SportsOn Local & International Sporting News Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:25:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Vincent Aboubakar socres as Porto lose out to Leipzig Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:53:00 +0000

The Cameroon international netted in the first half as the Blue and Whites were defeated by Red Bulls at the Red Bull Arena

Vincent Aboubakar was on target as Porto lost 3-2 to RB Leipzig in a thrilling Uefa Champions League clash on Tuesday evening.

The hosts took the lead courtesy Will Orban in the eighth minute. Jose Sa could only parry a Jean-Kevin Augustin effort into the path of the defender who fired into an open goal.

However, the 25-year-old got the visitors back in the game ten minutes later – a long throw from Miguel Layun was flicked on by Felipe, and the striker volleyed home past Peter Gulacsi at the near post.

Raphael Hasenhuttl’s side re-took the lead in the 38th minute after Marcel Sabitzer played Emil Forsberg through on goal, and the German dinked the ball over an onrushing Sa. Augustin made it three for the Bulls with four minutes left in the first half, after the winger latched onto a loose ball after a defensive error by Ivan Marcano and finished low into the bottom corner.

Three minutes later, Marcano made up for his mistake when he powered home after Hector Herrera headed a corner by Alex Telles back across the face of goal.

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The Portuguese topflight club could not find the leveller as they slumped to their second defeat in three games and currently sit third in Group G.

Aboubakar who has now scored nine goals across all competitions played the entire duration while Algeria international Yacine Brahimi who was cautioned in the 46th minute was replaced by Jesus Corona with 14 minutes left to play.

Porto will be looking to put this result behind them when they welcome Pacos Ferreira to the Estadio do Dragao on October 21.

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Feyenoord 1 – 2 Shakhtar Donetsk Match report – 10/17/17 UEFA Champions League Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:52:39 +0000

Feyenoord have lost their last 10 Champions League matches after slipping to a 2-1 home defeat to Shakhtar Donestk

Feyenoord’s hopes of getting beyond the group stage of the Champions League suffered a hammer blow as they were beaten 2-1 by 10-man Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Dutch champions looked set to turn the tide of a miserable start to the season when Steven Berghuis put them ahead after just seven minutes at De Kuip, but the nervous defending that has typified their campaign so far was exploited by Paulo Fonseca’s attack-minded side.

Brazilian pair Fred and Bernard combined for the equaliser, the latter out-pacing Feyenoord’s defence and rounding goalkeeper Brad Jones before scoring, and he struck again after 54 minutes when he netted the winner with a header.

Shakhtar’s Yaroslav Rakitskiy was sent off in the closing stages but Feyenoord failed to capitalise and, with no points from their three Group F games this season, they have now lost their last 10 games in the competition – their last win came against Newcastle United in 2002.

Shakhtar, meanwhile, look set to provide group favourites Manchester City and Napoli with stiff competition, having taken two wins from their opening trio of games and showing a relentless desire to attack, no matter the opposition.

Jean-Paul Boetius wasted a chance to put Feyenoord ahead inside the first minute when he half-volleyed Berghuis’ cross over the bar, before Nicolai Jorgensen rifled a shot through legs of Ivan Ordets and wide of the target a minute later.

Berghuis made no mistake when Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov parried Tonny Vilhena’s thunderbolt into his path, heading the rebound into the unguarded net to make it 1-0 with seven minutes played.

Undeterred, Shakhtar employed their customary brand of attacking football and were rewarded for their bravery after 24 minutes when Fred intercepted a loose ball and aimed a low pass forward for Bernard to chase, and the winger rounded Jones before drilling the ball into the net.

The visitors were in full flow and found the net again when Marlos chipped a delightful pass into the area for Facundo Ferreyra to side-foot past Jones, but the offside flag was raised.

Sloppy defending early in the second half allowed Feyenoord the chance to regain the lead but Pyatov was alert to the danger, clearing the ball away from the feet of the on-rushing Jorgensen after 50 minutes, and Shakhtar then went on the attack.

A sublime pass from Marlos set Bogdan Butko free down the right flank and his cross reached the far post where Bernard was waiting to crash a header into the net, beyond Jones.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst sent on Jens Toornstra and Sam Larsson to inject some energy into Feyenoord in the last half hour, and the home crowd was buoyed further when Rakitskiy hauled down Toornstra and was sent off for his second bookable offence.

Feyenoord piled men forward in the hope of grabbing a late equaliser but Shakhtar frustrated their hosts with their impressively composed passing play, and Marlos went close to making it 3-1 when he chipped over the bar from close range after a late, mazy dribble.

The last word went to Pyatov, who stayed sharp right up until the 93rd minute when he made a brilliant reaction save to deny substitute Michiel Kramer an equaliser when he powered a header towards goal from close range.

