Casemiro's last-gasp leveller rescues Man Utd in Chelsea draw – Arab News

Casemiro's last-gasp leveller rescues Man Utd in Chelsea draw – Arab News
LONDON: Casemiro rescued Manchester United as the Brazil midfielder grabbed his first goal for the club in stoppage-time to salvage a dramatic 1-1 draw at Chelsea on Saturday.
Erik ten Hag’s side were seconds away from defeat after Jorginho’s 87th minute penalty put Chelsea ahead in United’s first match since Cristiano Ronaldo was sent into exile.
But former Real Madrid star Casemiro ensured United left west London on a six-match unbeaten run as he netted with a header that was awarded by goal-line technology after crossing the line by millimeters.
Ronaldo was missing from the United squad after being dropped by Ten Hag after his refusal to come on as a substitute in Wednesday’s win over Tottenham.
Ten Hag’s decision to lay down the law to Ronaldo could signal the beginning of the end for the Portugal attacker in his second spell with United.
It would be no surprise if United and Ronaldo parted ways in the January transfer window, but Ten Hag’s men did not appear troubled by the striker’s latest petulant outburst.
With Ronaldo banished, United were still the stronger side for long periods, while there were no chants in support of the 37-year-old from the visiting fans packed into one corner of Stamford Bridge.
Fifth placed United remain one point behind fourth placed Chelsea, who are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions since Graham Potter replaced the sacked Thomas Tuchel.
The only concern for United was the sight of France center-back Raphael Varane limping off in tears in the second half after a World Cup injury scare.
Varane’s leg twisted awkwardly as he stretched in a failed attempt to intercept a pass toward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, leaving him crumpled in a heap on the pitch for several minutes.
The 29-year-old was eventually able to walk around the pitch unaided, but his angst at potentially missing the World Cup, which starts on November 20, was clear as he punched the corner flag in frustration.
Lost in the fuss over Ronaldo’s antics was the vibrancy of United’s performance against Tottenham and they retained that quality at the Bridge.
A flurry of passes cut through Chelsea’s midfield to create the first chance for Luke Shaw, who fizzed his low drive just wide of the far post from the edge of the area.
Teed up by Bruno Fernandes, United winger Anthony was next to threaten with a left-foot curler that forced a good save from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Marcus Rashford’s return to form has played a role in keeping Ronaldo on the bench this season.
However, Ronaldo would surely have delivered a better finish than Rashford managed midway through the first half.
Fernandes’s pin-point pass opened up the Chelsea defense, leaving Rashford one on one with Kepa but a poor first touch took him away from goal and his shot thudded into the Chelsea keeper’s chest.
Rashford didn’t let that mess drain his confidence and he surged into the Chelsea area for a fierce strike that Kepa palmed away.
With Chelsea being over-run in central areas, Potter responded by replacing center-back Marc Cucurella and sending on midfielder Mateo Kovacic in a bid to disrupt United’s rhythm.
Chelsea finally managed a menacing raid after Kovacic’s introduction as Aubameyang stabbed just wide.
Aubameyang couldn’t get the decisive touch to a pair of half-chances moments later but United were unfazed.
Christian Eriksen flashed narrowly wide from 25 yards before Anthony missed a glorious chance, the winger firing wide after Fernandes sent him racing clear on goal.
Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah hit the bar with a second half header from Mason Mount’s cross.
And Potter’s men looked to have won it in when Scott McTominay needlessly fouled Armando Broja and Jorginho calmly slotted past David De Gea.
But four minutes into stoppage-time, Casemiro rose highest for a superb header that Kepa could only tip onto the post, the ball bouncing down just over the line to spark wild United celebrations.
FORT WORTH, Texas: A season ago, Iga Swiatek only qualified for the WTA Finals with a couple of weeks to spare. She was the fifth of eight players to get into the season-ending event for women’s tennis, a situation she found stressful.
What about in 2022? Swiatek was so dominant throughout the year that she booked her spot in September, the first to do so. And when play begins Monday, Swiatek will be the top seed after holding the No. 1 ranking since April and leading the tour in titles (eight) and match wins (64).
Swiatek, a 21-year-old from Poland, heads the Tracy Austin Group that was determined by the draw Friday night, joined by Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia and Daria Kasatkina. The Nancy Richey Group will be Ons Jabeur, Jessica Pegula, Maria Sakkari and Aryna Sabalenka.
