Reds on fire against Cherries

Liverpool got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion as they brushed aside Bournemouth 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.

  • Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4
  • Solo Coutinho goal opens scoring
  • Lovren header doubles Reds' lead
  • Salah adds third before half-time
  • Firmino seals convincing win

Match Summary

Jurgen Klopp's side were on top in all aspects of the game and took the lead through Philippe Coutinho, before Dejan Lovren doubled their advantage soon afterwards.

Mohamed Salah struck just before half-time to put the Reds in command, with Roberto Firmino completing the scoring in the second half to take them back into the top four. 

Full Report

The visitors came flying out of the blocks and Coutinho had three early chances before he opened the scoring with a trademark goal.

The Brazilian missed the target with a header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross from the right in the third minute and he hit the right post with a free-kick from just outside the area eight minutes later, before failing to test Asmir Begovic from distance soon afterwards.

Salah was next to threaten on 13 minutes with a curling effort from the edge of the box that flew over after he collected the ball on the right and cut back onto his left foot.

Simon Mignolet was called into action for the first time on 19 minutes as he made a routine save from former Red Jordan Ibe, but Coutinho broke the deadlock at the other 4end a minute later.

It was a typical goal from the Samba star, who was fed on the left by Andrew Robertson and advanced into the area before slotting past Begovic at his near post after beating two defenders.

Salah produced the same result from an identical move to his earlier strike on 22 minutes, although the visitors were celebrating their second goal just four minutes later.

The danger appeared to be over when a corner looped into the air beyond the back post, but Firmino did well to keep the ball in play and Lovren scored from close range with a diving header.

Eddie Howe's men should have halved the deficit six minutes before half-time when Ibe played in Jermain Defoe, but the striker's shot from 16 yards out came back off the left post.

Begovic pulled off a sharp save to deny Salah from close range on 43 minutes after he played a neat one-two with Coutinho, although the Egyptian got on the scoresheet moments later with a fine finish from eight yards out having gone on another mazy run on the right and skinning Charlie Daniels.

Substitute Ryan Fraser was presented with a good chance on 56 minutes from Defoe's clever flick, but sliced his shot wide of the near post from inside the area on the left.

The woodwork came to the hosts' rescue again three minutes later as Oxlade-Chamberlain won the ball off Ibe and drove into the box before hitting the outside of the left post.

Defoe tested Mignolet on the hour mark with a curling effort from 18 yards out on the left after the shifting the ball to his right, but the Reds wrapped things up on 66 minutes as Coutinho's cross from the left was headed home by Firmino.

Coutinho's final contribution saw him fire just wide of the left post from 20 yards out in the 86th minute, while his replacement, Danny Ings hit the side-netting with his first touch from 10 yards out after being played in by Adam Lallana.

Fellow sub Dominic Solanke forced Begovic into another good save in stoppage time after playing a one-two with Lallana, who headed over on the rebound.

KZN derby serves up another goalless draw

Golden Arrows extended their winless run to 11 matches after being held to a goalless draw by Maritzburg United on Sunday, in the final game of 2017 for both teams.

  • Golden Arrows 0 Maritzburg United 0
  • Arrows without a win in 11 games
  • Mutizwa heads best chance wide
  • Gumede with late save to deny Maboe
  • Abafana Bes'thende stay 10th, Maritzburg in ninth

Match Summary

In a Premiership encounter short of quality, both goalkeepers were not required to make any saves of note until second-half stoppage time at the Princess Magogo Stadium.

Abafana Bes'thende's best chance saw Knox Mutizwa head wide in the first half as Clinton Larsen's side ended the year without a win since September, which left them 10th in the table with the Team of Choice just above them in ninth place.

Full Report

Nduduzo Sibiya and Velemseni Ndwandwe had shots for Arrows that were straight at Richard Ofori early on, and despite Maritzburg looking more slick going forward, they were struggling with the final ball.

The hosts then had the best opening after 26 minutes when Ndwandwe drifted onto the left and crossed perfectly for Mutizwa, whose poorly headed effort went wide.

Thomas Chideu had another good chance on the half-hour mark after being played through by Mutizwa, but he too fired wide of goal.

Mutizwa then failed to capitalise on a misjudgement by Ofori, who missed an attempt to catch, but his shot was straight at the keeper on the line.

