EPL Talk Archives for January 2017

Egypt releases more than 200 football fans accused of rioting

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Cairo (AFP) – Egypt’s military prosecutors have released more than 200 football fans who had spent over five months in detention accused of vandalising a stadium and attacking police, a lawyer said Monday.

Police had detained hundreds of supporters of Cairo’s Zamalek club following a July 9 game against Libya’s Al Alhi SC, keeping 236 of them in detention ever since, said defence lawyer Mohamed Hafez, who represented more than 100 of them.

Peru announce pre-World Cup friendlies

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Lima (AFP) – Peru announced on Monday friendlies against fellow World Cup qualifiers Croatia and Iceland in the US ahead of the global showpiece in Russia next year.

Peru qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1982 by beating New Zealand 2-0 on aggregate in an inter-continental play-off last month.

Schedule of DFB-Pokal Round of 16 games on US TV and streaming

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We’re down to the last 16 teams competing in the DFB-Pokal, the German cup competition that features several of the major teams as well as a few minnows.

For viewers in the United States, four out of the eight games will be shown either on television and/or streaming. And, of course, the most eagerly anticipated match is Bayern Munich versus Borussia Dortmund which will be shown on ESPN2.

Juventus president Agnelli’s ticket scam ban reduced

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Rome (AFP) – Juventus president Andrea Agnelli saw his one-year ban over a ticket sales scandal ended after less than three months on Monday, following an appeal to the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

However, his 20,000 euro ($23,600) fine for his role in the bulk sale of tickets to ‘ultras’ fans with links to organised crime, was increased to 100,000 euros.

Russia in a rush to change World Cup pitch

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – The troublesome pitch at the 2018 World Cup venue in Saint Petersburg will be relaid for a third time, officials said on Monday.

The state of the art 68,000-capacity stadium hosted this year’s Confederations Cup final, but the pitch was so cut up it was changed ahead of the tournament.

Aubameyang, Mane, Salah to contest CAF award

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Prolific goalscorers Mohamed Salah of Egypt and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Gabon were named on Monday among the three finalists for the African Player of the Year award.

Sadio Mane of Senegal completes a list announced in Ghana for the highest annual Confederation of African Football (CAF) individual honour.

Leicester’s Puel has unfinished business in League Cup

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London (AFP) – Claude Puel says he has unfinished business in the League Cup ahead of Leicester’s quarter-final clash with Manchester City after a painful defeat in last season’s final as Southampton boss.

The Foxes host Pep Guardiola’s high-flying City on Tuesday, aiming to re-find their form after a surprise 3-0 Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace that ended an impressive run of results since the Frenchman took over at the club in October.

Barcelona’s Rafinha back after eight-month layoff

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona midfielder Rafinha was given the all clear to return to action on Monday after eight months on the sidelines due to a knee injury.

The Brazilian international hasn’t featured since limping off early in April’s 4-1 win at Granada with a meniscus problem.

Schedule of League Cup quarter finals on US TV and streaming

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We’re down to the final eight in the 2017/18 League Cup (also known as the Carabao Cup this season). And for viewers in the United States, we have the TV and streaming schedule of where you can watch the games.

Unfortunately none of the matches will be shown on TV, but you can always stream the games to your television set using a Chromecast or Airplay.

Tudor gets the chop at Galatasaray

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Istanbul (AFP) – Galatasaray sacked Croatian coach Igor Tudor on Monday after less than a year in charge, following a defeat that saw the side slip from the top of the Super Lig table.

A meeting of the club board voted to part company with Tudor, who had only joined the Istanbul giants in February, Galatasaray said in a statement.

West Ham’s Lanzini charged over diving

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London (AFP) – West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini has been charged over diving to win a penalty against Stoke City, the second Premier League player to be targeted under new rules aimed at stamping out cheating.

The 24-year-old Argentine went down when challenged by Erik Pieters and West Ham captain Mark Noble converted from the spot to give the visitors a 1-0 lead on Saturday.

Crystal Palace’s Puncheon charged with assault after brawl

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London (AFP) – Crystal Palace midfielder Jason Puncheon has been charged with assault and possessing a weapon after a fight erupted near a nightclub at the weekend.

Puncheon was arrested in the early hours of Sunday and taken into custody after officers were called to the disturbance in Reigate, a town near London, Surrey Police said.

Van Gaal has ‘unfinished business’ with Man Utd

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The Hague (AFP) – Firebrand football manager Louis van Gaal says he is “most likely done as a coach” but would step back into the ring for one exception: a chance to get back at Manchester United.

“I most likely won’t coach any club again,” Van Gaal, nicknamed the “Iron Tulip”, told popular daily tabloid De Telegraaf.

British police probe alleged racist attack on Man City’s Sterling

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London (AFP) – British police are investigating an alleged racially aggravated assault on Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling before the Premier League leaders’ victory against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

“On Sunday 17 December 2017, police were made aware that a 23-year-old man had been subject to a racially aggravated assault,” a police spokesman said.

Man City ‘planning talks’ to extend Guardiola’s contract

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London (AFP) – Manchester City are planning talks with manager Pep Guardiola at the end of the season as the Premier League leaders seek to tie him to a long-term deal, reports said on Monday.

City are 11 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester United, are on a record run of 16 consecutive wins in England’s top flight and through to the Champions League knockout phase after comfortably winning their group.

Mourinho won’t give up on catching City

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho insisted Manchester United will not give up on the Premier League title race after his side cut Manchester City’s lead back to 11 points.

Mourinho’s side won 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday with goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard before Gareth Barry replied for the hosts.

Klopp sets sights on top four finish

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp admits Manchester City will be almost impossible to catch at the top of the Premier League, but the Liverpool boss would happily settle for a top-four finish as a lucrative consolation prize.

Goals from Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Dejan Lovren and Roberto Firmino sent the free-scoring Reds up to fourth place.

Red-hot City chase League Cup glory

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London (AFP) – With Manchester City romping away with the Premier League title race, this week’s League Cup quarter-final action offers Pep Guardiola’s side the chance to remain on course for a domestic treble.

City head to Leicester hoping to reach only the second semi-final of Guardiola’s 18-month reign after losing in the FA Cup last four against Arsenal in April.

Juventus go second, AC Milan’s troubles continue

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus moved second in Serie A after a trademark Miralem Pjanic free-kick led the reigning champions to a comfortable 3-0 win at Bologna on Sunday, while AC Milan were plunged further into crisis by a heavy loss at lowly Verona.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve are on 41 points, just a point behind leaders Napoli after leapfrogging Inter Milan, who suffered a shock first defeat of the season to Udinese on Saturday.

Griezmann ‘blacked-up’ photo sparks controversy

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid and France forward Antoine Griezmann was forced to remove a photograph from Twitter showing him blacked up and mimicking a Harlem Globetrotter basketball player after the post caused controversy on Sunday.

Griezmann was wearing a basketball jersey and a wig with his face, legs and arms blacked up alongside the caption “80’s party” in the photograph on his personal Twitter page.

Suarez, Paulinho move Barcelona 11 clear of Real Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona opened up an 11-point La Liga lead over Real Madrid ahead of next weekend’s El Clasico between the Spanish giants as Luis Suarez and Paulinho each scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday.

Lionel Messi also saw a penalty saved and hit the woodwork three times as Barca regained their six-point lead over Atletico Madrid in second place.

Mandanda blunder helps Lyon beat Marseille

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Paris (AFP) – A howler from goalkeeper Steve Mandanda helped Lyon beat Marseille 2-0 on Sunday and move clear of their opponents in third place in Ligue 1.

Visiting keeper Mandanda gifted Nabil Fekir an early opener, before Mariano Diaz headed in the second shortly after half-time.

Manchester City spurred by Spurs friendly, says Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola believes the seeds for Manchester City’s extraordinary season were sown during a 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in a pre-season friendly in the United States.

City crushed Tottenham again on Saturday, a 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium giving Guardiola’s side a record 16th successive Premier League victory and keeping them 11 points clear at the top of the table.

Aubameyang extends Dortmund deal to 2021 – reports

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund’s prolific Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has extended his contract with the club until 2021, German media reported on Sunday.

The 28-year-old finished as the leading scorer in the Bundesliga last season with 31 goals, one ahead of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, and he has netted 13 times in 15 matches this term.

Leipzig slump to defeat by 10-man Hertha

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig dropped out of the Bundesliga top four on Sunday after Davie Selke fired 10-man Hertha Berlin to a shock 3-2 victory at the Red Bull Arena.

Former RB striker Selke grabbed a brace on his return to Leipzig, as Hertha battled to an astonishing triumph, despite going down to 10 men early in the game.

Rampant Liverpool crush Bournemouth

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho inspired Liverpool to a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth as the Reds powered back into the Premier League’s top four on Sunday.

Egyptian winger Salah is the first Liverpool player since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14 to hit the 20-goal mark in all competitions, and he has done it in only 26 matches.

Brazilian star Kaka announces retirement

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Former Brazilian World Cup champion Kaka announced his retirement as a player Sunday, suggesting that a management career at his old club AC Milan could be on the cards.

“I am preparing to continue in football and to have a different role, but I will no longer be a professional player, an athlete,” the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner told Globo television.

United down Albion, Reds rock Bournemouth

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London (AFP) – Manchester United kept their faint Premier League titles hopes alive with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, while Liverpool moved back into the top four with a 4-0 rout of Bournemouth on Sunday.

With Manchester City romping away with the title race, United had to win at the Hawthorns to have any chance of reeling in their local rivals.

Manchester United down Albion, Reds rock Bournemouth

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London (AFP) – Manchester United kept their faint Premier League titles hopes alive with a 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion, while Liverpool moved back into the top four with a 4-0 rout of Bournemouth on Sunday.

With Manchester City romping away with the title race, United had to win at the Hawthorns to have any chance of reeling in their local rivals.

Bailey brace not enough for Leverkusen in thriller draw at Hanover

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Berlin (AFP) – A second half brace from substitute Leon Bailey was not enough for Bayer Leverkusen as they were held in a thrilling 4-4 draw at Hanover on Sunday.

Substituted on at half-time with his team trailing 3-2, Bailey scored twice to put Bayer in the lead, but Julian Korb’s 83rd-minute equaliser saved a point for Hanover.

Pjanic stars as Juventus rise to second with win at Bologna

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus climbed to second in Serie A after a star turn from Miralem Pjanic led the reigning champions to a comfortable win at Bologna on Sunday, while AC Milan sunk further into crisis with a loss at lowly Hellas Verona.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Juve are on 41 points, just a point behind leaders Napoli after leapfrogging Inter Milan, who suffered their first defeat of the season, 3-1 to Udinese, on Saturday.

Ranieri apologises after manhandling official

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Paris (AFP) – Nantes head coach Claudio Ranieri admitted he “deserved” to be sent to the stands after his dismissal during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Angers for putting his hands on the fourth official.

With the Italian’s side leading in the 50th minute, Ranieri was sent off for remonstrating with the official on the sidelines.

Lukaku, Lingard strike as United beat West Brom

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goals from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard gave Manchester United a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday as Jose Mourinho’s men kept their faint title hopes alive.

Lukaku put United ahead at the Hawthorns and Lingard netted with the aid of a deflection to double the visitors’ lead before half-time.

Rodgers salutes Celtic as record run ends

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Edinburgh (AFP) – Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to his Celtic stars for their “incredible” run after their record 69-game unbeaten streak ended in a shock 4-0 defeat at Hearts on Sunday.

Rodgers’ side had set a new British record for unbeaten domestic matches last month, but that amazing run was shattered at Tynecastle as the Scottish champions were beaten for the first time since May 2016.

Ruthless Man City won’t let up — Jesus

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London (AFP) – Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus has warned his side’s rivals that the Premier League leaders won’t become complacent as they surge towards the title.

Pep Guardiola’s team were at their swaggering best on Saturday, crushing Tottenham 4-1 to extend their Premier League record winning streak to 16 games.

Barca reach agreement with Griezmann – reports

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has met with the family of Atletico Madrid’s star forward Antoine Griezmann ahead of a possible summer move, sports daily Mundo Deportivo reported on Sunday.

The French international, who has been Atletico’s top scorer for the past three seasons, has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United in the past.

Where to find West Brom vs. Man United on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch West Brom vs. Man United in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

Sunday’s match, live from the Hawthorns in the black country, features West Bromwich Albion at home against Manchester United.

