Arsenal 5-1 Sunderland: Hat-trick hero Nketiah sends Gunners through to EFL Cup semi-finals

By Sports Desk December 21, 2021

Eddie Nketiah was the hat-trick hero as Arsenal marched through to the EFL Cup semi-finals after a comprehensive 5-1 win over Sunderland.

The young striker continued his impressive record in the competition, with a trio of poacher's finishes taking his tally to 10 goals in nine appearances.

Nicolas Pepe was also on target in the 27th minute for Mikel Arteta's side, who secured their first appearance in the last four since 2017-18, with the win capped off by teenager Charlie Patino.

The Gunners did concede their first goal of this season's EFL Cup courtesy of a neat Nathan Broadhead finish, but it proved a mere consolation for the League One outfit.

With 43 places separating the sides in the English football pyramid, Arsenal nearly broke the deadlock in the 12th minute; Nuno Tavares' attempted centre deflecting onto the crossbar off Elliot Embleton.

But the hosts took the lead five minutes later. Lee Burge could only parry Rob Holding's header from a Cedric corner, and Nketiah was on hand to scramble home the rebound.

Folarin Balogun went close before the Gunners doubled their advantage; Pepe playing a neat one-two with Cedric and his shot deflected in off Callum Doyle.

Sunderland responded well and halved the deficit following a quick counter that culminated in Embleton releasing the in-form Broadhead, who neatly lifted over the advancing Bernd Leno for his fifth goal in four games.

However, Arsenal restored their two-goal buffer within four minutes of the restart, Nketiah producing tremendous movement to turn home Tavares' cross at the near post.

And the striker completed his hat-trick in exquisite fashion nine minutes later, as he delightfully back-heeled Pepe's centre past a helpless Burge.

Patino put the icing on the cake in stoppage time when the youngster marked his senior debut with a neat first-time finish from Pepe's centre.

Related items

  • Pliskova battles through to Strasbourg quarter-finals, Muguruza bows out in Rabat Pliskova battles through to Strasbourg quarter-finals, Muguruza bows out in Rabat

    Karolina Pliskova reached her maiden quarter-final of the season after battling past Bernarda Para in Strasbourg 6-3 1-6 6-1.

    Runner-up to Ash Barty at Wimbledon last July, Pliskova has endured a stop-start 2022 campaign.

    The Czech missed the first two months with a hand injury, while suffering first-round exits in Indian Wells, Miami and Madrid.

    But despite being taken to a decider by her French opponent, the top seed hit 16 aces on the way to reaching the last eight.

    Second seed Angelique Kerber also required a deciding set to progress to her first quarter-final of the campaign; the three-time Grand Slam winner overcoming Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 3-6 6-4.

    Fourth and ninth seeds Elise Mertens and Viktorija Golubic also advanced to the last eight following straight-set wins over Anna-Lena Friedsam and Fiona Ferro respectively.

    However, there was no joy for top seed Garbine Muguruza over in Rabat; the two-time Grand Slam champion was beaten 2-6 6-4 6-1 by world number 85 Martina Trevisan.

    The Italian's reward is a quarter-final showdown with seventh seed Arantxa Rus, who saw off Dalma Galfi 6-4 6-2.

    Mayar Sherif was another seed to tumble; the Karlsruhe champion lost 4-6 7-6(5) 6-1 to Claire Liu, who triumphed in the Trophee Lagardere last week.

    Third seed Nuria Parrizas Diaz recovered from losing the opening set to defeat Kristina Mladenovic 4-6 6-3 6-0, while Anna Bondar hit seven aces as she overcame Kristina Kucova 6-3 6-3. 

  • 'Girlz held hostage?' - Former national coach Blaine believes program beholden to outside benefactors 'Girlz held hostage?' - Former national coach Blaine believes program beholden to outside benefactors

    Former Reggae Girlz coach Vin Blaine has expressed concern that the women’s national program is heavily beholden to an outside benefactor.

    Earlier this week, Blaine stepped down from the post after just six months in charge of the national team.  During his tenure at the helm, the coach found himself at loggerheads with members of the national team, 19 of whom had sent and signed a letter to the JFF questioning the coach’s training methods.

    Blaine, however, continues to believe the players were influenced by external forces who will continue to hold plenty of sway with both a large swath of the team’s senior players and the federation itself.

    “A lot of people might not want me to say it but definitely that’s what it is,” Blaine told the SportMax Zone,  when asked whether he thought the national program was being held, hostage.

    “That’s from my perspective and that’s one of the reasons I decided to part ways and let them have the program.  Hopefully, I wish them all the best.  I hold no ill will towards anyone,” he added.

    “It’s my country but it’s just that at this moment I have decided that this is what is best for me and the program.”

    The JFF will now begin the search for a new head coach, ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in July.

     

     

  • De Kock century inspires Lucknow Super Giants to narrow win over Kolkata Knight Riders De Kock century inspires Lucknow Super Giants to narrow win over Kolkata Knight Riders

    Quinton de Kock's incredible 140 was only just enough as the Lucknow Super Giants edged to victory against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday, securing their place in the playoffs.

    An astonishing contest came down to the last ball, and just as it looked as though KKR would reach the improbable target of 211, two wickets from the final two balls from Marcus Stoinis (3-23) sealed a dramatic two-run win for LSG.

    De Kock and KL Rahul became only the fourth opening pair to bat first and go through an Indian Premier League innings without dismissal as they put on 210-0 from their 20 overs, the highest unbeaten opening partnership in IPL history.

    The South African's score of 140 from 70 balls was the third-highest in IPL history, after Chris Gayle's 175 not out for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Pune Warriors India in 2013, and Brendon McCullum's 158 not out for KKR against RCB in 2008.

    However, Rinku Singh's 40 from 14 balls looked to have put KKR on the verge of victory, needing just three from the final two deliveries, only for Rinku and then Umesh Yadav to both fall to Stoinis.

    Rahul was steady in his 68 from 51 balls, but the fireworks came from De Kock, particularly near the end of the innings, hitting four sixes in the 19th over off the bowling of Tim Southee (0-57).

    The Knight Riders' response could not have got off to a more contrasting start, with Venkatesh Iyer (0) and Abhijeet Tomar (4) both out early on to Mohsin Khan.

    Nitish Rana's 44 from 22 balls showed some fight, before Shreyas Iyer (50 from 29) and Sam Billings (36 from 24) put their team in a position where victory actually looked possible, but the former spooned a Stoinis delivery into the air and into the waiting hands of Deepak Hooda just after reaching his half-century.

    Rinku and Sunil Narine (21 not out) had one last go at reviving hope for KKR and very nearly managed it, only for Stoinis to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with the last two deliveries to secure a vital win for the Super Giants, sealing their place in the playoffs, while KKR miss out.

    De Kock wows the crowd

    The fans could not believe what they were seeing as De Kock fired the ball to all sides of the ground with almost every shot imaginable.

    The 29-year-old hit 20 boundaries in all (10 sixes and 10 fours) and, having only scored 362 runs from his previous 13 innings in the IPL this season, nudged himself over 500 and into third-place behind Jos Buttler (627) and Rahul (527) on the leaderboard for most runs.

    So near yet so far for Rinku

    When Rinku arrived at the crease his team still needed 69 runs from 26 balls. When he went back to the pavilion having hit a Stoinis delivery to Evin Lewis for a tremendous catch, his team were only three from victory.

    It wasn't to be, but his two fours and four sixes from just 15 balls along with Narine's 21 from seven gave their team hope when there had previously been very little.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.