A STUNNING first half double from Poland captain Robert Lewandowski was the highlight on the final day of international friendlies before the World Cup kicks off in Russia on Friday morning AEST.
The Bayern Munich striker scored twice in the first 33 minutes of a cruisy 4-0 win over Lithuania before being subbed off at half time.
Elsewhere, Japan capped their preparations with a 4-2 win over Paraguay, inclusiding a double to Takashi Inui, a strike from Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa and an own goal.
Lewandowski’s FK stunner
HERE’S A FULL WRAP OF THE OVERNIGHT ACTION…
POLAND 4-0 LITHUANIA
The Poles were themselves given a boost as two strikes from captain Robert Lewandowski followed by goals from Dawid Kownacki and Jakub Blaszczykowski gave them a 4-0 victory over Lithuania in their final pre-World Cup friendly in Warsaw.
Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski, preparing for his first appearance at a World Cup, finished a team move with a precise strike for the opener. The 29-year-old doubled his tally after the half hour mark from a free kick cannoned off the bar and bounced out of the goal with the referee informed by goalline technology that the ball had crossed the line.
After the break, Sampdoria’s Kownacki found the net after being set up by his club teammate Bartosz Bereszynski in the 71st minute.
Blaszczykowski completed the rout ten minutes later when he converted a penalty after the Video Assistant Referee signalled that Lithuania’s Algis Jankauskas had handled in the area.
PARAGUAY 2-4 JAPAN
Japan completed their preparations for the World Cup with a 4-2 win over Paraguay in Innsbruck.
Paraguay, who failed to qualify for the finals in Russia, took the lead in the 32nd minute through Oscar Romero before Eibar midfielder Takashi Inui equalised early in the second half.
Japan went ahead in the 63rd minute when Inui found the net again, before an own goal by Paraguay forward Federico Santander made it 3-1 after 77 minutes.
Richard Ortiz reduced the deficit in the final minute, but Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa wrapped up victory with a fourth Japan goal during stoppage time. It is Japan’s first win under coach Akira Nishino, who took over from Vahid Halilhodzic in April, following 2-0 defeats to both Ghana and Switzerland in his previous matches.
The Samurai Blue open their Group H campaign against Colombia in Saransk on June 19, before fixtures against Senegal and Poland.
City have regained bragging rights of United with a 3-1 victory at the Etihad on a huge night of Premier League action. David Silva opened the scoring after just 12 minutes and Pep Guardiola’s side never looked back.
Elsewhere, Liverpool kept pace at the top with a 2-0 win over Fulham as Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri found the net.
While there were draws for Arsenal – who were held 1-1 by Wolves – and Chelsea, who went goalless against Everton.
HERE’S A FULL WRAP OF THE OVERNIGHT ACTION…
MANCHESTER CITY 3-1 MANCHESTER UNITED
Manchester City surged 12 points clear of Manchester United with a 3-1 derby win on Sunday that highlighted just how far Jose Mourinho’s team is from dethroning its neighbor as Premier League champions. As United was run ragged, and unable to disrupt City’s passing, David Silva swept the league leaders in front in the 12th minute.
United’s sloppiness – with Jesse Lingard conceding possession on the halfway line – set Sergio Aguero on the run for a move he completed with City’s second three minutes into the second half.
City dispatch Red Devils
Although Anthony Martial reduced the deficit from the penalty spot, City remained ruthless and Ilkay Gundogan smoothed Pep Guardiola’s passage to victory by netting from Bernardo Silva’s cross in the 86th.
Runner-up last season, United managed just one shot on target at the Etihad Stadium and is now languishing in eighth place. In a league it was accustomed to dominating until 2013, the 20-time English champions are now further behind City than at any time in the Premier League after 12 games.
LIVERPOOL 2-0 FULHAM
Mohamed Salah capitalized on some quick thinking by Liverpool to maintain his impressive scoring record at Anfield in a 2-0 win over last-place Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday.
Moments after Fulham had a goal disallowed for offside, Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson took a quick free kick to find right back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who played in Salah to race in on goal and open the scoring in the 41st minute. There were just 14 seconds between the flag being raised for offside and Salah finding the net.
Xherdan Shaqiri scored the other goal in the 53rd minute, a cushioned volley into the corner from Andrew Robertson’s deep cross, as unbeaten Liverpool won for the ninth time in its opening 12 games.
In six league games at home, Salah has scored in five of them – the only blank coming against title rival Manchester City. The Egypt forward has 34 goals in 36 appearances at Anfield since joining Liverpool in the offseason of 2017. It was a seventh straight loss for Fulham in all competitions, keeping the pressure on manager Slavisa Jokanovic heading into the two-week international break. The London team’s only win since returning to the Premier League was in late August and it hasn’t scored a goal in its last three league losses.
CHELSEA 0-0 EVERTON
Chelsea failed to score in a match at Stamford Bridge for the first time this season as Everton held on for a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Sunday.
Marcos Alonso struck the post and a slew of saves from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford also frustrated Chelsea, which came into the game with the second-most goals in the league under attack-minded coach Mauricio Sarri. Chelsea dropped to third place and two points behind Liverpool after 12 games, but remained unbeaten.
Colombia center back Yerry Mina made his debut for Everton and was part of a strong defensive effort by the visitors, who look a tougher proposition now that their new coach, Marco Silva, has had three months working on the team’s shape and style.
Everton’s only loss in in its last seven games has come at Manchester United.
ARSENAL 1-1 WOLVES
Henrikh Mkhitaryan ensured Arsenal’s unbeaten run in all competitions will extend beyond three months by scoring an 86th-minute equalizer in a 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Sunday. The substitute’s inswinging cross from the left went over everyone in the box and ended up in the far corner of the net, denying Wolves what would have been the biggest win of their first season back in the top flight since 2012. They have already drawn with Manchester City at home and Manchester United away. Ivan Cavaleiro’s 13th-minute strike put Wolves ahead after capitalizing on a mistake by Granit Xhaka, leaving Arsenal facing its first loss in any competition since starting the season with back-to-back defeats against City and Chelsea in the Premier League in August.
After playing poorly in the first half, Arsenal piled on the pressure after halftime and should have equalized when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was presented with a close-range chance off Hector Bellerin’s right-wing cross. Aubameyang didn’t get a proper connection and scuffed his effort against the outside of the post.
Mkhitaryan grabbed the late equalizer that left Arsenal in fifth place, eight points adrift of leader City and three points off the top four. Its unbeaten streak in all competitions extended to 16 matches heading into the two-week international break.
Wolves almost snatched victory in the last move of the match, but substitute Morgan Gibbs-White’s long-range effort struck the top of the post and bounced agonizingly across the goal line to safety.