SHORT CORNER | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:40 AM, April 19, 2019

SHORT CORNER

I cannot stop Messi  alone, admits Van Dijk

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk insists he will not face a personal duel against Lionel Messi in his side's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona.

Van Dijk is in contention for player of the year awards in England thanks to his transformative effect on Liverpool since becoming the world's most expensive defender when moving from Southampton for £75 million ($98 million) last January.

However, the Dutchman believes a collective effort is required to halt Messi, who has scored 45 goals this season, two of which helped Barca beat Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate to progress to the last four.

"I think he's the best player in the world but we'll see. It's going to be a great match-up for all of us," said Van Dijk, who netted himself as Liverpool thrashed Porto 4-1 on Wednesday to complete a 6-1 aggregate victory.

"It's about doing it all together, it's never one-v-one, it's never just me against a particular striker.

"It's always us against everyone and I think that's the only way we can defend well."     

McLeish sacked as Scotland boss

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Alex McLeish's second term as Scotland manager ended on Thursday as he was sacked following a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan to begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign last month.

"Ultimately, the performances and results as a whole in the past year - and, in particular, the manner of the defeat in Kazakhstan - did not indicate the progress expected with a squad we believe to be capable of achieving more," Ian Maxwell, the Scottish FA's chief executive, said in a statement.

McLeish was hired in February last year and led Scotland to the top of their Nations League group, securing the safety net of a playoff should they fail to qualify automatically for the Euros next year from a group containing Belgium and Russia.               

Tolisso eyes comeback against Bremen

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French midfielder Corentin Tolisso may be on the verge of making a long-awaited return to the Bayern Munich squad, coach Niko Kovac said on Thursday.

World Cup winner Tolisso has been out of action since September, when he tore his cruciate ligament during Bayern's 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

Coach Niko Kovac, however, said on Thursday that the 24-year-old could be on the bench in Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Kovac said that Tolisso's return would depend on whether Mats Hummels and James Rodriguez, who have both been struggling with injuries this week, had returned to full fitness.

"If I have fewer than 16 players for my matchday squad, then Corentin is definitely an option," said the Bayern coach.  

Shock win for Swadhinata

Sports Reporter               

Last-placed Swadhinata KS stunned leaders Farashganj SC in the Bangladesh Championship League with 1-0 win at the Birshreshtha Shaheed Mostafa Kamal Stadium in Kamalapur yesterday.

Bokor struck the all-important goal in 62nd minute to lift Swadhinata out of the bottom spot on the 11-team table. Swadhinata are now in 10th position with 12 points from 13 outings, just one point ahead of bottom-placed Feni Soccer, who have however played a match less than Swadhinata.

On the other hand, Farashganj with their third defeat in 13 outings, maintained their lead with 20 points, two more than Agrani Bank SC, who leapfrogged to second position with 18 points from 13 matches after playing out a goalless draw against Victoria SC at the same venue.

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