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Tottenham Beat Chelsea On Penalties To Progress In League Cup

Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane (L) and Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela celebrate.

Mason Mount missed the final spot-kick as Tottenham beat Chelsea 5-4 on penalties to progress to the quarter-finals of the League Cup after a 1-1 draw.

Timo Werner’s first goal for Chelsea put Frank Lampard’s men in command against a much-changed Tottenham team playing the second of four games in eight days.

But Erik Lamela deservedly levelled for Spurs seven minutes from time and new Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was unable to stop Eric Dier, Lamela, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane scoring from the spot.

Tammy Abraham, Cesar Azpilicueta, Jorginho and Emerson also converted their penalties as the first nine of the shootout were successful.

But Mount’s effort clipped the post to the delight of the watching Gareth Bale, who could be fit to feature in the last eight with the quarter-finals not till late December.

Mourinho claimed the fixture pile up gave him no choice but to prioritise Thursday’s Europa League tie against Maccabi Haifa given the financial incentive on offer for the club.

But despite making nine changes, he named a strong side, including captain Hugo Lloris, club record signing Tanguy Ndombele and new signing Sergio Reguilon on his debut.

Chelsea also handed a debut to Mendy and the early signs from the Frenchman were encouraging that he can solve the Blues’ problem position.

Lampard made eight changes, but Werner was one of those retained from the 3-3 draw at West Brom on Saturday and he took the opportunity to get his first goal for the club after a big money move from RB Leipzig.

Reguilon was twice at fault in the build up as he gifted possession to Azpilicueta and then dived in trying to block the Spaniard’s cross, which allowed the Chelsea captain to pick out Werner at the edge of the box to arrow a shot into the bottom corner.

Tottenham responded well to going behind as only a last-ditch intervention from Kurt Zouma denied Gedson Fernandes an equaliser.

Lampard had won his previous three meetings against his former manager Mourinho and the tensions between the two flared during the first-half as they exchanged angry words on the touchline.

On the field, Spurs were the better side as Mendy made important saves from Lamela and Reguilon either side of half-time.

Mourinho showed his intent by introducing Harry Kane from the bench with 20 minutes to go.

Moments later the Portuguese was marching down the tunnel after Dier as the defender made a dash to the dressing room before quickly returning.

Chelsea did not make the most of a brief period with an extra man as Callum Hudson-Odoi fired over and Werner’s fierce effort was saved by Lloris.

And the visitors were punished seven minutes from time when Lamela slotted home at the far post from Reguilon’s cross to send the game to a shootout and ultimately Spurs into the last eight.

AFP

Manchester City Announce Signing Of $79 Million Ruben Dias

Ruben Dias was announced as a Manchester City player on September 29, 2020.

Manchester City announced the signing of Portuguese international centre-back Ruben Dias on a six-year deal from Benfica on Tuesday.

Benfica on Sunday confirmed they had reached an agreement to sell Dias for 68 million euros (£62 million, $79 million) plus an extra 3.6 million euros in potential bonuses, with Nicolas Otamendi heading in the opposite direction for 15 million euros.

READ ALSO: Liverpool’s Thiago Tests Positive For COVID-19

“To have the opportunity to join a club like Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me and one I couldn’t turn down,” said Dias in a City statement.

“Their success speaks for itself. They have been the dominant team in England over the last few years, playing an attacking brand of football which I feel suits my own game.

“It is really exciting to be part of such a talented squad and to play for a world-class manager like Pep Guardiola, who has a proven track record of developing young players like myself.

“I believe I can improve here, at a club whose ambitions match my own, and I will give everything to be successful and win titles.”

Benfica coach Jorge Jesus said at the weekend that selling Dias was necessary for the club to balance their accounts after a defeat by Greek side PAOK in the third qualifying round of the Champions League ended their hopes of reaching the group stage.

Dias becomes City’s third signing of the summer after bringing in centre-back Nathan Ake from Bournemouth and Spanish winger Ferran Torres.

The need for more defensive reinforcements was evident as City were thrashed 5-2 at home to Leicester on Sunday — the first time a Guardiola side has ever conceded five in his distinguished managerial career.

“Ruben is a player we have admired for some time and we have been impressed with how he has progressed at Benfica,” City director of football Txiki Begiristain said.

“He has developed into a real leader and as a defender, he has all the attributes we are looking for. He is strong in the air, good in one-v-one situations and technically he is very good, so we are confident he can thrive in our system.

Otamendi, 32, won several major honours during his time at the Etihad, including two Premier League titles, and made more than 200 appearances in all competitions in five seasons.

The Argentine international has previously played in Portugal, turning out for Benfica’s bitter rivals Porto between 2010 and 2014.

AFP

Liverpool’s Thiago Tests Positive For COVID-19

Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara looks to play a pass during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 20, 2020. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League champions confirmed on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old, who joined from Bayern Munich this month, missed Monday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal and will now self-isolate.

“Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently self-isolating according to the necessary guidelines,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“The club has, and will continue to follow, all protocols relating to Covid-19 and Thiago will remain in self-isolation for the required period of time.”