The singles and doubles fields both were split into two groups of four for the round-robin portion of the WTA Finals, which will be contested on an indoor hard court.
The top two finishers in each group will advance to the semifinals.
In doubles, the Rosie Casals Group is Pegula and Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, Xu Yifan and Yang Zhaoxuan, and Desire Krawczyk and Demi Schuurs; the Pam Shriver Group is Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos, Veronika Kudermetova and Elize Mertens, Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko, and Anna Danilina and Beatriz Haddad Maia.
Pegula and Gauff are the first pair of women entered in both singles and doubles at the WTA Finals since Serena and Venus Williams did it in 2009. No. 3 Pegula and No. 4 Gauff are also the first two American women both ranked in the top four since the Williams sisters in 2010.
Jabeur, Pegula, Gauff and Kasatkina are all appearing at the event for the first time. Since 2000, only twice were there more WTA Finals participants making their singles debuts: In 2001, five women were in the field for the first time, and last year, six were.
The WTA Finals are returning to the United States for the first time since 2005 after the tour moved it out of China for the second year in a row.
The 2021 WTA Finals originally were supposed to be held in Shenzhen, China, but were moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Then, late last year, the tour said that it would not have any tournaments in China in 2022 because of concerns about the safety of Peng Shuai, a Grand Slam doubles champion who accused a former government official in that country of sexual assault.
DUBAI: Opinion is often divided among football followers when it comes to Neymar.
Alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Barcelona from 2014-17, the forward was part of a triumverate to rival the game’s most skilful and potent attacks.
They amassed a combined total of 363 goals, 173 assists and trophies aplenty before Neymar was sold when Paris Saint-Germain paid his €222 million ($221.3 million) buyout clause.
The transfer — and still a world record — in 2017 has perhaps not been the success story he, nor the club, envisaged.
While dominant in domestic competition, the Qatari-owned French side have yet to lift the Champions League, despite an array of talent that also includes Kylian Mbappe and Messi after his arrival from Barcelona in 2021, and with Neymar’s performance and contribution questioned by critics.
And for Brazil; does Neymar’s name stand deservedly alongside the all-time greats if he does not lead them to a World Cup success?
Despite his 75 international goals — just two shy of the legendary Pele’s record mark — in 121 appearances, the 30-year-old has only won gold at the 2016 Olympics with the national team in major competitions.
Injury saw him miss out when Brazil infamously lost the 2014 World Cup semifinal to Germany 7-1 in their home tournament, before they bowed out at the quarter-final stage in Russia four years later with defeat to Belgium.
At the Copa America, Willian replaced the injured Neymar before the Selecao won the 2019 tournament, and they lost last year’s final to Argentina last year even with their talisman in their ranks.
But Willian, capped 70 times by his country, has no doubt about Neymar’s quality or influence for club or country.
“Neymar is an unbelievable player, he can make the difference for Brazil at any time,” he said.
“From the first minute to the last minute, he’s a special player for Brazil.”
The pressure, though, will be on Neymar and Brazil at next month’s tournament in Qatar.
Led by Tite — who had brief spells at UAE sides Al-Ain and Al-Wahda — Brazil are among the favorites to win a sixth title, but a first since 2002.
“I think the pressure is normal,” added Fulham midfielder Willian. “Brazil is a huge country, a lot of history, already won the World Cup five times, and just always want to win.
“Brazil always has the chance to win the World Cup because Brazil is Brazil, with so many quality players.
“But at the same time we know how difficult it is to win the World Cup and there will be other national teams with quality there as well.
“But I hope this is the time they win it again . . . and I now expect Brazil to go there to Qatar and win this World Cup.”
Willian will be following their fortunes from England, having made a surprise return to the Premier League in September.
He won two titles during seven seasons with Chelsea before joining Arsenal on a free transfer in 2020.
But the move to the Emirates Stadium proved so unhappy an experience that he cut it short after just one year into a three-year contract.
A spell at his boyhood club Corinthians followed, but death threats on social media prompted another early exit.
Fulham offered Willian a deal until the end of the season and the 34-year-old has already impressed, scoring his first goal in a 3-2 win at Leeds that took the club up to seventh place.
Manager Marco Silva believes his guile and experience will be invaluable to a side that were promoted last season.
And Willian is enjoying the chance to roll back the years.
“I just wanted to play in the Premier League again,” he said. “For me, it’s the best league in the world.
“To play in the Premier League you have to enjoy yourself and I’m doing that — I feel so good to be back.