Here’s how you can watch the match on US television and streaming:

Match: West Brom vs.

Conte upset by lack of credit for champions’ run

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte believes that Manchester City’s run of victories has denied his team the credit they deserve for their own recent good spell.

A narrow but deserved 1-0 victory for the Premier League champions over a defensive Southampton, which came thanks to Marcos Alonso’s free-kick on the stroke of half-time, made it eight victories and a draw from their last ten matches.

De Bruyne is my Man City blueprint – Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Kevin De Bruyne incarnated Manchester City’s future after the Belgian’s sublime display inspired his side to an emphatic 4-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.

De Bruyne smashed in City’s second goal on Saturday and had a hand in their third, scored by Raheem Sterling, who went on to complete a brace as City registered a record-extending 16th successive Premier League win.

UK, Russian police team up to avoid World Cup trouble

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Ahead of a sell-out European football match, Manchester police tracked fans’ movements via CCTV and Russian security officials joined them in the control room to learn more about tactics.

Officers, tipped off about a group of potentially disruptive supporters in the hours before last week’s Champions League clash between Manchester United and CSKA Moscow, moved swiftly to intercept them.

Wenger expects Arsenal revival over Christmas

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Newcastle will breed the confidence they need to cope with a hectic Christmas schedule.

After seeing his side end a three-match winless run thanks to Mesut Ozil’s spectacular first-half goal at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Gunners boss Wenger has no worries about a potential lack of stamina.

VAR controversies raise tensions in A-League

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Sydney (AFP) – Football Federation Australia will cut down on the number of A-League video assistant referees as the on-trial VAR technology influenced several A-League games this weekend.

A-League boss Greg O’Rourke said match officials would steer clear of 50-50 calls following farcical scenes when two second-half yellow cards to Central Coast Mariners players Wout Brama and Jake McGing were upgraded to reds following VAR reviews.

Torres lifts Atletico to second as Valencia falter

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Valencia into second in La Liga thanks to Fernando Torres’s first goal at the Wanda Metropolitano to edge out Alaves 1-0 on Saturday.

Valencia remain five points off leaders Barcelona in third after falling to a second defeat in three matches 2-1 at Eibar.

Torres lifts Atletico above beaten Valencia

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid leapfrogged Valencia into second in La Liga thanks to Fernando Torres’s first goal at the Wanda Metropolitano to edge out Alaves 1-0 on Saturday.

Valencia remain five points off leaders Barcelona in third after falling to a second defeat in three matches 2-1 at Eibar.

Eibar deal more damage to Valencia’s title hopes

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Madrid (AFP) – Valencia missed the chance to close to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona as Joan Jordan’s towering header three minutes from time handed Eibar a 2-1 win at Ipurua on Saturday.

Atletico Madrid can now usurp Valencia and move into second when they host Alaves later on Saturday, while Barca can open up at least a six-point gap at the top with victory over Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday.

De Bruyne makes it sweet 16 for awesome Man City

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Kevin De Bruyne produced another virtuoso performance as Manchester City crushed Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 on Saturday to register a record-extending 16th consecutive Premier League victory.

The Belgian maestro scored City’s second goal, after Ilkay Gundogan had opened the scoring, and Raheem Sterling added two more in a thumping win that provisionally sent Pep Guardiola’s men 14 points clear at the summit.

Ronaldo retains Club World Cup for Real Madrid

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Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s second-half free-kick ensured Real Madrid picked up a fifth trophy of 2017 by beating Gremio 1-0 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday to retain the Club World Cup.

A third Club World Cup in four years brings Madrid level with rivals Barcelona as the most successful side in the competition’s history and adds to the La Liga, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup titles already won by Zinedine Zidane’s men this year.

Napoli capitalise on Inter Milan’s slip to move top

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Milan (AFP) – Marek Hamsik equalled Diego Maradona’s record as Napoli’s all-time top goalscorer as they took advantage of Inter Milan’s first defeat of the season and moved top of Serie A with a 3-1 win at Torino on Saturday.

Inter went down 3-1 to Udinese at the San Siro earlier in the day and Hamsik, who now has 115 Napoli goals in all competitions, led the way as Maurizio Sarri’s side made the most of Inter’s loss with a three-goal blitz in the first half-hour that saw off Torino and moved them top on 42 points, two ahead of Inter, who drop back to second.

City make it 16 in a row, Ozil cracker downs Newcastle

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London (AFP) – Manchester City racked up a 16th consecutive Premier League win as the runaway leaders routed Tottenham 4-1, while Mesut Ozil’s stunning strike fired Arsenal to a 1-0 success against Newcastle on Saturday.

Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring at Eastlands before Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling netted after the interval to ensure City opened up a 14-point lead over second placed Manchester United, who face West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

Neymar shines on return as PSG beat Rennes

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Paris (AFP) – Neymar starred on his return to the Paris Saint-Germain line-up after two games out with two goals and two assists in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat of Rennes in Ligue 1.

The world’s most expensive player missed last weekend’s win over Lille due to suspension and sat out Wednesday’s French League Cup clash at Strasbourg after travelling back to Brazil to deal with a family matter.

Alonso edges Chelsea past Southampton

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London (AFP) – Marco Alonso’s free-kick on the stroke of half-time gave champions Chelsea their second Premier League win of the week with a 1-0 victory over Southampton on Saturday.

The hosts dominated but could not find a second against a Southampton team that defended resolutely, and needed a good save from goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to deny Saints substitute Charlie Austin.

South Korea win East Asia title as North restore pride

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Tokyo (AFP) – Beanpole striker Kim Shin-Wook fired a quick-fire double as South Korea thrashed fierce rivals Japan 4-1 to capture a fourth East Asian championship title in Tokyo on Saturday.

Japan football chief Kozo Tashima ripped into the home side after an embarrassing defeat.

“It’s not just that they lost, it’s a deeper issue,” he told local media.

Drama in Stuttgart as Bayern go 11 points clear

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Berlin (AFP) – Thomas Mueller came off the bench to score the winner and Sven Ulreich saved a 95th-minute penalty as Bayern Munich won 1-0 at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday to go 11 points clear in the Bundesliga.

Mueller put the visitors ahead with 11 minutes remaining and keeper Ulreich saved Chadrac Akolo’s spot-kick as Bayern remained in pole position to win a sixth straight league title heading into the winter break.

Mueller fires Bayern 11 points clear

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Berlin (AFP) – Thomas Mueller came off the bench to score the only goal and Sven Ulreich saved a stoppage time penalty for Bayern Munich as they won 1-0 at VfB Stuttgart on Saturday to go 11 points clear in the Bundesliga.

Mueller put Bayern ahead with 11 minutes remaining and keeper Ulreich saved Chadrac Akolo’s 95th-minute spot kick to break the home fans’ hearts.

Ozil gem gets Arsenal back on track

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London (AFP) – Mesut Ozil’s spectacular strike was enough to give Arsenal a 1-0 victory over Newcastle as the Gunners ended a three-match winless run in the Premier League on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger’s side boosted their bid to qualify for the Champions League via a top-four finish and in the process condemned relegation-threatened Newcastle to an eighth defeat in their last nine games.

Clasico too soon for Dembele: Valverde

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde insisted throwing the club’s record signing Ousmane Dembele back into action for next weekend’s Clasico at Real Madrid would be “premature”.

Dembele hasn’t played since tearing his hamstring at Getafe on September 16, just three games into his Barca career following a 105-million-euro ($124 million) move that could rise to as much as 145 million from Borussia Dortmund.

Chelsea sink Saints, Ozil cracker downs Newcastle

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London (AFP) – Chelsea kept their faint Premier League title hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Southampton, while Mesut Ozil’s stunning strike fired Arsenal to a 1-0 victory against Newcastle United on Saturday.

With runaway leaders Manchester City in action against Tottenham Hotspur later on Saturday, the focus turned to the clubs desperately trying to hang onto their coat-tails.

Lille face hefty bill for Bielsa

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Lille (France) (AFP) – The acrimonious divorce between mercurial Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa and French club Lille has been finalised, but his departure is likely to cost the club millions.

Bielsa joined Lille in the summer, prompting a 60-million-euro ($71 million) outlay on new players, but he was suspended in November after just three wins in 13 matches.

Inter Milan lose unbeaten record with shock Udinese defeat

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Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan lost their Serie A unbeaten status after a shock 3-1 home defeat to Udinese on Saturday that puts their position at the top of the league under threat.

Inter stay temporarily top on 40 points after their first defeat of the season, which came thanks to a Rodrigo De Paul penalty and Antonin Barak tap-in adding to Kevin Lasagna’s opener after Mauro Icardi had equalised for the hosts.

Four police hurt in clashes with Saint-Etienne ultras

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Four French police officers were hurt during clashes outside Saint-Etienne’s stadium after Monaco crushed the home team, police and local government said on Saturday.

The Ligue 1 game was played on Friday with the two stands behind the goals in the Stade Geoffroy Guichard closed as punishment for incidents involving Saint-Etienne’s ultras during another heavy home defeat in the derby against Lyon on November 5.

Benteke ends 14-game goal drought

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Christian Benteke ended a 14-match goal drought with a 19th minute header for strugglers Crystal Palace in their Premier League victory at Leicester on Saturday.

It was Palace’s first away goal of the season and they went on to win 3-0 - Benteke creating the second for Wilfried Zaha - to move out of the bottom three.

Brazilian far-right party deny Ronaldinho will be candidate

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – A far-right Brazilian party on Friday denied reports that World Cup-winning footballer Ronaldinho is to be one of its candidates in elections for the Senate.

“There is no agreement between the party and Ronaldinho for him to launch a bid for a Senate seat,” the party, Patriota, said.

Mourinho faces Ibrahimovic dilemma for West Brom clash

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho must decide whether now is the time to recall Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his starting line-up as Manchester United prepare to visit West Brom in the Premier League on Sunday.

The former Paris Saint-Germain striker has played 73 minutes in five substitute appearances since returning from cruciate knee ligament damage against Newcastle in November.

Where to find Arsenal vs. Newcastle on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Arsenal vs. Newcastle in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

Saturday’s match between Arsenal and Newcastle United will be featured on US television. Hosted at Emirates Stadium, the match is an important for both sides given one team has a race to be in contention for the Champions League and the other is trying to avoid relegation.

Where to find Chelsea vs. Southampton on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Chelsea vs. Southampton in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

With Chelsea’s straightforward win against Huddersfield midweek, the Blues now have an opportunity to continue getting back to winning ways with their home match against Southampton at Stamford Bridge.

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

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Manchester City vs. Spurs in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

Two of the top teams in the Premier League clash on Saturday in a huge match live from the City of Manchester Stadium. This one should be a cracker.

Here’s how you can watch the match on US television and streaming:

Match: Manchester City vs.

Monaco hit four to stay in PSG chase

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Paris (AFP) – Reigning French champions Monaco eased past struggling Saint-Etienne 4-0 on Friday to stay on PSG’s tail with the highly coveted Fabinho and Thomas Lemar among the scorers.

Djibril Sidibe curled in the opener after Keita Balde shot was blocked and Thomas Lemar - the target of a bid by Arsenal in the summer - scored on 32 minutes after weaving through the St Etienne defence.

Neves stunner edges Wolves past gutsy Wednesday

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London (AFP) – A wonderful strike by Portuguese star Ruben Neves was sufficient to see Wolverhampton Wanderers beat an unlucky Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 on Friday and extend their lead at the top of the Championship.

The 20-year-old - the most expensive player in the second tier with Wolves paying nigh on £16 million ($21.

Mourinho ready to cut fringe United players

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho will allow any unhappy fringe player to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window, which will spark speculation over the futures of the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Mourinho adopted the same policy in the last winter transfer window when he agreed to requests from Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay to leave the club to pursue regular first-team football elsewhere.

Guardiola backs flying Manchester City to keep improving

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Friday warned the rest of the Premier League that his runaway leaders still have room to get even better.

City set a new English top-flight record on Wednesday with a 16th successive win as they beat Swansea City 4-0 at the Liberty Stadium.

I let the Crystal Palace team down, says Benteke

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London (AFP) – Christian Benteke admitted he let his Crystal Palace team-mates down by missing a penalty he should not by rights have taken in the 2-2 draw with fellow Premier League strugglers Bournemouth last Saturday.

The 27-year-old Belgian international - who is yet to score in 12 appearances this season - should have let Luka Milivojevic take the penalty late in the game as he had already scored from the spot earlier in the game.

