Tuesday, December 20, 2022


Argentina bagged their third World Cup victory in the most exciting final of the 92-year history of the competition. After a 3-3 draw that featured two goals from Lionel Messi and a hat trick from Kylian Mbappé, La Albiceleste defeated France 4-2 on penalties.

From the start of the final, Messi was in spectacular form. He gave Argentina the lead from the penalty spot after Angel Di Maria was fouled. Then he initiated to a smooth team move that ended in Di Maria doubled the lead in the 36th minute. Argentina controlled the first period and led 2-0 at the interval.

Mbappé, on the other hand, remained unnoticed until he scored two goals in a span of 97 seconds. The first came in the 80th minute from the penalty spot, while the other was a volley to tie the score and force extra time.

In the 108th minute, Messi, who is 35 years old, still had plenty of energy and was at the right spot to score his second goal. Once again, Argentina was in position to win the championship. But after a handball, France was awarded another penalty, and Mbappé converted to send the nail-biting contest into a shootout.

Messi and Mbappé converted the first penalties for their respective teams. Emi Martinez, the custodian for Argentina, stopped a shot from Kingsley Coman before Aurelien Tchouameni then missed for France. Wild celebrations ensued after Gonzalo Montiel successfully converted his penalty.

Messi led Argentina to victory in the World Cup and replicated what Maradona did in 1986. After a humiliating 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening game, he scored seven goals and fulfilled his duty by guiding his team out of those difficult situations. He made history by being the first player to score in the group stage and each of the knockout rounds of a single World Cup.

After participating in a record-setting 26th World Cup game, Messi yelled "Let’s go, Argentina!" into a microphone on the field during the post-game celebrations. It's a thrilling conclusion to Messi's international career, which is still ongoing. After the game, he declared that he will keep competing for his country.


Monday, August 30, 2021


Son Heung-Min sent Tottenham Hotspur to the top of the Premier League by scoring the winner against Watford on Sunday. It was more significant as the Korean star became the first Asian player to reach 200 Premier League appearances.

Harry Kane had his first league start after a move to Manchester City collapsed. However, the team are already enjoying their best form since the start of the season with three wins out of three matches. Hugo Lloris also earned his third consecutive clean sheets with another heroic performance. Son's free kick in the 42nd minute was enough to extend Spurs' perfect start of the season.


Manchester United are staying close with the league leader with a narrow 1-0 win over Wolves at Molineux Stadium. Mason Greenwood delivered the winner in the 80th minute, which is his third of the season. United also make history and break Premier League away record with 28 unbeaten matches, surpassing Arsenal's record set in 2004.

Burnley 1 - Leeds United 1
Tottenham 1 - Watford 0
Woles 0 - Man United 1


Sunday, August 29, 2021


Manchester City thrashed Arsenal 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. The third consecutive loss of the season put Mikel Arteta in tremendous pressure as his team are occupying the bottom of the Premier League table with no goal scored.

İlkay Gündoğan opened the scoring for Manchester City in the 7th minute before Ferran Torres doubled the lead just five minutes later. Arsenal were down to 10 men after Granit Xhaka was shown the marching order for a reckless tackle on Joao Cancelo. The home side went 3-0 up as Gabriel Jesus found the net just before the break.

The 10-man Arsenal returned for the second half with an impossible mission against the defending champions. Manchester City did not waste their advantage as Rodri scored the fourth in the 53rd minute. Torres hit the fifth in the 84th minute to put Pep Guardiola's side in close position with the league leaders.


In another match, Liverpool were held by Chelsea to a 1-1 draw at Anfield. Both sides are unbeaten and looking good as title contenders. Kai Havertz put the visitors ahead with a header in the 22nd minute.

However, Reece James was sent-off right before the break for a handball on the goal line. Mohamed Salah made no mistake from the spot to give Liverpool the equaliser. Despite playing against 10 men in the second half, the Reds failed to utilise their advantage of playing on home ground. Chelsea were solid and managed to escape with a draw.

Manchester City 5 - Arsenal 0
Newcastle 2 - Southampton 2
Brighton 0 - Everton 2
West Ham 2 - Crystal Palace 2
Norwich 1 - Leicester City 2
Aston Villa 1 - Brentford 1
Liverpool 1 - Chelsea 1


Monday, August 23, 2021


Chelsea moved to the top of the Premier League table after defeating Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. Romelu Lukaku scored his first goal since returning to the club. The second loss of the season put Mikael Arteta in dire straits to keep his job as Arsenal manager.

