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Sunday 20 August 2017

Robben suffers in silence

BAYERN MUNICH winger Arjen Robben was unimpressed by a strange new experience in his career as his side overcame CSKA Moscow in the Champions League in an eerily empty Khimki Arena.

While Bayern's Dutch luminary sounded as if he had not enjoyed CSKA's defensive approach during the 1-0 victory - thanks to Thomas Muller's first half penalty, - Robben seemed underwhelmed by the odd atmosphere which enveloped the behind-closed-doors contest.

"It's the first time I have played without fans in the stadium," observed Robben, reflecting on the match which was ordered by UEFA to be played in an empty arena because of racist behaviour from CSKA fans.

"Obviously now I am used to playing in front of a packed stadium, with a lot of fans and that is how football should be," added Robben.

Robben also believes football should be about enterprise, which was evident in his observation that "only one team looked to attack" during Bayern's triumph.

O'Neill boost

JEFF Hendrick and James McClean gave Martin O'Neill a boost last night ahead of the next bout of Euro 2016 qualifiers as they took a major step forward in their fitness battles.

Derby County midfielder Hendrick made an appearance off the bench for the Rams in their 2-0 win over Bournemouth.

Winger McClean, injured in Wigan's pre-season programme, started a game for the first time this season last night, strugglers Wigan held 0-0 at home to Nottingham Forest.

Meanwhile boss O'Neill was at Hillsborough, where Keiren Westwood, Conor Sammon, Daryl Murphy and Ireland prospect David McGoldrick all started in a 1-1 draw.

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