Rusty Bale draws blank for first time in 78 starts in Spurs win

By Sports Desk October 22, 2020

Gareth Bale failed to take a shot or create a chance for a team-mate after starting a club match for the first time since November 2016 as Tottenham beat LASK 3-0.

The Wales forward had made his second Spurs debut from the bench during the 3-3 Premier League draw with West Ham last weekend, but was included from the off as the London club began their Europa League campaign on Thursday.

Bale forced Andres Andrade to put through his own net to make it 2-0 with less than half an hour gone.

However, the on-loan Real Madrid man's influence somewhat waned from there before he was taken off by Jose Mourinho around the hour mark.

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    Inter head coach Antonio Conte described Diego Maradona as "the poetry of football" following the Argentina and Napoli great's death on Wednesday.

    Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed midweek.

    World Cup winner Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

    Conte came up against Maradona during his time with boyhood club Lecce in Serie A, and he lauded the former Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach following Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

    "We are all shedding tears for the loss of a man who wrote football history and will always be an indelible figure in this sport," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

    "He was the poetry of football. I had the pleasure of playing against him, of marking him, and it still doesn't seem real that he's gone, especially as he was still young. It's very sad."

    Madrid boss Zidane also spoke glowingly of Maradona after the LaLiga champions won at San Siro for the first time in their history.

    Former France international Zidane – also a World Cup winner – added: "It's an enormous loss for the world of football.

    "I have him engrained in my head because of what he did at the 1986 World Cup. I was 14 years old... I have no words. We're all very sad."

    Maradona, the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country at the 2010 showpiece, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

    He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

    Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

    He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

    Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

    Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

    Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

  • Zidane: Vazquez deserves Real Madrid contract renewal Zidane: Vazquez deserves Real Madrid contract renewal

    Zinedine Zidane says Lucas Vazquez "has Real Madrid in his heart" and deserves to be offered a new contract by the club.

    The Spain international has started seven games for Madrid this season but is due to be out of contract at the end of the campaign.

    He played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday's 2-0 win over Inter in the Champions League and impressed with his direct attacking display.

    As well as setting up substitute Rodrygo for his side's second goal, which deflected off Achraf Hakimi, adding to Eden Hazard's early penalty, Vazquez also had more shots (four) than any player on the field.

    Vazquez has showed his versatility by also featuring at right-back at times and Zidane wants the 29-year-old academy product to be rewarded with fresh terms.

    "He always gives everything for us. I have always valued him and what he gives to us on the pitch," Zidane told Movistar+.

    "Now he is having the opportunity to show us what he is all about. He was a youth player for us and has Madrid in his heart. I'm happy for him and the team.

    "He is an important player and the club knows it. I think it will happen that he will renew."

    Hazard's seventh-minute penalty was his first Champions League goal since November 2017 on his fourth start of another disrupted campaign.

    He got 78 minutes under his belt, having also started the 1-1 draw with Villarreal last weekend, and Zidane hopes the Belgium forward can soon find his rhythm.

    "I'm happy because he's playing. He needs to play and get his football back. For the good of the team, let him keep growing, because we need him."

    Madrid's two goals came either side of Arturo Vidal being issued quick-fire yellow cards for dissent 33 minutes into the game after being denied a penalty.

    The victory for Zidane's men was their first ever away at Inter in European competition and put them a point behind Group B leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, with Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter three and five points worse off than Madrid respectively.

    "We played a great game from the beginning to the end," Zidane said. "We played serious and with character. They were three very important points and we got the best of us.

    "I'm happy with the players. When they have to turn it on, they turn it on."

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    Maradona passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday, his lawyer confirming he died of natural causes.

    Shortly after news of Maradona's death, Atleti kicked-off against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League, with the Group A clash ending 0-0.

    Simeone was in the Argentina squad with the Napoli legend at the 1994 World Cup, having also been a team-mate of the mercurial midfielder at Sevilla in 1992-93.

    "It's hard. When they call you on the phone and tell you that Diego passed away, you think, 'Diego cannot die'," Simeone told a news conference.

    "A myth is leaving us, an Argentine who transmitted all his rebellion to fight with his positive and negative things, but always going forward. The way to get excited about playing soccer was by looking at him.

    "He welcomed me in a spectacular way in Seville, I was young. The moment they tell you about this situation [Maradona dying] you say, 'It can't be, he can always come out.'

    "This time he could not, but he will always be with us, especially with the Argentines, he is a myth and it gives us a lot of sadness and emptiness – it cannot be. A very strong hug for his closest family and a lot of pain."

    While Simeone mourned the death of his former team-mate and one of Argentina's most famous players, he also had to contend with a frustrating display from his Atleti team.

    Atleti registered 20 attempts against Lokomotiv yet could not find the net – it is the most shots a team has amassed in a Champions League match this season without scoring.

    The draw leaves Atleti, whose captain Koke had a goal disallowed by VAR on his club-record 100th European appearance, second on five points from four games, and they still have work to do if they are to qualify for the last 16.

    "We are concerned with the Champions League, of course, we know that it has started with difficulties," Simeone added.

    "These last two games we generated many chances to win them. The goal came, unfortunately it was offside."

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