Cup Leicester, June 28, 2020 Eight-times FA Cup winners Chelsea reached the semi-finals on Sunday as midfielder Ross Barkley came off the bench to secure a deserved 1-0 victory at faltering Leicester City. Barkley, one of the three changes Manager Frank Lampard made at halftime, slid home the winner in the 63rd minute as the West London side joined Manchester United and Arsenal in last four.
Leicester were the better side before the break and had the bulk of the chances against a lethargic Chelsea, but the visitors were a different proposition after the interval.
Tammy Abraham had a goal ruled out for offside and then Barkley found space in the area to clip Willian’s measured cross past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel just past the hour.
Leicester, without the creativity of attacking midfielder James Maddison who was missing with a hip problem, struggled to respond although they did mount some belated late pressure.
Chelsea have been buoyant since the season resumed following the novel coronavirus stoppage, winning both of their Premier League games to consolidate fourth place, and they now have a Cup semi-final to look forward to.
Leicester on the other hand have struggled to rediscover their rhythm, drawing twice in the league, and while they are still third, other teams are breathing down their neck.
“It was important to get the win and keep the momentum going.
At halftime we said, it’s not good enough and to be vocal on the pitch, and we improved,” Barkley said.
It was the third of this year’s FA Cup quarter-finals to be won by the away side and how Leicester could have done with the noisy support they usually receive at the King Power Stadium.
They did start the game well with Harvey Barnes having half a chance and Jonny Evans just failing to connect with a header.
Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero did not have much to do, although he did scramble away a Youri Tielemans shot.
Lampard was unhappy and could clearly be heard telling his team to “liven up” in the empty stadium.
Young trio Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Reece James all came off at halftime with Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta sent on to add some experience.
Lampard was rewarded with a much-improved display.
Dianabasi Effiong and Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Barkley misses penalty in Chelsea home defeat to Valencia
This was after Ross Barkley spurned a chance to equalise by missing the target from the penalty spot.
Spain forward Rodrigo Moreno gave the visitors the lead against the run of play in the 74th minute of the Group H game.
He got the slightest of touches on a free kick from Dani Parejo to send the ball into the roof of the net.
Chelsea continued to threaten and were awarded a penalty after a VAR review spotted a handball by Valencia defender Daniel Wass, but Barkley sent the resulting spot kick on to the cross bar and over.
Valencia travelled to London reeling from a stinging 5-2 league loss at Barcelona in coach Albert Celades’s first game in charge.
This was after the much-loved Marcelino was sacked to the bewilderment of players, who began a media blackout after the decision.
But they leave the English capital emboldened and with three points after producing a solid, professional display. (Reuters/)
Edited by Joseph Edeh/Maharazu Ahmed
Lampard shows ruthless streak by hauling off Chelsea youngsters
Leicester (UK), June 29, 2020 Chelsea manager Frank Lampard showed his ruthless side as he hauled off three of his brightest young players at half-time in Sunday’s 1-0 English FA Cup quarter-final win over Leicester City.
Lampard was clearly unhappy with what he witnessed in the opening 45 minutes and admitted he could have substituted seven or eight of his players at the interval.
As it was, Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour and Reece James made way for the vastly more-experienced trio of Ross Barkley, Mateo Kovacic and Cesar Azpilicueta and the difference soon became clear.
Barkley struck the game’s only goal in the 63rd minute, ghosting on to Willian’s cross to steer a shot home.
Lampard’s trust in youth has been an impressive part of his first season since returning as manager to Stamford Bridge.
But Chelsea’s record scorer is not afraid to hand out some tough love when required, as it was on Sunday at the King Power Stadium.
“We haven’t played that badly since I’ve been back. We were fortunate at half-time that it was 0-0,” he said.
“The first rules of football are urgency and sprinting back and if you don’t do that you can’t compete.
“Our game needs to be brighter than that. In the second half there were glimpses of it, but we can’t turn up like that again. We got lucky today.”
Lampard said his young players would “take it on the chin”.
“It is a learning experience. I could have taken more off, or other players off. I am not pulling those out on their own. They will be top players for this club and have top careers,” he added.
“But, if I have to do something in games, I will do it. It was one of those games where I had to do something.”
Chelsea have won all three of their games since the restart of the season, twice in the English Premier League (EPL) to cement themselves in the top four.
They can now look ahead to a Cup semi-final against Manchester United.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Woods, Manning beat Mickelson, Brady in charity match
Woods, a 15-time major champion, and two-time Super Bowl winner, Manning, jumped out to a three-hole lead on the front nine at the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound.
