Melbourne Victory captain Ola Toivonen says he has considered a return to his native Sweden at the end of the A-League season but has not locked in a move. Toivonen is in the second year of a two-season deal and became captain this season.
Following an interview with Swedish newspaper Karlskoga Tidning, in which he said he was considering a move closer to home after this season, Toivonen said he had contemplated a return to the Allsvenskan.
“I got a question and I was honest,” Toivonen said on Friday. “It’s been a little bit in the back of my head, what I’m going to do next, but, for the moment, I’m just focused on winning games for Victory.
“I’ve been out for a couple of years – I think it’s 11 (years) right now that I haven’t been home in Sweden. So if I’m going to take the opportunity to see what the Swedish competition is about again, it’s time to do it in the summer.
“But, as I said, I don’t know what’s going to happen after the season and for the moment I’m not focused on anything else than just winning games for Victory.”
Toivonen said there had been “no decision (and) no talks” on his future and he and his family were enjoying life in Melbourne.
“It’s a very good life for me, for the family. The kids are happy, and I think that’s the most important thing for the moment,” he said.
Despite a prolific scoring record in the A-League, with five goals in eight games this year after 15 in 22 appearances last season, Toivonen is yet to win silverware with Victory but said he was still optimistic of impacting the pointy end of the season.
“I’m happy with the time I had here when it comes to the lifestyle,” he said. “I’m not so happy with the prize(s) we’ve been not winning during my spell here but maybe one prize to play for this year and I hope we’re going to reach it.”
Manchester City’s grip on the Premier League title got even weaker as Crystal Palace earned a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium following a dramatic final 10 minutes.
Kevin De Bruyne hit the bar early on with a brilliant 30-yard free kick, but Palace scored against the run of play as Cenk Tosun headed home at the far post from a corner (39), the visitors’ first and only effort of the first half.
Crystal Palace stun Man City
City had a penalty correctly overturned by VAR in the second half following a Jairo Riedewald handball, before sub Gabriel Jesus curled a beauty for Sergio Aguero to convert at the far post (82).
Aguero got his second and what looked to be the winner with a fine header (87), but Palace refused to feel sorry for themselves as Wilfried Zaha forced a Fernandinho own goal (90).
The result means City are 13 points behind Liverpool, who have two games in hand, the first of which comes against Manchester United on Monday morning. Palace, meanwhile, are ninth, four points off the top six.
NEWCASTLE 0-1 CHELSEA
Issac Hayden’s 94th minute header snatched a stunning 1-0 win against Chelsea, earning Newcastle their first Premier League win of 2020.
Chelsea had 70 per cent of the possession and 19 shots but were kept at bay by a well-drilled Newcastle side, who completed the ultimate smash-and-grab with 30 seconds to play as Hayden glanced an Allan Saint-Maximin cross home to send St James’ Park into raptures.
But Newcastle’s sensational finish was in contrast to their start, when Jetro Willems was stretchered off inside ten minutes to increase Steve Bruce’s injury problems.
Reece James was also taken off injured for Chelsea, who will be lamenting their lack of finishing in a game they dominated.
Newcastle’s victory moves them up a place into 12th, while Chelsea remain in fourth with a five point cushion over Manchester United, ahead of their clash with Liverpool.
ARSENAL 1-1 SHEFFIELD UNITED
Sheffield United remain four points ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League after battling back from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium.
The visitors were the better side for long periods of the first half but all their good early work was undone when Arsenal striker Gabriel Martinelli, who replaced the suspended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, tucked home from close range (45) just before half-time.
Sheff shine in Gunners draw
Blades boss Chris Wilder would have been wondering how his side went in trailing at the break but they did eventually get their reward when John Fleck (83) pounced at the far post to beat Bernd Leno and secure his side a share of the spoils.
Despite the point, Sheffield United, who end a run of back-to-back defeats away from Bramall Lane, drop to seventh, but they remain three places ahead of Mikel Arteta’s side, who stay 10th.
WATFORD 0-0 TOTTENHAM
Ignacio Pussetto’s goal-line clearance denied Tottenham a last-minute winner at Watford by just 10.04mm in a goalless draw at Vicarage Road.
