Tokyo, Dec 13 (AP/UNB) — Southampton's Maya Yoshida and Salzburg's Takumi Minamino have been included in a Japan squad that will be missing Shinji Okazaki and Shinji Kagawa at next month's Asian Cup.
The Jan. 5-Feb. 1 tournament in the United Arab Emirates will be Japan's first Asian Cup under head coach Hajime Moriyasu, who has a record of four wins and a draw since succeeding Akira Nishino after the World Cup in Russia.
"The last time we couldn't win the title," Moriyasu said. "So for this Asian Cup, I hope to win back the title and bring it back to Japan. We hope to compete with that goal in mind."
Leicester City striker Okazaki and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Kagawa were both omitted in Wednesday's announcement.
Moriyasu said he was eager to give younger players some international experience, overlooking some veterans who played earlier this year at the World Cup in Russia.
"The players chosen this time might have less experience, but I want them to have strong feelings about building their own new national team and competing for the title with these feelings in mind," Moriyasu said.
Japan will face Turkmenistan in its Group F opener on Jan. 9, followed by matches against Oman on Jan. 13 and Uzbekistan on Jan. 17.
The expanded Asian Cup will feature 24 teams, with the top two from each of the six groups and the four best third-place teams advancing to the round of 16.
Japan last won the quadrennial continental championship in 2011 when it beat Australia in Qatar. Australia won the last Asian Cup on home soil in 2015.
Dhaka, Dec 12 (UNB) - Bangladesh U-15 Men’s Football team made a brilliant comeback in their 2nd match of the four-nation UEFA U-15 Men’s Youth Tournament 2018 playing 1-1 draw with stronger hosts Thailand in the Thai town of Buriram on Wednesday.
Ashiqur Rahman put Bangladesh ahead in the 34th minute by a cool header from goalmouth melee (1-0) while Chonnepat Duaphan restored the parity for the home side in the 45th minute, also by a header from small box, utilising a corner kick (1-1).
Earlier, Bangladesh got off to a frustrating start in the UEFA U-15 tournament conceding 0-4 goals defeat against European side Cyprus in the opening match in Buriram last Monday.
In the Wednesday’s other match, Cyprus crushed South Asian side the Maldives by 17-0 goals to top the four–nation meet securing full six points from two matches.
Earlier on Monday, hosts Thailand outplayed the Maldives by 11-0 goals.
In the remaining matches, Bangladesh will play their South Asian rivals the Maldives on Friday (Dec 14) at 4 pm.
Top team of the four-team league basis tournament will be the champions.
Dhaka, Dec 12 (UNB) – Sheikh Russel Krira Chakra smartly moved into the semifinals of the 13-team Walton Independence Cup Football Tournament’2018 eliminating last year’s runners-up Chattogram Abahani Limited by 2-0 goals in the 2nd quarterfinals at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Saiful Bari’s boys will play the first semifinal against Brothers Union Club on December 19 at 4:30 pm at the same venue.
Old Horse Brothers Union Club are the first team to reach the semifinals upsetting defending champions Arambagh KS by 4-3 goals in tie-breaker as the match was locked 3-3 goals in the stipulated 90-minute time and also in the 30-minute extra session.
Last year’s champions Arambagh KS and runners-up Chattogram Abahani Limited made their exit from the meet in two successive days.
In the day’s match, Uzbek booter Alisher Azizov and Nigerian player Raphael Odovin scored two quick goals in a span of only three minutes of the first half for Sheikh Russel KC, which luckily managed a quarterfinal berth from the death Group D after playing goalless draw in both of their group matches at the coffin of formidable Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club.
Azizov put Sheikh Russel KC ahead in the 35th minute by a right footer when a cross from Bishwanath came his way from a Raphael header (1-0).
Raphael doubled Sheikh Russel’s margin in the 38th minute, off a Biplo Ahmed long pass (2-0).
In the remaining quarterfinals, Group C champions Dhaka Abahani will play Saif SC on Thursday (Dec 13) while Group D champions Bashundhara Kings will meet Rahmatganj MFS on Friday (Dec 14), both at 4:30 pm.
Belgrade, Dec 12 (AP/UNB) — The attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani struck again as Paris Saint-Germain advanced to the round of 16 of the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.
Cavani and Neymar were both assisted by their 19-year-old teammate, with Mbappe putting on an excellent display of speed, strength and dribbling throughout the game. The France striker sealed PSG's win with a goal in added time.
Marquinhos was also on the scoresheet for PSG after Marko Gobeljic cut Belgrade's deficit in the second half.
