‘We call him the sniper’ – Phil Foden lives up to nickname in Manchester derby

By Sports Desk March 03, 2024

Manchester City captain Kyle Walker lauded “sniper” Phil Foden after his brace helped secure a 3-1 come-from-behind victory over Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

Foden cancelled out Marcus Rashford’s brilliant first-half opener with a fine strike of his own 11 minutes after the break.

And the Stockport-born playmaker added another finish in the 80th minute before Erling Haaland wrapped up a Manchester derby victory in stoppage time.

Walker, asked about Foden’s stunning equaliser, told Sky Sports: “You know when he comes in on his left foot…we call him the sniper, because he likes to shoot.

“He likes a shot, so when he comes in on that left foot, you know he has the quality and the calmness and composure to pick his spot and I thought he took his goal fantastically well.”

Foden then switched over to the left side, from where he scored his second and earned City a big victory in their Premier League title challenge.

Walker added: “The second, probably coming off the left-hand side, you don’t really see Phil in that position but for him to find the corner as he has done, I think that just shows his flexibility.

“He’s even been trusted down the middle as well this year, which I think is a big part of the responsibility he has taken on. We lean on him and we need important players like him.

“He loves a shot, he practices, he puts in the work and he’s always doing extra shooting. His goals are coming, he’s reaping the rewards and he needs to keep these standards up.

“I think this season he’s been nothing short of first class. That’s the standard he sets for himself, that’s the standard we set for him, the manager (Pep Guardiola) and that’s the standard he has to keep up now.”

Foden, who now has 18 goals in all competitions for City this season, said: “That’s my aim, to turn up in the big games.

“That’s what I want to do and I think this season I’m proving that. I just need to keep working hard on the training pitch and keep putting performances like that in, keep working hard.

“I understand what it means for the fans, a derby at the Etihad, it means everything for me. To score as well is even better, but overall to get the win was the most important thing today.”

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    Marti Cifuentes said he would sleep soundly after QPR got the vital win they needed against Preston but warned his players not to ease up.

    Lyndon Dykes’ first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory that takes Rangers to 50 points, six above the relegation zone with matches against Leeds and Coventry to finish the season.

    Their superior goal difference means their Championship survival will be all but secured if second-bottom Sheffield Wednesday lose at Blackburn on Sunday.

    Asked if he believes Saturday’s win will be enough to keep Rangers up, Cifuentes said: “I hope so. Right now it looks like a big step forward.

    “But whatever happens in the next games, I think the kind of mindset – the winning culture we need in this club – means that we are going to try to keep winning until the end of the season.

    “My mindset is that of course today we took a big step forward in the right direction but until the job is done it’s not done, so we need to make sure that we go into the last two games all-in.

    “I’m going to sleep pretty well, that’s for sure. But until the job is done it’s not done.

    “I’m very happy for the guys. It was a difficult game with a lot of pressure and we responded.

    “We had to win this game. The focus was excellent and I’m very proud of the guys.”

    Dykes’ goal was his first in 16 matches for QPR and only his fifth in the league this season.

    The striker took advantage to tap into an empty net at the far post after Preston keeper Freddie Woodman spilled Chris Willock’s cross.

    “I’m very happy for Lyndon. Today he had one of his best games of the season, if not the best,” Cifuentes said.

    “He showed character and personality. Sometimes football is about passion and I think all the guys showed a lot of passion.

    “We’ve been talking about the need for ugly goals and he was in the right place at the right time.”

    Preston boss Ryan Lowe suggested his players would be hauled in for extra training after their poor performance.

    “It wasn’t good enough. Nowhere near the levels,” Lowe said.

    “I know it’s a mistake for the goal, but we’ve got to do better all-round, with and without the ball. I didn’t recognise that team as a Preston North End team.

    “Back to the drawing board, two games to go, and I don’t want the season to just peter out.

    “We felt that today was a game that we could compete in and win. We competed to an extent, but the quality on show from both teams wasn’t great. I expect my team to be better.