There were finally some attempts on goal for the Team of Choice five minutes before the break, with Siphesihle Ndlovu looping a shot over, before Deolin Mekoa drilled a low effort wide and Brian Onyango blazed a loose ball from a corner well.

After the restart, Mohau Mokate shot just wide with Nkosingiphile Gumede well off his line with the striker then responsible for a gilt-edged miss after heading Rusike's low cross from the left wide at the near post.

That was the final chance until stoppage time, when a goal-mouth scramble lead to the ball sitting up for Lebohang Maboe, whose off-balance effort was tipped over by Gumede.

Bakgaga smash three past SuperSport

Baroka got back to winning ways as they beat a disjointed SuperSport United 3-1 in their Premiership encounter at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday.

  • Baroka FC 3 SuperSport United 1
  • Nguzana opens the scoring
  • Egwuekwe equalises for SSU
  • Madubanya restores hosts' lead
  • Mdatsane seals win late on

Match Summary

Bakgaga took a one-goal lead into the break after Lucky Nguzana opened his account for the season with a composed finish.

Eric Tinkler's side made a bright start to the second half and netted a timely equaliser through Azubuike Egwuekwe.

But Letladi Madubanya and Nduduzi Mdatsane secured the victory with goals in the 72nd minute and 91st minute respectively, which moved the hosts up to third place in the table.

Full Report

With Matsatsantsa needing to play catch-up due to CAF commitments, a win was of paramount importance as they looked to generate a title challenge against Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns.

But they were coming up against the early-season front-runners, whose form deserted them over the past month to drop all the way down to eighth position before kick-off.

But Kgoloko Thobejane's spirited team looked composed and relaxed throughout the fixture, and off-season signing Nguzana opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark. The striker showed great composure in the area to control the ball and slide it beyond the onrushing Reyaad Pieterse.

Baroka managed to hold onto their slender lead until the half-time whistle before the visitors came out with a real sense of purpose with some positive attacking football.

And they were duly rewarded when towering Nigerian defender Egwuekwe levelled matters with a well-taken finish six minutes into the second half.

But Matsatsantsa failed to capitalise on their ascendency as the patient Bakgaga waited for them to tire out and Madubanya was the man to restore the Limpopo club's lead.

Shortly after Nguzana missed a glorious chance, Madubanya finished off a move set up by Richard Matloga, and with the visitors looking to get back into the game in the final stages, they were punished on the counter when Mdatsane tapped home from close range in stoppage time after good work from substitute Talent Chawapiwa to tee him up.

United claim all three points at Albion

Manchester United made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League as they beat struggling West Brom 2-1 at the Hawthorns on Sunday.

  • West Brom 1 Manchester United 2
  • Lukaku scores with United's first chance
  • Lingard doubles lead with deflected shot
  • Barry halves deficit in second half
  • Albion winless in 16 league games

Match Summary

Jose Mourinho's side took a deserved 2-0 lead into the break after Romelu Lukaku opened the scoring midway through the first half before Jesse Lingard's deflected shot doubled their advantage.

But the Baggies improved in the second half and created a few chances before substitute Gareth Barry pulled one back 13 minutes from time. They continued to pile on the pressure in the closing stages, although United held on for all three points.

Full Report

The crowd witnessed a quiet opening to the match as both teams struggled in the final third, with the first attempt at goal only arriving on 25 minutes.

It came from Albion skipper Jonny Evans, who headed well over at the back post after getting on the end of a deep cross from the left.

United created their first chance two minutes later, which brought the opening goal as Marcus Rashford's fine cross from the left was steered into the top-right corner of the net by the head of Lukaku.

The hosts looked to respond and Allan Nyom beat Rashford on the right byline in the 33rd minute before sending in a low cross towards Salomon Rondon at the near post, but Chris Smalling got there first.

However, the Red Devils took control moments later with their second goal, Lingard's shot from 19 yards out taking a wicked deflection off Ahmed Hegazi and wrong-footing Ben Foster.

David De Gea was called into action for the first time in the final minute of the first half as he got down to his right to save Jake Livermore's shot from 20 yards out.

The Baggies threatened again in the opening minute of the second half when Kieran Gibbs dragged an effort wide of the right post after linking up with Oliver Burke on the left.

De Gea had a routine more save to make from Barry's tame shot 20 yards out in the 54th minute, while at the other end Rashford hit a first-time volley wide of the right post three minutes later after Antonio Valencia's cross from the right was flicked into his path by Lingard.

