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Player ratings as win not enough for Red Devils

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From Leigh Sports Village – Manchester United cruised to a 4-2 victory Everton in the Continental Cup group stage but will likely not progress to the knockout rounds, despite still having another game left to play later this month, due to results elsewhere on Wednesday night.

Vilde Boe Risa scored two early goals in a statement performance to stake her claim for a more regular place, with Rachel Williams and Jade Moore also on the score-sheet in an action-packed first half played at an electric tempo on an icy night in Greater Manchester.

Jess Park pulled one back for Everton when it was 3-0, but by then it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Toffees. Karen Holmgaard got another consolation in stoppage time.

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It was a heavily rotated United side only days ahead of a crucial Manchester derby. But as they so often have done at home in the WSL this season, the hosts made a flying start to the game and had the lead with only a minute on the clock as Boe Risa nodded in Ona Batlle’s clip into the box.

Not much longer had passed when Williams followed up her Old Trafford goal at the weekend with a close-range finish. Everton failed to deal with a cross and the veteran striker stabbed the ball high into the net as Lucia Garcia turned it back into the middle.

United’s third goal from Boe Risa in only the 19th minute was the result of a clinical break but more poor Everton defending. Lucy Staniforth was involved in releasing Martha Thomas down the right wing, with Boe Risa beating Everton goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan to the ball in the box.

But the hosts will have been disappointed to have then conceded, with stand-in goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley misjudging the flight of a through ball, allowing Jess Park to take it round her. United did immediately respond, though, as Moore bundled in from close range – all inside half an hour.

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Everton made a much more positive start to the second half and Park struck the bar, while half-time substitute Nicoline Sorensen also forced Baggaley into a low save at the near post. Substitutions definitely made a difference and Brian Sorensen must have been ruing the opening 20 minutes that took the game away from his team so quickly at the start.

Brosnan just about did enough to deny the hosts a fifth when Thomas went chasing after a through ball. It broke to the United striker with the goal potentially gaping, but the chance had gone by the time she managed to sort her feet.

Everton grabbed a second consolation at the death when Katja Snoeijs lifted the ball to the far corner and Holmgaard bundled the ball over the line.

GK: Sophie Baggaley – 5/10 – Not the most convincing performance. At fault for the Everton goal, which will disappoint her on a rare chance to play. Made saves in the second half.

RB: Ona Batlle (c) – 8/10 – Captained the side again in this competition and picked up where she left off at the weekend with another excellent attacking performance until she was rested.

CB: Aissatou Tounkara – 6/10 – Still finding her feet in English football after so few chances since joining United. Good and bad in parts here.

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CB: Millie Turner – 7/10 – Solid until being rested at half-time. Everton didn’t much threaten when she was on the pitch.

LB: Maria Thorisdottir – 6/10 – Showed her versatility after previously impressing at left-back against Everton in the league.

CM: Lucy Staniforth – 7/10 – Gave a big performance in the first half to effectively win the game in the first 20 minutes.

CM: Jade Moore – 7/10 – In the team primarily to shield the back four but got forward to score.

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CM: Vilde Boe Risa – 8/10 – Needed to make a statement if she wants to force her way into the WSL starting XI and went about it the right way with two early goals. Faded later on.

RW: Martha Thomas – 7/10 – Looked keen to impress with energy down the right. Assisted the third.

ST: Rachel Williams – 7/10 – Scored for the second game in a row and worked hard in both boxes.

LF: Lucia Garcia – 7/10 – Will take confidence from an early assist on her first start since October. Continued to stretch the game in the second half when United withdrew a little.

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Substitutes

SUB: Katie Zelem (46′ for Moore) – 6/10

SUB: Maya Le Tissier (46′ for Turner) – 6/10

SUB: Hannah Blundell (46′ for Batlle) – 6/10

SUB: Ella Toone (79′ for Thomas) – 6/10

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SUB: Leah Galton (85′ for Williams) – N/A

Manager

Marc Skinner – 7/10 – Pleased to see his team blow another opponent away in the first half with a high tempo performance. Surprising to see Zelem and Le Tissier come on so early with a comfortable lead by then and a big game also coming up on Sunday.

GK: Courtney Brosnan – 4/10 – Will be disappointed with several of the goals that went in.

RB: Leonie Maier – 4/10 – Not a great performance and off at half-time.

CB: Nathalie Bjorn – 5/10 – Played on the right of a back three in the second half and did well to keep Garcia and Galton from doing more damage. But the game was gone.

CB: Rikke Sevecke – 4/10 – Given the run around by Williams and Thomas in a first half that quickly defined the game.

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LB: Gabby George – 4/10 – Caught too far forward when United scored their second and third. Transitioned to a more comfortable wing-back role later on.

CM: Aurora Galli – 5/10 – Off the pace in the first half but improved after the break.

CM: Karen Holmgaard – 5/10 – Wasn’t a match for Boe Risa, Staniforth or Moore to begin with. Dropped into a more resilient back-line in the second half and scored in stoppage time.

CM: Hanna Bennison – 5/10 – Became more involved after half-time but also had to walk a tightrope after taking a cynical booking.

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RF: Aggie Beever-Jones – 5/10 – Didn’t really threaten as she is capable of.

ST: Gio – 4/10 – Withdrawn inside half an hour. Unclear if it was injury related.

LF: Jess Park – 7/10 – Everton’s biggest threat by some distance. Made the most of a Baggaley error to pull one back in the first half and hit the bar after half-time.

Substitutes

SUB: Katja Snoeijs (29′ for Gio) – 6/10

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SUB: Nicoline Sorensen (46′ for Beever-Jones) – 6/10

SUB: Lucy Graham (46′ for Maier) – 6/10

SUB: Izzy Christiansen (62′ for Bennison) – 6/10

Manager

Brian Sorensen – 6/10 – The second time this season he has seen his team picked apart by Manchester United, despite much closer games against Manchester City and Arsenal recently. Substitutes definitely made a difference to the performance but it was too late by then.

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Player of the match – Vilde Boe Risa (Man Utd)

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter!





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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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