“The doctor put some numbing cream on it, then I got on the bike and sat on that nearly all of half-time to keep the legs ticking over. It wasn’t much fun running around in the second half.”
Hunt picked up the impact fracture in his right leg when tackled by Queensland Origin teammate Daly Cherry-Evans and Jack Gosiewski in the eighth minute. Replays show him feeling for his leg before playing on.
He received a knock on the same spot a week earlier in Townsville, a performance some good judges hailed as his best to date in the Red V.
“Trying to sleep on Friday night was rough, and when I went to recovery on Saturday morning all the boys were into me because they thought it was just a cork and I was on crutches,” Hunt said.
“Once I went for the scans they found the fracture. I’m in a moonboot now for a couple of weeks and basically have to keep the weight off.
“But I don’t need surgery and the timeframe they’ve given me to return is four to six weeks. There’s nothing we can do and we have to let it heal itself.
“It’s definitely a bugger because personally I felt like I was hitting my straps, and the boys were coming together really well, but that’s the way footy goes. Every team has their share of injuries. It’s my turn at the moment.”
Hunt said a return for the Anzac Day clash against the Roosters would be the best-case scenario. Two Sunday games follow against the Wests Tigers and Bulldogs, before the Magic Round weekend against Melbourne.
The 31-year-old is desperate to get back for the Dragons. They were considered wooden-spoon contenders just a few weeks ago, but are now coming off wins over the Cowboys and Sea Eagles and head to Newcastle on Sunday brimming with confidence.
Hunt also knows if he can quickly regain his form it will not be lost on new Maroons coach Paul Green.
In the meantime, Hunt has backed Adam Clune to again do his Dragons’ No.7 jersey justice, especially with his excellent organisational skills.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
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Sometimes the biggest pain isn’t the injury itself, but the journey back from it. Not just the physical pain, but the emotional toll as well.
The lifespan of a top level athlete is usually a short one. The average Australian has a working life of about half a century, give or take. The average footballer, about a tenth of that. Each missing week is compounded, a missing year a huge absence.
Tom Mitchell was at the absolute peak of his powers at the start of 2019. The 25-year-old had just come off winning the Brownlow Medal, and led the Hawks to a top four finish the season prior.
Then, disaster struck. A routine early season training session ends in a broken leg for the star Hawk, and a season is washed away in a second for both the player and club.
But the absence is only half of the picture – the comeback is also a hard slog. Two years on from his terrible break, Tom Mitchell seems poised to stake his place at the top echelons of the game.
Any injury brings about a multitude of questions, and a serious one brings them in spades.
For young Tom, the main one was simple.
Would Mitchell be able to return to his peak, and if so, how long would it take?
Broken legs at AFL level are a relatively rare event — less than one a year occur (thankfully). But there are some prominent examples in footy past. Mitchell’s (slight) struggles last year spoke to a common (if limited) trajectory for players on the way back from a broken leg.
Not all leg breaks are the same — compound fractures are a far different proposition to a cleaner break, and will significantly impact the ability to return to full strength later on in their careers.
For the most basic headline statistic, the ability to win and use the ball, there’s a clear drop-off in the first year for those returning from a broken leg.
These players generate 14 per cent fewer disposals in their comeback season as compared with their level the season immediately before they suffered their injury.
A bigger impact is seen when looking at who the umpires rate as the best on the ground. With the Brownlow medal only recognising the top three players in any game, it serves as a look at the best of the best. And the best were often not those coming back from a broken leg, despite their ability beforehand.
Viewing the total impact of players makes the total picture even clearer. Not all players come back from a broken leg, but almost all of those who do see a drop off after their return.
Unlike some other forms of injury, a long-term return to form isn’t impossible. After year two, players are not too far off their previous levels of performance, and year three generally sees them on par.
The career of Michael Voss bodes particularly well for Mitchell’s future progression. A hard running hard nut, Voss suffered a broken leg at the age of 22, two years after claiming his solitary Brownlow medal.
Despite not winning another Brownlow, Voss did captain one of the most successful teams in the modern era, and was arguably one of the dozen best players of his era – with most of that coming after his comeback.
By his previous high standards, Mitchell’s 2020 was down on his performance in 2018. This was not totally unexpected, and was affected by the wider situation impacting Hawthorn.
At the same time, the road back from injury is just that – a road. Full form can’t be expected from game one or even year one of a return to play after a long absence, regardless of injury. This is especially the case for very high quality players.
