SUMMARY OF DAY ONE AUSTRALIA CUP 2004

first_imgDay One at the 2004 Australia Cup was…very testing. An early start compounded by lightning, thunder, hail and driving rain and what I believe were gale-force winds was…interesting. While I normally enjoy a day of good solid winter weather with a bit of storm action, today was not really the ideal day for it. With the wind sending people running to stop team tents from blowing away and the photographer cringing when his camera crashed to the ground, the players took the fields for the first day of matches. A visit from ASDA (Australian Sports Drug Agency) to do some random testing, was a timely reminder for all players about the importance of returning the required ASDA forms and following the ASDA guidelines and requirements that apply to all players. While the weather cleared a little over lunchtime, the afternoon was twice as bad. Our afternoon stroll to the shops for some lunch turned more into a fight for survival against wind and rain threatening to send us flying across the fields and into the ocean. (okay, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic, but credit needs to be given to the players, coaches, selectors and referees braving the conditions.) Markers, jackets, tents, flags and hats were flying left, right and centre, but the competition went on (minus tournament director Jon Pratt who was last seen past the trees, down the creek, looking for those missing field markers.) Last year’s Men’s Champions, the ACT, fought out a tough 6-6 draw with Tasmania, signaling a tight tournament for the Men. They finished strongly with a 6-3 win over SA and an easy win over the Victorian 30’s. Tasmania also finished well after the first day, a 6-5 win The Victorian 23’s laid down the challenge to their Open Men before going down 6-3 in a good match. The SA Men started the tournament well with a 13-2 win over NSW Country and a 10-4 win over the Victorian 23’s. While the Senior teams will play all teams in the round matches, they will have their own finals series and it already looks as though it will be tightly fought between the Victoria, NSW Country and Elwood Park senior sides. In the Women’s division it was last year’s Champions, Victoria, who had a strong round one win, 10-0 over the Elwood Park Seniors (EPTA Seniors). They continued to establish themselves with another 9-2 win over the ACT. The NSW Women look like they will challenge the Victorian Women after a 7-4 win over SA. A bye on the first day meant not a lot was seen of the NSW Country Women. The NSW Country 23’s will no doubt be very tough to beat with their side including several past and present Australia representatives. They started the tournament with two easy wins 11-2 over Vic 23’s and 12-0 over the EPTA Seniors. Tomorrow certainly promises another day of great competition. The SportingPulse draw, results and statistics can be found using the following link: AUSTRALIA CUP DRAW AND RESULTS 2004 All Australia Cup stories can also be found on the ATA Australia Cup homepage. AUSTRALIA CUP HOMEPAGE 2004 By Rachel Moyle, media@austouch.com.aulast_img read more

Madrid cruise to Club World Cup glory

first_imgLuka Modric’s wonderful goal helped seal Club World Cup history as Real Madrid beat Al Ain 4-1 to become the first team to win the tournament three years in a row.Santiago Solari’s first silverware since being appointed as Julen Lopetegui’s successor was set up by Modric’s first-half strike as Madrid comfortably triumphed in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, moving past rivals Barcelona with their fourth title in the competition.The Croatia midfielder, who added the Ballon d’Or crown to his World Cup Golden Ball this month, bent the opener into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards, with Marcos Llorente also drilling home from outside the box before a Sergio Ramos header extended Madrid’s lead. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Al Ain had a goal from Caio Fernandes ruled out for offside when they only trailed by one and Zoran Mamic’s side – who replied through an excellent Tsukasa Shiotani header – can be proud of their efforts on home soil as massive underdogs against the European champions, despite Madrid adding a late fourth through Yahia Nader’s own goal.The perfect way to cap off #TheBest year for @lukamodric10? He has @realmadriden in front in the #ClubWC final  pic.twitter.com/VmlslWFoxG— #ClubWC  (@FIFAcom) December 22, 2018Madrid hit the post in the third minute when Llorente got clear in the left channel, his cutback deflected on to the woodwork by fortunate defender Ismail Ahmed.Al Ain should have taken the lead when Marcelo’s mistake let in Hussein El Shahat but captain Ramos made a miraculous goal-line clearance to deny the winger, then Madrid nudged in front.Neat build-up play from Karim Benzema set up Modric and the Ballon d’Or winner curled home a beauty from 25 yards, Caio then seeing a rapid reply ruled out for offside.Benzema missed a brilliant chance to extend Madrid’s lead before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa made outstanding saves to deny both Gareth Bale and Modric before the break.Madrid effectively clinched the trophy in the 60th minute when a cleared corner fell kindly to Llorente, his thumping half-volley giving Eisa no chance and opening his professional account in some style.Ramos powered home a Modric corner to make certain of Madrid’s victory, celebrating the goal with unused substitute Isco, although Al Ain scored a deserved consolation through Shiotani with four minutes left.Madrid had the final say, though, as a cross from substitute Vinicius Jr was turned into his own goal by Nader in the first minute of stoppage time. WHAT A GOAL!!!@marcosllorente pic.twitter.com/wsel09O91H— Real Madrid C.F.  (@realmadriden) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Solari up and runningThis was not always completely convincing from Madrid, but they did not need to get out of second gear. Solari’s side left too many gaps at the back and more clinical opponents may have punished them, but the coach will be relieved to collect the first trophy of his reign.Modric the man of the moment There were few arguments about Modric ending Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance of the Ballon d’Or and he ended 2018 on another high note. His opening goal was superbly struck and the midfielder also forced a scrambling save from Eisa with a stunning volley as well as crossing for Ramos’ goal.Madrid survive Benzema’s baffling missRonaldo’s sale to Juventus meant Benzema would have to hugely increase his meagre goalscoring returns from last season to address the deficit. But the former France striker has struggled to step up, with an atrocious miss from Lucas Vazquez’s cross particularly worrying. Benzema – who has six league goals this season – did set up Modric’s opener, yet he is ultimately in the Madrid team to score goals, not make them.Key Opta Facts- Madrid have won the Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015) to become the competition’s most successful team.- Solari is the first Argentinian manager to win the Club World Cup. The previous five Argentinians to manage in a Club World Cup final lost the game, all in charge of teams from South America.- Madrid captain Ramos is the third player to score in different Club World Cup finals, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.What’s next?Madrid can enjoy a brief break before returning to LaLiga action at Villarreal on January 3. read morelast_img read more

Report: Chelsea 0 Leicester City 1

first_imgJamie Vardy scored on his 250th Leicester City appearance as the Foxes ended an 18-year wait for a Premier League win at Chelsea in a 1-0 triumph.The former England striker had been starved of service until clinically finishing a brilliant Leicester counter early in the second half, which ultimately proved enough to clinch a first win at Stamford Bridge since 2000.It was a hugely frustrating afternoon for Maurizio Sarri’s side, who controlled large periods of the game and saw Eden Hazard – one shy of 100 competitive goals for the Blues – hit the crossbar in the first half as well as Marcos Alonso strike the post in the 91st minute when clean through.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Chelsea, who lost a league match at home for the first time under Sarri, consequently head into Christmas 11 points behind leaders Liverpool, while rumours that Leicester were planning on sacking Claude Puel may subside after this much-needed win.The Blues’ play was sharp if lacking in incisiveness early doors, although David Luiz was desperately close to meeting Pedro’s flick on from a Willian corner.1-0 to #lcfc@Madders10  @vardy7 #CheLei pic.twitter.com/mzxhsZi4Ij— Leicester City (@LCFC) December 22, 2018Leicester had an almighty let-off when Hazard pounced on Harry Maguire’s poor control and rifled an effort against the crossbar.Neither team had a shot on target until the 41st minute with Kepa Arrizabalaga’s strong hand keeping out Wilfred Ndidi’s stinging 30-yard drive.Willian tamely struck at Kasper Schmeichel after a fine team move, while Jorginho’s well-hit half-volley forced the Leicester keeper into action again as Chelsea finished the half strong.The Blues were caught cold six minutes after the break, though. Leicester launched a counter-attack that led to James Maddison slipping in Vardy to emphatically fire past Kepa when one-on-one.Schmeichel was sharp to keep out Hazard’s left-foot effort from a tight angle, and at the other end Kepa’s spill from Marc Albrighton’s cross needed swift action from Cesar Azpilicueta to deny Vardy.Leicester’s goal lived a charmed life in the closing stages with Antonio Rudiger heading wide from point-blank range and Alonso fluffing his lines by striking the left post when one-on-one.What does it mean? Relief for Puel, but Blues’ title hopes stungPuel has faced rumours this week that squad disharmony and a return of one league win in six could lead to his sacking, but a big triumph here is a much-needed early Christmas present. There will be little festive cheer for the hosts, though, who are 11 points off the top and stewing over a first home defeat since April.Christmas party time for VardyLeicester fans love to affectionately sing ‘Jamie Vardy’s having a party’ and he had cause for celebration with a typically clinical counter-attacking goal. The Foxes had done little to provide chances for Vardy until his goal, but when it came he did not disappoint. Ricardo Pereira and Ben Chilwell also impressed for the away side.Kante paying a high priceThere is arguably no better defensive midfielder on the planet than N’Golo Kante. But Sarri’s insistence on playing the France international in an advanced position to slot Jorginho deeper in his midfield is not bringing the best out of the former Leicester star. On a few occasions, Kante found himself high up the pitch but lacking the attacking quality to break the Foxes’ rear-guard.Key Opta Facts- Chelsea have failed to find the back of the net in two of their last four home Premier League games, as many as in their previous 21.- Jamie Vardy has scored 13 goals in his last 15 Premier League appearances. – Leicester midfielder James Maddison has created 41 goal-scoring chances in the Premier League this season, more than any other English player.  What’s next?The festive season kicks into gear with Chelsea making the hop across London aiming to bounce back at Watford on Boxing Day, while the Foxes will look for another unlikely win at home to Manchester City. read morelast_img read more

Report: Atletico 1 Espanyol 0

first_imgAntoine Griezmann’s penalty was enough as Atletico Madrid moved up to second in LaLiga after claiming an unremarkable 1-0 win over Espanyol, as the Frenchman reached 200 career goals for club and country.Espanyol produced a fine performance given their wretched form, but Atletico just about managed to earn the victory which moves them back above Sevilla at least until Sunday thanks to Griezmann.The visitors looked considerably more threatening in the first half, with Jan Oblak having to be at his best to deny Borja Iglesias and one-time Atletico striker Leo Baptistao. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? But Espanyol’s attacking threat fizzled out somewhat after the break and Atletico made the most of that, with Griezmann’s penalty proving decisive and inflicting a sixth successive league defeat on Espanyol, their worst run since 2003. 94′ | 1-0 |  ¡FINAAAAL! ¡Cerramos el 2018 con tres puntos en el Wanda @Metropolitano!#AtletiEspanyol#AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/vMfkhSoMDq— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) December 22, 2018Espanyol looked the more creative of the two sides early on and went close twice in the first 15 minutes, as Esteban Granero sent a chip just wide of the top-left corner, before Oblak had to be alert to tip a similar effort from Iglesias over.Oblak made another vital stop in the 28th minute when parrying Baptistao’s fierce 20-yard volley, though he had to rely on his left-hand post to stop the Brazilian’s follow-up effort.Atletico finally tested Diego Lopez just before the break – the former Real Madrid goalkeeper pushing a Griezmann volley wide.The hosts looked more solid defensively after the interval and then found themselves ahead in the 56th minute, as Griezmann emphatically slammed a penalty into the roof of the net as a consequence of Koke being felled by a wild Granero kick.Atletico should have rounded things off when Gelson Martins was tackled in the penalty area on the counter, though it had no impact on the score as the hosts held on at the other end.200 – @atletienglish’s Antoine Griezmann has scored his 200th goal in his professional career (club and country). Milestone. pic.twitter.com/2vi3bWhw6f— OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 22, 2018 What does it mean? Atletico ride their luckAtletico were again guilty of producing an unimpressive performance, finding themselves under pressure a lot in the first half. Although they weathered the storm and came out unscathed, one has to assume their luck will run out eventually against better – more ruthless – opposition.Oblak proves his worth, againHaving an immense goalkeeper really does make a difference, as Oblak showed on Saturday. Not only did he produce some vital saves, he dealt particularly well when put under physical pressure at set-pieces, somehow managing to routinely clear his lines despite being surrounded.Kalinic kept quietCroatian striker Nikola Kalinic was hoping to score in a third successive LaLiga game, but he offered very little before the interval, with Naldo generally bossing him. He was then replaced by Vitolo, who injected more urgency into Atletico’s attack.Key Opta Facts- No side has kept more clean sheets than Atletico Madrid in the top five European leagues in 2018 (21, level with Juventus). – Griezmann has scored 40 goals in 2018 for club and country, more than in any other calendar year.- Atletico have picked up 50 points at Wanda Metropolitano in La Liga in 2018 (W15 D5 L1), more than any other side at home in the competition.- Antoine Griezmann has been involved in 11 goals in his last 10 games for Atletico de Madrid in all competitions (seven goals and four assists).- Espanyol have lost their last six LaLiga games, their worst run in the competition since October 2003 (also six).- Atletico faced more shots in the first half against Espanyol (10) than in any other first half of a league game at Wanda Metropolitano. What’s next?After the winter break, Atletico face a trip to fellow high-flyers Sevilla in what promises to be a feisty encounter at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, while Espanyol host Leganes. read morelast_img read more

Five-star Man Utd blow Cardiff away

first_imgManchester United cruised to an impressive 5-1 Premier League victory over Cardiff City on Saturday in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first match in charge.Three goals in the first half from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera and Anthony Martial and a brace from Jesse Lingard earned all three points at Cardiff City Stadium, with Victor Camaras’ penalty proving little consolation.United stay sixth in the table, but the manner of the performance, as well as the result – the first time the side have scored five times in the league since Alex Ferguson’s final game – will have been a welcome sight for the travelling fans at the end of a week that saw Jose Mourinho’s contentious time in charge come to an end. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? The new United era got off to a stunning start when Rashford blasted home a free-kick from 30 yards out that left goalkeeper Neil Etheridge rooted to the spot.Almost 81 per cent of possession underlined United’s early control, and the scoreline reflected their dominance when Herrera’s strike looped off Greg Cunningham’s shoulder and into the net 29 minutes in.Cardiff were gifted a lifeline when Camarasa fired high into the net from the spot, but United’s two-goal lead was restored three minutes later, when Martial slotted beneath Etheridge after a sublime one-touch passing move involving Lingard and Paul Pogba, restored to the starting line-up.3 – Man Utd have scored three first half goals in a Premier League away game for the first time since November 2017 v Watford. Reaction. #CARMUN pic.twitter.com/ENU4COALZJ— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2018And any hope of a Cardiff comeback was promptly extinguished 11 minutes into the second half, when Lingard dispatched a confident penalty after he had been bundled to the ground by Sol Bamba.Pogba and Phil Jones were each denied by good Etheridge saves, while David de Gea kept out a good Kenneth Zohore attempt. It was 5-1 when Lingard rounded the keeper and slotted home from Pogba’s pass in the 90th minute to secure a first away league win since November 3 in style and give Solskjaer extra cause for celebration against the club he used the manage. 500/100 – Anthony Martial’s strike vs Cardiff was the 500th goal scored in the Premier League this season, in what was his 100th league game for Man Utd. Milestones. #CARMUN pic.twitter.com/y8fs7lJ9En— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Solskjaer has lifted the gloom’You make me happy, when skies are grey’ goes the song sung in Solskjaer’s honour by United fans, and that certainly seems to be the case at the end of a week that started with Mourinho apparently looking likely to stay in the job.United looked liberated in south Wales, playing expressive, attacking football and scoring the goals to go with it, while much-maligned players like Victor Lindelof seemed to exude confidence.Yes, Cardiff were undeniably poor and, yes, United are still sixth, but this was a match where the manner of the performance was arguably more important for the visitors than the result itself.Lingard given a licence to thrillLingard epitomised the freedom with which United’s attacking players performed. His assist for Martial’s goal and his well-taken penalty were the high points of a display full of verve, and Cardiff never quite got to grips with him.Bumbling Bamba a burdenBamba was dispossessed too easily by Pogba in the build-up to Herrera’s goal, his clumsy foul allowed Lingard to make it 4-1 and he missed a good chance for a goal. It was not his finest outing.Key Opta Facts- Since Alex Ferguson left the club, four of the five different managers to take charge of Manchester United have seen their side score 3+ goals in their first Premier League game (Moyes 4, Mourinho 3, Giggs 4 and Solskjaer 5). – Cardiff manager Neil Warnock suffered his 50th Premier League defeat, in what was his 92nd game in the competition – only Mick McCarthy (79), Danny Wilson (87) and Gary Megson (91) have reached 50 defeats in fewer games managed.- Anthony Martial has been directly involved in 70 goals for Manchester United in all competitions (45 goals, 25 assists); the most of any player for the club since his debut in September 2015.- Manchester United’s third goal against Cardiff – scored by Anthony Martial – was the 500th netted in the Premier League this season. What’s next?Huddersfield Town visit Old Trafford for the first home game of the Solskjaer era, while Cardiff head to Crystal Palace, both on December 26. read morelast_img read more

Report: Real Madrid 4 Al Ain 1

first_imgLuka Modric’s wonderful goal helped seal Club World Cup history as Real Madrid beat Al Ain 4-1 to become the first team to win the tournament three years in a row.Santiago Solari’s first silverware since being appointed as Julen Lopetegui’s successor was set up by Modric’s first-half strike as Madrid comfortably triumphed in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, moving past rivals Barcelona with their fourth title in the competition.The Croatia midfielder, who added the Ballon d’Or crown to his World Cup Golden Ball this month, bent the opener into the bottom-left corner from 25 yards, with Marcos Llorente also drilling home from outside the box before a Sergio Ramos header extended Madrid’s lead. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Al Ain had a goal from Caio Fernandes ruled out for offside when they only trailed by one and Zoran Mamic’s side – who replied through an excellent Tsukasa Shiotani header – can be proud of their efforts on home soil as massive underdogs against the European champions, despite Madrid adding a late fourth through Yahia Nader’s own goal.The perfect way to cap off #TheBest year for @lukamodric10? He has @realmadriden in front in the #ClubWC final  pic.twitter.com/VmlslWFoxG— #ClubWC  (@FIFAcom) December 22, 2018Madrid hit the post in the third minute when Llorente got clear in the left channel, his cutback deflected on to the woodwork by fortunate defender Ismail Ahmed.Al Ain should have taken the lead when Marcelo’s mistake let in Hussein El Shahat but captain Ramos made a miraculous goal-line clearance to deny the winger, then Madrid nudged in front.Neat build-up play from Karim Benzema set up Modric and the Ballon d’Or winner curled home a beauty from 25 yards, Caio then seeing a rapid reply ruled out for offside.Benzema missed a brilliant chance to extend Madrid’s lead before goalkeeper Khalid Eisa made outstanding saves to deny both Gareth Bale and Modric before the break.Madrid effectively clinched the trophy in the 60th minute when a cleared corner fell kindly to Llorente, his thumping half-volley giving Eisa no chance and opening his professional account in some style.Ramos powered home a Modric corner to make certain of Madrid’s victory, celebrating the goal with unused substitute Isco, although Al Ain scored a deserved consolation through Shiotani with four minutes left.Madrid had the final say, though, as a cross from substitute Vinicius Jr was turned into his own goal by Nader in the first minute of stoppage time. WHAT A GOAL!!!@marcosllorente pic.twitter.com/wsel09O91H— Real Madrid C.F.  (@realmadriden) December 22, 2018What does it mean? Solari up and runningThis was not always completely convincing from Madrid, but they did not need to get out of second gear. Solari’s side left too many gaps at the back and more clinical opponents may have punished them, but the coach will be relieved to collect the first trophy of his reign.Modric the man of the moment There were few arguments about Modric ending Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s dominance of the Ballon d’Or and he ended 2018 on another high note. His opening goal was superbly struck and the midfielder also forced a scrambling save from Eisa with a stunning volley as well as crossing for Ramos’ goal.Madrid survive Benzema’s baffling missRonaldo’s sale to Juventus meant Benzema would have to hugely increase his meagre goalscoring returns from last season to address the deficit. But the former France striker has struggled to step up, with an atrocious miss from Lucas Vazquez’s cross particularly worrying. Benzema – who has six league goals this season – did set up Modric’s opener, yet he is ultimately in the Madrid team to score goals, not make them.Key Opta Facts- Madrid have won the Club World Cup four times (2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018), surpassing Barcelona (2009, 2011 and 2015) to become the competition’s most successful team.- Solari is the first Argentinian manager to win the Club World Cup. The previous five Argentinians to manage in a Club World Cup final lost the game, all in charge of teams from South America.- Madrid captain Ramos is the third player to score in different Club World Cup finals, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.What’s next?Madrid can enjoy a brief break before returning to LaLiga action at Villarreal on January 3. read morelast_img read more

Modric shows Messi & Ronaldo that 2018 was his year

first_imgSoftly spoken and self-effacing almost to a fault, not even being crowned the world’s best player could inflate Luka Modric’s ego.The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner ended a decade of tyrannical domination of the award by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who had shared out equally – if not always uncontroversially – the last 10 awards. Modric, however, saw his triumph as a win for the ‘little guy’.“Nobody has the right to compare themselves to [Messi and Ronaldo] the Real Madrid star told France Football upon receiving his new prize. “They are the best in the history of this sport. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “I am happy that someone normal is able to win the Ballon d’Or.”Do not be fooled by Modric’s diffidence, however. Beneath that unassuming exterior is a truly magnificent playmaker who fully deserves to have finished ahead of two footballing behemoths – a fact he underlined with a match-winning performance to crown Madrid world champions on Saturday.Santiago Solari’s men could have been forgiven for taking the Club World Cup final rather lightly. On the opposite side of the pitch were unheralded Al Ain, the local heroes in Abu Dhabi who had ejected Wellington, Esperance de Tunis and River Plate on the road to the decider but who were surely outmatched against the winners of the last three Champions League titles.Part of River’s downfall was underestimating that rival, though, and Madrid almost paid for the same mistake early on. A dreadful error from Marcelo just 12 minutes into the final sent Hussein El Shahat bursting through on goal and only Sergio Ramos’ miraculous stop on the line stopped the favourites going behind after Al Ain’s dangerman had danced past a flailing Thibaut Courtois.That near-miss was a show of the absent-mindedness and apparent lack of focus that has hurt Madrid time and again in this desperately disappointing start to the season. Luckily for the Liga side, they had an ace up their sleeve in the shape of their Croatian genius.Minutes after Ramos’ intervention Modric was given an inch of space on the edge of the Al Ain box. He does not need much more. The midfielder whipped the ball past goalkeeper Eisa with an unstoppable effort, a near-mirror image of the strike that finished off Argentina in this summer’s World Cup as this time round he opted to use his left boot.Luka Modric Real Madrid Al Ain CWC finalReal MadridFrom that point onwards, and despite another scare when the brilliant Caio scooped over Courtois’ head only to be called back for a marginal offside, the game was Madrid’s to lose.In the second half Marcos Llorente stepped up to take a leaf out of Modric’s and fire home a cracking volley, his first-ever Madrid goal effectively ending the final as a contest. Modric stepped up once again with a perfect corner to allow Ramos to extend the scoreline, before Al Ain grabbed a late consolation. An even later own goal meant that Madrid ran out 4-1 winners.After all the strife of the last few months, the Merengue received some welcome breathing space in the shape of silverware as Solari takes his first trophy in the hotseat. What is clear is that this team, dishevelled as it has been recently, still depend heavily on their No. 10, who once more has responded when it most counts.Perhaps Modric does not have the scintillating natural talent of Messi (but then who does?) or Ronaldo’s irrepressible eye for goal. But the facts speak for themselves. At 33 he continues to pull the strings in the team that have been crowned European and world champions for the last three years. He shows no sign of slowing down.When his heroics in leading unfancied Croatia to the World Cup final are taken into consideration there can be no doubt that he was the right man for the Ballon d’Or, a feat only made more exceptional by the fact he overthrew those two monsters to take the prize. Those who gripe and moan about the decision, often on social media with avatars depicting one of the pair above, miss the point about what these awards are supposed to signify.To put it simply, Modric was the outstanding star of the past 12 months, bringing his game to new heights to lead Madrid to further silverware and Croatia to the brink of glory. Like Andres Iniesta before him, he cannot be judged solely on goals, assists and other dry statistics; watching him glide across the pitch and making his side tick is a work of art that needs no numerical support.Perhaps one can only fault his own perceptions of himself, particularly when it comes to speaking to reporters. Normal? There is absolutely nothing normal about Modric and his marvellous 2018.last_img read more

Juve top Roma to stay unbeaten in Serie A

first_imgJuventus dealt a fresh blow to Eusebio Di Francesco’s job security in a routine 1-0 win over an outclassed Roma at Allianz Stadium on Saturday.Champions League semi-finalists last season, Roma have been a shadow of their former selves this term and were no match for the Serie A champions despite the narrow final scoreline.Mario Mandzukic’s commanding header, his eighth league goal of the campaign, gave Juve a deserved half-time lead and they were rarely troubled in restoring an eight-point gap to second-placed Napoli, who earlier beat SPAL 1-0. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Robin Olsen’s string of stellar saves ultimately achieved little more than keeping the score down as the under-pressure Di Francesco was left to defend a run of just one victory in seven competitive matches.How did you celebrate this moment from @MarioMandzukic9? #JuveRoma #FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/QdEqdHOq11— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 22, 2018Roma encountered intense early pressure and only an in-form Olsen prevented them from slipping to an earlier deficit.The Sweden goalkeeper brilliantly denied Alex Sandro in the seventh minute and was at his athletic best in turning a Cristiano Ronaldo shot around the upright.His saves only prolonged the inevitable as Juve’s opener arrived in the 35th minute, Mandzukic towering above Davide Santon and heading in Mattia De Sciglio’s cross.Ronaldo must have felt a sense of deja vu when Olsen frustrated him with two fine saves in quick succession prior to the hour, causing the Portugal attacker to kick out at the post in irritation.Massimiliano Allegri’s men twice had late goals disallowed on their way to sealing a record 16th victory in 17 Serie A fixtures. Giorgio Chiellini was adjudged to have fouled the Giallorossi goalkeeper, before substitute Douglas Costa’s stoppage-time strike was overturned on VAR due to Blaise Matuidi’s crude challenge on Nicolo Zaniolo in the build-up.What does it mean? Di Francesco in dangerThe goodwill Roma boss Di Francesco built up during an excellent 2017-18 campaign could soon evaporate if results do not turn.There are just two points separating his team and 12th-placed Parma after 17 matches, with considerable January investment seemingly the only antidote to a sub-par run of results.Brilliant Bentancur makes seamless comebackRodrigo Bentancur returned to Juve’s starting XI following a one-match suspension and got straight back to dominating the midfield.Though still only 21, the midfielder is a key cog for Allegri and demonstrated as such by topping the match count for tackles while rarely wasting possession.Santon switches offGranted, there was a mismatch in size at the far post, but Roma needed right-back Santon to be more than a mere step ladder for Mandzukic’s opener.The former Newcastle United defender paid the price for not assessing his surroundings and his regular turnovers impeded Roma’s attempts to rescue a result.Key Opta Facts- Juventus have gained 49 points in the first 17 games of the season – a joint-record in the top five European leagues.- Juve have also won 31 league games in 2018, more than any other team in the top five European leagues.- Ronaldo was responsible for 10 of his team’s 20 shots in this game.What’s next?Both clubs are back in action on December 26 as Juve head to mid-table Atalanta and Roma entertain Sassuolo. read morelast_img read more

Everton vs Spurs team news: Richarlison on the wing

first_imgEverton will host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday evening in both sides’ final fixture before Christmas.The Blues currently languish in eighth place after falling to defeat twice in their last five league fixtures, while Spurs have bounced back from their devastating 4-2 loss to crosstown rivals Arsenal and have registered three consecutive victories in their last three games.Spurs can cement their spot in third place should they beat the Toffees, and a win will ensure that they remain above Chelsea in the table for Christmas. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Game Everton vs Tottenham Date Sunday, December 23 Time 4pm GMT / 11am ET TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live on NBCSN and livestreamed on NBC Sports Live. US TV channel Online stream NBCSN NBC Sports Live In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on Sky Sports Main Event and livestreamed on Sky GO Extra. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Main Event Sky GO Extra Squads & Team News Position Everton players Goalkeepers Pickford, Stekelenburg Defenders Holgate, Baines, Keane, Zouma, Jagielka, Digne, Mina, Coleman, Browning, Kenny Midfielders Gomes, Sigurdsson, Walcott, McCarthy, Gueye, Schneiderlin, Bernard, Davies Forwards Tosun, Niasse, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Lookman Potential Everton XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Zouma, Digne; Gomes, Davies; Walcott, Sigurdsson, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin Position Tottenham players Goalkeepers Lloris, Vorm, Gazzaniga Defenders Trippier, Rose, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Sanchez, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Aurier, Davies Midfielders Son, Winks, Lamela, Nkoudou, Dier, Sissoko, Alli, Eriksen, Moura Forwards Kane, Llorente Potential Tottenham XI: Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies; Winks, Sissoko; Eriksen, Dele, Son; KaneBetting & Match Odds Everton are priced at odds of winning 2/1 according to  bet 365 , while a draw is available at 13/5. A win for the Lilywhites is priced at 5/4.Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more. Match Preview Harry Kane Tottenham 2018-19Young Brazil ace Richarlison is expected to make a huge impact for the home side after having scored four goals in his last four Premier League home games, though Spurs striker Kane will be eager to place more pressure on Mohamed Salah to remain in contention to win the Golden Boot.The England captain has scored a brace in each of his last three league appearances against the Merseysiders, and should he net again on Sunday, he could join the illustrious ranks of Michael Owen – against Newcastle – to have ever scored two or more goals in four successive league games against a particular team.Spurs are currently part of a three-horse race with Chelsea and Arsenal for a spot in the top four, with just five points separating all three sides, though an away win at Goodison Park could also put them as a potential title challenger alongside table-toppers Liverpool and Man City.The North London side are currently in a precarious position regarding their manager, Mauricio Pochettino, who has been the subject of keen interest by Manchester United as they search for a long-term managerial replacement to succeed Jose Mourinho.Pochettino appeared to commit his long-term future to the North Londoners amid the reported interest from the Red Devils, telling reporters earlier in the week:”We are going to have one of the best facilities in the world, the training ground with the new stadium,” he told Sky Sports.”On the football side, all that we are building here will be in the same level. When you add and mix it all together it is going to be the time to win titles and deliver what the people expect.”We still have not won a trophy, but I think we have won more than that, because after four-and-a-half-years’ work together, to have a contract for another four-and-a-half years is a massive achievement in the current climate. To create that is a massive achievement for us.”Everton, meanwhile, are on a miserable run of form against the “top six” sides of the Premier League, unable to register a victory in their last 22 league outings against them Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Barca confirm further ‘conservative treatment’ for Umtiti

first_imgSamuel Umtiti will return to Barcelona on December 30 for further “conservative treatment” on his knee after undergoing therapy in Qatar.The France international last featured for Barca almost a month ago in Barca’s 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on November 24, but a persistent knee issue has troubled him ever since.Umtiti had been having treatment with specialists in Qatar ever since the end of November. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? He has played just seven times in La Liga this term, having also missed two months when the knee injury first flared up in September.Barca have been severely impacted by injuries at centre-back this term, with Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique the only fit senior players for the position in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Celta Vigo.The club are yet to give a return date for Umtiti, though they will be helped by the loan signing of Jeison Murillo in January.A club statement on Umtiti’s return to Spain read: “Samuel Umtiti was evaluated by the club’s medical services staff at the team’s training centre this morning due to the discomfort in his left knee.”Samuel Umtiti will return on December 30 to continue undergoing conservative treatment on his knee.”This conservative treatment plan was announced on December 2, with the goal of allowing him to heal his left knee discomfort.”The player was in Doha, Qatar in recent weeks for physical therapy treatment under the supervision of the club’s medical services staff.”last_img read more

Ribery open to another year with Bayern

first_imgBayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has admitted that he could see himself remaining at the Bundesliga champions for another year after his impressive performance against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday helped them to victory.The Frenchman’s brace inspired Niko Kovac’s side to a 3-0 win in the final game before the winter break, to ensure that they stay within feasible distance of league leaders Borussia Dortmund.His two goals also ensured that, at 35, he became the oldest player in Bayern history to achieve a double in a game for the club. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ribery has been linked with an exit from the club he has called home for more than a decade at the end of the current campaign, with club officials Hasan Salihamidzic and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge hinting that this could be his last season at the Allianz Arena.Speaking afterwards, the midfielder’s tune was more ambiguous, acknowledging that he could still see his future with Bayern while admitting that he has no concrete plans beyond next May.“Yes, of course,” Ribery told Sky when asked about remaining in Munich, before adding: “My situation is not easy to assess.“But I just work, I’m having fun and I’m performing. What will happen next season, we’ll see.”Ribery joined Bayern from Marseille in 2007 and has gone on to win virtually every major honour with the club.He is an eight-time winner of the Bundesliga and also holds medals for the DFB-Pokal and DFB-Supercup domestically.In Europe, he has won the Champions League and the Super Cup as well as the Club World Cup in 2013.He was also a runner-up with France at the 2006 World Cup, featuring in the final for Les Bleus as they were beaten on penalties by Italy.Ribery has also been named in UEFA’s Team of the Year twice, both times while playing for Bayern, in 2008 and 2013.If he is to depart, he would become the second big-name winger to exit the club in the space of a season, after Arjen Robben confirmed he would call time on his 10-year Bayern career at the end of the current season.last_img read more

United striker ‘one of the best number nines in the world’

first_imgManchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has been unfairly criticised for his performances this season, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez says.The 25-year-old has only managed six goals in all competitions in 2018-19 and was not always guaranteed a regular starting spot during former manager Jose Mourinho’s final few weeks in charge.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer oversaw a 5-1 thrashing of Cardiff City on Saturday in his first match as caretaker boss, but Lukaku was absent after missing training in the build-up to the trip to Wales. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Despite his struggles at club level, Lukaku is a key part of Martinez’s Belgium side, scoring 14 goals in as many games in 2018.And the former Everton boss thinks the scrutiny on the striker’s scoring record for United is often unfairly used against him.”There is a negative way of assessing Romelu’s performance for Manchester United,” he told The Sunday Times.”When Rom scores, everyone expects him to score, and when he doesn’t, he is almost directly the reason United haven’t won.”But Rom is ready for that challenge. He will never hide away. He understands what is expected of him. “For Belgium, he has shown he’s one of the best number nines in the world and I don’t understand why he’s being treated in a manner which he doesn’t deserve.” Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Pogba launches ‘Pogmoji’ in Instagram announcement

first_imgPaul Pogba’s “big announcement”, which had fans excited on Sunday was the launch of a new app called Pogmoji.The Manchester United star had used his “caption this” tweet – posted on Tuesday after Jose Mourinho was sacked by the Reds – to tease the announcement that was scheduled for 7pm GMT (2pm ET).Pogba’s new app allows users to customize their photos. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Pogba was criticised for his post, which featured a photo of him smiling, on Tuesday, most notably by Gary Neville who responded, “You do one as well.”The Frenchman had a long-running rift with Mourinho, who removed him as vice-captain after Pogba hit out at the Portuguese’s tactics. New interim boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has a better relationship with Pogba, having coached him in United’s youth set up before he moved to Serie A giants Juventus.The Norwegian’s reign at Old Trafford got off to a blistering start when his side won 5-1 at Cardiff City on Saturday, closing the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea to eight points after the Blues slipped up against Leicester City, losing 1-0.United face Huddersfield on Boxing Day in Solskjaer’s first match at home, and Pogba will be hoping to continue his return to the starting 11 with another three points. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Man Utd team news & likely line-up

first_imgOle Gunnar Solskjaer is preparing for his first game back at Old Trafford as Manchester United manager having won his first game in charge of the club. On Saturday, United scored five goals in a Premier League game for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge in 2013. Shorn of ex-manager Jose Mourinho, United were far too powerful for Cardiff City, who succumbed to goals from Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.Huddersfield provide the second of four extremely winnable league games in a row for United. As well as Cardiff and the Terriers, United will play Bournemouth on December 30 and Newcastle on January 2. Solskjaer therefore has a strong chance of taking 12 points from 12 and re-aligning United’s season, which was becoming listless under the Special One.Man Utd Injuries United will be without their highest wage earner Alexis Sanchez, who former manager Mourinho ruled out until the new year with a hamstring problem. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Chris Smalling was a late withdrawal for the loss against Liverpool at Anfield and is not expected to return to the starting line-up.Fellow centre-back Marcos Rojo has only started one game all season and has been absent from the last two matches due to injury.Scott McTominay meanwhile has missed the last couple of games due to a knock.Romelu Lukaku has been absent due to a personal issue and is not expected to be back in time for the game against Huddersfield.Chris Smalling Man Utd 2018-19Man Utd Suspensions Neither side is missing any player due to suspension. Midfielder Nemanja Matic is one caution away from a domestic ban having picked up four yellow cards to this point.Man Utd Starting Line-UpThe handbrake was off during the Cardiff game with United playing fluently and with pace.Against a relegation candidate at home, Solskjaer will be expected to take the game to the opposition and deliver better performances than Mourinho produced during the end of his reign.The temptation to persist with the same XI, fitness permitting, will be strong.Therefore he could well persist with the front three he picked in Cardiff, having seen all three score, and Paul Pogba will keep his place in the team with Mourinho now banished.Depending on fitness, United could opt to shuffle the pack at the back too.Man United Huddersfield XIHuddersfield Team News Aaron Mooy heads Huddersfield’s list of injured players. He tore a knee ligament in early December against Arsenal and is at the centre of a club versus country row with Australia over his potential to play in January’s Asian Cup.Captain and midfield tempo-setter Jonathan Hogg missed the 3-1 home defeat to Southampton on Saturday with a knee injury of his own but manager David Wagner hopes to have him available at Old Trafford.Likewise Rajiv Van La Parra could come back into contention.Danny Williams, Abdelhamid Sabiri and Tommy Smith are all listed injured while Ramadan Sobhi also missed out against the Saints for a Huddersfield side now on track for relegation.Aaron Mooy SocceroosTV Channel & Kick-off time The match at Old Trafford kicks off at 15:00pm GMT (09:00am ET) on Wednesday, December 26. No live coverage is available in the UK. In the US, the game will be shown on NBC Sports Gold.Best Opta Match facts Manchester United have lost just one of their previous 14 games against Huddersfield in all competitions (W10 D3), with that one defeat coming away from home (1-2 in October 2017). Huddersfield are looking for their first away win against Manchester United since September 1930, when they won 6-0 in a top-flight clash. They’ve failed to win any of their last 15 trips in all competitions since then (D5 L10). Huddersfield have failed to score in seven of their last 10 games against Manchester United in all competitions, netting just four goals in total in this period.  Manchester United have never lost a Premier League game at Old Trafford against Yorkshire opposition (W26 D6). The last Yorkshire side to win away against Manchester United in the top-flight were Sheffield Wednesday in April 1986.  Manchester United haven’t lost a home league game on Boxing Day since 1978-79 (0-3 versus Liverpool), winning 14 and drawing three since. Manchester United find themselves outside the top five positions of the Premier League on Christmas Day for the third time in six seasons since Alex Ferguson retired (also in 2013-14 and 2016-17). Under Ferguson, United were never outside the top five places on Xmas Day in any of the 21 Premier League seasons.  Premier League games involving Manchester United have seen 64 goals this season; no club have witnessed more goals in their matches (scoring 34, conceding 30). Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to become just the fifth Manchester United manager to win both of his first two league matches in charge, after TJ Wallworth, Matt Busby, Dave Sexton and Jose Mourinho. After going 19 Premier League games without a goal, Jesse Lingard has scored four goals in his last four games for Manchester United, including a brace last time out against Cardiff City. Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has scored three goals in three appearances against Huddersfield Town in all competitions, with all three being scored last season. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

Robertson: I’m bored of talking about how good Van Dijk is!

first_imgLiverpool defender Andy Robertson has joked that he is “getting bored of speaking about how good Virgil van Dijk is”.Plaudits have rained down on the Dutch centre-half since he completed a £75 million ($95m) move to Anfield in January.He has helped to turn Jurgen Klopp’s side into credible Premier League title contenders, with the Reds currently boasting a four-point lead over the chasing pack. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Robertson admits there is not much more to be said about the commanding Netherlands international, with his value to the cause speaking for itself.The Scottish full-back said of Van Dijk after seeing him find the target and help Liverpool to another clean sheet in a 2-0 victory over Wolves: “I’m getting bored speaking about how good he is!“No, I’m only joking. He was fantastic.“We knew when we saw [Adama] Traore up top that he has got great pace. His pace and direction are a big threat and big Virgil did so well with him. We knew on the counter-attack they were dangerous.“I’m sure he will be disappointed he has not scored more goals but it was a clean sheet and his first Premier League goal – pretty much a perfect day for him.“He’s been brilliant [since joining Liverpool]. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside him for the majority of time on the left-hand side of the defence. He’s just a great lad to have next to you – I’m not sure he will say the same about me!“I think we have had a good relationship, we work together. The whole back four does, whoever plays, his impact on the club has been good. I look forward to it continuing.”Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2018Van Dijk is not the only Reds player inspiring a title tilt, though, with Robertson eager to point out that Klopp has a squad full of leaders.He added: “We have a fantastic captain in Hendo [Jordan Henderson]. This [Wolves] was his 300th game for the club and that’s a great achievement.“We’ve got Milly [James Milner] behind him as well and he’s a top pro, everyone looks up to him. Virgil is captain for his country so there are plenty of leaders on the park.“I’m including Dejan [Lovren] in that as well. The more leaders we have got on the park the better as far as I’m concerned. There were a couple of arguments out there against Wolves – a couple of things that needed to be said and they were said.“We all have the attitude that if someone says something to you, you have to take it on the chin. If you don’t agree with it, you deal with it at full-time or half-time and speak to one another.“We have spoken together as a team. We do discuss things [and] have said that’s it’s about having that honesty between us.“I think that’s something the lads have done really well since the start of the season. It shows the respect between us.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Klopp: Man City are not cracking

first_imgJurgen Klopp does not believe Manchester City are cracking under the pressure of Liverpool’s ferocious pace at the top of the Premier League.The Reds will celebrate Christmas with a four-point lead over the reigning champions following recent defeats for Pep Guardiola’s side against Chelsea and Crystal Palace.Both of those reverses came when Liverpool had played earlier that weekend and won against Bournemouth and Wolves respectively. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? But Klopp baulked at the idea that City are struggling to respond to his still unbeaten side – pointing to the overall quality of their performances in what he felt were ill-deserved results.”You saw the two games they played? It didn’t look like they felt a lot of pressure. They were outstanding in these games,” he told a news conference to preview the Boxing Day clash with Newcastle United at Anfield.”If you don’t finish off your chances against Chelsea you can lose. They were the better team this game”Crystal Place did an outstanding job and scored outstanding goals. That always makes life uncomfortable.”It [means] absolutely nothing. It’s difficult to win football games, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.”They were just a bit unlucky in these two games and this happens from time to time.”City host Liverpool on January 3 and the gap between Guardiola’s men in second and Tottenham in third is narrower than the one between themselves and Liverpool after Spurs’ resounding 6-2 win at Everton on Sunday.TottenhamKlopp thinks Mauricio Pochettino’s team are very much part of the title picture – having never sought to rule them out in the first place.”You make these stories about who is in, who is out,” he said.”I saw the game yesterday against Everton and the first goal of Tottenham was obviously a situation Tottenham needed. Everton played more than okay in the first couple of minutes.”Then they hit everything, it was really impressive how Tottenham did. The same can happen with Chelsea, Arsenal and all those teams. Nobody can feel safe, nobody can feel out of the race or whatever. It’s not a time to think about it.”It’s just a fantastic football team and I said a few times that Tottenham had the most difficult summer period, and I don’t mean [because of them] not signing players. Eight or nine players played the full World Cup and playing how they have so far this season is more than impressive.”A lot of teams are in whatever you call the title race and that’s the only difference to last season, when no-one was in at this time [due to City’s dominance]. That’s good for all supporters.”Instead of looking too far ahead, Klopp wants his players fully focused for the expected challenge of breaking down a well-manned Newcastle defence under the charge of ex-Reds boss Rafael Benitez.”The Wolverhampton game was a big challenge for us after winning against Napoli and Man United,” he added, having confirmed defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is back in full training following a foot injury.”In players’ minds they could drop focus a bit. I was really happy when I saw the attitude for that game as well.”That’s what we need – stay angry, stay greedy.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

‘Mbappe will join Madrid and win more awards than Ronaldo’

first_imgKylian Mbappe is a “champagne” footballer destined to join Real Madrid and win more Ballons d’Or than Cristiano Ronaldo, claims former Monaco director Luis Campos.At just 20 years of age, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has already achieved more than many do over the course of an entire career.He is a two-time Ligue 1 title champion, World Cup winner and the inaugural recipient of the Kopa Trophee bestowed upon the best young player on the planet . Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Another 16 goals have been added to an impressive club tally this season, in just 19 appearances, and even more is expected of him in the years to come.Campos, who was at Monaco when Mbappe burst onto the scene, believes a high-profile switch to Spain beckons for the youngster at some stage , with his qualities fitting Madrid’s ‘Galactico’ recruitment policy.He told Telefoot : “Kylian represents champagne football, which we like to see and as a high level footballer I see him wearing the Real Madrid jersey because it is a club made to his measure, where the great players want to go.“In the future, I imagine myself attending a match at the Santiago Bernabeu and enjoying the show that Mbappe can offer.“Nowadays, he is more decisive than Neymar and considering his age, he’ll be much better than Cristiano Ronaldo. I see him winning more Ballons d’Or.”Mbappe finished fourth in the 2018 Ballon d’Or vote, placing him one spot ahead of five-time winner Lionel Messi.He will be hoping to land that prestigious prize at some stage, but it remains to be seen where his career path will take him.Jose Mourinho Champions League 2018-19 Manchester UnitedIf he does head to Madrid, then it could be that he gets the chance to work under Jose Mourinho.The Portuguese is another being heavily linked with the Blancos on the back of his dismissal by Manchester United.Campos, who previously worked as a scout for Mourinho, believes a second stint in La Liga is possible for a coach already looking for a new challenge following a disappointing end to his reign at Old Trafford.A man currently filling a sporting director post at Lille added: “I was very disappointed by what happened [to Mourinho].“He would have wanted to build a great project in England. “I see him as the ideal man to manage Real Madrid. He might return at some point because he is a great coach.”last_img read more

Pavard denies having signed Bayern deal

first_imgBenjamin Pavard has denied having an agreement in place which will see him link up with Bayern Munich in the summer of 2019.Ever since helping France to World Cup glory over the summer, the 22-year-old defender has seen his club future called into question.It has been suggested that Bayern are leading the chase for his signature, with it widely reported that a deal has already been done. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Pavard, who remains under contract at Stuttgart until 2021, insists that is not the case.He told Le Parisien: “I have not signed anything with Bayern. “The interest of such a club makes me happy, but today I am focused on Stuttgart. I do not think about next summer.”While reluctant to look to the future, Pavard is prepared to reflect on events of the past.He still feels that France’s efforts in Russia should have earned greater recognition, with the likes of Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann overlooked in the 2018 Ballon d’Or vote.Pavard said of an award which went to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, who suffered World Cup final heartache with Croatia: “I would have liked to see a Frenchman win it, knowing that players such as Raphael Varane – who is the only one to have won the World Cup and the Champions League in the same year – and Antoine Griezmann had a great years. “They would have deserved it.”Benjamin Pavard FrankreichWorld Cup-winning exploits were not enough for that pair, but nobody can take France’s achievement away from them.Pavard played a leading role in their global triumph, with a spectacular strike during a 4-3 victory over Lionel Messi’s Argentina at the last-16 stage set to live long in the memory.Recalling that effort, the highly-rated full-back said: “That goal has changed my life. “Things have gone to another dimension. That goal went around the world. “Before, few people knew me, but since then, things have changed. I am recognised everywhere. I am asked about that goal almost every day.”While Pavard will forever have those happy memories, he is currently trying to avoid making some unhappy ones.Stuttgart have endured a difficult 2018-19 campaign to date and sit just outside the Bundesliga drop zone as a result.last_img read more

Lozano would welcome Lainez to Europe amid Ajax rumours

first_imgPSV star Hirving Lozano would welcome Mexico team-mate Diego Lainez with open arms if the youngster were to make the move to Europe this January amid ongoing speculation that Ajax are keen to sign the America winger.Lozano rose to prominence at a young age in the Mexican game before making the move to PSV in 2017, where has since developed into a key figure.The 18-year-old Lainez, meanwhile, is regarded as perhaps an even bigger prospect than Lozano was in his younger years and recently capped a fine season with the Liga MX Apertura title. Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? His fine form has earned him the interest of a number of European sides, with Ajax believed to be among his biggest admirers.Reports from both Netherlands and Mexico have suggested the Eredivisie giants are willing to pay up to €12 million (£10.5m/$13.5m) for the winger and even though Lozano has not seen his compatriot play too often, he would be happy to see him make the move to Europe. “Honestly, I’ve seen him a little. I haven’t seen him play that much,” Lozano told Goal.”For me, he’s a good player. He’s young, but he has a lot of qualities.”I don’t know if he’s ready or not. I don’t know what he’s like as a person. I don’t know him well.”But, hopefully he can arrive here soon.”Lainez would not be the first Mexican to join Lozano in Netherlands if the move were to materialise, with Erick Gutierrez joining his friend in Eindhoven earlier this season.Gutierrez has yet to become as important to the team as Lozano, but the attacker has little doubt his compatriot will soon make more of an impact.”With the transfer of Erick, I played a small role in it because they asked me about him, I was paying attention to whether they signed him or not, so the only thing I could do is to convince them a bit more to sign him and tell him good things about being here,” the 23-year-old added.”I think that’s why he came here.”I think he’s had some minutes, but little by little he’ll have more. He’s going to show more of the skill he has, so I’m convinced that he can play as a starter and hopefully the manager decides. He’s the one that decides, so he’s the one in charge.”last_img read more

Tharoor summoned by Delhi Court over ‘ scorpion remark’

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi City court here Saturday summoned Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on June 7 on a complaint over his remarks that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivling”.Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal was hearing a criminal defamation complaint filed against Tharoor by Delhi BJP leader Rajeev Babbar, who has said his religious sentiments were hurt by the Congress leader’s statement. Tharoor had claimed in October last year that an unnamed RSS leader had compared Prime Minister Modi to “a scorpion sitting on a Shivlinga”. He had termed it as an extraordinarily striking metaphor. The complaint says, “I am a devotee of Lord Shiva…. However, the accused (Tharoor) completely disregarded the sentiments of crores of Shiva devotees, (and) made the statement which hurt the sentiments of all Lord Shiva devotees, both in India and outside the country.”last_img read more