“I enjoy the moment, enjoy the game but, at the same time, always to win. I want to compete, I want to score goals, to play well.
“I think I’m getting younger as well. I’m 34, but I feel 28, something like this. I feel good and am enjoying this moment a lot. I want to play until 40 if it’s possible, I wish to. I have to take care of myself outside the pitch, but I feel good.”
Fulham’s impressive start to the season has sparked talk of a first appearance in European competition since they reached the Europa League in 2011, via the Fair Play League.
In the 2009-10 campaign they reached the Europa League final, where they lost to Atletico Madrid.
But Willian added: “You know how difficult this league is, so we have to take it step by step, game by game, and I think we are doing that.
“It’s too early to think about Europe but we have ambition and, of course, if it is possible, we want to go.
“This team is a very good team with a lot of players that want to win, who have the ambition to win things — and I am proud to play for Fulham at the moment.
“But I’m not playing alone, I need the team, they need me and it’s a mix. I learn from them and I’m here to help them, and to help the team as much as I can to win games.”
RIYADH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE Sports For All Federation to accelerate sporting development in both countries.
Bringing the two federations together to transform both countries into leading sports destinations, the deal marks the launch of a series of long-term collaborations geared toward realizing the region’s potential as a world-class sports hub.
The MoU was signed in Riyadh by SFA President Prince Khaled bin Al-Waleed bin Talal and UAE Sports for All Federation President Salem Yousef Al-Qaseer.
It was signed in the presence of Deputy Minister of Sports Badr bin Abdulrahman Al-Kadi, UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs Shamma bint Suhail Al-Mazrui and UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif bin Mohammed Al-Nahyan, alongside several esteemed UAE dignitaries.
The MoU will help to strengthen cooperation between the SFA and UAE Sports For All Federation, with the two entities joining forces to implement a wide range of programs and initiatives. These new offerings will be designed to enhance community sports and sporting culture in both countries, empowering people to lead healthier lives.
It will increase the number of citizens and residents in both countries who take part in daily physical activity.
Al-Waleed said: “The signing of this agreement builds on the enduring strength of ties between our two close nations. We are pleased to work closely with our Emirati sisters and brothers through the UAE’s Sports for All Federation.
“Both entities stand to benefit immensely from increased cooperation, knowledge exchange and mutually executed programs, as well as exploring additional opportunities in sport, wellness and health. I extend warm words of welcome to our UAE counterparts, and look forward to working together on activation.”
Al-Qaseer said: “SFA has achieved so much in such a short period of time. It has launched a diversity of leading events, experiences and engagements that have transformed the KSA sporting landscape. By leveraging the federation’s unique insights and expertise, we can add to our efforts in the UAE to continue enhancing Emirati sports culture.”
The partnership will encompass consultations, the provision of services to support the implementation of projects and the establishment of scientific forums.
Joint workshops focused on community sports will also be hosted.
As part of the agreement, the SFA will share its expertise and best practices with UAE Sports for All Federation, and both sides will work together to promote community participation in sports programs.
The MoU with the UAE Sports For All Federation follows the SFA’s international engagements, such as the 27th TAFISA World Congress in Slovenia, where the federation promoted its amibitions to push for a diverse, exciting and vibrant sports community.
The SFA has also engaged in international knowledge-sharing initiatives, such as the Expo 2020 Women in Sports Forum, to enhance the federation’s initiatives that support sports and physical activity.
It also works closely with all sectors in the Kingdom to activate parks and public places, providing people with more places get fit and active.
It recently opened the modern, multipurpose sports venue SFA Dome in Dammam, underlining the federation’s commitment to increasing participation in physical activities in the Kingdom by providing access to world-class resources, expertise and facilities.
BARCELONA, Spain: Spain’s state prosecutor dropped its charges against Neymar on Friday, but a Brazilian company involved in the case will continue to fight the soccer player in court.
The case stems from Neymar’s transfer in 2013 from Santos to Barcelona.
The state prosecutor withdrew all charges against Neymar, his father and the former executives of the Brazilian and Spanish clubs. However, the trial will continue because Brazilian company DIS, which brought the case, maintained its accusation that the parties involved committed fraud and corruption.
DIS claims that it was paid far less than the 40 percent it says it was due as part owners of Neymar’s player rights.
The state prosecutor announced the decision to drop the case after hearing testimony from former Barcelona executives Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu on Friday. State prosecutor Luis García told the court he did not see any evidence that a crime was committed.