FIFA threatens to boot Spain out of World Cup

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Madrid (AFP) – The governing body of world football (FIFA) confirmed on Friday that it has written to the Spanish federation (RFEF) warning they could be suspended form the 2018 World Cup because of political interference.

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain had received “no such letter from FIFA.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on US TV this weekend

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If a side boasts an 11-point lead at the top of any domestic division, suddenly games involving those outfits challenging for the title feel a little less significant.

Yet on the flipside, if the runaway leaders have strung together 15 wins playing irrepressible attacking football, then they’re always worth a watch, as is the case in the Premier League.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 18

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Weekend Premier League coverage begins this Saturday, December 16, at 6:30 a.m. ET with Premier League Live on NBCSN, followed by Leicester City v. Crystal Palace at 7:30 a.m. ET. Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN hosts coverage of Chelsea v. Southampton, with Arsenal v. Newcastle United at 10 a.

AC Milan faces UEFA financial fair-play penalties

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Lausanne (AFP) – AC Milan face penalties from UEFA after European football’s governing body said on Friday it had failed to strike a deal with the Italian club over its spending.

Seven-time European champions Milan have run up losses of 255 million euros ($300 million) in the last three seasons, way above the 30 million euros permitted by the rules that are designed to stop clubs from over-spending.

Walker needs brains not just brawn, says Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Kyle Walker has been told by Pep Guardiola he is physically one of the best full-backs in the world, but needs to improve his football brain to maintain his form into his thirties.

The 27-year-old Manchester City full-back has enjoyed an excellent season since arriving from Tottenham Hotspur in July for a fee that could rise to £52million ($69million) with performance-related bonus clauses.

Klopp ridicules idea the ‘dark days are back’

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London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp took issue on Friday with the notion that because Liverpool have drawn their last two games the “dark days are back” in terms of inconsistency.

The 50-year-old German - whose side have drawn successive games against Everton and West Brom which dampened spirits followed a stunning 7-0 Champions League humbling of Spartak Moscow - said his players had not lost their creative spark.

Man Utd defeat left its mark, admits Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger admitted on Friday that his Arsenal team’s 3-1 defeat by Manchester United a fortnight ago has left his side psychologically scarred in their matches since.

Draws against struggling Southampton and West Ham United have seen Arsenal slip to seventh in the table, a massive 19 points behind leaders Manchester City but only a point outside the Champions League spots.

Guardiola backs flying Man City to keep improving

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on Friday warned the rest of the Premier League that his runaway leaders still have room to get even better.

City set a new English top-flight record on Wednesday with a 16th successive win as they beat Swansea City 4-0 at the Liberty Stadium.

Griezmann will leave Atletico: Simeone

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Paris (AFP) – Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone admitted on Friday that French forward Antoine Griezmann would likely leave the club in the near future.

The 26-year-old was heavily linked with a move in the close season, but with Atletico under a transfer ban, signed a new contract to stay until 2022.

Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom retires

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Stockholm (AFP) – Kim Kallstrom, who won 131 caps for Sweden, announced on Friday that he was hanging up his boots at the age of 35.

The left-sided midfielder had returned to one of his first clubs, Djurgardens, in Stockholm, on a two-year deal before the recently completed Swedish season.

Neymar ready to face Rennes says Emery

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Paris (AFP) – Neymar, who made a three-day trip to Brazil earlier in the week, should be ready to play for Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1 this weekend, manager Unai Emery said on Friday.

Neymar flew home to Brazil for three days because of a “family problem” and returned to France on Wednesday.

Manchester United’s Bailly set for ankle surgery

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will be forced to undergo surgery that will keep him out for up to three months.

Bailly, so dominant in United’s strong start to the campaign, has not played since the start of November after picking up an ankle injury while on international duty with the Ivory Coast.

Brazilian football chief Del Nero gets 90-day FIFA ban

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Paris (AFP) – FIFA handed Brazilian football confederation (CBF) president Marco Polo Del Nero a 90-day provisional ban from all football activities on Friday.

The 76-year-old, a former member of the FIFA Council, is the latest prominent South American official to be banned by the sport’s governing body as part of its investigation into a vast corruption scandal.

Pulisic makes history as US men’s footballer of the year

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Christian Pulisic won US Soccer’s Male Player of the Year award for 2017 in a landslide, becoming at 19 the youngest footballer to earn the honor.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder dominated the voting process, getting the nod from 94 percent of those polled.

“It really is a big honor and I just want to thank everyone who voted for me to win US Male Player of the Year,” Pulisic said in a statement on the US Soccer Federation website.

Beckham’s Miami MLS venture gets go-ahead for additional owners

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Miami (AFP) – English football icon David Beckham has a new trio of partners in his bid to bring a Major League Soccer club to Miami.

The league said Thursday it had approved the addition to Beckham’s ownership group of Jorge and Jose Mas, leaders of telecommunications giant MasTec, and Japanese entrepreneur and SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son.

Champions League hurting Chelsea’s chances – Hazard

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard admits Chelsea are experiencing a more gruelling December than during last season’s Premier League title-winning campaign because of the club’s involvement in the Champions League.

Antonio Conte’s side welcome Southampton to Stamford Bridge this weekend after recovering from the shock defeat at West Ham United with a convincing 3-1 midweek win at Huddersfield Town.

Wenger desperate for win in race for Champions League places

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger knows Arsenal cannot afford another slip-up when they face Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium aiming to end a damaging run of three Premier League games without a win.

Wenger’s team played a scoreless draw at West Ham United on Wednesday and is in seventh place going into Saturday’s meeting with Rafael Benitez’s team.

Record-breaker Guardiola relishes Tottenham test

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London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola’s hunger to make history with Manchester City remains undiminished after his side became the first in the history of the English top flight to win 15 successive games.

City reached the milestone with a ruthless 4-0 victory at Swansea City on Wednesday, which preserved their massive 11-point lead at the Premier League summit.

Schalke’ Tedesco heads crop of young Bundesliga coaches

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Berlin (AFP) – Domenico Tedesco has steered sleeping giants Schalke to second place in the Bundesliga with the 32-year-old part of a crop of young coaches enjoying success in Germany’s top flight.

The Royal Blues of Gelsenkirchen took a gamble at the start of the season by plucking Tedesco from second-division Erzgebirge Aue to revitalise their squad.

Donnarumma row reopens old wounds for AC Milan

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Milan (AFP) – The contract soap opera that engulfed AC Milan and their promising young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the summer has come back to haunt the Serie A giants just as they try to get their faltering season back on track.

Milan, seventh and 11 points off the Champions League places, travel to Verona on Sunday looking to build on two wins in a row in league and cup after a torrid first half to their campaign.

Juventus women ‘liberating passions’ in Italy

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – After 120 years, The Old Lady of Turin has finally opened its doors to an elite women’s team, which is shaking up the world of women’s football in Italy.

Since September, Rita Guarino’s Juventus women have swept aside their rivals with eight wins from eight league games so far, including the last two champions Brescia and Fiorentina.

In Manchester City’s shadow, Premier League top-four scrap begins

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London (AFP) – With Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking Manchester City team galloping away towards the Premier League title, attention is starting to shift to the jostling for Champions League positions.

Manchester United, 11 points below City in second place, and third-place Chelsea are well placed, but beneath them the picture is more fluid.

British MPs give sports whistleblowers a voice

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London (AFP) – Sports bodies are “massively lacking” when it comes to addressing the concerns of whistleblowers, says a lawmaker who helped expose failings at the Football Association and within British cycling.

Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sports parliamentary committee, told AFP that people often find it necessary to go outside their sport to get their voices heard.

Anderson scores first Lazio goal since return in cup win

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Milan (AFP) – Felipe Anderson scored his first goal of the season on Thursday as Lazio cruised into the quarter finals of the Italian Cup after beating Serie B side Cittadella 3-1.

Lazio will face Fiorentina in the quarter finals, which are being played on December 27 and January 3.

Arsenal could be switching to yet another formation

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Eight months ago, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made a big change to his team’s formation in an effort to finish the remainder of the 2016/17 season on a strong note. The move from a back four to a three-man central defense paid off. With the new defense, the Gunners won nine of the final 10 games of the campaign, including an upset victory FA Cup final against Chelsea.

PSG coach Emery’s house robbed on match night

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery’s Paris apartment was burgled on Wednesday evening as his side won a cup tie away at Strasbourg.

The robbery at the top floor flat of a chic Parisian street in the 16th arrondissement was discovered around 11pm by Emery’s wife.

Video referees for French football next season

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Paris (AFP) – French football’s top division Ligue 1 is set for video assistant referees next season after several club chiefs revealed that they had agreed in principle to adopt the technology.

“Video technology will be in Ligue 1 next season,” said the president of Giungamp Bertrand Desplat after Thursday’s general meeting of the French football league (LFP).

FA asks Mourinho to explain pre-derby comments

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London (AFP) – England’s Football Association has asked Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho to explain comments he made in the build-up to last weekend’s 2-1 derby defeat by Manchester City.

“He has until 6pm (1800 GMT) on Monday 18 December to respond,” an FA spokesperson said on Twitter.

Wales FA to take no action over chief’s ‘not English’ remark

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London (AFP) – The Welsh FA confirmed on Thursday they will take no further action after chief executive Jonathan Ford’s comment that the next manager will “definitely” not be English.

Ford said last week that the Football Association of Wales (FAW) would prefer Chris Coleman’s successor to be Welsh and “definitely not English”.

Can MLS TV ratings improve without promotion/relegation?

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 54, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• A discussion about whether MLS TV ratings can improve without promotion/relegation,

• News on how FOX Sports is planning to promote the 2018 FIFA World Cup,

• Our opinions about the MLS Cup final TV coverage,

• Big news from NBC Sports regarding more Premier League coverage,

• Plus feedback and questions from you in the Listener Mailbag section.

Lewandowski shoots into Bundesliga’s top 10

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Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski has fired his way into 10th place in the list of the Bundesliga’s all-time top scorers as the Polish striker just keeps on hitting the net.

Lewandowski rescued Bayern with a second-half winner in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over bottom side Cologne as the league leaders struggled to break down a determined defence at the sold-out Allianz Arena.

Man City hailed as Premier League greats after 15th straight win

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London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are being widely hailed as one of the best sides in Premier League history after they set a stunning new record of 15 straight wins.

In its 25-year history, the Premier League has boasted a series of outstanding sides including Manchester United’s treble-winners, Arsenal’s “Invincibles” and Jose Mourinho’s powerful Chelsea side in his first stint at the club.

Guardiola tells City history men to keep at it

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has demanded no let-up from his history-making Manchester City side after they recorded a record-breaking 15th straight Premier League win.

Guardiola paid tribute to his table-topping team after they brushed aside Swansea City 4-0 on Wednesday to set a new English top-flight record for successive victories.

Mourinho reveals Bailly could be out for season

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho admitted he is not certain if Manchester United defender Eric Bailly will play again this season after revealing he may need surgery on a persistent ankle injury.

Bailly, 23, has not played for United since a defeat at Chelsea at the start of last month, having sustained the injury while on international duty with the Ivory Coast.

Klopp defends rotation after Liverpool held again

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he won’t ditch his rotation policy after the German’s decision to make six changes back-fired in a 0-0 draw against lowly West Bromwich Albion.

Klopp claimed Liverpool were unlucky as they were denied victory when Dominic Solanke had a goal ruled out for handball with eight minutes left at Anfield on Wednesday.

Wenger won’t abandon Arsenal title hope

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has refused to give up on the Premier League title despite a goalless draw at West Ham United that left Arsenal 19 points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Arsenal are seventh, below Burnley, having added just two points in three games after a 3-1 defeat at home to Manchester United and a 1-1 draw at Southampton before Wednesday’s stalemate.

‘Mourinho of Pyongyang’ Andersen plots North Korea revival

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Tokyo (AFP) – City slicker Jose Mourinho famously lives in a plush Manchester hotel, but he has nothing on North Korea coach Jorn Andersen - he has a suite in Pyongyang.

“It’s a very quiet city, it’s very clean, there’s no crime,” the former Norway international told AFP in an interview in Tokyo.

Monaco look to revive French Ligue 1 title challenge

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Paris (AFP) – Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco head to Saint-Etienne on Friday hoping to put a recent slump in form firmly behind them with a third straight Ligue 1 victory.

