Kane breaks 60-year record and Musiala dazzles in Bayern romp

Bayern’s Serge Gnabry celebrates with his teammates Harry Kane and Jamal Musiala after he scored his side’s fourth goal during their Bundesliga match against SV Darmstadt 98 in Darmstadt on Mar. 16, 2024. (AP)
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Updated 16 March 2024
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Kane breaks 60-year record and Musiala dazzles in Bayern romp

  • With 31 goals in 26 league games since arriving from Spurs in the summer, Kane overtook German legend Uwe Seeler, who scored 30 goals for Hamburg in 1963-64
  • Musiala also had an assist in the win, which keeps Bayern's slim hopes of defending the Bundesliga title alive

BERLIN: Harry Kane broke a 60-year record for most goals in a debut season while Jamal Musiala scored twice as Bayern Munich won 5-2 at Darmstadt on Saturday.
With 31 goals in 26 league games since arriving from Spurs in the summer, Kane overtook German legend Uwe Seeler, who scored 30 goals for Hamburg in 1963-64.
Musiala also had an assist in the win, which keeps Bayern's slim hopes of defending the Bundesliga title alive, moving them seven points behind Bayer Leverkusen, who play at Freiburg on Sunday.
"We are staying in it. We worked hard to get ourselves some opportunities and we took them," said Bayern captain Manuel Neuer, praising "difference makers like Jamal on the pitch."
The goalkeeper was however disappointed his side had conceded two goals against last-placed Darmstadt, saying: "We all need to work on it."
Darmstadt stunned Bayern after 28 minutes, Tim Skarke taking advantage of some sleepy defending by Eric Dier to score and give the home side hope of an incredible upset against the German champions.
Kane would however drag Bayern into the lead before half-time, assisting Musiala's 36th-minute goal before scoring one of his own, rising high to head in a Joshua Kimmich chip in first-half stoppage time.
Musiala added another midway through the second half when he collected a Thomas Mueller throw-in and danced through the box before shooting between the goalkeeper's legs.
As he did last week, Serge Gnabry scored moments after coming off the bench to seal the win.
Bayern's Mathys Tel and Darmstadt's Oscar Vilhelmsson both scored in stoppage time.
In the German capital, Union Berlin beat Werder Bremen 2-1 thanks to a commanding performance from US midfielder Brenden Aaronson, on loan from Leeds.
Aaronson, who was surprisingly left out of the US squad this week, had a hand in two goals in three second-half minutes to give Union the upper hand.
The 23-year-old laid on Yorbe Vertessen's 50th-minute goal, before creating and scoring one of his own with some superb dribbling shortly after.
Mitchell Weiser pulled one back for the visitors but Union held on, recording their fifth win in seven home matches under coach Nenad Bjelica.
"It's been the toughest year of my life," Aaronson told reporters after scoring his second goal in Union colours.
"Going from Leeds and then not playing much here, it's mentally a battle all the time, staying confident."
Augsburg came from a goal down to beat a 10-man Wolfsburg 3-1 away from home, their fourth-straight league win taking them to seventh on the table.
Wolfsburg's Patrick Wimmer scored after just nine minutes but was sent from the field in tears just before half-time for a last-man foul, with Augsburg's Arne Maier scoring from the ensuing free-kick.
Kristijan Jakic scored a second-half double to seal the win, piling more pressure on Niko Kovac's Wolfsburg who have won just one game in 15.
Mainz won 2-0 at home against Bochum to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation alive. Mainz moved past Cologne, who were thumped 5-1 by Leipzig on Friday, into 16th, the relegation playoff spot.
Promoted Heidenheim drew 1-1 at home with Borussia Moenchengladbach to collect another valuable point and go 10 clear of the relegation spots in their first season in the top division.
Later on Saturday, third-placed Stuttgart travel to neighbours Hoffenheim.


England held to 1-1 draw by Denmark at Euro 2024

Updated 3 min 17 sec ago
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England held to 1-1 draw by Denmark at Euro 2024

  • Morten Hjulmand bagged Denmark’s leveller after 34 minutes with a superb 30-yard strike

FRANKFURT: England missed a chance to seal their place in the last 16 at Euro 2024 as Denmark hit back to draw 1-1 in Frankfurt on Thursday.
Harry Kane put England ahead in the 18th minute with a close-range finish from Kyle Walker’s deflected cross.
Morten Hjulmand bagged Denmark’s leveller after 34 minutes with a superb 30-yard strike.
England would have gone through as group winners with a victory, but are still on course for the knockout stage after taking four points from their first two games.


