Martinelli's winner keeps Arsenal's perfect start to Premier League season – Arab News

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Wealthlandnews September 1, 2022
Updated 2022/09/01 at 5:34 AM

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LONDON: Arsenal maintained their perfect start to the season and their spot at the top of the Premier League table, with Gabriel Martinelli scoring a second-half winner in a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Martinelli let the ball take a short bounce in the area from a Bukayo Saka cross and the Brazilian struck it high into the net to beat Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez in the 77th minute.
“That’s the mentality that we want to show as a team and the character that we want to show to react immediately after disappointment,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.
The goal canceled out a bizarre equalizer for Villa only three minutes earlier when Douglas Luiz took a corner and the ball curled in without anyone touching it to get the visitors back into the match.
Jesus opened the scoring in the first half, poaching a goal in the 30th after Martinelli flew down the left wing and passed to midfielder Granit Xhaka, whose cross deflected off a defender and toward Martínez.
The former Arsenal keeper weakly palmed the ball straight into the path of Jesus, who couldn’t have had an easier tap-in.
“He’s a beast, he’s everywhere on the pitch,” Martinelli said of Jesus, his fellow Brazilian.
The win means Arsenal are the only team in the league with a a full 15 points from five matches. The Arsenal fans have provided an electrifying atmosphere inside the Emirates so far this season, and the players have been feeding off it.
“When you play in front of this crowd, that helps, because the energy that they generate is just amazing,” Arteta said.
Villa manager Steven Gerrard, on the other hand, is under intense pressure already, with four defeats in five matches.
Arsenal should have put this one away much earlier after dominating much of the game and creating a number of scoring opportunities. The best of the chances was an unmarked Saka’s near-post miss after a pinpoint cross from Martinelli in the 23rd. Other opportunities included a curling free kick from midfielder Martin Odegaard in the second half that nearly beat Martinez, and a long-range strike from Martinelli that forced a stellar save from the goalkeeper.
“It’s the most difficult thing in football to score goals, but today we had some big, big, big chances, and we didn’t put them away,” Arteta said.
The intricate play of Odegaard makes this Arsenal team tick, but Xhaka’s transformation from a defensive midfielder into a marauding playmaker has also boosted the Gunners’ attack. It was his presence in the box that led to Jesus’ goal.
Aston Villa resorted to tactical fouls throughout the first half to break up Arsenal’s play through the middle and on the wings. It started in the first 30 seconds of the match, with Lucas Digne setting the tone with a foul along the touchline on Jesus before Jacob Ramsey was booked in the 13th for a strong tackle on Martinelli.
Arteta said Odegaard received a “bad kick, and he was struggling” toward the end of the match before he was substituted.
“We’ll have to see over the next few hours how he recovers,” Arteta said.
The visitors were in no rush to take the initiative, drawing boos from the home fans when players took their time during throw-ins and goal kicks. Their game plan was to sit back and try to hit Arsenal on the counterattack with long balls, but the threat only materialized in the 73rd when Leon Bailey’s fierce shot forced Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to make a fingertip save that led to Luiz’s corner and subsequent goal.
There was no real Villa press for Arsenal to beat, with Ramsdale able to easily roll the ball to players in midfield at times. And it won’t get easier for Gerrard, whose Villa side next faces champion Manchester City on Saturday.
“We’ve conceded two poor goals because we haven’t got the detail of defending right,” Gerrard said.
NEW YORK: Serena Williams dramatically extended her iconic career on Wednesday with a never-say-die three-set victory over world number two Anett Kontaveit at the US Open.
The 40-year-old, 23-time Grand Slam title winner triumphed 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 6-2 in front of a raucous, partisan Arthur Ashe Stadium Court crowd to reach the third round of a tournament she has won six times.
 
