Liverpool on Tuesday eased to a comfortable 2-0 win in the “Battle of Britain” against the Rangers in the Champions League group games, while SSC Napoli underlined their credentials with an impressive 6-1 thrashing of Ajax in Amsterdam.
On a night when a minute’s silence was held before every match in tribute to the 131 victims of the Indonesia stadium tragedy, Bayern Munich and Club Brugge also made it three wins from three, while Inter edged Barcelona in a tight contest in Milan.
Juergen Klopp’s Liverpool went into their Group A game against the Scottish champions on the back of just three wins in their first nine Premier League and Champions League games of the season.
They settled quickly when Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a sublime free-kick to put the home side ahead after just seven minutes.
The Rangers’ 40-year-old goalkeeper Allan McGregor produced some fine saves, including four to deny Darwin Nunez his first Champions League goal for Liverpool, to keep his side in the hunt at halftime.
Seven minutes into the second half, Leon King’s challenge caught the legs of Luis Diaz to give away a penalty. Mohamed Salah stepped up and struck the ball down the middle as McGregor was unable to repeat the penalty-saving heroics he produced against Napoli.
Napoli stay top of Group A after another impressive victory, coming from behind to hammer Ajax 6-1 to take their tally of goals to 13 from three matches.
Bayern moved to the edge of qualification with a third successive win, thrashing Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in Group C.
Hakan Calhanoglu fired Inter to a 1-0 win over Barcelona at the San Siro to take the Italians into second spot in Group C, three points behind Bayern. Inter had lost five of the previous 10 matches, but Turkish midfielder Calhanoglu ended the crisis talk when he lashed in the only goal of the game on the stroke of halftime.
Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez was left fuming after two key handball decisions went against his team.
The first saw an equalizer ruled out following a pitch review by referee Slavko Vincic for Ansu Fati’s handball just before the ball dropped to Pedri to tuck home.
Barcelona were then denied a stoppage-time penalty after video assistant referee officials ruled that Denzel Dumfries did not commit a handball offense despite touching the ball in a very similar way to Fati.
“If you ask me I’m outraged ... the word is outrage because it makes no sense. It’s an injustice,” Xavi told reporters.
Club Brugge beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 in Group B to claim a third successive win and continue their surprise charge toward the next round.
Club Brugge top Group B, after Porto beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-0 with second-half goals from Zaidu and Galeno.
Sporting’s march in Group D came to a shuddering halt in Marseille, where the home side came from a goal down to win 4-1 and get their first win under their belt.
Lisbon are still atop the group with six points, two ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt and Tottenham Hotspur who played out a goalless draw in Germany.
Germany forward Thomas Mueller on Thursday said that his country’s second successive first-round exit from the FIFA World Cup was an “absolute catastrophe,” which teammate Kai Havertz likened to “watching a horror movie.” Germany beat Costa Rica, but Spain’s defeat to Japan meant Germany finished third in Group E behind Spain, with the teams equal on four points and the positions decided only by goal difference. “It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough,” Mueller said. “It’s a feeling of powerlessness.” Mueller was part of the 2014 World Cup-winning team and was also in the side who were
Taiwanese-American basketballer Jeremy Lin, who plays for a Chinese team, was fined 10,000 yuan (US$1,400) for “inappropriate remarks” on social media about quarantine facilities ahead of a game, the China Basketball Association said yesterday. Lin, who plays for the Loong Lions Basketball Club, made “inappropriate remarks about quarantine hotel-related facilities” where the team stayed on Wednesday ahead of a game, the association said. It said that “caused adverse effects on the league and the competition area.” The Chinese Communist Party is trying to crush criticism of the human cost and disruption of its “zero COVID-19” strategy, which has confined millions of people to
Taiwan’s top two badminton players, Tai Tzu-ying and Chou Tien-chen, are today to compete at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok. Tai, who is world No. 3 in women’s singles, is to compete in Group B in the eight-player draw with world No. 5 He Bingjiao of China, and world No. 7 Ratchanok Intanon and world No. 10 Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand. Group A features world No. 1 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, world No. 2 An Se-young of South Korea, world No. 4 Chen Yufei of China and world No. 18 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia. Tai, who has struggled at
‘ASIA CAN WIN’: Japan manager Hajime Moriyasu said their victories at the tournament so far against top sides show that Asian teams can win on the world stage Japan erupted in cheers and tears after the national team’s 2-1 win over Spain, with crowds in the early hours of yesterday in the nation packing public viewing areas shrieking with joy as they stunned another global soccer power at the FIFA World Cup. Japan, who had also shocked Germany in their opener in Qatar, finished top of Group E to reach the last 16, a stage where they have faltered three times before. They are to play 2018 runners-up Croatia for a place in the quarter-finals. “Doha Delights Again!” one newspaper headlined its online edition, evoking memories of what the media called