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Old 12-23-2019, 04:43 AM   #1

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Default This was a good performance, in many ways
Valencia conceded a stoppage-time equalizer in a 1-1 draw against last-place Lille on Wednesday to miss an opportunity to move into a three-way tie at the top of Group H in the Champions League.Denis Cheryshev put Valencia ahead in the 63rd minute after a pass by Kevin Gameiro following a fast breakaway DeAndre Yedlin Jersey , but substitute Jonathan Ikoné equalized for the hosts with a shot from inside the area in the fifth minute of injury time.“We didn’t play a good game, we know that,” Valencia coach Albert Celades said. “They were better than us and created many chances. They made it difficult for us. We need to keep improving.”A win would have left Valencia with six points, tied with Chelsea and Ajax after three matches, but the draw left it with four instead. Chelsea won 1-0 at Ajax earlier on Wednesday.Lille earned its first point.“I’m disappointed for my players, because they played a real Champions League match,” Lille coach Christophe Galtier said. “We really dominated our opponents, unfortunately without making the most of our favorable situations.”The hosts were in control throughout the game but couldn’t capitalize on its numerous chances until Ikoné’s goal.Yusuf Yazici’s long-range shot struck the crossbar in the 40th https://www.thetopsoccer.com/usa/matt-miazga-jersey , and substitute Loic Remy squandered a great chance in the 74th when his shot from near the penalty spot missed wide. Lille wanted a penalty late in the first half for a handball from a Valencia player inside the area but video review determined there was no foul.Making its first group stage appearance in seven seasons, Lille had lost seven of its last eight Champions League games.Valencia played a man down from the 84th as Mouctar Diakhaby was sent off with a second yellow card for a foul to stop a counterattack.“I need to apologize to my teammates for being sent off,” Diakhaby said. When Andros Townsend fired the ball past Alisson at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, it was not just Crystal Palace fans who were celebrating. Supporters of Manchester City, who began the weekend four points behind leaders Liverpool in the race for the Premier League title, were also full of cheer as they contemplated a repeat of the upset which saw Roy Hodgson’s men win 3-2 at the Eithad Stadium last month.In the end, another odds-defying away win proved a step too far for Palace. Townsend may have given them the lead after some excellent work by Wilfried Zaha down the left flank, but goals from Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino early in the second half put Liverpool back in control. Palace were not done there Gyasi Zardes Jersey , though, levelling the scores in the 65th minute after James Tomkins headed home his first goal of the season from a Luka Milivojevic corner.Salah then took advantage of a mistake from stand-in goalkeeper Julian Speroni to make it 3-2, before Sadio Mane doubled the hosts’ lead in stoppage time after James Milner had been dismissed for a second bookable offence. There was still more drama to come as Max Meyer converted Palace’s third in the dying stages, but Liverpool held on to temporarily move seven points clear at the summit of the standings ahead of City’s clash with Huddersfield Town on Sunday.It was a thrilling match which was not in keeping with how Liverpool’s season has gone up to now. Prior to the weekend, Jurgen Klopp’s men had conceded only 10 goals in 22 games, which was comfortably the best record in the top flight, and kept a league-high 13 clean sheets. Unlike Liverpool teams of previous seasons, the 2018/19 version have demonstrated an ability to control and manage games Bobby Wood Jersey , rather than simply outgun opponents in end-to-end encounters.Saturday’s game was a throwback to the Liverpool sides of 2017/18, whose results in all competitions included a 4-3 win and three 3-3 draws, and 2016/17, which opened with a 4-3 victory at Arsenal and also featured a 4-3 loss to Bournemouth, a 4-2 defeat of Palace and a shock 3-2 reverse against Swansea City.The signings of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk last year are a big reason for Liverpool’s improved solidity, but Klopp also deserves credit for making structural changes to his team. It is significant that the Merseysiders no longer have to play at 100 miles per hour to win games, although they do retain the capacity to blow teams away in short bursts if the situation calls for it.It is that ability which helped them reach the Champions League final last term, but a more measured style was always likely to be necessary if Liverpool were going to end their long wait for a 19th league title. Klopp will therefore hope that Saturday’s helter-skelter success against Palace was a one-off; although another 14 4-3 victories would guarantee Liverpool the championship crown https://www.thetopsoccer.com/usa/paul-arriola-jersey , it is not really a sustainable way to triumph in a title race.Hodgson, meanwhile, will take great encouragement from his team’s display, even if they ultimately left Anfield empty-handed. As well as Speroni’s error, Liverpool relied on good fortune for two more goals, with deflections playing a helping hand in Salah’s first strike and Firmino’s effort too. The home side were the better team overall, but Palace certainly gave them a scare with their counter-attacking threat.The performance of Wilfried Zaha was perhaps the biggest positive for the south Londoners. The Ivory Coast international has not been at his best in recent weeks, when he has often been deployed alongside Andros Townsend up front. Zaha remains most dangerous when he can square up to full-backs in wide areas Zack Steffen Jersey , and it was no surprise to see him give makeshift right-back Milner a torrid time on Saturday afternoon.“This was a good performance, in many ways. It was a good performance in both halves. In the first-half our defensive organisation and discipline was excellent, we went in 1-0 thanks to a couple of good counter attacks, one of which presented a goal,” Hodgson told reporters in his post-match press conference.“I’m extremely proud of the players’ performance. I thought it was a really good team performance in every respect and we are playing against a team that don’t lose at home anyway and have got a lot of very talented players.“They have a wealth of talent which has been put together over a period of years and has cost a fair degree of money into the bargain. I thought that for large periods of the game we held our own – more than held our own – against then towards the end of the game.”
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