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Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham: Arthur Masuaku sent off as visitors earn point

Arthur Masuaku was shown a yellow card in each halfAston Villa moved out of the relegation zone by drawing against a West Ham side who finished with 10 men after Arthur Masuaku’s red card.Masuaku was dismissed with 23 minutes left after picking up two bookings.Before that, the game’s major talking point saw Anwar El Ghazi…

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Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham: Arthur Masuaku sent off as visitors earn point

Arthur Masuaku was shown a yellow card in each halfAston Villa moved out of the relegation zone by drawing against a West Ham side who finished with 10 men after Arthur Masuaku’s red card.Masuaku was dismissed with 23 minutes left after picking up two bookings.Before that, the game’s major talking point saw Anwar El Ghazi clash heads with Villa team-mate Tyrone Mings, although no action was taken.Villa’s John McGinn had plenty of the game’s better chances, forcing Lukasz Fabianski into two saves.Both sides had frantic attacks late on, with penalty shouts at both ends, but neither could find the decisive touch.El Ghazi and Mings clash ‘put to bed at half-time’Football Daily podcast: Missed chances for Villa & Champions League returnsCollisions and red card the name of the game

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Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham: We didn’t use extra man – Smith

There were plenty of big hits and tackles, more so than major goalscoring opportunities.The major incident in the first half involved two Villa players – Mings was furious with El Ghazi’s lack of defensive help and started shouting in his face. At that moment, Netherlands winger El Ghazi nudged his head into Mings’ face. He could have been sent off, but referee Mike Dean and the video assistant referee decided the contact was not sufficient to produce a red card.Elsewhere, the physios were busy, as Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski flattened El Ghazi as he punched a cross clear, and McGinn hurt himself after tackling Sebastien Haller when Angelo Ogbonna accidentally stood on him.There were five yellow cards in the game, and two of them landed to Masuaku – one in each half. The first was more straightforward, with a heavy challenge on Frederic Guilbert, who needed treatment.But the second tackle to produce the red card – Dean’s 102nd as a Premier League official – was a tackle on substitute Ahmed Elmohamady, who went down easily.BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Chris Sutton was in no doubt that it was the right decision, calling the tackle “reckless and brainless”. West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini disagreed with the decision to send off his left-back. “It was a typical sending off when you play away, with the pressure of the fans in every foul,” he told BBC Sport.Villa captain Jack Grealish said his side “got worse when they went down to 10 men”, adding: “We tried to rush things and force things and gave the ball away.”His manager Dean Smith agreed, saying: “I thought 11 v 11 we were really good and created the best chances. I expected a little better of us when they went down to 10. “We never used that extra man and got rushed on the ball rather than keeping our structure.”Both sides miss decisive touch

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Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham: Pellegrini ‘very happy’ despite Masuaku red card

Both sides had grand plans for a win – Villa had the opportunity to move two points clear of the bottom three, while West Ham could have gone third in the table.The visitors had more chances, but Villa had the better ones.The best opening probably fell to Villa striker Wesley, who headed wide from about six yards out after a fine Grealish cross.McGinn was his usual classy self and went close with several shots from outside the box.”We were brilliant defensively, with our second clean sheet in row at Villa Park,” said Grealish. “We need to be deadlier in front of goal. As soon as we are, everything will click into place.”West Ham’s much-hyped attacking quartet of Haller, Andriy Yarmolenko, Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson struggled to create many opportunities. Mark Noble’s seventh-minute snap shot, which was straight at goalkeeper Tom Heaton, proved to be their only shot on target.”We played with 10 men exactly the same as 11,” said Hammers boss Pellegrini. “I’m very happy with the personality and performance. If you cannot win, don’t lose it.”We did a complete game. I want to see in every game the attitude we saw tonight. I’m happy with the way we’re improving.” Villa move out of the bottom three on goal difference, while West Ham are eighth.Man of the match – Issa Diop (West Ham)

