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Southampton Hold Manchester United to a Draw as Slow Start Continues

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Manchester United

Manchester United’s season that began on high hopes with 3 huge points against Chelsea, is now following the same old pattern of dropping points just like the last season. The Red Devils who squared off against Southampton at St. Mary’s, were held to a 1-1 draw by the home side. The result meant that the club plopped points for the third time in the first four Premier League games.

Manchester United were doing a bit of chasing in the initial minutes, but scored against the odds in the 10th minute via Daniel James. The 21-year-old lad – who joined from Swansea City this season – scored a thunderous third goal in his four games of the season to make it 1-0.

As the match continued, Manchester United grabbed a foothold in the possession and pressed better as a side, while Saints were looking a bit messy with the ball. However, United were still bleak in the last-four, and Southampton did manage a couple of shots before the half-time, but could not score.

Man United got the second-half underway, and made some early chances on the break. Southampton also started to pick up the pace of the game, but Che Adams missed a great opportunity and fired his shot wide off the near post. However, it didn’t take long after that shot, and the home side equalized (1-1) with a header of Jannik Vestergaard – who leaped over Victor Lindelof on the six-yard line and headed the ball into the corner – in the 58th minute.

The goal meant that Manchester United were once again terribly staring down the barrel. But Saints likely dented their hopes, when Kevin Danso made a reckless challenge on Scott McTominay, and collected his second yellow to head for the exits.

The Red Devils saw it as a great opportunity to push an extra man forward on the attack, and created a flurry of chances in the later half. With opportunities in the 83rd, 84th, 86th, 90th, and 90+3 minute, Manchester United came close to taking the lead, but 10-man Saints still managed to hold the away side, and the match ended 1-1 at St. Mary’s Stadium.

“We have dominated the last three games and we know we are on the right track, we’re getting used to that way of playing,” said Solskjær

“The last three games, they haven’t given us many points in return but we are getting there, we’re getting better and better at playing this way. It is a young team that will get used to it. We need to be more clinical, more ruthless when we go forward but we gave them enough encouragement to stay in the game,” he added.

Manchester United will face Leicester City in their next Premier League match, while Saints play Sheffield United.

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With 7-0 Win against Montenegro, England Qualifies for Euro 2020

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Euro 2020

Euro 2020 Qualifiers and the England football team have always gone hand in hand in terms of controversy. And, the latest proof corroborating the statement is England’s match against Montenegro Thursday night at Wembley Stadium .

Even though Gareth Southgate’s team won the match by 7-0 with a striking performance, the match was marred by heckles to Joe Gomez at 70th minute of the game, in the wake of his confrontation with midfielder Raheem Sterling in the canteen at St George’s Park on Monday.

However, Gomez’s harassment did not seem to go well with Sterling as he condemned the crowd for heckling Gomez and came forward to support him on Twitter. Along with Sterling, Southgate also came forward to support Gomez.

Criticising the jeering by the crowd after the Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, England’s manager said, “The whole dressing room are disappointed with it. Contrary to what I’m told has been said in various quarters, all of the players are united, the whole thing was put to bed the other day.”

“Joe had done absolutely nothing wrong. No England player should ever be booed when they’re wearing the shirt. I don’t get it. All of the players are particularly disappointed with that. Also, I know I’m going to start Raheem on Sunday and get him back onto the pitch as well. It was important for both of them to get back on the field and show everybody we’re all in this now.”

Apart from the heckling, everything went well with during the Euro 2020 Qualifier match for the England football team. While the team secured a place in the 2020 Euro Cup with the splendid win, it also became the youngest England team to score seven goals in last 60 years.

Southgate’s side build pressure on Faruk Hadžibegić’s (Montenegro’s coach) team from the very starting of the game.

After scoring the goal in the 11th minute of the game, England scored in quick successions with second, third, fourth and fifth goal in 18th, 24th, 30th, and 37th minute of the Euro 2020 Qualifier game against Montenegro respectively.

Another important aspect of the game was Harry Kane’s hat-trick that made him the highest scoring captain for England. Furthermore, with the hat-trick against Montenegro, the total goal tally for Kane has reached 31.

Even though the controversies during the Euro Cup qualifiers included referees, managers, and players, it mainly revolved around the fans of teams playing and the players.

