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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 21, 2012

Rodgers' Reds reign starts with draw

Brendan Rodgers' first game in charge of Liverpool resulted in a 1-1 friendly draw with Major League Soccer side Toronto in Canada.

• VIDEO: Newcastle 1-1 Fenerbahce
• VIDEO: Toronto 1-1 Liverpool

The hosts took a 58th-minute lead through Quincy Amarikwa but the Reds equalised 11 minutes later through Adam Morgan following good work by the lively Raheem Sterling as honours finished even at the Rogers Centre.

Rodgers, who was without a host of senior players for various reasons, named a mixture of youth and experience for Liverpool's opening pre-season match and made wholesale changes at half-time - 23 Reds players featured in the game.

Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole, who spent last season on loan at AC Milan and Lille respectively, both saw action, while Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva was sent on as a 75th-minute replacement for his first appearance since damaging cruciate ligaments in November.

Nicky Law's thunderous second-half strike gave Motherwell a share of the spoils against Everton in Stevie Hammell's testimonial at Fir Park.

In front of the 4,512 fans, including 1,049 from Merseyside, who turned out to pay tribute to the Steelmen's left-back, Shane Duffy gave the visitors the lead in the 34th minute with a header which went in off the post.

However, midfielder Law levelled in the 54th minute with a left-footed drive from the edge of the box which gave Toffees keeper Tim Howard no chance.

A cameo substitute appearance by free agent James McFadden, who had played for both clubs, most recently being freed by the Goodison club at the end of last season, also entertained the crowd who watched a decent game played in the right spirit.

Newcastle were denied a victory against Turkish outfit Fenerbahce when Cristian Baroni scored last-gasp equaliser. It was looking good for the Magpies when Mehdi Abeid calmly slotted home in the second half, however they failed to hold on to their lead as Cristian drilled a low drive past Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot at his near post in stoppage time.

James Vaughan scored twice for Norwich but it proved in vain as the Canaries fell to a 3-2 defeat to Hertha Berlin in Chris Hughton's first game in charge. Norwich began well but soon found themselves 2-0 down after Elias Kachunga bagged a brace on his way to securing a hat-trick.

Hughton rung the changes for the second half and it galvanised Norwich into action. Vaughan pulled one back when firing through the keeper's legs after latching onto Anthony Pilkington's through-ball. However, the momentum soon swung the other way when Daniel Ayala fouled Kachunga in the penalty area and the striker sealed his treble from the spot.

Ayala had a hand in Vaughan's second, cushioning Korey Smith's corner for the former Everton man to head home, but Norwich could not force an equaliser as Berlin held on.

Manchester United needed a last-minute Bebe goal to avoid a shock defeat to Ajax Cape Town in the latest match of their tour to South Africa.

The Red Devils had failed to exert any significant pressure until the much-maligned Bebe fashioned a response to Alcardo van Graan's smartly-taken goal four minutes from time.

A careful eye was on United's strikers after Sir Alex Ferguson revealed on Friday he had made a bid for Arsenal captain Robin van Persie, with Javier Hernandez one of those with the most to lose should the Dutchman arrive at Old Trafford.

After a sluggish contribution to Wednesday's win in Durban, Hernandez was a bit livelier in Cape Town, rising to meet Antonio Valencia's far-post cross, only for former Liverpool keeper Sander Westerveld to palm it away.

He later just failed to reach a delicate Michael Carrick through ball, which more or less wrapped up United's threat on the home goal.

Shinji Kagawa featured again for United while fellow new-boy Nick Powell was given 25 minutes to impress in central midfield. It was the introduction of record signing Dimitar Berbatov that really livened the 50,000 crowd up, though Van Graan threatened to emerge the hero until Bebe struck at the far post.

Trialist Colin Kazim-Richards featured for West Ham as they recorded a 2-1 win at Colchester.

After seeing Kevin Nolan limp off early on, Nicky Maynard gave the Premier League new boys the lead before Mark Noble double their advantage from the spot. Anthony Wordsworth pulled one back for Colchester, but Sam Allardyce's side held on for victory.

Swansea romped to a 5-0 friendly victory over Port Talbot, with Stephen Dobbie netting a hat-trick. The Scottish forward was joined on the scoresheet by Leroy Lita and Henry Jones.

Meanwhile, Mladen Petric's brace helped Fulham to a 2-2 draw with Kaiserslautern. Ilian Micanski and Albert Bunjaku gave the German outfit a two-goal cushion inside 14 minutes, but summer signing Petric scored either side of half time to earn Martin Jol's side a draw.

Celtic were handed a harsh lesson in the Amsterdam ArenA when they were taken apart by Ajax in a pre-season friendly.

Neil Lennon's men were given the runaround in a one-sided first-half which ended with the visitors three goals down. In the 13th minute Ajax midfielder Siem De Jong drove into the top corner from outside the box giving Parkhead keeper Fraser Forster no chance.

The Dutch side were a class apart but Celtic did not help their cause with some slack defending, which cost them dearly in the 21st minute when striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson tapped the ball into the empty net to make it 2-0. The thrid came when, In one of his more casual moments, defender Thomas Rogne got himself caught in possession, allowing Thulani Serero to run through and slide the ball under Forster.

Hoops defender Charlie Mulgrew was then sent off for deliberate handball on the line in the 66th minute before Daley Blind scored from the resultant spot-kick.

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