Chelsea started strongly against the under performing home side. They dominated the match like playing on their own backyard. Lukaku took just fifteen minutes to mark his return with a fine goal from a Reece James' cross. Twenty minutes later, James smashed home the second for the Blues.


Liverpool were on top of the table on Saturday night after the beat Burnley 2-0 at Anfield. Diogo Jota opened the scoring for the Reds in the 17th minute. Minutes later, Mohamed Salah goal was denied by the VAR for offside. Sadio Mane finally delivered the second goal in the 69th minute after a series of misfortunes.

Liverpool 2 - Burnley 0
Aston Villa 2 - Newcastle 0
Crystal Palace 0 - Brentford 0
Leeds United 2 - Everton 2
Man City 5 - Norwich City 0
Brighton 2 - Watford 0
Southampton 1 - Man Utd 1
Wolves 0 - Tottenham 1
Arsenal 0 - Chelsea 2

Photo: Chelsea FC

3-5-2 Football

Monday, August 16, 2021


Manchester United kicked-off their new Premier League season with a huge win over Leeds United. Bruno Fernandes returned from a frustrating Euro 2020 campaign with a hattrick in a 5-1 demolition of the Whites.

United finished second last season, dominated the match at Old Trafford against the unsettled visitors. Luke Ayling gave a short lived happiness for Leeds when he scored an equaliser four minutes after the restart. However, Mason Greenwwod was quick to restore the lead before Fernandes and Fred sent the Red Devils to the top of the table.

Tottenham Hotspurs had a stunning start of the new season with a victory over defending champions Manchester City. Korean star Son Heung-Min scored the winner for his team in the 1-0 win in London. It is Pep Guardiola's first defeat in opening game of a league campaign since 2008-09 season.

Leicester City 1 - Wolves 0
Chelsea 3 - Crystal Palace 0
Watford 3 - Aston Villa 2
Everton 3 - Southampton 1
Norwich City 0 - Liverpool 3
Newcastle 2 - West Ham 4
Brentford 2 - Arsenal 0
Tottenham 1 - Man City 0
Man United 5 - Leeds United 1


Monday, July 12, 2021


Inspired by Luqman Hakim's move to KV Kortrijk, Mohammad Rafieq Al-Amzar Zulkifeli has agreed to join Zvijezda Gradacac in Bosnia Herzegovina. When not many footballers in Malaysia are willing to get out of their comfort zone, the 18 years-old player from Petaling Jaya made the biggest decision in his football career.

At a very young age, Amzar took up a big challenge to play with club far away from his home. The move may not yet be a dream move, but his confidence makes him one of the bravest player from his country. Leaving his family at his tender age is a huge sacrifice in pursuit of his football dream. The experience and knowledge he will gain are simply more valuable than the money he can earn in local leagues.

Zvijezda is football club based in Gradacac. Founded in 1922, the club are currently in the First League of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH). Zvijezda best moment came in 2015-16 season where they finished second in the league.

Playing in a striker position, Amzar made headlines in 2020 when he was selected to join TH Global Football Fantasia Camp at Real Madrid. The Selangor born player developed his football talent at Seberang Temerloh Sports School in Pahang. Some of his previous achievements include 1MCC Under-14 champions (2016) and KPM League Sumbangsih Cup (2017).

According to his father Zulkifeli, it will not be so tough for Amzar to live far from his family because the player is used to hostels life. He rated his son as a hardworking player on and off the field. If Amzar can display good performances at Zvijezda, he believes that a better deal will be on Amzar's table.



Euphoria erupts in the streets of Rome immediately after the victory. Roberto Mancini boys became men as they came back from the shock concede and claim a 3-2 victory over England at Wembley.

Luke Shaw's goal inside the opening two minutes gave England a lead, which looked like it would hold onto all night. But a goalmouth scramble midway through the second half allowed Leonardo Bonucci to poke home an equalizer for Italy.

It was a similar story in the first additional 15 minutes, though England did briefly force their way back into the game in the second period, albeit without either side creating anything to reward the crowd for their waves of noise. So it went to penalties, where England’s young guns failed and Italy took the championship. It is the Azzurri's first major title in 15 years since they won the World Cup over France.


