Foden rescues Manchester City in West Ham draw

West Ham United’s midfielder Michail Antonio scores the opening goal during Saturday’s English Premier League football match against Manchester City in London. (AFP)
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Updated 25 October 2020

Foden rescues Manchester City in West Ham draw

  • I’m not a guy who can predict the future. We’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City

LONDON: Pep Guardiola admitted he cannot guarantee Manchester City will emerge from their slump after Phil Foden came off the bench to rescue a 1-1 draw against West Ham on Saturday.

Guardiola’s side fell behind to Michail Antonio’s superb overhead kick in the first half at the London Stadium.

Foden came on at half-time and produced an instant equalizer, but City couldn’t deliver the knockout blow and have now won just one of their last four Premier League games.

Injury-hit City, without Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake and Gabriel Jesus, rarely reached peak form in the latest of a growing list of inconsistent displays.

While Arsenal and Porto were beaten in their previous two matches, City still don’t seem to have completely recovered from their 5-2 thrashing by Leicester in September.

They are already five points behind leaders Everton, who play Southampton on Sunday, and look more vulnerable than at any time since Guardiola’s first season in charge.

“I’m not a guy who can predict the future. We’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot,” Guardiola said.

“We suffered in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first half. In the second half we were better and scored early.

“We had the chances we needed to win the game, but unfortunately we couldn’t score again.

“We’ve struggled a lot for many reasons. We have to take things game by game and see what happens.”

Adding to Guardiola’s problems, Sergio Aguero suffered a “muscular injury” according to the City boss, who did not know how long his star striker would be sidelined for.

Aguero hasn’t scored in the top flight since January and is notoriously slow to return to his best after injuries.

Just back after several months out following knee surgery, the Argentine was replaced by Foden at the interval.

Tricky trips to Marseille and Sheffield United next week will provide a further test of just how determined City are to recover the all-conquering form that swept them to the title in 2018 and 2019.

After fighting back from 3-0 down at Tottenham with three goals in the last 10 minutes in their previous match, this was another encouraging result for West Ham.

Raheem Sterling scored a hat trick in City’s 5-0 win at West Ham last season and his penetrating run laid on an early chance for Aguero, whose shot was deflected wide.

Guardiola named an unchanged lineup in consecutive games for the first time since October 2017, but City still lacked rhythm and they fell behind to Antonio’s moment of magic in the 18th minute.

Vladimir Coufal swung a cross into the City area and Antonio showed his strength and agility as he held off Ruben Dias before smashing a superb overhead kick past Ederson for his third goal of the season.

Foden made an immediate impact as the 20-year-old grabbed his third goal of the season in the 51st minute.

Joao Cancelo made an incisive burst down the left and aimed his cross into the West Ham area, where Foden controlled and turned in one motion before driving his low shot past Lukasz Fabianski.

With 22 minutes left, Guardiola introduced Kevin De Bruyne, who missed the wins over Arsenal and Porto with a muscle problem.

De Bruyne’s pinpoint pass gave Sterling a golden opportunity to win it for City in the 86th minute, but the forward’s poor touch and hesitant shot allowed Fabianski to save.

Guardiola shook his head and there was more frustration in stoppage-time when Riyad Mahrez’s shot was pushed onto the post by Fabianski.


European Ryder Cup stars take aim on 2021 Saudi International

Updated 27 November 2020

European Ryder Cup stars take aim on 2021 Saudi International

  • The February tourney looks set to be one of the strongest events on European Tour schedule

JEDDAH: European Ryder Cup stars Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood join defending champion Graeme McDowell in looking to get their campaign to qualify for the 2021 European Ryder Cup team off to the strongest possible start at the Saudi International.

The tournament, powered by Softbank Investment Advisers, will take place  Feb. 4 -7 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in King Abdullah Economic City.

With world No. 1 and 2020 Masters champion Dustin Johnson and 2020 US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau confirmed for the event, along with reigning Open champion Shane Lowry and US stars Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed, the strength of the field means huge ranking points will be on offer for Europe’s leading golfers as they look to get their 2021 qualifying efforts off to a fast start and secure a coveted place on the 2021 European Ryder Cup team.

With a lineup that looks set to ensure that the Saudi International will be one of the strongest events on the 2021 European Tour schedule, Golf Saudi is looking to build on the momentum resulting from hosting two extremely successful Ladies European Tour events this month as interest and participation in golf continues to grow in the Kingdom.

Fleetwood, a six-time winner on the European Tour and standout player in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory in Paris in 2018, is making his debut this year in the Saudi International. He said: “From all I’ve heard from the lads who played there the last couple of years, the Saudi International has established itself as one of the leading events on the European Tour both in terms of set up and facilities as well as quality of the field, which is really impressive this year.”

Poulter, who played for the first time in the 2020 edition, said: “I really enjoyed the tournament at the beginning of this year and am psyched to be returning next February. The course sets up for my game rather nicely so I was pretty frustrated to only finish in the top 20 and will certainly be aiming to finish rather higher up the leaderboard this year!

“It’s a fantastic championship course with some amazing vistas and I also really like the fact we get to play a part in introducing golf to a whole new audience in a new region. With Ryder Cup qualification on the line, I am obviously looking to get my campaign off to a fast start and getting a decent finish or winning the Saudi International against such a stellar field would be massive.

“It’s been a really weird year with the pandemic so we are all looking forward to a fresh start in 2021 and I am hoping it is also a strong start as I keep my eyes firmly focused on qualifying for the European team at Whistling Straits,” he added.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi, said: “This announcement marks yet another amazing group of golf stars joining our 2021 field and the excitement of all the players to kick off afresh in 2021, in Saudi Arabia, is heartening to hear.

“The lineup for the tournament is looking strong and with more players still to be announced in the coming weeks — and on the back of two excellent Ladies European Tour events earlier this month — we are very much looking forward to the third edition of our tournament. We believe it will be the strongest installment to date and will serve as a fabulous illustration that Saudi Arabia is open for business.”