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Football Focus: Egyptian grandad world's oldest soccer pro

Last updated on: October 20, 2020 12:49 IST
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Ezzeldin Bahader, a 74-years-old Egyptian football player of 6th October Club talks with Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports (wearing a protective face mask) before a soccer match against El Ayat Sports Club of Egypt's third division league at the Olympic Stadium in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, Egypt October 17, 2020

IMAGE: Ezzeldin Bahader, a 74-years-old Egyptian football player of 6th October Club talks with Dr. Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports (wearing a protective face mask) before a soccer match against El Ayat Sports Club of Egypt's third division league at the Olympic Stadium in the Cairo suburb of Maadi, Egypt October 17, 2020. Photograph: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

Egyptian grandfather Ezzeldin Bahader has been recognised as the world's oldest professional soccer player after completing a second full match just short of his 75th birthday.

Bahader was awarded the title by Guinness World Records on Saturday evening after missing a penalty kick as his team, 6th October, lost 3-2 to El Ayat Sports club in the Egyptian third division.

The former amateur player, who turns 75 on Nov. 3, scored a goal from the penalty spot in his debut match on March. He planned to play a second 90-minute match the same month to claim his record, but the suspension of sports activities to contain the spread of the coronavirus put his plans on hold.

 

Bahader had previously told media he was 75, which he attributed to "rounding up". Having him on the team had allowed 6th October to gain sponsors and publicity, he said.

Some of Bahader's six grandchildren attended Saturday's match, chanting "Come on, Grandpa" from the touchline.

"I dream of being able to break my own record one more time, just to make the competition a little harder," Bahader said, though he is now out of contract.

The record was previously held by 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik.

Deflected Jimenez strike gives Wolves narrow 1-0 win over Leeds

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez celebrates with teammates after Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips scores an own goal and the first for Wolverhampton Wanderers during their EPL match at Elland Road, Leeds, on Monday

IMAGE: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Raul Jimenez celebrates with teammates after Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips scores an own goal and the first for Wolverhampton Wanderers during their EPL match at Elland Road, Leeds, on Monday. Photograph: Martin Rickett/Pool via Reuters

A Raul Jimenez shot that took a heavy deflection off the head of Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips gave Wolverhampton Wanderers a hard-fought 1-0 away win in the Premier League on Monday.

Leeds dominated possession in the opening half, firing crosses into the box at a variety of angles and threatening from set pieces without creating much in the way of clear-cut chances.

For all their attacking endeavour, they were almost made to pay in first-half stoppage time when Wolves sliced them open on the counter-attack, but Daniel Podence fired a powerful shot straight at goalkeeper Illan Meslier, who batted it away.

Wolves improved greatly in the second half and Romain Saiss thought he had given his side the lead with a wonderful flick and volley in the 53rd minute. However, the goal was ruled out by the video assistant referee when Podence was deemed to be offside in the build-up.

Wolves finally broke the deadlock when Jimenez drifted in from the right and cut back to shoot. Phillips reacted quickest and attempted to head clear, but only succeeded in wrong-footing Meslier as the ball flew into the net.

Pedro Hernandez had a good chance deflected over for a corner as Leeds pressed forward looking for an equaliser. However, the Wolves defence held firm to hand Leeds their first home defeat of the season.

The win put Wolves sixth on nine points from five games, behind Leicester City and Arsenal on goal difference. Newly-promoted Leeds are 10th with seven points.

"In the first half we didn't find a way to receive their press but in the second half we played very well and found the space," goal-scorer Jimenez said.

"It's difficult to score against this kind of team, they press very well. Sometimes you need fortune to score, it's all about persistence," he added.

West Brom hold Burnley to battling 0-0 draw

Promoted West Bromwich Albion and Burnley fought out a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Monday after both sides missed chances to register a first win of the season in a pulsating clash.

It was the top flight's first goalless match of the season which did neither team any favours in a bid to move clear of the relegation zone.

The result left West Brom 17th in the standings on two points from five games, while 18th-placed Burnley have one from four after a dominant second-half performance.

West Brom coach Slaven Bilic was disappointed with the outcome, although he praised his side and conceded a share of the spoils was a fair result.

"I told them after the game we were looking for three points, but they should build on this," the Croatian told Sky Sports.

"We created a few chances, more than enough to score. They also had a couple to be fair. A draw was probably a fair result.

"We knew these are the games -- I respect Burnley a lot -- where you really need to win, or at least not lose. If we want to stay up then we have to win these types of games."

Striker Karlan Grant took centre stage for West Brom in the first half as he shot over the bar in the 18th minute before he had a goal disallowed for offside in the 37th, after home keeper Sam Johnstone had kept out an Ashley Barnes effort.

West Brom came close again in the 58th minute when visiting keeper Nick Pope parried a Grady Diangana shot and Branislav Ivanovic had the rebound blocked by a defender.

Chris Wood then twice hit the crossbar for Burnley, having failed to convert an Ashley Westwood cross before he missed with the goal at his mercy after Johnstone parried a Barnes header into his path.

West Brom missed the game's final chance as Pope produced an acrobatic save to keep out a Matheus Pereira volley from close range in the 78th minute.

Burnley manager Sean Dyche also rued his side being unable to come away with a win.

"With the quality of chances we had, we could have got three points," he said.

"It was a strange game, Barnes has one (chance), then there was a moment we deserved a penalty. I think the quality of chances were good, but we didn't take them."

Eight positive in latest Premier League COVID-19 tests

The Premier League said on Monday that eight people had returned positive results in its latest round of COVID-19 tests conducted on players and staff last week.

The league said the individuals who had tested positive for the novel coronavirus would now self-isolate for 10 days.

"The Premier League can today confirm that between Monday 12 October and Sunday 18 October, 1,575 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, there were eight new positive tests," the Premier League said in a statement https://www.premierleague.com/news/1814863

A total of 42 people have tested positive for the virus in seven rounds of testing since the new campaign began on Sept. 12.

There have been more than 750,000 COVID-19 infections and over 43,000 deaths in the United Kingdom, according to a Reuters tally.

Genoa hold Verona 0-0 despite being depleted by COVID-19

Genoa held on for a 0-0 draw away to Verona in Serie A on Monday despite having their squad decimated following a COVID-19 outbreak at the club.

Goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who was the first player to become infected and has since recovered, gave an excellent performance as he kept the hosts at bay, capped by a save from Davide Faraoni's header late in the game.

Genoa were hit by the outbreak three weeks ago and, at one stage, 17 players and five members of staff had tested positive. Their previous match at home to Torino was postponed.

On Monday, they still had 13 players missing, including some who were still positive and others who had recovered but were not fit to play.

"There is one word for it; teamwork" said Perin after the game.

"We've really had a difficult time with players who trained very little, including myself. But we decided not to look for excuses, to be compact and try not to repeat last year's season.

"We're aware that our goal is to stay up, but we must also hope to surprise our fans, for the people who are suffering and cheering us on."

Genoa, who narrowly avoided the drop last season, have four points from three games and Verona seven from four.

 

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