EPL

Manchester City 4-2 Tottenham: Guardiola's side recover from two goals down to close gap on Arsenal

By Sports Desk January 19, 2023

Manchester City recovered from two goals down at half-time to defeat Tottenham 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium and close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Spurs took advantage of some poor City defending – with Ederson in particular at fault – through goals from Dejan Kulusevski and Ederson Royal just before the interval.

But City's response was just as swift as they were level eight minutes into the second half thanks to Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland, who ended his mini goal drought.

City survived a scare when Perisic hit the post, but Riyad Mahrez put them ahead and added another late on to move his side within five points of Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

Like he did in Spurs' 3-2 win here last year, Kulusevski opened the scoring after Rodri poked the ball into his path when put under pressure following Ederson's poor pass.

Emerson headed in a second for Spurs moments later after Kane won a tackle against Rodri and had an angled drive pushed back into danger by Ederson.

Guardiola opted against making any changes at the break, but his side's response was instant, with Alvarez firing home a loose ball after Riyad Mahrez's cross was not dealt with.

City, who left Kevin De Bruyne on the bench all match, were on level terms two minutes later through Haaland's close-range header after Mahrez headed the ball back across goal.

Ivan Perisic had a shot blocked right in front of goal by Rico Lewis, with the loose ball hitting the post, and that would prove a big moment as Mahrez completed the comeback.

Mahrez first fired a low, hard shot past Lloris at the Spurs keeper's near post, before capitalising on Clement Lenglet's poor touch to race in and double his tally at the death.

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  • United States 2-0 Bolivia: Pulisic powers hosts to convincing win in Copa America opener United States 2-0 Bolivia: Pulisic powers hosts to convincing win in Copa America opener

    Christian Pulisic stole the show with an eye-catching strike and another assist as the United States opened their Copa America campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Bolivia on Sunday.

    Gregg Berhalter's side never appeared troubled in a routine victory at AT&T Stadium in Texas, thanks to the solo endeavours of captain Pulisic in their Group C opener.

    The Milan forward needed just three minutes to curl in a sublime opener before teeing up Folarin Balogun – who another strike ruled out after the interval – just moments before the break in a one-sided first half.

    Bolivia rarely seemed likely to forge a comeback as the USA managed a winning start to a Copa campaign for the first time since the 1995 edition when they defeated Chile 2-1 in Uruguay.

    Antonio Carlos Zago's side did not heed an early warning when goalkeeper Guillermo Viscarra was forced to rush out and clear in front of Balogun.

    Bolivia were caught napping just minutes later as Timothy Weah worked a short corner with Pulisic, who coasted inside before curling into the top-right corner from an acute angle on the left-hand side of the area.

    Weah – son of legendary forward George – was denied from point-blank range as the USA almost doubled their lead immediately.

    Yet Berhalter's host nation would soon add to their advantage in Arlington.

    Pulisic was afforded the freedom of midfield yet again, dropping into space before offloading for Balogun to cannon a left-footed drive into the bottom-right corner.

    That smart 44th-minute finish marked Balogun's first-ever goal at this tournament and the Monaco striker found the back of the net for a second time after the interval, only for his celebrations to be cut short.

    His routine tap-in from inside the six-yard area was ruled out for offside as Weah had rushed forward to capitalise on Weston McKennie's pass before sliding across for his attacking partner.

    Viscarra was equal to Pulisic's effort before the hour as the forward attempt to recreate his early heroics, while substitute Ricardo Pepi prodded wide from Antonee Robinson's pinpoint left-wing delivery.

    Pepi was denied by fine Viscarra reflexes late on as the USA coasted to an opening victory before their next meeting with Panama on Thursday, a day before Bolivia face Uruguay.

    Pulisic stars in rare USA win

    Pulisic was tipped by many as the USA player to keep an eye on at the Copa America, and the Milan man delivered in emphatic fashion in this opener.

    Fresh off the back of scoring 15 goals across all competitions for the Serie A giants, Pulisic's opening strike had an expected goals (xG) tally of just 0.037 – yet that was no problem for the USA captain.

    His headline-worthy effort halted a woeful run for the USA against CONMEBOL sides at this tournament as well given Berhalter's side had previously lost eight of 10 such games.

    Victory also marked the USA's first Copa triumph over Bolivia in just their second attempt, avenging for a 1-0 defeat way back in 1995 when Marco Etcheverry scored the winner.

    Bolivia wait goes on

    Bolivia were seeking a win against a CONCACAF opponent in Copa action for the first time since the 1997 edition.

    They defeated Mexico 3-1 in the semi-finals of the tournament they hosted 27 years ago, though a wait for another such victory must continue after a drab showing in Texas.

    Carlos Zago won this competition as a player with Brazil in 1999 but his side have a long way to go if they are to even escape their group in the USA.

    Bolivia have now lost their last four international outings by a concerning margin of 9-1, having suffered defeats against Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and the USA.

  • Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A

    Sunday's action at Euro 2024 saw the conclusion of Group A, with late drama ensuring a last-gasp shake up to the standings.

    Germany looked sure to be on the end of a shock defeat to Switzerland until substitute Niclas Fullkrug stepped up to make it 1-1 in stoppage time and send the hosts through as group winners.

