‘It’s annoying’ – top keeper Miller irked by Reggae Boyz constant wage battle with JFF

By Ricardo Chambers and Donald Oliver December 02, 2020

 

 

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  • MLS: Chicharito brace sinks Beckham's Inter Miami, defending champs Crew share points MLS: Chicharito brace sinks Beckham's Inter Miami, defending champs Crew share points

    Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez started the MLS season with a bang, scoring twice as LA Galaxy spoiled Phil Neville's Inter Miami debut in a 3-2 victory.

    Former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Chicharito endured a difficult and injury-plagued 2020 season, Mexico's all-time leading goalscorer netting just twice after joining the Galaxy.

    But Chicharito kicked off his redemption season in style – his two-goal second half sinking David Beckham's Inter Miami in Sunday's season opener.

    "I'm holding [back] my tears. I suffered the loss of my grandfather, I would love him to keep watching [me] scoring goals," Chicharito said. "I'm very touched because, like I told you, last year was very difficult.

    "I miss him so much and these goals are for him, my kids, my whole family, my friends, everyone. I maintain patience, I keep grinding and thankfully things are coming around and hopefully, like I say, I just want to be a part of an unbelievable season and lift the trophy."

    Trailing to Robbie Robinson's opening goal in first-half stoppage time, Chicharito equalised just past the hour mark in front of a sell-out crowd in Miami.

    Former Juventus and Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain restored Inter Miami's lead in the 68th minute – just his second goal for the club since arriving in the United States.

    It had ex-United utility and former England women's boss Neville dreaming of a dream start in Miami, where he replaced Diego Alonso as head coach ahead of the 2021 season.

    But Chicharito levelled proceedings again with a trademark header 17 minutes from the end before Sacha Kljestan put the Galaxy in front in the 81st minute.

    Elsewhere, reigning champions Columbus Crew drew 0-0 against Supporters' Shield holders Philadelphia Union, while Vancouver Whitecaps edged Portland Timbers 1-0.

  • Zidane tells Real Madrid to 'continue fighting' as LaLiga title hopes take hit Zidane tells Real Madrid to 'continue fighting' as LaLiga title hopes take hit

    Zinedine Zidane told Real Madrid to keep going "to the death" after a goalless draw at Getafe hit their LaLiga title prospects.

    Having cut Atletico Madrid's lead down to one point by winning El Clasico, Zidane's defending champions were second best at times at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on Sunday.

    Hampered by injuries and COVID-19 absences, under-strength Madrid needed goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to make six saves to repel a lively Getafe.

    That was the highest number of saves from shots on target that the Belgian has made in games for Madrid where he has not conceded a goal, and centre-back Eder Militao was also kept busy.

    The Brazilian defender made 10 clearances, the most he has made in a match for Madrid and one short of the highest number made by any player for Los Blancos this season, after Nacho made 11 against Liverpool in the Champions League.

    A makeshift back four of captain Marcelo, Victor Chust, Militao and Alvaro Odriozola faced a barrage of crosses from a Getafe side who belied their recent poor form, having previously won just one in 12 LaLiga matches (D4 L7) leading up to the game.

    Zidane said after the match: "We have given our maximum. It's a draw but we continue fighting. It will not end here.

    "There are many games, but the team that is going to win will need a little of everything, especially having its players.

    "We have to do our best. Look at ourselves and not look at others. It's a very difficult, competitive league. Every three days we must always be good. We must go to the death and our mentality will not change."

    Atletico's 5-0 win over Eibar earlier on Sunday means their lead is up to three points over Madrid and five over third-placed Barcelona, who have a game in hand.

    By coincidence, Atletico also drew 0-0 at Getafe last month.

    Toni Kroos was absent for Madrid, with Zidane saying the midfielder had been "in discomfort".

    "We have a lot of games and we can't do foolish things. We have to manage that," said the French head coach.

    Madrid's unbeaten away run in LaLiga extended to 11 games (W6 D5), their longest run without losing since October 2017 (W13), and the starting XI Zidane fielded had the youngest average age of any of his teams in the league this season, at 26 years and 138 days.

    Courtois was immaculate and later offered an intriguing reason for why he felt Madrid had perhaps not performed as many would have expected.

    "Playing at Getafe is never easy, the pitch was dry and it was hard to move the ball around," Courtois said, in an interview released on Twitter by the club.

    "We tried, we had a couple of good chances, as did they, and that's where I had good saves."

    He pointed to the moment Getafe hit the post through a header from Jaime Mata midway through the first half, saying: "I caught it with my finger."

    That fingertip touch had not been obvious to the naked eye. What was clear was that this result comes as a jolt, and a reminder that with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Eden Hazard, Kroos, Ferland Mendy and Federico Valverde unavailable, even the depth in Madrid's squad is not such to guarantee wins at tricky grounds such as Getafe's.

    "In adversity you find the strength of a group," Courtois said. "It is what we are doing all season. You always have to stand up and that's what we do."

  • Conte pleased with Eriksen improvement but says Inter midfielder can do 'much, much better' Conte pleased with Eriksen improvement but says Inter midfielder can do 'much, much better'

    Antonio Conte says there is still plenty of room for improvement from Christian Eriksen but hailed the midfielder's renewed "intensity" after he sealed a point for Inter on Sunday. 

    Eriksen looked poised to leave Inter during the mid-season break after the club's CEO Giuseppe Marotta revealed he had been placed on the transfer list.

    The former Tottenham man has forced his way back into Conte's plans, though, and secured a 1-1 draw for his side against Napoli after Samir Handanovic's first-half own goal. 

    His fine strike was his 24th from outside the area in the top five European leagues since he joined Spurs in 2013-14, with only Barcelona's Lionel Messi (59) scoring more in that period.

    The result ended the Nerazzurri's 11-game winning streak in Serie A, though they remain firm favourites to win a first league title since the 2009-10 season thanks to a nine-point advantage over second-placed Milan, who beat Genoa earlier in the day, with seven games left. 

    Conte still wants to see more from Eriksen, but is pleased with the improvements he has made to his game in recent months. 

    "Things changed when I had more time to work with him, and also I needed him to realise there is attacking and defending in football," the Inter boss told Sky Sport Italia. 

    "He took a while to adapt to a very tactical style of football that we have in Italy.

    "We tried in every way to get him settled and tried various roles. I know he can do much, much better. 

    "He is becoming more aggressive and showing more intensity, which certainly benefited the whole team."

    The result means Inter have earned the most points (75) in the top five European leagues this season, overtaking Premier League pacesetters Manchester City (74). 

    Conte was delighted with his side's ability to bounce back from Handanovic's calamitous own goal and believes it was the kind of game they might have lost last season.  

    "This was a game we may well have lost in other situations, albeit undeservedly, and we'd have struggled psychologically," he explained. 

    "Instead, we saw a team that knows what it's doing, that never loses sight of the right way forward, even if something unlucky happens, such as the own goal.

    "These are games that we would've struggled in during the past; that we would've lost or at least let our heads drop. Instead, this side never loses its way.

    "Don't forget Napoli were at full strength and I considered them one of the favourites for the Scudetto going into the season.

    "We dropped two points compared to Milan this weekend, but a draw away to Napoli is not to be snubbed."

    Inter are in Serie A action again on Wednesday when they travel to Spezia. 

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