Gor Mahia are all smiles as Striker Dennis Oliech is now fit fot the clash Against Zambian side Zamalek.The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) also made headlines as it played a part in Manchester Unite’s Shocking comeback against PSG and FC Porto’s win against AS Roma in the Champions League last 16 clashes.
Arsenal an Chelsea are looking for victories in the UEFA Europa league on Thursday with their hopes of finishing in Top four bracket in the Premier League at risk.
Take a look at the Daily Top Stories:
ADUDA CONFIRMS OLIECH’S AVAILABILITY FOR ZAMALEK CLASH
Gor Mahia will have Dennis Oliech fit and ready for the crunch CAF Confederations Cup Group D encounter against Zamalek according to club CEO Lordvick Aduda.
Oliech’s availability for the game had been cast in doubt with a section of the local media reporting that the forward had suffered a knock in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to NA Hussein Dey in Algeria.
But according to Aduda, the only absentee for Sunday’s clash to be played at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria Egypt will be Ugandan fullback Shafiq Batambuze who is suspended for consecutive yellow card bookings.
“No serious injuries to the travelling squad though we will miss out on the services of Shafiq Batambuze who is out on suspension having accumulated consecutive yellow card booking but we are glad having back Oliech in time for this crunch tie as we seek to finish at the top of the group,” Aduda is quoted as saying on the club’s official portal.
Gor lost their hold on top spot after the loss in Algeria and now lie second in a group that has all four teams still in with a chance to seal qualification to the knockout round.
They will take on a Zamalek side coming into the game boosted by their 1-0 away win over Petro Atletico of Angola, which was the team’s first in the group and helped lift them from bottom to third place.
Gor, who defeated Zamalek 4-2 on match day 1 in Nairobi with Oliech among the goal scorers, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday and received a warm welcome from their Egyptian counterparts who provided a good enough bus to facilitate the team’s two and a half hour journey from Cairo to Alexandria.
A win for Gor on Sunday coupled with a win for Hussein Dey against Petro, also to be played on the same day, will see both sides qualify for the knockout round with a game to spare.
Gor will conclude their group stage campaign with a home tie against Petro to be played in Nairobi a week after the Zamalek game.
VAR in focus: Manchester United, Porto benefit from late decisions
Kimpembe’s handball in PSG’s 3-1 loss to Man United
Diogo Dalot’s shot struck PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe, who had jumped and turned his back make himself bigger. Referee Damir Skomina knew the ball had come off Kimpembe and so pointed for the corner, but VAR instructed the official to take a second look at his pitchside monitor. After what seemed like an interminable delay the spot kick was awarded and Marcus Rashford duly sent United through.
Many will feel there was no deliberate act on Kimpembe’s part, and he did not appear to move his arm toward the ball, but this decision is consistent with handball penalties awarded at the 2018 World Cup. If the arm wasn’t tucked away, VAR would instigate a review for handball; every one resulted in a penalty.
Was this a clear and obvious error? Skomina, though he needed many reviews, came to that opinion and that is the only one that counts. It’s very possible he did not even know the ball had hit the player’s arm before the review. Would this be given in the Premier League next season? Probably not, but FIFA and UEFA appear to have a lower burden of proof for handball.
Porto’s extra time penalty in win over Roma
This decision was far less contentious. Alessandro Florenzi tugged back Fernando just as the Porto player looked destined to latch on to Maxi Pereira’s low shot across the face of the goal. No penalty was given by referee Cuneyt Cakir at the time, but on initial TV replays it seemed inevitable that VAR would call for a review.
Offside was checked, but as we have seen with recent examples involving Salif Sane and Harry Kane, a player can be in an offside position and still win a spot kick. It mattered not, because Aleksandar Kolarov was marginally playing Fernando onside anyway. There was only ever going to be one outcome as Cakir left his screen and pointed to the spot. Alex Telles converted and Porto went through.
There was yet more controversy late on, though, when Roma’s Patrik Schick went down in the corner of the box as he was chased by Moussa Marega. Though VAR initiated an upstairs review, he did not ask Cakir to view it pitchside and said play should continue. That was surprising, as it did look like Marega may have clipped the heels of Schick. It was very similar to the penalty awarded via VAR to Iceland’s Alfred Finnbogason following a foul by Nigeria’s Tyronne Ebuehi at the World Cup.
Arsenal Have A MAJOR Problem Ahead Of Europa League Tie
Arsenal are in the race to finish in the top four, battling it out with Manchester United and Chelsea.
They currently sit sixth, a point behind United but a point ahead of Chelsea – who have a game in hand.
And in Europe, they face Ligue 1 outfit Rennes after surviving a first leg scare against BATE Borisov – emerging as 3-1 winners on aggregate.
Unai Emery has been tasked with getting the Gunners back into the Champions League – a competition they have evaded since 2017.
The Spaniard is something of a specialist in the Europa League, having won the tournament three times in a row with Sevilla.
But former United defender Danny Higginbotham has told the former Paris St-Germain manager that he must choose which competition Arsenal must focus on.
“I think the Europa League is the situation that does create the problem for them and Chelsea as well,” he said.
“At some point, as we’ve seen in previous seasons, you have to decide which one you are going to go for. Which one do they think is most likely for themselves?
“Is it winning the Europa League and going into the Champions League or is it the top four?
“I think that’s what makes it more difficult for the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea.”
Chelsea vs. Dynamo Kiev: Hazard and Higuaín rested
Chelsea’s chances of finishing top four in the Premier League may have increased after some crucial wins, but the Europa League is still a viable route back into the Champions League next season — and would get us there in 7 games rather than 10 in the league. First up, in the Round of 16, are Ukrainian runners-up Dynamo Kiev, who certainly should not be underestimated.
Before the Fulham game last Sunday, Maurizio Sarri said that Kepa Arrizabalaga would start one of the next two games. This should mean that backup goalkeeper Willy Caballero will get the nod today, possibly as a reward for behaving like a good professional throughout this whole Kepa-substitution incident.
Sarri also promised “some” rotation for this game due mostly to fatigue. Surely, that will mean Alonso and Zappacosta rotating in at full back, with the latter’s absence through injury noted by Sarri in our last Europa League game — Azpilicueta is in dire need of some rest having started 14 in a row in all competitions and not have had a day off since before Christmas. David Luiz got his rest on Sunday, which will see him come in for one of Christensen or Rüdiger, with the latter more likely to keep his place.
In midfield, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is due a start after 8 straight substitute appearances, while Mateo Kovačić should rotate in for either Jorginho or N’Golo Kanté, depending on just how adventurous Sarri would like to be. But Kovačić has basically become Jorginho’s backup since Fàbregas left in January, so let’s go with that option.
Sarri’s pre-match words did not give great hope to Callum Hudson-Odoi starting this one, despite Eden Hazard pretty much slated for a breather after struggling a bit for fitness over the past week. Giroud is our man for the Europa, so he will start, but he’ll most likely be flanked by Pedro and Willian, neither of whom are exactly out of form at the moment, in fairness.
Caballero | Emerson, David Luiz, Rüdiger, Zappacosta | Loftus-Cheek, Kovačić, Kanté | Willian, Giroud, Pedro