Although these controversies have managed to mar the splendid win and striking performance from the players, it remains yet to be seen if England’s bad luck with controversies would continue in the Euro 2020 Cup or not..

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FIFA Turns its Back Towards Iraqi Aggression

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Iraq

The opportunity earned after years was the opportunity lost for Iraq. In the intermittent history of FIFA ban, the country was re-gifted the chance to host the 2022 World Cup qualifiers at home after decades. However, as it has always been unfortunate at receiving the present, Iraq had to pass it on to another country.

Citing the constantly inflaming protests, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) asked Iraq to find a “neutral venue” for hosting the upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The matches were first of its kind to take place three decades after FIFA lifted the ban on Iraq to host international matches in August.

The saga of ban on Iraq has been on and off since the 1980s. Raising security concerns, the Iraqi aggression has been pushing FIFA away for years. As a result, other Middle Eastern nations, including Iran, the UAE, Qatar and Jordan, kept winning opportunities to host the matches on behalf of Iraq. After all these years, the pattern refused to break.

As demonstrators took to the streets calling for the “fall of the regime” and Iran to “free Iraq” in October, they swiped off the prospects of the country to re-emerge better in the eyes of FIFA. In a letter to the Iraqi Football Association (IFA), the global governing body of football stated that it has been “closely monitoring the safety and security situation in Iraq”, where the protests are frantic.

It had added that considering the “significant deterioration of the overall security situation,” the home ground matches against Iran and Bahrain must be relocated to a “neutral venue outside Iraq”. Consequently, the chance Iraq receive for a millionth time was lost.

The country was supposed to witness two qualifier matches, scheduled to be played at the Basra Sports City Stadium, this month. On November 14, Iraq was set to play at home against Iran, and to face Bahrain five days later, on November 19. However, both the matches were rescheduled to be held in Jordan.

“Jordan was chosen to host the matches against Bahrain and Iran,” the head of Iraq’s football federation, Abdelkhaleq Masud said.

FIFA said that the move “will enable all interested parties to focus their attention on delivering both matches successfully within a safe and secure environment”. However, it was a major blow to Iraq’s progress in football. The country already kicking remarkably on field, also had chance of moving a step ahead in the sport.

As protests being witnessed in the nation emerged because of the deteriorating economic conditions, the diversion that FIFA took towards Jordan came as a dent to its possibilities of re-emerging better. The qualifiers match, after decades, may not have brought an instant progress for Iraq, but it could have definitely opened several positive gates towards immense growth.

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Premier League: Liverpool Scores Notable 3-1 Win against Manchester City

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Liverpool FC

Apart from being one of the notable clubs in the country, and winning six European Cups, three UEFA Cups, seven FA Cups, four UEFA Super Cups and many other prominent titles, Liverpool FC has also amassed major expectations and with it rivalry from the fellow clubs.

Amidst various sports rivalries, the most prominent is between The Reds and Manchester City. The rivalry between the clubs is so ardent that midfielder Kevin De Bruyne warned Liverpool to be wary as The Sky Blues will strike back and defend the title, despite their (Liverpool’s) lead in the league.

And when Pep Guardiola and his team went against the UEFA Super Cup champions, they would not have expected to lose the match and along with it any chance of gaining the lead against Jurgen Klopp’s team.

On Sunday, when Liverpool went against Manchester City at Anfield, Klopp’s side made a splendid win against Man. City by 3-1. With the win, the Reds have gained an eight-point lead against Leicester City and Chelsea, and nine-point lead against Man. City.

From the starting, the UEFA Super Cup Champions were successful in mounting up pressure on Guardiola’s team as they scored first goal in the form of a splendid drive kick by midfielder Fabinho.

While City’s Sterling and De Bruyne tried to equalise the score and reduce the pressure, striker Mohamed Salah changed the direction of the cross-pass from Andy Robertson to the goal with the help of a header. And with this goal, Man. City lost all hope of converting their trail against Liverpool into a lead.

The Reds later went to score one more goal in the 51st minute, ensuring Guardiola’s team does not recover from the final nail from the former’s end into the coffin of Man. City in this match. Although Manchester City was successful in scoring a goal in 78th minute, the goal was too late, but it saved the Sky Blues from an embarrassing defeat of 3-0.

Apart from having an opportunity to change the trail into lead or equal score, Man. City also had a chance to score a win at Anfield which they have not been able to since May 2003.

