Connect with us

Sports

BELGIUM BEAT CANADA 1-0 IN WORLD CUP OPENER

Published

on

Michy Batshuayi celebrates his goal against Canada

Belgium beat Canada 1- 0 on Wednesday in the match which was played at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium stadium, Al Rayyan city, Qatar.

Dominant Canada suffered frustrating defeat to Belgium as Michy Batshuayi took advantage of Alphonso Davies’ heartbreaking early penalty miss to score the only goal of the game.

Batshuayi struck in the 44th minute to see off Canada, who are in their first World Cup since 1986, and put Roberto Martinez’s team two points ahead of both Croatia and Morocco.

John Herdman’s Canada, roared on by their vocal support, also had another strong penalty appeal turned down and dominated the second half to no avail.

Belgium were without injured record goalscorer Romelu Lukaku and struggled throughout with the pace of Canada’s forwards.

But the 2018 semi-finalists clung on to move top of what could prove a hotly-contested Group F after Croatia and Morocco’s goalless draw earlier on Wednesday.

Canada will head into their game against Croatia on Sunday still full of confidence after more than matching the team ranked second in the world, who next face Morocco.

The North Americans, matching Belgium in formation by playing three at the back, made a bright start and Jonathan David’s low effort was deflected wide.

From the resulting corner, Tajon Buchanan’s strike was blocked by Yannick Carrasco with his arm and a penalty was awarded after a VAR check in the 11th minute.

But Davies produced a weak effort which was saved low to his right by Courtois, before David lashed the rebound over the crossbar.

Belgium’s ageing defence were struggling with the pace of the Canada attackers and Junior Hoilett got in behind before firing a shot wide.

The underdogs kept coming, as Courtois palmed away right wing-back Alistair Johnston’s fierce drive and David headed off target.

– VAR controversy –

Canada had a big penalty appeal turned down despite a VAR review when Axel Witsel was outpaced by Richie Laryea inside the area and then tripped his opponent.

Belgium grabbed the lead out of nothing when a simple long ball over the top from Toby Alderweireld found the run of Batshuayi who hammered home left-footed.

There was still time for Canada to create, and waste, another glorious opportunity before the break, as Laryea’s low cross was fired over on the slide by Buchanan from six yards out.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made a double substitution at half-time to try and stem the tide, with Thomas Meunier replacing Carrasco and Everton youngster Amadou Onana coming into the midfield.

Canada could have levelled just minutes after the restart, though, as David headed wide from Stephen Eustaquio’s delicious cross after the Porto midfielder had nutmegged Kevin De Bruyne.

Herdman’s men continued to flood forward, but could not find the finishing touch required, with Buchanan miskicking horribly from the edge of the box.

The more men Canada committed, the more dangerous Belgium looked on the break and Laryea made a wonderful last-ditch tackle to deny Batshuayi a second goal.

Substitute Cyle Larin, the top scorer in CONCACAF qualifying for the tournament, headed too close to Courtois in a frantic finale.

De Bruyne could have put the game to bed but blazed into the crowd, while Larin sent another header spinning over Courtois’ bar as Belgium fell over the line.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots

Sports

JAPAN, SPAIN INTO W’CUP LAST 16, GERMANY CRASH OUT

Published

on

Spain's teammates react at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Japan and Spain at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on December 1, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Spain staggered through to the World Cup last 16 on Thursday despite a 2-1 defeat by Japan, who remarkably won Group E on a rollercoaster night which saw four-time champions Germany eliminated.

Japan secured another incredible triumph after beating Germany in their opening game, with their progression from the “group of death” one of the greatest achievements in the country’s footballing history.

For a few heart-stopping minutes Spain were poised to head out when Costa Rica were leading in the other game, but the 2010 champions squeezed through after Germany did them a favour by coming back to beat Los Ticos.

Spain and Germany ended on four points each, but La Roja progressed on goal difference.

Alvaro Morata sent Spain ahead early on with a towering header, but Japan dramatically struck back at the start of the second half.

Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka’s goals saw them mount a sensational comeback, just as they did against Germany.