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Monaco 1 – 2 Beşiktaş Match report – 10/17/17 UEFA Champions League Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:48:37 +0000

Monaco suffered yet another poor result in the Champions League as Besiktas came from behind to maintain their 100% record in Group G.

Cenk Tosun scored twice as Besiktas made it three wins from three in Group G of the Champions League and piled pressure on Monaco with a 2-1 win at the Stade Louis II.

The visitors were a little unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside early on and then saw Pepe escape a red card for a foul on Keita Balde when he was the last man.

Monaco duly moved ahead through Radamel Falcao on the half-hour, but the lead lasted just four minutes before Tosun’s header made it 1-1.

Tosun added a second nine minutes after the break to maintain his side’s perfect start to the competition. Monaco, semi-finalists last season, now have just one point from three games and face an uphill battle to qualify from a group that also features Porto and RB Leipzig.

Besiktas started the game confidently, looking very much like a side that won their opening two matches, and had the ball in the back of the net early on.

Balde was dispossessed on the edge of the Besiktas box, allowing the visitors to break. Tosun’s shot then deflected into the path of Ryan Babel, who slotted home only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

A curling free-kick from Thomas Lemar forced Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri into a fine one-handed save at the other end, after Pepe had perhaps been fortunate only to receive a yellow card for bringing down a surging Balde.

The chances continued to flow, Danijel Subasic diving low to save from Besiktas’ Atiba Hutchinson before Falcao fired a scuffed shot into the side-netting for Monaco.

The deadlock was eventually broken just after the half-hour mark. Another Balde charge ended with him slipping in Falcao, who cut inside, beating Pepe, before poking past Fabri.

Yet Monaco’s lead lasted just four minutes, as Besiktas levelled through Tosun. Talisca started the move before spreading the play out wide to the right, and Ricardo Quaresma’s precision cross was thumped home by the striker.

Besiktas then went ahead early in the second half after some great attacking play. Tolgay Arslan’s shot smashed off the base of Subasic’s left-hand post and fell invitingly for Babel. He squared the ball and Tosun fired home his second of the game.

Leonardo Jardim responded immediately, sending on Rony Lopes for the ineffective Youri Tielemans. The substitute almost made an immediate impression, setting up an unmarked Balde in the box, only for the forward to miss his shot, the ball hitting his standing leg as the chance went begging.

Having gone behind, the hosts’ confidence seemed to disappear and although they pushed forward in an attempt to find an equaliser, they struggled to create chances against a disciplined and determined Besiktas.

The better opportunities continued to fall to the visitors, with Tosun getting the better of Kamil Glik but failing to beat Subasic, who saved well to deny the Besiktas man his hat-trick.

Monaco pressed in the final stages but could not find a way past Fabri, as Besiktas held for for another impressive victory to leave them top of the group with maximum points after three games.

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Spartak Moskva 5 – 1 Sevilla Match report – 10/17/17 UEFA Champions League Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:48:03 +0000

Sevilla were left wondering what hit them after a fine Spartak Moscow performance in the second half saw the Russians win 5-1.

A brilliantly clinical second-half display from hosts Spartak Moscow saw the Russian champions take full advantage of Sevilla’s profligacy and secure an emphatic 5-1 win in Champions League Group E on Tuesday.

Sevilla appeared to have fully clicked into gear early in the second period, but goals from Lorenzo Melgarejo, Denis Glushakov, Luiz Adriano and Quincy Promes saw the Spaniards blown away by a Spartak side who looked irresistible on the break and moved level on five points with Liverpool.

Proceedings were thrilling and breathless for much of the first half, with Promes breaking the deadlock when finishing off a flowing Spartak move.

But their lead did not last long, as Sevilla – who gradually improved after a poor start – deservedly levelled through centre-back Simon Kjaer after half an hour and finished the first period well on top.

Wissam Ben Yedder was guilty of missing a glorious opportunity early in the second half as Sevilla’s dominance continued, and Spartak capitalised through first-half substitute Melgarejo just before the hour mark.

That forced Sevilla’s hand and their willingness to chuck men forward left gaping holes at the back and Spartak picked them apart, with Glushakov and then Luiz Adriano effectively wrapping things up.

And Promes’ second right at the end rounded off a memorable day for the home side.

Sevilla’s plan during the early exchanges appeared to revolve around keeping the ball and frustrating their hosts, but Spartak had other things in mind and deservedly went ahead after 18 minutes.

Ivelin Popov played the ball out to the right flank and Andrey Eshchenko supplied a sublime cross between the Sevilla defence and Sergio Rico, with Promes pouncing to nod in.

Their lead should have been wiped out shortly after, though.

Nolito cleverly flicked the ball through Eshchenko’s legs and ran along the byline towards goal, eventually playing a low pass into the danger zone that Wissam Ben Yedder failed to connect with.

But the equaliser did arrive in the 30th minute.