Sometimes roles have to evolve, and the ways players play have to change.
Mitchell’s path to the elite of the league was marked with a couple of hurdles on the way. It was a fait accompli that Mitchell would end up heading to the Swans due to his father Barry, and his starring efforts for the Swans of old.
From there, the young Mitchell struggled to find a spot in a midfield stacked with names like Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack and Luke Parker.
There were no doubts about his talents. Not only were 40+ disposal games routine for the Swans reserves, they also weren’t enough to earn a senior team recall.
Games Mitchell did earn in the senior team were often in a hybrid mid-forward role, or on the outer of the main midfield rotation.
Given the tough path to selection at Sydney, and a tight TPP cap following Lance Franklin’s arrival harbourside, a new home was on the cards for Mitchell. Hawthorn came calling, not with a king’s ransom, but instead a relatively humble pick 16.
At Glenferrie, Mitchell established himself on the top rung of players in the competition. But Mitchell isn’t like many of the other top midfielders going.
In an era of multidimensional, position shifting midfielders, Mitchell … well, really isn’t that.
As evidenced in his record-setting reserves days, Mitchell’s game is ground-based, and focused on getting the ball no matter where it is.
The Hawk excels at finding the ball where no-one else can see it, and never giving up on a play. Mitchell is often able to shed his opponent and get to second and third phases of the same play. In an era of reading the play, and working out what will happen next, Mitchell excels beyond almost all of his colleagues.
Mitchell stands out in his ability to find the ball, and follow up if something goes wrong. His use of the body, both to help him and his teammates, opens up opportunities beyond his own stat count.
Compared to many other top level modern midfielders – Dustin Martin, Patrick Dangerfield, Nat Fyfe, Christian Petracca, Marcus Bontempelli – Mitchell generally covers more ground behind the ball than in front of it. This speaks to his skill in chasing and controlling the ball. He’s also not afraid to bully opponents.
He tends not to rest forward as much as the players listed above, and doesn’t have the necessary size to be a solo target up forward. Instead, Mitchell often supports play as a strong user out of the back half, helping to drive the ball forward as a link player.
This also has an impact on the major area of criticism for Mitchell – his lack of impact possessions. Mitchell sits a cut below other pinnacle mids for score involvements, scores, inside 50s and score launches. While Mitchell gets a lot of the rock, he doesn’t kill you with it all the time.
That’s not all on Mitchell, and speaks to his role within the Hawthorn set-up.
Mitchell has been fortunate enough to play with more aggressive ball users going inside 50, with names like Isaac Smith (now at Geelong), Jaeger O’Meara, Shaun Burgoyne and Luke Breust carrying a far bigger load delivering the ball forward.
As Hawthorn’s list evolves, so may Mitchell’s role.
Against Essendon in round one, Mitchell displayed some adept ball use at times, especially in the clip above. His skill with the foot is severely underrated at times, and he tends to be able to find shorter targets quite effectively when given the opportunity.
It will be interesting to see how Hawthorn balances its midfield rotation in the year ahead, especially with a younger list profile than in previous years.
The year ahead
While the trendline for Mitchell seems to be rising up, Hawthorn still sits somewhat in no-man’s land this year.
Short of top end draft picks in recent years, Hawthorn has a number of top-tier talents, but a dearth of young depth below. While the come-from-behind win over Essendon was impressive, the Hawks had to come from a long way behind. That won’t happen every week.
As a result, this year could be about the little things – finding a couple of pieces around the ground, and getting the balance for the future right in the middle.
At 28, and as one of the pre-eminent talents in the game, a fit and firing Mitchell is a big part of that.
The road back may be a long one, but it’s well underway.
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A Melbourne grandfather has made a powerful plea to a hit-run driver that left him for dead to come forward and take responsibility for the hurt he’s endured.
Nick Torpia had his leg amputated after 23 surgeries that resulted in from a New Year’s Day crash that left him bleeding out in a gutter, screaming for his daughter.
The Deer Park man told 9News today he can forgive the SUV driver who struck him while he was riding his Harley Davidson, but he could never forget.
“You left me to die, and I survived … I have no leg,” Mr Torpia said. “They’ve taken that away from me, and that hurts me in here.” Slumped on the side of Station Road, Mr Torpia said one voice kept him alive. “My brother-in-law in the background yelling out to me when I was on the ground … yelling a ‘kia kaha’ which is ‘be strong’ … I remember that,” he said. The 55-year-old’s strength carried him through four weeks in a coma, 23 surgeries and eventually the amputation of part of his left leg. Known as “the joker” and a gentle giant, the grandfather-of-nine has been slowly rebuilding his body at the Epworth Hospital.