Pussetto, making his Watford debut as a substitute, slid in to clear Erik Lamela’s goalbound effort off the line in the second minute of injury-time and prevent the below-par visitors from stealing a win.
By then the Hornets should have been in front but Paulo Gazzaniga kept out Deeney’s 70th-minute spot-kick, awarded for a Jan Vertonghen handball, and they were also left to rue missing a number of other fine chances.
Watford force draw with Spurs
Heung-Min Son was denied by Ben Foster before half-time but, within minutes of the restart, Abdoulaye Doucoure and man-of-the-match Ismaila Sarr wasted glorious opportunities to open the scoring, before Deeney fluffed his lines from 12 yards with 20 minutes to go.
Pussetto’s late intervention ensured Tottenham extended their winless league run to a fourth game, while Watford are now unbeaten since December 12 and have taken 14 points from Nigel Pearson’s six games in charge.
SOUTHAMPTON 2-3 WOLVES
Wolves staged a thrilling second-half fightback to come from 2-0 down and beat in-form Southampton 3-2 at St Mary’s.
Saints looked to be heading for a fifth win from their last six Premier League matches as goals from Jan Bednarek (15) and Shane Long (35) put them in control.
But Pedro Neto started Wolves’ comeback when he fired home from inside the box in the 53rd minute.
Wolves win famous comeback
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) then overturned a refereeing decision in order to give Wolves a penalty which Raul Jimenez converted, before the striker netted the winner in the 76th minute.
The final whistle was greeted with a roar of delight from Nuno Espirito Santo, whose Wolves side were winless in their last five games but have now taken 18 points from losing positions this season.
WEST HAM 1-1 EVERTON
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s instinctive finish ensured a depleted Everton earned a 1-1 draw against West Ham at the London Stadium.
Issa Diop headed the hosts in front five minutes before the break on his return to the side, but Calvert-Lewin responded immediately with his 11th goal of the season to restore parity (44) from close range.
Pickford shines for Everton
Robert Snodgrass came close to regaining the lead for David Moyes’ side as his deflected shot forced a fine save from Jordan Pickford midway through the second period.
The result means West Ham remain a point above the relegation zone in 16th place while Everton stay 11th, closer to the European places than the bottom three.
BRIGHTON 1-1 ASTON VILLA
Jack Grealish’s stunning second-half equaliser grabbed Aston Villa an important point in a 1-1 draw with Brighton.
In a game of few chances, Brighton took a first-half lead through Leandro Trossard (38) but Villa improved after the break and Grealish thrashed home a fierce half-volley to get his team back on a positive footing following their embarrassing 6-1 home defeat by Manchester City.
Brighton almost nicked it late on through Neal Maupay but Pepe Reina – making his debut for Villa – produced an epic one-handed save to earn Villa a share of the spoils.
Tempers boiled over at the final whistle, with an altercation between Maupay and Ezri Konsa leading to the players being separated by teammates and the coaching staff, including Villa assistant boss John Terry.
The result means Villa remain in the relegation zone with 22 points from 23 matches, while Brighton stay 14th, very much looking over their shoulder as, across all competitions, Graham Potter’s men have won just two of their last 13 matches.
NORWICH 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH
Norwich held on for a vital 1-0 win over Bournemouth at Carrow Road after both sides were reduced to 10 men and Paul Tierney became the first Premier League referee to use a pitchside monitor.
The hosts were on top during the opening period but failed to make it count until Steve Cook received a red card for acrobatically palming away a shot in the area from Norwich debutant Ondrej Duda on the half-hour mark.
Teemu Pukki coolly converted the resulting penalty and the game maintained pace and controversy, culminating with a reckless lunge on Callum Wilson from Norwich defender Ben Godfrey, prompting Tierney to check the pitchside monitor.
Norwich prevail over Cherries
The initial yellow card was overturned and the centre-back was issued with his marching orders as tempers began to flare on both sides.
With both teams down to 10 men, Bournemouth regained some attacking momentum but the Canaries held on to close the gap from safety to six points.
This article was originally published by Sky Sports and reproduced with permission.