Spartak failed to clear an Ever Banega corner and Kjaer slammed a left-footed volley into the bottom-right corner from close range.

And Sevilla would have taken the lead just before the break were it not for a wonderful Alexander Selikhov save, as he pushed Michael Krohn-Dehli’s top-right corner bound effort on to the roof of the goal.

The frenetic nature of the match remained upon the restart, with three chances coming in the first five minutes.

Melgarejo first tested Rico with a header, before Selikhov denied Ben Yedder with a theatrical stop and pushed away Krohn-Dehli’s 20-yard effort.

Spartak had an even luckier escape in the 55th minute, as Ben Yedder pounced on a loose ball after Krohn-Dehli and Selikhov collided with each other, but the Frenchman blasted the ball at Dmitri Kombarov on the goal line.

And Spartak took full advantage with two goals in nine minutes.

Melgarejo found the bottom-left corner with a fine curling finish from the edge of the box, before Glushakov followed suit with a controlled volley that Rico probably should have kept out.

Luiz Adriano effectively put things beyond Sevilla 16 minutes from the end, racing through on goal and confidently finishing after striding past Rico.

And Promes left Sevilla battered and bruised at the end, as he skipped past two challenges and found the bottom-right corner to round off a humiliating defeat for the visitors.

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RB Leipzig 3 – 2 Porto Match report – 10/17/17 UEFA Champions League Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:46:28 +0000

RB Leipzig came out on top against Porto after a frantic first half to move up to second in Champions League Group G.

RB Leipzig secured their first ever Champions League victory by holding off a persistent Porto to prevail 3-2 in an entertaining clash on Tuesday.

All five goals came in a chaotic first half as Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men overcame poor set-piece defending to leapfrog the visitors into second spot in Group G.

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao dropped Iker Casillas to the bench in favour of Jose Sa and the deputy goalkeeper endured a torrid first half, gifting Willi Orban the opener and seeing Emil Forsberg and Jean-Kevin Augustin also find the net.

Vincent Aboubakar cancelled out the opener with his seventh goal in his last eight Champions League away games and Ivan Marcano made it 3-2 just before half-time after Forsberg and Augustin struck in quick succession.

Neither team was able to produce the same kind of excitement after the restart, Leipzig keeping their nerve to claim all three points in the first ever competitive meeting between the two clubs.

The Bundesliga side also welcomed back Timo Werner as the striker steps up his recovery from a cervical spine blockage.

Leipzig claimed an impressive 3-2 win at Borussia Dortmund on Saturday and were on their way to another victory when Orban opened the scoring inside eight minutes.

The defender swept home from close range after Sa spilled Bruma’s initial effort in an inauspicious start for Casillas’ stand-in.

Their joy would only last 10 minutes, though, as Porto restored parity with their first real chance of the match when the in-form Aboubakar punished some poor defending with a clinical over-the-shoulder left-foot finish.

Leipzig remained the more positive of the two sides and stunned Porto with two goals in the space of three minutes.

Forsberg buried the first into the bottom-right corner after receiving a defence-splitting pass from Marcel Sabitzer, before Augustin made it 3-1 when he pounced on a fortuitous ricochet off Marcano to race clean through on goal and finish five minutes before the interval.

The first-half drama was not over there as Marcano rose to meet Hector Herrera’s header back across goal and reduce the deficit to a solitary goal at the break.

Hasenhuttl’s side were denied claims for a penalty on the hour when Portuguese winger Bruma appeared to be held back by defender Felipe, his impeded attempt at a finish hooked off the line by the retreating Marcano.

Augustin fired over with another promising opportunity to seal all three points, before Hasenhuttl turned to Werner with 15 minutes to play.

The Germany international was warmly welcomed back to action after a three-week layoff although his goals were not needed as Leipzig encountered few troubles over the closing moments.

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NK Maribor v Liverpool FC Live Commentary & Result, 17/10/2017, UEFA Champions League Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:45:00 +0000

Thanks for joining our commentary this evening. Until next time, goodbye.

Liverpool put on a clinic this evening to secure their first win of the Champions League group stage. They dominated Maribor from start to finish this evening, scoring seven goals on the road. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah scored two goals apiece, while Philippe Coutinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Trent Alexander-Arnold also found the net in the rout. Jurgen Klopp’s men head to the top of Group E as a result of Sevilla’s loss at the hands of Spartak Moscow and they will look to remain their for the rest of the group stage.


90′ + 2′ The referee ends the contest.

90′ There will be two minutes of added time.

90′ Coutinho slides the ball to Alexander-Arnold, who applies the finish.

Liverpool FC

90′ GOALLLLLLLL!!!!! LIVERPOOL SCORE THEIR SEVENTH! The Reds add a seventh goal this evening. Alexander-Arnold is afforded space and time on the edge of the box. He goes for the blast and his effort takes a deflection off Suler to wrong foot Handanovic to find the net.

