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Chiefs beat Wydad Casablanca 1-0 to have one foot in the CAF Champions League final
19 June 2021, 11:36 PM

Kaizer Chiefs have put one foot in the finals of the CAF Champions League following a 1-0 over Wydad Casablanca in the first leg of the CAF Champions League.

Chiefs broke the deadlock on the 34th minute when Njabulo Blom broke down the right flank on a counter attack and send in a cross that found Samir Nurkovic inside the box.

The Serbian was made no mistake beating the Wydad goalkeeper Ahmed Tagnaouti on the near post to put Amakhosi ahead.

The goals was initially ruled for offside but after VAR check, the goal was allowed to stand – much to the happiness of the Amakhosi technical team on the field and up in the stands where newly-appointed Chiefs coach, Stuart Baxter, and the club’s Technical Director, Molefi Ntseki were having an aerial view of the proceedings.

It was a performance far from pleasing performance from the Naturena side, but the Arthur Zwane-led technical team will be forgiven for having got their organisational play on point tactically.

Wydad tried to level matters before the break but Chiefs goalkeeper, Bruce Bvuma, who is gradually proving himself worthy of the No.: 1 spot in the team, was equal to the task.

Chiefs went into the break in the driving seat.

But the worst was not over as it became another nail-biting affair in the second half with the Moroccans knocking hard on the Chiefs doors.


Chiefs, who had a ball possession of 20% to Wydad’s 80%, were clearly out to absorb the pressure, remain tactically disciplined defensively and catch the Moroccans on counter and transition attacks. This result in high turn-over rates on the Chiefs side who constantly lost the ball, rarely reaching the creation zone. This allowed the opposition to continue to pile pressure but Chiefs who defended with 10 men for most of the game but brilliantly covering space with notable discipline which frustrated their opponents.

The match ended 1-0 to Chiefs, confirming their one foot in the final of the CAF Champions League. Amakhosi will face off again against the Moroccans when they play host to them on the 26th of June.

Earlier in the day, Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly’s beat Tunisia’s Esperance 1-0. Should Chiefs advance to the finals they will either meet Al Ahly or Esperance.

Wasteful Spain struggle to 1-1 draw with Poland
19 June 2021, 11:15 PM

Spain were again haunted by their inability to finish off chances as they drew 1-1 with Poland on Saturday after missing a second-half penalty to leave their hopes of making the Euro 2020 knockouts hanging in the balance.

Alvaro Morata gave Spain the lead in the 25th minute but Poland, who had hit the woodwork twice in the first half, deservedly drew level with a towering header from Robert Lewandowski in the 54th.

Spain were given a penalty soon after but Gerard Moreno blasted his shot against the post and Morata scuffed the rebound wide, leaving Luis Enrique’s side cursing their profligacy just as in their goalless opening draw with Sweden.

Saturday’s draw left Spain third in Group E with two points and needing a win against Slovakia on Wednesday to guarantee their place in the next round. Poland are bottom with one point but still have a chance of going through to the last 16.

Spain coach Luis Enrique made only one change to the team that had dominated against Sweden but failed to take their chances, bringing in Moreno for Ferran Torres.

Spain played less fluid football than against Sweden but were more direct, while Poland showed far more ambition than the Swedes had and came close to taking an early lead when Mateusz Klich let fly from long range and struck the top of the bar.

But it was Spain who went in front when Moreno cut in from the right wing to cross with his stronger left foot and Morata diverted the ball into the net.

The striker was initially flagged offside but a VAR review gave him the goal and he ran to the sideline to embrace coach Luis Enrique, who has shown so much faith in him in the last two weeks after Morata was booed twice by Spain‘s supporters.

Spain nearly doubled their lead when Moreno flashed a free kick wide but Poland came within inches of equalising when Karol Swiderski’s shot skidded off the post and into the path of Lewandowski, who was thwarted by a fine save by Unai Simon.

Spain should have struck at the end of the first half when Moreno hit the side netting from close range.

Poland kept testing the Spanish defence and deservedly found a way through when Lewandowski soared into the air to head Kamil Jozwiak’s cross into the bottom corner.

Spain got an unexpected chance to restore their lead when Moreno was caught by Jakub Moder but neither Moreno nor Morata could keep their composure in front of goal.

Luis Enrique’s side kept looking for a winner but had none of their customary cool and resorted to long balls into the box.

They were not far from finding another goal though, substitute Ferran Torres heading wide and Poland keeper Wojciech Szczesny making two brave saves to thwart Ferran and Morata from point-blank range.

Germany complete incredible comeback to beat Portugal 4-2
19 June 2021, 8:05 PM

Germany benefitted from two first-half own goals as they came from behind to beat defending champions Portugal 4-2 in their Group F match on Saturday, getting their European Championship last 16 qualification hopes back on track.

Germany, who were beaten by France in their opening match, started at breakneck speed but fell behind against the run of play when Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 107th international goal after a swift counter attack.

Joachim Loew’s Germany side flipped the script thanks to two own goals within four minutes, with Kai Havertz’s strike deflected in by Ruben Dias from six yards followed by Raphael Guerreiro finding his own net from a Joshua Kimmich cut back.