Tanaka’s goal was highly controversial after the officials relied on VAR to decide Kaoru Mitoma had kept the ball in play by a hair’s breadth to set him up.

Spain struggled to create chances against a staunch Japanese defence in the final stages, with the Asian side aware that conceding another goal would see them eliminated.

Japanese players collapsed at full-time in celebration, exhausted and elated, while the substitutes raced on to celebrate.

Spain face Morocco in the last 16, while Japan play Croatia.

– Rollercoaster night –

Both sides made five changes, with Luis Enrique bringing in Morata to lead the line, and handing Alejandro Balde and Nico Williams their full debuts.

Japan started with five at the back, hoping to keep Spain at bay, but pressed high in attack to try and capitalise on any mistakes.

Spain are sometimes guilty of glaring defensive errors and Pau Torres exemplified that with a sloppy touch which led to Japan’s first chance, fired into the side-netting by Junya Ito.

Morata sent La Roja ahead in the 12th minute with a towering header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross, rekindling the connection which occasionally worked at Chelsea after the striker’s arrival in 2017.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu replaced the ineffective Takefuso Kubo and Yuto Nagatomo at the break with Mitoma and Doan, and it paid instant dividends.

Balde lost the ball under pressure and from the edge of the box winger Doan hammered past Unai Simon, who might have done more to keep it out.

Three minutes later and Japan had turned the game on its head, Tanaka bundling home from on the goalline after Mitoma had miraculously kept the ball in play as he crossed it — according to VAR.

Spain were shellshocked and struggled to react, with Luis Enrique making a raft of substitutions to try and regain control.

The coach, alone and perched on the edge of his technical area, was unaware that for a few moments his team faced elimination, when Costa Rica took the lead against Germany in the other game to go 2-1 ahead.

Spain survived, progressing thanks to their superior goal difference, on a night that was far more terrifying than they had anticipated — and Japan secured a hugely unlikely achievement.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Sports

AL HILAL MAY REPLACE IGHALO WITH RONALDO

Published

on

Portugal Striker, Cristiano Ronaldo

Saudi Arabian champions, Al Hilal, are not keen to extend the contract of Odion Ighalo as they explore the options of landing former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo in January, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

Al Hilal Striker, Odion Ighalo

Ighalo arrived Al Hilal from rivals Al Shabab in January for a fee in the region of €2.9m and his contract with the club ends June 30, 2023.

According to Sky Sports, Al Hilal are preparing to make the first mega offer to Ronaldo barely a week after the 37-year-old became a free agent.

Ronaldo and Manchester United parted ways after the Portuguese icon launched a scathing attack on the club, manager Erik Ten Haag and some of the club’s players in an explosive interview with journalist Piers Morgan.

Al Hilal are big admirers of Ronaldo and reports suggest the Saudi Arabian giants made a proposal for the former Real Madrid star’s signature during the summer transfer market. Manchester United, however, turned down their multi-million euros approach and that could change, though, with Ronaldo free to negotiate his transfer.

“He is one player Al Hilal is looking to sign but that depends on some departures,” the Sky Sports report stated.

Spanish newspaper outlet Marca, also revealed that Ronaldo sensationally agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with Al Nassr worth an eye-watering £172.9m per year, that will see him play until the age of 40.

Should Ighalo chooses to stay at Al Hilal despite Ronaldo’s arrival, the Nigerian will go head-to-head with the Portuguese superstar.

The Nigerian striker fired the goals that powered the team to win the Saudi Premier League title on the season’s final day last year.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Sports

MOROCCO SEND CANADA OUT OF W’CUP, SECURE KNOCKOUT SPOT

Published

on

Hakim Ziyech Celebrates his goal against Canada

Morocco on Thursday secured a spot in the World Cup knockout stage after they beat Canada 2-1

For the first time in 36 years, Morocco march on to the last 16 as they finished top of Group F.

The celebrations at the final whistle on the pitch showed how the African side cherish the win.

In a group supposed to be filled with the best of Europe, Morocco emerged top of Group F with Ziyech and En-Nesyri locating the back of the net in a phenomenal display.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Trending