The reigning French champions sit nine points adrift of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who visit Rennes on Saturday, after following back-to-back defeats with successive wins over lowly Angers and Troyes.

Christmas congestion no excuse: Celtic manager Rodgers

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his side’s hectic festive fixture list is not an excuse for any dip in performances from the Scottish champions.

A clinical first-half performance from the Glasgow giants saw them record a 3-1 win over Hamilton on Wednesday to extend their unbeaten domestic run to 69 matches.

Pochettino spies good omens for Manchester City trip

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino reflected with satisfaction on Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion despite the slightly fortunate nature of his side’s goals.

Serge Aurier’s freakish first goal for Tottenham after 40 minutes broke the deadlock at Wembley on Wednesday, his cross going straight into the net to break Brighton’s dogged resistance.

Lukaku helps Man United over derby hangover

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku’s 14th goal of the season got Manchester United back to winning ways in a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on Wednesday following their derby defeat by Manchester City.

United were far from convincing, but after Sunday’s loss to City and the ugly changing-room altercation that followed, they at least prevented Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders from increasing their 11-point lead.

Aurier, Son strike as Spurs down Brighton

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London (AFP) – Goals from Serge Aurier and Son Heung-Min fired Tottenham to a 2-0 victory against Brighton that moved them into fourth place in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Although nowhere near their best, Tottenham led thanks to Ivory Coast right-back Aurier, who scored a freak first goal for the club after 40 minutes with a cross that deceived Brighton goalkeeper Mathew Ryan.

PSG cruise into League Cup quarters

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain brushed off the absence of Neymar to ease into the French League Cup quarter-finals with a 4-2 victory at Strasbourg on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders gained a measure of revenge for their shock 2-1 league defeat by Strasbourg less than a fortnight ago as they started their bid for a fifth straight League Cup title.

Silva shines as City power to record 15th successive win

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London (AFP) – Manchester City powered to a Premier League record 15th successive victory as David Silva’s double inspired a 4-0 demolition of rock-bottom Swansea on Wednesday.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero also found the net as the runaway leaders broke the previous Premier League record winning streak set by Arsenal between February and August 2002.

Arsenal held by improving West Ham

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London (AFP) – Arsenal lost ground on their rivals for a Premier League top-four place after a 0-0 draw at London Stadium on Wednesday that left West Ham United stuck in the relegation places.

The Gunners bossed possession but created few clear chances and are now seventh in the table, still below Burnley and now behind Tottenham Hotspur, having dropped seven points from their last three games.

Man City set win record, Lukaku lifts Man Utd

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London (AFP) – David Silva scored twice as runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City won 4-0 at Swansea City on Wednesday to set a new English top-flight record of 15 consecutive victories.

Pep Guardiola’s side, 2-1 winners at second-place Manchester United on Sunday, won comfortably at the Liberty Stadium to eclipse the mark of 14 successive wins set by Arsenal in 2002.

West Brom frustrate Liverpool but set unwanted record

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool suffered a frustrating night as a sturdy West Brom side held them to a goalless draw at Anfield and climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone on goal difference.

Substitute Dominic Solanke thought he had won the match with eight minutes left when he turned in Joe Gomez’s cross from close range, but referee Paul Tierney ruled out the goal for handball.

Lewandowski strikes as Bayern open nine-point gap

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Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski bagged his 15th goal in 16 league games as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich went nine points clear despite struggling to beat bottom side Cologne 1-0 on Wednesday.

The Poland hot-shot has failed to score in only four of Bayern’s league matches this season and has netted 21 goals in all competitions.

17 fans hurt during Belgrade derby

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Belgrade (AFP) – A mass brawl between supporters of Belgrade rivals Red Star and Partizan resulted in 17 people suffering injuries, the Beta agency said on Wednesday.

AFP photographers at Partizan’s Stadion Partizana said the fight broke out in a section of the stadium housing home fans and lasted around 10 minutes.

Nagbe joins Atlanta in record-breaking deal

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Los Angeles (AFP) – US international Darlington Nagbe is heading from the Portland Timbers to Atlanta United in a deal worth up to a record $1.65 million (1.4 million euros).

The exact figure of the deal depends on contract incentives, but it could exceed the most allocation money ever exchanged between two Major League Soccer Clubs in a single trade - the $1.

Returning Bale rescues Real from Al Jazira upset

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Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Gareth Bale came off the bench to book Real Madrid’s place in the Club World Cup final as the European champions recovered from the shock of going behind to beat Emirati champions Al Jazira 2-1 on Wednesday.

Despite dominating throughout, Madrid trailed at half-time to Romarinho’s opener in a match also marred by use of the video assistant referee (VAR) that ruled out a goal for both sides.

FA gives United, City more time to explain bust-up

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London (AFP) – The Football Association on Wednesday gave Manchester United and Manchester City extra time to explain the ugly post-match scenes at Old Trafford following victory for Pep Guardiola’s team.

Runaway Premier League leaders City opened an 11-point gap over second-placed United with their 2-1 win on Sunday.

Neymar returns to Paris after Brazil trip

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has returned to the French capital and will train on Thursday after being allowed to visit his native Brazil on family matters, the Ligue 1 leaders said Wednesday.

The world’s most expensive player will miss Wednesday’s French League Cup tie at Strasbourg, after also sitting out last weekend’s 3-1 win over Lille through suspension.

Most fans comfortable with gay players

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London (AFP) – More than three-quarters of football fans across the globe would have no problem if a player in their national team came out as gay or bisexual, a poll showed on Wednesday.

Conducted by fan-opinion platform Forza Football and campaign group Stonewall, the survey asked more than 50,000 supporters in 38 countries about their attitudes towards inclusion and homophobia.

Fabinho expecting to leave Monaco next year

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Monaco (AFP) – Brazilian international Fabinho said on Wednesday that he will probably leave French champions Monaco at the end of the season, but that he has no intention of departing in January.

The 24-year-old was linked with a transfer in the close season after a stellar campaign in which he helped the principality club win the Ligue 1 title and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Iniesta savours Barcelona’s Stamford Bridge return

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta admitted his late goal to knock Chelsea out in the Champions League semi-finals in 2009 is one of his best memories ahead of his club’s return to Stamford Bridge.

The sides were paired together again in Monday’s Champions League last 16 draw with Barca travelling to London for the first leg on February 20.

Aubameyang puts Lamborghini up for sale

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund fans can now drive off in one of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s distinctive luxury sports cars after the Gabon international put it on the market for 279,980 euros ($329,096).

German daily Bild report that the striker has put his silver-painted Lamborghini Aventador, advertised as a ‘celebrity vehicle’, up for sale with a car dealer in Dormagen, near Cologne.

Welsh FA chief faces probe over ‘not English’ remark

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London (AFP) – Welsh FA chief executive Jonathan Ford is to face a disciplinary commission over his comment that the next Wales manager will “definitely” not be English, potentially delaying the appointment of a new national team boss.

Ford said last week that the Football Association of Wales (FAW) would prefer Chris Coleman’s successor to be Welsh and “definitely not English”.

Bayern maintain iron-grip as Leipzig falter

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig risk falling off the pace in the pack chasing run-away Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich with their coach Ralph Hasenhuettl admitting his side is flagging.

“We’re running close to empty and you can see the team is torturing itself,” said Hasenhuettl after his team scraped a 1-1 draw on Tuesday to just hold onto second place in the table.

Where to find Flamengo vs. Independiente Copa Sudamericana final on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Flamengo vs. Independiente in the Copa Sudamericana final, you’ve come to the right place.

The final of the Copa Sudamericana kicks off tonight featuring Flamengo from Brazil against Independiente of Argentina. In the first leg, Independiente had a slender 2-1 lead, so it’s all still to play for in this second leg.

Nagatomo rescues Inter in Italian Cup

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Milan (AFP) – Serie A leaders Inter Milan squeezed into the quarter-finals of the Italian Cup on Tuesday, winning 5-4 on penalties after being held 0-0 after extra time by third division Pordenone.

Japanese defender Yuto Nagatomo nailed the winner from the spot after 120 minutes of frustration at the San Siro as home goalkeeper Daniele Padelli saved two penalties to put seven-time winners Inter through to a showdown with either AC Milan or Verona, who play on Wednesday.

‘Honest’ Conte says title still a pipe dream

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Huddersfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte says he would rather be honest than pretend he believes his team are realistic contenders for the Premier League title.

Conte claimed after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham United that his side’s defence of their title was effectively over.

Five areas to tackle for new Shanghai SIPG boss Pereira

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Shanghai (AFP) – Former Porto and Fenerbahce boss Vitor Pereira vowed to go one better than fellow Portuguese Andre Villas-Boas and win a trophy in his first season at big-spending Shanghai SIPG.

But the 49-year-old, who succeeded Villas-Boas at Porto in 2011 and was named his replacement at SIPG on Tuesday, will face a number of challenges on his first foray into China and its peculiarities.

Falcao’s 50-yard stunner seals Monaco win

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Paris (AFP) – An outrageous strike by Radamel Falcao was the highlight as a much-changed Monaco side eased to a 2-0 win over Caen to reach the quarter-finals of France’s League Cup on Tuesday.

Monaco were leading through Guido Carrillo’s first-half effort when Falcao - who had come off the bench - took a touch just inside the Caen half on the edge of the centre circle.

Mourinho defiant, Guardiola sorry for derby ruck

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has dismissed claims his Manchester United players were in the wrong during the chaotic post-match confrontation that overshadowed Sunday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford.

England’s Football Association is investigating claims around 15 people were involved in a physical altercation after Mourinho complained about the volume of Manchester City’s dressing-room celebrations.

Pochettino mulls tunnel re-think after derby brawl

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has joked the see-through tunnel at his club’s new stadium might need to be covered up following the fracas that marred Sunday’s Manchester derby.

England’s Football Association is investigating reports of a mass brawl that erupted in a corridor leading away from the Old Trafford tunnel following Manchester City’s 2-1 win at Manchester United.

Chelsea give Conte cheer, Burnley go fourth

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Huddersfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chelsea responded perfectly to head coach Antonio Conte’s claim their Premier League title hopes are over with a convincing 3-1 win at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.

Tiemoue Bakayoko opened the scoring midway through the first half with a deft clipped finish, offering an answer to supporters who have criticised him for a series of poor performances following his July move from Monaco.

Stoeger off to winning start with Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) – New coach Peter Stoeger led Borussia Dortmund to their first victory in 10 games on Tuesday, as his side picked up a hard-fought 2-0 win away to Mainz.

It was victory at the first attempt for Stoeger, who replaced Peter Bosz as head coach of the struggling side on Sunday.

Zidane guards against Madrid complacency in Club World Cup

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Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has warned his side not to take Al Jazira lightly as the clubs prepare to meet in the semi-final of the Club World Cup on Wednesday.

Al Jazira are appearing at the tournament as champions of the host nation the United Arab Emirates, and reached the last four by edging out Auckland City of New Zealand 1-0 and then defeating the Asian champions Urawa Red Diamonds by the same score-line at the weekend.

Leipzig stumble again with Wolfsburg draw

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig dropped more crucial points in the Bundesliga title race as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Wolfsburg on Tuesday.

Wolfsburg took the lead against the run of play on 15 minutes, Paul Verhaegh coolly slotting home a penalty after Ibrahima Konate’s foul on Mario Gomez.

Struggling Lille hit with transfer ban

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Paris (AFP) – Ligue 1 strugglers Lille, who recently suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa, have been slapped with a transfer ban, the French league (LFP) announced on Tuesday.

A brief statement said that Lille were “banned from recruiting” following a hearing before French football’s financial watchdog, the DNCG, in Paris into their financial situation.

Neymar to miss PSG Cup tie after returning to Brazil

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain will again be without Neymar for their League Cup tie at Strasbourg on Wednesday, the club confirmed.

Coach Unai Emery confirmed on Monday that the world’s most expensive player had been allowed to return to his native Brazil to deal with a family matter.

4.9 million watch Tigres-Monterrey Liga MX final on Univision

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It wasn’t as great as the record-breaking 6 million combined total that watched the 2016 Liga MX Apertura Final, but the 2017 final still produced impressive numbers for Univision Deportes.

For the two legs of the final combined, the 2017 Liga MX Apertura final between Monterrey and Tigres totaled 4.

