Son Heung-Min happy to follow tough time with double strike in Belgrade

Press Association Sport 09:23 07/11/2019
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Son Heung-min was pleased to come out on the other side of a “tough few days” after he scored twice in the 4-0 Champions League win at Red Star Belgrade.

Son was a doubt for the trip to Serbia after he was left distraught when his challenge on Andre Gomes left the Everton midfielder needing surgery on a broken ankle.

But he bounced back in style in Belgrade with a double in four second-half minutes as Spurs put one foot in the knockout stages of the Champions League with a first away win since May.

He chose not to celebrate the goals, though, insisting he did not want to disrespect Gomes, who faces a long road back to fitness.

“Of course it has been a really tough few days but I have realised how lucky I am with all the support I have had from the fans and my team-mates,” Son, who has sent Gomes a personal message, said on BT Sport.

“I can say I’m really sorry for the accident and the situation but I had to focus for the team and I had to keep going and it was the right response to all the people who have supported me.

“I didn’t want to celebrate because I just want to respect the situation.

“Of course, I still feel really sorry about this situation. It’s been a few tough days.

“I wish Andre Gomes gets well soon and best wishes.”

Boss Mauricio Pochettino added: “I told you, it wasn’t a big issue. It was a problem for everyone, not only for Sonny, for everyone on the pitch.

“We feel very sorry about what happened to Andre, but he moved on quickly. We helped him to move on.

“It was a mix of everything, not only the injury, the red card, how we missed the three points.

“He moved on quick and we helped him to move on and today he scored twice and he helped the team win the three points which was the most important thing.”

It was a big call for boss Pochettino to play him, but he got his reward as Son’s double added to goals from Giovani Lo Celso and Christian Eriksen put Red Star to the sword.

The defeat was their biggest ever at home in European competition and the first time they conceded more than one goal in front of their fans in 72 matches.

It was a really positive evening for Spurs as they won away from home for the first time in 183 days and there was a real glimpse of the future as summer signings Tanguy Ndombele, Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon were all on the pitch together for the first time.

“I am very pleased,” the Argentinian manager added. “It is a very difficult place, it was a very good victory, it was fully deserved in the way that we approached it.

“I think it was fantastic, we have to keep going it is only a very, very small step. But it is a step forward.

“I am happy because Lo Celso is a very good player and his personality and character is great.

“Now he only needs time like Tanguy [Ndombele] and Ryan Sessegnon. They are so young. They arrive now to the team in difficult circumstances, not the best circumstances.

“That is why like I tell you always, I don’t expect too much, I am happy with that they provide to the team. They need time. I am happy with the players.”

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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane pays tribute to Rodrygo after Champions League hat-trick

Press Association Sport 08:20 07/11/2019
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Real Madrid boss Zinedeine Zidane paid tribute to Brazilian teenager Rodrygo after his hat-trick in the 6-0 Champions League win over Galatasaray.

The win saw Los Blancos ease into the knockout phase.

The 18-year-old former Santos striker scored twice within the opening seven minutes at the Bernabeu Stadium and completed his treble in stoppage time to cap a fine evening’s work.

In addition, he had earlier set up Karim Benzema to score the first of his two goals after skipper Sergio Ramos had converted from the penalty spot.

Benzema’s second was his 50th goal for the club in the competition and helped set up a showdown with Group A leaders Paris St Germain in Spain in three weeks’ time.

The French side will head into the game five points better off than their hosts, but knowing Zidane’s men have put a slow start to their European campaign firmly behind them.

Asked about Rodrygo’s performance in the press conference after the game, Zidine said: “We are happy for him because in the end when he gets the chance to play he plays well, and he did so again tonight.

“He plays well in every sense. We know his qualities in attack well, but he also works hard in defence and helps out with a lot.

“But we need to keep calm and not put any pressure on him.”

Rodrygo needed just four minutes to fire his side in front, and he helped himself to a second just three minutes later with a fine header, full-back Marcelo providing the ammunition on both occasions as Galatasaray were picked off repeatedly at the back.

Their fortunes took a further turn for the worse when, having been invited to review Steve Nzonzi’s challenge on Toni Kroos on the edge of the box by the video assistant referee, German match official Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot.

Ramos resisted the temptation to allow Rodrygo to complete a quick-fire hat-trick, dinking the resulting penalty over keeper Fernando Muslera to make it 3-0.

The Brazilian teenager turned provider on the stroke of half-time, capitalising on yet another error by the Galatasaray rearguard to hand Benzema the simplest of chances to make it 4-0.

Benzema passed up two opportunities to add to his tally as time ran down, but he made no mistake when he tapped home Dani Carvajal’s 81st-minute cross from point-blank range to complete a personal half-century before Rodrygo completed the rout from the Frenchman’s through-ball.

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Divock Origi accepts tough task in competing against Liverpool’s famed front three

Press Association Sport 15:45 06/11/2019
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Striker Divock Origi accepts he has a tough task in competing against Liverpool’s famed front three but he believes he is “slowly but steadily” improving.

The Belgium international has found opportunities limited because of the form both individually and as a triumvirate of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

He has, however, contributed some significant goals over the last 12 months, starting with his late derby winner at Anfield last December, through his double in the 4-0 Champions League semi-final second leg comeback against Barcelona and then his strike in the final against Tottenham, to another added-time goal to equalise in last week’s 5-5 Carabao Cup draw with Arsenal.

With a packed fixture schedule to come over the next couple of months there is every chance Origi will get more game time and he hopes he can take his chance.

“Personally I am just going game by game in terms of assessing,” he said after starting in the 2-1 Champions League victory over Genk after manager Jurgen Klopp rested key players ahead of Sunday’s visit of Manchester City.

“I am just progressing, feeling stronger game by game and trying to help the team more and more.

“I am finding my ways, finding the routines, how the guys play and I think you can tell on the pitch as well, I am growing, trying to be more efficient in the last quarter which is coming slowly but steadily.

“I always see it as being the best I can be and I love the fact we have so much quality because that is what helped us win the Champions League.

“That is going to help us be successful and if everyone is at their best, then the choice is nothing new, it is on the coach and we all try to make the choice as difficult as possible for the coach.”

The win over Genk, which put Liverpool top of Group E and within one victory over the knockout stage, was almost a sideshow, however, as the weekend’s clash between the Premier League’s top two was never far away from anyone’s thoughts.

“It is important for us. I think we worked hard to play against a team that really wanted it – so a very important three points,” he added.

“We know we still have some important games but it was crucial for us to win and everyone knew it so we are very happy we did it.

“Definitely it is good to keep on going, keep the flow going and I think this weekend is going to be a big game.

“We have already played a couple of times against each other so we are all looking forward to it.”

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