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Celtic’s Shane Duffy seals rout of wasteful Ross County on debut | Football

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Shane Duffy delivered a delightful debut goal as Celtic routed Ross County 5-0 in the Scottish Premiership clash at the Global Energy stadium. In front of 300 socially distanced home fans allowed in as a test event for supporters returning to football, Odsonne Édouard scored from the spot in the fourth minute to put the champions on their way.

Albian Ajeti, making his first start for the visitors, added a second soon afterwards and though County had created more than their fair share of openings in the first half they were left with no chance just before the hour mark when Duffy, the loan signing from Brighton, powered a header in from a corner.

Kristoffer Ajer tapped in a fourth before the substitute Patryk Klimala added a fifth to leave Neil Lennon’s side six points behind Rangers, the leaders, with two games in hand.

Rangers maintained their three-point lead at the top, and beat a 114-year-old defensive record in the process. Their seventh clean sheet since the season began, in a 4-0 over Dundee United, meant they bettered Celtic’s 1906 record of six. However, the win at Ibrox – thanks to goals from Ryan Kent, James Tavernier, Kemar Roofe and Scott Arfield – came at a cost, with four players suffering injuries. Leon Balogun, Ryan Jack, Brandon Barker and Alfredo Morelos all had to be replaced – Balogan before kick-off when he was injured in the warm-up. 

Hibernian kept up the pressure with a comfortable 3-0 victory away to St Mirren. Goals from Kevin Nisbet, Joe Newell and Martin Boyle proved too good for Saints. Aberdeen made it five straight wins in all competitions as Ross McCrorie’s goal earned them a 1-0 win at home to Kilmarnock. Allan Campbell hit the winner as Motherwell won their first three points of the season, beating St Johnstone 1-0. Kyle Munro, 18,  marked his first start for Hamilton with a first senior goal to secure a 2-1 victory over Livingston. PA Media

Lennon said: “Shane had the two games for Ireland which will have done him the world of good. He hadn’t played that much football. Same with Ajeti, he needed a run-out and today he’s produced a great striker’s goal. Shane, we all know what the club means to him, but to score on his debut was just great. I think after the goal he just looked peerless, just outstanding.”

Lennon opted for a back three of Duffy, Ajer and Christopher Jullien but it was the home defence who were tested – and found wanting – early on. The small band of Staggies fans sat in silence when Andrew Dallas pointed to the spot after Ajeti tumbled to the ground inside the penalty area after what looked like a tug by the defender Jordan Tillson, back in the side with Josh Reid and Harry Paton. Édouard – back from a thigh injury – rolled the spot-kick into the corner of the net.

County’s response was positive. Their captain, Iain Vigurs, had a couple of dangerous free-kicks from distance, the first saved by Vasilis Barkas, the second rebounding off a post, perhaps with the Celtic goalkeeper getting a touch. The home defender Connor Randall then came close with a drive that went narrowly wide.

But then Celtic doubled their lead. The Staggies defence failed to clear Callum McGregor’s free-kick from wide on the left and Ajeti pounced to fire past Ross Laidlaw from eight yards for his third Celtic goal since signing from West Ham.

Still, the home side kept finding gaps. Billy Mckay’s whipped-in cross from the left on the half-hour was met at the back post by Ross Stewart and his header back across goal looked in until Barkas stretched to claw the ball away.

County, who had replaced the injured Mckay with Oli Shaw in the first half, had yet another chance to score soon after the break when McGregor’s effort from distance was saved. Stewart then found himself with time and space inside the box but his shot was just too close to Barkas.

However, the most basic of goals in the 59th minute – a powerful Duffy header from a McGregor corner – in effect sealed the points for Celtic. Five minutes later Ajer added a fourth with a tap-in from an Olivier Ntcham pass and it became a stroll.

Klimala, on for Ajeti, should have made it five but his shot was blocked on the line by Alex Iacovitti, but the Polish striker got his goal in the 76th minute when he smashed the ball in after being set up by his fellow substitute Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Before that Dallas ignored a handball penalty claim for County after Barkas had made another good save amid a goalmouth melee.

There were late substitutions and one of the new arrivals, David Turnbull, recently signed from Motherwell, replaced Scott Brown to make his Celtic debut before Shaw hammered a free-kick off a Celtic post, summing up County’s day.

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Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby terrorises Borussia Dortmund in 2-1 win | Football News

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LEVERKUSEN: Moussa Diaby scored one goal and set up the winner for Florian Wirtz as Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 on Tuesday to move into second place in the Bundesliga and snap a four-game winless run this year.
The 21-year-old Frenchman terrorised the Dortmund defence throughout a one-sided first half when he fired the hosts in front, finishing off a quick break in the 14th minute.
He should have added at least one more goal, carving out several good scoring chances.
Dortmund’s attack briefly sprung to life after the break and Julian Brandt curled in an equaliser in the 67th minute before Jadon Sancho fired narrowly wide a little later.
But Leverkusen rebounded, with Diaby launching another quick move and setting up Wirtz for the winner in the 80th to earn their first win in five league games and move into second place on 32 points. Dortmund are fourth on 29.
Leaders Bayern Munich, on 36, travel to Augsburg on Wednesday. RB Leipzig, in third place also on 32, host Union Berlin.


