It’s been a tough season for Bristol City, relatively speaking. The League One team is in a relegation scrap, having won just seven of 34 matches, and spirits aren’t exactly high in those trying times.
Mark Saunders, 54, is suffering from lung cancer and is considered a terminal patient. He loves his Robins and was invited by the team to speak to them. He made quite an impact, according to Bristol City manager Steve Cotterill:
“He wanted to have a little chat with the players as he didn’t feel as though he was going to see next Friday out, which puts football into a bit of perspective.
“It was tough to listen to him, it’s quite emotional just thinking about it, but hopefully we’ve given him a good weekend.”
The Robins went on to win the match 2-0, which boosted them out of the relegation zone on goal differential. So what did he say before the match? This is from Saunders’ brother Bill:
“Mark spoke to them about the fact he’d been a follower for 30 years and how they fought together as fans. But he said the players hadn’t been fighting together this season and hadn’t been playing as a team.
“He also said it was his dying wish to see them win three points.
“At the end, the players all stood up and clapped. He was delighted – it was a wonderful day.”
Without looking for laughs, I’d imagine it’s hard not to be inspired by someone who says you doing your job better than another guy for 90 minutes is his dying wish.
Russia goals: Fathy o.g. (48′), Cheryshev (59′), Dzyuba (62′)
Egypt: Salah (PK, 73′)
Next: Russia-Uruguay, Egypt-Saudi Arabia
Hosts Russia scored a trio of second half goals to clinch the first spot in the 2018 World Cup’s Round of 16 with a 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday in Saint Petersburg.
The loss means Egypt is 0-2, the Pharoahs unable to find momentum despite the return of Mohamed Salah. Egypt needs a wild combination of factors to stay alive for the knockout rounds, and is likely heading home.
Salah won and converted a penalty for Egypt, while Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dzyuba, and an Egyptian own goal accounted for Russia’s goals.
Neymar’s right foot was “still not 100 percent” when he took the field for the 1-1 draw on Sunday, and the 26-year-old left practice early two days later.
He missed nearly three months after fracturing his foot for PSG under pressure by Marseille’s Dimitri Payet, but returned to score for Brazil in friendly defeats of Croatia and Austria. Neymar has 55 goals in 85 caps.
Neymar was favoring his right foot as he limped off the pitch, two days after being fouled 10 times against Switzerland. Fox reports that Neymar will be fine to practice on Wednesday, but the situation bears close observation.
Neymar was injured in the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals when Juan Zuniga kneed him in the back.
A familiar name returned to the starting lineup for Egypt on Tuesday afternoon.
Egypt named star Mohamed Salah in its starting XI, after resting Salah in Egypt’s 1-0 defeat to Uguruay on June 15. Salah has been recovering from an injured shoulder that he suffered during the UEFA Champions League final in late May.
For the second time on Tuesday, an underdog took down a favorite as Senegal defeated Poland, 2-1, with the game-winning goal decided in controversial fashion.
In the 60th minute, M’baye Niang was waved onto the field by the referee while the ball was still in play in the middle of the field, and Niang raced on to the end of a Gregorz Krychowiak backpass that stunned the Poland defense. Niang arrived at the pass a second quicker than goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, allowing the Senegal winger to score into an empty net.
The VAR checked the goal but it was allowed, as it was a subjective decision of the referee to allow Niang back on the field following an injury, and not a clear and obvious error.
Senegal took the lead in the first half on the counter attack. With Poland slow in transition, Sadio Mane found Idrissa Gueye in space at the top of the box. After two touches, Gueye fired a strike to the far post in the 37th minute that took a wicked deflection off Poland defender Thiago Cionek and left Szczesny helpless.
Poland struggled all game against the pace and physicality of Senegal and the Lions of Teranga were very smart in controlling possession and switching the field, forcing the Poland squad to tire quickly.
Krychowiak did breathe some life into the game with a header goal off a free kick in the 86th minute, but despite some poor clock management from Senegal, its defense was able to hold off Poland’s last-ditch chance to tie the game, going level with Japan on three points at the top of Group H.