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Wales defeat a ‘very cruel’ Euro 2016 exit, says Northern Ireland boss

first_imgNorthern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill was left to rue a ‘cruel’ exit from Euro 2016 after an own-goal ended his side’s journey.O’Neill’s side had already defied the odds to line up in this all-British last 16 clash but were good value throughout the narrowest of 1-0 defeats, edging the play for extended periods without creating clear-cut chances.Wales suffered similarly in the final third but took the spoils – and a historic quarter-final against Hungary or Belgium – when Gareth Bale’s teasing cross was prodded over the line by Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley in the 75th minute.For O’Neill, for their superb travelling support and for the passionate McAuley it was a bitter denouement to the nation’s first major tournament in 30 years.“I felt it was a very tight game. It’s just a very, very cruel way to lose the game,” he said.“We didn’t deserve to lose the game…certainly with that nature (of goal).“Not many people gave us any chance of doing anything in the tournament but we came within a whisker of getting to the last eight. I don’t think it would have been undeserved had we got that.“It’s difficult to quantify and reflect on the tournament as a whole at this minute, but the players have been tremendous in their effort, their commitment, their pride in playing for their country.“It’s been a fantastic experience for everyone but when it ends the way it did today it’s very cruel. I don’t think we got what we deserved.”He was rightly proud of his side’s efforts in France – they won one game from four but proved resilient and well organised throughout.As for McAuley, whose outstretched leg only prevented the waiting Hal Robson-Kanu finishing the job from close range anyway, O’Neill had two messages: first that he is not to blame and second that he wants the 36-year-old to play on.“I’m not going to point the finger at him. I’m not going to blame him in any shape or form,” said the manager.“He had a split-second decision to make, unfortunately it went against us.“Gareth has not only had a great tournament he has been great for me over the last four years.“Hopefully he continues to play at international level. He has still got a couple of years left in him at this level and hopefully that will be the case.” 1 Michael O’Neill: Northern Ireland manager grateful for superb travelling support last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW Man U v Bournemouth

first_imgIt remains to be seen how Ole Gunnar’s Solksjaer’s Manchester United tenure progresses over the rest of the season but the Norwegian has given United Christmas joy and that could continue with plenty of goals against Bournemouth.Under Jose Mourniho the football had become stable and negative with many of United’ attacking players either unused, out of place, or simply out of form, but in two weeks they seem to have caught their spark again.Solksjaer’s debut was a 5-1 win at his old club Cardiff when the recalled Paul Pogba had a hand in their three goals scored before half time including a stunning freekick from Marcus Rashford and a great team goal from Antony Martial. United had the look of a team that had been let loose going forward and it was the first time United had scored five goals in a Premier League game since the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in charge – a 5-5 draw with West Brom in May 2013.Pogba is making up for lost time and scored twice in a 3-1 win against Huddersfield when only an excellent performance from Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal prevented them from making it even more as Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard were denied. Nemanja Matic was also commanding in midfield and scoring the opener and all of United’s key attacking players appear to be instantly much happier.Bournemouth is going to be a tougher challenge for them today – they are 12th and Huddersfield and Cardiff are 20th and 17th respectively – although the Cherries have struggled against good sides recently, with their only two wins since since the start of November coming against Huddersfield and Brighton.That said, they should still be targeting a United defence that hasn’t quite found its balance yet – and one that might well struggle to for a long time – and it was a surprise that they didn’t manage to score against Tottenham, winning the shot counts both inside and outside of the box but finding Spurs’ rearguard too good. United do have David De Gea in goal but he’s not been at his best and the hosts have conceded 31 league goals this campaign, which is already more than the whole of last season.Man Utd v AFC BournemouthPremier League16:30 Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD*(Maximum 10 matches)NOV 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester UnitedAPR 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester UnitedDEC 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-0 BournemouthMAR 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 BournemouthAUG 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester UnitedMAY 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 3-1 BournemouthDEC 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Bournemouth 2-1 Manchester United*In last decade, since Bournemouth returned to Premier LeagueRyan Fraser and Callum Wilson can take advantage of any lapses but United have the firepower to go forward and do plenty of damage, so over 3.5 goals looks a runner here.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)BACK OVER 3.5 GOALS 5 points at 5/4 with starsports.betPROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 200.78 pointslast_img read more