UEFA and UN to stage ‘Match for Solidarity’ in April

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Paris (AFP) – UEFA and the United Nations will team up to stage a charity match in Geneva on April 21 next year, European football’s governing body said on Tuesday.

Two star-studded teams, managed by Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti and France coach Didier Deschamps and captained by Luis Figo and Ronaldinho, will take to the field at the Stade de Geneve in a match whose proceeds UEFA says will help “finance international humanitarian and development projects”.

Man Utd-Man City viewership beats MLS Cup final by 18%

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Sunday’s Manchester derby that aired on NBCSN and Telemundo averaged 1.4 million viewers, which was 18% greater than the viewership for the 2017 MLS Cup final that aired on ESPN, UniMas and Univision Deportes.

Manchester City won the match 2-1 in an impressive performance at Old Trafford to continue their unbeaten streak to 14 matches in the Premier League.

World Cup winner Goetze writes children’s book

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s World Cup winner Mario Goetze has started a sideline career as an author after releasing his illustrated children’s book “Mario’s Big Dream” on Tuesday to raise money for charity.

“I have so much to thank football for and it is my wish to give something back to others and share something with them,” the Borussia Dortmund midfielder told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

Klopp admits passions ruled after derby draw

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London (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp admitted on Tuesday that he got caught up in the heat of the moment after Liverpool conceded a late penalty to draw at home with Everton.

The Liverpool boss is known for his animated reactions but his behaviour came under extra scrutiny after a tetchy television interview minutes after Everton secured a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday with a spot-kick he felt should not have been given.

Hoffenheim aiming to fend off Dortmund over Nagelsmann

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Berlin (AFP) – Hoffenheim’s backer has assured fans the club will keep star coach Julian Nagelsmann, 30, for at least another 18 months amidst reports Borussia Dortmund want him for 2018/19.

“The club have done their homework, Julian has a binding contract with us until June 30, 2019,” Hoffenheim’s billionaire backer Dietmar Hopp told supporters at the club’s annual general meeting on Monday.

2017 MLS Cup final viewership drops 43% across ESPN and Univision Deportes

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The 2017 MLS Cup final between Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders averaged 1.1 million viewers across ESPN, UniMas and Univision Deportes combined, which is a 43% drop compared to last year’s final.

On the English-language ESPN broadcast, the match averaged 803,000 viewers. Meanwhile, the game averaged 304,000 viewers on UniMas and Univision Deportes.

Bayern winger Ribery taken to court by ex-agent

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery briefly appeared in court in Germany on Tuesday over claims he owes 3.5 million euros ($4.1m) to his ex-agent before the case was adjourned until January.

The 34-year-old is contesting claims over unpaid commission from his 2007 transfer from Marseille to Bayern, which cost 25 million euros.

Mourinho accuses Manchester City of lack of ‘education’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has accused Manchester City players of a lack of “education” over their celebrations at Old Trafford following Sunday’s derby win.

The Manchester United manager was reluctant to speak about the confrontation outside the dressing rooms that followed City’s 2-1 victory at Old Trafford.

Guardiola defends Manchester City celebrations after derby win

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has defended Manchester City’s celebrations after the Premier League leaders beat fierce rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford, saying they were “definitely not” over the top.

United boss Jose Mourinho was unhappy with City’s reaction after their 2-1 win on Sunday and made his feelings known outside the visitors’ dressing room on the way to his post-match interviews.

Tottenham defender Alderweireld out until February

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London (AFP) – Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino confirmed on Tuesday that Belgium international defender Toby Alderweireld’s hamstring problem will keep him out of action until February.

Alderweireld, 28, sustained the injury against Real Madrid on November 1 and the Belgian is expected to miss another eight weeks of competitive action.

ESPN could be go-to network for World Cup analysis instead of rights holder FOX Sports

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For immediate analysis on TV after the FIFA World Cup Draw wrapped up on December 1, soccer fans in the United States had several choices to choose from. For most of them, the easiest way was to continue watching the coverage on FOX Sports 1. However, the viewers “voted” by watching the analysis on a completely different network - one that doesn’t even have the rights to the FIFA 2018 World Cup.

Giroud gives Wenger selection poser for West Ham clash

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London (AFP) – Olivier Giroud came to Arsenal’s rescue against Southampton but it remains to be seen whether the striker has done enough to earn his first Premier League start of the season at West Ham United.

The 31-year-old French international came off the bench for the 13th time in the league to head a late equaliser that ensured Arsene Wenger’s side left St Mary’s Stadium with a point.

Celtic are still sharp, says Dembele

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic striker Moussa Dembele says his side’s focus remains on winning with Hamilton due to visit on Wednesday despite dropping points in two of their past three Scottish Premiership outings.

The champions extended their record-breaking domestic unbeaten run to 68 games with a 2-2 draw with Hibernian on Sunday but came close to seeing it end as Hibs came close to a late winner after battling back from two goals down.

Spurs sharpshooter Kane prays a corner has been turned

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane hopes the 5-1 victory over Stoke on Saturday is proof his side are back to their best after going four matches without a league win.

Kane, whose brace on Saturday took his tally to 50 goals for the calendar year, will get a quick response as Spurs host Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

Mata rallies United in wake of Mourinho defeatism

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United players will have to motivate themselves at home to Bournemouth on Wednesday after manager Jose Mourinho suggested their Premier League title challenge was probably over.

The 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester City on Sunday leaves United second in the table but a daunting 11 points behind their city rivals.

Rejuvenated Real Madrid eye fifth prize of 2017

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid can round off the most successful year in the club’s already glorious history by claiming a fifth trophy in 2017 at the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi this week.

They won La Liga, the Champions League, UEFA and Spanish Super Cup in a thrilling fashion after hitting top form in a four-month spell between April and August, but since then the European champions have faded, understandably fatigued by a heavy schedule.

Gomez urges Liverpool team-mates to make West Brom suffer

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool defender Joe Gomez has urged his team-mates to bounce back from the draw in the Merseyside derby when they host West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday.

The Reds were held 1-1 by Everton at Anfield despite having the bulk of possession in the match after Wayne Rooney’s penalty cancelled out Mohamed Salah’s opening goal.

Manchester City eye record against Swansea

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City look unstoppable in their relentless surge towards the Premier League title, and only have lowly Swansea standing in the way of Pep Guardiola’s men setting a new record of consecutive wins on Wednesday.

City are 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League and the managers of Manchester United and Chelsea both effectively conceded defeat in the title race at the weekend.

New Shanghai SIPG boss Pereira vows to go one better

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Shanghai (AFP) – Vitor Pereira wants to go one better than predecessor Andre Villas-Boas by winning a title after being named coach of big-spending Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG on Tuesday.

The 49-year-old, who was once assistant to Villas-Boas at Porto, has been out of football since leaving 1860 Munich following relegation to the German third tier in May.

North Korea tumble to defeat by South in Tokyo dust-up

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Tokyo (AFP) – North Korea fell to a 1-0 defeat by South Korea on the football pitch Tuesday in a full-blooded international given added spice by simmering political tensions between the two countries.

A freak own goal by defender Ri Yong-Chol 25 minutes from time in Tokyo proved the difference in a tempestuous East Asian championship clash bristling with testosterone and pent-up emotion.

Russia on alert for returning IS jihadists ahead of World Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Russia’s security service on Tuesday said it was on alert for the possible return of jihadists from Syria ahead of the World Cup and the presidential election in 2018.

The FSB’s warning came after the Russian military last week declared Syria “liberated” from the Islamic State group, and after a visit on Monday by President Vladimir Putin to Russia’s airbase in the war-ravaged country.

North Korea’s footballers floored by South in Tokyo dust-up

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Tokyo (AFP) – North Korea fell to a 1-0 defeat by South Korea on the football pitch Tuesday in a full-blooded international given added spice by simmering political tensions between the two countries.

A freak own goal by defender Ri Yong-Chol 25 minutes from time in Tokyo proved the difference in a tempestuous East Asian championship clash bristling with testosterone and pent-up emotion.

Lazio crash as Immobile sees red against Torino

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Rome (AFP) – Ciro Immobile was sent off as 10-man Lazio crashed to a 3-1 Serie A defeat against Torino in Rome on Monday.

Italian international Immobile saw red just before the break for a headbutt aimed at Torino defender Nicolas Burdisso.

The defeat ended Lazio’s hopes of joining city rivals Roma in fourth.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 17

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Mid-week match coverage begins Tuesday, December 12, at 2 p.m. ET with Premier League Live, followed by Huddersfield Town v. Chelsea at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Coverage on Wednesday, December 13, begins at 2 p.m. ET with Premier League Live on NBCSN followed by Swansea versus Manchester City at 2:45 p.

PSG hope Neymar will return in 3-4 days

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain are hoping Neymar will return from Brazil in three or four days after he travelled home for personal reasons, coach Unai Emery said on Monday.

“We gave him permission to make this journey. I hope he will come back in three or four days’ time,” Emery said.

Salah named BBC African player of the year

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London (AFP) – Egypt star Mohamed Salah won the prestigious BBC African Player of the Year award on Monday, rewarded for a 2017 packed with sparkling displays for Liverpool, Roma and his national team.

The 25-year-old topped a poll that saw a record number of votes cast after firing Egypt to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and almost single-handedly taking Egypt to their first World Cup finals since 1990, scoring five and setting up their other two goals in qualifying.

Spalletti embarrassed by Mourinho comparisons

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Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti admitted Monday that he was embarrassed by constant comparisons with the Serie A club’s former treble-winning coach Jose Mourinho.

Spalletti’s side are the only unbeaten team in Serie A this season and sit top of the league a point ahead of Napoli with six-time defending champions Juventus two points behind in third.

Stoeger looks to reboot faltering Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) – Peter Stoeger starts his colossal task of arresting Borussia Dortmund’s freefall down the Bundesliga table on Tuesday while former employers Cologne face a daunting trip to leaders Bayern Munich.

Stoeger has had little time to assess Dortmund’s problems ahead of his first match in charge, away to strugglers Mainz.

Chelsea battling for Champions League future: Conte

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte says Chelsea are battling to secure their Champions League future and warned of a “bad surprise” after weekend results left them 14 points behind Premier League leaders Manchester City.

After a fourth loss in 16 games against West Ham on Saturday, the Chelsea boss thinks a title challenge is now all but over and spoke of a revised target ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League clash at Huddersfield.

Chinese-owned Inter offer 300m bonds

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Milan (AFP) – Italian Serie A giants Inter Milan on Monday officially announced the issuing of secured bonds worth 300 million euros ($353 million), maturing in 2022.

The former three-time European champions released a statement via its media administrator, Inter Media and Communication (IMC), confirming the bond offer.

Real Madrid tie a ‘wonderful opportunity’ for PSG – Emery

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery is confident his side have what it takes to get the better of title holders Real Madrid after the teams were drawn together in the Champions League on Monday.

The sides will meet in the last 16, surely not the tie PSG would have wanted after winning their group ahead of Bayern Munich.

Leverkusen rubbish Leno to Bayern reports

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayer Leverkusen’s director of sport Rudi Voeller denounced as “gibberish” media reports on Monday that their Germany international goalkeeper Bernd Leno is set to join Bayern Munich in January.

“That is gibberish,” said Voeller of any move for Leno, who has more than two years left on his Bayer contract.

Champions League – will the English 5 survive?

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London (AFP) – Chelsea’s mouthwatering tie with five-time European champions Barcelona is the standout fixture for English clubs in the Champions League last 16 as the Premier League sides scent blood.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all progressed from the group stage, making England the first country to have so many sides through to the knockout phase.

Arsenal’s Europa League hopes to be tested by Swedish minnows

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Arsenal’s hopes of Europa League glory will be tested in the last 32 by Swedish minnows Ostersunds, ironically coached by the only English manager left in European competition and founded in the same month Arsene Wenger took over the Gunners.

In the draw made Monday, the Gunners were pitched against the central Swedish club coached by Graham Potter, who played for Southampton in the Premier League as part of a long career that saw him win one under-21 England cap and make 307 Football League appearances.

Real Madrid eye January swoop for Bilbao ‘keeper Arrizabalaga – reports

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid’s first foray into the January transfer market will be to snap up Athletic Bilbao’s promising goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Madrid-based sports daily Marca reported on Monday.

Arrizabalaga’s contract expires in June meaning he could leave Bilbao for free at the end of the season.

