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Player ratings as Ivan Toney double sinks Cityzens

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Manchester City fell to their first home defeat of the season as Ivan Toney snatched three points for Brentford with a 98th-minute winner on Saturday lunchtime.

The overlooked England international put his side ahead against the champions before Phil Foden levelled on the cusp of half-time. City were limited to frustrating efforts from range before Toney struck right at the death with the hosts caught upfield from their own set-piece.

Pep Guardiola spent much of the pre-match buildup batting away suggestions that his international-littered side would suffer a dip, subconscious or otherwise, ahead of the imminent World Cup. Instead, his hesitations resided with the 12.30 pm start time. “Early kick-off,” Guardiola mused, “always a little more complicated.” And so it proved.

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Brentford exposed City’s sluggishness twice in the opening six minutes. Frank Onyeka’s burst from midfield wasn’t tracked by a sky-blue shirt as David Raya went over the top of City’s press with a long punt. Ederson was swiftly off his line to smother the midfielder before he was called into action moments later.

Rico Henry led a breakaway down the left, tossing a cross into the box which Bryan Mbeumo squared for Toney. Despite the surprising glut of space inside City’s penalty area, Toney rushed his sweep towards goal which Ederson pawed away.

Brazil’s number two was finally beaten by the striker Gareth Southgate deemed unworthy of a World Cup slot. Raya fizzed a set piece from deep which Ben Mee nodded towards Toney. Giving Aymeric Laporte a sly nudge in the back, Toney looped a 16th-minute opener over Ederson.

The Bees were quick to drop into a 5-3-2 off the ball but were reluctant to passively sit back. Yet, the urgency and accuracy of a City side trailing pushed the visitors onto the toes of their goalkeeper.

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Half an hour into an incident-ridden first half, Brentford survived a squall of penalty appeals. Henry was perhaps the most fortunate to escape the scrutiny of the video screen. Bernardo Silva scooped the ball onto the wingback’s arm but VAR deemed that there was “no clear evidence” to prove the offence took place inside the penalty box.

Brentford couldn’t cling onto their advantage until the half-time whistle. Kevin De Bruyne’s stoppage-time corner kick bounced through to Foden, popping up for the England international to belt a brilliantly crisp half-volley into the roof of the net.

A lengthy injury delay as Laporte had a cut on his eyebrow treated punctuated a staccato start to the second half. However, City strung together a bewitching sequence dripping in fluency shortly after the hour mark. A zig-zagging burst of passes interwoven between Brentford players committed to press culminated with Ilkay Gundogan squandering a rare, unobstructed sight of goal.

The visitors were firmly on the back foot after taking the lead but intermittently reminded City of the counter-punch they possess. Another laser-like pass from Raya set Henry scampering into City’s penalty area, forcing Laporte into a desperate clearance with Toney lurking on his shoulder inside the six-yard box.

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With everyone tossed forward in the dying embers of an afternoon to forget, City were twice caught completely exposed on the break. Toney tucked away Josh Dasilva’s square pass at the first time of asking but missed the chance to seal his hat-trick in the final of ten added minutes. Nevertheless, it proved enough for Brentford to earn their first victory over City since 1989, condemning the hosts to a second-place position this Christmas.

Phil Foden

Phil Foden levelled the score for Manchester City on the cusp of half-time / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

GK: Ederson – 8/10 – Kept City in the contest with some excellent stops from point-blank range. Forced into a raft of commanding catches.

RB: John Stones – 4/10 – Lumbered unconvincingly back towards his own goal when forced to retreat in transition.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 3/10 – Out-jumped by Mee for Brentford’s opener as City conceded their third set-piece goal of the season. They only let in one last term.

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CB: Aymeric Laporte – 6/10 – Much more assured when the ball was on the deck rather than challenging Brentford’s aerially adept forwards.

LB: Joao Cancelo – 3/10 – Everything was forced, including a poorly executed dive which he was rightly booked for.

