Sydney, Dec 20 (AP/UNB) — Australia coach Graham Arnold has named Aaron Mooy in his 23-man squad for the Asian Cup, hoping the injured midfielder can be fit for next month's tournament in the United Arab Emirates.
Mooy injured his right knee on club duty with Huddersfield Town and was initially expected not to play. But Socceroos staff travelled to England this week to assess whether the 28-year-old Mooy can take some part in the Asian Cup.
"Aaron wants to go to the Asian Cup, he's asked for the second opinion," Arnold said. "He wants a specialist over there. He believes he'll be ready and so do we."
Three A-League players — Josh Risdon, Chris Ikonomidis and Rhyan Grant — were included in the squad announced Thursday, but long-term striker Tomi Juric was overlooked as Australia seeks to retain the trophy it won at home in 2015.
In Juric's place, Arnold has put his faith in a forward line featuring Mat Leckie, Jamie Maclaren and veteran Robbie Kruse.
"The need for speed is up front," Arnold said. "We've got goal scorers everywhere ... it's an exciting attacking team. If you look right across the front line there's eight players that can make a difference."
This is the first tournament squad in a generation not to feature veterans Tim Cahill or Mile Jedinak, but Arnold said the quality of the squad made him confident of repeating their 2015 effort.
"We have seven games and I expect to win every game," Arnold said.
Australia plays its first match against Jordan on Jan. 6 at Al Ain.
Australia squad: Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic, Mitch Langerak
Defenders: Mark Milligan (captain), Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Rhyan Grant, Matt Jurman, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury
Midfielder: Mustafa Amini, Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic
Forwards: Martin Boyle, Chris Ikonomidis, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout
Dhaka, Dec 19 (UNB) – Two goals by Uzbek striker Alister Azizov in a span of only six minutes took Sheikh Russel KC to the final of the 13-team Walton Independence Cup Football Tournament‘2018 eliminating Brothers Union Club by 2-0 goals in the first semifinal at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.
They will play the final on Monday (Dec 24) against the winners of the second seminal between defending champions Dhaka Abahani Limited and newcomers Bashundhara Kings billed for Thursday at 4:30 pm at the same venue.
In the first semifinal, Azizov put all-blue Sheikh Russel KC ahead in the dying moment of the first half (45th minute) by a right-footed volley shot from a right wing cross of Nigerian booter Raphael (1-0). Brother Union strongly protested the goal claiming an off side.
Azizov confirmed the final berth of Sheikh Russel KC after five years scoring his and team’s 2nd goal in the 51st minute, also by a right footer, utilising a low cross from Khalequzzaman (2-0).
Saiful Bari Tito’s boys played a tactical game against Mohammad Naimuddin’s Brothers Union making a series of attacks from the very beginning leaving their defensive strategy.
In the first half, Sheikh Russel KC managed some good opportunities in the 12th, 18th, 20th and 37th minutes, but failed to materialise any due to poor finishing. But after taking 2-0 lead in the 51st minute, Sheikh Russel KC adopted a complete defensive method except one or two fruitless attempts.
Sheikh Russel KC smartly qualified for the semifinals eliminating stronger Chattogram Abahani Limited by 2-0 goals in the 2nd quarterfinals. They booked a seat for last eight as the Group D runners-up with two points from two outings.
Gopibagh outfit Brothers Union booked a seat for the semifinals eliminating formidable Arambagh KS by 4-3 goals in tiebreaker after a 3-3 draw in the stipulated period of the 1st quarterfinal. Brothers Union reached quarterfinals as Group C runners-up with only two points from two matches.
Holders Dhaka Abahani Limited moved into the semifinals of the Independence Cup Football Tournament eliminating Saif Sporting Club by a solitary goal in the 3rd quarterfinals last Thursday.
With the feat, Dhaka Abahani are now poised for a 2nd major soccer title in the ongoing season after clinching Federation Cup Football crown last month.
New sensation Bashundhara Kings made a semifinal berth beating Rahmatganj MFS by 3-2 goals in tiebreaker in the 4th quarterfinal after two teams finished with 2-2 goals in the schedule time. They advanced to quarterfinal as Group D champions securing four points from two encounters.
Spain, Dec 19 (AP/UNB) — Lionel Messi received his record fifth Golden Shoe award on Tuesday for leading all of Europe's soccer leagues in scoring last season.
Messi's fifth win breaks the tie he had with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi scored 34 goals in the Spanish league last season to lead Barcelona to the title. Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah was the second leading scorer of Europe's domestic leagues with 32 goals in England.
Messi also won the award in 2009-10 (34 goals), 2011-12 (50), 2012-13 (46) and 2016-17 (37).
The Argentina forward currently leads Europe's top leagues with 14 goals this season.