NK Maribor

89′ Hotic goes into the book for a stray arm on Can.

Liverpool FC

86′ Sturridge wins the ball in the final third, seizing on Suler’s mistakes and he plays a reverse pass into the feet of Oxlade-Chamberlain to find the net.

A. Oxlade-Chamberlain


Liverpool FC

86′ GOALLLLLLL!!!!! OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN OPENS HIS LIVERPOOL ACCOUNT! The midfielder scores his first goal for the club as he latches on to Sturridge’s pass and slots his strike past Handanovic from close range. That strike wraps up an excellent performance from the visitors this evening.

85′ OVER! Moreno latches on Coutinho’s pass over the top and he goes for the strike from the left inside channel, only to blast his effort well over the bar.

83′ Oxlade-Chamberlain and Coutinho probe on the edge of the box, but the home side hold firm on the edge of the box. The former’s pass to Alexander-Arnold down the flank goes astray, ending a promising attack from Klopp’s men.

NK Maribor

81′ Mesanovic replaces Bohar for the hosts.

NK Maribor

80′ Vrhovec tugs back Coutinho as the Brazilian spun away from him in the middle of the park and goes into the book.

79′ OFF THE LINE! Milner leaves two players for dead down the right and he lifts a peach of a cross to the back post for Coutinho. The Brazilian tries to force his effort over the line, but Rajcevic is there to clear away for the home side.

78′ Liverpool’s control of this game from the first minute has been extremely impressive. Klopp will be delighted with his side this evening.

Liverpool FC

76′ Solanke replaces Wijnaldum for the visitors.

76′ SAVE! Handanovic’s loose clearance falls straight to Oxlade-Chamberlain and he goes to power his effort past the keeper after bursting past Suler’s challenge, but the Maribor keeper makes a smart save.

74′ Liverpool’s substitutes have not got up to the speed of the game as Sturridge loses possession in the final third, while Oxlade-Chamberlain is edged out of possession by Suler.

71′ Alexander-Arnold feeds Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right flank, but Suler comes across to stop the cross from the midfielder.

70′ The pace of the game has dropped as Liverpool are quite content to sit on their lead. They’re not trying to force the issue as much as they were in the first period.

D. Sturridge

Roberto Firmino

Liverpool FC

68′ Sturridge replaces Firmino for Klopp’s men.

67′ Tavares picks out Bohar in the box with a lofted pass, but he gets crowded out in the box before Matip clears his lines from the resulting cross back in from the home side.

64′ Milner battles Milec down the left flank, but for once the Maribor defence holds firm and the right-back shields the ball out of play for a goal-kick.

63′ A lengthy spell of possession for the visitors ends as Milner slightly overhits his cross from the left, allowing Viler to clear the danger at the back post.

60′ Liverpool have complete control of the game and are just knocking the ball around the pitch like a training ground routine.

NK Maribor

58′ Pihler replaces Ahmedi.

NK Maribor

58′ Hotic replaces Kramaric for the home side.

A. Oxlade-Chamberlain

Mohamed Salah

Liverpool FC

57′ Salah makes way for Oxlade-Chamberlain.

57′ OVER! Oxlade-Chamberlain has the chance to score immediately as he latches on to Moreno’s cross from the left, but he can only smash his volley over the bar on his first-time effort.

Liverpool FC

54′ Coutinho lifts a pinpoint cross towards the near post and Firmino finds the net with a deft header.

Liverpool FC

54′ GOALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!! LIVERPOOL HAVE FIVE! The Reds notch their fifth goal as Firmino glances Coutinho’s free-kick into the bottom corner. Coutinho swung his delivery to the near post and the forward nodded the ball backwards towards the opposite post, and he watched as it nestled into the back of the net.

54′ SAVE! Coutinho curls his effort over the wall and towards the top corner, but Handanovic reacts well to punch the ball away from danger. A fine save from the keeper, but his side concede another free-kick on the left flank.

53′ Coutinho is brought down 25 yards from goal and he will line up the corresponding free-kick in an attempt to notch his side’s fifth.

52′ Liverpool open up Maribor down the left flank and Firmino plays the ball across the face of goal, but Wijnaldum loses his footing as he strikes, allowing Suler to make the covering block.

51′ Lovren is almost caught with a high boot from Rajcevic when attacking a loose ball in the box, but the referee waves play on despite the appeals for a penalty.

50′ From the resulting corner, the home side cannot clear the ball from the box, but Lovren’s overhead kick lands safely into the hands of Handanovic.

49′ Moreno makes a surge into the channel to latch on to Can’s pass, but his cross is diverted behind by Rajcevic.

47′ WIDE! Maribor clear the danger as far as Moreno on the edge of the box and the Spaniard goes for the drive at goal, sending his effort narrowly wide of the post.