CM: Kevin De Bruyne – 6/10 – Romped and roamed across the turf in a characteristically all-action display but the end product was lacking.

CM: Rodri – 7/10 – Always available as City’s pressure valve against Brentford’s intermittent press.

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CM: Ilkay Gundogan – 4/10 – Lax when tracking Brentford’s forward runners from midfield and missed City’s clearest chance after charging upfield himself.

RW: Bernardo Silva – 5/10 – Struggled when forced into a one-on-one with Henry but floated into space away from the wingback.

ST: Erling Haaland – 4/10 – Repeatedly charged into an invariably solid set of red and white stripes.

LW: Phil Foden – 6/10 – Took his goal superbly but wasn’t overly involved otherwise.

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SUB: Julian Alvarez (87′ for Cancelo) – N/A

Manager: Pep Guardiola – 4/10 – Didn’t make his first substitution until the 87th minute as he tweaked the positions of his starting XI but without much joy against obdurate foes.

GK: David Raya – 8/10 – Arguably the most penetrative passer on the pitch this afternoon, bypassing City’s press with his devastatingly accurate long kicks.

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CB: Mathias Jorgensen – 6/10 – No nonsense with his approach to defending his own box.

CB: Ethan Pinnock – 6/10 – Solid in a display spent mostly clearing his lines.

CB: Ben Mee – 7/10 – Adept at positioning his frame in the way of a sky blue shirt taking aim.

RWB: Mads Roerslev – 5/10 – Stood firm against the tricky challenge of Foden.

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CM: Frank Onyeka – 5/10 – Started brightly but faded from the foreground.

CM: Vitaly Janelt – 6/10 – Sweeping up as the ballast in Brentford’s midfield.

CM: Mathias Jensen – 5/10 – Struggled to exert a lasting impact on proceedings.

LWB: Rico Henry – 8/10 – Took a hands-on (a little too literally at times) approach to defending his opposite winger but was a constant threat spearing into the final third.

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ST: Bryan Mbeumo – 6/10 – On his record-breaking 50th Premier League appearance for Brentford, Mbeumo scurried and harried around the final third selflessly.

ST: Ivan Toney – 8/10 – A menace in the air as he thrived as the link-man up against City’s fretting centre-backs.

SUB: Christian Norgaard (62′ for Janelt) – 5/10

SUB: Yoane Wissa (74′ for Mbeumo) – N/A

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SUB: Josh Dasilva (87′ for Onyeka) – N/A

Manager: Thomas Frank – 7/10 – Set his side up to defend doggedly but also posed a potent threat going forward.

Player of the Match – Ivan Toney (Brentford)





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EPL

Al-Nassr offer Cristiano Ronaldo record-breaking contract

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Al-Nassr have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a contract that could make him the highest paid footballer in history, according to report.

The 37-year-old sensationally left Manchester United by mutual agreement earlier this month after he criticised the club’s players, manager and hierarchy in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo, who is currently away at the World Cup with Portugal, has been targeted by clubs in Saudi Arabia before, and turned down the opportunity to join Al-Hilal in the summer despite being offered over £300m to do so.

90min previously revealed that Al-Hilal were preparing a fresh offer for Ronaldo, but it’s believed they have turned their attention to Lionel Messi and other priorities – paving the way for Al-Nassr to try and engineer a move of their own.

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Ronaldo’s current intention is to remain in Europe, where he can continue to compete in the Champions League, but sources have confirmed to 90min that Al-Nassr have put forward a blockbuster contract offer to take him to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Nassr’s offer is believed to be a three-year deal worth close to £250m a year once add-ons, incentives and bonuses are factored in – eclipsing the huge contract Kylian Mbappe penned earlier this summer to remain at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was made clear in the interview he conducted with Morgan.

Newcastle United, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Chelsea are two Premier League teams to have previously been linked with Ronaldo.

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Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration

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Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.

The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.

Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:

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“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”

Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.

“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

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If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player

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Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.

Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.

On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.

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It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.

Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.

Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.





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