"I love football, but when I started I didn't expect all this. My dream was to be a professional player," Messi said. "This is thanks to the hard work and effort I have put in, and above all to my teammates. I have the best players in the world at their positions playing beside me."
The 31-year-old Messi is Barcelona's all-time leading scorer. The club credits him with 572 goals in 655 games.
The Golden Shoe is awarded by European Sports Media, an association of European sports newspapers and magazines.
Al Ain City, Dec 19 (AP/UNB) — South American champion River Plate was upset by Al Ain FC in the Club World Cup on Tuesday, losing in a penalty shootout after the semifinal finished 2-2 following extra time.
Al Ain's players converted all five penalty kicks, before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa saved Enzo Perez's fifth shot for River to seal a 5-4 victory in the shootout.
River endured the humbling loss to the team from the United Arab Emirates less than two weeks after thrilling its fans with a memorable win over fierce Argentine rival Boca Juniors in the final of the Copa Libertadores.
River coach Marcelo Gallardo said his team lacked the focus it needed for the game, especially coming after its huge victory over Boca.
"The issue was our level of concentration against a rival that on paper was inferior," Gallardo said. "It was a dangerous match for us and when we let down our guard they were able to tie. (But) the party must continue because what we achieved was historic."
Real Madrid plays Kashima Antlers on Wednesday in the other semifinal.
River entered the match heavily favored, but it quickly found it faced a more than worthy opponent that attacked effectively and got an inspired performance by Eisa in goal.
Marcus Berg put Al Ain ahead in the third minute when he grazed a corner kick near the post and sent it between the legs of goalkeeper Franco Armani.
Santos Borre pulled River Plate level in the 11th after redirecting a shot into the net following a pair of saves by Eisa.
Borre added a second goal just five minutes later by scoring from a tight angle after a quick attack.
Al Ain pressed for a second goal, coming close before halftime when a video review disallowed a goal by Hussein El Shahat for offsides.
The equalizer came in the 51st when Brazilian forward Caio exchanged passes with Tsukasa Shiotani before cutting back inside a defender and shooting past Armani.
Borre went close to putting River back in front, only for Eisa to make an excellent one-handed save to turn back his powerful header.
Gonzalo Martinez had an opportunity to put River back in front from the penalty spot after Mohamed Ahmad fouled Milton Casco in the area. But Martinez hit the 68th-minute spot kick against the crossbar.
River was outplayed the rest of the way and only a save by Armani in extra time sent the match to penalties.
Al Ain beat Team Wellington of New Zealand and Esperance Sportive de Tunis in previous rounds.
The final is on Saturday.
Dhaka, Dec 19 (AP/UNB) -On a tumultuous day for beleaguered Manchester United, crosstown rival Manchester City advanced to the English League Cup semifinals to keep in the hunt for trophies on four fronts this season.
Man City beat Leicester 3-1 in a penalty shootout on Tuesday to stay on course to retain the title and give Pep Guardiola another piece of silverware, hours after his great managerial rival Jose Mourinho was fired by United.
The game finished 1-1 in regulation time, with Kevin De Bruyne marking the first start of his latest comeback from injury with the opening goal from the edge of the area for Man City before Marc Albrighton equalized.
City was surprisingly joined in the semifinals by third-tier Burton Albion, which won 1-0 at second-tier Middlesbrough to keep its fairytale run going in the competition.
Burton became the first team from the third tier or lower to reach the last four of the League Cup since Sheffield United did so under manager Nigel Clough in 2014-15. Clough now coaches Burton.
In Wednesday's quarterfinal matches, Tottenham hosts north London rival Arsenal and Chelsea is at home to Bournemouth.
In a low-quality shootout at the King Power stadium, only four of the eight penalties taken were scored. The decisive one was the best of the lot, converted high into the corner by Man City left back Oleksandr Zinchenko.
It spared some of the embarrassment of his teammate Raheem Sterling, who attempted a so-called "panenka" down the middle and only succeeded in chipping it over the bar.
Leicester failed to score from three of its four attempts, with Man City back-up goalkeeper Arijanet Muric saving two of them.
"He's got veins of ice," De Bruyne said of the 20-year-old Kosovan goalkeeper, who was making only his third appearance for the Premier League champions.
Leicester manager Claude Puel made seven changes to his team, despite the League Cup being his best chance to win silverware this season.
Guardiola won two trophies last season — the League Cup and the Premier League — and has the strength in depth in his squad to seriously challenge for every title possible this season, too.
City has qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League, where it was given a favorable draw against Schalke, and is second in the Premier League — a point behind Liverpool.
Guardiola offered his condolences to Mourinho, who arrived in Manchester in the same summer of 2016, but hasn't enjoyed the same success as Guardiola.
"I am always sad for the manager when that happens," Guardiola said. "We are alone in that situation. I am close to all of the managers. You are sacked when results are not good.
"He doesn't need me, he is so strong. I wish him all the best and he will be back soon."