By Phil McNulty Chief football writer at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Former Arsenal youngster Serge Gnabry is the first player to score four goals in the second half of a Champions League gameTottenham Hotspur’s troubles continued as they were humiliated in the most devastating fashion by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on one of the most embarrassing nights in their recent history as Serge Gnabry scored four goals.The scale of this thrashing for manager Mauricio Pochettino and his players was made even more stark by the fact they took an early lead through Son Heung-min and were on level terms until just before half-time.Bayern posed a huge threat throughout and were quickly on terms through Joshua Kimmich’s superb 20-yard finish – but Spurs failed to heed the warning signs and ended up reduced to a rabble as they sunk without a fight in the second half.Strange as it may seem looking at the scoreline, this was an enthralling encounter that really turned on the stroke of half-time when, with matters in the balance, Robert Lewandowski produced a brilliant turn and right-foot finish past Hugo Lloris from 20 yards.’Embarrassing, abject, pitiful – make no mistake, Spurs and Pochettino are in trouble’We must stick together – PochettinoNot good enough for West Brom? Gnabry scores four against SpursFootball Daily podcast: Spurs battered by BayernThe manner in which Spurs subsided once they went behind will be of huge concern to Pochettino and all those who have detected underlying problems with the manager and his team since they lost the Champions League final to Liverpool in June.Bayern gathered momentum and put themselves out of sight when former Arsenal youngster Gnabry scored twice in as many minutes shortly after the interval, taking full advantage of more poor defending to beat Lloris emphatically.Harry Kane gave Spurs brief hope with a penalty after Kingsley Coman fouled Danny Rose but Bayern were in no mood to open the door, instead running riot as Gnabry added two more, with another smooth finish from Lewandowski sandwiched in between.It is the first time in Tottenham’s 137-year history that they have ever conceded seven goals at home in any competition.Spurs left the pitch to a chorus of jeers. They will cling to the fact they reached the final after losing their first two group games last season – but this is the sort of beating that will take a long time to recover from.Spurs brutally exposed by Bayern
This was the biggest home defeat of an English team in any European competitionTottenham’s display had so much to commend it for the first 35 minutes as they closely resembled the side that reached the Champions League final so dramatically last season, playing with passion, urgency and pace to trade blows with this dangerous Bayern.Even when honours were even, however, danger lurked obviously as Spurs were being exposed on the flanks as the pace of Gnabry and the prowess of Lewandowski flagged up big trouble ahead.And so it proved as, from the moment Lewandowski swept a magnificent low finish past Lloris with virtually the last kick of the first half, Spurs were stretched and picked apart, with the defensive pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen looking slow and laboured. The sight of the latter plodding in the wake of Gnabry when he hit the back of the net once more was a particularly ominous sight.Spurs will also look at early chances squandered by Son but there is no escaping the brutal reality of what was done to them by Bayern.This is regarded as a Bayern side in transition, remember they lost at home to Liverpool in the last 16 last season, but by the final whistle it was literally a question of how many they would score as Spurs waited for the whistle like a boxer waiting for the final bell.Spurs can still get out of this group but serious damage will have been inflicted by this loss and its inglorious manner.What now for Pochettino?
Mauricio Pochettino has yet to win a trophy in a 10-year managerial careerSpurs’ battling win against 10-man Southampton on Saturday looked to have lifted the siege mentality around manager Pochettino and answered the questions asked after an indifferent start to the season which saw a Carabao Cup exit to League Two Colchester United.Instead, after this, the questions will not only return but will be more probing. This result will not only stun Pochettino, his players and Spurs supporters, it will come as a jolt to chairman Daniel Levy.Spurs now see themselves as big players on this elite European stage but this scoreline paints them as the opposite. Levy will not appreciate that.Pochettino must now rally himself and this bedraggled team, who looked lethargic and lacking the stomach for the fight once Bayern took control.These are decisive days for Pochettino and Spurs.Man of the match – Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich)
Only one candidate for man of the match. Serge Gnabry has scored as many goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Harry KaneMatch stats – 14 goals in 10 games for LewandowskiTottenham are the first English side to concede seven goals in a European game since they lost 8-0 to Cologne in the 1995 Intertoto CupThis was Mauricio Pochettino’s joint heaviest defeat as a manager, alongside a 5-0 loss to Real Madrid in March 2012 with EspanyolThis was Bayern’s joint second biggest away victory in European competition, behind only a 7-1 win against Roma in October 2014Spurs conceded seven goals in a competitive match for the first time since December 1996 – a 7-1 Premier League defeat by Newcastle UnitedSerge Gnabry is the only the second German player to score four goals in a Champions League match after Mario Gomez versus Basel in March 2012 (also for Bayern, 7-0 win).Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has scored in his last nine competitive appearances – his longest scoring streak in his German club career. He has scored 14 goals in 10 games for Bayern this season, more than any other player in the big five European leagues.Spurs’ Harry Kane has scored more Champions League goals against German teams (five) than he has against sides from any other nation in the competition.What’s next?Tottenham visit struggling Brighton in Saturday’s Premier League lunchtime kick-off. Bundesliga leaders Bayern are at home to Hoffenheim the same day.
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…
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.”
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…
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.”
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,…
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.