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FOOTBALL

Schalke strike back to draw with Arsenal

Hosts Schalke 04 came back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw with Premier League giants Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, leaving the Royal Blues top of Group B.

Schalke strike back to draw with Arsenal
Photo: DPA

Having lost 2-0 to Schalke at North London’s Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago, Arsenal shot into an early lead as England’s Theo Walcott and France’s Olivier Giroud netted to leave the Royal Blues stunned at the Veltins Arena.

But Holland striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pulled one back for Schalke on the stroke of half-time, then Peru forward Jefferson Farfan netted the equaliser midway through the second half to claim a point.

“In the end, we can be happy with the draw,” said Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby.

“Coming back from a two-goal deficit is a reasonable achievement. It speaks for the morale of our team.”

“I felt overall we played reasonably well, but we dropped off in the second-half,” admitted Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

“It’s regrettable that we conceded a goal before the break, then missed a goal with the last chance of the game. They both had a great influence on the result.

“I felt we showed a good response to Saturday’s game (a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United) and the team is getting better.”

Schalke had their chances to win the game with 20 shots on goal, compared to Arsenal’s eight, and the lion’s share of possession.

The draw leaves Schalke top of the table with eight points while Arsenal are just a point behind in second, with Olympiakos third on six points after their 3-1 win over bottom Montpellier, leaving all still to play for in the group.

“It would have been a great victory, but they dominated the second half to be fair and before the game we would have taken a point,” admitted Arsenal goal-scorer Theo Walcott.

Schalke had two clear early chances with Dutch wing Ibrahim Affelay forcing Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone into an early save, then Austria defender Christian Fuchs wasted a good chance with a poor shot.

But Arsenal brushed off their Premier League defeat at Manchester United on Saturday to take the game by the scruff of the neck with two goals inside the first half an hour.

First, Giroud broke free of the defence, but when Schalke captain Benedikt Höwedes managed to stop him with a good tackle, Walcott was on hand to follow up and tap home for a simple goal on 18 minutes.

The Gunners then kept piling on the pressure and when Giroud’s pass found Lukas Podolski on the left wing, the Germany star fired in a great cross which the Frenchman gratefully headed home on 26 minutes.

Schalke picked the perfect time to pull a goal back with their last chance of the half in the second minute of added time.

After Giroud lost the ball in midfield, Jermaine Jones threaded a pass to Holland star Huntelaar to fire across Mannone and into the bottom far corner.

Huntelaar then wasted a great chance to claim a second five minutes into the second-half when he escaped the defence, but could only fire straight at Mannone.

Schalke finally drew level when Holtby’s pass found Farfan in space down the right wing and Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen could only watch as the ball ricocheted off him and into the Gunners’ net on 67 minutes.

The Gunners had two great chances to win it when Walcott first beat Unnerstall but hit the post with 15 minutes left, then fired straight at the goalkeeper with virtually the last shot of the game.

In the next round of matches, Schalke host Olympiakos on November 21, while Arsenal are home to Montpellier the same night.

AFP/jcw

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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