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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.

Match Preview: Expect more attacking power against Portugal: Germany’s Loew
19 June 2021, 4:42 PM

Germany will be far more attack-minded in their Euro 2020 Group F game against Portugal on Saturday after their opening defeat to France left them in need of points, coach Joachim Loew said on Friday.

The three-time European champions, desperate to make amends for their shock 2018 World Cup first round exit, were largely toothless against the French.

When in France’s half, they struggled to get the ball into the box and had only one effort on target, playing without an out-and-out striker and with Serge Gnabry in the forward role.

“Tactically, we have to bring something else, more attacking power. We need to bring in more intensity,” Loew told a news conference.

“When we are in the last third of the pitch we have to stay there. Against France, there were situations where we played the ball back out and our opponents have enough men against the ball again.

“We have to play with a different dynamic in the last third of the pitch and take more risks,” added Loew, in his last tournament after 15 years in charge.

The Germans are in third place in the group, with holders Portugal and France on three points. Hungary are in last place following their own opening loss to the Portuguese.

Germany face Hungary in their last group match next week.

“We are all optimistic but the pressure of course mounts after a defeat. We can handle the pressure. Players can handle the pressure,” Loew said.

“What I feel is a determination, the absolute will. Everyone knows we need to improve things tomorrow.”

Portugal are among the title favourites, with Cristiano Ronaldo netting twice against Hungary to become the all-time highest Euro scorer with 11 goals, but for Loew the team has far more talent than just their captain.

“They are a strong team, very good players, highly skilled. It is not a one-man show. Portugal have more depth, there are many, many other players.

“Obviously Ronaldo can do more than just move Coca-Cola bottles around,” Loew said in reference to his moving bottles out of the way during a news conference days ago.

“In attack I could mention a lot of names, not only Cristiano Ronaldo, who have special skills, who can decide matches.”

Portugal coach Fernando Santos has urged his side to starve Germany of the ball as they target a second consecutive win in Euro 2020 in Saturday’s blockbuster Group F game.

Portugal won the last European Championship playing a mostly defensive game in which they rarely dominated the ball but Santos believes their best hope of keeping Germany at bay is to limit their ability to play passes in behind.

The holders had a testing opening game with Hungary before eventually emerging 3-0 winners, while Germany were beaten 1-0 by world champions France.

“Germany are often able to surprise opponents with passes in behind from Toni Kroos, so a fundamental weapon is to have the ball and keep them as far away from the goal as possible,” Santos told a news conference.

“They like to play lots of passes in behind but France deprived them of space in the final third with a fantastic performance. We want to have the ball and not lose it too often.”

Germany hammered Portugal 4-0 the last time the two sides met in a major tournament at the 2014 World Cup but Santos believes his side have made huge strides since then.

“I think Portugal have became more respected lately. Other teams respected Portugal in the past, but deep down they believed they were stronger. Now no team in the world facing Portugal thinks they’ll win easily,” he said.

“On the other hand, this Germany side is fantastic, like a steamroller. I’m not afraid of Germany, but the two teams will respect each other, and thinking you’re favourites against Germany is a very dangerous move.”

After facing Hungary in a raucous, sold-out Puskas Arena, Portugal will again have to contend with a partisan crowd in Munich – although the Football Arena Munich will only be at 25% capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Santos said his side must try to keep a cool head in the partisan atmosphere.

“Being motivated to win and playing with your soul is very important but you also have to know how to win. If we only play with our hearts, we won’t win,” he added.

Defender Ruben Dias said the squad was in a good mood after their opening win but also aware they will have to up their game.

“We’re facing a top level team now, one of the best in the tournament,” he said.

“We’re well aware that even though we’ve made a good start we need to keep our feet on the ground and remember we’ll have to play even better to win this one.”

PSL is in the clear to proceed with playoffs … for now: Advocate Koma
19 June 2021, 1:54 PM

The PSL is in the clear to proceed with the Promotional Playoffs for now. That is according to Advocate Mphafolane Koma.

Speaking to SABC News following the dismissal of Royal AM’s application for leave to appeal the High Court’s decision to uphold the SAFA Arbitration to award Sekhukhune United three points and three goals, Koma says until the president of the Gauteng High Court has granted KwaZulu-Natal permission to approach the Supreme Court of Appeal, the interdict against the playoffs is without basis. 

“Remember, the so-called interdict, in its nature, is a temporary relief or a temporary court order, depending on the outcome of certain processes. That is why an interdict is not something permanent. In fact, maybe if they would have opted to make an application in terms of Rule 6.12(c) of the Supreme Court Act, which is an application for reconsideration, I believe they would have more grounds to challenge the status quo,” says Koma. 

However, Koma was quick to caution that Royal AM remained with a case to be heard and could still take the matter up to the Constitutional Court. 

“Remember you must petition the Judge President of the High Court in the very same court where they are now. There is a Judge President. For example, in Johannesburg, we know, it’s Judge Mlambo. So, they must petition the Honourable Judge and if the Honourable Judge grants them that petition, it’s only then that they can approach the Supreme Court of Appeal.”

