Atalanta stun Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield, Leverkusen beat West Ham 2-0 in Europa League

Atalanta's Italian forward Gianluca Scamacca scores the team's second goal during the UEFA Europa League quarterfinal first leg football match between Liverpool and Atalanta at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 11, 2024. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 12 April 2024
Follow

Atalanta stun Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield, Leverkusen beat West Ham 2-0 in Europa League

  • The loss damages Liverpool’s hopes of a treble of trophies in manager Jurgen Klopp’s final season at Anfield
  • Bayer Leverkusen got late goals from substitutes Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface to top West Ham 2-0 and extend their unbeaten streak to 42 games

Gianluca Scamacca struck twice as visiting Atalanta upset Liverpool 3-0 in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday.

The loss damages Liverpool’s hopes of a treble of trophies in manager Jurgen Klopp’s final season at Anfield.

The Italian visitors went into the break up 1-0 after Scamacca got a low drive past goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher in the 38th minute.

Klopp sent on Mohamed Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and Andy Robertson as substitutes for the second half, but Scamacca netted again after Charles De Ketelaere fed him at the far post on the hour mark.

Mario Pasalic finished the scoring seven minutes from time.

Atalanta won at Anfield 2-0 in the group stage of the Champions League in 2020.

Liverpool won the English League Cup and are in a tight Premier League title race with Arsenal and Manchester City. Klopp’s team were eliminated from the FA Cup in the quarterfinals.

The lackluster display Thursday might turn out to be Klopp’s final European game at Anfield. The team needs a big comeback in Bergamo to stay alive.

If Liverpool reaches the Europa League final in Dublin on May 22, it would be Klopp’s final game in charge after nearly nine years.

Bayer Leverkusen got late goals from substitutes Jonas Hofmann and Victor Boniface to top West Ham 2-0 and extend their unbeaten streak to 42 games in a season that can also end up with a treble of trophies.

Hofmann netted on a rebound in the 83rd before Boniface clinched a well-deserved victory with a header in stoppage time.

With a 16-point lead atop the Bundesliga, Xabi Alonso’s team are on course to clinch their first-ever league title and have reached the German Cup final.

In an all-Italian matchup, Gianluca Mancini headed in a winner off a corner kick from Paulo Dybala to upset AC Milan 1-0 at San Siro.

Mancini also scored the lone goal in the Italian capital derby against Lazio on Saturday in Serie A.

It was the first win for Roma over Milan since October 2019.

Milan, the seven-time European champions, have never won the second-tier Europa League or its predecessor, the UEFA Cup.

Milan have never even reached the final — something Roma achieved twice, losing both in 1991 and last year.

Rafa Silva and veteran forward Angel Di Maria scored in each half for Benfica to beat Marseille 2-1. In an encounter of two former European champions. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pulled one back for Marseille, who lost their fifth straight game in all competitions.

Aubameyang has 24 goals this season in total.

The second-leg games will be played next week.

EUROPA CONFERENCE LEAGUE

Kostas Fortounis scored and provided an assist to help Olympiakos beat Fenerbahce 3-2 in the first leg of the Europa Conference League quarterfinals on Thursday.

Olympiakos built a 3-0 lead in Piraeus and held on after the Turkish team fought back with two second-half goals.

Fortounis opened the scoring after just eight minutes, netting his fifth goal of the European campaign. He then set up Stevan Jovetić to double the lead before halftime.

Chiquinho made it 3-0 with a precise low drive approaching the hour mark before Dusan Tadic pulled one back from the penalty spot and İrfan Can Kahveci added the second for Fenerbahce.

Olympiakos is one of the two Greek teams in the last eight hoping to reach a home final in Athens.

The other, PAOK, lost 1-0 at Club Brugge.

Ollie Watkins and captain John McGinn scored early in each half to secure a 2-1 win for Aston Villa over Lille for manager Unai Emery, who claimed the Europa League on four occasions — three times with Sevilla and once with Villarreal.

Viktoria Plzen held last year’s runner-up Fiorentina to a 0-0 draw in what was the first European quarterfinal for the Czech club, which hasn’t conceded a goal for seven straight games in the third-tier competition.

As Fiorentina looked in control in the second half, the match was interrupted for several minutes because of flares that its fans threw onto the pitch.