All the defendants deny any wrongdoing.
State prosecutors had been seeking a two-year prison sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($10 million) for Neymar. They had also wanted five years for Rosell and three years for the former president of Santos, Odilio Rodrigues.
Neymar, who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain, told the court last week that he had “followed my heart and chose Barça.”
DIS is seeking five-year jail terms for the 30-year-old Neymar, his father, Rosell and Bartomeu. DIS also wants compensation of 34 million euros ($34 million) and a fine of 195 million euros ($194 million) that would be paid by the accused to the Spanish state.
“In the opinion of DIS, no new evidence has appeared in the five days of this trial to justify changing our stance regarding what took place,” DIS said in a statement shared with AP.
DIS, which owns a chain of supermarkets in Brazil’s São Paulo region, said it acquired rights to receive 40 percent of a future Neymar transfer in 2009 when it paid Neymar’s family 5 million Brazilian reals (then $2 million).
DIS says it only received its due percentage from the 17 million euros ($17 million) that Barcelona and Santos initially announced as the transfer fee between the clubs, while the real cost was about 82 million euros ($82 million).
The trial is expected to conclude on Monday.
NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe has revealed that Newcastle United are likely to see key players return from injury, which will boost the team’s chances for this weekend’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa.
The managerless Villains will arrive at St James’ Park on Saturday looking to kick-start a so-far underachieving season, while the Magpies go in search of their fifth win in six games, a run which has seen them climb into the Champions League spots in the top flight.
That top-four form has largely been done without some of Newcastle’s most exciting attacking talent. However, head coach Howe has revealed that Elliot Anderson will return and there is a possibility that so will Allan Saint-Maximin.
“Yeah there’s a chance,” Howe said when asked about the potential return of Frenchman Saint-Maximin.
“We’re going to see how training goes, but he’s made really good progress. I’m very pleased with how he’s attacked his rehab and the work he’s put in. Yeah, there’s an opportunity to hopefully get Maxi fit and available.”
A player who has been defined by his inconsistency as much as his brilliance, Howe believes Saint-Maximin, despite his injury struggles this campaign, is in a really “good place” at the moment.
“Currently, Maxi’s really good, he’s in a very good place. I think the recent setback he had on his hamstring was a huge blow to him. But, I think, it almost reset him mentally to go ‘right, I’ve got to really look after myself and get my recovery right,’” he said.
“So I think I’ve seen, this time, a real, huge steely determination in him to get back fit and in the best physical condition possible.
“He’s been having really intense treatment — three sessions a day. Two at the training ground, one at night at home. So a real dedication to his profession and to try and get himself (fit) as quickly as possible for what is an intense period of games before the break. I can’t speak highly enough of how he’s attacked this stage of his rehab.”
Howe has also given an update on Anderson, after the young Geordie missed out on a spot on the bench last weekend at Tottenham Hotspur.
Howe said: “He’s OK. He had a minor niggle, nothing serious. He’s back in the squad this weekend.”
Newcastle’s form player this season, in somewhat surprising circumstances, has been Miguel Almiron.
The Paraguayan is United’s top scorer with six goals in the top flight, his best-ever tally since arriving from Atlanta United under Rafa Benitez.
Talk this week has been of a new deal for the player, but Howe says that kind of speculation is, at this stage, premature.
“No, I don’t know where that story has come from,” he said.
“I’ve said every week how much I love and respect Miggy but I don’t think any conversations have started between the club or his representatives. At the moment, we’re in a busy spell of games.
“All conversations on contract and futures will take place at a later date.”
An interesting subplot to this weekend’s clash is the appointment of Unai Emery as the new manager at Villa Park. The Spaniard replaced sacked England legend Steven Gerrard, but will not take a place in the dugout this weekend.
Emery was United’s first choice to replace Steve Bruce in November last year but turned down the approach made by the club board.
The job then went to Howe, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Speaking of the arrival of serial trophy winner Emery back in English football, Howe said: “There’s all sorts of things that happen, coincidences. I’ve said many times, Unai is a fantastic manager with an unbelievable record in various countries, in Europe especially. It’s a brilliant appointment by Aston Villa.
“We want the best coaches and players in the Premier League. We want the product to be the best it can be and from my side, it helps me learn and grow and become better.
“Unai is a very good manager and he will add to the quality in the league. It’s a brilliant thing for the Premier League, but maybe not so great for us because the competition gets higher. But that’s where we want to be and we have to improve to continue to succeed.”


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