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European Champions Italy Fail To Qualify For 2022 World Cup After Losing 0-1 To North Macedonia | Football/Soccer

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European champions Italy will not participate in the 2022 World Cup after being stunned by North Macedonia 0-1. The play-off match on Thursday night, March 24 in Palermo, Italy resulted in a heartbreaking end for Italy after Aleksandar Trajkovski picked up the loose ball in the 92nd minute, drove forward and fired a sensational winner from outside the area.

Once the ball entered the net, there were celebrations from the North Macedonians, while the italian players and coaching staff including Roberto Mancini dropped to their knees in disappointment.

The Italians dominated possession on Thursday but failed to penetrate the resolute North Macedonia defence, registering five shots on target from 32 attempts.
North Macedonia, ranked 67th in the world, are now going to be rewarded for their defensive display with a play-off final against Portugal, who beat Turkey 3-1.

The result means Italy have failed to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup after missing the World cup in 2018 in Russia.
 
Just eight months ago Roberto Mancini’s side, whoa re ranked sixth in the world, celebrated one of their greatest triumphs – beating England at Wembley to win Euro 2020.
 

 

 

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Manchester City Are Premier League Champions | Football/Soccer

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Manchester City staged a stunning late comeback with three goals in five minutes to beat Aston Villa and win the Premier League as their title chances looked to be slipping away amid dramatic scenes at Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s needed victory to secure their fourth title in five seasons but were facing the prospect of ending the season empty-handed as goals either side of the interval from Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho put Villa 2-0 ahead and in control.
It looked as if Villa manager Steven Gerrard might help his former club Liverpool secure the title – until City turned the game on its ahead in at atmosphere bordering on hysteria.

Ilkay Gundogan, on as a substitute for Bernardo Silva, gave City hope with a far-post header in the 76th minute, and Etihad Stadium was a wall of noise when Rodri drove a low finish past Villa keeper Robin Olsen two minutes later.

The title-winning recovery was complete with nine minutes left as Gundogan once again arrived at the far post to put City in front, the decisive contribution on this nerve-shredding final day.

City did need those three points as Liverpool beat Wolverhampton Wanderers – with City boss Guardiola overcome with emotion and breaking down in tears at the final whistle.

Source: BBC

 

 

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Spurs Seal Champions League Qualification With Comfortable Win | Football/Soccer

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Tottenham secured Champions League qualification, denying north London rivals Arsenal in the process, with an emphatic victory over already-relegated Norwich at Carrow Road.

Spurs needed just a draw to seal a top-four finish, but ensured victory in stress-free fashion after first-half goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Harry Kane quickly dispelled any pre-match nerves among the travelling supporters.
Kulusevski added a third with a brilliant left-footed strike on 64 minutes before Son scored twice to give him a share of the Golden Boot, putting him level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on 23 goals apiece.

Spurs finished two points clear of Arsenal, whose victory over Everton ultimately proved inconsequential for European qualification.

Tottenham’s return to the Champions League comes after a two-year absence, having participated in the Europa League and Europa Conference League in recent seasons.

Their qualification, helped by a 3-0 win in the north London derby on 12 May, and it will go down as a good ending to a turbulent season in which Antonio Conte was appointed boss following Nuno Espirito Santo’s miserable four-month reign.

Conte’s side confirmed their return to Europe’s top club competition with minimum fuss as they swept aside a Norwich team already preparing for another season in the Championship.

Son hoped to end the campaign as the league’s top scorer, trailing Salah by one before the final round of games.

The South Korean was frustrated for much of the afternoon, being denied three times by Tim Krul before slotting home Spurs’ fourth and hammering a brilliant fifth into the corner.

That took him past Salah, only for the Egyptian to score against Wolves to ensure they finished level. Son’s tally was six clear of Kane’s 17, and meant he became the first player apart from the England captain to finish as Spurs’ top league scorer since Emmanuel Adebayor in 2013-14.

Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg spurned early chances, so Kulusevski opened the scoring at the end of well-worked move in which Hojbjerg found Rodrigo Bentancur over the top, allowing the Uruguayan to lay the ball off for his fellow January recruit to slot home.

