While You Were Asleep: Sahal wins it for India, England hit rock bottom in Nations League, Shanaka denies Australia, Kyrgios faces racist abuse


An injury-time goal by Sahal Abdul Samad helped Indian eke out a 2-1 win over Afghanistan Indian football team seal a 2-1 win against Afghanistan in the third round match in Kolkata. The dramatic victory kept India’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s Asian Cup finals afloat.

Denied for 83 minutes, India won a free-kick on the edge of the box after Ashique Kuruniyan was brought down. Sunil Chhetri stepped up and curled the ball past the wall and into the back of the net to score his 83rd goal for India. However, those celebrations were short-lived as in the 88th minute, as Zubayr Amiri produced a sensational header in the 88th minute of the match and pulled Afghanistan level.

But Sahal’s strike into the bottom corner in the 92nd minute swung the result in India’s favour and ensured they remain level on six points at the top of Group D with Hong Kong.

England, Italy play a goalless draw

Gareth Southgate’s England has another frustrating outing in the ongoing Nations League. A sluggish 0-0 draw against the European Champions Italy had left England at the bottom of Nations League Group A3.

England did had their chances to win the match but they failed to grab their opportunities. Mason Mount hit the corssbar, while Raheem Sterling missed the target from a close range. During the post-match interview, England’s manager Southgate rightly mentioned that they lacked sharpness up front.

It was the first meeting between these two nations since the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last year. Only 2,000 school children were allowed to attend despite a UEFA ban.

The result has jeopardised England’s chances of progressing in the Nations League. Finishing bottom would bring relegation. The draw is enough for Italy to claim the top spot.

Shanaka led from the front

Sri Lanka Dasun Shanaka led a stunning fightback as the hosts clubbed 59 runs from the final three overs to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Australia in the third and final T20I match.

Shanaka’s magnificent knock of 54* off just 25 balls helped Sri Lanka to a four-wicket win. Australia take the series 2-1.

Shanaka had been under pressure leading into the game as Sri Lanka had lost nine out of 10 games this year under his captaincy. But on Saturday at Pallekele Stadium in Kandy, he gave the capacity crowd something to cheer about with his audacious stroke play. Shanaka hit five fours and four sixes during his match-winning knock against the World T20 champions.

Australia skipper Aaron Finch opted to bat after winning the third toss in a row. They put on 176 for 5 in the 20 overs. Chasing a target of 177, Sri Lanka were reeling at 108/6 but an unbroken 69-run stand for the seventh wicket between Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne helped Sri Lanka to win the match. Sri Lanka needed 59 runs off the final three overs and went on to win with one ball to spare.

Kyrgios faced racist abuse from Stuttgart crowd

Red-hot Andy Murray stormed into the final of the Stuttgart Open following 7-6, 6-2 win over Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.

However, Murray’s opponent Nick Kyrgios said that he faced racist abuse from the crowd during the match.

“I’m an entertainer. I’ve played this sport since I was 7 years old. I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve ever since I stepped on a tennis court. Yes, I’m human, I don’t deal with my emotions well all the time. I stopped caring about what people thought and their opinion on what I should be. I play this game to give people a show. To feel something, different from ordinary tennis,” Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.

“But one thing I won’t ever tolerate is spectators heckling and blasting abuse to athletes. It’s been happening personally to me for a while, from racist comments to complete disrespect.

“For years it’s been something I’ve brushed off but especially in Indian wells and today all the way in Stuttgart, it’s made me realise that people seem to think it’s normal. Im seeing it happen in other sports, and to many other athletes. We are playing FOR YOU, whether you are backing the opponent or not.

“You may not think it’s a big deal, but it could affect someone’s life more than you think. Wake up to yourselves. Not just in tennis, but in every other sport. My young athletes, coloured or not, I hope that this message is heard so you don’t ever have to feel alienated, or embarrassed to be you and to perform on the world stage,” he added.

Murray will play his first grass-court singles final since winning Wimbledon in 2016 when he plays second-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini in Sunday’s final.

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