Gianlucci Donnarumma saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after Marcus Rashford hit the post, as Federico BernardeschiLeonardo Bonucci and Domenico Berardi all scored for the Italians. The giant goalkeeper made his debut with AC Milan at 16 years old. He made his first Italy start at 17 and already Euro2020 Player of the tournament at 22. Donnarumma is a prodigy and Italy keep churning out the best goalkeepers over the decades.

The journey towards this glory started in November 2017, Italy failed to qualify for the world Cup for the first time since 1958. In May 2018, Italian FA appointed Mancini. The Azzurris have not lost a single game in all 34 matches including the win the Euro 2020 last night.

Cristiano Ronaldo finished the tournament’s joint top goal scorer along with Czech Republic’s forward Patrick Schick. England remained without a trophy since the 1966 World Cup victory.

By: Faiz Hakim | Photo: EURO 2020 / Getty

Sunday, July 11, 2021


Lionel Messi finally able to secure his first international medal with Argentina to his collection of La LigaChampions LeagueWorld Club CupBallon d’Or and more. Clearly he is in tears, succumbed to the atmosphere finally realizing the dreams have come true at last.

Argentina have also won their first major title in 28 years on Saturday when an Angel Di Maria goal gave them a 1-0 win over Brazil and a record-equalling 15th Copa America. The victory also means they draw level with Uruguay as the all-time leading winners.

Di Maria, starting for just the second time in the Copa, justified his selection by scoring the opener in the 22nd minute in the first half. Argentina managed to defend even when Brazil piled on the pressure in an exciting second half but even with five strikers on the field they could not get an equaliser against an Argentine defence protected by the outstanding Rodrigo De Paul.

Messi finished the tournament’s joint top goalscorer with four goals and was elected joint best player along with Neymar. The historic game was played at the legendary Maracana Stadium, Rio De Janerio. A true footballing temple where the best Brazilian legends have won many great titles here. The Argentinian nicknamed this stadium Maracanazo.

"This is a very big title," said Argentine coach Lionel Scaloni who last won a major Champion at U20 World Cup in Malaysia in 1997 along with Pablo Aimar and Walter Samuel which are also in his Argentinian coaching staffs. This win extended their sequence of undefeated matches to 20 under Scaloni.

Amidst all the Copa America celebration, it is hard not to mention the one and only Diego Armando Maradona. So sad that he was not able to be here to see Argentina lift this Cup. He is surely looking from above, proud of his countrymen especially Messi.

Argentina won this for him too!


Wednesday, July 7, 2021


Argentina reached the Copa America final after they beat Colombia 3-2 in penalty shootouts. The semifinal match in Brasilia ended 1-1 after ninety minutes. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero for Argentina as he saved three shots.

Argentina took early advantage when Lautaro Martinez fired into the net from Lionel Messi's pass in the 7th minute. The match was so intense as ten yellow cards were shown by the referees. Both sides had almost the same amount of opportunities and possessions. Colombia's equaliser came in the 61st minute when Luis Diaz scored from a tight angle to complete a surprise counter attack.

In the shootouts, Martinez saved Colombia's spot kicks by Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina and Edwin Cardona. Messi, Leandro Paredes and Martinez scored from the spot to send Argentina for the title decider against Brazil. Argentina are now unbeaten in 19 games are set for the final showdown at the Maracana on Saturday.


Tuesday, July 6, 2021


Defending champions Brazil beat Peru 1-0 in the Copa America semifinals at Estádio Nilton Santos in Rio. Lucas Paqueta scored the winner in the 35th minute to secure his team spot in the Copa America final.

The semifinal was a repeat of the last final, two years ago, when a Brazil team shorn of the injured Neymar also triumphed on home soil. The Selecao dominated the first half but Peru gave the home side some nervous moments after the break. In the 36th minute, Neymar produced his magic to set up for Paqueta to score the only goal. Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was the busiest player throughout the match as he saved many attempts by Brazil. 

Brazil will play the winner of another semifinals clash between Argentina and Colombia. They have now gone 13 games unbeaten in all competitions, and eyeing for the 10th Copa America title.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021


Defending champions, Portugal kicked-off their Euro 2020 campaign with a solid performance by defeating Hungary 3-0 at Ferenc Puskás Stadium in Budapest. By playing in the match, Cristiano Ronaldo became the only player to have played in five Euro final tournaments.