Ukraine seek to bounce back against Slovakia after surprise opening loss

Updated 53 min 47 sec ago
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Ukraine seek to bounce back against Slovakia after surprise opening loss

  • Ukraine had a shock 3-0 loss to Romania that included costly errors from Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin
  • Another loss could mean elimination for Ukraine, which were a quarterfinalist in 2021

DUESSELDORF, Germany: Slovakia face Ukraine on Friday in Duesseldorf in their second Group E match at the European Championship.

Slovakia are second to Romania on goal difference, and Ukraine are last. Romania and Belgium play on Saturday.
Ukraine had a shock 3-0 loss to Romania that included costly errors from Real Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin. Another loss could mean elimination for Ukraine, which were a quarterfinalist in 2021.
Ukrainian players apologized to their fans for the Romania loss, and held a team meeting in the locker room after that game without coach Serhiy Rebrov present to work out what went wrong. That was “absolutely normal,” the coach said Thursday.
Slovakia are riding high after surprising Belgium 1-0 but needed two video reviews to overturn Belgium goals. One was deemed offside and a sensor in the ball detected a handball on the second.
The Slovakians know not to get too excited by an opening win. At the last European Championship they beat Poland but then lost to Sweden and Spain and didn’t advance. That meant there was only “a bit of euphoria for a few short hours” when Slovakia beat Belgium this time, coach Francesco Calzona said.
Ukraine coach Rebrov indicated he will make changes to the lineup which lost to Romania and said some unnamed players were carrying “micro-injuries.”
Defender Vitaliy Mykolenko sustained severe bruising in a pre-tournament friendly with Moldova and was an unused substitute against Romania but was expected to train with the team Thursday evening, Rebrov said.
One option for Rebrov could be to replace 34-year-old captain Taras Stepanenko with the 22-year-old Volodymyr Brazhko in defensive midfield. Brazhko debuted for the team only in March as Ukraine qualified for Euro 2024 through the playoffs.
Slovakia coach Calzona says his players are all available but he has yet to decide on his starting lineup.
The average age of Slovakia’s starting lineup in the win over Belgium was over 30 as the team relied on the experience of two 37-year-olds, defender Peter Pekarik and Juraj Kucka, and the 35-year-old goalkeeper Martin Dubravka. Ukraine’s players against Romania were on average four and a half years younger.
The teams have a fairly even record, with three wins for Slovakia, two for Ukraine and three draws. Slovakia won their last game 4-1 in 2018.
A second win would make history for Slovakia, which have never won more than one game in any tournament they’ve played as an independent nation. As part of Czechoslovakia, they did win the 1976 European Championship, though.
“We want to turn the page and concentrate 100 percent on the Slovakia game... (The Romania game) is a very painful result for us but we need to learn the lessons and get ready for tomorrow’s game,” said Ukraine left back Oleksandr Zinchenko.
“I think our greatest quality is humility. We know that we always need to give 110 percent because we’re a small nation and we always want to put a big smile on the faces of our fans and our people,” said Calzona.
Slovak defender David Hancko said: “Ukraine has wonderful, young, talented players. They have a good system, they’re strong on the ball. ... We must play to the best of our abilities to be able to beat them.”


France coach says team doing all to ensure Mbappé available for Netherlands match at Euro 2024

Updated 20 June 2024
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France coach says team doing all to ensure Mbappé available for Netherlands match at Euro 2024

  • “He was able to take part in some light exercises yesterday,″ Deschamps said

LEIPZIG, Germany: France coach Didier Deschamps says his team are doing all “to ensure” Kylian Mbappé is available for the Euro 2024 clash against the Netherlands on Friday.
“Everything is going well, after the shock we had. He was able to take part in some light exercises yesterday and that will be the same this evening″ Deschamps said Thursday. “We’ll do all we can to ensure that he’ll be available tomorrow.”
Mbappé broke his nose in France’s opening 1-0 win over Austria on Monday when his face collided with Austria defender Kevin Danso’s shoulder. Blood stained his white France jersey. If he plays, he’ll need to wear a mask. But it remains uncertain.
Mbappé returned to light training on Wednesday and was expected to continue preparations on Thursday.