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Paris St-Germain have ruled Neymar out of the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie against Barcelona.
The Brazil forward missed the first leg against his former side, which PSG won 4-1, with a thigh injury.
“Neymar returned to partial training with the squad last week and will continue to work back to fitness individually,” said a PSG statement.
Barcelona will be without defenders Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo for the match in Paris on Wednesday.
Pique sustained a knee injury in the Copa del Rey semi-final win over Sevilla on 3 March, while Araujo has returned to training after an ankle problem but is not in the squad.
Ex-Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho is still missing for the Spanish side because of a knee injury.
Barcelona, who lost 8-2 to eventual winners Bayern Munich in last season’s one-legged quarter-final, have made it past the last 16 of the Champions League in each of the past 13 seasons.
In 2016-17, they were beaten 4-0 by PSG in the last-16 first leg in Paris, before winning the second leg 6-1 in Spain.
Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman remained optimistic his side could reach the quarter-finals and said: “It is always different to have a result like this.
“Losing 4-1 at home means we have to score goals away from home and it’s more complicated but nothing is impossible.
“We believe in ourselves – we know we are Barca and have to win and will demonstrate this mentality.”
PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, who took Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2018-19, will also be without on-loan Everton striker Moise Kean as he is self-isolating because of coronavirus.
Neymar helped the French champions reach their first Champions League final last August and has scored 12 goals in 17 competitive fixtures this season.
Barcelona need to make history to advance – the stats
PSG have won two of their past three games against Barcelona in the Champions League (lost one).
No team has progressed from a European Cup or Champions League knockout tie over two legs after losing the first leg at home by a margin of three goals.
This will be the first Champions League meeting between PSG and Barcelona at the Parc des Princes since February 2017, when the home side won 4-0 – PSG’s biggest margin of victory in a home knockout game in the Champions League and Barcelona’s joint-heaviest defeat in an away knockout match (also 4-0 v Liverpool in May 2019 and v Bayern in April 2013).
Barcelona have won one of their past nine away games in the knockout stages of the Champions League (drew three, lost five), beating Manchester United 1-0 in April 2019.
PSG have scored at least once in each of their last 22 Champions League games at the Parc des Princes (61 goals). The last team to keep a clean sheet away at PSG in the competition was Real Madrid (0-0 in October 2015).
Barcelona are yet to concede a goal away from home in the Champions League this season (three games).
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Olivier Giroud’s spectacular overhead kick gave Chelsea an outstanding victory against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 first leg in Bucharest.
Giroud’s superb moment of improvisation not only delivered the win and a vital away goal but also continued new manager Thomas Tuchel’s unbeaten start at Chelsea and put them in pole position to reach the quarter-finals.
In a tie played in Romania instead of Spain because of Covid-19 restrictions, Giroud demonstrated athleticism and technique to send an acrobatic effort beyond Atletico keeper Jan Oblak in the 68th minute. The goal was originally ruled out for offside before a video assistant referee review revealed the ball had bounced off Atletico defender Mario Hermoso.
It was reward for Chelsea’s more progressive style in the face of the usual attritional approach from Diego Simeone’s Atletico. They rarely troubled Tuchel’s side who comfortably kept the in-form but increasingly frustrated Luis Suarez at bay.
Chelsea have now gone eight matches unbeaten since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard while Giroud is emerging as their Champions League talisman after scoring all four goals in the group-phase victory against Sevilla and a last-minute winner away to Rennes.
Tuchel was quick to praise the impact of 34-year-old World Cup winner Giroud and said: “If you see him on a daily basis, you cannot be surprised. He is totally fit, his body is in shape and his physicality is on top level.
“He trains like a 20-year-old, like a 24-year-old. He is a guy who has a good mixture of serious and joy in training. He is always positive and it is a big factor for the group.”
Tuchel’s biggest statement yet
Tuchel’s Chelsea have been efficient rather than spectacular since the German coach was appointed following Lampard’s departure in January – but there will be no complaints after the most impressive result of his brief time in charge.
Chelsea were regarded as underdogs in this last-16 tie against the La Liga leaders but apart from a couple of early scares – keeper Edouard Mendy miscontrolled early in the game before Suarez flashed the ball across the face of goal – they were in charge.
They showed more ambition than a strangely lethargic and even more cautious than usual Atletico.