Germany player finally got on the scoresheet after the interval when Havertz made it 3-1 before Robin Gosens capped a memorable individual display by heading in the fourth on the hour.

Diogo Jota pulled one back to offer Portugal a glimmer of hope in the closing stages but Germany held on to move up to second in Group F after two rounds of matches.

Portugal, who beat Hungary in their opening match, slipped to third and will next face group leaders France in a rematch of the Euro 2016 final, while Germany face the Hungarians.

Match Preview: Poland aim to kickstart their Euros against possession kings Spain
19 June 2021, 7:43 PM

Poland know they will see less of the ball than Spain in their second Group E match at Euro 2020 on Saturday but still hope to hurt Luis Enrique’s side with their own passing, coach Paulo Sousa said.

The Poles failed to improve their poor record in major tournament opening games on Monday as they lost 2-1 to lower-ranked Slovakia, and now need at least a point against Spain to still have a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage.

“We need to concentrate to hurt Spain; not only with counter attacks, with transition, but also creating opportunities with possession,” Sousa told reporters on Friday.

“Not the same possession as Spain, because Spain have had this game process for more than ten years, (and) we have just started. But we could do it,” he added.

Spain are not used to defending longer than 3-7 seconds without the ball.”

Sousa, who took over as Poland coach in January, said one of his key focuses has been a switch in his side’s mentality.

“We need to be positively aggressive, with a lot of determination,” Sousa said.

Poland hope Robert Lewandowski is more ruthless in front of goal than Sweden’s Marcus Berg, who squandered a huge chance to score in Spain‘s opening game, a 0-0 draw.

“Against Slovakia, Robert did a lot of things. When we were left with ten men, from the 62nd minute, he worked a lot defensively, more than usually,” Sousa said, justifying the 2021 European Golden Boot winner’s failure to score in that game.

Kamil Glik, who has won 84 caps with Poland and been a stalwart in defence since the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, said Poland are aware they have a big defensive task on Saturday.

“We need a little bit of luck, just like the Swedish team had,” the 33-year-old said.

Glik was one of the team’s pillars at the previous Euros, where Poland were surprise quarter-finalists, only losing out to eventual tournament winners Portugal.

“We have digested the defeat (against Slovakia) and the team is ready both on the mental and physical level,” Glik said.

“We want to achieve a clean sheet to get the result we want and that is winning,” Sousa added.

Spain coach Luis Enrique gave under-fire striker Alvaro Morata a vote of confidence by revealing he will start him in Saturday’s game with Poland after he missed a clear chance in the goalless draw with Sweden in his side’s opening Euro 2020 match.

“I’ve told Morata to keep doing what he is doing, to keep contributing everything he gives us in attack and defence. It will be Morata and 10 others,” the coach told Spanish network Cuatro on Friday.

Morata was booed by a section of the crowd at Seville’s La Cartuja stadium after missing the target with a gilt-edged chance and was also whistled by supporters in a friendly earlier this month against Portugal.

But Luis Enrique highlighted his other qualities whilst pointing out that only all-time top scorer David Villa had scored more goals for Spain than Morata’s 19 after 41 games.

“I told Alvaro to stay confident, because he does very important things for the team. But I don’t give him special treatment,” he said in a news conference marred by technological problems.

“And compared to the rest of the players here (at Euro 2020), only Harry Kane had scored more goals for his country than Morata after 41 games, not Kylian Mbappe, Robert Lewandowski or Romelu Lukaku.”

Morata insisted he was in good spirits despite the miss against Sweden, which he said was not as glaring as it looked.

“I’m very relaxed. I’ve been working hard to be here since I joined the under-17 team and I know that I can’t please everyone. When there’s criticism of your work you just have to respect that and keep working,” he said.

“I don’t know if the ball will go in or not but every time I put the Spain shirt on I’ll always give 100 percent.”

Spain welcomed captain Sergio Busquets back to the squad on Friday 12 days after he tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced into quarantine.

Luis Enrique called Busquets’ return “an important boost for everyone” and said he could field the player against Poland but would decide later in consultation with his coaching staff.

France held 1-1 by passionate Hungary at packed Puskas Arena
19 June 2021, 5:12 PM

Hungary took a shock lead against France in a pulsating second Group F match in the European Championship on Saturday, but Antoine Griezmann equalised for a 1-1 draw inside the packed Puskas Arena.

The result put France on four points to provisionally top the group until Portugal, who won their first game, play bottom side Germany later on Saturday. Hungary are third with a point.

The hosts were dealt an early blow when their skipper and most experienced goal scorer Aadam Szalai was substituted after 26 minutes following a blow to the head. The dazed striker was able to walk off, however, and down the tunnel on his own.

But roared on by over 60,000 fans, they took the lead in first half injury time when Attila Fiola combined with Roland Sallai before the wing-back raced through on goal to beat goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with a low shot at the near post.

France equalised in the 66th minute when Kylian Mbappe stole in behind the defence to latch on to a bouncing long ball from Lloris and though his cross was only half cleared, Griezmann was on hand to find the back of the net.



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