Lingard fired straight at Foster from just inside the box on 59 minutes after combining with Lukaku on right following a counter, but United then went into their shell.

Pardew brought on Chris Brunt, whose introduction gave Albion some impetus as he played in Rondon on 74 minutes, but the striker was unable to beat De Gea from 17 yards out.

Brunt then volleyed well over on his right foot moments later from Hegazi's good knockdown, before they pulled one back on 77 minutes with a close-range finish from Barry after a corner dropped at his feet.

Substitute Jay Rodriguez went for the spectacular eight minutes from time with a shot on the turn from the edge of the box on the left that was caught by De Gea at his near post, and striker should have done better when he directed a header wide of the near post from Brunt's 85th-minute cross.

Sarri lauds extraordinary player Hamsik

Maurizio Sarri had nothing but praise for Marek Hamsik as he equalled Diego Maradona's all-time goalscoring record for Napoli in their 3-1 victory away to Torino on Saturday.

Kalidou Koulibaly had opened the scoring in the fourth minute at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino before Piotr Zielinski added a second with 25 minutes on the clock ahead of Hamsik's historic goal, five minutes later.

Andrea Belotti netted a consolation goal for Torino just after the hour mark.

After the match, Sarri lauded the club captain for scoring his 115th goal after last finding the back of the net on October 1.

Sarri told Mediaset Premium: "We are talking about a player of an extraordinary level.

"If someone like him plays 45 games of an inferior level, you just have to accept it and stick by him with the certainty he'll pay you back eventually. He'd been improving for the past few matches."

Napoli claimed top spot on the Serie A table with this win after Inter Milan lost 3-1 at home to Udinese.

Sarri added: "My players knew what Inter had done and these are situations that can either help or hinder.

"They can give you the hunger to recapture the leadership, but can also pile extra pressure on. Today the lads did well to take the positive aspects from San Siro's result."

Ogbeche reveling in the twilight of his career

Willem II forward Bartholomew Ogbeche says his surprising goalscoring form this season is down to the mentality he gained through over a decade of football.

The 33-year-old has netted eight Eredivisie goals in his first seven games and is currently keeping the relegation candidates in 14th place, three points above the drop zone.

While his form has shocked onlookers, it's a real testament to Ogbeche's mentality after an underwhelming career since being dubbed a wonderkid upon graduating from Paris Saint-Germain's academy in 2001.

After scoring seven goals in 67 games for the Ligue 1 giants, the Nigeria international embarked on a nomadic career with Al-Jazira, Alaves, Valladolid, Cadiz,  Kavala, Middlesbrough and Xerez before finding his way to the Netherlands with Cambuur three years ago.

His form with the Yellow-Blues earned him a £270k move to Tricolores last season, where Ogbeche initially struggled before a cruciate ligament injury ended his campaign prematurely.

However, he's been a revelation for Erwin van de Looi's side which has led to talk of a potential return to the Super Eagles squad.

"I try to play every game like this, as if it were my last," Ogbeche told Omroep Brabant. "You have to improve yourself in football, and I have enough points to improve myself, and I want to play better every game.

"If you think of goals, it becomes an obsession, I have a lot of experience, I never think of goals, I want to enjoy the game, you also get chances and you score goals."

After representing his country at the 2002 World Cup and becoming a household name with a bicycle-kick goal against Argentina in the group stage, Ogbeche fell heavily off the radar and last represented the national team in 2004.

But he said: "I dream to play for my country in Russia. I'm scoring again and I am sharp again. There's still more time to prove that before the World Cup."

Spalletti sorrow following first Inter loss

Luciano Spalletti has said he felt sorrow following Inter Milan's first Serie A defeat of the season at home to Udinese on Saturday.

Kevin Lasagna opened the scoring for the visitors to the Stadio Meazza on 14 minutes before an equaliser from the mercurial Mauro Icardi a minute later.

Rodrigo De Paul then restored Udinese's lead from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, while Antonin Barak made sure of the points with his goal with 77 minutes played.

After the match, Spalletti told the club's official website: "There’s sorrow like with all defeats.

"We’re not used to it anymore so there’s even more sorrow. But in the end we brought it on ourselves because we weren’t able to control the ball, we made errors and we were timid in our decision making. 

