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Player ratings as Socceroos keep last 16 hopes alive

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Australia won a World Cup game for the first time since 2010 with a hard-earned victory against Tunisia on Saturday.

The Socceroos kept their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive with a dogged performance in Qatar, keeping the Eagles of Carthage at bay and picking up their first points of the tournament.

A tense opening 20 minutes yielded little in way of chances, with Youssef Msakni dribbling the ball through the six yard box and out for a goal kick in the only real foray for either side early on.

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Mohamed Drager lashed a shot from range high and wide soon after as Tunisia at least began to show a little bit of adventure, before they were hit with a suckerpunch at the other end.

Craig Goodwin burst down the left flank and managed to pick out a cross – albeit via a deflection off of Drager – for Mitchell Duke, who did well to contort his body and neck to steer a header up and beyond Aymen Dahmen to give Australia the lead.

Drager spurned another opening for Tunisia after catching the Socceroos cold from a quick throw-in, with his close-range strike blocked off the line by Harry Souttar.

Tunisia should have levelled on the stroke of half-time when Msakni fired wide from six yards out having met a low cutback from Issam Jebali, and Australia went into tthe interval leading in a World Cup game for the first time.

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Mathew Leckie came close to doubling the lead midway through the second half as he attempted to meet Jamie Maclaren’s low cross, but there was too much venom on the ball and the chance went begging.

In dying need of a goal, centre-back Montassar Talbi lashed a volley at goal with under 10 minutes remaining, but it was easily held by Mat Ryan.

The chances were coming too late for Tunisia, with Wahbi Khazri next up to aim straight down Ryan’s throat.

Ultimately, Tunisia didn’t ask enough questions of Australia and are now staring down the barrel of elimination with France up next for them. The Socceroos round off the group stage against Denmark.

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GK: Aymen Dahmen – 5/10 – Didn’t have too much to do.

CB: Dylan Bronn – 6/10 – Endured tough battles with the tireless Goodwin.

CB: Yassine Meriah – 5/10 – Uncomfortable on the ball but made some good recovery challenges.

CB: Montassar Talbi – 6/10 – Largely got the better of Leckie.

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RM: Mohamed Drager – 6/10 – Lively going forward in his only half of football, though was rather wasteful.

CM: Ellyes Skhiri – 5/10 – At the heart of most of Tunisia’s best spells, but there simply weren’t enough of them.

CM: Aissa Laidouni – 4/10 – Contributed little compared to his midfield partner.

LM: Ali Abdi – 5/10 – Roamed forward but didn’t tangibly have too much of an impact.

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RF: Naim Sliti – 3/10 – Aside from a brief spell at the start of the second half, Sliti was very quiet.

LF: Youssef Msakni – 4/10 – Wasted the good chances he got and was on the periphery of the game when not harming his side’s attacks.

CF: Issam Jebali – 5/10 – Linked up well with his other forwards but wasn’t too threatening himself.

SUB: Ferjani Sassi (46′ for Drager) – 3/10

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SUB: Wahbi Khazri (67′ for Laidouni) – 4/10

SUB: Taha Yassine Khenissi (74′ for Jebali) – 4/10

SUB: Wajdi Kechrida (74′ for Bronn) – 4/10

Manager: Jalel Kadri – 4/10 – Made changes to try and turn the tide but Tunisia looked way off it from the start.

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GK: Mat Ryan – 7/10 – Made a couple of decent saves down the stretch.

RB: Fran Karacic – 7/10 – Useful at both ends of the pitch and put in a great shift.

CB: Harry Souttar – 9/10 – Got his head on absolutely everything and his distrubution was excellent. Provided several key tackles and blocks.

CB: Kye Rowles – 7/10 – Held the fort well alongside Souttar.

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LB: Aziz Behich – 6/10 – Got beaten a bit easily in a few duels but was largely fine.

CM: Aaron Mooy – 8/10 – Dug in deep to do the dirty work, but provided great technical ability in the midfield battle too.

