic qualification spot in the World Cup alongside group winners Japan, whereas Australia was left to struggle through the playoffs.

Liverpool appeal against Sadio Mane ban rejected by FA

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The Football Association has announced that the three-match suspension of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane will be sustained for his red card at Manchester City after his claim of excessive punishment was rejected.

Mane was sent off for raising his foot in a challenge with the City goalkeeper Ederson in the first half of Liverpool’s 5-0 Premier League defeat on Saturday, with the Senegalese international catching Ederson in the face on the edge of City’s penalty area, and the 25-year-old was shown a straight red card by the referee Jon Moss.

Ederson was subsequently quickly taken off the pitch on a stretcher with facial injuries following the incident in the first half. Although he returned to watch the final stages of his side’s victory, a photograph released since has shown eight stitches in wounds on the side of his face.

The Brazilian was able to return to the City bench in the second half, and trained — wearing protective head gear — on Tuesday before Wednesday’s Champions League match at Feyenoord, and was also included in the squad for the match.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said initially that it would be a waste of time to appeal against the sentence, albeit adding that Mane had been unlucky to be given the straight red at the Etihad.

“It would be another waste of time, like the game today,” he said. “I think everyone knows [Mane] didn’t see the goalie. There was not one second he looks on the goalie. He just wanted to get the ball as soon as possible.”

“Hopefully the goalie is not seriously injured. Sadio is very upset. We couldn’t keep him – he was shocked about the situation. I am sure also about the decision.”

The sustaining of the sentence meant that Mane will miss the home league game against Burnley on 16 September, as well as two trips to Leicester City — the League Cup tie on 19 September and the Premier League match four days later.

World Cup 2018: tickets for finals to go on sale on Thursday

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The first wave of tickets for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia will go on sale on Thursday this week.

The tournament , which begins on 14 June next year with Russia playing the opener at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, already has seven countries booking their places alongside the hosts — which includes five-time winners Brazil, Belgium, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

With the offer of tickets prices that range from £79 for a second-round group match to £829 for the final in Moscow, fans will be able to submit their applications via FIFA’s website and tickets will be sold in two phases.

Those applications, which can be made up to 12 October 2017, will enter into a random selection draw if there are not enough tickets available to fulfil all requests, and each applicant will be subsequently notified of the outcome of their applications by 16 November 2017.

The first phase of sales then concludes in the period from 16 November to 28 November, during which tickets will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Another phase will begin on 5 December after the draw is made and there will also be a “last-minute” sales phase from 18 April to 15 July, the day of the World Cup final.

The most expensive ticket for the 2018 World Cup final, £829 is a £151 increase on the equivalent ticket at the Brazil 2014 final in Rio de Janeiro. However, Russia residents will enjoy a special price category with tickets starting at £17 in line with previous ticketing policies.