While Woods’s booming drives and Manning’s solid putting saw the pair dominate the early holes, five-time major winner, Mickelson, and Brady won the 11th and 14th to shave the lead to one.
However, they were unable to force extra holes after Woods delivered a dagger putt on 18 as darkness descended on his home course.
The shot of the day came from Brady on the seventh when he holed out from the fairway just after NBA great Charles Barkley, working as a commentator, had been giving the quarterback a hard time for his ice cold start.
“Shut your mouth, Chuck,” Brady said with a smile.
But Brady, who joined Tampa Bay in March after 20 years with New England, had little time to revel in the moment.
After giving a short speech where he told his wife and kids he loved them, the six-times Super Bowl winner then split the seat of his pants while retrieving the ball from the cup.
Woods, who lost to Mickelson in a $9 million winner-take-all challenge in 2018, congratulated Manning and Brady for their performance in the team match play event, dubbed The Match: Champions for Charity.
“We all came together and were able to raise $20 million for those that have been so severely affected,” Woods said.
“I take my hat off to Tom and Peyton. This is our arena, this is what we do for a living. I couldn’t imagine going on the field and do what they do,” he added with a laugh.
The competition comes 2-1/2 weeks before the PGA Tour plans to resume its season on June 11 at Colonial.
He has said he is healthy and will be ready to go when the Tour resumes.
Mickelson finished third in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in early February and missed the cut in his next two starts.
Manning, who played for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, retired in 2016 as the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and yards and is the only five-time winner of the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Chelsea beat Liverpool to reach FA Cup quarter-finals
Chelsea completed a torrid few days for Liverpool as goals by Willian and Ross Barkley sealed a 2-0 victory to send them through to the FA Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Liverpool’s 44-match unbeaten streak in the English Premier League (EPL) ended in stunning fashion with a 3-0 defeat at Watford on Saturday and they were rocked again at Stamford Bridge.
Goalkeeper Adrian allowed Willian’s powerful shot to creep past him in the 13th minute and former Everton midfielder Barkley drove home Chelsea’s second goal just past the hour mark.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp made seven changes to the side which lost to Watford but he still fielded an experienced line-up, compared to the team he fielded against Shrewsbury Town.
Sadio Mane wasted several early chances and Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, back for the first time since being dropped in January, made a remarkable triple save before half-time.
But Chelsea, with 18-year-old Billy Gilmour impressive in midfield, were merited winners as they moved through.
For Liverpool, a season of utter dominance has suddenly hit a slump with three defeats in four games in all competitions.
They lost to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie before the weekend defeat by Watford.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
EPL: Giroud on target as Chelsea beat Spurs to stay fourth
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso returned to the starting line-up with stunning effect by grabbing a goal apiece in a crucial 2-1 home win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Their goals had a telling effect in the battle between the London rivals for fourth place, with the win cementing Chelsea’s position and preventing Spurs from leapfrogging.
It was only Chelsea’s sixth win in 14 home English Premier League (EPL) games this season.
But it was fully deserved as they remain in fourth, the last UEFA Champions league qualification spot, with 44 points from 27 games, while Tottenham have 40 points.
Such was Chelsea’s dominance that the derby lacked its usual intensity, although there was a flashpoint when Giovani Lo Celso got away with a dreadful tackle on Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta.
The incident went on to prompt another VAR controversy, with the off-field umpire first ruling it was no sending-off and later accepting the decision was a mistake.
A poor run of form had dented Chelsea’s top-four hopes for some time now.
But from the moment French international Giroud, making his first league start since November, rifled a shot past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 15th minute they were in control.
Alonso, back for only his seventh league start under Frank Lampard, doubled the lead three minutes after the break with a thumping finish.
It did give Chelsea a boost ahead of their UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg game at home to Germany’s Bayern Munich on Tuesday.
Tottenham, badly missing injured strikers Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, were lacklustre and a late Antonio Rudiger own goal made the contest look closer than it actually was.
The hosts held on comfortably though as Lampard got the better of his former Chelsea boss Mourinho for the second time this season after a 2-0 win at Spurs in December.
The margin of victory should have been bigger with Tottenham’s Lloris making several fine saves and Alonso also curling a free-kick against the bar late on.
“It was a shame about the goal at the end because it gave us a few nervous minutes,” Lampard said.
“I’m delighted for them both (Giroud and Alonso). They are experienced lads and it’s not easy when they are not playing.”