Ronaldo v Neymar as Real draw PSG in Champions League

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid will continue their bid for a first European Cup treble in 40 years against Neymar’s Paris Saint-Germain after the big-spending duo were on Monday drawn together in a mouth-watering Champions League last 16 clash.

No club has won the European title three years running since Bayern Munich in the mid-1970s, underlining how big an achievement it would be if Madrid - 12 times winners overall - won the trophy again in the final in Kiev in May.

Mourinho clashes with Manchester City players: reports

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho became involved in a physical confrontation with Manchester City’s players after complaining about their post-derby celebrations, according to British media reports late on Sunday.

The Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph said Mourinho went to City’s changing room following United’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford because he felt their noisy celebrations were disrespectful.

Guardiola says derby win a triumph of honesty

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola said Manchester City’s triumph in the Manchester derby was a victory for the honesty of his players and their football following criticism from Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Set-piece goals from David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi earned City a 2-1 win at a snow-flecked Old Trafford on Sunday that propelled Guardiola’s side a yawning 11 points clear of United at the Premier League summit.

Goal hero Giroud not for sale says Wenger

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger insists Olivier Giroud will not leave Arsenal in January despite the France striker’s lack of starting opportunities.

Giroud has yet to start a Premier League game this season, but he showed his value coming off the bench when he headed a late equaliser to secure a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday.

Don’t blame my changes, insists fuming Klopp

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended his rotation policy after the Merseyside derby with Everton ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw.

Mohamed Salah had put the Reds ahead on Sunday with a stunning curling effort but the Toffees were awarded a spot-kick late in the second half when Dejan Lovren nudged over Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Chelsea face reality check as title hopes fade

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Huddersfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chelsea’s powers of recovery will be tested as Antonio Conte’s side attempt to bounce back from a painful weekend defeat when they visit Huddersfield on Tuesday.

Conte claimed Chelsea were no longer in the Premier League title race in the wake of the 1-0 defeat at struggling West Ham on Saturday.

English quintet await Champions League last-16 draw

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – A record five English clubs will feature in the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League on Monday, amid talk that the Premier League is ready to dominate Europe once again.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea all progressed from the group stage, making England the first country to have so many sides through to the knockout phase.

Ex-Portugal boss Bento named Chongqing coach

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Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese Super League (CSL) side Chongqing Lifan on Monday unveiled former Portugal coach Paulo Bento as their new manager, nine months after he was sacked by Greek side Olympiakos.

A tough-tackling defensive midfielder during his playing career, Bento replaces South Korea’s Chang Woe-Ryong at Chongqing, which finished 10th in the 16-team CSL in the season that just ended.

Arteta left bloodied after Manchester derby bust-up – report

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London (AFP) – Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta was left with blood streaming down his face after a bust-up involving up to 20 players and members of staff following the Manchester derby, a report said on Monday.

Media reports on Sunday said Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho became involved in a physical confrontation with City’s players after complaining about their celebrations following a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.

FA demands answers after Old Trafford bust-up leaves Arteta ‘bloodied’

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London (AFP) – The Football Association demanded answers from Manchester United and Manchester City on Monday following reports of ugly scenes that reportedly left City assistant coach Mikel Arteta bloodied after a fracas.

The Guardian newspaper said Arteta was left with blood streaming down his face after a bust-up involving up to 20 players and members of staff from the two clubs after Sunday’s Manchester derby, which City won 2-1.

Bonaventura double gives Gattuso first win

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Milan (AFP) – Giacomo Bonaventura struck twice as AC Milan bounced back from last week’s embarrassing draw at Benevento by beating Bologna 2-1 on Sunday to give Gennaro Gattuso his first win as coach.

Midfielder Bonaventura opened the scoring early on before Simone Verdi’s leveller, but grabbed the winner 14 minutes from time.

Suarez, Messi maintain Barcelona’s La Liga lead

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona restored their lead at the top of La Liga to five points as Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi struck in the final 20 minutes to edge out 10-man Villarreal 2-0 on Sunday.

Daniel Raba’s red card on the hour mark for a wild lunge on Sergio Busquets handed Barca the initiative.

Turkey remembers victims of double bombings one year on

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Istanbul (AFP) – Turkish football giants Besiktas paid tribute Sunday to 46 people killed in twin bombings near the team’s stadium, as others held commemorations to mark the first anniversary of the attacks.

“The pain is as raw as the first day,” the club said in a statement.

Lyon and Marseille win, Balotelli Nice’s hero

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Paris (AFP) – Lyon and Marseille kept the pressure firmly on Monaco in the race for Champions League qualification in France as Mario Balotelli fired Nice to another victory on Sunday.

Teenage midfielder Houssem Aouar scored twice, including a last-gasp winner, as Lyon came from behind to triumph 2-1 at Amiens and go second on goal difference above both Monaco and Marseille.

Otamendi wins derby to fire Manchester City 11 points clear

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United’s defensive deficiencies gifted Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City a 2-1 derby victory on Sunday that allowed them to establish a massive 11-point lead in the Premier League.

Romelu Lukaku was United’s fall guy, his failure to clear two set-pieces enabling David Silva and Nicolas Otamendi to score either side of Marcus Rashford’s opportunistic equaliser in first-half injury time.

Freiburg win basement battle in seven-goal thriller

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Berlin (AFP) – Freiburg came from three goals down to win Sunday’s thrilling Bundesliga basement battle 4-3 at Cologne as visiting striker Nils Petersen wrapped up his hat-trick with a 95th-minute penalty.

A heavy overnight snowfall created testing conditions at bottom side Cologne, but the hosts charged into a 3-0 lead with just half an hour gone.

Otamendi gives Manchester City derby delight, Rooney denies Reds

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London (AFP) – Manchester City took a giant step towards the title as the leaders beat Manchester United 2-1 to clinch a record-equalling 14th successive Premier League victory, while Wayne Rooney’s late leveller gave Everton a 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Sunday.

City drew level with Arsenal’s previous record winning streak, set between February and August 2002, thanks to Nicolas Otamendi’s second-half winner.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for November 21-December 3, 2017

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Liga MX’s Liguilla has nearly come to an end, averaging 1.051 million viewers per match through the semi-final round. Single-match viewership peaked in the quarter-final round as 2.174 million viewers tuned in as Club América closed out the aggregate 0-0 series to advance and to face Tigres in the semi-finals via the high seed tiebreaker.

Saul strike keeps Atletico on Barca’s tails

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid bounced back from the disappointment of being dumped out of the Champions League in midweek to keep their La Liga title challenge afloat by grinding out a 1-0 win at Real Betis on Sunday.

In the absence of top scorer Antoine Griezmann through injury, Saul Niguez once again provided a big goal for Atletico that takes Diego Simeone’s men to within three points of league leaders Barcelona.

Lyon leave it late, Balotelli with Nice winner

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Paris (AFP) – Teenage midfielder Houssem Aouar scored with the last kick of the game as Lyon kept their charge towards the top of Ligue 1 going with a 2-1 win at Amiens on Sunday.

Aouar had earlier cancelled out Serge Gakpe’s opener for Amiens, setting up a grandstand finish that saw Gael Kakuta miss a penalty for the hosts before Lyon won it.

Injured Neuer vows to be fit for World Cup

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Berlin (AFP) – Captain Manuel Neuer insisted he will be fit for Germany’s World Cup title defence next year despite lingering doubts over his fractured foot.

The goalkeeper broke his left foot for the third time this year in September and does not expect to return to training with Bayern Munich until January.

Serie A top four all draw goalless blanks

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Milan (AFP) – It’s as you were at the top of Serie A after the top four all played out goalless draws this weekend, leaving unbeaten Inter Milan still leading the pack.

Napoli stay second on 39 points after their stalemate with Fiorentina on Sunday, one point behind Inter, who drew 0-0 at arch-rivals Juventus on Saturday night.

Saul strike keeps Atletico Madrid on Barcelona’s tails

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid bounced back from the disappointment of being dumped out of the Champions League in midweek to keep their La Liga title challenge afloat by grinding out a 1-0 win at Real Betis on Sunday.

In the absence of top scorer Antoine Griezmann through injury, Saul Niguez once again provided a big goal for Atletico that takes Diego Simeone’s men to within three points of league leaders Barcelona.

Rooney gives Everton a share of derby spoils

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Liverpool (AFP) – Wayne Rooney scored his first goal in a Merseyside derby as his late penalty earned Everton a 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

Liverpool had taken the lead in the 229th meeting of the old rivals when Mohamed Salah spectacularly curled a shot home just before half-time, but the Reds were unable to find a killer second goal at Anfield.

Aouar the hero as Lyon leave it late

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Paris (AFP) – Teenage midfielder Houssem Aouar scored with the last kick of the game as Lyon kept their charge towards the top of Ligue 1 going with a 2-1 win at Amiens on Sunday.

Aouar had earlier cancelled out Serge Gakpe’s opener for Amiens, setting up a grandstand finish that saw Gael Kakuta miss a penalty for the hosts before Lyon won it.

Freiburg win Bundesliga basement battle in seven-goal thriller

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Berlin (AFP) – Freiburg came from three goals down to win Sunday’s thrilling Bundesliga basement battle 4-3 at Cologne as visiting striker Nils Petersen wrapped up his hat-trick with a 95th-minute penalty.

A heavy overnight snowfall created testing conditions at bottom side Cologne, but the hosts charged into a 3-0 lead with just half an hour gone.

Napoli miss out on top spot with Fiorentina draw

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Milan (AFP) – Napoli missed out on the chance to reclaim top spot in Serie A after drawing 0-0 with Fiorentina on Sunday.

Napoli stayed second on 39 points, one behind unbeaten leaders Inter Milan, who drew 0-0 at arch-rivals Juventus on Saturday night, after a below-par performance that did not live up to their reputation as Serie A’s most attractive side.

Roma’s title hopes dented by Chievo stalemate

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Milan (AFP) – Roma failed to take their chance to close the gap on Serie A leaders Inter Milan wasting a host of chances and ending with just a goalless draw in Chievo on Sunday.

Eusebio Di Francesco’s side are on 35 points and five behind unbeaten Inter, who drew 0-0 at arch-rivals Juventus on Saturday, following a frustrating display in Verona that saw the away side force Chievo’s veteran goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino into some excellent saves.

5 things we learned from MLS Cup 2017

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Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the five things we learned from MLS Cup 2017.

1. Toronto Claims Its Place in History

It hadn’t been the easiest of journeys through the playoffs for Toronto FC, but on Saturday evening at BMO Field, they left no doubt as to their place as one of the best MLS team ever assembled.

Giroud strikes late to rescue Arsenal

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Olivier Giroud’s last-gasp header salvaged a point for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday as Arsene Wenger’s side avoided a second successive Premier League defeat.

Wenger’s team appeared destined to follow last weekend’s home loss to Manchester United with another setback when they trailed to Charlie Austin’s third minute goal.

Altidore, Vazquez seal MLS Cup for Toronto

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Montreal (AFP) – Toronto FC claimed their maiden MLS Cup crown on Saturday, capping a magical Major League Soccer season with a 2-0 triumph over Seattle Sounders in Toronto.

Jozy Altidore fired Toronto into the lead in the 67th minute and Victor Vazquez sent the crowd at BMO field into a frenzy when he sealed the win in the fourth minute of second-half injury time.

Conte concedes title chances are gone

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte said Chelsea’s Premier League title defence is effectively over following his team’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on Saturday.

The loss at the London Stadium was the champions fourth in their opening 16 league games and left them 11 points behind Manchester City 24 hours before the leaders face second-placed Manchester United.

Son shines in Pochettino’s eyes

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London (AFP) – Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Son Heung-Min after he inspired them into returning to winning ways with a 5-1 hammering of Stoke in Saturday’s Premier League clash.

The 25-year-old South Korean gave arguably his finest display in a Spurs shirt as they emphatically ended a four-match winless streak, scoring one and having a say in Ryan Shawcross’ opening own goal, the first of Harry Kane’s brace and the Christian Eriksen strike that completed the rout.

Where to find Liverpool vs. Everton on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Liverpool vs. Everton in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

Liverpool’s unbeaten home run against Everton stands at 17 league games. Can new Everton boss Sam Allardyce do what is seemingly impossible? Defeating the Reds at Anfield?

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

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Manchester United vs. Manchester City in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

The biggest match of the season so far will determine whether City will take an eleven point lead at the top of the table or if United will narrow the gap to five points.