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India vs England: India’s Brisbane triumph encourages England coach Chris Silverwood | Cricket News

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LONDON: England coach Chris Silverwood said India’s stunning series win away to Australia was a boost to his side’s Ashes hopes Down Under later this year.
An injury-ravaged India defied the odds to complete a 2-1 series triumph with a three-wicket victory on Tuesday as they inflicted Australia’s first defeat in a Test match at Brisbane’s Gabba ground since 1988.
“I thought it was brilliant,” Silverwood told reporters in a conference call ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

“It’s nothing to do with me, (Australia skipper) Tim Paine’s captaincy, but it’s always nice to see people in opposition teams under pressure,” the former England paceman added.
Australia hold the Ashes after the 2019 series in England ended all square at 2-2, but Silverwood said of India’s triumph in Brisbane: “It shows that, if you do the basics well and get stuck in, we can beat them.
“Our boys back in the hotel were taking an interest and I think most of them appeared for lunch after India had won. So they were all staying and watching.”

Before the 2021/22 Ashes, however, England face a resurgent and resilient India in nine consecutive away and home Tests.
“If you look at what we’ve got in front of us, before we get to the Ashes we have nine Tests against India,” said Silverwood. “What a fantastic way to prepare against very strong opposition.

“There’ll be some great cricket and all the guys here are excited to play in those series, just as we are excited to play in this one.”
England will look to complete a 2-0 series clean sweep against Sri Lanka when the second Test starts on Friday.
Given the likely humid conditions, and their upcoming fixture schedule, England could well rotate their bowling attack, with record wicket-taker James Anderson giving way to Stuart Broad, second on England’s all-time list.


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India hailed as ‘Immortals’, Australia under fire after Gabba stunner | Cricket News

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BRISBANE: India’s cricketers were hailed as ‘Immortals’ on Wednesday following their record-breaking win in Brisbane, but some former greats called for chastened Australia to make changes.
India thrillingly achieved their 328 target with just 18 balls left on the final day to win the four-Test series 2-1, the highest successful run chase at Australia’s “Fortress Gabba”, where the hosts had been unbeaten for 32 years.
“It was the day when The Irrepressibles became The Immortals,” declared News Corp’s veteran cricket writer Robert Craddock.
“The day when Fortress Gabba was stormed by a group of cavalier raiders who kicked down the draw bridge, stole the crown jewels and raced off into the late afternoon sunshine towards hysterical fans who will cherish the memory forever.

“Take it all India. You deserve it.”
India’s refusal to play for a draw, which would have been enough for them to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, was lauded.
“The outcome was a revelation: Australia pressed for victory because they had to, India because they wanted to, and the result was a fitting climax to one of the most extraordinary series of all time,” wrote Gideon Haigh in The Australian newspaper.
Most were united in their praise of India, but there was also criticism of Australia.

“I think there’ll be a huge fallout from this,” said leg-spinning great Shane Warne, commentating on TV, noting that India had been without their entire frontline bowling attack through injury.
“There’s not too many times that you lose to the second or third side,” he said.
“Tactics will come into question. Bowlers will come into question. People’s spots in the team will come into question.”
Mitchell Starc, who bowled 16 wicketless overs for 75 on the final day, came in for particular criticism after taking just 11 wickets in the series, with some saying captain Tim Paine had lost faith in the left-arm paceman.

“I know that your impact bowlers are meant to come in and have a little burst, but there just doesn’t seem to have been the trust that Mitchell Starc’s going to do the job,” said former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist.
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor said: “You can have Starc when he’s bowling at his best, but I think we need some subtlety in our bowling.
“We need someone who can swing the ball a bit, someone who can ask questions around lbw or bowled, not always looking to bounce batsmen out or get them caught behind,” Taylor said.
Australia should look to bowlers such as the South Australian fast-medium pair Chadd Sayers and Daniel Worrall, who would add something different to the current three-pronged pace attack, said Taylor.
“There’s a lot of talk about Australia not being aggressive enough, but I don’t agree with that,” Taylor said. “I think we need to find some subtlety in our bowling attack.”
Some said that Australia should be thanking India for their skill and courage in coming to play the series at all during a global coronavirus pandemic.
“We mightn’t be thanking you in five years when you’re still whisking away matches from under our noses, but thanks for now, and take a bow,” said the Sydney Morning Herald’s Greg Baum.
“By series end, few Australians would have begrudged you whatever spoils you took home.”


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