Tottenham’s three-game winning run in the league ended in disappointing fashion and it could have been worse as Lo Celso should have been dismissed in the second half.
The Argentine midfielder appeared to stamp on the shin of Azpilicueta and although it was apparently missed by referee Michael Oliver it was reviewed by VAR.
Yet somehow Lo Celso stayed on the pitch, much to Lampard’s amazement.
“I hate to call for red cards but that is a leg-breaker,” Lampard said. “VAR is here to clear things up, but this is another huge question mark.”
Tottenham set up to defend and there was an inevitability about the result which means their record at Stamford Bridge now reads just one win in their last 34 visits.
Spurs forward Lucas Moura had an early effort well stopped by Willy Caballero, again preferred by Lampard to world record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga.
But they were mainly on the back foot with Mason Mount forcing Lloris into a save soon after.
That it was 33-year-old former Arsenal striker Giroud, linked with a move to Tottenham in January, who opened the scoring was galling for the away fans.
Played through by Jorginho, Giroud’s initial shot was saved by the legs of Lloris.
Ross Barkley’s follow-up bounced up against the woodwork and, when the ball came back to the French striker, his powerful shot beat Lloris at his near post.
Giroud was also involved in the flowing move that resulted in Chelsea’s second goal.
His flick released Mount who played a low ball towards Barkley, another player recalled by Lampard.
The midfielder helped it to Alonso who did not have to break his stride to smash a low left-foot shot past the diving Lloris.
Mourinho sent on England midfielder Dele Alli, surprisingly left out of the starting line-up, as well as Erik Lamela and it was the Argentine’s shot which was deflected in by Rudiger.
It was too little too late for Tottenham though.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Euro 2020 qualifiers: England thrash Bulgaria after temporary halt over racist abuse
The game was, however, marred by racist incidents in the first half.
The match at the Vasil Levski stadium was temporarily halted by the referee in the first half under a three-step UEFA protocol to tackle racist abuse from the crowd.
Racist chanting was heard from the stands and reported by England players to manager Gareth Southgate, with the referee informed and a public announcement made on two occasions.
On the pitch, England midfielder Ross Barkley netted twice after Marcus Rashford had opened the scoring in the seventh minute.
Southgate’s side highlighted the gap in quality with the hosts before Raheem Sterling struck just before half-time.
England’s comfortable victory was rounded off by Sterling’s second goal midway through the second half.
And a cool finish from captain Harry Kane five minutes from the end inflicted on Bulgaria their heaviest-ever home defeat.
England, who moved closer to a place at Euro 2020, are top with 15 points from six games.
They are three ahead of the Czech Republic and four in front of Kosovo who beat Montenegro 2-0.(Reuters/NAN)
(Edited by Dianabasi Effiong and Olawale Alabi)
England call up Abraham and Tomori, drop Alli and Lingard
Canadian-born Tomori however, is getting his first call-up for the English senior national team.
Striker Abraham turned 22 on Wednesday, celebrating in style with the opener in his club’s 2-1 UEFA Champions League victory at Lille.
He is the leading English goalscorer in the English Premier League (EPL).
Manager Gareth Southgate told reporters he had not discussed the matter with Abraham, and had left it to Chelsea boss Frank Lampard to tell the player he was in the squad.
“We’ve got close to hundreds of players now in our system who are dual nationality,” he added.
“I don’t think it’s ethically right just to give a player a cap to make sure that they can’t play for somebody else.
“Fik and Tammy are in on merit and I’m not going to guarantee that they are going to get on the pitch,” said Southgate. “But they have both been part of our junior system right the way through.
“As far as we are concerned the two boys have been developed through English football and are English players.
“I’m sure they have a huge desire to play for England at senior level.”
Meanwhile Tottenham’s Dele Alli and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard did not make the cut.
Alli, who has made only four appearances for Tottenham Hotspur since returning from a hamstring injury, was omitted along with fellow-midfielders Lingard and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
There was also no place for Manchester City defender Kyle Walker.
Southgate said he was playing well but the bar was set high and he had lost out to strong competition.
He expected Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alli to challenge for places in coming months, while he retained faith also in Lingard fighting back.
England, who top Group A with four wins out of four matches, play the Czechs in Prague on Oct. 11 and Bulgaria in Sofia on Oct. 14.
Southgate said it was getting increasingly difficult to pick the squad, given the intense competition for places, and some of the choices had been hard to make.