“We cannot predict what will be the outcome of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, but that is the option they have. And still, if they are not happy with the outcome of the Supreme Court of Appeal, they still have the last option, which is the Constitutional Court to file the necessary papers there, to challenge the validity of the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal. But the approach of the (Constitutional) Court, they must be able to prove the some of their rights in terms of the Constitution have been violated. Not every case can be heard by the Constitutional Court, unless you prove to the court that your constitutional rights have been violated,” adds Koma.

Listen to the full interview below:

On Friday, Royal AM was dealt another blow in their quest to remain at the top of the GladAfrica Championship log to gain automatic promotion into the DSTV Premiership. This, when Deputy Judge President of the Gauteng High Court, Judge Sutherland, dismissed the KwaZulu-Natal club’s application for leave to appeal with costs, stating that “rules are rules.”

Reading his judgment, Sutherland said: “One, the application for leave to appeal is dismissed; two, the costs incurred by the Sekhukhune club in participating in the leave to appeal will be borne by Royal AM; three, the costs incurred by SAFA and the NSL shall be borne by themselves. That disposes of that matter.” 

However, soon after that Royal AM threatened the PSL with league action if they commenced with the promotional playoffs, saying such a move would be in contempt of the interdict they obtained on Monday.

Sutherland would not deal with the interdict matter after he had given his judgment on the application for leave to appeal, saying if any parties wanted to pursue the matter, urgent courts remained opened to hear it.

The PSL said, on Thursday, they would seek an “urgent intervention of the High Court.” But for now, the games are back on.

Match Preview: Digne only change for France in tested lineup vs Hungary
19 June 2021, 12:21 PM

France made only one change to the starting lineup that beat Germany 1-0 in their group opener with Lucas Digne coming in at left back in place of Lucas Hernandez to take on Hungary on Saturday.

Coach Didier Deschamps decided to stick with the midfield trio of N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba and Adrien Rabiot that dominated their first Euro 2020 game while the attacking trident of Antoine Griezman, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema also remains intact.

Hungary, playing at home in the Puskas Arena, go with a back three of Endre Botka, Willi Orban and Attila Szalai.

Former France youth international Loic Nego – the only change in the Hungary lineup – and Attila Fiola are expected to start as wing backs.
Skipper Aadam Szalai and Roland Sallai will lead the line as they look to score their first goal at the European Championship following a 3-0 loss to Portugal in their opening game.

TEAMS

Hungary: Peter Gulacsi; Endre Botka, Willi Orban, Attila Szalai; Loic Nego, Adam Nagy, Andras Schafer, Laszlo Kleinheisler, Attila Fiola; Roland Sallai, Aadam Szalai (captain)

France: Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Presnel Kimpempe, Lucas Digne; N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot; Antoine Griezman, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema

Royal AM vows to approach Supreme Court of Appeal
19 June 2021, 2:03 AM

Royal AM are not about relinquish their fight to gain automatic promotion into the DSTV Premiership. According their response to the dismissal of their application for leave to appeal by Justice Sutherland DJP on Friday evening, the KwaZulu-Natal outfit will be approaching the Supreme Court of Appeal. 

“As indicated during the hearing of the application for leave to appeal heard before His Lordship Justice Sutherland DJP, and in view of the outcome thereof, we hold instructions to lodge an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal alternatively the Full-Bence in terms of section 17(2)(b) if the Superior Courts Act 10 of the 2013,” reads the statement in part. 

The Act makes provision for disgruntled parties who have had their applications for leave to appeal declined “by the judge or judges against whose decision an appeal is to be made” petition the SCA to have their appeal heard. 

The section reads, “If leave to appeal in terms of paragraph(a)is refused, it may be granted by the Supreme Court of Appeal on application filed with the registrar of that court within one month after such refusal, or such longer period as may on good cause be allowed, and the Supreme Court of Appeal may vary any order as to costs made by the judge or judges concerned in refusing leave.” 

On Friday evening, Deputy Judge President of the Gauteng High Court, Judge Sutherland, dismissed the KwaZulu-Natal club’s application for leave to appeal with costs, stating that “rules are rules.” 

Reading his judgement, Sutherland, said: “One, the application for leave to appeal is dismissed; two, the costs incurred by the Sekhukhune club in participating in the leave to appeal will be borne by Royal AM; three, the costs incurred by SAFA and the NSL shall be borne by themselves. That disposes of that matter.” 

Royal AM has also reminded the PSL of the interdict order given by Nyathi AJ on Monday against the PSL Promotional Playoff which were set to commence on Tuesday.  

“We are accordingly instructed to inform you thereof firstly as a matter of courtesy, but more importantly to remind you that the status quo which prevailed before the hearing of the application for leave to appeal in terms of section (172)(1)(a) persists and continues to exist,” reads the letter in part. 

“As you will recall the Order of His Lordship Justice Nyathi AJ granted Royal AM an interim order to the effect that ‘pending the final determination for leave to appeal the commencement of the 2021 GladAfrica promotions/relegation playoffs is suspended.’”

Earlier this week, the league made U-turn on their decision to kick off the playoffs on Thursday after their announcement of their intention to appeal the interdict.

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