Man City beat Bayern with Haaland’s debut goal
Erling Haaland launched his Manchester City tenure with a goal as Pep Guardiola’s men beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in a weather-disrupted friendly at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin on Saturday.
Two delays because of lightning in the area — one before kickoff and one in the first half — saw the contest shortened to 80 minutes.
It was plenty of time for City’s new $61 million striker Haaland to make an impression in his first appearance after Guardiola declared him over the injury “niggles” that kept him sidelined during City’s 2-1 victory over Mexico’s Club America in Houston on Wednesday.
Manchester City had threatened twice before a close-range strike by Bayern’s Serge Gnabry’s was disallowed by a narrow offside call in the seventh minute.
Five minutes later Haaland struck. After Riyad Mahrez’s free kick was blocked Kevin De Bruyne managed to corral the ball and slip a pass through for Jack Grealish, who whipped it across to Haaland to connect from close range.
Frustratingly, another round of electrical storms brought proceedings to a halt, with players exiting the field and the near sellout crowd of 78,128 at the iconic home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers instructed to seek shelter in the concourses.
The start of the match had already been delayed almost 20 minutes because of dangerous weather conditions.
The disruptions didn’t dampen the festive atmosphere for the first professional soccer match ever held at Lambeau, with a few hardy fans even braving the pounding rain and risk of lighting to remain in their seats during the stoppage.
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Play resumed with 27 minutes left to complete a 40-minute first half and Haaland quickly energized City fans in attendance, bursting through behind the Bayern defense.
But before he could unleash a shot a charging Dayot Upercampo booted the ball away.
Although Manchester City controlled the pace, Bayern had a golden opportunity in the 38th minute when a cross from the right found Alphonso Davies at the far post, but his pass across the goal face didn’t quite make it to Gnabry.
A minute later Haaland almost made it 2-0, but his left-footed shot from inside the area was disallowed for offside.
Haaland departed after 40 minutes of action, giving way to newly signed striker Julian Alvarez who nearly doubled the score in the 43rd.
Despite a stream of substitutions in the second half, tension remained high between the Premier League and Bundesliga champions until the end of the truncated contest as Bayern — who opened their brief tour with a 6-2 drubbing of Wayne Rooney’s DC United, sought in vain for an equalizer.
Both clubs were flying home after the match, with Manchester City due to take on Liverpool in the Community Shield next Saturday, when Bayern face RB Leipzig in the SuperCup final.
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How Arsenal missed signing Osimhen for free
According to The Mirror, Arsenal missed out on a golden opportunity to sign prolific striker Victor Osimhen in 2016 and yet failed to get him for free in January 2017, when he left Nigeria to join Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg.
The 24-year-old Nigerian striker has been making headlines for his outstanding performances with Napoli since joining the Serie A side in 2020.
Osimhen made headlines in 2015 when he scored 10 goals to help Nigeria win the U-17 World Cup for a record fifth time. The young striker claimed the Golden Boot for his efforts, with Wolfsburg and Arsenal battling for his signature.
Wolfsburg won that battle in January 2016, as they agreed to a pre-contract deal with Osimhen. The move was finalised in January 2017. Arsenal were left to pay for not acting on time. Osimhen explained that he was actually invited to the Emirates by the English giants in February 2016.
“It’s true that a big team like Arsenal wanted me and I feel honoured to be invited over,” Osimhen told BBC Sport. “But personally I feel Wolfsburg is a ladder for me to reach my professional goals.
“Yes Arsenal is a good team for young players but Wolfsburg is the best club for me. This is the best place for me to learn and develop because my heart is here with Wolfsburg… The club’s plan for my career is very encouraging and I believe with God on my side I can grow to become one of the best players in the world.”
Osimhen did not register a senior goal for Wolfsburg, but he’s flourished since leaving the German club, initially on loan, in the summer of 2018. The forward has scored goals for fun at Belgian side Charleroi, French outfit Lille and Champions League hopefuls Napoli.
Now Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea are both expected to enter the transfer market this summer to sign a striker
Reports in Italy earlier this month suggested Premier League giants United were the favourites to sign the talent, but he won’t come cheap, as they might have to pay €150m to grab the in-form striker.
Messi is football’s greatest player — Pep Guardiola
Manchester United manager and former Barcelona coach, Pep Guardiola, has said that Argentina star and latest World Cup winner, Lionel Messi, is the greatest footballer of all time.
In an interview seen on Sky Sports on Wednesday, Guardiola said Messi’s World Cup triumph confirms he’s the best footballer in history. He added that the World Cup win is the “final achievement of an incredible career” for Messi.
The coach admitted that even if Messi hadn’t won the World Cup he would still rate him as the best.
Guardiola also congratulated Argentine player Julian Alvarez, who is also a Manchester City player, saying “one of our own is a world champion,” as well as Nicolas Otamendi, who was also a former City player.
The Man City boss said, “Everyone has an opinion but nobody can doubt that he is there, with the greatest of all time. For me I said many times, he is the best, but it will be difficult to understand.
“A player can appear and compete with what he has done in the last 50 years to 70 years, but the people who saw Pele or Di Stefano or Maradona, they can say their favourite.
“In their opinions they are sentimental, you know? But on the other side, if he (Messi) had not won the World Cup, my opinion about what he has done for world football, it wouldn’t have changed absolutely anything. Of course, for him it’s the final achievement of an incredible career.
“Do you know why Messi is the best player I’ve ever seen in my life, because he is a competitor. He’s an animal.”
Congratulating Alvarez, Guardiola said, “We are incredibly happy for him (Alvarez), congratulations to him and Nicolas Otamendi, and personally to Lionel Messi.
“For Argentina as a country, they are a well-deserved champion. For Julian, he is with us and we are delighted because he played a lot.
“His contribution was amazing for the team and the way they played. We have a world champion in our team.”
Okocha Reveals Senegal’s Strength At The World Cup (See What He Said)
Nigerian legend, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has hailed the Teranga Lions of Senegal for their ‘heart’.
According to Okocha, Aliou Cissé’s side are fearless, and believe they can beat any team at the ongoing 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Senegal booked their place in the World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday night after beating Ecuador 2-1.
The AFCON champions will face England in the knockout stage this weekend.
Speaking on SuperSport, Okocha said,
“One good thing that this Senegalese team has got right from years back is heart. They are fearless and they believe they can beat anybody.
“Also, the character of their manager has been passed on to this team. I managed to play with him, he was not the most brilliant player, but he had heart.
“You can see from this Senegalese team that what they’ve going for them now is team spirit because they’re missing crucial individual players like [Sadio] Mane, who finished second in the Ballon d’Or.”
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