46′ Liverpool are almost in on goal seconds after the restart, but Rajcevic clears the ball behind and away from Firmino’s run.

46′ We’re back underway in Slovenia.

The players are back out for the second half, so we should be underway again shortly.

Liverpool should have this game wrapped up unless something bizarre happens in the second half. Jurgen Klopp’s men lead Maribor 4-0 at the break and it could be an even greater margin if not for some decent keeping from Jasmin Handanovic. The Reds have been all over the home side from the off. Roberto Firmino put Liverpool ahead in the third minute before Philippe Coutinho notched  a second. Mohamed Salah scored a brace to put the game out of sight and there could be more on offer for the visitors if they maintain their prowess in front of the net.


45′ The referee ends the first half.

NK Maribor

45′ Milec goes into the book for a foul on Coutinho.

44′ SAVE! Can lifts the ball forward for Coutinho’s run and a neat piece of skill opens up room for a shot, but his strike is beaten away by Handanovic. A great stop from the Maribor keeper.

43′ CLOSE! Salah slides the ball into the right inside channel for Firmino’s run, and with little support the Brazilian goes for the strike, but his effort creeps narrowly past the post.

42′ CHANCE! Maribor almost get a goal back from a free-kick as Ahmedi sends the ball into the box and deep towards the back post Suler gets the better of Wijnaldum. However, the defender can only guide his effort wide of the post.

Liverpool FC

39′ Moreno latches on to Coutinho’s pass down the left flank and he fires the ball across the face of goal for Salah to convert.

Liverpool FC

39′ GOALLLLLLLl!!!! SALAH SCORES AGAIN! Liverpool open up Maribor at the back and Salah is able to nip ahead of his team-mate Firmino to convert. Moreno found space down the left inside channel to latch on to Coutinho’s throughball and he fired the ball across the face of goal for Salah to poke home from close range. All too easy too easy for the visitors.

38′ BLOCK! Firmino edges out the two Maribor centre-backs in the box and he nudges the ball towards Coutinho. The Brazilian twists and turns in the box to open up room for a strike, but Milec takes the power off his effort, deflecting the ball safely into Handanovic’s hands.

37′ Alexander-Arnold, Milner and Salah all combine down the right for 25 passes or more without a hint of pressure from the home side. Liverpool are operating at an extremely high level tonight.

35′ For once Liverpool are not quite in sync in the final third as Salah overhits his cross to the back post slightly. Firmino tries to bring the ball down, but loses out to Kramaric inside the box.

32′ SAVE! A mistake by Kramaric allows Salah to strike from the edge of the box. Handanovic makes the save, but he can’t hold the ball. He just manages to gather at the second attempt ahead of Coutinho.

31′ Liverpool are controlling the game and are finding space in the final third at will. There’s nothing Maribor can do to stop the visitors at the moment.

28′ SAVE! Viler has space to operate in down the left flank and he pulls the ball back to strike on his right foot. He gets a decent connection on his strike, although Karius is able to make a comfortable save down to his right.

27′ OFFSIDE! Coutinho slides the ball forward for Salah’s run again, but this time the Egyptian is flagged offside, despite blasting his effort past Handanovic.

26′ Coutinho sends the ball forward for Salah to strike at goal in the left inside channel, but the winger fires his effort straight at Handanovic.

25′ CHANCE! Liverpool win a corner down the left, but the home side are able to clear the initial delivery away. Milner sends it back into the box for Salah to strike on his left foot, but he scuffs his volley at goal.

24′ The Reds knock the ball around on the edge of the box before Wijnaldum sends his pass out wide for Alexander-Arnold. He fires a low ball across the face of goal, but no Liverpool player can reach it.

21′ Alexander-Arnold is put under pressure to clear at the bacl, but his clearance goes back towards goal. Karius slides to collect and there are murmurings of a backpass, but the referee allows play to continue.

Liverpool FC

19′ Firmino sends a perfect pass through the Maribor defensive line for Salah to control and score.

Liverpool FC

19′ GOALLLLL!!!!!!!!!!! SALAH NOTCHES THE THIRD! Liverpool are dominating the match and Salah highlights their dominance with a neat finish to score their third of the game. Firmino cuts open the Maribor defence with a throughball into the right inside channel. Salah takes a touch to get the ball onto his left foot and he places the ball around Handanovic into the net. It’s been too easy for Liverpool.

18′ PENALTY SHOUT! Salah tries to feed the ball back into the path of Alexander-Arnold on the edge of the box. Bohar makes the interception, but the ball rises off his foot and strikes his hand, but the referee dismisses Liverpool’s appeal for a penalty.

16′ WIDE! Moreno makes a surge into the left inside channel and he shapes to shoot at goal, but he hammers his effort into the side-netting.

