Arsenal Open US Tour With 3-0 Friendly Win In Colorado

Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli scored in his Arsenal debut Monday as the English Premier League club launched their pre-season tour of the United States with a 3-0 friendly win over the Colorado Rapids.

Bukayo Saka and James Olayinka also scored for the Gunners, who cruised to the victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in suburban Denver.

Martinelli, the 18-year-old forward signed from Ituano on July 2, was given a surprise start in attack by Unai Emery and sent an early chance wide.

Saka, 17, was an energetic presence and put Arsenal up 1-0 in the 13th minute as he collected a through-ball from Eddie Nketiah.

Another teenager — 18-year-old Olayinka — doubled the score in the 29th, seizing a stray pass from defence and racing into fire into the top left corner of the net.

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Martinelli, having missed his early chance, capped the scoring in the 61st when he slotted home a cross from close range.

The Rapids, in the midst of the Major League Soccer season, fielded a mostly reserve side that featured several players from the lower-rung Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

Arsenal, too, started a reserve team as they begin their build-up to the Premier League season after again failing to secure a Champions League berth.

The tour hasn’t started without controversy. Captain Laurent Koscielny refused to travel to the US, and a group of influential Arsenal supporters’ organisations published a statement on Monday hitting out at Stan Kroenke’s “passive ownership”.

Under a hashtag “WeCareDo You” the statement decried a “soulless” atmosphere at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and a lack of transfer strategy.

Kroenke, who began investing in the club in 2007 through his company Kroenke Sports Enterprises and took full ownership in 2018, also owns the Rapids as well as the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams.

AFP

Bayern Munich Defeat PSG 3-1 In Pre-Season Friendly

Paris Saint-Germain’s Timothy Weah (L) vies for the ball with Bayern Munich’s Josip Stanisic during the match on July 21, 2018, at the Worthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt, Austria. Jure Makovec / AFP

 

German champions Bayern Munich hit three second-half goals as they beat French titlists Paris Saint-Germain, 3-1, on Saturday in a friendly in Klagenfurt, Austria.

PSG were without their World Cup winners, but they did start Adrien Rabiot, who refused to serve as a reserve for the French squad. Bayern were without their legion of German internationals, despite the national team’s early exit in Russia.

PSG had the best of the first half and took the lead with a 31st-minute goal by American Timothy Weah, the 18-year-old son of African legend George Weah.

Bayern dominated the second half and struck three times in 18 minutes.

Spaniard Javier Martinez opened the scoring past Gianluigi Buffon, the Italian veteran who joined PSG this summer.

Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanchez and 17-year-old Dutch striker Joshua Zirkzee added the other two, after Buffon had gone off.

AFP

Olisadebe Relishing Poland-Nigeria Friendly

FILE PHOTO Super Eagles’ players during a training session

 

Nigeria and Poland’s World Cup warm-up this week will provide vital experience for both sides as the finals approach, former international striker Emmanuel Olisadebe said Thursday.

Olisadebe was born in Nigeria but made 25 appearances for Poland, including at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The 39-year-old former forward, who scored 11 times for Poland, said he was relishing what will be the first-ever meeting between the countries at international level.

“This will be a good test for both teams before the World Cup and the result does not really matter,” he told AFP.

“Poland will face Senegal at the World Cup and so Nigeria will be a good African test for them.

“Nigeria, on the other hand, will from this game know their level of readiness for the World Cup. I believe the better team on the day will win.”

Olisadebe, who played for Polonia Warsaw as well as Greek giants Panathinaikos, said he was not surprised at Poland’s rise through the FIFA rankings to sixth place.

“They have some very good players, who play for good teams in good leagues around Europe,” he said. “They deserve their rating because they have won some important games.”

Nigeria’s defence is expected to be tested by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski at the 42,000-capacity Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw, which is sold-out for the occasion.

“He is their best player by many miles… The Nigeria defenders also play in Europe but it is not often that they come up against such a top striker like him,” said Olisadebe.

“They will need to stay fully concentrated and be focused for them to have a good game tomorrow.”

The Super Eagles continue their preparation with a fixture against Serbia in London on Tuesday next week.

AFP

Nigeria’s Stunning Victory Over Argentina In Pictures

Players vie for the ball during an international friendly football match between Argentina and Nigeria in Krasnodar on November 14, 2017. Mladen ANTONOV / AFP

 

Nigeria overturned a two-goal deficit today to stun Argentina 4-2 in an international friendly in Krasnodar, Russia.

Ever Banega and Sergio Aguero gave the Argentines the lead in what was beginning to look like an easy game for Sampaoli’s men.

A goal just before half-time by Kelechi Iheanacho, however, brought the Super Eagles back into the tie.

After the break, the Eagles soared to victory on the back of a brace by Alex Iwobi and a strike from Brian Idowu.

See photos of the game below: (All photos by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

 

 

Egypt beats Nigeria in friendly

A last minute strike by Ahmed Hassan Mekky ensured victory for the Pharaohs of Egypt against a locally assembled Super Eagles of Nigeria in a friendly played in the United Arab Emirates capital, Dubai.

Nigeria opened scoring in the 13th minute through Sunday Mba who converted from close range a pass from strike partner Uche Kalu. Twelve minutes later, a deflected shot by Ahmed Temsah found its way to the back of the net and pegged the game at 1-1.

Former African footballer of the year (Home based), Mohammed Aboutrika converted a penalty to put North Africans ahead but their joy was short lived as a back heeled close range strike by Kalu Uche drew Nigeria level.

The Egyptians were however sent into a delirium when Mekky struck deep in injury time to secure a welcomed win for the Pharaohs ahead of their preparation for the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.