Despite just one victory in its first four games, PSG advanced as Group C winner, two points ahead of last season's runner-up Liverpool, which qualified for the last 16 with a 1-0 win over third-place Napoli.
"We knew this would be a very tough group that would be up for grabs right to the end," Marquinhos said. "We've managed to finish top, which is very good, and it gives us an advantage for the next round."
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel fielded the same players who started against Liverpool in a 2-1 victory two weeks ago.
Knowing that a win would seal its spot in the next stage, PSG immediately took control of the ball and forced Red Star players to defend close to Milan Borjan's goal.
Mbappe created the visitors' first opportunity with a surge down the left, easily getting past Belgrade captain Filip Stojkovic to cross the ball for Cavani, who scored in the ninth minute with a simple tap in.
With top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic watching from the stands, the hosts played more aggressively after conceding their first goal at home this season in the Champions League but PSG continued to dominate with better discipline and team play.
Neymar made it 2-0 five minutes before the interval with a beautiful solo goal. After latching onto a pass from Mbappe on a counterattack, the Brazil star cut into the area from the left, got past two defenders, feinted a shot in the run-in and chipped the ball into the net.
The hosts were more inspired in the second half and threatened with a series of well-built attacking moves. Red Star pulled one back in the 56th, following a good combination on the left side when Milan Rodic crossed the ball for Marko Gobeljic, who beat Gianluigi Buffon with a fine volley at the near post.
The goal ensured some suspense until Marquinhos made it 3-1 with a header from Angel Di Maria's free kick in the 74th. Mbappe wrapped up the win in added time with a powerful strike through Borjan's legs.
Liverpool, Dec 12 (AP/UNB) — Liverpool paid a world-record fee for a goalkeeper to fix the problem that caused the team to fall agonizing short in the Champions League last season.
With one last-minute save , Alisson Becker showed it was $85 million well spent.
The Brazil international came off his line and spread himself to block a shot from Arkadiusz Milik in stoppage time to ensure Liverpool beat Napoli 1-0 on Tuesday to advance to the knockout stage at the expense of the Italian side.
Ultimately, it was Mohamed Salah's latest wonder-goal — an individual effort scored in the 34th minute — that was the difference between the teams on another atmospheric European night at Anfield. Yet it was Alisson who earned most of the post-match praise from Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.
"The goalie made the save of the season," Klopp said. "I have no clue how he made that save. Thank God we have him. If I'd known how good he was, I'd have paid double ... I think nobody expected a save in that situation. It's a goal, no?"
Liverpool finished tied on nine points with Napoli, and with the same goal difference and head-to-head record as its rival after a 1-0 loss in Italy earlier in group play. The English club finished above Napoli because of goals scored in group play — nine vs. seven — and was second behind Paris Saint-Germain, which won 4-1 at Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.
Liverpool swept to the Champions League final last season on the back of its devastating forward line of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and an improved defense marshalled by $99-million signing Virgil van Dijk.
But goalkeeper was the big issue for Klopp and it showed in the final when Loris Karius made two huge mistakes in a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid in Kiev.
Klopp, once unwilling to pay big money for players, altered that policy when he signed Van Dijk in January and did the same in the offseason by bringing in Alisson from Roma. The result? Twelve clean sheets in 23 games in all competitions this season.
Salah is still delivering at the end of the field, too. Three days after scoring a hat trick against Bournemouth in the Premier League, he showed another example of both his strength and trickery with the winning goal. There might have been a little luck thrown in, too.
Napoli left back Mario Rui struggled all evening up against the Egypt forward and he was thrust aside as Salah received a pass from James Milner with his back to goal. Finding himself suddenly with room to maneuver, Salah ran at center back Kalidou Koulibaly and beat him by dropping his shoulder, leaving just goalkeeper David Ospina between him and the goal.
Salah looked up to see who was with him in the area and only he knows if his effort that squeezed through the legs of the diving Ospina and inside the near post was actually a misdirected pass. It was his 34th goal of 2018, 13th in all competitions this season, and ninth in nine Champions League games for Liverpool at Anfield.
"He's a match-winner, a world-class player," Milner said, "and he's done it for us again."
While the first half was tight, it was more one-sided after halftime as Liverpool picked off Napoli on the counterattack, with the Italian side needing a goal to advance.
Mane, in particular, was guilty of squandering three great chances, with Ospina saving one shot with his legs and the Liverpool forward twice shooting wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Alisson ensured Liverpool did not pay for its profligacy, standing tall then spreading himself to block a shot from Milik from point-blank range with the last chance of the match. Minutes earlier, Jose Callejon blazed over from close range at the far post with Napoli's other good chance.