Connect with us

Sports

Leao the king of Milan, VAR spoils Premier League: Weekend review

Avatar photo

Published

on

Leao the king of Milan, VAR spoils Premier League: Weekend review

Another weekend of headlines, golazos and unpredictable finishes across Europe’s biggest leagues. From AC Milan securing the first derby win of the Serie A season to fans, coaches and players raging at VAR in the Premier League, there was no shortage of drama.

ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Alex Kirkland, Julien Laurens, James Tyler and Mark Ogden break down the big stuff you need to know about the weekend.

– ESPN+ guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U.S.)


Jump to: Talking points | Best goals | Teams in trouble | MVP of the Weekend


Talking points

Milan draw first blood in Serie A

While we wait for other big derbies, other big top of the table clashes or other mouthwatering matches between European giants, Saturday’s Derby della Madonnina between AC Milan and Internazionale was the first big blockbuster of the current season and it was awesome.

It had everything: goals, drama, suspense, quality individual performances, mistakes (look away now Hakan Calhanoglu) and a winner. Milan, for now, is AC Milan’s kingdom while Inter are now two points behind their archrivals in the table. And Rafael Leao is the undisputed king of the city. Serie A’s player of last season was outstanding with two goals and an assist. His second one is a tribute to the great George Weah with so many similarities in how he took that goal, his little hook and finish. This 3-2 win for the reigning champions is not decisive in the title race but it showed that whoever wants their crown will have to fight hard to get it. — Laurens

Dortmund purring … for now

Watching Borussia Dortmund can at times feel like a horror film, with serene moments sharply interrupted by the stuff of nightmares. Anyone recall their remarkable collapse at home to Werder Bremen two matchdays ago? Taking that jump scare out of the equation, they’ve been superb to open the campaign, broadly going back to basics and picking up their second straight 1-0 win in the Bundesliga, and their fourth win in five. It’s also their third 1-0 in that streak.

– Watch again: Dortmund 1-0 Hoffenheim (ESPN+, U.S. only)

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

They’re even above Bayern Munich right now, proof that Edin Terzic is worth backing. Friday’s narrow win over Hoffenheim was fairly routine: Marco Reus (two goals, two assists this season) was his vintage self in stroking a Julian Brandt first time pass beyond Oliver Baumann to give Dortmund a 16th minute lead they’d hang onto with little difficulty.

The trick from here will be continuing to build momentum while maintaining perspective as to what Terzic is building: In addition to a trip to Manchester City in the Champions League in two weeks, Dortmund will need to be as cohesive as possible for Bayern’s visit at the start of October. That will tell us as much about Dortmund’s title contention as games against RB Leipzig, FC Koln and Schalke 04. — Tyler

play

1:09

Marco Reus goal 16th minute Borussia Dortmund 1-0 TSG Hoffenheim

Honours even on Merseyside

It was an emotional afternoon at Goodison Park with two clubs and sets of fans united in sorrow after a nine-year old girl was shot dead in her house last week in Liverpool, and it was maybe fitting that there was no winner in the Merseyside Derby this time around.

The two keepers, Alisson and especially Jordan Pickford, were the reasons for the stalemate after some fantastic saves and if the game took a while to get going, it turned epic in the second half and, in the end, it was a good 0-0 draw but this is a result that doesn’t suit anyone.

Liverpool feel like they have dropped two points while Everton could also smell victory at times. The game also reminded us that there is something not right about Mohamed Salah at the moment. Without having a bad game (0.19 xG and 0.24 xA for him in the end), he didn’t look at his best. — Laurens

play

1:37

Janusz Michallik points the finger at Mohamed Salah & Trent Alexander-Arnold after Liverpool are held by Everton.

Gavi lights up the Sanchez Pizjuan

We could single out half the Barcelona team for praise after their 3-0 win at Sevilla on Saturday night. Robert Lewandowski scored again to make it five LaLiga goals in four games. Jules Kounde provided two assists against his former club. Raphinha impressed again, opening the scoring and contributing to Barca’s third. And Eric Garcia grabbed the first goal of his professional career.