It was a difficult task for Hungary as they have to face the reigning Champions in Euro opening match. They defended well through out the match until the final 10 minutes of the match when Raphael Guerreiro got the breakthrough for Portugal in the 84th minute.


Three minutes later, Ronaldo doubled the lead from the penalty spot. And the Portuguese skipper netted his second in the added time, which is his 11th goal in Euro finals. Ronaldo has now scored the most Euro final goals in the tournament history, two clear of Michel Platini

In another Group F match, France edged Germany 1-0 at Allianz Arena in Munich. Mats Hummels 20th minute own goal gave the World Cup Champions a winning start in the tournament. Portugal took the top spot in Group F, followed by France with same points but lesser goal difference.



United Arab Emirates toppled Vietnam from the top spot of Group G on the final day to reach the final round of the World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers. The Al-Abyad were leading 3-0 before a late scare by Vietnam to end the game with a 3-2 final score. Vietnam will also play in the final qualifying round for finishing second best in the group.

UAE to control of the match from the start. Ali Salmeen broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute. Five minutes before the break, UAE were awarded a penalty and Ali Mabkhout scored his 76th international goal. Early in the second half, Mahmoud Khamis found the net to give his team a comfortable 3 goals lead.


The never-say-die Vietnam team played their hearts out until the final minutes. Nguyen Tien Linh gave his team a fighting chance in the 84th minute. And Tran Minh Vuong scored Vietnam's second after three minutes into the injury time.

In another group match, Malaysia edged Thailand 1-0 to finish third in the group. Safawi Rasid scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute. Both Malaysia and Thailand advance to the final round of the Qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

Photo: AFC


Saturday, June 12, 2021


Vietnam edged Malaysia 2-1 to stay on top of Group G and ready to secure a place in the final round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. With 2 points clear ahead of UAE, they just need a draw to confirmed their place in the final round.

Nguyen Tien Linh gave his team the lead in the 27th minute, but Malaysia fought back to keep their chances alive. Guilherme De Paula scored the equaliser for Malaysia in the 72nd minutes from the penalty spot. However, Vietnam got a penalty in the 81st minute, and Que Ngoc Hai made no mistake to give his team the win.

UAE hammered Indonesia 5-0 in another Group G match earlier. Two goals each by Ali Mabkhout and Fabio Lima, plus a goal by Sebastian Tagliabúe sealed the win at Zabeel Stadium in Dubai. It is their third consecutive win in Asian Qualifiers and still in the race to win their Group. UAE will face Vietnam on Wednesday for their final group match.

Photo: AFC

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Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Despite missing a penalty in a warm-up match against Romania last weekend, Jordan Henderson has declared he is fit for the Euro 2020 campaign. His fitness was questioned after he was introduced into the match in the last 45 minutes after not playing for club or country since suffering a groin injury in February. Henderson believes that England's manager, Gareth Southgate has been assessing his fitness level before making a decision to include him into the squad.

"We know a little bit more detail, I know more detail and so does the manager."


The Liverpool captain suffered a groin injury in a match against Everton in February. He completed the surgery soon after the match focused on recovery and fitness with the tournament on his mind.

"You probably wouldn’t know but I’ve trained for a long time. It’s a little bit different training on your own instead of team training, although I managed to do that towards the back end of the season with Liverpool."

Henderson insisted that he is fit and raring to go for England’s opening match of the tournament against Croatia on June 13. The player is obviously desperate to start against Croatia on Sunday and, having played such a key role in the 2018 World Cup, he is out for revenge against their nemesis in the semi final in Russia.


Friday, June 4, 2021


Indonesia came from behind twice to secure their first point in the Asian Qualifiers Group G, playing out a 2-2 draw against neighbours Thailand at Al Maktoum Stadium on Thursday. Narubadin Weerawatnodom and Adisak Kraisorn scored the goals for Thailand, before Kadek Agung and Evan Dimas rescued their team from 6th conseutive defeat. The draw was a blow to Thailand as three points would have taken them top of the group, with Akira Nishino's men set to play hosts United Arab Emirates on Monday.