Norwich came closest to equalising when Milot Rashica pounced on Eric Dier’s poor clearance and dragged his shot wide, but the Canaries gifted Tottenham a second when Krul passed straight to Bentancur, who teed up Kane’s close-range header.

With Spurs already in cruise control, the north Londoners’ undimmed attacking endeavour produced three second-half goals as they celebrated a significant achievement under Conte.

Spurs can look forward to rubbing shoulders with Europe’s elite once again, while Norwich must regroup after a miserable campaign and hope they can seal an immediate top-flight return, just as they did by winning last year’s Championship.

Source: BBC

 

 

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Arsenal 5-1 Everton: Gunners End Season With Win But Miss Out On Top Four | Football/Soccer

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Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification for a sixth successive season despite a comfortable victory over Everton on the final day.

The Gunners needed to beat Frank Lampard’s side and hope Tottenham lost at already relegated Norwich, but with Spurs winning 5-0 at Carrow Road theirs was a forlorn task.
Mikel Arteta’s side took the lead midway through the first half as Gabriel Martinelli stroked home a penalty after his shot struck Alex Iwobi’s arm, with the spot-kick awarded after a video assistant referee check.

Eddie Nketiah nodded in following a corner to extend the hosts’ lead on 31 minutes, before substitute Donny van de Beek, in what is likely to be his last game for Everton, side-footed in.

It proved to be a short reprieve as two second-half goals in three minutes ended the game as a contest. Both came from corners as Cedric Soares slotted home, then Gabriel poked in after Everton had initially cleared.

Martin Odegaard added a late fifth as Arsenal finished in fifth place, two points behind Tottenham. Though they missed out on the top four, their fans were at least able to celebrate a return to the Europa League after missing out this season.

Everton’s record-equalling 13th away defeat, meanwhile, meant they finished four points clear of the relegation zone.

Arsenal celebrate but rue late-season stutter
The Gunners did all they could to try to finish in the top four for the first time since 2016, but the damage had been done in their two previous games – defeats at north London rivals Spurs and resurgent Newcastle.

The second of those losses prompted Granit Xhaka to question his team-mates’ character, but they showed an appetite to make up for their performance at St James’ Park by putting Everton under pressure from the start.

Buoyed by the home crowd, who booed former Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli on his first Everton start, Odegaard was Arsenal’s key orchestrator and had two efforts blocked. Asmir Begovic, who replaced Jordan Pickford in goal, also denied Martinelli.

Everton looked like they had weathered the storm initially, but then former Gunner Iwobi gifted the hosts a penalty.

Martinelli’s shot hit the Everton midfielder’s arm, and although referee Andre Marriner missed it, once he had checked on the VAR monitor, he reversed his decision.

The goal was Martinelli’s sixth of the season, and he had a hand in the second too, flicking on a corner, which Alli had failed to clear, and Nkeitah headed in.

The two-goal lead allowed the hosts to settle, though there were chances for Demarai Gray before Rob Holding allowed the ball to run across him for Van de Beek’s first Everton goal since his loan move from Manchester United.

Two goals in three minutes put the match out of Everton’s reach, though, and a second-half comeback akin to their heroics against Crystal Palace on Thursday never looked likely, especially when Odegaard grabbed the goal his performance deserved.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on the top four, the season can still be seen as progress for Arteta’s young side.

Everton poor away form continues
Everton fans will be further relieved their team extended their 68-year stay in the Premier League on Thursday, as their wretched away form continued.

They have won only once away from Goodison Park since August, though a much-changed side did show glimpses of attacking threat.

Top scorer Richarlison missed out through injury, while Pickford was rested. Tom Davies also made his first start since November following a knee problem.

For much of the first half, Lampard’s side had to retreat to a back five, and although Gray drew a save from Aaron Ramsdale and fired over, they could not deal with Arsenal’s superior movement and energy.

But what will disappoint Lampard most was his side conceding three goals from corners, especially with Michael Keane, Mason Holgate and Jarrad Branthwaite making up the back three.

The visiting supporters were in good spirits until Arsenal took a three-goal lead, but having celebrated their top-flight survival on Thursday, their partying was probably done.

They still found the energy to celebrate, though, when they heard Manchester City had taken a 3-2 lead against Aston Villa, denying Liverpool the title.

Source: BBC

 

 

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.

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