It will increase Chelsea’s confidence that they have appointed a coach who is comfortable operating at the highest levels after reaching the Champions League final with Paris St-Germain last season and impressing at Borussia Dortmund.
And once again Giroud proved what an intelligent and talented player he is with a piece of ingenuity that settled a tight game to give Chelsea high hopes going into the second leg.
Giroud has proved time and again he is invaluable to Chelsea’s cause, demonstrating what a bargain buy he was at £18m from Arsenal in January 2018.
It was also a good night for young England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi, who performed creditably after the debate surrounding his substitution after coming on as a substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Hudson-Odoi was replaced again after 79 minutes in Bucharest but this was after a performance full of energy and hard work that will have delighted taskmaster Tuchel on a highly satisfying night for Chelsea.
Atletico still pose a threat – but this was poor
This was a dismal showing from an Atletico Madrid side who have been excellent domestically in heading Real Madrid, Sevilla and Barcelona.
Atletico adopted a more conservative approach than Chelsea despite this being their ‘home’ leg, albeit on neutral territory, and the old streetfighter Suarez was reduced to familiar moments of gamesmanship in a bid to unsettle his opponents. It was all to no avail as the Premier League side held firm.
It was a game that pointed to Chelsea building the platform for progress in the second leg but Atletico’s resilience, ability to fight the odds and love of being the underdog still makes them a threat.
Simeone will need to inspire a big performance from his players in the second leg but they can never be written off, as Liverpool – rampant in the Premier League at the time – painfully discovered when they were eliminated by Atletico over two legs at this stage last season, completed by a 3-2 win at Anfield after coming from 2-0 down.
Chelsea achieved a superb result and their destiny is now in their own hands but Tuchel will not, and cannot, allow for any complacency against an Atletico team who may just revel in the task facing them in the second leg.
Another Champions League goal for Giroud – the stats
Thomas Tuchel became the third Chelsea manager to win his first Champions League game in charge when the game took place in the knockout stage after Roberto Di Matteo and Guus Hiddink.
Atletico Madrid failed to have a shot on target against Chelsea – the first time they had failed to register a shot on target in a Champions League game since March 2019 v Juventus.
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has scored six Champions League goals this season, his best return in a single campaign in the competition.
Giroud (34 years and 146 days) became the oldest player to score a Champions League knockout goal for Chelsea.
Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy has kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the Champions League this season (five).
Mason Mount’s yellow card after 55 seconds was the quickest card shown in the Champions League this season.
Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea and PSG) became only the second manager in the history of the Champions League to manage two different clubs in the competition within a single season after Ronald Koeman in 2007-08 (PSV and Valencia).
‘A big reward’ – what they said
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel told BT Sport: “Fantastic result, fantastic goal. Well deserved.
“We wanted to dominate in the opponents’ half, to never lose concentration, not to do any easy mistakes and always be aware of quick counter-attacks for all their quality.
“It was a very disciplined performance – a deserved shut-out. This is the hard work, a team effort – the basis for a big win.
“We knew they were ready to suffer with eight people in the box. The intention was to keep the intensity high. This is what we did very good. We never let them breathe or come out for counter-attacks. We have a big reward with this result.
“This is one of the toughest challenges to open a defence like Atletico.”
Player of the match
Squad number13Player nameOblak
Squad number15Player nameSavic
Squad number7Player nameJoão Félix
Squad number18Player nameFelipe
Squad number6Player nameKoke
Squad number8Player nameSaúl
Squad number14Player nameMarcos Llorente
Squad number10Player nameCorrea
Squad number11Player nameLemar
Squad number22Player nameHermoso
Squad number9Player nameSuárez
Squad number19Player nameDembele
Squad number20Player nameVitolo
Squad number12Player nameRenan Lodi
Squad number5Player nameTorreira
Squad number18Player nameGiroud
Squad number19Player nameMount
Squad number7Player nameKanté
Squad number28Player nameAzpilicueta
Squad number11Player nameWerner
Squad number20Player nameHudson-Odoi
Squad number4Player nameChristensen
Squad number3Player nameAlonso
Squad number17Player nameKovacic
Squad number2Player nameRüdiger
Squad number5Player nameJorginho
Squad number24Player nameJames
Squad number10Player namePulisic
Squad number16Player nameMendy
Squad number22Player nameZiyech
Squad number29Player nameHavertz
22HermosoSubstituted forMachín Pérezat 84′minutes
14LlorenteBooked at 63mins
8SaúlSubstituted forTorreiraat 82′minutes
11LemarBooked at 90mins
10CorreaSubstituted forDembeleat 82′minutes
7SequeiraSubstituted forLodi dos Santosat 82′minutes
12Lodi dos Santos
20Hudson-OdoiSubstituted forJamesat 80′minutes
5JorginhoBooked at 64mins
17KovacicSubstituted forZiyechat 74′minutes
19MountBooked at 1minsSubstituted forKantéat 74′minutes
11WernerSubstituted forPulisicat 87′minutes
18GiroudSubstituted forHavertzat 87′minutes
Match ends, Atlético de Madrid 0, Chelsea 1.