It was another player who was named man of the match though. Gavi,18, was everywhere at the Sanchez Pizjuan, working tirelessly to press when out of possession and taking care of the ball when he had it, with a 90.9% pass completion rate. With all the noise around Barca’s frantic summer transfer window, we shouldn’t forget that two of the most exciting young players anywhere — Gavi and Pedri — were already right there at Camp Nou.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

This will be a big season for Gavi. He already looked a star in the dysfunctional Barca of early last season. Now, in a side transformed by Xavi’s coaching and playing alongside world-class professionals and leaders like Lewandowski, it’s time to shine. And that’s before we even mention the key role he should play for Spain at the World Cup. — Kirkland

play

0:58

Eric García goal 50th minute Sevilla FC 0-3 Barcelona


Goals

Man Utd deliver the goods

The finish from Marcus Rashford is good but the pass from Bruno Fernandes is sublime. It starts with a quick pass forward from Christian Eriksen — Manchester United’s best player in the 3-1 win over Arsenal — but it’s made by the vision and delivery from Fernandes.

A word, too, for the finish from Rashford. He has struggled for form for nearly two years but that was a high-pressure moment in a big game and he kept a cool head — Dawson

— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 4, 2022

All class from Vinicius

Vinicius Junior’s development into a cool-headed, clinical goal-scorer isn’t news. After all, this is a player who scored 17 goals in LaLiga last season. The quality of his finishing still has the ability to surprise, though, and that was the case on Saturday when he opened the scoring in Real Madrid’s 2-1 win over Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu.

His clever movement in the ninth minute saw him beat the Betis offside trap, stepping inside full-back Youssouf Sabaly and setting off safe in the knowledge that teammate David Alaba has the vision and technique to find him with the pass. It was Vinicius’ next touch that was truly special, scooping the ball over goalkeeper Rui Silva, and running off in celebration before it had nestled in the back of the net. It’s three goals in his last three games for Vinicius, helping fire Madrid to the top of the table with maximum points so far. — Kirkland

Vinicius Jr. with a beautiful chip 👏 pic.twitter.com/SHIJ6p5U1h

— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 3, 2022

Brilliant Becker befuddles Bayern

There were many things to frustrate the Bavarians on Saturday — Leroy Sane’s wasteful finishing, the heroics of goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow to name just two — in their 1-1 draw with Union Berlin, but surely even the most miserable Bayern fan could appreciate Sheraldo Becker’s brilliant goal to open the scoring.

Union’s top scorer pulled off an elegant volley from Christopher Trimmel’s looping set piece to leave Manuel Neuer grasping for air, and it must be said how difficult a shot this was to pull off: seriously, try this at your next pick-up game and see where it ends up. Though Bayern would swiftly level through an equally thundering finish by Joshua Kimmich, Union had more than enough to hang on for a well-earned point. — Tyler

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Teams in trouble

Pressure on Cooper at Forest

Nottingham Forest cannot be accused of not showing ambition following their return to the Premier League but, despite spending close to £150 million on new players this summer, they still find themselves in the relegation places after six games.

The 3-2 defeat at home to Bournemouth on Saturday is a devastating blow after going in at half-time 2-0 up — particularly after enduring a 6-0 demolition by Manchester City three days earlier. Steve Cooper needs to get his new-look squad to gel quickly to avoid an immediate return to the Championship and the next three games against Leeds United, Fulham and Leicester City will be vital if they’re going to get their season up and running quickly.

The danger for Cooper is that, if he cannot turn things around, it will be very tempting for Forest to change managers when the Premier League breaks for the World Cup in November. Forest probably wouldn’t even be in the top-flight if it wasn’t for Cooper but football is an ungiving business, especially when there’s so much money on the line. With so many new players arriving, Cooper is still trying to figure out his best team but it needs to happen sooner rather than later — Dawson

Leipzig in freefall

You hate to panic this early in the season for any team, but something is not right in Leipzig at the moment. Saturday’s 4-0 shellacking at Eintracht Frankfurt, their second defeat in their last three Bundesliga games, boasted nothing to feel good about. From the xG battle (3.10 to 0.18) to having zero shots on target compared to Frankfurt’s 9, the Red Bull boys endured one of those afternoons in which you concede early goals and then just have to grit the teeth, hanging on for the full-time whistle.