Kylian Mbappé scores on return from broken nose as France draw 1-1 with Poland at Euro 2024

Updated 8 sec ago
Follow

Kylian Mbappé scores on return from broken nose as France draw 1-1 with Poland at Euro 2024

Mbappé removed his protective mask to celebrate in front of France’s fans after converting his 56th-minute penalty for his first goal at a European Championship
Lewandowski found the bottom corner with his second attempt

DORTMUND: Kylian Mbappé scored from the penalty spot on his return after breaking his nose before France conceded a spot kick by Robert Lewandowski in a 1-1 draw with Poland at the European Championship on Tuesday.
Mbappé removed his protective mask to celebrate in front of France’s fans after converting his 56th-minute penalty for his first goal at a European Championship. It wasn’t enough to secure his team first place in Group D at Euro 2024, though.
Lewandowski had his penalty saved in the 77th minute by France goalkeeper Mike Maignan, who was adjudged to have come off his line. The Poland striker found the bottom corner with his second attempt.
France finished as runner-up to Austria in the group and will play the runner-up in Group E, which could be Belgium, Romania, Slovakia or Ukraine, in the last 16 on July 1.
France have yet to score an open-play goal at Euro 2024, having beaten Austria 1-0 on an own-goal and then drawn 0-0 with the Netherlands — when Mbappé was missing after breaking his nose against the Austrians.
Mbappé returned to the starting lineup against last-place Poland, which were already eliminated before the match began, and was clearly impaired by wearing a mask that limits his peripheral vision.
He largely kept away from overly physical challenges and didn’t compete for the ball in the air.
Still, Mbappé remained France’s most dangerous attacker and finally got his first goal in six matches at the tournament — taking in four at Euro 2020 and two at Euro 2024 — after Ousmane Dembele was tripped in the area.
Mbappé played the full game, starting as a central striker before ending up on the left wing, in another unconvincing display from France — a two-time European champion and the World Cup runner-up in 2022.

Austria beat Netherlands 3-2 to reach knockout stage of Euro 2024 as group winner ahead of France

Updated 8 min 49 sec ago
Follow

Austria beat Netherlands 3-2 to reach knockout stage of Euro 2024 as group winner ahead of France

  • First-half substitute Xavi Simons set up Cody Gapko to equalize two minutes after the break
  • Sabitzer restored Austria’s lead two minutes later with a fierce strike from a difficult angle

BERLIN: Marcel Sabitzer scored late for Austria to advance to the knockout stage of the European Championship as group winner with a 3-2 victory over the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Austria topped Group D thanks to France drawing with Poland 1-1 in the other game. Both France and the Netherlands were already assured of progress thanks to results in other games.
The Austrians had needed a point to be sure of advancing and got off to a great start with Dutch forward Donyell Malen scoring an own goal in the sixth minute.
First-half substitute Xavi Simons set up Cody Gapko to equalize two minutes after the break, but Romano Schmid headed Austria back in front in the 59th.
Memphis Depay equalized with a brilliant finish in the 75th, though he had to endure a VAR check as referee Ivan Kruzliak felt he handled the ball. The check found Depay hadn’t.
But Sabitzer restored Austria’s lead two minutes later with a fierce strike from a difficult angle.
It proved to be the winner despite a frenetic finale with chances at both ends.
Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman made three changes to the team that drew against France. He had criticized Simons for not pressing enough in that match and subsequently dropped the young player in favor of Joey Veerman in midfield. Lutsharel Geertruida started for Denzel Dumfries at right-back, and Malen started in place of Jeremie Frimpong, who plays as a wing back for Bayer Leverkusen.
But Koeman’s team made a lethargic start in contrast to the busy Austrians, who scored when Malen turned Alexander Prass’ cross inside the left post.
Tijjani Reijnders and Malen both missed good chances to equalize. Koeman berated his charges and told his substitutes to warm up. He sent Simons on for Veerman in the 35th.
Simons’ entrance gave the Dutch more urgency. Depay saw a header cleared off the line before the break, and Simons set up Gapko after Florian Grillitsch lost the ball in midfield.
Koeman’s side maintained its pressure and looked more likely to score until Grillitsch crossed for Schmid to head Austria back in front with his first international goal. Ultimately, the Austrians were more clinical.


Show your love for Turkiye by supporting us, Montella tells critics

Updated 25 June 2024
Follow

Show your love for Turkiye by supporting us, Montella tells critics

  • Montella’s men are one of the best supported sides in Germany, where nearly three million people with Turkish roots call home
  • “I’d like to remind the critics, if you love this country, support your country as much as you can,” Montella told reporters