Second Half ends, Atlético de Madrid 0, Chelsea 1.
Reece James (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Vitolo (Atlético de Madrid).
Foul by Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea).
Lucas Torreira (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Thomas Lemar (Atlético de Madrid) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Thomas Lemar (Atlético de Madrid).
Foul by Kai Havertz (Chelsea).
Koke (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Andreas Christensen (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Luis Suárez (Atlético de Madrid).
Foul by Kai Havertz (Chelsea).
Renan Lodi (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Chelsea. Christian Pulisic replaces Timo Werner.
Substitution, Chelsea. Kai Havertz replaces Olivier Giroud.
Foul by Reece James (Chelsea).
Renan Lodi (Atlético de Madrid) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Olivier Giroud (Chelsea).
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Two men have been charged after a young man was allegedly stabbed by a group of armed men attempting to steal his wallet in Sydney’s south-west overnight.
Police say the alleged victim was sitting in his parked Hyundai i30 on Dale Parade in Bankstown at 1.20am this morning when he was approached by at least four men brandishing knives.
The men allegedly demanded the driver’s wallet and money and then dragged him from his car, beating him and stabbing him in the leg.
Police officers who happened to be driving by saw the attack, prompting the group to flee through Griffiths Park.
The officers chased the men on foot and two were found and arrested at a unit block on Northam Avenue.
The injured man was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to Liverpool Hospital, where he remains in a serious but stable condition.
The two alleged attackers were taken to Bankstown Police Station and charged with aggravated robbery with wounding causing grievous bodily harm.
The men, aged 23 and 29, been refused bail to appear at Bankstown Local Court tomorrow.
Detectives are continuing to investigate the incident.
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Bukayo Saka warned his Arsenal team-mates that they cannot put a foot wrong when they face Benfica in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie after his goal earned them a draw in the first game in Rome.
Played in Rome’s Olympic Stadium instead of Portugal for Covid-19 reasons, the Gunners were the better side but failed to take a number of first-half chances before falling behind to a Pizzi penalty.
However, they responded quickly with Cedric Soares crossing low for England winger Saka to level from close range.
The England winger is now determined not to allow his side to suffer the same European fate as last season, when a goal in the last minute of extra time saw Olympiakos advance to the last 16 on away goals at Arsenal’s expense.
“It is about managing the game,” Saka told BT Sport. “Last year when we went out to Olympiakos we conceded a silly goal. We can’t put a foot wrong because if we do we will make it difficult for ourselves.
“We had a lot of chances tonight. We dominated the whole game. They got a lucky penalty which I don’t think was. We had to react well.
“We got a goal back and could have gone on to win it. It’s not the worst result, we got an away goal.”
Benfica’s penalty was awarded when Emile Smith Rowe was adjudged to have handled in blocking Diogo Goncalves’ cross, with Pizzi converting to take his goal tally to a tournament-high of seven.
Fresh from scoring a hat-trick against Leeds in the Premier League, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had two big chances in the game but inexplicably side-footed wide from close range with the score at 0-0 and then dragged an effort off target at 1-1.
In positive news for the Gunners, left-back Kieran Tierney and forward Gabriel Martinelli made welcome returns from injury as second-half substitutes.
The second leg is in Athens in a week’s time, sandwiched between two big league fixtures for the Gunners – the visit of Manchester City to the Emirates and a trip to Leicester.
Saka to the rescue as big chances go begging
Arsenal have improved in recent weeks, both in performances and results, but such was their inconsistent start to the season, the Europa League probably represents their most realistic route back into the Champions League.
The Gunners’ starting XI suggests Mikel Arteta agrees, with the Spaniard naming the same side that began Sunday’s impressive 4-2 win over Leeds at the Emirates.