Things should clear up over time as Timo Werner settles back in at his former club and unlearns some of the bad habits he must have collected at Chelsea, but the schedule ahead is far from forgiving: Champions League clashes with Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid either side of a league game with Dortmund await over the next 10 days. Here’s hoping Domenico Tedesco has the magic words to rally a team in search of confidence. — Tyler

play

2:30

Watch the Game Highlights from Eintracht Frankfurt vs. RB Leipzig, 09/03/2022


Weekend MVP

VAR-cical scenes in the Premier League

On any other weekend, Eriksen would have had the MVP title in the bag following an outstanding performance during Manchester United’s 3-1 win against Arsenal at Old Trafford, but despite dominating the game for Erik ten Hag’s side, the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder can’t compete with VAR in terms of the impact made.

VAR — the video-assistant referee — is supposed to be there to help tidy up clear and obvious mistakes by officials and also ensure that no goals are incorrectly awarded if any infringement has taken place.

But this weekend, the VAR dominated the Premier League for all the wrong reasons.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Newcastle and West Ham both had seemingly good goals disallowed against Crystal Palace and Chelsea, respectively, after VAR instructed the match referee to review his initial decision to award it. The Premier League has now ordered the referees’ body — PGMOL — to explain how both decisions were so incorrectly made.

Then there was the failure to spot a bad Virgil van Dijk foul on Amadou Onana during Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Everton, the length of time it took to decide that Alexis Mac Allister’s goal for Brighton against Leicester was offside and, similarly, why it took almost three minutes to decide that Eriksen was shoved off the ball in the build-up to an Arsenal goal which was eventually ruled out.

VAR should be there to make the game better, but this weekend, it made it worse and took the headlines away from so many great performances of players and teams on the pitch. — Ogden

Read More

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Latest

Panthers outlast Hurricanes in 4th OT in 6th-longest game in NHL history

Avatar photo

Published

on

Panthers outlast Hurricanes in 4th OT in 6th-longest game in NHL history

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers seemed determined to keep playing. And playing. And playing.

The teams opened their Eastern Conference final playoff series with Florida’s 3-2 victory in four overtimes early Friday, with the game ranking as the sixth-longest game in NHL history.

Matthew Tkachuk’s goal came at the 19:47 mark of the fourth OT to end this one, which marked the 15th four-overtime game in NHL history and the longest game in franchise history for each team.

The longest game in NHL history came on March 24, 1936, when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Montreal Maroons 1-0 in the sixth overtime on Mud Bruneteau’s goal at 116 minutes, 30 seconds of extra play.

Florida’s previous record for longest game was 104:31 in Game 4 of the 1996 Stanley Cup final against Colorado. Carolina’s previous record was 114:47 for Game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup final.

The only good news for the teams is they had an extended break before this series began. Carolina closed out New Jersey exactly a week earlier, while Florida eliminated Toronto a day later.

But this game ended roughly six hours after Thursday night’s puck drop, and the teams have a Game 2 in less than 48 hours.

___

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

AP NHL playoffs: https://apnews.com/hub/stanley-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Read More

Continue Reading

Latest

Barcelona says probe found no evidence of corruption by club

Avatar photo

Published

on

Barcelona says probe found no evidence of corruption by club

MADRID (AP) — The investigation ordered by Barcelona into its controversial payments for refereeing reports found no evidence of corruption by the club, president Joan Laporta said Monday.

Laporta reiterated that the club’s payments over several years to the company owned by the vice president of Spain’s refereeing committee were only for technical reports and not to influence referees. He said he believed there were no ethics breach and that Barcelona was the victim of a campaign to hurt its reputation.

“This is one of the most ferocious attacks in our history,” Laporta said. “I ask FC Barcelona supporters to be as united as ever in defense of our crest, our essence, and our ownership model. No campaign to discredit us will prevent us from continuing to be an organization of reference in the world of sports that is beloved and admired by millions of Catalans and by many more millions of people around the world.”

It was the first time Laporta spoke at a news conference to give explanations after it became public that the club paid 7.3 million euros ($8 million) from 2001-18 to the company of then committee vice president José María Enríquez Negreira. Prosecutors have accused Barcelona of alleged corruption in sports, fraudulent management, and falsification of mercantile documentation.

Barcelona opened the probe to look into the actions of all the different presidential administrations that made payments over the years, including Laporta’s first at the club. The investigation was conducted by an external company.