Villa’s John McGinn was the best player in the first half but West Ham defender Issa Diop (centre) stepped up to the plate when his side went down to 10 menMatch stats – Villa’s second worst startOnly in 1997-98 did Aston Villa accrue fewer points after the opening five games of a Premier League campaign (three) than they have managed this season (four).West Ham have suffered just one defeat in their past nine top-flight games (W5 D3), after losing five of the seven before that.Eight of the 41 Premier League meetings between Aston Villa and West Ham have ended goalless, the highest proportion (19.5%) of any fixture in the competition that’s been played 30-plus times.Since their return to the Premier League in 2012-13, West Ham have picked up 22 red cards in the competition (level with Arsenal), with only Newcastle managing more during this period (26).Mike Dean racked up his 102nd red card in the Premier League, 35 more than any other referee has awarded in the competition (Phil Dowd is next on 67).Since the start of last season, Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish has been fouled 179 times in league football (including play-offs), 49 more than any other player in the top four tiers.What’s next?Both sides play ‘big six’ teams on Sunday. West Ham are at home to Manchester United (14:00 BST), while Villa go to Arsenal (16:30).

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When Diego Maradona played in Saudi Arabia – Arab world mourns passing of a legend

DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday. The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th…

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When Diego Maradona played in Saudi Arabia – Arab world mourns passing of a legend

DOHA: Andres Iniesta scored his first goal in the Asian Champions League as Vissel Kobe powered their way to the last-16 with a dominant 3-1 win over Fabio Cannavaro’s Guangzhou Evergrande in their Group G clash on Wednesday.

The Spain and Barcelona legend fired a right-footed shot from the center of the box in the 84th minute to help the Japanese side consolidate their position at the top of their group with two wins from as many matches.

They are now five points ahead of Guangzhou and Suwon Samsung Bluewings and assured of a spot in the knockout phase after the group was reduced to three teams following Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim’s withdrawal from the tournament.

In another match on Wednesday, Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors pipped Sydney FC 1-0 in Group H with Na Sung-eun scoring in the 44th minute.

It was the Australian side’s third defeat in four matches while Jeonbuk revived their hopes with their first victory.

Iniesta, who was declared MVP of the match, had been an influential presence for Vissel Kobe throughout the encounter with his quick thinking and crisp passing, and that reflected in their first goal in the 44th minute at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The Spanish veteran dashed his way up on the left flank to control a long diagonal pass and after advancing further turned around near the goalline to tap the ball onto the path of the advancing Kyogo Furuhashi who struck with a clean, low shot from close range.

Furuhashi’s personal joy at scoring lasted only 10 minutes as the forward first conceded a corner and then watched in horror as his attempted clearance from the resultant kick found his own net to give Guangzhou the equalizer.

Cannavaro made three substitutions in a desperate bid for victory after having drawn their opening game against Suwon Samsung Bluewings. But although the two-time champions enjoyed a couple of brief purple patches during which they had the Kobe defence under pressure, the goal they were looking for never materialized.

Vissel Kobe regained the lead in the 74th minute when Douglas, who had just come in five minutes prior, took advantage of a great back-heel from Daigo Nishi and blasted the ball home.

Brazil-born Elekson, now known as Ai Kesen, had a goal disallowed for off-side on eight minutes and when Iniesta struck two minutes later, it extended Cannavaro’s misery in Doha.

“The result is bad. We tried but I know that something in my team is not clear. I don’t know if they are afraid to play or they are not confident anymore,” the Italian complained after the match.

“I need to try and do my best to give them the confidence to play. This is my job. I know they are very good players, and we can do much, much, much better.”

Vissel Kobe had landed in Doha after a string of disappointing results back home, conceding a whopping 58 goals in 33 league matches and losing five games in a row.

But their coach Atsuhiro Miura was basking in joy on Wednesday, saying he was ready with a game plan against a side packed with several Brazilians.

“Guangzhou is a very strong side, they have several good Brazilian players but we analysed how they play and how to prevent them from playing to their strengths,” said Miura.

“We did everything well and everything went how we wanted it to. That’s why we got this result.”

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Going for goal: Saudi Arabia kicks off first women’s football league

RIYADH: First they opened the grandstands to women, now Saudi Arabia is encouraging them to cross the touchline and compete in the Kingdom’s first Women’s Football League tournament. The historic competition kicks off on Tuesday morning, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize. The…

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Going for goal: Saudi Arabia kicks off first women’s football league

RIYADH: First they opened the grandstands to women, now Saudi Arabia is encouraging them to cross the touchline and compete in the Kingdom’s first Women’s Football League tournament.

