Saints chase fa­mous win at San Siro, Van Persie re­turns

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

SOUTHAMP­TON goal­keeper Fraser Forster is look­ing for the Premier League club to make “a mas­sive state­ment” by beat­ing Ital­ian giants In­ter Mi­lan in the Europa League today.

The Saints travel to the San Siro – and as many as 7000 of their fans are ex­pected to fol­low them – know­ing a win at the home of the three­time Euro­pean cham­pi­ons would be a big step to­wards the knock­out phase from Group K.

It would also be a land­mark vic­tory for a club who were in English foot­ball’s third tier just five years ago.

“If we go and [win] it will be a mas­sive state­ment,” goal­keeper Forster told the club’s web­site.

Southamp­ton, who are fresh from beat­ing Burn­ley 3-1 in the Premier League at the week­end, have so far beaten Sparta Prague 3-0 and drawn 0-0 away in Is­rael to Hapoel Beer-Sheva. In con­trast, In­ter are struggling. Frank de Boer’s side have lost two out of two in the Europa League and are in the bot­tom half of the Serie A ta­ble af­ter a 2-1 home de­feat to Cagliari at the week­end.

Mean­while, star striker and cap­tain Mauro Icardi’s fu­ture at the club is up in the air af­ter In­ter sup­port­ers re­acted fu­ri­ously to com­ments he made in a re­cently pub­lished au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

It is all a far cry from the days un­der Jose Mour­inho, when In­ter won the Cham­pi­ons League in 2010.

In Dublin, Ir­ish sur­prise Dundalk must try to shake off fa­tigue as they host 2008 UEFA Cup win­ners Zenit St Peters­burg.

Af­ter fall­ing just short of reach­ing the Cham­pi­ons League group stage, Dundalk have drawn away to AZ Alk­maar and beaten Mac­cabi Tel Aviv in Group D to stay in touch with lead­ers Zenit.

But as they close in on an­other Ir­ish league ti­tle, boss Stephen Kenny ad­mits the num­ber of games they have faced is be­gin­ning to take its toll.

“Hope­fully we can be en­er­gised by the crowd. I think it will be a full house and we will need that be­cause on [Oc­to­ber 23] we have an op­por­tu­nity to win the league against Bo­hemi­ans,” Kenny told RTE.

“It is great to be in­volved in these games but the play­ers are on their knees. They are ex­hausted.”

In other ac­tion French league lead­ers Nice are look­ing for their first win in Group I when they visit Salzburg but will be missing star striker Mario Balotelli in Aus­tria due to an ad­duc­tor prob­lem. – RIYAD Mahrez se­cured an­other Cham­pi­ons League vic­tory for Le­ices­ter City on Oc­to­ber 18 while ti­tans Real Madrid, Ju­ven­tus and Borus­sia Dort­mund all notched group-stage vic­to­ries.

Le­ices­ter main­tained their per­fect Group G record in their first foray in Europe’s elite club com­pe­ti­tion, edg­ing FC Copen­hagen 1-0 with Mahrez’s goal.

Is­lam Sli­mani headed down a Jamie Vardy cross for Mahrez to score a closerange vol­ley off the out­side of his left foot five min­utes be­fore half-time.

With Porto win­ning 2-1 at Club Brugge in the group’s other game, Clau­dio Ranieri’s side are now a win away to Copen­hagen on No­vem­ber 2 from the last-16.

“We’re in a good po­si­tion now,” said Ranieri.

“We knew it would be tough. Copen­hagen tried un­til the end. It was dif­fi­cult at the start, but the per­for­mance was good.”

In Bruges, Jelle Vossen put the home side in front early but Miguel Layun lashed in the equaliser mid­way through the se­cond half and An­dre Silva scored a stop­page-time win­ner from the penalty spot.

For Porto goal­keeper Iker Casil­las, it was a 92nd win in the Cham­pi­ons League, al­low­ing him to sur­pass Barcelona leg­end Xavi Her­nan­dez for a new record.

Le­ices­ter’s Premier League ri­vals Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur found them­selves hang­ing on for just a point af­ter a 0-0 draw away to Bayer Lev­erkusen in Group E.

A Vin­cent Janssen header that came back off the bar was the clos­est Spurs came to scor­ing in Ger­many.

The home side piled on the pres­sure in the se­cond half but Javier Her­nan­dez was de­nied by a bril­liant save on the line by Hugo Lloris and Stefan Kiessling missed an­other great chance late.

Just three points sep­a­rate all four teams in the sec­tion, but it is Monaco who are on top af­ter a come-from-be­hind draw 1-1 at CSKA Moscow.

Ivo­rian striker Lacina Traore, on loan from Monaco, scored against his par­ent club in the 34th minute for the Mus­covites but Bernardo Silva equalised for the vis­i­tors.

Reign­ing tour­na­ment cham­pi­ons Real Madrid cruised to a 5-1 home vic­tory over Legia War­saw in Group F af­ter sup­porter vi­o­lence marred the build-up to the game.

Five fans and two po­lice of­fi­cers were treated for mi­nor in­juries fol­low­ing clashes out­side the sta­dium be­fore kick-off.

When the game be­gan, Vadis Od­jidja struck the post for the vis­i­tors be­fore Gareth Bale fired in the opener and a Marcelo shot went in off To­masz Jod­lowiec.

Zine­dine Zi­dane’s side’s now has seven points, putting them level at the top of the group with Borus­sia Dort­mund, who won 2-1 over Sport­ing Lis­bon.

Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang burst through for an early opener and a su­perb Ju­lian Weigl strike made it 2-0 but Dort­mund hung on to re­duce the deficit to one mid­way through the se­cond half.

In Group H, Juan Cuadrado came off the bench to score a late win­ner as a 10-man Ju­ven­tus beat Lyon 1-0 in France.

Gianluigi Buf­fon was in fine form for the Ital­ian cham­pi­ons as he saved a first-half Alexan­dre La­cazette penalty, while Juve had Mario Lem­ina sent off early in the se­cond pe­riod.

But Cuadrado net­ted the win­ner 14 min­utes from the end as the hosts failed to make their man ad­van­tage count.

“I should thank Mario Lem­ina for his send­ing-off be­cause I thought we played bet­ter with a man less,” said Juve coach Mas­si­m­il­iano Al­le­gri.

The win brings them level with Sevilla, who de­feated Di­namo Za­greb 1-0 in Croa­tia, with Samir Nasri net­ting the only goal. –

Photo: AFP

Tot­ten­ham goal­keeper Hugo Lloris’ ex­cep­tional save kept Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur in for a draw against Bayer Lev­erkusen in a Cham­pi­ons League Group E match on Oc­to­ber 18.

Photo: AFP

Southamp­ton de­fender Vir­gil van Dijk (right) heads the ball over Burn­ley dur­ing a Premier League match on Oc­to­ber 16. Southamp­ton won, 3-1.

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