15′ CLOSE! Milner has space down the right again and he fires a low ball across the face of goal. Firmino makes a run across his man, but does not get the contact necessary to guide his effort into the bottom corner. He scuffs his strike narrowly wide of the post, spurning the chance to put the game away.

Liverpool FC

13′ Milner raids into the channel and cuts the ball back into the across the area, allowing Coutinho to find the net with his strike.

Liverpool FC

13′ GOALLLLLL!!!! COUTINHO MAKES IT TWO! Liverpool double their lead as Coutinho latches on to Milner’s cross at the back post and his volleyed effort into the ground finds the back of the net. Salah opened up the Maribor defence with a ball into the right inside channel for Milner and the midfielder’s cut back for the Brazilian was perfect, allowing him space and time to pick his spot.

10′ Liverpool are knocking the ball around at the back with relative ease and have settled into a passing rhythm to start the contest.

8′ Viler raids down the left flank and his low cross is cleared by Matip, but only as far as Vrhovec on the edge of the box. The midfielder goes for the strike, but fires his effort over the bar.

7′ SAVE! Liverpool are controlling the game and Milner is afforded space and time to shoot on the edge of the box, but his effort is well saved by Handanovic.

Liverpool FC

4′ Salah robs Suler of possession and bursts down the right flank to supply Firmino, who slides the ball into the net.

Liverpool FC

4′ GOALLLLL!!! FIRMINO PUTS LIVERPOOL AHEAD! The Reds take the lead as Firmino slides the ball home from close range. Salah capitalised on a mistake from Suler at the back and raced into the box before putting a low ball across the face of goal. Firmino was there to tap into the net, handing Klopp’s men the perfect start to the contest.

1′ We’re underway in this Champions League clash.

The players are out on the pitch, so we should be underway shortly.

STAT ATTACK! Maribor have won only once against English opposition in eight attempts, defeating Wigan 2-1 in the Europa League in the 2013-14 season.

This will be the first competitive meeting between Liverpool and Maribor this evening.

Liverpool have made three changes from their side that drew 0-0 against Manchester United at the weekend. Loris Karius replaces Simon Mignolet between the sticks, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner get the nod to start this evening.

Maribor have made one change from their defeat to Sevilla last time out in the Champions League. Martin Kramaric comes into the fold to replace Aleks Pihler on the right flank, while Marcos Tavares continues to lead the line ​for Darko Milanic’s men.

Liverpool subs: Gomez, Henderson, Sturridge, Klavan, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mignolet, Solanke.

LIVERPOOL (4-3-3): Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Wijnaldum, Can, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Coutinho.

Maribor subs: Billong, Pihler, Hotic, Vrsic, Mesanovic, Palcic, Obradovic.

MARIBOR (4-2-3-1): Handanovic; Milec, Rajcevic, Suler, Viler; Kabha, Vrhovec; Kramaric, Ahmedi, Bohar; Tavares.

The team news has been announced and we’ll start with the home side.

Maribor drew their opening game of the campaign against Spartak Moscow, with Damjan Bohar scoring five minutes from time to earn a share of the spoils. However, they were on the receiving end of Wissam Ben Yedder hat-trick in their defeat to Sevilla last time out. The Reds will come at them tonight and they have to rise to the challenge.

Liverpool have struggled for form in their opening two matches in Group E. The Reds drew against Sevilla on home soil due to a late leveller from Angel Correa, they could only take a point from their match against Spartak Moscow last time out. As a result, Jurgen Klopp’s men are under pressure to get their first win this evening.

Good evening and welcome to the live commentary of the Champions League clash between Maribor and Liverpool.

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Manchester City FC v SSC Napoli Match Report, 17/10/2017, UEFA Champions League Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:45:00 +0000

Manchester City 2 Napoli 1: Guardiola’s men see off Serie A leaders despite second-half scare

A dominant first-half Manchester City performance gave way to a nervy second 45 minutes as Napoli threatened to deny Pep Guardiola’s men.

Pep Guardiola’s free-scoring Manchester City took a huge step towards the Champions League knockout stages as they edged to a thrilling 2-1 win over Group F rivals Napoli.

City have cruised to the top of the Premier League – netting 29 goals in eight league games this term – and any claims that Serie A’s own in-form leaders could halt the hosts’ fine run looked to have been put to bed inside the opening quarter of an hour at the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola had predicted a “fascinating” contest and that it was, but poor Napoli initially had no answer to City’s rampant attacking play as Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus scored early on.

Maurizio Sarri ignored his president’s calls to rest key men for this match – with second-placed Inter visiting the San Paolo this weekend – but Dries Mertens’ first notable contribution was to see a penalty saved.

However, as City stepped off the gas after the break, Napoli hit their stride and a second spot-kick – from Amadou Diawara – was converted to set up a dramatic finish.