CM: Jackson Irvine – 6/10 – Weeved his way between the lines and partnered Mooy well.

AM: Riley McGree – 5/10 – Wasn’t involved as much as Australia’s other midfielders.

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RW: Mathew Leckie – 6/10 – Delivery wasn’t as on point today but he made good decisions and fought for the team.

CF: Mitchell Duke – 8/10 – Worked ever so hard for the team and took his goal extremely well.

LW: Craig Goodwin – 7/10 –
Never stopped running. A bit of fortune about his assist but the move between him and Duke deserved a goal.

SUB: Jamie Maclaren (64′ for Duke) – 6/10

SUB: Ajdin Hrustic (64′ for McGree) – 6/10

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SUB: Milos Degenek (76′ for Karacic) – 6/10

SUB: Keanu Baccus (85′ for Leckie) – N/A

SUB: Awer Mabil (85′ for Goodwin) – N/A

Manager: Graham Arnold – 7/10 – Australia’s dedication and defensive resilience is a credit to their manager.

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Player of the Match – Harry Souttar



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EPL

Nottingham Forest announce signing of Andre Ayew

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed the signing of free agent Andre Ayew despite interest from Everton.

The forward has been heavily linked with a move to the Toffees in recent days, but Forest have swooped in to sign the Ghanian.

Speaking to the club’s official website after finalising the move, the forward said:  “It’s a great feeling to sign for Nottingham Forest.

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“I know how big the club is and I know how much the club means to the city and the fanbase. It’s always been difficult whenever I’ve played against Forest and at The City Ground and I love the stadium.

“Steve Cooper is someone who knows me very well and knows how to work with me both on and off the pitch. We have a strong relationship, he’s a special coach and a special human being and someone who I really look up to.”

“I know what I can bring to the team, I’m ready to give my all and make sure that we are able to stay in the Premier League.”



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Wolves vs Liverpool – Premier League: TV channel, team news, lineups & prediction

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Liverpool will be looking to make a statement with a Premier League trip to Wolves this weekend, having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Brighton last Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are without a league win in their last three attempts and have slipped as low as ninth in the table. Depending on what Chelsea do against Fulham on Friday night, the Reds could be 10th by the time they kick-off at Wolves.

Wolves are still yet to really find their groove under Julen Lopetegui, although at least remain out of the relegation zone on goal difference for the time being.

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Wolves team news

Wolves have no new injury concerns ahead of this one, with Pedro Neto, Boubacar Traore, Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho all still sidelined.

Wolves predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Sa; Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno; Neves, Nunes; Traore, Sarabia, Hwang; Jimenez.

Liverpool team news

Centre-back Ibrahima Konate is the latest Liverpool player to join the injury list, ruled out until at least mid-February with a hamstring problem.

Virgil van Dijk is also still out, as are Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota. Arthur Melo is making progress but is a couple of weeks away from resuming training.

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Liverpool predicted lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.

It’s certainly feasible that Wolves could continue to pile the misery on Liverpool.

The Reds had beaten Wolves in seven consecutive meetings until a recent FA Cup tie ended in 2-2 draw at Anfield. It was then only a single goal that decided the replay in the Merseysiders’ favour.

Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Liverpool

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Mason Greenwood releases statement after Greater Manchester Police drop all charges

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Mason Greenwood has released a short statement stating that he is ‘relieved’ after the Greater Manchester Police dropped all charges against the Man Utd forward.

Greenwood was charged with attempted rape, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour and assault, allegations relating to the same woman last year and, following an investigation, GMP have confirmed that all charges have been dropped.

The GMP confirmed the news in a statement earlier on Thursday: “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.

“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.

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“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.

“I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them. An ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training and the force is more consistently utilising tools, available via the criminal justice system, to keep people safe and care for victims.”

Greenwood has now responded with a statement of his own, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”

Manchester United are due to conducted their own internal investigation on the matter.

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