"In the first part of the match, the team had the right balance and did very well, what happened at the start of the second half was unexpected.” 

He added: "It did not turn out too well. We are not used to this, therefore the second half was something new for us. 

"We will analyse everything from this match and then get back on track with what we’ve done so far. 

"There wasn’t much between the two teams, although things become difficult when you are lacking something from your game and the other team can finish off their chances, just as Udinese did today."

Stoger: We absolutely had to win this match

New Borussia Dortmund boss Peter Stoger admitted luck was on his side following the 2-1 Bundesliga victory over Hoffenheim on Saturday.

Marc Uth opened the scoring for the visitors to Signal-Iduna-Park on 21 minutes ahead of a leveller from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the penalty spot on 63 minutes.

Christian Pulisic then popped up with an 89th minute winner to hand Stoger his second win in charge of Dortmund from his second game.

Speaking after the win, Stoger was reported on the official BVB site as saying: "We absolutely had to win this match. 

"We made a bright start and had a few chances at the beginning, but then Hoffenheim adapted to us better. 

"We weren't able to consistently disrupt them, our pass completion rate fell slightly and the whole game became a bit more sluggish. During that spell, we were lucky not to fall 2-0 behind. 

"We gave it everything towards the end. That's exactly what we expect from the team. 

"The ball in behind the defence from (Shinji) Kagawa for the winner took them by surprise, Pulisic did well to get in there and scored a super goal. 

"In the last two matches we have demonstrated our will to win and our attitude."

Dortmund play Bayern Munich in their last game of 2017, with Stoger keen to see his side build on their recently improved form.

"Let's see what we can do in Munich", he added. "It's always exciting and it certainly won't be pleasant there, but we're definitely in with a chance."

Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann was pleased with his side's performance despite the loss, saying: "We performed very well and scored a great goal in the first half. 

"After the restart we had three gilt-edged chances and should have killed the game. 

"Ultimately the defeat definitely wasn't deserved, it's actually very annoying because we were not outplayed."

While Dortmund ended the evening in third place on the Bundesliga standings, with 28 points, Hoffenheim are down in seventh, but just two points adrift of BVB.

Tau delighted with Sundowns momentum

Mamelodi Sundowns forward Percy Tau beamed with pride as he congratulated his in-form team-mates after a 4-1 thumping of Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday.

The Premiership leaders moved six points clear of second-placed Kaizer Chiefs with two games in hand following their sixth win in seven top-flight matches.

Tau, who found the back of the net for a fourth consecutive game, says the run of four victories in 11 days deserves massive respect.

"I think we did very well. We controlled the game," the Sundowns star said after taking his tally to six goals and as many assists in 13 outings.

"It was a difficult game from the one we played against Maritzburg (in midweek which we won 1-0), but I know we did well with the demands of the game.

"It is always difficult to play so many games in such a short time, but I am very proud of the guys."

Masandawana play their last game of 2017 against Cape Town City as Loftus Versveld on Tuesday before the mid-season break.

Hunt embarrassed as Students get schooled

Bidvest Wits head coach Gavin Hunt conceded the sight of the league table is becoming embarrassing for the Premiership champions.

After securing their maiden league title last season and acquiring high-profile signings in the form of midfielder's Steven Pienaar, Daylon Claasen and Egypt international striker Amr Gamal in the off-season, a real sense of optimism surrounded the Students' camp.

However, as the domestic season reaches its half-way mark, Wits languish dead last on the table, with only two wins from 14 fixtures in the South African top-flight.

And the 1-0 defeat to relegation favourites Platinum Stars at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday compounded even further misery on Hunt and his charges - who have now gone six games without a league victory.

Dikwena only recorded a league win after their tenth attempt in the 2017/18 season but sit in 14th place - four points clear of the Clever Boys.

"It's a disappointment being so far [down the table]. The chances we miss is crazy, isn't it?," he said after the defeat on Saturday. "They [Platinum Stars] didn't have one chance tonight, not one – I'm talking from open play.

"Last week, they [Polokwane City] had one chance and scored. The week before, we had [more chances] …  So, it’s been like that. It's unbelievable, the chances we're missing.

"When you're top of the log you're worried; when you're bottom of the log you're worried. So, we're worried but, I mean, we can't play with fear," Hunt added.

"We've got to take heed of the situation, there's no doubt about it. A lot of us are embarrassed coming from where we were [last season] to where we are now."