Four Chelsea players feature and the manager praised Lampard, who took over at Stamford Bridge in July, for giving them their opportunities to shine.
“I’ve sat here for a few years and talked about opportunities for young English players,” said Southgate. “It’s a hugely positive step.”
Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley)
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton)
Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea) Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Everton), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) (Reuters/NAN)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
Chelsea sink Brighton to get first home league win
Second-half goals from Jorginho with a penalty and Willian’s deflected shot earned Frank Lampard’s Chelsea a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.
Jorginho slotted the penalty into the bottom corner after Brighton defender Adam Webster had miscontrolled the ball and brought down Mason Mount as the young Chelsea midfielder rushed in to take advantage.
Willian hit home after a cross-filed ball from substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi in the 76th minute. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who had held Chelsea at bay for most of the game, was wrong-footed by a deflection off Dan Burn.
Chelsea had 17 attempts on goal in the first half alone but were unable to turn their pressure and high tempo possession into goals.
Mount hit the post from a free kick and Ryan made two fine close-in saves from Ross Barkley and Pedro. Willian, Marcos Alonso and Tammy Abraham also fired wide from good positions.
Brighton were forced to attack after the penalty but failed to make their few chances count.
Steven Alzate had a shot deflected wide and Burn headed down a corner that bounced high and hit the crossbar in the 73rd minute. (Reuters/)
Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Maharazu Ahmed
Euro 2020 Qualifier: Erratic England beat spirited Kosovo in 8-goal thriller
The Three Lions beat a brave and enterprising Kosovo side 5-3 in an extraordinary Group A qualifier at St Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday.
Valon Berisha gave 120th-ranked Kosovo the lead after 35 seconds, but England hit back seven minutes later through Raheem Sterling’s header.
The rampant hosts led 5-1 at the interval with a double for teenager Jadon Sancho.
Kosovo, surprisingly second in the group just a point behind England at kick-off, were not about to depart the biggest night in their short footballing history quietly though.
They exposed worrying weaknesses in England’s defence.
Within 10 minutes of the restart they had scored twice through Berisha and a penalty kick by Vedat Muriqi, rattling England and leaving manager Gareth Southgate frowning.
But Kosovo were still going forward until the final whistle and Bersant Celina went close to making it 5-4.
England, who conceded three at home for the first time since 2012, lead the group with a maximum 12 points having scored 19 goals in the process.
Kosovo dropped to third with eight points, one behind the Czech Republic who beat Montenegro 3-0 away.
In spite of their defeat Kosovo, who had been on a 15-match unbeaten run, will still believe they can qualify for their first tournament finals.
It is just four years after gaining international status from world football’s governing body FIFA.
Southgate had warned beforehand of Kosovo’s threat and it took only 35 seconds to materialise, albeit from a dreadful mistake by England defender Michael Keane.
Without looking, he played a casual pass across his area and the gift was accepted by Muriqi who intercepted and played in Berisha to clip a fine finish past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
That lit the touchpaper for a stunning opening half in which England’s attacking play was devastating.
The home side were level seven minutes later with Keane making up for his error by heading Ross Barkley’s corner kick across goal for Sterling to nod a real poacher’s goal.
It was his sixth in four Euro 2020 qualifying games.
So often forced to break down massed defences, England were relishing the wide open spaces left by an attack-minded Kosovo.
After 19 minutes Sterling spun his marker on the halfway line, accelerated forward and slipped a weighted pass to Kane who fired the ball under the body of Muric.
Kosovo were still very much in the game but their big night began to unravel as England struck three goals in seven minutes.
Manager Bernard Challandes was furious as play was allowed to continue in the 38th minute with a Kosovo player down injured.
His mood darkened when Mergim Vojvoda, who minutes earlier fired just wide, tapped in an own goal from Sancho’s low cross.
Sterling then made two jet-heeled bursts to provide Borussia Dortmund teenager Sancho with his first senior England goals.
Kosovo could have been excused for shutting up shop after the break to try and keep the score down but that does not appear to be in the DNA of Challandes’s side.
In the 49th minute Muriqi’s floated pass found Berisha who took a sublime touch before beating Pickford.
Six minutes later Muriqi converted a penalty kick after being brought down by Harry Maguire to give Kosovo hope of an incredible comeback.
England were never really totally in control but Kane wasted the chance to settle the jitters when his penalty kick was read by Muric who dived to his right to save well.
The Nottingham Forest goalkeeper then turned Sterling’s shot against the post.(Reuters/)
(Edited by Olawale Alabi)
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