Football: Altidore, Vazquez seal MLS Cup for Toronto

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Montreal (AFP) – Toronto FC claimed their maiden MLS Cup crown on Saturday, capping a magical Major League Soccer season with a 2-0 triumph over Seattle Sounders in Toronto.

Jozy Altidore fired Toronto into the lead in the 67th minute and Vazquez sent the crowd at BMO field into a frenzy when he sealed the win in the fourth minute of second-half injury time.

Man Utd, Man City face clash of ice and fire

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London (AFP) – Manchester United and Manchester City will have to contend with snow and sub-zero temperatures - as well as each other - in Sunday’s Premier League title showdown at Old Trafford.

Snow is forecast to fall across northwest England in the hours leading up to kick-off and temperatures are set to drop to -1 degree Celsius (30 Fahrenheit).

Fergie couldn’t put me off Manchester City: Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola says Manchester City were always his first-choice club when he decided to come to the Premier League, despite Alex Ferguson’s attempt to lure him to Manchester United.

Former United manager Ferguson wrote in his 2015 book ‘Leading’ that he asked Guardiola to contact him before accepting his next job during a dinner in New York in 2012.

Ronaldo stars as rejuvenated Real thrash Sevilla

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid sent a warning to Barcelona just two weeks ahead of El Clasico by storming back into form as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla on Saturday.

Sevilla had started the afternoon on the same number of points as Madrid in joint fourth, but the sides looked worlds apart as Real scored all five goals before half-time to close to within five points of Barca at the top of the table.

Bosz set to be sacked as Dortmund crash again

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Berlin (AFP) – Peter Bosz is on the verge of being sacked, according to reports, after Borussia Dortmund’s latest failure left them winless in their last eight Bundesliga games.

Dortmund’s miserable run continued on Saturday as they crashed to a 2-1 home defeat against third-bottom Werder Bremen.

Inter Milan escape Juventus to stay top

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Milan (AFP) – Unbeaten Inter Milan maintained their lead at the top of Serie A after a hard-fought goalless draw at arch-rivals Juventus on Saturday.

Luciano Spalletti’s Inter leave Turin two points ahead of second-placed Napoli, who are level on 38 points with Juventus and have the chance to reclaim top spot at home to Fiorentina on Sunday.

Vidal fires Bayern Munich eight points clear

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Berlin (AFP) – Arturo Vidal’s fourth goal in as many league games shot Bayern Munich to a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt and an eight-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Bayern’s win means that they cannot be caught before the winter break, which starts on December 17, and makes them ‘Herbstmeister’ (Autumn champions) for the seventh season in a row.

Real to play Al Jazira in Club World Cup semis

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Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Al Jazira set up a Club World Cup semi-final against Real Madrid after an Ali Mabkhout goal saw the Emiratis past Japan’s Urawa Reds 1-0 on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real will take on the local side on Wednesday.

The other semi-final, on Tuesday, will pitch Pachuca from Mexico against Copa Libertadores winners Gremio of Brazil.

PSG sink managerless Lille to halt slide

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Paris (AFP) – Runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain shook off the absence of the suspended Neymar on Saturday to end their recent wobble with a 3-1 win over managerless Lille in Ligue 1.

Argentine winger Angel Di Maria nodded in a cross from Kylian Mbappe on 28 minutes at a chilly Parc des Princes, with Pastore powering in a second just after half-time.

Wolves held by 10-man Sunderland

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London (AFP) – Wolverhampton Wanderers could see their lead in The Championship reduced to two points if Cardiff beat Reading on Monday after they were held 0-0 by 10-man Sunderland on Saturday.

Wolves dominated the game with 24 shots against second from bottom Sunderland who showed a resilient side to their character lacking in the first part of the season especially after Lee Cattermole was sent off in the 62nd minute.

Son sinks Stoke to get Spurs back on track

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London (AFP) – South Korean forward Son Heung-Min sparkled as Tottenham Hotspur returned to winning ways in style by crushing sorry Stoke City 5-1 at Wembley on Saturday.

After a four-game winless streak in the Premier League, Tottenham took their frustrations out on a poor Stoke side to provisionally climb to fifth place in the table.

Ronaldo stars as rejuvenated Real Madrid thrash Sevilla

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid sent a warning to Barcelona just two weeks ahead of El Clasico by storming back into form as Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in a 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla on Saturday.

Sevilla had started the afternoon on the same number of points as Madrid in joint fourth, but the sides looked worlds apart as Real scored all five goals before half-time to close to within five points of Barca at the top of the table.

Vidal fires Bayern eight points clear

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Berlin (AFP) – Arturo Vidal’s fourth goal in as many league games shot Bayern Munich to a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt and an eight-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Bayern’s win means that they cannot be caught before the winter break, which starts December 17, and makes them ‘Herbstmeister’ (Autumn champions) for the seventh season in a row.

Arnautovic strikes Hammer blow to Chelsea title bid

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London (AFP) – David Moyes claimed his first win as West Ham United manager after Marko Arnautovic’s goal gave the Premier League strugglers a shock 1-0 win over champions Chelsea on Saturday.

Arnautovic, the Hammers’ £24 million ($32.1 million, 27.3 million euros) record signing, struck in the sixth minute to earn Moyes his first win in his fifth game since succeeding Slaven Bilic.

Ronaldo presents fifth Ballon d’Or to Bernabeu

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or to an adoring Santiago Bernabeu before Real Madrid’s clash with Sevilla on Saturday.

Ronaldo pulled level on Thursday with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi as the only two men to have won the annual award for the best player in the world five times.

Guardiola fears Mourinho rope-a-dope in derby dust-up

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London (AFP) – The eyes of the football world will turn to a wintry corner of northwest England on Sunday when Manchester United tackle Manchester City in a mid-season Premier League title showdown.

City, the leaders, are gunning for a 14th successive league win - which would equal the all-time record in the English top flight - and can put a huge 11 points between themselves and second-place United if they prevail.

Liverpool not just the ‘Fab Four’, says Klopp

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claims there is more to his side than his devastating “Fab Four” attack ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby with Everton.

The Beatles-inspired nickname has been given to the front quartet of Philippe Coutinho, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane after some eye-catching performances this season.

Where to find West Ham vs. Chelsea on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch West Ham vs. Chelsea in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

After a tiring midweek Champions League fixture, Chelsea returns to Premier League action in the early game against West Ham United that are in danger of sinking to the bottom of the table depending on other results.

Wenger looks for Gunners to rebound from United reverse

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London (AFP) – Arsenal demonstrated their powers of recovery midweek but Arsene Wenger knows a greater test lies ahead when they return to Premier League action at Southampton on Sunday.

Wenger and his players were left crushed following last weekend’s home defeat by Manchester United when they dominated periods of the game, producing 33 shots on goal, only to see Jose Mourinho’s team run out 3-1 winners.

Where to find Juventus vs. Inter Milan on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Juventus vs. Inter Milan in Serie A, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s first against third in the Serie A title race, which will be a game that Napoli will be watching with interest. A win for Juve will see them jump over Napoli into second place.

Where to find River Plate vs. Atlético Tucumán Copa Argentina final on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch River Plate vs. Atlético Tucumán in the Copa Argentina final, you’ve come to the right place.

Saturday’s Copa Argentina final will be available to viewers in the United States. Featuring River Plate against Atlético Tucumán, in previous years it’s been difficult to find the game on US airwaves, but not this year.

England goalkeeper Hart dropped by West Ham

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London (AFP) – England goalkeeper Joe Hart was dropped by manager David Moyes for West Ham United’s Premier League home game with Chelsea on Saturday.

Moyes instead opted for Adrian after the Spaniard shone last weekend in West Ham’s 2-1 defeat at Hart’s parent club Manchester City, for which Hart was ineligible.

Man City players knocked over by wind – Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has launched a pre-derby attack on Manchester City’s players by claiming it only takes a “little bit of wind” for them to go to ground.

Pep Guardiola’s City travel to Old Trafford on Sunday looking to extend their eight-point advantage over second-place United at the top of the Premier League table.

Flint fires Bristol City to last-gasp victory

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London (AFP) – A goal in stoppage time by Aden Flint gave Bristol City a 2-1 win over 10-man Sheffield United in an enthralling match in the English Championship on Friday.

Flint’s sixth goal of the season - the most for a defender in England’s second tier this term - sent City three points clear of United in third place and seven behind leaders Wolves, who host struggling Sunderland on Saturday.

Mourinho beats the retreat in criticism of Manchester United fans

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has drawn a line under his recent feud with Manchester United fans and vowed to only make the supporters happy in future.

Mourinho sparked a row with the fans after he criticised them for their voicing dissatisfaction with striker Romelu Lukaku during October’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford which saw him fail to score for the fifth successive match.

MLS confident over Miami team: Garber

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said Friday the league remained determined to launch a team in Miami but acknowledged the task had been the toughest challenge of his 18-year reign.

Garber told reporters on the eve of Saturday’s MLS Cup final in Toronto that he was confident the long-awaited arrival of an MLS team in the Florida metropolis would happen eventually.

Germany to open new national team academy

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Berlin (AFP) – The German Football Association (DFB) announced on Friday that it has been given legal permission to build a new national training centre and academy in Frankfurt, which it hopes to open by 2021.

After years of planning, the DFB will finally open the 150-million-euro ($176.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 16

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Top-flight history is at stake this Sunday, December 10, as second-place Manchester United host first-place Manchester City in the Manchester Derby at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and Telemundo. Raheem Sterling and Manchester City look to win their 14th straight Premier League match when they face Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United in a matchup of the top-two teams in the Premier League.

Wembley denting Spurs chances, says Pochettino

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino says playing at Wembley is hurting Tottenham’s Premier League title chances as their opponents are doubly motivated to perform at the national stadium.

Stuttering Spurs - who have slipped out of the title reckoning - play Stoke at their temporary home on Saturday before hosting Brighton next Wednesday and they cannot afford to lose further ground in the race for the top four.

Mourinho and Guardiola ‘twinned’ in hunt for glory

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola says he and Jose Mourinho’s obsession with winning trophies makes them “twins” despite the perceived difference in their styles as the two great rivals prepare for the Manchester derby.

Guardiola is renowned for his philosophy of possession-based, passing football, which has he slowly instilled at Manchester City since his arrival as coach in 2016.

West Ham’s Moyes set to drop England goalkeeper Hart

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London (AFP) – West Ham boss David Moyes looks set to drop Joe Hart from his starting line-up for Saturday’s match against Chelsea, putting the England goalkeeper’s World Cup ambitions in serious jeopardy.

Adrian is in contention to feature after impressing against Manchester City last weekend, stepping in when Hart was ineligible to face his parent club.

Mourinho says too early to predict Premier League winners

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho says it is too early to say the Premier League title will end up at one of the Manchester clubs as he played down the hype ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

Pep Guardiola takes his table-topping Manchester City side to Old Trafford with a hefty eight-point lead over their rivals and United cannot afford to lose further ground.

Allardyce hails ‘genius’ Liverpool strikeforce

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London (AFP) – New Everton boss Sam Allardyce has hailed the “genius” of Liverpool’s attackers as he prepares to take on Jurgen Klopp’s free-scoring team in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.

Allardyce takes his side to Anfield hoping to repeat the feat he managed with Crystal Palace in April, when the Eagles came from a goal down to claim victory.

Conte refuses to discuss Hazard, Luiz transfer talk

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte batted away questions over the future of Real-Madrid linked pair Eden Hazard and David Luiz on Friday, saying his focus was on beating struggling West Ham to close the gap at the top of the Premier League.

Chelsea visit the London Stadium on Saturday, trailing Manchester City by 11 points and with a three-point deficit to second-placed Manchester United, who host the leaders on Sunday.

Bale and Varane to travel to Club World Cup

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale and France international Raphael Varane will travel with the Real Madrid squad to the Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday.

Zidane made the announcement after injury-plagued Bale returned to training on Friday morning, but despite being available for the Club World Cup, which started on Wednesday with host club Al Jazira’s 1-0 win over New Zealanders Aukland City, both the Wales winger and Varane will miss Saturday’s visit of Sevilla in La Liga.

Mexico’s attendances for games in US were 48% greater than USMNT’s in 2017

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Photo credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

For the year 2017, Mexico’s matches that were played on US soil had an average attendance that was 48% greater than the average attendance for matches played by the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) in their own country, according to our research.

Where will the Manchester derby be won?

