How Arsenal chiefs responded to BATE Borisov defeat as pressure grows on Unai Emery Unai Emery’s side slipped to an embarrassing defeat against BATE Borisov on Thursday (Picture: EPA)Arsenal’s hierarchy were unable to hide their shock in the wake of perhaps the most embarrassing defeat in the club’s European history.Having beaten the Belarusian minnows 10-2 over two games during the Europa League group stages last season, Arsenal were expected to make short work of the same opposition on Thursday, despite the difficult playing conditions and injuries to several key players.Instead, Stanislav Dragun’s first half header secured an unlikely first leg win for a side which cost just £200,000 to assemble and one which hadn’t played a competitive fixture in nearly two months. According to football.london the watching trio of Rahul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham and Huss Fahmy struggled to comprehend what they had witnessed as the final whistle blew with the recently appointed managing director sat slumped in his chair.AdvertisementAdvertisementMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityEmery signed a three-year contract in the summer but one which included a break clause at the two-year mark and with results having taken a significant downturn since Christmas, his position is already under scrutiny.Champions League qualification remains the Spaniard’s primary objective and although Arsenal are currently only one point adrift of fourth placed Manchester United and expected to comfortably overturn the deficit against BATE, performances on the pitch are starting to concern fans. Comment Arsenal were beaten by a team that was assembled for around £200,000 (Picture: Getty) Metro Sport ReporterSaturday 16 Feb 2019 12:28 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link310Shares Alexandre Lacazette will miss the second leg through suspension (Picture: Getty)Speaking after the defeat in Borisov, Emery said: ‘I trust in our players and I trust in our stadium and supporters. There are two matches. Tonight’s match is important but we can’t [be knocked out in it], we are going to play a second match next week.‘I trust in our work to prepare for the next match and to have a different result at Emirates Stadium.‘I respect [BATE] and I know about them because we watched matches they played. An organised team, defensively a good team and good at transitions. We worked to stop them in these actions but they scored one goal and in the transitions we worked well to stop another situation defensively for us.’More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors Advertisement Advertisement
Central defender, William Troost-Ekong, whose partnership with Leon Balogun kept the Congolese at bay, was the unlikely scorer of the opening goal barely 14 minutes into the packed arena.He skillfully slotted home a loose ball in the box after Leicester City man, Kelechi Iheanacho, failed to latch on to a nice free kick taken by Ogenyi Onazi.Eagles were the better team into the first half break as they enjoyed better ball possession to the delight of cheering Port Harcourt fans.But the Congolese fought back gamely in the 78th when Issam Mpeko converted a penalty resulting from an infringement inside Eaglesâ€™ box by Ola Aina who was barely minutes into the game after coming in as substitute for Elderson Echiejile.Although it appears that most Super Eagles players played with caution to avoid unnecessary injury that could stop them from going to the Mundial in Russia. Iheanacho was the major culprit with his lackadaisical attitude on the ball.Earlier, the game was not without several moments for Nigerian ball fans to cheer. As early as the third minute, FC Crotone Simeon Nwankwoâ€™s left-footed shot from inside the box hit the crossbar with the DR Congo goalkeeper stranded.Iheanacho similarly had moments to show his stuff but struggled on the poor looking pitch and so could not put away another clear-cut chance after he was put through on goal from midfield.Congoâ€™s Bournemouth striker, Benik Afobe, tested the agility of Francis Uzoho after he evaded the marking of the Nigeria defenders before his goal-bound shot was somehow kept away by the young Deportivo La Coruna shot stopper.Ekong was named Man of the Match, and was rewarded with N1million cash and 10 bags of Big Bull rice by NFF partner TGI.He also got a brand-new Apache TRT 1600 model motorcycle, as well as a brand-new Tricycle from NFF partner Simba Group. Coach Gernot Rohr got a brand-new Apache TRT 1600 model motorcycle as well.On Wednesday, the delegation will fly to London aboard a chartered aircraft, for Saturdayâ€™s prestige friendly against Englandâ€™s Three Lions (also Russia â€“bound) at Wembley Stadium.Speaking after the match, DR Congo Head Coach, Florent Ikwange Ibenge, told THISDAY that he was happy with the result of the match.He stressed that he came to Nigeria with his strong squad in order to give Gernot Rohr and his coaching crew the opportunity to gauge the team they are taking to the World Cupâ€œWe came here to ensure that Nigeria coaches select a very good team to represent Africa at the World Cup,â€ stressed the Simba of Congo coach.Ibenge however said that despite the draw, Nigeria is capable of making a good showing in Russia if the right players are selected from the array of stars available to pick from.