HAMBURG: Turkiye coach Vincenzo Montella urged his side’s huge following to show their support in a crunch Euro 2024 showdown against the Czech Republic, rather than getting on his players’ backs.
After beating Georgia 3-1 to get their tournament off to a flier, Turkiye were swatted aside 3-0 by the class of Portugal.
Montella’s men are one of the best supported sides in Germany, where nearly three million people with Turkish roots call home.
However, there has been a backlash to the Italian boss and his squad after failing to compete with Portugal for large spells in Dortmund.
“I’d like to remind the critics, if you love this country, support your country as much as you can,” Montella told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“This is the only team that represents Turkiye. These lads have put a smile on our face in recent teams.
“We need your support and the players deserve it based on what they have achieved on the pitch.”
Turkish football features some of the fiercest rivalries between clubs in the world.
But Fenerbahce winger Irfan Can Kahveci urged fans to put those tribal differences aside to unite in support of the national team.
“Within the team we have a great atmosphere and we try to demonstrate that whether the players are from Galatasaray, Besiktas, Trabzonspor or Fenerbahce.
“We are united under the national flag. We should let those divisions go.”
Turkiye remain second in Group F and just need a draw against the Czechs in Hamburg to secure a place in the last 16.
Even a narrow defeat could see Turkiye through as one of the four best third-placed sides.
But Montella said he would set out for victory.
“We have to go out and win the game,” he added. “We can’t get hung up on permutations.”
Real Madrid’s Arda Guler is set to return to the Turkish starting line-up after Montella revealed he was only left on the bench against Portugal due to an injury that meant he could not play the full 90 minutes.
“If he doesn’t play it will be footballing reasons,” said Montella. “He didn’t start the last game not because of footballing reasons.”


Saudi firm announced as Esports World Cup elite partner

Updated 25 June 2024
Follow

Saudi firm announced as Esports World Cup elite partner

  • Partnership means stc Group will provide connectivity across all EWC venues

LONDON: Saudi-based stc Group has been named as an “Elite and Founding Partner” of the Esports World Cup which starts in Riyadh next month.

The partnership for the tournament, which will run from July 3 to Aug. 25, was announced at an official ceremony attended by Group Chief Commercial Officer Faisal Al-Saber and Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Esports World Cup Foundation. 

It means stc Group will provide connectivity across all EWC venues and has exclusive naming rights for three venues in Riyadh which will host events during the tournament — the stc Arena, the stc Play Gaming Hall, and the stc TV World Cup Studios.

“I’m proud to welcome stc Group, a telecommunications giant and digital pioneer, as an Elite and Founding Partner of the Esports World Cup,” said Reichert.

“stc Group is the digital backbone of our competitions and will bring the EWC content to local and global audiences. stc will enable fans … to stay connected with the special stc SIM card.”

He added: “As one of the largest companies in the MENA region, their support means we’re not only going to offer exceptional digital access for fans and athletes but can take the Esports World Cup to the next level.”

Olayan Al-Wetaid, stc Group CEO, said his firm’s partnership with the Esports World Cup was a symbol of its commitment to improving the future of gaming in the Kingdom.

“We are thrilled to be deploying our seamless world-class connectivity, enabling the Kingdom to become the premier global hub for gaming,” he said.

“stc Group is committed to bringing this event to life with innovative technological solutions, as well as showcasing the vast scale and scope of its services.”


Raducanu eases past Stephens on Eastbourne grass

Updated 25 June 2024
Follow

Raducanu eases past Stephens on Eastbourne grass

  • Britain’s Raducanu recovered from being broken twice in the first set before demolishing her opponent in the second set
  • Raducanu, who won the US Open as a qualifier in 2021, has slipped to 168th in the world after an injury-plagued 2023 season

LONDON: Emma Raducanu brushed aside Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the second round of the Eastbourne International on Tuesday in a battle of former US Open champions.
Britain’s Raducanu recovered from being broken twice in the first set before demolishing her opponent in the second set to set up a second-round match against world number five Jessica Pegula.
Raducanu, who won the US Open as a qualifier in 2021, has slipped to 168th in the world after an injury-plagued 2023 season.
The 21-year-old missed the French Open but returned to competition at the Nottingham Open grass-court tournament earlier this month, where she reached the semifinals.
“I think for me it was the case of adapting to the court,” said Raducanu, who has been given a wild card for Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.
“I’ve never played in Eastbourne, I’ve never played on this center court and every court plays a little bit differently. In the beginning, I was trying to figure out what was the best way for me to play and use my game.”
Stephens, who won the US Open in 2017, broke first for a 3-2 lead but failed to hold serve for the rest of the match.
Raducanu, after saving two break points to hold for 5-4, broke the American for a third time to seal the first set and then sprinted to the finish line, completing victory in 76 minutes.
Also in first-round action on England’s south coast, Elize Mertens beat Yuriko Miyazaki 6-1, 6-2 while Ashlyn Krueger overcame Viktorija Golubic 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 7-5.
In the men’s tournament, Britain’s Cameron Norrie continued his woeful run of form, losing his first-round match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori 7-6 (11/9), 6-3.
Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild also advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Australia’s James McCabe to set up a second-round showdown with top seed Taylor Fritz.