    “We didn’t sustain attacks, didn’t look after the ball and it wasn’t a performance I felt could win a game of football and I said that to the players.

    “They expected to take a few extra days this week but we’ll be back in, back at the training ground working hard, because we’ve got two important games left.

    “We’ve got to be solid and resolute – back to being us. Back to being what’s got us this far. We were nowhere near today.”

  • Grant McCann hails Doncaster’s ‘character and commitment’ after comeback victory Grant McCann hails Doncaster’s ‘character and commitment’ after comeback victory

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    It appeared as though Rovers’ incredible charge from relegation danger to play-off contention had ended as goals from Emile Acquah and Rory Feely gave the Cumbrians a two-goal advantage at the break.

    But a Joe Ironside penalty reduced the deficit and set up a grandstand finish, with Hakeeb Adelakun and Harrison Biggins both netting in the final five minutes and Ironside adding a fourth deep into added time to secure a remarkable win.

    “It’s right up there,” McCann said of the victory. “I said to the boys at half-time, out of all of the wins that we’ve had this would be the best one.

    “The first half we weren’t good enough. We played in to what they wanted us to do. We didn’t move the ball quick enough, we didn’t commit and that was the big message this week – commit people.

    “It could have gone either way there because I wasn’t nice to them at half-time, I was a little bit firm with them and it’s probably the first time I’ve had to do that in probably 15-16 games, so it could have easily gone another way.

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  • QPR beat Preston to all but secure safety as Lyndon Dykes ends goal drought QPR beat Preston to all but secure safety as Lyndon Dykes ends goal drought

    QPR beat Preston 1-0 at Loftus Road to all but secure Championship safety as Lyndon Dykes ended his goal drought with a first-half winner.

    Scotland striker Dykes pounced at the far post after keeper Freddie Woodman spilled Chris Willock’s cross to net his first QPR goal in 16 matches and only his fifth in the league this season.

    Victory took Rangers to 50 points, six clear of the relegation zone with two matches of the campaign remaining, but their superior goal difference means the win almost certainly keeps them up.

    Results elsewhere earlier on Saturday meant Marti Cifuentes’ side kicked off knowing that a win would effectively end fears of dropping into League One.

    They started in determined fashion, with Lucas Andersen firing wide and both Dykes and Ilias Chair shooting well over.

    A period of Preston pressure followed and Liam Millar was denied at point-blank range by Rangers keeper Asmir Begovic after exchanging passes with Ben Woodburn.

    QPR were suddenly struggling, but were gifted a goal after 20 minutes.

    Willock cut in from the left and delivered a cross which seemed like a routine take for Woodman, who inexplicably fumbled the ball to the grateful Dykes.

    Woodman somewhat atoned by preventing a Rangers second, diving to his left to push away Willock’s fierce strike.

    However, the North End keeper was guilty of another error shortly afterwards when he fumbled Andersen’s corner, but Jake Clarke-Salter’s attempt to force in the loose ball was blocked and Preston managed to scramble it clear.

    As Rangers continued to threaten, Dykes won the ball in midfield and was sent through by Chair, but opted to shoot early rather than continue towards goal and his effort went harmlessly wide of the target.

    Preston had another let-off in the opening minutes of the second half when Dykes and Kenneth Paal were just unable to get a decisive touch to Willock’s low cross from the right.

    The visitors rode their luck again when R’s defender Steve Cook scuffed a shot wide after Preston had failed to deal with Andersen’s corner, and when Woodman flapped at another Andersen corner and his defenders were able to clear.

    It was certainly a day to forget for the hapless Woodman, although he did manage to parry headers from Chair and Sam Field before QPR appealed in vain for a penalty when Chair’s cross hit Jordan Storey’s hand.

    Preston threatened in the closing stages but the hosts defended well and Cifuentes can now almost allow himself to celebrate a job well done.

    Rangers were second bottom of the table, six points from safety and had lost six matches in a row when the Spaniard took over as boss at the end of October following the sacking of Gareth Ainsworth.

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