Remarkably, it is the first time Arsenal have named an unchanged XI since September 2018 but it brought with it some of Sunday’s attacking fluency, especially down the right, with Hector Bellerin a constant and energetic menace.
What it lacked, though, was similar lethal finishing, most notably from the weekend’s hat-trick hero Aubameyang.
Excuses can be made for why his second chance was spurned, with it being at a tight angle, but not his first.
Bellerin’s low cross laid the strike on a plate for the forward but somehow he found a way to put his shot past the post instead of in the net where bit belonged.
Thankfully, Saka was sharp enough to finish when required from a similar distance at the other end, the goal his 10th in a Gunners shirt and further evidence of his rapidly growing importance to Arteta’s side.
Since the start of last season, the 19-year-old is the youngest Premier League player to have scored 10+ goals and made 10+ assists across all competitions.
“We were very dominant and created some big chances,” Arteta told BT Sport. “We have to be more ruthless. It was disappointing the way we conceded the goal. We gave them the ball then it was 1-1 and all to play for.
“We conceded a corner then from the corner we did not react quick enough and conceded the penalty. Looking at it it’s difficult to judge. We had a great reaction and scored a great goal.
“We tried to maintain the level. Both teams dropped in the last 20 minutes. But overall we should leave the ground with more.”
The Benfica line-up contained a number of former Premier League players, including ex-Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen and mercurial midfielder Adel Taraabt, who entertained and infuriated fans of Tottenham and QPR in equal measure.
The Moroccan’s only contribution of note came midway through the second half in the form of a driving run and incisive pass to find Everton, who proceeded to curl a shot just past the far top corner of Bernd Leno’s goal.
No further major chances followed for either side, leaving it all to play for in Greece.
Pizzi emulates a true great
Pizzi is the first Portuguese player to score at least seven goals in a single European campaign for Benfica since Eusebio, who did so during the 1970/71 European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign (also 7).
Since the start of the 2019-20 Europa League campaign, only Bruno Fernandes (10) has scored more goals in the competition than Benfica’s Pizzi (9).
Pizzi’s opener from the penalty spot was Benfica’s 100th goal in the Europa League, one of just eight clubs to reach this total since the inaugural season of the competition back in 2009-10.
Arsenal have managed to progress from 13 of their previous 16 knockout ties in major Uefa competition when either drawing or winning the first leg away from home, though one of their eliminations did come at this exact stage of the Europa League last season vs Olympiakos.
Benfica remain unbeaten in each of their 26 Europa League matches at home (W20 D6) – this is at least 15 more home matches than any other team who is yet to lose a home game in the competition (Chelsea, 11).
Rafa (Benfica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Offside, Arsenal. Dani Ceballos tries a through ball, but Bukayo Saka is caught offside.
Substitution, Benfica. Chiquinho replaces Lucas Verissimo because of an injury.
Offside, Arsenal. Granit Xhaka tries a through ball, but Kieran Tierney is caught offside.
Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Haris Seferovic (Benfica).
Substitution, Benfica. Gabriel Pires replaces Adel Taarabt.
Substitution, Arsenal. Gabriel Martinelli replaces Emile Smith Rowe.
Substitution, Arsenal. Nicolas Pépé replaces Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Attempt missed. Everton (Benfica) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Adel Taarabt.
Foul by Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal).
Rafa (Benfica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Diogo Gonçalves.
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Clutching his lower leg, he was immediately treated by doctors and he was taken from the ground on a stretcher, before the ambulance was called to take him to hospital.
The injury comes just a day after the Saints’ first ruck Rowan Marshall was confirmed to have a stress reaction in his foot that will keep him off his legs for the next month and ensure he misses the early rounds of the AFL season.
Paton’s injury is the second broken leg at Moorabbin this year with captain Jarryn Geary having earlier sustained a leg break.
The Saints have endured a bad off-season for injuries with Geary’s broken leg, midfielder Zak Jones tearing a hamstring and youngster Ryan Byrnes needing surgery for a bad hamstring tendon tear.
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The star appeared emotional as she spoke about her accident.
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“It’s disappointing news for Sam, who has had a great pre-season to date,” Melbourne’s football manager Alan Richardson said.
“Following some soreness in his hip region, the medical team decided to conduct a scan, which has shown a stress fracture in his femur.
“We didn’t expect to find anything this substantial, but it’s better to get onto it now and prevent it from getting any worse.
“We will take a conservative approach and an exact return-to-play date will be determined by how Sam responds to the ongoing rehab program.”
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