Spurs rocked on Bale’s return, Mitrovic suffers penalty misery

Harry Kane heads the ball for Spurs’ third goal during the English Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United in London. (AFP)
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Updated 18 October 2020

Spurs rocked on Bale’s return, Mitrovic suffers penalty misery

  • Bale misses golden opportunity to wrap up the points before West Ham’s Lanzini snatches an equalizer

LONDON: West Ham ruined Gareth Bale’s Tottenham return with a stunning late fightback from three goals down to rescue a thrilling 3-3 draw, while Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic endured a penalty nightmare in a 1-1 draw at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Tottenham were leading 3-0 when Bale came on as a 72nd minute substitute for his first appearance since joining on a season-long loan from Real Madrid.

But Bale suffered a debut to forget as Tottenham capitulated in astonishing fashion.

The Wales star was one of the main Tottenham culprits as he missed a golden opportunity to wrap up the points before West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini snatched a stoppage-time equalizer.

Tottenham took the lead with just 45 seconds gone when Son Heung-min and Harry Kane combined to create a goal for the seventh time this season.

Kane was the catalyst, dropping deep into midfield before unfurling a majestic long pass that found Son, who cut into the West Ham area and curled his shot into the far corner.

It was Kane’s turn to get on the scoresheet in the 8th minute as he nutmegged Declan Rice and fired into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Tottenham’s sizzling start featured a third goal in the 16th minute, with England captain Kane heading in from Sergio Reguilon’s pin-point cross for his 10th goal of the season.

Having crushed Manchester United 6-1 in their last game before the international break, Jose Mourinho’s side looked odds on for another emphatic victory.

Back at Tottenham seven years after leaving for Real in a then world record deal, Bale hopes to prove he is still a world-class talent despite a long spell out of favor with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

But it was West Ham who were the dominant force after Bale’s introduction to replace Steven Bergwijn.

Fabian Balbuena nodded in from Aaron Cresswell’s cross after 82 minutes and Davinson Sanchez’s headed own goal from Vladimir Coufal’s delivery three minutes later left Tottenham panicking.

Bale should have scored in stoppage-time, but he shot wide after bursting into the area and Lanzini made him pay with a brilliant 25-yard blast into the top corner.

It was just the third time in Premier League history that a side has avoided defeat despite trailing by at least three goals going into the 80th minute.

At Bramall Lane, Fulham’s Mitrovic fired over with his second half penalty after Jack Robinson handled.

On-loan Leipzig winger Ademola Lookman put Fulham ahead in the 77th minute with a superb solo effort, beating two men before firing into the roof of the net.

But Serbia international Mitrovic was penalized for a high foot on Robinson in the 85th minute following a VAR check and Billy Sharp made him pay as he drove his penalty down the middle.

Mitrovic is the first player to commit the unwanted penalty double in the same Premier League game since Mikel Arteta for Arsenal against Fulham in 2012.

Meanwhile, Liverpool said on Sunday that the club’s star Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on his right knee after damaging ligaments in a challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the Merseyside derby.

Liverpool did not give a timescale on Van Dijk’s absence, but an injury of that nature will likely keep the Netherlands international out for a long period.


‘Fake news’: Paul Pogba denies quitting France team over Macron comments

Updated 26 October 2020

‘Fake news’: Paul Pogba denies quitting France team over Macron comments

  • Pogba added that he was taking legal action against the publishers

PARIS: Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba on Monday denied media reports that said he quit the France national team over comments made by the country’s President Emmanuel Macron which were perceived to be against Islam.
The French leader this month declared war on “Islamist separatism,” which he believes is taking over some Muslim communities in France.
The Sun newspaper alleged that Pogba, a practicing Muslim, reacted to Macron’s comments by quitting the national team.
“Unacceptable,” the 27-year-old wrote on a Twitter post along with a “fake news” sticker on a screenshot of the headline from The Sun.


“So The Sun did it again,” he added on Instagram. “Absolutely 100% unfounded news about me are going around, stating things I have never said or thought.
“I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some ‘media’ sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding the French national team to the pot.
“I am against any and all forms of terror and violence. Unfortunately, some press people don’t act responsibly when writing the news, abusing their press freedom, not verifying if what they write/reproduce is true, creating a gossip chain without caring (if) it affects people’s lives and my life.”


Pogba added that he was taking legal action against the publishers.
“We reported on a story that Paul Pogba had taken the decision to quit the French national football team after it was published on a sports website,” The Sun newspaper said in a statement. “The story was also published by The Mirror, Mail Online and other websites.
“Subsequently, Paul Pogba has denied the claim and we have updated our story accordingly. We apologize for any upset caused.”
The report came days after Macron paid tribute to a French history teacher who was beheaded by a radical for using cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on freedom of expression for 13-year-olds.