June 21, 2024


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Bukayo Saka: Arsenal forward clapped on to pitch by Tottenham fans in pre-season friendly

Bukayo Saka clapping the Tottenham fans
Bukayo Saka clapped the Tottenham fans after he was applauded on to the pitch

Tottenham fans put north London rivalries aside to welcome Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka back to domestic duties for the first time since Euro 2020.

Saka’s introduction into Arsenal’s 1-0 pre-season defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was his first appearance since he was racially abused after missing a penalty in England’s shootout defeat by Italy in the final.

With no away fans for any of the Mind Series matches, the Spurs fans gave Saka a warm ovation as he replaced skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Tottenham fans also displayed a banner which read “North London stands with Bukayo Saka and all players against racism and discrimination”.

Saka almost scored as well but new Tottenham goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini kept out the 19-year-old’s low shot.

After Dele Alli had twice hit a post from close range, Son Heung-min secured victory for the hosts 10 minutes from time when he drove home from Japhet Tanganga’s lay-off.

Saka’s England team-mate Ben White made his first start for the Gunners but Harry Kane was missing for the hosts.

Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo later confirmed Kane was isolating at the club’s training ground and hopes to speak to him – socially distanced – on Monday.

Nuno also refused to talk about about Inter Milan’s £60m-rated striker Lautaro Martinez, who Tottenham are trying to sign.

“Harry is with us. He has to quarantine, he’s in the lodge but he’s training. He already had the first day with the sports scientists. He’s with us,” said the former Wolves boss.

“I didn’t speak today because today was a match but we have a training session tomorrow. Hopefully, socially distanced, I will speak with Harry.”

On Martinez, he added: “I won’t speak about any player. I will speak only about my players, Tottenham players, nothing else.”

Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock, who has been linked with a move to Newcastle, was absent for the Gunners on Sunday, with manager Mikel Arteta refusing to comment on his future.

“We will explain the reasons when we can,” said the Spaniard. “It’s all I can say now, when I can say more I will let you know.”

Robertson injured in Liverpool draw

Andy Robertson helped off the pitch in pain
Andy Robertson was an ever-present in the Premier League for Liverpool last season

Elsewhere, Liverpool defender Andy Robertson was forced off with an ankle injury during the Reds’ 1-1 pre-season draw against Athletic Bilbao at Anfield.

The Scotland international went over on his right ankle while attempting to block a cross shortly before half-time and had to be helped from the field by the medical team.

Manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed after the game that Robertson will have a scan on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.

Later on Sunday Robertson tweetedexternal-link: “Thank you for all your messages. I’m positive but let’s see what tomorrow brings!”

Diogo Jota converted Sadio Mane’s pass to give Klopp’s side the lead in the first half, but winger Alejandro Berenguer levelled after the break to earn Bilbao a draw.

Reds defender Virgil van Dijk played 72 minutes as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Liverpool apologised “wholeheartedly” to supporters after issues with their new ticketing system caused huge queues at the turnstiles and saw kick-off delayed by half an hour.

The Merseysiders play Osasuna in their final pre-season game on Monday before travelling to Norwich for their Premier League season opener on Saturday.

Danny Ings scored on his debut as Aston Villa came from behind to beat Serie A newcomers Salernitana behind closed doors at Villa Park.

Ings, a £25m signing from Southampton, cancelled out Joel Obi’s opener before Anwar El Ghazi’s penalty put Villa 2-1 up at half-time.

Former England international Ashley Young, who rejoined the club earlier this summer, wrapped up the victory in the second half.

Dean Smith’s side open their campaign at newly promoted Watford on Saturday.

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