The club said the probe found that “no conducts of a criminal nature associated to sporting corruption have been identified, nor are there any grounds to investigate any form of criminal activity associated to bribery.” It added there was “official documentation on the invoices and payments” for the services of “scouting and advice regarding referees, which are common practices in the professional sports sector.”

“Consulting on technical-refereeing issues does not constitute any type of illegal act,” Laporta said. “Consulting, as is done by the big clubs, that was carried out transparently, with the corresponding invoices, at least in my first mandate as president.”

The probe found 629 technical refereeing reports and 43 CDs that the club received over 18 years for what Laporta called “market price.” More reports were likely lost over time, he said.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

“I reiterate with all my resolve, I am convinced that FC Barcelona has not committed any crime of sports-related corruption. I hope that sooner rather than later, it is fully exonerated,” he said. “Accusations must be proven. We live by the rule of law, which guarantees among its basic principles the presumption of innocence.”

He said that if there were any irregularities committed by Negreira, Barcelona would be a victim of them. He also said Negreira was not in a position to directly influence referees, and that it was Negreira’s son who actually produced the refereeing reports.

“I dare anyone to show an instance in which Barcelona was favored in a match because of these payments,” Laporta said. “We will allow the justice system to do its work and I’m sure that Barcelona will be cleared. I am fully convinced that FC Barcelona has never performed any act with the intention of altering the competition to gain an advantage.”

The Spanish league, Real Madrid and other clubs have been among those taking part in the legal proceedings against Barcelona. Laporta criticized league president Javier Tebas for making accusations against Barcelona, and also took a shot at rival Madrid.

“Everyone knows that Real Madrid is a club that is historically favored by refereeing mistakes,” he said.

Laporta said Barcelona has always been a club that takes pride in its values, and it would never want to win anything with outside help.

“Throughout its 123-year history, FC Barcelona has always been a model of fair play, both on and off the field,” he said. “If we have won for so many decades, it has undoubtedly been a result of effort, talent and knowledge.”

___

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Read More

Continue Reading

Latest

Silicon Valley councilman indicted in 49ers report leak

Avatar photo

Published

on

Silicon Valley councilman indicted in 49ers report leak

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Silicon Valley city councilman has been charged with perjury after he allegedly lied about leaking a grand jury report to the San Francisco 49ers last year that detailed a purportedly unethical relationship between the team and the city council, prosecutors said Friday.

Santa Clara City Councilmember Anthony Becker is accused of providing the secret report titled “Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Santa Clara City Council” to the team’s former top spokesperson and a local media outlet in 2022, days ahead of its official release.

Becker then allegedly lied to the grand jury about the leak, prosecutors said, prompting the criminal charges.

The 49ers play in Levi’s Stadium in the city of Santa Clara, about 35 miles (56.33 kilometers) south of San Francisco. Santa Clara County is broadly considered home to Silicon Valley.

The city of Santa Clara owns the stadium and leases it to the team; fighting between the two groups has led to ethics complaints, legal disputes and years of bad blood.

Al Guido, the team’s president, and Larry MacNeil, the former CFO who worked extensively on the team’s stadium project, were named in the indictment as witnesses who spoke to the criminal grand jury for Becker’s indictment.

“The 49ers have cooperated fully with the District Attorney’s Office in their investigation, and will continue to do so,” team spokesperson Brian Brokaw said in a statement Friday. “However, because this is an ongoing legal matter, the organization is not able to make any further comment at this time.”

Prosecutors say the team has bankrolled Becker’s political career by spending $3.2 million through independent expenditure committees for his 2020 city council race, which he won, as well as his unsuccessful 2022 mayoral bid.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” report alleged that Becker and four other councilmembers regularly voted “in a manner that is favorable to the 49ers” and would routinely meet with the team’s lobbyists but not disclose what was discussed.

Becker faces a felony charge of perjury under oath, as well as a misdemeanor charge of willful failure to perform duty. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Becker did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday, and it was not clear whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

“Councilmember Becker violated the public’s trust,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “That an elected official would commit perjury and lie under oath before the grand jury strikes at the very heart of our justice system and requires accountability.”

Representatives for the Santa Clara City Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read More

Continue Reading