The visitors could not then force an equaliser, but their second-half dominance will have given Guardiola food for thought as his side move on to nine points; the Etihad crowd certainly felt their nerves jangling in the closing stages.

City have never played out a goalless draw in a group game in this competition and it quickly became clear that Guardiola’s unchanged side would maintain that entertaining record in a stunning display.

Sterling swept a finish beyond the wrongfooted Pepe Reina – for his eighth of the season – after Kyle Walker’s close-range shot was blocked, with a second goal following just four minutes later through Jesus, who converted from Kevin De Bruyne’s low, sweeping centre.

Having won each of their previous three home league games by a margin of five, City’s momentum did not slow.

Sterling delayed his pass as the relentless hosts broke in numbers after a rare Napoli foray, but Leroy Sane had the patience and awareness to then pick out De Bruyne on the edge of the area for a thunderous drive that rattled the underside of the crossbar.

Goal-line technology confirmed that the Belgian’s effort had not crossed the line and referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz was again checking his watch when Reina and Kalidou Koulibaly combined to scramble Jesus’ strike away from the goalmouth.

Napoli looked to have been handed a route back into the game towards the end of the first half but, when Walker dragged Raul Albiol down, Ederson blocked Mertens’ penalty and Fernandinho hacked clear.

The visitors momentarily gained a foothold in the tie, despite the miss, but only a vital Reina block kept Jesus from further extending City’s lead.

Although Napoli kicked on after the restart, forcing the home side back, chances for Sarri’s men were initially few and far between and they were dealt a blow just before the hour mark as Lorenzo Insigne hobbled off.

City were seemingly caught out by their opponents’ vast improvement, though, and Marek Hamsik looked destined to equal Diego Maradona’s all-time Napoli scoring record when Mertens squared to his captain – with Ederson grounded – only for John Stones to make a brilliant diving block.

But the visitors did not have to wait much longer for their goal. Fernandinho’s foul on Faouzi Ghoulam resulted in a second spot-kick and Diawara took on the responsibility, finally ending a run of six consecutive Champions League penalty saves from City goalkeepers.

Jesus thought he had restored the two-goal lead but strayed offside from De Bruyne’s pass, before the midfielder tested Reina with a free-kick and Mertens dragged wide at the other end.

City saw out the victory, but they know they must head to the San Paolo in a fortnight – that prospect will feel rather more daunting now than it did at half-time, even if they need only a point in Italy to secure their progression.

Article continues below


Key Opta stats:

– In all competitions, Manchester City have now recorded 10 consecutive victories; equalling their previous best run under Pep Guardiola (10 wins at the start of 2016-17).
– Manchester City have won their opening three games of a European tournament for the first time since 2008-09 (in the UEFA Cup), however this is the first time they have achieved it in the Champions League.
– The Citizens have also won three consecutive home games in the Champions League for the first time, and are now unbeaten in their last 11 overall (W8 D3). 
– Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 21 goals in 20 starts in all competitions for Manchester City (15 goals, 6 assists).
– Raheem Sterling has already scored 8 goals in 11 appearances for Manchester City this season; two fewer than he did in 47 appearances last term (10).
– Manchester City goalkeepers have saved six of the last seven penalties that they have faced in the Champions League (three by Joe Hart, two by Willy Caballero and one by Ederson). 
– Manchester City’s starting XI tonight was their youngest in the Champions League under Pep Guardiola (26y 73d), and their youngest in the competition overall since October 2012 (25y 309d v Borussia Dortmund).

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Proteas eye Bangladesh ODI series win Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:17:12 +0000

Cape Town – The Proteas will be driven by the possibility of a series win when they take on Bangladesh in the second one-day international (ODI) at Boland Park on Wednesday.

The Proteas lead the series 1-0 with two matches to play, and are within reach of securing a whitewash and returning to No 1 in the ICC team rankings.

READ: Proteas: Sweep Bangladesh and No 1 spot beckons

The Proteas brought their stellar performance from the Test series into the first ODI at the Diamond Oval this past weekend, which saw Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla share an unbeaten record-breaking partnership to secure a 10-wicket victory for the hosts.

Proteas head coach Ottis Gibson said that despite their dominant performance in Kimberley, the South Africans will not take the Bangladeshi lightly.

“The series is still alive. We won’t change too much at this stage, maybe if we win (in Paarl) we might make some changes in the third ODI. But certainly tomorrow (Wednesday), we’ll try and win the series,” Gibson told reporters on Tuesday.

Despite the Proteas dominating Bangladesh in all aspects thus far at home, Gibson says that their are still some skills the Proteas need to work on leading up to their busy summer schedule.

“One of the things that we have spoken about is developing flexibility among the team. Sometimes you need to inject some life or energy whether it be going at a left-arm spinner or take on somebody,” said Gibson.

