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Champions League: Antonio Conte not ready to wait

Tottenham manager says forward Lucas Moura could be in contention for a place, after the Brazilian came off the bench on Sunday
Antonio Conte.
Antonio Conte.
File picture

Reuters   |   London   |   Published 26.10.22, 04:08 AM

Tottenham Hotspur must shrug off consecutive Premier League defeats as they attempt to seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a win against Sporting Lisbon in their penultimate Group D game on Wednesday.

Antonio Conte’s side have had a reality check after losing to Manchester United and Newcastle United but remain well-placed to progress in Europe as they top the group with seven points.

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Tottenham will be wary after losing 0-2 in Lisbon last month when substitutes Paulinho and Arthur Gomes scored late on.

Victory will guarantee a place in the last-16 for Tottenham while Sporting, who have six points, would go through with a win if the match between Marseille and Eintracht Frankfurt is drawn.

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte said it was important his side wrapped up a toptwo place before what could be a tough trip to Marseille in the last round of fixtures.

“ Winning tomorrow (Wednesday) is vital. You avoid waiting for the last games,” Conte told reporters.

Striker Richarlison and midfielder Dejan Kulusevski are both still out but Conte did not rule out a return for defender Cristian Romero and midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, both of whom missed the 1-2 defeat by Newcastle.

He also said forward Lucas Moura could be in contention for a place, after the Brazilian came off the bench on Sunday. “Lucas is recovering and improving from a long injury in his tendons, but we have to take some risks,” Conte said.

Ajax shows ‘belief’

Ajax Amsterdam coach Alfred Schreuder wants his players to rely on their self-belief so that they can overcome Liverpool on Wednesday and keep alive their slim hopes of advancing to the knockout stage.

Ajax would need to beat Liverpool by two goals at the Amsterdam Arena in their penultimate Group A match to stand any chance of progressing provided other results also go their way.

In the final round of matches next week, Liverpool face Napoli and Ajax take on bottom-placed Rangers.

“It’s about the points. We must display the belief that it is possible. If we want to play on this stage, we have to show that with healthy bravado and aggression,” Schreuder told a news conference on Tuesday

“We need to show more guts. We have to run free at the right times.”

Ajax go into the game on the back of three successive defeats in the Champions League, beaten 1-2 at Anfield in mid-September and then hammered 1-6 at home and 2-4 away by Napoli.

“We know Liverpool have a great team, but we just want to do things better in possession than there at Anfield. We will also have to do things better when we don’t have the ball. We have to improve defensively and that will be important.”

Qatar emir hits back at Cup critics

Doha: Qatar has faced unprecedented criticism since winning the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, some of which amounted to slander, its ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said on Tuesday.

“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith,” Sheikh Tamim said in a televised policy speech, adding that some of the early criticism was constructive.

But, he went on to add, a campaign against Qatar expanded to “include fabrications and double standards that were so ferocious that it has unfortunately prompted many people to question the real reasons and motives behind the campaign”.

Qatar, the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup, has come under intense international criticism for its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws.

Qatar expects 1.2 million visitors during the tournament.

Sheikh Tamim said hosting the World Cup, which begins on November 20, was “a great test for a country the size of Qatar”.

Reuters



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