Speaking in regards with the match against Liverpool, Guardiola said, “We showed why we are the champions. I’m so proud of my team, it’s incredible. We played amazing, so good. We played in a way [that showed] why we are back-to-back champions.”

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Pregnant Alex Morgan Ready for 2020 Summer Olympics Challenge

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Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan, co-captain and star performer of the US women’s national team announced her pregnancy late last month and recently revealed her will to play at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

Alex Morgan finished as the joint-top scorer at the 2019 Women’s World Cup and is now expecting her first girl child in April 2020, which is only three months before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo kick off. Morgan tweeted an image with her husband Servando Carrasco – who plays for LA Galaxy – and said that the couple are “already in love” with their “baby girl”.

The opening ceremonies for 2020 Summer Olympics will be held on 24 July, and the forward is more than confident about making it to the grandest stage in Tokyo.

“I hope to get back on the field as soon as possible,’’ Alex Morgan, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. “After having a healthy baby, I want to get back with the national team and look forward to playing in Tokyo,’’ she added.

The ever so confident striker has also said that she is sure that motherhood won’t derail her soccer career. Having already achieved so much in her illustrious career, the return of Morgan for 2020 Summer Olympics will also be a huge benefit for the national team.

On Tuesday, the 30-year-old made a trip to Vincent Bell Park in Southern California to unveil a mini soccer pitch. She then joined members of the girls’ soccer team at the nearby Glendale High School for performing the drills on the new pitch.

The US Soccer Foundation project, which is in partnership with Powerade – the official sports drink of the U.S. women’s team – will focus on development of skills amongst young girls.

“More access to the sport, especially in an underserved area of Los Angeles, is important to me,’’ Morgan said.

Fight for Equality

Morgan was also asked about the national team’s lawsuit against US Soccer demanding equal pay to which she said, a trial date for May 5 has been set, but she hopes that the matter would be settled outside court. She also expressed that a lot is happening behind the doors, and progress has been made on the concern. “It’s not just about equal pay. It’s about equal investment in the sport,” she explained.

Nonetheless, as Alex Morgan gears up for a new chapter in her life come April 2020, it would be wonderful to find out how the superstar balances motherhood with her will to play at 2020 Summer Olympics, Tokyo.

The US women’s football team brought glory to their nation for the 4th time after defeating Netherlands 2-0 in the Women’s World Final in July.

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Gareth Southgate Drops Grealish ahead of Euro 2020 Qualifiers

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Gareth Southgate

Last updated on November 11th, 2019

After scoring a splendid win against Bulgaria by 6-0, Gareth Southgate is now looking forward to ensure that the road for Euro 2020 qualifiers is as smooth as a cake-walk with minimum to no obstructions. And to ensure that all goes according to the plan, Southgate is trying to figure out the best line up for England in the 2020 Euro Cup.

Perhaps that is the reason he has brought midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, centre back John Stones and forward Callum Hudson-Odoi back into the 27-player England Squad for the upcoming qualifiers against Kosovo and Montenegro. However, omitting Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish from the squad did not seem to go well with the fans.

Fans took to Twitter as they expressed their discontent against Gareth Southgate’s decision and criticised him for the same. Grealish fans went to post his achievements and showed what including him in the squad could have meant for the team.

Moreover, including Mason Mount as the midfielder, who recently sustained an ankle injury in Champions League tie against Ajax, has raised questions over Southgate’s ability to select the players. Including everyone but Grealish goes off track with what Southgate says of picking in-form players.

Seeing his interview after announcing the England Squad, it seems that manager Gareth Southgate had already anticipated the criticism he would get for omitting Grealish from the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.

As during the interview, he said, “He’s a very good player – I’ve watched him closely this season. The reality of that is he’s up against (Raheem) Sterling, (Marcus) Rashford, (Callum) Hudson-Odoi and (Jadon) Sancho in those wide areas.

“The competition in that area is high level – they’re all good players, Jack’s a very good player – I worked with him in the under-21s so I know all about him. He’s very close, he just has to keep playing the way he is, and if we had issues over the weekend, I wouldn’t hesitate to call him into the squad.”

The Euro 2020 qualifiers have mostly been a success, not to mention the racism instances. Although Gareth Southgate has always raised voice against all the racist attacks on the team and players in the past, it remains yet to be seen if UEFA would consider his suggestions worthy enough to end on-field racism.

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