    Meanwhile, Scotland crashed out of the tournament without a win after conceding the latest goal ever scored at the Euros, with Hungary keeping their hopes of knockout football alive with their 1-0 victory.

    Here, we run through all the best Opta stats to emerge from the day's matches.

    Switzerland 1-1 Germany: Neuer makes history, but Fullkrug grabs headlines

    Having already qualified for the last 16, the hosts left it late to seal top spot in the group, needing Fullkrug to make a much-needed impact off the bench in Frankfurt.

    Dan Ndoye had given Switzerland a first-half lead with his maiden international goal to become the nation's second-youngest goalscorer at the Euros (aged 23 years 242 days), but Switzerland could not hold on.

    Manuel Neuer was left helpless against the forward's first-time finish on his 18th appearance at the European Championships, the most among goalkeepers at the tournament (overtaking Gianluigi Buffon – 17). At major tournaments, only Cristiano Ronaldo (45) has played in more games than the Bayern Munich stopper (37).

    Julian Nagelsmann named the same starting XI for three consecutive games, the first time Germany have done so in the competition's history, though it looked like tiredness was starting to take its toll as they struggled to break down their opponents.

    Toni Kroos finished the game with a passing accuracy of 92.5%, only averaging lower than that in one game for Real Madrid in 2023-24), but also equalled a record in the late drama.

    Having completed 323 passes so far at Euro 2024, Kroos has made the joint-most on record (since 1980) by a player in the group stage since himself at Euro 2016 (also 323).

    Germany eventually had 18 shots, with Fullkrug picking out the top corner with the final one; the striker has scored 13 goals in just 19 international appearances, while his four as a substitute at major tournaments are more than any other European player.

    Despite ultimately losing out on top spot, Switzerland have now gone unbeaten in their last four games against Die Mannschaft (W1 D3), with no nation currently enjoying a longer unbeaten streak against Germany (England and Spain both have ongoing runs of four).

    Scotland 0-1 Hungary: Csoboth breaks Tartan Army's hearts

    Meanwhile in Stuttgart, it was Hungary celebrating a late strike to seal a 1-0 victory that ensured an early exit for Scotland as they chased what would have been a landmark win.

    Kevin Csoboth cemented his place in European Championship history with his counter-attacking finish as he netted the latest goal ever scored in the tournament's history (excluding extra time), timed at 99 minutes and 32 seconds.

    Despite needing a win to finish third, Scotland failed to have a single shot on target in the game. In total, the Tartan Army had just 17 shots at Euro 2024 – since the group stage was introduced in 1980, it is the joint-fewest by a national team, along with Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

    Indeed, only twice at Euro 2024 has a team failed to manage a shot on target in the first half of a match and both have been Scotland (also on MD 1 against Germany).

    Scotland pushed numbers forward for their last-minute corner with the hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Euros for the first time, but instead will leave a major tournament group stage without a win for the sixth time (1954, 1958, 1986 and 1998 World Cups and Euro 2020 and 2024).

    While looking down and out after failing to win either of their opening games, Hungary finally ended a run of eight games in the competition without a win, registering their first victory since beating Austria 2-0 at Euro 2016 – this was also their first clean sheet since that win.

  • Hungary hoping to 'do it' for Vargas after worrying injury at Euro 2024 Hungary hoping to 'do it' for Vargas after worrying injury at Euro 2024

    Hungary are hoping to "do it" for Barnabas Vargas after the striker's concering injury marred a monumental Euro 2024 win over Scotland on Sunday.

    Kevin Csoboth proved the hero in a 1-0 triumph in Stuttgart, scoring the latest European Championship goal on record after netting a strike timed at 99 minutes and 32 seconds.

    The Group A clash was only going on so late due to Vargas' head injury after the Hungary man collided with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn in an aerial duel and left the pitch on a stretcher.

    Hungary players crowded around Vargas to create a protective wall for his privacy during treatment, and Callum Styles says his side are hoping to make it into the last 16 in honour of their team-mate.

    "That gave us that extra bit, obviously we don't ever want to see that on a football pitch but thankfully he's conscious now," Styles said of Vargas.

    "Hopefully we do it all for him."

    As for the victory, Styles added: "It means everything, obviously we were celebrating with the fans then, my voice is a little bit gone because of all the shouting.

    "Hopefully that does the job but we've done all we can now so we'll have to wait."

    Hungary will need results to go their way if they are to progress as one of four best third-place finishers at the tournament.

    Head coach Marco Rossi was delighted nevertheless with his side's efforts.

    Rossi said: "It was unbelievable. We never achieved nothing in the past without big, big suffering. Today was no different.

    "I think that we played the match that we needed to play. We can say that we did enough well, we created many options, many situations, of course, we left something also to them.

    "But in overall, I think if I say that it was a deserved win, I'd be right."

    Defeat saw Scotland eliminated in the group stages for the 12th time at a major tournament (World Cup and Euros).

    Scotland captain Andy Robertson could only apologise after another disappointment on the international stage.

    "We gave everything," Robertson said. "We knew we had to win this game, but both teams had to win. That's how it goes, it will take a long time to get over this one.

    "Today and for a long time we have to get over this unfortunately. Tonight's devastating, the lads are absolutely gutted.

    "But it's up to us to pick them up and that will happen slowly but surely. But thank you to the country because we felt everyone behind us, and we knew the excitement back home -- sorry for letting you down."

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