Late leveler by Serbia denies Slovenia first Euros win

Updated 20 June 2024
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Late leveler by Serbia denies Slovenia first Euros win

  • Žan Karničnik’s 69th-minute goal put Slovenia on the brink of a historic win until substitute Luka Jović levelled deep in stoppage time
  • The goal sent the Serbia fans into raucous joy but also saw them throw flares and other objects onto the field

MUNICH: A late strike denied Slovenia a first ever win in a European Championship as Serbia snatched a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
Žan Karničnik’s 69th-minute goal put Slovenia on the brink of a historic win until substitute Luka Jović levelled deep in stoppage time.
The goal sent the Serbia fans into raucous joy but also saw them throw flares and other objects onto the field.
The equalizer was virtually the last action as the referee blew fulltime immediately after the players restarted. The Slovenia players collapsed to the ground in disappointment.
It also would have been their first win in a major tournament since victory over Algeria in the 2010 World Cup.
Slovenia play England in their final group match on Tuesday, when Serbia face Denmark. Serbia lost to England in their opener.
With both teams needing a win to boost their chances of progressing, the match started at a fast pace and Serbia goalkeeper Predrag Rajković had to make two early saves.
Those two shots on target in the first eight minutes were as many as Slovenia had in total in their draw with Denmark.
Serbia withstood the waves of Slovenia attacks and had their first chance in the 27th minute but Dušan Vlahović’s header was straight at goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Serbia went even closer moments later when Dušan Tadić whipped in a fabulous corner to the far post but Aleksandar Mitrović — who scored in his previous two matches against Slovenia — couldn’t get a proper touch.
The best chance of the half fell to Slovenia in somewhat fortunate circumstances. Timi Elšnik tried to pass to a teammate, but the ball came off a Serbia defender and fell kindly back to him for a thunderous effort which crashed off the right post. Benjamin Šeško fired the rebound woefully over.
Serbia started the second half with three great chances to break the deadlock inside the first five minutes, including Slovenia defender Jake Bijol almost scoring an own goal.
This tournament has seen plenty of stunning long-range goals and there was almost another in the 58th but Rajković did well to push Šeško’s strike over the bar.
Slovenia eventually broke the deadlock with a move started and finished by Žan Karničnik. The defender won the ball deep inside his own half and ran some 40 yards before picking out Elšnik on the left and racing into the box to collect the cross and tap home at the back post.
Serbia almost levelled immediately but Elšnik hit the crossbar.
Serbia threw everything at Slovenia in the final stages. Even Rajković came up for the final corner but it was Jović who leapt highest to head it past Oblak in the fifth minute of added time.


Serbia FA threatens to quit Euros if UEFA does not punish Croats and Albanians over chants

Updated 20 June 2024
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Serbia FA threatens to quit Euros if UEFA does not punish Croats and Albanians over chants

  • “We will ask UEFA for sanctions, even at the cost of not continuing the competition,” Serbia Football Association general secretary Jovan Surbatovic said
  • The Serbia FA condemned the “shameful racist behavior” of the Albanian and Croatian fans and said the match should have been suspended

BELGRADE: Serbia soccer officials threatened to quit the European Championship after they were offended by fan chants reportedly heard during the Albania-Croatia match.
The game on Wednesday ended 2-2 in Hamburg.
Serbia started their second group match against Slovenia on Thursday afternoon in Munich.
“What happened is scandalous and we will ask UEFA for sanctions, even at the cost of not continuing the competition,” Serbia Football Association general secretary Jovan Surbatovic said.
“We will request UEFA to punish the federations of both teams. We don’t want to participate in that, but if UEFA doesn’t punish them, we will think about how to proceed.”
In a separate statement on Thursday, the Serbia FA condemned the “shameful racist behavior” of the Albanian and Croatian fans and said the match should have been suspended as soon as the chants started.
“Such insulting of a nation with cries that they should be killed has not been seen at sports events for a long time,” the statement added.
UEFA was yet to react.
The animosity between Croatian and Albanian fans toward the Serbs, and vice versa, dates to the 1990s wars in the Balkans.
Serbian fans are notorious for their chants against the Croats and Albanians as well as racist shouts and vocal support of convicted war criminals responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands during the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia.
UEFA fined the Albanian and Serbian federations 10,000 euros ($10,700) each after their first group matches for fans displaying banners with nationalist maps.
Each federation is responsible for the conduct of its fans, and UEFA charged Serbia and Albania with “transmitting provocative messages not fit for a sports event.”
Albania fans displayed a banner with a map of their country extending its borders into the territory of neighboring countries. It was shown on Saturday during the 2-1 loss against Italy in Dortmund.
A Serbia fans banner included the territory of Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, and a slogan, “No Surrender,” in the 1-0 loss against England in Gelsenkirchen.
UEFA has also launched an investigation into claims of monkey chants aimed at England players during the clash.