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Bartosz Kapustka scored the first goal of his OH Leuven loan spell but Leicester City’s sister club slipped to another defeat to increase pressure on Nigel Pearson.
Kapustka netted a late penalty in his third appearance for the Belgian club, but it was nothing more than a consolation as Leuven went down 3-1 at home to Union Saint-Gilloise.
That is now seven games without victory for the pre-season promotion favourites, who remain bottom of the second tier amid fan protests.
Despite the result, Leuven manager Pearson was “very satisfied” with Kapustka’s performance. Fellow City loanee Elliott Moore also featured.
Islam Slimani and Fenerbahce’s struggles also continued. The Turkish giants lost 3-0 at previously-winless Caykur Rizespor and now sit just two points outside the relegation zone.
Slimani played 90 minutes again but remains on one goal in seven appearance for the club. There was more joy for City’s loanees back home.
Harvey Barnes impressed once again as West Brom hit top spot in the Championship. The attacking midfielder played 72 minutes in the Baggies’ 3-2 win at Preston and was named BirminghamLive’s star man for his display.
In League Two, goalkeeper Daniel Iversen kept his fourth clean sheet in nine as Oldham drew 0-0 at Swindon. The Latics remain in the play-off places in a tightly-contested league where sides from fifth to 16th are separated by just two points.
Argentina great Diego Maradona revealed he would tell superstar Lionel Messi not to return to the national team. Messi, 31, last featured for Argentina at the World Cup, skipping friendlies in September and being ruled out of upcoming matches against Iraq and Brazil.
Maradona, a 1986 World Cup winner, feels Messi – Argentina's all-time leading goalscorer – should retire from international duty. Asked what he would say to Messi, Maradona told Clarin: "Don't come anymore."
He added: "The under-15s lose and it's Messi's fault. The fixture in Argentina puts Racing against Boca and Messi is to blame. It's always his fault. "I would say, 'don't go anymore'. Let's see if they can handle it."
Messi and Argentina, who scraped into Russia 2018, were eliminated in the last 16 by eventual champions France. The star's international future has been in doubt since the showpiece tournament, with Messi having previously retired in 2016.
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno prepared to seize ‘big chance’ following injury to Petr Cech
Bernd Leno is ready to grasp the opportunity with both hands as an injury to Petr Cech opens up a chance for the goalkeeper to establish himself as first-choice at Arsenal. Cech limped out of the 2-0 Premier League win over Watford on the stroke of half-time having pulled up in pain following a goal-kick.
Leno, a summer signing from Bayer Leverkusen, replaced the Gunners captain to make his league debut and produced a couple of smart saves as a late Craig Cathcart own goal and a Mesut Ozil strike earned the points for Arsenal.
The 26-year-old has had to be patient for his chance to impress head coach Unai Emery, who has preferred the experienced Cech since taking over at the Emirates Stadium.
Now he is expected to turn to Leno, who is ready and raring to make his mark in the Premier League. “Yes, of course,” he replied when asked if he was excited by the chance to establish himself in Cech’s absence.
“Now Petr is injured – I don’t know how long for – I have the opportunity to play more games and show the coach my quality. “It is a big chance for me, I don’t want to say it wrong that I am happy for Petr to be injured, I think always it is a bad feeling so I feel sorry for him but now I have more opportunities to play and I will concentrate on the games.”
While it was a surprise to some that Leno did not instantly take his place as Arsenal’s number one after moving to England, Leno admits it may now be beneficial for him to have been eased into life at a new club.
“I wanted to play all games, the first games against City, Chelsea and West Ham,” he added. “It’s difficult to sit on the bench but the coach said to me don’t be disappointed or sad, just train hard.
“He has worked with many goalkeepers and, like I said before, the goalkeeper is a very special position. It needs a little bit more time for your personality and confidence and feeling with the defence.
“I was calm and worked very hard every day. I’m happy that the coach gave me some games in the Europa League and Carabao Cup. “He said to me it’s good to get a feeling for the team and also for the football because it is different and needs a little bit of time. The coach gave me the time.
“I didn’t play so many games so the two games in the Europa League and Carabao Cup were very important for me to get the confidence with the defence, get a feeling with the team and also for the players to play from the back. So it was good for me that I already played those two games in the cups.”
Leno is likely to play in Arsenal’s Europa League tie against Qarabag in Azerbaijan next week, although Emery may be tempted to wrap him in cotton wool and select Emiliano Martinez instead.
Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Barcelona, Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that Tottenham’s attacking midfielder Dele Alli will not play any part in the crucial clash.
Alli, who joined Spurs in 2015 from MK Dons, missed two matches earlier this season after picking up a hamstring injury with England.
He has suffered a similar sort of injury during last Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win against Watford, and as a result, missed Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win at Huddersfield.
When asked whether Alli will be fit to face Barcelona, Pochettino said as quoted by ESPN: “No, no. I don’t know [how long he’ll be out for] because he re-injured the same muscle that he got with England against Spain. It is now so important to be relaxed and calm.”
The 22-year-old is a key player for Spurs and his absence will be a massive blow for Pochettino’s side. Spurs lost 2-1 against Inter Milan at San Siro in their opening Champions League game and they will be looking to get a positive result against the La Liga giants at home.
The north London club are also sweating on the fitnesses of Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele. Both the players suffered injuries in their last game, and will be assessed in the next 48 hours.