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Duro Ikhazuagbe in Port HarcourtWorld Cup-bound Super Eagles were forced to a one-all stalemate by Democratic Republic of Congo at an international friendly played at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt yesterday evening.The three-time African champions who played the game without four regular players in the starting line up like John Mikel Obi, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo and Wilfred Ndidi, showed flashes of a great team in the making but lacking quality in the full backs.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Juventus bounced back from their first defeat of the season to beat Udinese 3-1 and move top of Serie A last night.Ronaldo struck twice in the first half to make it five goals in four games as the champions move one point ahead of leaders Inter Milan.“That’s how we have to play, with confidence. Let’s see what happens now,” said Ronaldo. Maurizio Sarri’s side had taken just one point from their last two league games, falling 3-1 to Lazio in Rome last weekend after a 2-2 draw against Sassuolo.But Portuguese star Ronaldo tapped in a Paulo Dybala rebound after nine minutes at the Allianz Stadium, and burst through to finish off a Gonzalo Higuain cross on 36 minutes.Leonardo Bonucci sealed the three points just before the break when he headed in from close range.Ignacio Pussetto pulled a goal back for 17th-placed Udinese four minutes into injury time with his close range effort beating Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal.Juventus play their final Serie A game before the winter break at Sampdoria on Wednesday, with a rematch against Lazio in the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia next weekend.“It is the first time after a Champions League match that we managed to attack the game well,” said Sarri.“We played very well for 60 minutes.”Roma move up to fourth and into the Champions League places after three second-half goals sealed a 3-1 win over rock bottom SPAL.Andrea Petagna had put SPAL ahead from the spot just before the break after Aleksandar Kolarov clumsily brought down Thiago Cionek in the box.But Lorenzo Pellegrini pulled the hosts level eight minutes after the interval with a shot that took a deflection off Nenad Tomovic.Diego Perotti put Roma ahead with a 66th-minute penalty before substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan sealed victory seven minutes from time.Roma are one point behind third-placed city rivals Lazio, who play fifth-placed Caglairi on Monday.Napoli drop to eighth – 11 points off the top four – after last season’s runners-up lost 2-1 to Parma on Saturday.Atalanta are sixth after falling 2-1 at Bologna just days after the Champions League newcomers sealed their place in the competition’s last 16.Rodrigo Palacio opened the scoring after 12 minutes for Bologna off a rebound after a Riccardo Orsolini effort came off the post.Andrea Poli nodded in the second eight minutes after the break, before Ruslan Malinovskyi pulled a goal back on the hour mark.Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are sixth on 28 points, four points off the Champions League places.“We are a team that often creates a lot, but is wasteful. Today we wasted too many opportunities,” said Gasperini.AC Milan were held to a goalless draw against Sassuolo at the San Siro as the former European giants marked their 120th anniversary in tepid style.Theo Hernandez had a goal ruled out after half an hour following a Franck Kessie handball in the buildup, with Rafael Leao hitting the crossbar and the post.Stefano Pioli’s side failed to make it three wins in a row and sit 10th with Sassuolo three places and five points below.Hellas Verona battled back from three goals down with all three substitutes scoring in a 15-minute second-half spell to hold Torino 3-3.Christian Ansaldi scored a brace with Alex Berenguer also on target for the visitors.But Verona hit back with three goals after 69 minutes when Giampaolo Pazzini scored from the spot.Valerio Verre then smashed in off a rebound, before Mariusz Stepinski added a third.Torino are ninth, with Verona two points back in 12th.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram