EPL Talk Archives for January 2016

Argentina, France take FIFA ranking honours

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Zurich (AFP) Lionel Messi's beaten Copa America finalists Argentina end the year top of FIFA's world rankings while France, defeated in the Euro 2016 final, were named "mover of the year".

Argentina finish 2016 out in front of arch rivals Brazil to inherit the 'team of the year' title from Belgium, displaced from the FIFA summit by the Edgardo Bauza-coached Albiceleste in April.

South Africa sack football coach Mashaba over insults

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Johannesburg (AFP) South Africa coach Ephraim 'Shakes' Mashaba was fired Thursday for insulting top football officials last month, the national association said.

The sacking was expected after heated exchanges between the 66-year-old and South African Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan following a World Cup qualifier.

Hecking named as new Moenchengladbach coach

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Berlin (AFP) Dieter Hecking was on Thursday named as the new coach of Borussia Moenchengladbach, the former Wolfsburg manager's arrival coming 24 hours after the sacking of Andre Schubert.

Hecking, dismissed by Wolfsburg in October, has signed a deal with the struggling Bundesliga side until 2019.

Univision reveals announcers for America-Tigres Liga MX Apertura Final

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Univision Deportes has revealed the announcers and studio analysts for this week's Liga MX Apertura Final between Club America and Tigres.

The first leg of the final will be played on Thursday, December 22 at 10pm ET at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. The second leg will be featured on Christmas Day, December 25 at 7:30pm ET (TV/streaming details are below).

Hugo Lloris extends Tottenham deal until 2022

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has extended his contract until 2022, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

"We are delighted to announce that Hugo Lloris has signed a new contract with the club, which will run until 2022," Spurs announced on their official Twitter account.

Where to find America-Tigres on US TV and streaming (Liga MX Apertura final, 1st leg)

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Liga MX's final between America vs. Tigres will be shown live on US television and streaming.

The first leg of the final kicks off live from Azteca Stadium in Mexico City with Club America hosting Tigres in the first leg of the Liga MX Apertura final. The final pits perennial powerhouse Club América, the team with more Liga MX titles in history, against northern rivals Tigres UANL, who earned their spot with a hard-fought victory over León in Liguilla play.

Senegal finish year top of Africa rankings

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Johannesburg (AFP) Senegal ended this year as the highest ranked African national team, edging Cup of Nations title-holders the Ivory Coast for top spot in the December listings released Thursday.

Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Ghana and Morocco complete the top 10 compiled by world governing body FIFA.

West Ham striker Sakho out of Africa Cup of Nations

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London (AFP) Injured West Ham United striker Diafra Sakho is facing a two-month lay-off, ruling the Senegal international out of the Africa Cup of Nations, Hammers' manager Slaven Bilic revealed on Thursday.

Bilic reported: "He had a back operation and he's going to be out for six to eight weeks.

Crystal Palace sack manager Alan Pardew

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London (AFP) Alan Pardew has been sacked as Crystal Palace manager with the club just above the relegation places, the Premier League side's chairman Steve Parish said on Thursday.

Pardew, 55, guided Palace to last season's FA Cup final where they lost to Manchester United in extra time but their Premier League form this term has been poor.

No plane advantage for Juventus – Allegri

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Doha (AFP) Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri denied on Thursday that his side were at an advantage because their Italian Super Cup final opponents AC Milan touched down in Qatar 24 hours late.

Milan only arrived in Doha late Tuesday a full day after Juve after technical problems with their plane pushed back the team's arrival.

Aubameyang, Mahrez, Mane on African player shortlist

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Paris (AFP) Borussia Dortmund and Gabon star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is still in line to retain his African Player of the Year crown after making the final three-man shortlist on Thursday.

The 27-year-old French-born forward will go up against Leicester City and Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez and Liverpool and Senegal winger Sadio Mane for the prize.

PSG agree Draxler deal – report

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain have agreed a deal with Wolfsburg to sign German World Cup-winning midfielder Julian Draxler for 36 million euros (£30.5m, $37.5m), according to the website of French sports daily L'Equipe.

Draxler, 23, is on the market after a difficult first half to the season with a struggling Wolfsburg side and was widely expected to leave in the January transfer window.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for week of December 13-19, 2016

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For the second week in a row, NBC Sports had a Premier League match that was the new second most-watched Premier League game of the season. When including NBC Universo, Saturday's match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United averaged an audience of 1.209 million. August 27's matchup —also featuring Manchester United as they took on Hull City —averaged just 35,000 more viewers and is they only other Premier League game this season to hold an audience larger than 1 million on NBC.

Sundowns win again after Club World Cup woes

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Johannesburg (AFP) FIFA Club World Cup flops Mamelodi Sundowns got back on the winning trail Thursday when they edged Baroka 1-0 away in the final South African Premiership match this year.

After surprisingly winning the CAF Champions League in October, the Pretoria club came off second best against two Asian opponents in the world tournament.

Nice’s Belhanda out of Africa Cup of Nations

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Paris (AFP) The on form, all action Nice midfielder Younes Belhanda will be out of action for up to six weeks with a toe injury that also rules him out of the Africa Cup of Nation in Gabon.

One of France's top performers of the Ligue 1 season so far the loss may be a blow for table toppers Nice, but the 26-year-old would have been at the CAN in Gabon for the January 14 February 5 event anyway.

Perez hat-trick propels Gunners to first place

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Basel (Switzerland) (AFP) Lucas Perez made the most of a rare start by scoring a hat-trick in Tuesday's 4-1 rout of Basel that sent Arsenal through to the Champions League last 16 as group winners.

The Spaniard missed over a month with an ankle injury following his move from Deportivo la Coruna in August but played a leading role in Switzerland as Arsene Wenger's men stole first place from Paris Saint-Germain in Group A.

Real Madrid demand respect for “exemplary” Ronaldo

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid launched a staunch defence of star forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, demanding respect for the three-time World Player of the Year amid allegations he hid millions of euros earned from image rights in tax havens.

"In light of the information published in recent days and the certificate released by the Spanish tax agency which shows our player Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all his tax obligations, Real Madrid demand the maximum respect for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, whose behaviour has been exemplary during his entire time at our club," Madrid said in a statement.

Real demand respect for “exemplary” Ronaldo amid tax allegations

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid launched a staunch defence of star forward Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday, demanding respect for the three-time World Player of the Year amid allegations he hid millions of euros earned from image rights in tax havens.

"In light of the information published in recent days and the certificate released by the Spanish tax agency which shows our player Cristiano Ronaldo is up to date with all his tax obligations, Real Madrid demand the maximum respect for a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, whose behaviour has been exemplary during his entire time at our club," Madrid said in a statement released on their website.

Napoli, Benfica through as Arsenal pinch top spot

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Paris (AFP) Napoli and Benfica clinched places in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday as nine-man Besiktas capitulated at Dynamo Kiev, while Arsenal snatched first place away from Paris Saint-Germain in Group A.

Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens scored second-half goals to earn Napoli a 2-1 victory over Benfica in Lisbon to send the Italians through to the knockout phase as winners of Group B.

Napoli, Benfica through as Arsenal pinch top spot in last 16

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Paris (AFP) Napoli and Benfica clinched places in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday as nine-man Besiktas capitulated at Dynamo Kiev, while Arsenal snatched first place away from Paris Saint-Germain in Group A.

Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens scored second-half goals to earn Napoli a 2-1 victory over Benfica in Lisbon to send the Italians through to the knockout phase as winners of Group B.

Iheanacho up to speed as Man City, Celtic draw

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho made a successful start to his spell as Sergio Aguero's stand-in by earning his team a 1-1 Champions League draw with Celtic on Tuesday.

Aguero's four-game ban for getting sent off in Saturday's 3-1 loss to Chelsea means Iheanacho can look forward to a run of games in manager Pep Guardiola's first XI.

Cosmos deny closure reports as North American Soccer League talks continue

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New York (AFP) The fate of the New York Cosmos is hanging in the balance as the club seeks assurances about the future of the crisis-plagued North American Soccer League, sources confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

A club source with knowledge of the situation denied a report that the Cosmos had ceased operations and terminated contracts of its players and staff.

Perfect 10 for Messi in Barca cruise

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Barcelona (AFP) Arda Turan grabbed a hat-trick and Lionel Messi socres his 10th Champions League goal of the season as a much-changedBarcelona still cruised past Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-0 on Tuesday.

Barca had already booked their place in the last 16 as Group C winners, but were looking for a morale boosting win after three successive draws, including the concession of a last minute equaliser to Real Madrid in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Lewandowski seals Bayern win over Atletico

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) A Robert Lewandowski free-kick sealed Bayern Munich's 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Tuesday in the Champions League with both teams already through to the knock-out stage.

Despite the result at Munich's bitterly cold Allianz Arena, Atletico go into the draw for the last 16 as Group D winners with Bayern second.

Mourinho ‘paid over 26 mn euros taxes in Spain’ – agent

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Paris (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho paid more than 26 million euros ($24.2 mn) in taxes while living in Spain, a statement issued by Gestifute, a company set up by his agent Jorge Mendes claimed on Tuesday.

Portuguese football superstars Mourinho and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo have been accused of being involved in a multimillion-euro system of "tax evasion and money laundering", according to leaked documents obtained by a number of media outlets.

Villa named MLS player of the year

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New York (AFP) Former Spain striker David Villa was named as Major League Soccer's Most Valuable Player on Tuesday in recognition of a prolific season which helped transform New York City FC's fortunes.

The Spanish World Cup winner's goals helped take New York, who finished 17th in their inaugural season, to the club's first appearance in the playoffs.

Dybala set to return as Juventus target top spot

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) Argentine striker Paulo Dybala is set to make his long-awaited return for Juventus when the Italians host Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday looking to secure top spot in Champions League Group H.

With Gonzalo Higuain only recently returning from a muscle problem and attacking midfielder Mark Pjaca still sidelined, Dybala's absence has piled the pressure on the injury-ravaged champions during a tough month of November.

Situm can’t wait for Juventus date

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) Dinamo Zagreb striker Mario Situm described meeting Juventus as a "dream date", even if the Croatians risk another heavy defeat by the Italian champions on Wednesday.

Giants in Croatia Dinamo are playing for pride in Europe, having lost all five games and failing to even score a single goal.

Slutsky quits as CSKA Moscow coach

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Moscow (AFP) Leonid Slutsky has resigned as coach of CSKA Moscow after seven hugely successful years and will leave after Wednesday's Champions League match with Tottenham Hotspur, the Russian champions said.

CSKA play the Premier League side at Wembley with both clubs already out of the Champions League but with a Europa League spot up for grabs, while CSKA are third in the Russian Premier League.

Situm can’t wait for Juve date

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Milan (AFP) Dinamo Zagreb striker Mario Situm described meeting Juventus as a "dream date", even if the Croatians risk another heavy defeat by the Italian champions on Wednesday.

Juventus host the Croatians in their final Group H outing needing to secure top spot ahead of Sevilla, who are one point behind in second before travelling to Lyon in France.

beIN SPORTS nets 1.4 million viewers for el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid

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beIN SPORTS' coverage of the first el Clasico of the 2016/17 season between Barcelona and Real Madrid was watched by an average of 1.433 million viewers across beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español combined.

An average of 913,000 people watched the game on beIN SPORTS en Español, while 520,000 tuned in to watch the game on beIN SPORTS, according to Sports TV Ratings.

“Lucky” Zidane determined to win group

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insists the European champions aren't prepared to settle for second place behind Borussia Dortmund in Champions League Group F despite the potential for an easier last 16 tie.

Madrid need to beat the German giants at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday to secure top spot and the second leg of their last 16 clash at home.

Abuse scandal will spread beyond England – Dein

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Doha (AFP) The sexual abuse scandal engulfing English football was "bound to" spread to other countries, the former vice-chairman of the Football Association David Dein insisted on Tuesday.

Speaking on the fringes of a Soccerex Asian Forum in Doha, Dein, also a former vice-chairman of Arsenal and the man responsible for appointing Arsene Wenger as manager, said he had heard no rumours about the problem while at the FA.

Southgate cuts Lee from England coaching team

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London (AFP) Sammy Lee has left his role as England's assistant manager following Gareth Southgate's appointment as permanent manager, the Football Association announced on Tuesday.

Former Liverpool midfielder Lee, 57, was brought in by Southgate's predecessor Sam Allardyce, whose tenure lasted just 67 days after he was brought down by a newspaper sting.

fuboTV scores 62,000 views for el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid

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fuboTV, the soccer streaming service, streamed the Barcelona versus Real Madrid el Clasico live on Saturday, registering 62,000 concurrent views according to a report in Multichannel News.

The US-based legal soccer streaming service generated approximately 459,000 US desktop and mobile site sessions for the biggest club soccer game of the year.

Dortmund’s hot-shots eye goal record at Real

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Dortmund can set a new Champions League goal record at Real Madrid on Wednesday if the likes of Marco Reus, Ousmane Dembele or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score at the Bernabeu.

Dortmund arrive in Madrid just one shy of the 20-goal record three teams Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona have previously tallied in the Champions League group stages.

Porto, Sevilla hunt final knockout berths

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Paris (AFP) While Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund grapple for top spot in Group F, twice former winners Porto and Sevilla look to clinch the two remaining spots in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday.

Portuguese giants Porto, European champions in 1987 and 2004, host Leicester City in their final group stage match wary of FC Copenhagen pipping them to second in Group G.

Brazil firm reveals World Cup stadium cartel: officials

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Brasília (AFP) A construction firm has admitted that a "cartel" of firms fixed bidding for contracts to do work on stadiums for the 2014 football World Cup, Brazilian authorities said Monday.

State antitrust authorities said the probe was linked to the notorious Petrobras corruption scandal that has snared numerous Brazilian politicians.

How China’s not-so-big football spenders get by

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Dongguan (China) (AFP) Newly rich Chinese football isn't all about millionaire players and famous coaches just ask the smaller teams, who are living firmly in the shadow of their well-heeled neighbours.

Chinese Super League clubs took the transfer market by storm this year when they collectively splashed out more than $400 million on players, including some still in their prime.

Several British clubs hushed up abuse – lawyer

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London (AFP) There are claims "several" British football clubs have used gagging orders to silence victims of sexual abuse at the hands of youth coaches, a lawyer working with victims has said.

Chelsea have apologised to former player Gary Johnson, who was abused by late chief scout Eddie Heath, after waiving a confidentiality clause in a 50,000 pounds ($63,850, 59,230 euros) agreement they made with him.

Old boy Stam set for United return in FA Cup

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London (AFP) Former Manchester United hardman defender Jaap Stam will return to Old Trafford in January after the second tier side he manages Reading were drawn to meet the holders in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday.

The 44-year-old who won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the 1999 Champions League during his three year stay at United has said he fears for his job if a proposed takeover of the club goes through despite guiding them to the heady heights of third in the table.

Unsettled Man City target Celtic reaction

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London (AFP) Pep Guardiola's Manchester City will look to turn the page on their turbulent weekend defeat by Chelsea when they entertain Celtic in their final Champions League group game on Tuesday.

City's 3-1 loss on Saturday left them four points below Chelsea, who top the Premier League table, and saw Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho dismissed for losing their heads in stoppage time.

Holders PSG, Marseille set for Ligue 1 French Cup clashes

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Paris (AFP) Holders Paris Saint-Germain and last year's runners-up Marseille were drawn Monday against Ligue 1 rivals in the French Cup round of 32, taking on Bastia and Toulouse respectively.

PSG and Marseille are the most titled clubs in the competition with ten titles each with the Parisians beating their rivals who last won in 1989 4-2 to claim a second-straight crown last season.

Middlesbough’s Ramirez punishes former club Hull

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Middlesbrough (United Kingdom) (AFP) Middlesbough's Uruguayan international Gaston Ramirez scored against one of his former clubs Hull to secure his present team a crucial 1-0 win in their Premier League clash on Monday.

Victory sees Middlesbough winning at home for only the second times this term move four points clear of the relegation spots whilst Hull remain mired in the bottom three after their fifth successive away defeat.

Old boy Stam set for Manchester United return in FA Cup

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London (AFP) Former Manchester United hardman defender Jaap Stam will return to Old Trafford in January after the second tier side he manages Reading were drawn to meet the holders in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday.

The 44-year-old who won three Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the 1999 Champions League during his three year stay at United has said he fears for his job if a proposed takeover of the club goes through despite guiding them to the heady heights of third in the table.

Abuse scandal is global problem says Offside Trust

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) An independent body set up by former footballers to help victims of child abuse in the sport claimed the issue is a "global" problem as they urged clubs to support the fight for justice.

The Offside Trust was launched in Manchester on Monday and will work separately from the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association to support victims of abuse.

Everton hit by Bolasie knee injury

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London (AFP) Everton's stuttering Premier League campaign suffered a blow on Monday as they revealed exciting wing Yannick Bolasie is to undergo surgery on a serious knee injury.

The 27-year-old Democratic Republic of Congo international whom Everton signed for £25million ($32m, 29.5m euros) from rivals Crystal Palace in the close season limped off in the 68th minute of the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday.

Spanish judge seeks gag order on ‘Football Leaks’ media

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Madrid (AFP) A Spanish judge is seeking a gag order on 12 European media outlets that leaked documents alleging football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo could have been involved in a multimillion-euro tax evasion system.

The injunction, seen by AFP on Monday, claims that the so-called "Football Leaks" published last week could constitute an offence against the right to privacy as they were allegedly obtained through a cyber-attack on Senn Ferrero, a firm advising sports personalities on tax.

West Brom and Watford charged by FA over brawl

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London (AFP) West Bromwich Albion and Watford became the latest Premier League teams to be put in the dock over their players behaviour as on Monday the Football Association charged them over a brawl on Saturday.

The confrontation between the two sets of players in a match West Brom won 2-1 occurred when Watford's Roberto Pereyra was red-carded six minutes from time for lashing out at James McClean after the latter clattered into him.

France coach Deschamps to pursue Cantona ‘to end’ over racial slur

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Paris (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps insisted Monday he could not forget the racial slurs uttered by Eric Cantona concerning his selection choices and would pursue the Manchester United legend to the bitter end in court.

Cantona had accused his former international and club teammate of racial discrimination in his choice of players for Euro 2016, claiming Deschamps had snubbed Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their "north African origins".

Flawless Atletico hunt perfect six at Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) Atletico Madrid can make club history at Bayern Munich on Tuesday as the Spaniards look for a record sixth group stage win with both teams through to the last 16.

Diego Simeone's men arrive in Munich as the only side with a 100 percent record after five wins from five Champions League games.

‘Sabotage’ Nations Cup in Gabon, activists urge

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Libreville (AFP) Two political activists called on Monday for the 'boycott and sabotage' of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations if it is not moved from Gabon "to a more stable country".

Last month organisers The African Football Confederation (CAF) denied "persistent rumours" that the Jan 14-Feb 5 event would switch from Gabon whose President Ali Bongo is confronting major unrest sparked by his August re-election.

Manchester City’s Aguero’s four-match ban confirmed FA

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London (AFP) Sergio Aguero's four-match suspension has been confirmed by the Football Association following his dismissal in Manchester City's loss to Chelsea.

City striker Aguero was shown a red card for a dangerous two-footed foul on Chelsea defender David Luiz, which led to a bust-up between players and coaches from both teams in the final moments of Saturday's Premier League clash at Eastlands.

Sudamericana title given to plane crash victims Chapeconese

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Asuncion (AFP) South American football confederation CONMEBOL agreed Monday to award the Copa Sudamericana to Brazilian club Chapecoense, whose team was wiped out in a plane crash while heading to the final.

"CONMEBOL awards the title for the 2016 Copa Sudamericana championship to Chapecoense," the confederation said in a statement.

West Ham’s Bilic won’t be sacked says Sullivan

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London (AFP) West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has been given a vote of confidence by co-owner David Sullivan following speculation he was set for the sack.

Reports on Monday suggested Bilic was set for crisis talks with Sullivan and fellow owner David Gold following Saturday's humiliating 5-1 home defeat against London rivals Arsenal.

Abuse scandal is global problem says Trust

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) An independent body set up by former footballers to help victims of child abuse in the sport claimed the issue is a "global" problem as they urged clubs to support the fight for justice.

The Offside Trust was launched in Manchester on Monday and will work separately from the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association to support victims of abuse.

Unsettled Manchester City target Celtic reaction

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London (AFP) Pep Guardiola's Manchester City will look to turn the page on their turbulent weekend defeat by Chelsea when they entertain Celtic in their final Champions League group game on Tuesday.

City's 3-1 loss on Saturday left them four points below Chelsea, who top the Premier League table, and saw Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho dismissed for losing their heads in stoppage time.

Guardiola says Manchester City on right track despite red cards

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists his side are on the right track despite a disciplinary crisis that includes a ban for star striker Sergio Aguero.

City have collected six red cards this season, including two on Saturday when Aguero and Fernandinho were sent off towards the end of a 3-1 Premier League defeat against Chelsea.

UEFA Champions League schedule for US TV and streaming: December 6-7, 2016

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This week features the last Round of the Group Stage in the UEFA Champions League. That means we'll find out the final teams that will advance through to the Round of 16 stage of the tournament.

For viewers in the United States, every game will be available via TV and/or streaming.

Benfica, Beşiktaş, København, Lyon, Napoli, Porto and Sevilla could qualify for the next round this week, while we already know that the following teams have already advanced: Atlético Madrid (group winners), Barcelona (group winners), Leicester City (group winners), Monaco (group winners), Arsenal, Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

Blatter suffers one last defeat over FIFA misconduct

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Lausanne (AFP) Sport's highest court on Monday rejected the appeal of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter against a six year ban signalling the end of his efforts to clear his name.

The 80-year-old former football powerbroker was ousted over a two million Swiss franc ($2 million/1.8 million euro) payment to UEFA boss Michel Platini which the Court of Arbitration for Sport called an "undue gift" that could not be justified.

Blatter accepts ban for FIFA misconduct after losing appeal

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Lausanne (AFP) Sport's highest court on Monday rejected the appeal of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter against a six year ban signalling the end of his efforts to clear his name.

The 80-year-old former football powerbroker was ousted over a two million Swiss franc ($2 million/1.8 million euro) payment to UEFA boss Michel Platini which the Court of Arbitration for Sport called an "undue gift" that could not be justified.

Abuse is global problem says British trust formed to help victims

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) An independent body set up by former British footballers to help victims of child abuse in the sport claimed the issue is a "global" problem as they urged clubs to support the fight for justice.

The Offside Trust was launched in Manchester on Monday and will work separately from the Football Association and Professional Footballers' Association to support victims of abuse.

Blatter vows no more appeals over six-year ban

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Lausanne (AFP) Ousted FIFA leader Sepp Blatter told AFP on Monday that he would make no more appeals against his six year ban ordered by football's world body for financial misconduct.

"I will not be appealing in a Swiss court," Blatter said after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his attempt to overturn the ban ordered for a two million dollar payment made to ex-UEFA president Michel Platini.

Nottingham Forest owner quits Kuwait federation

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Kuwait City (AFP) Fawaz al-Hassawi, the owner of English Championship side Nottingham Forest, has resigned from his post as head of Kuwait's temporary football association, after just over three months in office.

Hassawi had been appointed in August after authorities dissolved Kuwait's Football Association amid a clampdown on sports governing bodies that triggered strong international criticism.

Blatter loses appeal against football ban after ‘ethics breach’

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Lausanne (AFP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport said Monday that Sepp Blatter breached FIFA's ethics codes as it firmly rejected his appeal against a six year ban for making a $2 million payment to ousted UEFA chief Michel Platini.

"Mr Blatter breached the FIFA Code of Ethics since the payment amounted to an undue gift as it had no contractual basis," said the CAS in a statement which said Blatter's appeal had been "dismissed.

Blatter loses appeal against ban – spokesman

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Lausanne (AFP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday upheld a six year ban against former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, the disgraced powerbroker's spokesman told AFP.

Blatter, who was ousted over a suspicious payment to ex-UEFA leader Michel Platini, called the verdict "incomprehensible" in a statement released even before the tribunal had officially given its decision.

Aguero’s four-match ban confirmed by FA

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London (AFP) Sergio Aguero's four-match suspension has been confirmed by the Football Association following his dismissal in Manchester City's loss to Chelsea.

City striker Aguero was shown a red card for a dangerous two-footed foul on Chelsea defender David Luiz, which led to a bust-up between players and coaches from both teams in the final moments of Saturday's Premier League clash at Eastlands.

Barcelona dismiss Neymar injury fears

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona striker Neymar is suffering from muscle fatigue but no serious injury after Saturday's 1-1 draw with arch rivals Real Madrid, the club said on Monday.

The Brazil star was substituted just before Sergio Ramos's dramatic late equaliser in El Clasico and had complained of pain in his right leg.

Qatar 2022 attacks ‘malicious’: organiser

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Doha (AFP) Qatar's much-criticised 2022 World Cup has been the victim of "malicious and unwarranted attacks", a senior tournament official in the Gulf said on Monday.

Nasser Al-Khater, assistant secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body overseeing the organisation of the tournament in Qatar, also claimed that many of the country's critics had not "set foot in the country".

Klopp defends Liverpool after Bournemouth shocker

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jurgen Klopp has been forced to defend Liverpool's character and title credentials after their incredible meltdown in a stunning 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth.

Liverpool's shock loss on Sunday came at a time when they looked set to move to within a point of leaders Chelsea and go into the Christmas period as one of the favourites to finish as champions for the first time since 1990.

United victims of double standards, says Mourinho

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Liverpool (AFP) Jose Mourinho claimed he is being judged unfairly by critics after Manchester United conceded a late Leighton Baines penalty in a damaging 1-1 draw at Everton.

Mourinho's team have won just twice in the league since the end of August, a run which has featured numerous draws and has derailed United's hopes of winning a title in their manager's debut season at Old Trafford.

Napoli, Benfica, Besiktas vie for last 16 Champions League slots

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Paris (AFP) As Paris Saint-Germain joust with Arsenal for top spot in their group, Napoli, Benfica and Besiktas will battle it out Tuesday for last 16 Champions League slots.

The Group B trio all have everything to play for in their final pool games as the only one of the eight first phase groups where no side has yet secured a berth.

Ex-England coach Eriksson to lead second-tier China club Shenzhen

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Shanghai (AFP) Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson on Monday took charge of second-division Chinese club Shenzhen FC, leaving the top tier of China football for the challenge of lifting a team out of relegation.

Eriksson, who has raised the fortunes of Chinese Super League sides Guangzhou R&F and Shanghai SIPG in his three seasons coaching in the country, parted ways with SIPG last month despite leading them to a third-place finish.

‘We practiced diving in Argentina’, Tottenham boss admits

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London (AFP) Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino defended midfielder Dele Alli from accusations of diving and revealed that when he was a youngster in Argentina, he and teammates even practiced diving to win penalties.

Alli was widely lambasted for his theatrical fall that won Spurs a first-half penalty in their 5-0 rout of Swansea at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Nice stay top as Marseille earn welcome Ligue 1 win

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Paris (AFP) Nice held top spot in France with a 3-0 win at home against Toulouse on Sunday as Marseille claimed just a second victory in seven Ligue 1 matches by beating Nancy 3-0.

First half goals from Alassane Plea and Younes Belhanda set Nice on their way with Ivorian Jean Michael Seri rounding off with his ninth goal of the campaign on 65 minutes.

Roma retain Serie A derby bragging rights with Lazio win

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Milan (AFP) Second-half goals from Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan kept the local bragging rights with Roma for the fourth year running thanks to a controversial 2-0 derby win at Lazio on Sunday.

With only one point separating the sides, the biggest 'Derby della Capitale' in years was played out in a half-empty stadium as Roma's hardline ultras continued to protest strict security measures introduced by the club last year.

Belgian match abandoned as firecrackers, lighters thrown

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Brussels (AFP) The Belgian league clash between Charleroi and Standard Liege was abandoned on Sunday after firecrackers and cigarette lighters were thrown by fans of the bitter rivals.

Standard were leading 3-1 when the game was called off in the 67th minute, having already been halted twice.

Marseille welcome Ligue 1 win over Nancy

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Paris (AFP) Rudi Garcia's Marseille claimed just their second win in seven Ligue 1 matches with a 3-0 victory over Nancy on Sunday.

Florian Thauvin struck just after half-time at the Stade Velodrome before fellow Premier League cast-offs Bafetimbi Gomis and Clinton Njie scored late goals after Benoit Pedretti was sent off for Nancy.

Dropped Draxler repeats wish to quit Wolfsburg football club

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Berlin (AFP) Some of Europe's top clubs will again be monitoring Julian Draxler in January's transfer window after the Germany forward repeated his wish to quit Wolfsburg after being dropped for the first time.

Juventus, Arsenal and Paris St-Germain have all previously been linked to the precocious attacking midfielder, who has made 27 appearances and scored three goals for Germany.

Hamburgs climb off bottom of Bundesliga with first league win

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Berlin (AFP) Hamburg moved off the bottom of the Bundesliga table on Sunday after securing their first league win of the season with a 2-0 victory at fellow-strugglers Darmstadt.

RB Leipzig finish the weekend top of the table after their 2-1 win at home to Schalke on Saturday night extended their unbeaten run to 13 games a league record for a side in their first Bundesliga season.

Baines strikes late as Mourinho’s Manchester United problems mount

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Liverpool (AFP) Leighton Baines scored a dramatic late penalty to add to Jose Mourinho's problems as Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw at Everton on Sunday.

Former Everton star Marouane Fellaini had only been on the field for two minutes as a United substitute when he tripped Idrissa Gueye unnecessarily and Baines made no mistake with a clinically-taken 89th minute penalty.

Lazio star in race row over street hawker jibe

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Milan (AFP) Lazio's Senad Lulic was facing accusations of racism on Sunday for likening Roma's German player Antonio Rudiger, who is black, to a street seller hawking "socks and belts".

Goals by Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan in the second half of a fiery derby at the Stadio Olimpico kept the local bragging rights with Roma for the fourth year in succession.

Hamburg climb off bottom with first league win

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Berlin (AFP) Hamburg moved off the bottom of the Bundesliga table on Sunday after securing their first league win of the season with a 2-0 victory at fellow-strugglers Darmstadt.

RB Leipzig finish the weekend top of the table after their 2-1 win at home to Schalke on Saturday night extended their unbeaten run to 13 games a league record for a side in their first Bundesliga season.

Roma retain Serie A bragging rights with derby win over Lazio

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Milan (AFP) Second-half goals from Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan kept the local bragging rights with Roma for the fourth year in succession thanks to an 2-0 derby win at Lazio on Sunday.

With only one point separating the sides, the biggest 'Derby della Capitale' in years was played out in a half-empty stadium as Roma's hardline ultras continued to protest strict security measures introduced by the club last year.

Liverpool rocked as Bournemouth win Premier League thriller

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) Liverpool's title challenge suffered an unexpectedsetback as they squandered a 3-1 lead to lose 4-3 at Bournemouth on an astonishing day the south coast club will never forget.

Jurgen Klopp's side missed out on a chance to go second in the Premier League and instead remain four points behind leaders Chelsea after their incredible meltdown in the last 14 minutes at Dean Court.

Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool gave it away after late collapse

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool had only themselves to blame for a shock 4-3 defeat at Bournemouth after conceding three goals in the last 14 minutes on Sunday.

Klopp's side looked to be cruising to victory at Dean Court after taking a 3-1 lead midway through the second half.

Lyon keeper Lopes suffers ‘acoustic trauma’ after firecracker

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Lyon (AFP) Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes said he suffered "acoustic trauma" but no lasting damage after a firecracker exploded next to him in Saturday's abandoned match at Metz.

The Ligue 1 clash was called off in the 31st minute after home fans threw projectiles towards Lopes, having just seen Gauthier Hein head Metz in front at their Stade Saint-Symphorien.

Where to find America vs. Necaxa on US TV and streaming (Liga MX Apertura semi-final, 2nd leg)

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Liga MX's match between America vs. Necaxa will be shown live on US television and streaming.

Club America is just one game away from reaching the 2016 Liga MX Apertura Liguilla Final. In its path is Necaxa who got a 1-1 result against Club America on Thursday night in the first leg. The advantage is now with America, who will be playing at home.

Sex abuse claims at ’55 English football clubs’

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London (AFP) Fifty-five league and non league clubs have been referred to police in the child sex abuse scandal that has shattered English football's image a source told The Observer newspaper on Sunday.

In other developments English football's embattled governing body the Football Association (FA) have been accused in The Sunday Mirror by Russell Davy, a former Charlton Athletic youth goalkeeper, of not replying to his letter in 1986 warning them of abuse by scout Eddie Heath.

Conte hails reformed match-winner Costa

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Chelsea manager Antonio Conte lauded Diego Costa after the striker made a decisive contribution and kept his cool in the Premier League leaders' tempestuous 3-1 win at Manchester City.

Costa cancelled out Gary Cahill's own goal opener and set up Willian for Chelsea's second goal as Conte's men came from behind on Saturday to record an eighth successive victory.

Leicester’s Ranieri keeps faith with misfiring Vardy

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri insists he still has faith in Jamie Vardy despite the England forward's Premier League goal drought stretching to three months.

Vardy drew a blank for the 16th consecutive game as the champions' disastrous title defence suffered its latest blow with a 2-1 defeat at lowly Sunderland on Saturday to leave the Foxesjust two points above the relegation zone.

Arsenal’s Wenger sees Sanchez making striking impression

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London (AFP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger foresees Alexis Sanchez staying in the striking role that brought him a hat-trick in the 5-1 victory over West Ham as long as the Chilean is scoring goals.

Pushed further forward this season, Sanchez has now scored seven goals in his last five Premier League games.

Tottenham manager revels in ‘complete’ performance

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London (AFP) Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed his side's 5-0 win over Swansea in the Premier League as a "big victory".

Two goals from Harry Kane, a stunning volley from Heung-Min Son and two late efforts for Christian Eriksen ensured Spurs reacted in the best possible way to defeats by Monaco and leaders Chelsea to remain within seven points of their London rivals.

Late fightbacks part of Madrid’s DNA – Ramos

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Barcelona (AFP) A never say die approach is part of Real Madrid's DNA said captain Sergio Ramos after his stoppage time equalisermaintained a six-point La Liga lead over Barcelona with a 1-1 draw in El Clasico.

Ramos strode forward from defence to net another important goal after Luis Suarez's 53rd minute opener looked set to end Madrid's 32-game unbeaten run.

Where to find Lazio vs. Roma on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Lazio vs. Roma, you've come to the right place.

The Rome derby kicks off on Sunday featuring Lazio at home against Roma. For soccer fans in the United States, the game will be shown live on television and streaming. Roma is currently in second place while Lazio is in fourth, so not only will both teams be fighting for bragging rights, but they're also fighting to win the Serie A title this season.

Mourinho, Ronaldo deny tax evasion claims

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday denied hiding millions of euros in offshore accounts in a effort to avoid the tax man.

An international consortium of media organisations claimed that a huge data leak involving 18 million documents showed Portuguese skipper Ronaldo hid 150 million euros from image rights in a British Virgin Islands tax havens.

Stick with England, Southgate urges Zaha

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London (AFP) England manager Gareth Southgate hopes to persuade Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha not to switch allegiance to the Ivory Coast, he revealed this week.

Zaha, capped twice by England, has asked world governing body FIFA to allow him to play for the Ivory Coast, which is the country of his birth.

Monaco top, PSG stunned, keeper hit by firecrackers

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Paris (AFP) Colombian striker Radamel Falcao scored twice as Monaco thrashed Bastia 5-0 to move top of Ligue 1 on Saturday, while French champions Paris Saint-Germain crashed to a shock 3-0 defeat at Montpellier.

However, the day's action in France was scarred when the game between Metz and Lyon was abandoned after Portuguese goalkeeperAnthony Lopes was hit by a firecracker, prompting fears that the Lyon star may have lost his hearing.

Metz-Lyon abandoned after keeper hit by firecrackers

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Metz (France) (AFP) Saturday's Ligue 1 match between Metz and Lyon was abandoned with only 30 minutes played after home supporters threw firecrackers at visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Metz had taken the lead through Gauthier Hein just before play was interrupted at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, with the match officially called off after a 45-minute delay.

Leeds revival continues as Bruce suffers first defeat

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London (AFP) Goals from Kemar Roofe and New Zealand international striker Chris Wood ended Steve Bruce's seven-match unbeaten run as Aston Villa manager with Leeds running out 2-0 winners in their Championship clash on Saturday.

Victory saw Leeds move into fourth place in the second tier with their fifth win in six Championship matches under former Swansea boss Garry Monk.

Metz-Lyon match abandoned after crowd trouble

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Metz (France) (AFP) Saturday's Ligue 1 match between Metz and Lyon was abandoned with only 30 minutes played after home supporters threw firecrackers at visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Metz had taken the lead through Gauthier Hein just before play was interrupted at the Stade Saint-Symphorien, with the match officially called off after a 45-minute delay.

Football: RB Leipzig knock Bayern off top, extend record

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Berlin (AFP) RB Leipzig again knocked Bayern Munich from top spot in the Bundesliga table on Saturday as their 2-1 win at home to Schalke 04 left them three points clear.

Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern had regained the lead with a 3-1 win at Mainz on Friday night, but Leipzig replaced them less than 24 hours later.

Football: Chelsea rock title rivals City, rampant Arsenal up to second

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London (AFP) Chelsea cemented their position on top of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at title rivals Manchester City, while Alexis Sanchez's hat-trick in a 5-1 thrashing of West Ham took Arsenal into second place on Saturday.

Gary Cahill's own goal from a Jesus Navas cross gifted City the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Diego Costa equalised with a clinical finish in the 60th minute.

Sanchez treble fires swaggering Arsenal

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London (AFP) Alexis Sanchez fired a 14-minute hat-trick as Arsenal rose to second in the Premier League with an irrepressible 5-1 victory at West Ham on Saturday.

Chile forward Sanchez was the star of the show in east London as Arsenal moved above Liverpool and Manchester City with a triumph that was every bit as emphatic as the scoreline suggests.

Barcelona need return to home comforts – Luis Enrique

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona boss Luis Enrique believes the Spanish champions need a dramatic improvement in their home form if they are to prevent Real Madrid running away with a first La Liga title in five years.

Sergio Ramos's stoppage time equaliser salvaged a point for Real in a 1-1 draw in El Clasico on Saturday to maintain a six-point lead at the top of the table.

Chelsea rock title rivals City, rampant Arsenal up to second

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London (AFP) Chelsea cemented their position on top of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at title rivals Manchester City, while Alexis Sanchez's hat-trick in a 5-1 thrashing of West Ham took Arsenal into second place on Saturday.

Gary Cahill's own goal from a Jesus Navas cross gifted City the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Diego Costa equalised with a clinical finish in the 60th minute.

RB Leipzig knock Bayern off top, extend record

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Berlin (AFP) RB Leipzig again knocked Bayern Munich from top spot in the Bundesliga table on Saturday as their 2-1 win at home to Schalke 04 left them three points clear.

Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern had regained the lead with a 3-1 win at Mainz on Friday night, but Leipzig replaced them less than 24 hours later.

City star Toure charged with drink driving

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London (AFP) Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has been charged with drink driving, police revealed on Saturday.

Toure was driving in Dagenham in east London at the time of the alleged offence on Monday evening.

The Metropolitan police said the 33-year-old was then charged on Tuesday with driving while his alcohol level was above the legal limit.

Ramos rescues Real to maintain six-point lead

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Barcelona (AFP) Sergio Ramos's stoppage-time equaliser maintained Real Madrid's six-point lead at the top of La Liga as the European champions salvaged a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in Saturday's El Clasico.

Luis Suarez looked to have breathed new life into the title race when he headed home the opener from Neymar's free-kick eight minutes into the second half.

Inspired Montpellier rock mediocre PSG

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain blew their chance to provisionally move top of Ligue 1 on Saturday as they crashed to a shock 3-0 defeat at Montpellier.

Paul Lasne struck just before half-time for Montpellier, the last team other than PSG to lift the French title back in 2011-12, with Ellyes Skhiri adding a second shortly after the break.

CSKA Moscow and Traore send Tottenham warning

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Moscow (AFP) Reigning champions CSKA Moscow thrashed Ural Yekaterinburg 4-0 on Saturday to secure third spot in Russia ahead of their trip to Wembley to play Tottenham in midweek.

Zenit St Petersburg's hopes of winning their fifth Russian Premier League title suffered a slight setback though as they were held to a goalless draw at Rostov.

Kane double gets five-star Spurs back on track

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London (AFP) Tottenham claimed only their second win in 11 matches as Harry Kane celebrated signing a new long-term contract with two goals in a 5-0 rout of struggling Swansea on Saturday.

Kane committed his future for the next five and a half years this week and the England striker scored a 39th-minute penalty to open the scoring before Son Heung-Min scored a spectacular second just before the break.

Stoke boss Burnley to move ninth

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Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jonathan Walters and Marc Muniesa inspired Stoke to a 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday, lifting Mark Hughes' side into the top half of the Premier League table.

This win, following last weekend's 1-0 success at Watford, moved the Potters up two spots to ninth.

Aussie Rogic completes Celtic football comeback

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Glasgow (AFP) Australian international Tom Rogic grabbed a last minute winner to complete a remarkable comeback by champions Celtic on Saturday as they beat Motherwell 4-3 in the Scottish Premiership.

The 23-year-old struck to keep Celtic eight points clear of bitter historic rivals Rangers, who leap-frogged Hearts into second after they beat Aberdeen 2-1 at Ibrox.

West Brom set pieces beat Watford

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) Coach Tony Pulis ended a bad week on a high note as West Brom beat Watford 3-1 to move above Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday.

Pulis was criticised by a judge this week and ordered to pay back a hefty bonus to ex-club Crystal Palace, but West Brom fans won't mind the blemish on his reputation with three wins from the last five games.

Chelsea rock title rivals City, Sunderland off the bottom

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London (AFP) Chelsea cemented their position on top of the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at title rivals Manchester City, who had Sergio Aguero and Fernandinho dismissed in a fiery finale, while Sunderland climbed off the bottom with a 2-1 win against Leicester on Saturday.

Gary Cahill's own goal from a Jesus Navas cross gifted City the lead on the stroke of half-time, but Diego Costa equalised with a clinical finish in the 60th minute.

Sunderland off the bottom as Leicester crash again

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) Sunderland climbed off the bottom of the Premier League as Leicester City's disastrous title defencesuffered another blow with a 2-1 defeat at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Robert Huth's own goal and a Jermain Defoe effort put Sunderland in control in the second half and Shinji Okazaki's strike came too late to prevent a fifth defeat in nine league games for Leicester.

Benteke double ends Palace misery

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London (AFP) A double from Belgian international striker Christian Benteke inspired Crystal Palace to a 3-0 win over Southampton and saved manager Alan Pardew's job in ending a six match Premier League losing streak on Saturday.

Benteke's brace taking his tally to seven this season and a goal from James Tompkins gave the hosts a deserved victory against a poor Southampton side, who ended the week with the club embroiled in the sex abuse scandal dating back to the 1970s.

Dortmund rout Gladbach in Real warm-up

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Berlin (AFP) Pierre Aubameyang scored twice and Marco Reus provided three assists as Borussia Dortmund prepared for their Champions League clash at Real Madrid by routing Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-1 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Dortmund are fifth in Germany's top flight, six points behind leaders Bayern Munich, who won 3-1 at Mainz on Friday, and RB Leipzig, who host Schalke on Saturday evening, ahead of their trip to Spain.

Chelsea apologise ‘profusely’ to Johnson over abuse

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London (AFP) Gary Johnson received a public apology from English football giants Chelsea on Saturday over the sexual abuse he suffered as a young player from late scout Eddie Heath in the 1970s.

The club who had been heavily criticised after Johnson claimed he was paid £50,000 ($63,000) by them not to go public with his allegations issued a statement praising Johnson's courage in talking about the traumatic experience.

Bayern hit form as Ancelotti adopts Pep’s tactics

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti took a leaf out of predecessor Pep Guardiola's book as the Bavarian giants' hit form in a 3-1 Bundesliga win at Mainz.

Ancelotti experimented with a new-look line up ahead of Tuesday's visit by Atletico Madrid in a meaningless Champions League game.

Ramos rescues Real in El Clasico stalemate

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Barcelona (AFP) Sergio Ramos's stoppage-time equaliser maintained Real Madrid's six-point lead at the top of La Liga as the European champions salvaged a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in Saturday's El Clasico.

Luis Suarez looked to have breathed new life into the title race when he headed home the opener from Neymar's free-kick eight minutes into the second half.

Brazil mourns fallen football team in pouring rain

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) The bodies of 50 players, coaches and staff from a Brazilian football team wiped out in a plane crash in Colombia arrived home Saturday for a massive funeral.

Fireworks lit up the sky over the stadium in Chapeco as two Brazilian Air Force planes transporting the team's coffins touched down at the southern city's airport in pouring rain.

Guardiola apologises for Man City meltdown

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola issued an apology after his side lost their cool and were reduced to nine men during Saturday's 3-1 loss to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

City took the lead late in the first half, but second-half goals from Diego Costa, Willian and Eden Hazard gave Chelsea a smash-and-grab victory and the hosts lost their composure in stoppage time.

Paedophile well known, says ex-Chelsea star

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London (AFP) Ex-Chelsea football star Alan Hudson said it was "common knowledge" that a former scout at the club was a paedophile, media reported Saturday as an abuse scandal engulfing the sport deepens.

His comments come after another former Chelsea player, Gary Johnson, claimed he was paid £50,000 ($63,000) by the Premier League club not to go public with allegations that he was sexually abused as a young player by ex-chief scout Eddie Heath.

Liverpool boss Klopp hints at Sakho sale

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London (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hinted he could sell exiled Mamadou Sakho in January after admitting the French defender is no longer in his first-team squad.

Klopp was quizzed about his plans for the January transfer window this week and insisted he had no intention of selling England striker Daniel Sturridge or any other first-team player.

Spanish taxman investigates Ronaldo revelations

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish tax authorities are investigating reports that Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo hid 150 million euros ($160 million) from image rights in tax havens.

A group of 12 European newspapers made the allegations based on leaked documents obtained by German weekly Der Spiegel.

Returning Iniesta on bench for El Clasico

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta was left on the bench for the visit of Real Madrid in El Clasico on Saturday on his return from two months out with a knee injury.

Barca coach Luis Enrique named the same side from last weekend's 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad, despite describing that display as the worst of his tenure.

Bodies of Brazil football team killed in crash arrive home

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) The bodies of 50 players, coaches and staff from a Brazilian football team tragically wiped out in a plane crash in Colombia arrived home Saturday for a massive funeral.

Fireworks lit up the sky over the stadium in Chapeco, in southern Brazil, as the Hercules cargo planes touched down at the city's airport in pouring rain.

Antlers floor Reds to win J-League title

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) Kashima Antlers stunned perennial chokers Urawa Reds 2-1 away Saturday to win their eighth Japanese title on away goals after an absorbing two-legged championship final.

A Mu Kanazaki double crushed Urawa's dreams of a first J-League title in 2006, the striker smashing home a late penalty to complete an improbable turnaround after they were beaten 1-0 at home earlier in the week.

Fabregas makes Chelsea return at Man City

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Cesc Fabregas returned to Chelsea's starting XI as manager Antonio Conte changed his team for the first time in seven games for Saturday's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Fabregas, who played under City manager Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, came in for Nemanja Matic, who was left out of Chelsea's squad due to what Conte said was a "little muscular problem".

Everything you need to know about el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid

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The biggest club soccer game on the planet kicks off this Saturday between Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga. Not only will it feature many of the world's best soccer players, but the game will also have a big impact on the race to win La Liga.

Real Madrid is currently six points ahead of Barcelona, so a win for Real Madrid will put Los Blancos in pole position to push away from Barcelona to win the 2016/17 title.

Mourinho demands United improvement

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Liverpool (AFP) Jose Mourinho returns to the technical area for Sunday's visit to Everton on a mission to urgently improve Manchester United's disappointing Premier League form.

Mourinho served his second one-match touchline ban of the season on Wednesday as United beat West Ham 4-1 in the League Cup to set up a two-legged semi-final against Hull in January.

Liverpool’s Klopp backs Origi to shine in Coutinho absence

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Divock Origi is primed to help fill the vast attacking void left by Philippe Coutinho's absence throughinjury.

Liverpool will be without the influential Brazilian playmaker for about six weeks with the ankle injury he sustained in the win over Sunderland last weekend that kept them firmly in the early title race.

Conte warns Chelsea to fear old boy De Bruyne

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London (AFP) Antonio Conte has warned his Chelsea stars to be wary of the threat posed by their former team-mate Kevin De Bruyne in Saturday's crunch clash with Manchester City.

De Bruyne was a peripheral figure in his two years at Chelsea after failing to impress Jose Mourinho, who sold him to German club Wolfsburg in 2014.

Where to find Manchester City vs. Chelsea on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Manchester City vs. Chelsea, you've come to the right place.

It's first against third in the Premier League on Saturday that could have implications on which team is best equipped to make a run for the Premier League title. Both Chelsea and Manchester City are in good form, and the match could end up being a tactical chess match between Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola.

How to watch el Clasico on TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid, you've come to the right place.

If you live in the United States and have access to beIN SPORTS or beIN SPORTS en Español via your cable or satellite TV provider, you can watch the game live there. But if don't have beIN SPORTS or you want to stream the game live and legally instead, read below for all of the TV and streaming details.

Brazil grieves for football team killed in crash

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) A small Brazilian city will hold a massive funeral Saturday to honor its football team, wiped out at the height of their glory in a plane crash that killed 71 people.

The southern city of Chapeco is expecting some 100,000 people half its population to descend on Conda Arena, the stadium where just 10 days ago the home team, Chapecoense Real, were lighting up the pitch.

Malaysia player beats Messi, Neymar to FIFA shortlist

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) A Malaysian footballer has beaten the likes of Neymar and Messi to score a place in FIFA's shortlist for top three goals of the year.

Midfielder Mohamad Faiz Subri's cracker of a free kick for Penang state in the Malaysian Super League in February was reminiscent of the swerving thunderbolt by Brazil legend Roberto Carlos against France in 1997.

First plane arrives with bodies of Brazil footballers killed in crash

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) -The first of two Brazilian air force planes carrying the remains of a football team killed in a plane crash arrived Saturday in the city of Chapeco in southern Brazil.

Fireworks lit up the sky as the plane touched down in pouring rain after a flight from Medellin, where Cinderella-story club Chapecoense Real had been traveling for a big match when their plane ran out of fuel and crashed Monday night, killing 71 people including 51 players, coaches and staff.

Hamsik targets Maradona’s goal record at Napoli

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Milan (AFP) Slovakia midfielder Marek Hamsik set his sights on Diego Maradona's record haul of 115 goals for Napoli after hitting his 104th goal for the southerners in a 3-0 romp over Inter Milan on Friday.

Inter travelled to Naples looking to continue their strong start under new coach Stefano Pioli, who started his spell in charge with a 2-2 derby draw at AC Milan and then a 4-2 win over Fiorentina at the weekend.

Hamsik matches Cavani as Napoli down Inter

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Milan (AFP) Marek Hamsik hit his 104th goal for Napoli to tie Uruguayan Edinson Cavani's tally for the Italians in a defiant 3-0 win over Inter Milan at the San Paolo on Friday.

Inter travelled to Naples looking to continue their strong start under new coach Stefano Pioli, who started his spell in charge with a 2-2 derby draw at AC Milan and secured a 4-2 win over Fiorentina last weekend.

Lewandowski puts Bayern Munich back on top

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Berlin (AFP) Robert Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern Munich moved back top of the Bundesliga on Friday after coming from an early goal down to win 3-1 at Mainz.

It puts the onus back on surprise-package RB Leipzig, who drop to second on goal difference but can reclaim top spot on Saturday with a draw or victory at home to mid-table Schalke.

Ronaldo, Mourinho in ‘tax evasion’ claims

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho could have been involved in a multimillion-euro system of "tax evasion", according to leaked documents obtained by a number of media outlets.

A group of 12 European newspapers said it intends to disclose over the next three weeks the results of investigations into widespread alleged corruption at the heart of football under the banner "Football Leaks".

Ronaldo, Mourinho in ‘tax evasion, money laundering’ claims

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho could have been involved in a multimillion-euro system of "tax evasion and money laundering", according to leaked documents obtained by a number of media outlets.

A group of 12 European newspapers said it intends to disclose over the next three weeks the results of investigations into widespread alleged corruption at the heart of football under the banner "Football Leaks".

Bodies of Colombia plane crash victims flown home

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Medellín (Colombia) (AFP) The bodies of the 71 victims killed in a plane crash in Colombia that wiped out a Brazilian football team began arriving home Friday, as mourners prepared a massive funeral.

The remains of the first victim, Paraguayan crew member Gustavo Encina, were handed over to his family early Friday in a coffin draped in his country's flag.

‘I feel Cuban’: Maradona arrives for Castro funeral

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Havana (AFP) Declaring "I feel Cuban," Argentine football great Diego Maradona has arrived in Cuba to attend the funeral of his "second father," the late communist leader Fidel Castro.

"I feel like the world has lost its leader," Maradona told Cuban state television after landing late Thursday.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 14

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First-place Chelsea visit third-place Manchester City this Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC UNIVERSO, highlighting NBC Sports Group's Premier League coverage this weekend. All top-five Premier League teams will be featured on NBC or NBCSN this week.

The Blues enter the match with seven consecutive Premier League wins, most recently defeating 5th-place Tottenham 2-1.

Stylistic changes can bring an end to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo comparisons

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Players who can take control of a game and wrestle it the way of their team at the highest level are rare in the modern game. But at their absolute pomp, it's exactly what Lionel Messi did for Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo did for Real Madrid.

The former has been at the hub of all of Barcelona's delightful attacking work over the last decade.

Jose Mourinho offers Manchester United lifeline to Schweinsteiger

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho has hinted that Bastian Schweinsteiger could stay at Manchester United beyond January because his contract makes him "the powerful one".

The former Germany captain, 32, was frozen out by Mourinho and forced to train away from the first team earlier this season.

Ronaldo, Messi, Griezmann vie for FIFA best player award

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann will battle it out for the world player of the year title, FIFA said Friday.

Real Madrid star Ronaldo is favourite for the crown after winning the Champions League and also Euro 2016 with Portugal, even though he exited the final win over France with an early injury.

Barca more desperate for El Clasico win – Luis Enrique

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona boss Luis Enrique accepted his side are by far the more in need of the three points when Real Madrid visit the Camp Nou on Saturday (1515GMT) in El Clasico.

Madrid hold a six-point lead over Barca, who are off to their worst La Liga start in nine seasons, at the top of the table.

Where to find Barcelona vs Real Madrid el Clasico on TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid, you've come to the right place.

El Clasico, the biggest club soccer match on the planet, kicks off on Saturday between Barcelona and Real Madrid, live from Camp Nou in Barcelona. Real Madrid are currently six points ahead of Barcelona in the race for the title in Spain, so Barcelona can't afford to lose this match.

Antonio Conte ‘maybe world’s best’ coach, says Pep Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described his Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte as "maybe the best coach in the world" on Friday ahead of their Premier League showdown on Saturday.

Chelsea have stormed to the top of the league after seven straight wins, during which they have conceded only one goal, but City are just a point behind them in third place.

Zinedine Zidane says Real Madrid upbeat ahead of Barcelona clash

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insists his side travel to Barcelona on Saturday full of confidence after opening up a six-point lead over the Catalans at the top of La Liga.

Madrid have not tasted defeat all season during a 32-game unbeaten run stretching back to April.

Just prior to the start of that streak, Madrid ended a 39-game unbeaten run by Barca by coming from behind to win 2-1 at the Camp Nou.

Jan Vertonghen signs new contract with Tottenham Hotspur

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen has signed a new contract that is set to keep him at the north London side until 2019, it was announced Friday.

The Belgium central defender moved to White Hart Lane in July 2012 from Dutch side Ajax and has since become a mainstay of manager Mauricio Pochettino's team.

Ronaldo, Mourinho hit back on tax claims

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Paris (AFP) Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United coach Jose Mourinhohit back at claims over their tax arrangements on Friday with their agent declaring they had fully complied with British and Spanish fiscal requirements.

They have respected "fully their obligations regarding Spanish and British authorities," read a statement for Gestifute, run by their agent Jorge Mendes.

El Clasico not on UK TV; What you can do about it

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The fact that el Clasico between Barcelona against Real Madrid will not be televised live on British TV this Saturday is an outrage.

Everywhere else in the world —both in the first world and third world —countries will show the game live on television except the United Kingdom. In fact, Barcelona against Real Madrid will be shown live in more than 100 countries.

Vertonghen extends Spurs stay until 2019

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur's Jan Vertonghen has signed a new contract that is set to keep him at the north London side until 2019, it was announced Friday.

The Belgium central defender moved to White Hart Lane in July 2012 from Dutch side Ajax and has since become a mainstay of manager Mauricio Pochettino's team.

Wenger defends Arsenal treatment of injured Santi Cazorla

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London (AFP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended the club's handling of Santi Cazorla after it emerged that the midfielder could miss a further three months because of impending ankle surgery.

The 31-year-old's Achilles problem had already sidelined the Spain international for nine games.

Fear and loathing in Rome as derby day approaches

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Rome (AFP) They share the same city, the same pizzas and the same football stadium but that's where the similarities end for the fans of Lazio and Roma.

The 'Derby della Capitale' is the most intense in Italy and while Sunday's clash at the Stadio Olimpico could have a direct impact on the sides' title hopes, for most it's a question of local pride.

Barca desperate to break Madrid’s unbeaten streak

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona are the more desperate side as Real Madrid visit Catalonia on Saturday for the first El Clasico of the season boasting a six-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Madrid have won 15 more points in all in La Liga under the guidance of Zinedine Zidane since the sides last met in April and are riding a 31-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

City plan to prove a point in Chelsea showdown

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London (AFP) Manchester City will aim to prove their hectic schedule won't stop them winning the Premier League when leaders Chelsea visit Eastlands for a enthralling showdown on Saturday.

City are one point behind Chelsea heading into the first meeting this season between two teams who have quickly emerged as leading title contenders under their new managers.

Red-hot Cavani and PSG primed for top spot

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain and their in-form striker Edinson Cavani are hunting down pace-setters Nice and can knock them off top spot in Ligue 1 for a day at least with victory on Saturday at Montpellier.

The French champions appeared to struggle early on with new coach Unai Emery's methods, but a 2-0 home win over Angers on Wednesday was their fifth victory on the bounce in the league and in the Uruguayan Cavani they have one of Europe's red-hot predators.

Injury-plagued Juve pack defence for ambitious Atalanta

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Milan (AFP) Embattled Juventus could look to repel the threat of a shock upset to Atalanta on Saturday by deploying a makeshift, four-man defence as injuries continue to pile up for the Turin giants.

Still considered favourites to secure a record sixth consecutive scudetto, according to ex-boss Marcello Lippi in midweek, chinks are starting to appear.

Stuttering Spurs look for Kane inspiration

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London (AFP) Tottenham host Swansea on Saturday hoping Harry Kane can celebrate signing a new contract by continuing his hot scoring streak and helping them get their season firing again.

The England forward sealed an improved deal that ties him to the Londoners until 2022 a timely boost for a club in a bad patch on the pitch.

Wenger expects Arsenal to regain momentum after Cup blow

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger is confident Arsenal will get back on track after their surprise League Cup exit when they face London rivals West Ham on Saturday.

Wenger's side were beaten 2-0 at home by Southampton in the quarter-finals on Tuesday, while West Ham also crashed out of the competition with a 4-1 thrashing at Manchester United.

Guardiola test awaits Conte’s charging Chelsea

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London (AFP) Chelsea's scintillating late-year burst of form faces its biggest test yet on Saturday when Antonio Conte takes the Premier League leaders to Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

Having secured a gritty 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge last weekend, Chelsea have won their last seven league games their best run since 2010.

Ranieri defends spluttering Leicester

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) With their Premier League title defence in disarray, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has been forced to defend the spluttering champions ahead of Saturday's trip to Sunderland.

Ranieri backed his title-winning stars after criticism of their league form, which has fallen well below last season's remarkable standards.

FIFA chief to attend Brazil plane crash funerals

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Sydney (AFP) FIFA President Gianni Infantino Friday postponed a trip to Australia so he can attend funeral services for the footballers killed in a plane crash in the Colombian mountains.

The global football chief had been due in Sydney on Monday after attending the under-20 Women's World Cup final in Papua New Guinea, but called it off.

Ex-Chelsea player claims club ‘paid for silence on abuse’

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London (AFP) A former Chelsea player has claimed he was paid £50,000 ($63,000) by the Premier League club not to go public about allegations that he was sexually abused by its former chief scout.

Gary Johnson, 57, told The Mirror on Friday that he had been abused as a youth player by Eddie Heath, who is now dead.

Univision scores monster TV ratings for Liga MX Apertura playoff games

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Univision delivered record-breaking ratings this week for their broadcast of the Liga MX playoff stage of the Apertura 2016 tournament.

Coverage of Liga MX Quarterfinal Round was the most-watched ever on Univision with all key demographics. The Thursday "Súper Clásico" match between Club América and Chivas de Guadalajara on Univision Network, simulcast on Univision Deportes, delivered an average audience of 2.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for week of November 22-29, 2016

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It was another US TV weekend dominated by Mexican soccer as Univision's Liguilla coverage placed six matches in the top 8 most-viewed of the week. The Súper Clásico series between Club América and Club Deportivo Guadalajara helped boost Univision to its most-watched Quarterfinal round of the Liga MX playoffs ever.

Liga MX Apertura semi-final TV coverage plans announced by Univision

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Univision has announced their TV coverage plans for the Liga MX Apertura semi-finals, which will be shown across its networks.

One game is already "in the can" after Tigres UANL defeated Club Leon 1-0 in the first leg on Wednesday night. Next up is the clash between Necaxa and Club America, which is scheduled to kick off this evening.

el Clasico preview plus Barcelona and Real Madrid predicted lineups

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Matches between Barcelona and Real Madrid are always enormously significant, regardless of the underpinning circumstances heading into the game. But Saturday's at the Camp Nou feels particularly pertinent, even in the anthology of iconic contests we've witnessed between the two.

Indeed, it's been rare for Barcelona to enter this fixture in a lull of form in recent years.

MLS breaks 5-year attendance record for playoffs and Conference games

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Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer has set a 5-year attendance record for their playoff games and Conference semi-finals and finals, increasing attendances by 19% compared to last season from the wildcard games through to the Conference Finals.

The top flight US/Canadian league benefitted from well-supported teams such as Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders being featured in the latter stages of the MLS playoffs and Conference games.

What time does el Clásico start?

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The first el Clasico of the 2016/17 season between Barcelona and Real Madrid kicks off on Saturday, December 3, 2016.

The kickoff time, however, will be very unconventional.

Here's the start-time for the Barcelona vs. Real Madrid el Clasico:

•USA: 10:15am ET / 9:15am ET CT / 8:15am MT / 7:15am PT
•Spain: 4:15pm local time
•UK: 3:15pm GMT

Match: Barcelona vs.

World Soccer Talk Podcast – What is the perfect soccer streaming service?

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In the new format of the show, episode 4 of the rebooted World Soccer Talk Podcast discusses what the perfect soccer streaming service looks like, and what's missing to make it complete.

Hosts Christopher Harris and Kartik Krishnaiyer discuss that as well as:

•All of the details about DirecTV NOW that soccer fans need to know,

•Several big TV ratings that came in this week for soccer games,

•News about the future of One World Sports and what it means for soccer fans,

•Plus questions from YOU, the listeners!

10 things we learned from the MLS Conference Finals

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After one of the most thrilling games in MLS history on Wednesday night in Toronto, the MLS Conference Finals have concluded. Here are ten things we learned.

1. Canada Makes Its Mark

Due respect to the Western Conference Final, but, depending on what happens two Saturdays from now, the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs will be remembered for the show Montreal Impact and Toronto FC put on over the last week and a half.

El Clasico coverage delay to leave United Kingdom TV viewers frustrated

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Around this time of year, Sky Sports begin to churn out their adverts for festive football, delineating the plethora of fascinating fixtures they'll be showing over the Christmas period to viewers in the the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately for those subscribers that enjoy the broadcaster's wide-ranging coverage of La Liga, this Saturday's Clasico showdown between Barcelona and Real Madrid at the Camp Nou will not be one of them.

Former Newcastle player adds his name to abuse victims

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London (AFP) A former Newcastle United player added his name Wednesday to a growing list of ex-footballers in England who said they had suffered sexual abuse during their time in the sport.

David Eatock broke his silence as it emerged that more than a quarter of the UK's regional police forces were looking into allegations of historic child sex abuse within football.

Zidane’s rapid success ‘obvious’ to Real boss Perez

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Madrid (AFP) Zinedine Zidane's smooth transition from Real Madrid legend as a player to Champions League winning coach has caught many by surprise, but Real president Florentino Perez believes success was guaranteed by the Frenchman's "love story" with the Spanish giants.

Zidane dazzled for five years as a Madrid player after being signed by Perez for a then-world record fee in 2001.

Fans cram into Brazil football stadium to mourn dead players

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) Fans of Brazil's Chapecoense football club whose team was wiped out in a Colombian air crash crammed into the home stadium for tearful prayers around the empty pitch.

The stadium in Chapeco, southern Brazil, was a solid wall of green as fans and mourners dressed in the team shirt stood shoulder to shoulder.

Toronto down Montreal to reach MLS Cup final

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Toronto (Canada) (AFP) Toronto FC became the first Canadian club to reach Major League Soccer's championship game after overpowering Montreal Impact 5-2 in a seven-goal thriller after extra-time.

Toronto, who had trailed 3-0 in last week's first leg in Montreal before recovering to score two crucial away goals, will now host the Seattle Sounders in the MLS Cup final on December 10.

Mourinho buoyed by ‘beautiful’ Man United

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho lauded his players' "beautiful football" after they overwhelmed West Ham United 4-1 to set up a League Cup semi-final date with Hull City.

United are toiling in the Premier League, where a run of four consecutive home draws has contributed to their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 1989.