MANCHESTER, England: Erling Haaland scored a hat trick for the second straight game as Manchester City thrashed Nottingham Forest 6-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday.
All of the Norway striker’s goals came in the first half at Etihad Stadium, before Joao Cancelo scored a fourth and Julian Alvarez added two more — his first goals for City since his offseason arrival from River Plate — in the second half in the champions’ fourth win in five games of their title defense.
Haaland’s three goals against Crystal Palace on Saturday came in a 19-minute burst in the second half and he did all his damage against Forest in the space of 26 minutes before halftime, taking his record to a league-leading nine goals.
Haaland outmuscled his marker to poke home a cross from Phil Foden in the 12th minute and then tapped into an unguarded net in the 23rd after Foden was tackled by Neco Williams just as the winger was about to shoot. By that point, Haaland had only had four touches of the ball.
His hat-trick goal came in the 38th and again it was from close range when he nodded home from a central position after John Stones headed the ball back across the face of goal.
Cancelo scored the best goal of the night, smashing a rising shot high into the net from outside the area in the 50th minute and City manager Pep Guardiola was again punching the air when Alvarez, making his first start for City, ran onto Riyad Mahrez’s pass and slipped a finish between goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s legs.
Alvarez compounded Forest’s misery by firing a shot in off the underside of the crossbar in the 87th at the end of a counterattack.
City has scored 19 goals in its five games, the most in the league.
MILAN: Roma stayed top of Serie A on Wednesday after Napoli were held to a 1-1 draw by Lecce, while underwhelming Juventus beat Spezia 2-0.
Napoli would have gone first on goal difference with a win over their promoted opponents at the Stadio Maradona but Lorenzo Colombo’s rocket just after the half-hour mark ensured Lecce escaped Naples with a point.
Luciano Spalletti’s side sit third after four games, two points behind Roma and one away from second-placed Inter Milan, while Lecce are 15th after earning their second point of the campaign.
“This Lecce team sweats blood… and fights for its people. We’ll be rewarded if we go out onto the pitch every time with this spirit,” said Colombo to DAZN.
Napoli thought they were on their way to a regulation win when Eljif Elmas tapped in Matteo Politano’s mishit shot in the 27th minute.
The hosts took the lead just seconds after Alex Meret had kept them level by beating away Colombo’s retaken penalty follow a clumsy foul on Federico Di Francesco by Tanguy Ndombele on his full debut.
But Colombo — whose first successful spot-kick was ruled out as the referee had not blown his whistle — was not downhearted and blasted Lecce level four minutes after they went behind.
The Italy Under-21 international brought down a clearance and, after not being closed down, spun and unleashed a shot which this time left Meret grasping at air.
“I heard a whistle thinking it was the referee so I took the penalty, I only realized after that there had been no whistle,” added Colombo.
“So I retook it and missed, but I stayed in the game. There was still a long time to go and the team still needed me so I didn’t want to leave it at that.”
Napoli pushed the whole second half for the win, but apart from Elmas being denied from close range soon after the break and Victor Osimhen heading over late on, they struggled to create clear-cut chances and had to settle for a point.
Juventus are level on points with Napoli in fourth thanks to another superb ninth-minute free-kick from Dusan Vlahovic, his fourth goal of the season, and Arkadiusz Milik’s first for the club in front of new signing Leandro Paredes.
Argentina star Paredes was at the Allianz Stadium in Turin after completing his loan move from Paris Saint-Germain earlier in the day.
The three points maintain Juve’s unbeaten record but won’t hide another disappointing performance from Massimiliano Allegri’s injury-dogged side.
Allegri was without Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Chiesa and Paul Pogba, whose private life has been in the headlines after what he described as threats and extortion attempts from gangsters.
Angel Di Maria returned as a second-half substitute after recovering from a thigh injury picked up during his debut earlier in the month.
But he failed to provide the spark which would have made Juve’s win more convincing, even though fellow substitute Milik netted in stoppage time after deftly firing home from Fabio Miretti’s low cross.
Earlier, Manolo Gabbiadini saved a point for Sampdoria in a 1-1 home draw with Lazio, netting his team’s first goal of the season in stoppage time and lifting them out of the Serie A drop zone.
Sampdoria are 17th with just two points from their first four games after Gabbiadini expertly lashed home his 92nd-minute leveller which denied Lazio the chance to move level with Roma.
Lazio thought they would be on 10 points after leading from the 21st minute through Ciro Immobile, who calmly slotted past Emil Audero after beating Samp’s offside trap and collecting Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s flamboyant flick.
Instead Maurizio Sarri’s side sit sixth and trail local rivals Roma by two points.
Udinese are three points from the summit in ninth after inflicting a first defeat of the season on Fiorentina thanks to Beto’s 17th-minute strike.
Empoli and Verona played out a 1-1 draw in the other early kickoff.
Saudi Arabia have grabbed the bronze medal at the 2022 Asian Men’s Youth Handball Championship after beating Japan 26-25 in the third-place playoff at Khalifa Sports City Hall in Manama.
The win is the Young Falcons’ best-ever finish in the competition.
The ninth edition of the tournament, which concluded in Bahrain on Wednesday, also acted as a qualifying campaign for the 2023 International Handball Federation Men’s Youth (under-19) World Championship in Croatia, with Saudi Arabia booking their place in next year’s showpiece event by reaching the semifinals.
The first half was tightly contested with Japan taking a 7-5 lead by the halfway point before Saudi Arabia led 10-8 on the 20th minute. The Japanese team hit back to take a narrow 13-12 lead at the break.
Japan extended the deficit to lead 20-15 nine minutes after the break, but by the 24th minute Saudi Arabia had squared the match 24-24, before grabbing the win by one point.
Saudi player Ahmed Qusay Al-Said was named man of the match for the fourth time in the tournament.
DUBAI: Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism has announced that the city will host the inaugural Dubai Esports Festival in November, the Emirates News Agency reported. 
DEF 2022, which will run from Nov. 9-20, will be hosted in collaboration with VSPN, a global leader in esports total solutions. It will be the first international leisure event held at the Dubai Exhibition Center since Expo 2020. 
The festival is aligned with the vision of Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum to place Dubai at the forefront of innovation and as a leading events destination.
DET and VSPN will host a series of events and activities throughout the festival as part of a strategy to further elevate Dubai’s position as a global hub for esports and interactive tech-driven entertainment. 
DEF 2022 will feature a top-tier international esports tournament with world-renowned professional esports players as well as a school tournament, a concert with acclaimed artists, an immersive GameExpo, and an industry networking event for domestic, regional, and international stakeholders and partners.
“With this region being one of the world’s fastest-growing gaming markets, DEF will be a new annual festival that will build a legacy for esports and interactive entertainment companies, paving the way for high-quality innovative content that will allow esports enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy the ultimate gaming experience,” Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment CEO Ahmed Al-Khaja said.
“With the continuous support of our stakeholders and partners enabling a world-class esports ecosystem in Dubai, the launch of DEF will also build momentum across multiple mobile and digital platforms, help us tap into the vast market potential for esports and gaming and inspire the next generation of esports talent, all while highlighting the city’s position as a safe international events destination,” Al-Khaja added
VSPN CEO Dino Ying noted: “DEF will serve as the cornerstone of a new esports ecosystem, an enduring cultural phenomenon and industry benchmark.”

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