The historic competition kicks off on Tuesday morning, with 24 teams across Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam competing for a championship cup, and a $133,000 cash prize.

The Kingdom opened its stadiums to women football supporters in January, 2018, but this is the first time they will have been allowed to compete in a tournament.

The competition has been lauded as an important step for the Saudi sports world, with many in the game throwing their support behind the event.

Calling the competition a “positive step,” Abdullah Alyami, Saudi football coach and sports reporter, said he expects many more women to participate in future tournaments.

“This is a very happy day for all athletes, be they male or female. And based on what we’ve seen, and how beloved the sport of football is all over the Kingdom, I believe we will see many more of our sisters getting involved in professional sports,” he said.
عبدالله اليامي: انطلاق #الدوري_النسائي في #السعودية خطوة إيجابية.. وأتوقع إقبالا كبيرا على المشاركة في فرق كرة القدم النسائية#تواصل #قناة_الرسالة@m3sss3 pic.twitter.com/UxRa8pZSWo
— قناة الرسالة (@alresalahnet) November 17, 2020
Saudi sports reporter Riyan Al-Jidani tweeted his support.

“To all my dear sisters participating the Women’s Football League, your success in the tournament is a step in the right direction towards our dream of universality and representing our homeland to the outside world. Raising the flag on the field is a glory and pride,” he said.

The tournament was due to start in March – but the coronavirus pandemic stopped play.

But for some that just presented the opportunity to up their game.

“We started preparations early, and the delay due to the pandemic actually worked in our favor. We were able to take more than two months to prepare for the tournament,” Maram Al-Butairi, general manager and head coach at Dammam-based Eastern Flames FC.

Amal Gimie, 26, an Eritrean midfielder for Jeddah’s Kings United, previously told Arab News that she had been playing the beautiful game since she was eight.

“There was a match every weekend. The boys made us play as goalkeepers in the beginning, and in 2002, when I first saw the Women’s World Cup, it sparked my passion to learn more about this sport,” said Gimie, who is also a management information systems graduate. She joined her first female football team, Challenge, in Riyadh in 2014.

She said: “It was the first time I joined something organized. I was happy to be playing but at the same time I felt as though it was an unreachable goal (to become a professional athlete or join an official league), I felt like I was growing older without achieving anything.”

The matches won’t be broadcast, but Saudi’s army of football fans remain excited by the tournament.

Wejdan Al-Shammary, who grew up playing sports in school, said she would have tried for a team “in a heartbeat” if she had been just a few years younger.

“I played both basketball and football on my high school teams. I was a complete sports nut, but it makes me happy to know that even if it’s too late for me to achieve those dreams, there’s a chance now for young Saudi girls that I never had,” she said.

Najla Ahmed, a 16-year-old from Riyadh who plays on her school’s football team, said she would try for a local team in 2021.

“I’ll be 17, and therefore eligible, and I would love to see anyone try and stop me,” she said.

Both women said they hoped this was just the start and that more sports would be opened up to women.

“Football is just the beginning. I would love to see more focus on other sports, as well. Basketball, tennis, maybe even competitive swimming,” said Al-Shammary. “I’m sure we have so many potential Olympians among us who just need their talents nurtured.”

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NFL game postponed over Covid-19 cases

Tennessee Titans’ long snapper Beau Brinkley (left) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (right) have been put on the reserve/Covid-19 listThe NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases.The game will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday after the outbreak among Titans players and staff.On Tuesday,…

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NFL game postponed over Covid-19 cases

Tennessee Titans’ long snapper Beau Brinkley (left) and defensive tackle DaQuan Jones (right) have been put on the reserve/Covid-19 listThe NFL game between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases.The game will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday after the outbreak among Titans players and staff.On Tuesday, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson were put on the reserve/Covid-19 list.The NFL has since shut down the team facility.According to the NFL network, a fourth player also returned a positive test on Wednesday.The Titans played the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis last Sunday.The Vikings’ facility was also closed on Tuesday and Wednesday and it is unclear whether their scheduled game with the Houston Texans will take place on Sunday.
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