We keep our international break coverage ticking over with a look back at the friendlies, UEFA Nations League group matches and African Cup of Nations qualifiers contested on Saturday.
Our focus is on Fantasy Premier League players and in the below article we’ll be rounding up the goals, assists, injury news and talking points that concern a host of FPL assets.
A summary of Sunday’s matches will follow on Monday afternoon.
Albania 0-4 Scotland
- Callum Paterson (£5.2m) – 90 minutes
- Andrew Robertson (£6.5m) – 90 minutes
- Ryan Fraser (£6.2m) – 73 minutes
- Stuart Armstrong (£5.1m) – 61 minutes
- Scott McTominay (£4.3m) – 29 minutes
Having had injury-affected international breaks in September and October, Ryan Fraser returned to action for the Scottish national team and inspired his team to 4-0 win in Albania.
Playing on the left of midfield as he does for Bournemouth, Fraser scored his first ever international goal on 14 minutes of this encounter when picking up a loose ball in the final third, dribbling into the Albanian box and curling home into the far corner.
Fraser had another shot from outside the box saved before the interval but was to play a key role in Scotland’s fourth goal, registering an assist for James Forrest’s well-taken second strike of the evening.
Andrew Robertson had a comfortable evening at left-back as ten-man Albania failed to record a single shot on target, while midfielder Callum Paterson – deployed as an “out of position” striker for Cardiff City in recent weeks – demonstrated his versatility by playing the full game at right-back for the injury-hit visitors.
Stuart Armstrong played just over an hour in central midfield and bagged a “Fantasy assist” when his direct free-kick was handled by an Albanian defender in the box; Steven Fletcher converting the subsequent spot-kick.
Scott McTominay replaced Armstrong with the game effectively won and almost increased Scotland’s winning margin when clipping the bar on 77 minutes.
Equatorial Guinea 0-1 Senegal
- Sadio Mane (£9.9m) – 90 minutes
- Cheikhou Kouyate (£4.7m) – 90 minutes
- Idrissa Gueye (£4.8m) – 90 minutes
Sadio Mane was reduced to tears at the final whistle of Senegal’s 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea on Saturday after being booed by his own supporters for a reported sub-par performance.
Mane missed a glorious chance to add to Senegal’s lead, which had been given to them in comical circumstances via an own-goal just after the break.
Senegal had already qualified for next summer’s African Cup of Nations and this was effectively a dead rubber, though the Liverpool midfielder made it another game without a goal for his national side having not been on the scoresheet once during qualification.
With this being Senegal’s only fixture of the international break, Mane will return to Liverpool in good time for Gameweek 13 – though what state of mind he will be in for the trip to Watford is another issue.
Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gueye played the whole match, meanwhile.
Serbia 2-1 Montenegro
- Aleksandar Mitrovic (£6.6m) – 83 minutes
- Nemanja Matic (£5.0m) – 90 minutes
Aleksandar Mitrovic had an eventful evening as Serbia kept alive their UEFA Nations League campaign by beating neighbours Montenegro on Saturday.
The Fulham striker, whose remaining FPL owners will be hoping that their asset can benefit from a “new manager bounce” against Southampton in Gameweek 13, doubled Serbia’s lead on 32 minutes when volleying home Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross.
Mitrovic had a chance at increasing Serbia’s advantage five minutes later but made a hash of his attempted “Panenka” when the hosts were awarded a spot-kick.
The Fulham forward was a menace in the air as usual, having two headed goal attempts in first-half stoppage time and creating a chance for team-mate Mijat Gacinovic from a headed pass.
Nemanja Matic played the full game in central midfield, meanwhile.
Italy 0-0 Portugal
- Jorginho (£5.0m) – 90 minutes
- Emerson Palmieri (£5.2m) – 0 minutes
- Rui Patricio (£4.6m) – 90 minutes
- Ruben Neves (£5.0m) – 90 minutes
- Bernardo Silva (£7.5m) – 90 minutes
- Cedric Soares (£4.4m) – 0 minutes
Rui Patricio warmed up for two appetising Premier League fixtures in Gameweeks 13 and 14 by keeping a clean sheet in Portugal’s 0-0 draw in Italy, a result that sent the visitors through to the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League.
The Wolves goalkeeper had to be quick off his line to expertly deny Ciro Immobile in the first half, also making stops from Lorenzo Insigne and Lorenzo Pellegrini at either end of the match.
Jorginho saw plenty of the ball as Italy dominated possession, with Bernardo Silva and Ruben Neves ineffectual from an attacking perspective as the visitors mustered only one shot on target all evening.
Neves collected a yellow card and will now miss Portugal’s match against Poland on Tuesday through suspension – the Wolves midfielder is set for an early return to the West Midlands ahead of the visit of Huddersfield next Sunday.