The Spanish international will miss another clash with Arsenal in the League Cup on Thursday aswell as  Sunday’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa, but could be available for the Merseyside derby at Everton on October 17.

On Monday, the Premier League announced 10 players or staff had tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous week, the highest number of infections since mass testing began in May.

AFP

Super Eagles’ Troost-Ekong Joins Watford

Nigerian international defender William Troost-Ekong was announced as a Watford player on September 29, 2020.

Super Eagles defender William Troost-Ekong has completed a permanent transfer to Watford, the English Championship club announced in a statement on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old centre-half, who has 42 caps and represented Nigeria at the 2018 World Cup, signed a five-year contract.

Troost-Ekong has spent the past two years in Italy with Udinese, playing 66 times for the Serie A side since his arrival from Turkish Süper Lig outfit Bursaspor in 2018.

He will wear squad number 5, the Watford statement said.

Born in the Netherlands, Troost-Ekong began his senior career in the Eredivisie with Groningen and Dordrecht before spells in Belgium and Norway, with Gent and Haugesund respectively.

A former Netherlands youth international, Troost-Ekong made his senior international debut for Nigeria in 2015.

Watford was demoted from the English Premier League in the 2019/2020 football season.

Klopp Fires Back At Keane For ‘Sloppy’ Liverpool Jibe

Liverpool’s German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks during a television interview after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield in Liverpool, north-west England on September 28, 2020. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP)

Manchester United great Roy Keane rarely came off second best in a tackle but the outspoken TV pundit was forced to backtrack after Jurgen Klopp took him to task for labelling Liverpool “sloppy” following Monday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal.

Klopp jumped on Keane’s observation after his team’s victory, which maintained the champions’ 100 percent record after three games.

“Did I hear right? Mr Keane said we had a sloppy performance tonight? Did he say that?” said Klopp.

Former United and Republic of Ireland captain Keane did not address the question directly.

“I think they gave up one or two opportunities, which he will be disappointed with,” said the 49-year-old.

Klopp, who won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019 and their first Premier League title last season, pressed on.

“Did he say that it was sloppy? I want to hear it,” said the 53-year-old German. “I am not sure I heard it right and maybe he was speaking about another game.

“It cannot be this game. Sorry, that is an incredible description of this game.”

Klopp described his team’s performance against in-form Arsenal as “exceptional”.

“This game tonight — there is nothing bad to say,” said Klopp. “It was the opposite of sloppy.”

Keane, unusually for him, sought to calm the situation.

“You might have misheard me,” he said. “There were sloppy moments but I think you have been outstanding and I have been giving the club nothing but praise.

“I am not sure you heard me correctly, you need to hear the rest of it.”

Klopp laughed and said: “I will, 100 percent.”

Keane, though, had the last laugh after the Liverpool boss had left the interview.

“Very sensitive, isn’t he? Imagine if he’d lost.

-AFP

Mane Scores As Liverpool Inflict First Defeat Of The Season On Arsenal

Goals from Andy Robertson and Diogo Jota saw off the Gunners, who had won their opening two league games of the season.

While Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and now Arsenal have all lost in the opening three weeks of the new campaign, Liverpool have taken maximum points to lay down an early marker that they remain the team to beat in the Premier League this season.

Arsenal followed the game plan that had brought them two victories over Liverpool in recent months as they dropped deep then looked to play around the Reds’ press when in possession.

However, unlike when they met at the back end of last season’s Premier League when Jurgen Klopp’s men had already won the league or the Community Shield in August, Liverpool were far sharper in pulling the Gunners out of position.

The only time Arsenal did manage to pierce the Liverpool press before half-time, they opened the scoring completely against the run of play.

Robertson was at fault as he spooned Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s cross into the path of Lacazette, who also failed to make a proper connection, but the ball bounced into the ground and looped over the helpless Alisson Becker.

– Wasteful Arsenal punished –

Liverpool responded immediately to level within three minutes as Mohamed Salah outmuscled Tierney and when his shot was parried across goal by Leno, Mane turned into an empty net.

Robertson them made amends for his previous error as Liverpool’s flying full-backs combined as Alexander-Arnold’s cross was this time converted by the Scotland captain.

However, where Arsenal sides of recent years might have collapsed, as they did in losing 4-0 and 5-1 at Anfield in 2018 and 2019, Mikel Arteta has instilled a new-found belief in the FA Cup winners.

The visitors were more expansive after the break and created a huge chance to level when Dani Ceballos put Lacazette through on goal, but Alisson stood up well to block the French striker’s shot.

“When you come to Anfield you are not going to get 10 chances.  When you are one-on-one with the goalkeeper, you have to score,” said Arteta as Liverpool extended their unbeaten run at home in the Premier League to 61 games.

“It is a really tough place to come for anyone in the world, they set incredible standards.

“They have different weapons. They have been together five years, we have been together a few months. The standards are this and this is what we have to reach.”

Klopp introduced Jota for his league debut 10 minutes from time and the Portuguese international quickly showed why Liverpool spent £41 million ($52 million) to sign him from Wolves.

Jota pounced on David Luiz’s headed clearance to control and fire a sweetly-struck volley found the bottom corner.