“We want to practise that and the cricket will get tougher going forward. We just don’t want to be known as a one-dimensional team, we want to have options.”

The second ODI in Paarl is scheduled to start at 10:00.

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It’s still a bit of a dream – Mulder Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:10:49 +0000

Cape Town – Nineteen-year-old Wiaan Mulder is still processing his unexpected call-up to the Proteas One-Day International (ODI) squad for the remaining two matches against Bangladesh.

Mulder was withdrawn from the Highveld Lions’ Sunfoil Series match taking place in Potchefstroom last night, a whirlwind 24 hours that has resulted in the culmination of a dream come true.

“It’s still a bit of a dream,” he said in Paarl on Tuesday.

“It hasn’t really sunk in, I only got here (Paarl) three hours ago, but it’s an absolute dream to spend time with guys like AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla. They are going to be legends forever so I’m going to try and feed off them and do my absolute best to become one of them one day.  

“I got the call at about three o’clock yesterday afternoon,” he said of his call-up.

“I hadn’t gone in to bat yet and the coach (Geoffrey Toyana) told me that I was going to be replaced by someone else. I was very happy and tried to get a ‘not out’ overnight. It’s a funny feeling knowing that you’ll be leaving the game but it was one of those things that was the best for me at this stage.”

Mulder, who has two first-class hundreds and 33 wickets since making his debut last year, says he would like to develop into a ‘genuine all-rounder’ that can contribute successfully with both bat and ball.

He is another South Africa U19 success story following in the steps of Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo and Aiden Markram, and will be following a similar recipe for success from his peers.   

“Something Aiden Markram told me sums it up,” he said. “He told me to go out there and be myself, I shouldn’t try to prove a point to anybody and try be someone that I am not. At this stage it’s about having the freedom and peace of mind that no matter what, I’ll still be the same person. That is a big thing that has helped me with my success, going out there and not being too worried about what people are saying but to just do my best.

“That is the thing that a lot of young guys can struggle with,” he explained.

“The mindset of being yourself is tough; you want to impress, you want to be the guy who stands up when the occasion is there. That has helped me through all of this.”

Proteas coach Ottis Gibson says Mulder’s call-up is another opportunity to groom a potential player for the future.

Mulder is unlikely to play on Wednesday, with the coach hinting at sticking with a winning combination, but will no doubt gain valuable insight and knowledge of the demands of international cricket.

“He is very talented,” Gibson said of Mulder. “On one of the first days I got into the country I went down to the Wanderers and he was playing, I saw him and immediately liked him. I asked a question about him and they said he was in the system already, a good young U19 player. One of the things we are trying to do as a one-day team is widening the pool of players that we have to choose from. He is here now because he is talented and is somebody who in two years’ time, if developed in the right way, there is no reason why he can’t be part of the squad going forward.”

The Proteas have an opportunity to seal the series in the second match at Boland Park on Wednesday, following the 10-wicket romp in Kimberley on Sunday.

They lead the three-match series 1-0 with play scheduled to start at 10:00.

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Wolff: Recent wins don’t disguise Mercedes issues Tue, 17 Oct 2017 19:16:05 +0000

Cape Town – Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said there is no complacency creeping in at the Silver Arrows despite good fortune and recent wins putting them on the brink of both World Championships.

Wolff has labelled the Mercedes W08 as ‘capricious’ and a ‘diva’ throughout the 2017 season but after the races in Singapore, Malaysia and Japan, the team principal believes important lessons have been learned.

“We returned from those races with a lot more understanding of our car and of the reasons for the performance swings we have experienced this season,” said the Mercedes boss.

“Some of that understanding is already being applied to the final races, some of it will flow into next year’s project.

“But the bitter taste of our defeat in Malaysia once again confirmed that the tough days are the ones when you learn most – and when you lay the foundations for future success.”

“We approach every race with a healthy dose of scepticism rather than wishful thinking, and our focus must be on making sure we score every point within our reach this weekend in Austin.

Wolff also said that the team are well aware they have benefitted from good fortune in recent races given Ferrari’s frequent DNFs and are not letting the subsequent results paper over the cracks.

“Since we began the final flyaway leg of the season, we have seen a strong points swing in our favour in both championships.

“Good fortune has played its part, of course – and we have put ourselves in the right position to make the most of the opportunities that have come our way.

“But nobody within the team is allowing those good results to disguise the challenges we have faced.”

Wolff concluded by praising both drivers for their recent efforts.

“Lewis has driven brilliantly this year – and since the summer break in particular, he has been on another level,” said Wolff.

“It has been impressive to watch him extracting everything from the car and working with the team to solve problems and improve even further.

“Valtteri has had a tougher time in recent races – but he demonstrated his work ethic and character to deliver a strong weekend in Suzuka, and he will be aiming to build on this performance in the final four rounds.”

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