Cedric Soares and Emerson Palmieri were unused substitutes for their respective sides, while Andre Gomes (£5.4m) had withdrawn from the Portugal squad several days earlier due to a leg muscle injury.
Turkey 0-1 Sweden
- Cenk Tosun (£6.6m) – 90 minutes
- Caglar Soyuncu (£4.9m) – 90 minutes
- Victor Lindelof (£4.8m) – 45 minutes
Victor Lindelof was forced off at half-time of Sweden’s 1-0 win over Turkey in the UEFA Nations League, with his issue said to be an illness rather than injury.
Head coach Janne Anderson said:
Victor did not feel well but he finished the first half.
Team-mate Andreas Granqvist added:
I think he felt a little bad before the match and felt a bit dizzy when he started.
He felt drowsy and without energy and could not continue.
Sweden are in action again on Tuesday evening, so it remains to be seen whether the Manchester United centre-back recovers in time to face Russia.
Caglar Soyuncu and Cenk Tosun played the whole 90 minutes as Turkey’s Nations League campaign ended in relegation.
South Africa 1-1 Nigeria
- Leon Balogun (£4.2m) – 90 minutes
- Alex Iwobi (£5.5m) – 90 minutes
- Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.9m) – 69 minutes
- Isaac Success (£4.6m) – 21 minutes
Isaac Success was introduced as a 69th-minute substitute for the unimpressive Kelechi Iheanacho as Nigeria were left cursing the match officials in their 1-1 draw with South Africa on Saturday.
The Super Eagles were denied two perfectly good goals courtesy of an assistant referee’s flag, though the result made little difference as they progressed to the 2019 African Cup of Nations with a game to spare.
Alex Iwobi was substituted in stoppage time having earlier been denied an assist for one of those disallowed goals, having provided the through ball for Ahmed Musa.
Iheanacho was also thwarted by an errant flag.
Brighton’s Leon Balogun played the whole match at centre-half, meanwhile.
Nigeria now face a friendly against Uganda on Tuesday, though it is unclear how many of their Premier League-based players will take part.
Australia 1-1 Korea Republic
- Mathew Ryan (£4.6m) – 90 minutes
- Aaron Mooy (£5.1m)- 90 minutes
Mathew Ryan was denied a clean sheet for the third match in a row as Australia deservedly fought back from a goal down to salvage a draw against the Korea Republic in a friendly held in the early hours of Saturday morning, UK time.
Ryan had precious little to do all evening but wasn’t given much chance with Korea’s breakaway goal, with Hwang Ui-jo scoring from one of the visitors’ two shots on target.
Ryan’s one stop was a flying save from a Korea free-kick on 70 minutes.
Australia, by contrast, had 22 efforts on goal and nine on target, with Aaron Mooy blazing one presentable chance over on the volley in the first half.
Mooy was, as has been the case with Huddersfield in the past, stationed in front of the back four in the double-pivot but was instrumental in the Socceroos’ attacks, registering more touches in the final third than any other player on show.
Mooy was his usual prominent self at dead-ball situations and Australia’s stoppage-time equaliser came from one of the Huddersfield midfielder’s partially cleared corner-kicks, with QPR’s Massimo Luongo eventually bundling the ball over the line.
Australia contest another friendly against Lebanon on Tuesday and both Mooy and Ryan have been included in the 24-man squad for that encounter.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.9m) wasn’t involved as Gabon lost to Mali 1-0 in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on Saturday.
Aubameyang has been caught up in a war of words regarding his absence on social media, Tweeting this to a Gabonese journalist:
It’s weird that the football federation immediately publishes that a player cannot come [for national duty] for other reasons after they received an email from my doctor but still has not posted on it for more than 24 hours.
You say that “Aubameyang declined” as if I had refused to come for another reason.
Aubameyang’s problem is said to be a back injury.
Mario Lemina (£4.9m) also missed out with a muscle injury, while Cardiff City’s Bruno Ecuele Manga (£4.5m) shrugged off a fitness issue of his own to play the whole 90 minutes.
Steve Mounie (£5.8m) was on the scoresheet and played the whole 90 minutes as Benin lost 3-1 in Gambia.
Mounie’s team-mates, Isaac Mbenza (£5.9m) and Abdelhamid Sabiri (£4.3m), also scored for the Belgium under-21s and the Germany under-21s respectively.
Neil Etheridge (£4.5m) was among the substitutes as the Philippines beat Timor-Leste 3-2.
Steven Sessegnon (£4.0m), Morgan Gibbs-White (£4.3m), Emile Smith Rowe (£4.5m) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (£4.2m) all started and were substituted late in the second half as England’s under-19s beat their Icelandic counterparts 3-1. Sessegnon was on the scoresheet.
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