In another match, Ali Mabkhout and Fabio de Lima scored two goals each to give UAE a comfortable 4-0 win over Malaysia in Dubai. The Emirates took possession throughout the match and gave very little opportunities to their opponent.

UAE moved to second place in the group sharing same points with Malaysia and Thailand, while Indonesia remained at the bottom with just one point from yesterday's match. Vietnam is still on top of the table with 11 points from just five matches and looking good to win the group.

Photos: AFC


Sunday, May 30, 2021


What could have been a Manchester total domination of Europe 2021 became exactly the opposite. Manchester City squandered the best chance to secure their first Champions League Final win when they lost to Chelsea 2 - 1 last night. This is a major bummer to the City of Manchester when their Red neighbors also lost out on a spectacularly in the Europa League Final just 48 hours earlier.

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz repaid some of his huge transfer fee as his first-half goal sealed a 1-0 win for his side over Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday. The German youngster, Chelsea’s record signing, latched on to Mason Mount’s pass and evaded City keeper Ederson before rolling the ball into an empty net just 3 minutes before halftime. 


Premier League champions City were favourites ahead of the final but suffered a desperately disappointing night in Estadio do Drago, Porto in what was their first Champions League final. Pep Guardiola’s side were never allowed to play their normal fluent game and could not respond as a disciplined Chelsea sealed the win.

The narrative is quite a story to tell for Man City both the club and the manager. City’s first appearance in the final after so many European failures during their last decade-plus of relevance. Every dollar poured into the club, the ones well spent and wasted, have led to this moment. But that 90 minutes have been a torture to them as they could have lifted the Big Ears and claimed the glory.

Champions League is very familiar territory to Guardiola. Having won once as player and twice as a manager made him as one of the best Manager in Europe. He has a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque impact in his managerial career winning and dominating all the leagues he is in from La Liga, Bundesliga and Premier League. This final could have been his magnum opus but fate has other plan for him.

Thomas Tuchel on the other hand is on a winning streak. Taking PSG a back to back to back Ligue 1 champions in France, runners up in 2020 Champions League. Sacked by PSG, took over Chelsea from Frank Lampard and reached the promise land with Chelsea. His first Champions League and Chelsea’s second.

Chelsea has not been a force to be reckon with since they part ways with Jose Mourinho in his both stints at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea is not the club everybody wants to beat, a position currently held by Manchester City. Narrowly secured the top four finishing this season, Tuchel has an opportunity to defend the title next season. This also could be a revival for Chelsea. The win will give Tuchel free access to Roman Abramovich’s war chest and we have seen that happened before. The season have just officially ended and we just can’t  wait for the new season to start.

England's Champions League Winners
6 - Liverpool
3 - Manchester United
2 - Chelsea
2 - Nottingham Forest
1 - Aston Villa

Thursday, May 27, 2021


"Football, bloody hell!”

This was quoted by Sir Alex Ferguson on Manchester United's dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 1999. The same quote came and haunt them exactly 22 years later when United was beaten at the final of Europa League in the night of 26 May 2021.

United 2nd in the Premier League, is the favorite to clinch this trophy where Villarreal looked bewildered in the La Liga sitting only at 7th place in the table not even made the cut in any of the European Tournament.

But Villarreal, against all the odds have won the Europa League after defeating Manchester United 11-10 in a penalty shoot-out after drew 1 all in the 90 minutes leading up to the shootout.

Neither side able to find the winner after extra-time, the game headed to penalties in front of 9,500 fans at the Stadion Miejsk in Gdansk.

In form and evergreen striker Edinson Cavani's strike cancelled out Gerard Moreno's first-half effort paying it forward when the Ole Gunnar Solksjaer signed him for another year earlier this month. Meanwhile the ill-fated United goalkeeper David De Gea missed the deciding spot-kick and unable to block any of the goals against him in this 21 goals shootout thriller.

The trophy is Villarreal's first ever piece of major European silverware and manager Unai Emery's fourth triumph in the competition.

United team left Poland to lick their wounds in an otherwise an exciting campaign but unable to show any silverware since Solksjaer' arrival at Old Trafford in 2018. He will continue to rebuild this club next season and perhaps with a couple of great signings, United can be the European football force to be reckon with again.

By Faiz Hakim | Photos Europa League