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London (AFP) – Old Trafford will be at the centre of the football universe on Sunday when Manchester United face Manchester City in a crucial top-of-the-table Premier League clash.

Second-placed United trail leaders City by eight points and must win to have a realistic chance of overhauling their fierce local rivals.

Surprise witness at FIFA trial — singer Kevin Jonas

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New York (AFP) – Boy band star Kevin Jonas testified Thursday as a surprise witness for the prosecution at the FIFA corruption trial.

The member of the Jonas Brothers, dressed all in black, took the stand for less than three minutes to confirm that a concert allegedly attended by one of the suspects had actually taken place.

United eye City derby scalp, Everton face Liverpool’s ‘Fab Four’

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London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City travel to Old Trafford for the toughest test of their Premier League title credentials so far, while new Everton boss Sam Allardyce bids to defy Liverpool’s “Fab Four” as the northwest derbies take centre stage on Sunday.

City are eight points clear at the top of the table and victory at their fierce rivals could realistically end Jose Mourinho’s hopes of landing the club’s first league title since Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden reign.

Willian warns Chelsea can’t afford slip-ups

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London (AFP) – Willian says Chelsea have no margin for error if the reigning champions are to maintain their Premier League title challenge at West Ham United this weekend.

Antonio Conte’s side fell short in their bid to wrap up the opening stage of their Champions League campaign as group winners following a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.

Pochettino looks for up turn in Premier League form

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino will hope Tottenham Hotspur’s success in topping their Champions League group will fire up a faltering Premier League campaign.

The 3-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday ensured Pochettino’s side ended the group stage three points clear of Real Madrid.

Juventus trip title test for unbeaten Inter Milan

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Milan (AFP) – After expertly dealing with flamboyant Napoli last Friday and securing a spot in the Champions League last 16, Juventus can make it a perfect week by denting Serie A leaders Inter Milan’s title credentials on Saturday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s defending champions choked Napoli as they ran out 1-0 winners at the San Paolo Stadium thanks to a goal from former Napoli man Gonzalo Higuain, and on Saturday they face hated rivals Inter, unbeaten and flying under new coach Luciano Spalletti.

Five things to look out for in Spanish La Liga

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid will have to overcome a mounting list of injuries and suspensions if they are to keep themselves in the La Liga title race when Sevilla visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

Win and the European champions can close to within five points of leaders Barcelona, who themselves face a tough trip to Villarreal on Sunday night.

Five things to look out for in German Bundesliga

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich will be out to extend their formidable lead at the top of the Bundesliga when they face Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, with veteran Franck Ribery leading the way.

After two months out injured, the 34-year-old Frenchman captained Bayern to a 3-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, making him the man of the moment in Munich.

Pressure on PSG after back-to-back defeats

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain will be without Neymar as they look to end their worst week of the season with a win at home to managerless strugglers Lille in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

The world’s most expensive player is suspended for the game at the Parc des Princes, where anything other than a victory is unthinkable for the capital club.

Sky not the limit for live English Premier League TV rights?

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London (AFP) – The bulging wallets of Amazon and Facebook could drive up the cost of TV rights for the next English Premier League deal as sport braces for a global broadcasting revolution.

Sky and BT shelled out more than £5 billion ($6.7 billion) for the privilege of keeping the jewel in the crown of British sports broadcasting for three seasons from 2016-17 but the new kids on the block are flexing their muscles.

Dempsey raring to go as Sounders eye MLS repeat

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Clint Dempsey is looking forward to playing a leading role as the Seattle Sounders prepare to revisit history in a repeat Major League Soccer Cup final showdown against Toronto FC on Saturday.

Twelve months after stunning Toronto in a penalty shoot-out to lift the MLS crown for the first time, Seattle will again line up against their Canadian rivals as the curtain comes down on the North American season.

Japan’s Urawa Reds pin hopes on Brazilian goal machine Silva

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Tokyo (AFP) – As Japan’s Urawa Reds aim to tackle the likes of Real Madrid in the World Club Cup, they will look again to Brazilian sharp-shooter Rafael Silva, whose goals got them to such lofty heights.

The 25-year-old Sao Paulo native smashed a superb last-minute winner last month against Al Hilal to sweep the J-League side to a second Asian Champions League title.

North Korea prize money frozen at Asian football tournament

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Tokyo (AFP) – North Korea will not be entitled to any prize money at this month’s East Asian football championships due to economic sanctions imposed on Pyongyang, tournament organisers have said.

Visiting North Korea kick off the men’s competition against hosts Japan in Tokyo on Saturday in a politically charged clash played against the backdrop of a string of missile launches and the communist state’s sixth nuclear test in September.

Hope Solo joins race for US Soccer Federation president

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Former US women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo joined the crowded race for the US Soccer Federation presidency on Thursday.

Solo, 36, announced her candidacy with a post on Facebook titled “Why I’m running for President of U.S. Soccer”.

Solo, a World Cup winner and two-time Olympic champion, last played for the USA at the 2016 Olympics.

Arsenal-Manchester United game surpasses 1 million viewers on NBC and Universo

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One of the most entertaining soccer games of the 2017/18 season was rewarded with more than 1 million viewers on US television, according to the latest Nielsen numbers.

The match between Arsenal and Manchester United aired on Saturday, December 2 from 12:30-2:30pm ET on NBC and Universo.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on US TV this weekend

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The definition of a derby alters across world soccer. But when any game is slapped with that tag, typically it’s going to be a 90 minutes worth watching.

This weekend, three of the five selections on offer fall into that category. In Italy on Saturday there’s the Derby D’Italia between two of the main contenders for the Serie A title, while on Sunday, rivalries from Merseyside and Manchester will be ignited.

Arsenal thrash BATE Borisov, Marseille qualify

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Paris (AFP) – Jack Wilshere starred as Arsenal romped to a 6-0 thrashing of BATE Borisov at a half-empty Emirates Stadium in their final Europa League group game on Thursday, while Marseille booked their place in the last 32.

Arsene Wenger made 11 changes to the team that were beaten by Manchester United at the weekend, but the Frenchman’s second string put in promising displays to give him a 700th win as Arsenal manager.

Atalanta beat Lyon to top Europa League group

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Paris (AFP) – Andrea Petagna’s early strike saw Atalanta complete an unbeaten Europa League group-stage campaign with a 1-0 win over Lyon on Thursday, while AC Milan were beaten by Rijeka in Croatia.

Atalanta, coming off the back of a stunning 5-1 win at Everton a fortnight ago, edged out in-form Lyon to finish top of Group E as former Milan striker Petagna scored his fourth goal of the season in the 10th minute.

Fifth Ballon d’Or fitting record for great Ronaldo

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Paris (AFP) – For much of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career he has been in direct competition with Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi, both for club and individual honours, so it’s fitting that the Real Madrid superstar has the same number of Ballon d’Or awards.

Ronaldo beat Messi and seven of his Champions League-winning Real teammates on Thursday to claim the award for the second straight year and fifth time overall, drawing level with Messi and reaffirming his place as equal partner in the greatest player rivalry the game has ever seen.

Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d’Or award

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Paris (AFP) – Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo won a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or award for the year’s best player on Thursday.

The Real Madrid forward’s second successive win drew him level alongside Barcelona rival Lionel Messi on five Ballon d’Ors, after beating the Argentinian and Brazilian Neymar.

ESPN producer discusses MLS Cup final, USSF debate and World Cup sans ESPN

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 53, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• An exclusive interview with ESPN soccer producer Amy Rosenfeld to discuss the network’s coverage of the 2017 MLS Cup final, as well as their coverage of the UEFA Nations League and the possibility of a USSF Presidential debate,

• Exciting news for this weekend’s coverage of the Premier League,

• How one major network may be losing their regional channels that broadcast a lot of soccer,

• News about an exclusive interview with MLS Commissioner Don Garber,

• Plus feedback and questions from you in the Listener Mailbag section.

Tottenham’s Rose quashes fresh talk of Pochettino rift

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London (AFP) – Tottenham defender Danny Rose has played down fresh talk of a rift with manager Mauricio Pochettino, calling for an end to “silly” rumours after he was substituted against Apoel Nicosia.

The England player was taken off in the 70th minute at Wembley on Wednesday after a tussle with Roland Sallai left him needing stitches around the top of his left eye.

Galthie and Urios banned for a month over slap spat

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Paris (AFP) – French coaches Fabien Galthie and Christophe Urios were given a four-week touchline ban on Thursday over a physical altercation between the pair when their sides met two weeks ago.

Castres boss Urios slapped Toulon’s Galthie after the former’s assistant Frederic Charrier and the latter got embroiled in an angry argument.

UEFA to reject Milan’s voluntary settlement – reports

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Rome (AFP) – European football governing body UEFA is set to refuse AC Milan’s application for a voluntary agreement regarding Financial Fair Play rules, Italian press said on Thursday.

With a loss of some 255 million euros ($300m) over the last three seasons, fallen Italian giants Milan are some way from complying with UEFA’s limit of 30 million euros in losses over that same period.

Liverpool’s Coutinho refuses to rule out January move

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London (AFP) – Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has refused to commit his future to the Premier League club, saying he does not know whether he will be the subject of a transfer bid in January.

Barcelona made repeated efforts during the summer window to land the Brazil international but were rebuffed each time, leaving him frustrated.

Video ref to be used in FA Cup ties

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London (AFP) – Video assistant referees will be used for the first time in English competitive football in this season’s FA Cup, the Football Association said on Thursday.

Brighton’s third-round clash with Crystal Palace on January 8 has been selected for the trial of the technology, otherwise known as VAR, which is also to be used in selected fixtures throughout the rest of the competition.

Mutko to continue in World Cup role – UEFA official

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko’s lifetime Olympic ban will not affect his World Cup involvement, Russia’s UEFA executive committee member Alexei Sorokin told AFP on Thursday.

Mutko is head of the Russia 2018 organising committee but his involvement in the World Cup was thrown into doubt on Tuesday when he was banned from the Olympic Games for life by the IOC due to his implication in a state-sponsored doping scandal.

Brussels loses Euro 2020 matches to Wembley

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Wembley Stadium in London will host four Euro 2020 matches originally set to be staged in Brussels, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said on Thursday.

The European football governing body’s executive committee decided “unanimously” to strip Brussels of its four matches due to the inability of Belgian organisers to guarantee the new stadium to the north of the capital where they would have been held could be built in time.

Klinsmann’s son to make football debut with Hertha Berlin

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Berlin (AFP) – Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of Germany great Jurgen Klinsmann, will make his professional debut in goal for Hertha Berlin in their Europa League match against Ostersund, coach Pal Dardai said.

“Our goalkeeping coach Zsolt Petry convinced me we could play him,” Dardai said, quoted by German daily Bild on Thursday.

Aaron Ramsey is getting back to his best

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Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is quite the polarizing player. Many fans and pundits will acknowledge that the 26-year-old Wales international is certainly a talented player. The knock, however, is the fact that he has shown to be inconsistent at times during his career. At his best, Ramsey was the club’s most outstanding player during the 2013/14 campaign.

Klopp calls for Liverpool focus after Euro spree

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Liverpool (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp urged his Liverpool players not to succumb to the hype generated by their own scintillating performances after they crushed Spartak Moscow to reach the Champions League knockout rounds.

Liverpool’s ‘Fab Four’ shone in a 7-0 trouncing of Spartak on Wednesday, with Philippe Coutinho scoring a hat-trick, Sadio Mane claiming a double and both Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah finding the net.

Portgual producing the world’s best footballers on grass, sand, concrete

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Madrid (AFP) – Portugal’s favourite son Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to collect a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, but the Real Madrid star is not the only Portuguese footballer to be crowned the best in the world.

The lesser known Ricardinho and Madjer have dominated their respective disciplines of futsal, an indoor five-a-side version of football, and beach soccer thanks to the same mixture of talent and dedication that has made Ronaldo a worldwide phenomenon.

FIFA trial hears of dancing, private jet, massages

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New York (AFP) – A Brazilian businessman told a US Federal Court on Wednesday that he helped set up a huge bribe to South American football officials to secure the rights for a new tournament.

Fabio Tordin testified in New York at the trial of three South American football executives charged in connection with the largest graft scandal in world soccer history.

Liverpool through in Champions League, Ronaldo claims new record

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Paris (AFP) – Philippe Coutinho’s hat-trick inspired Liverpool to score seven in their win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday as they joined Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk and Porto in qualifying for the Champions League last 16.

That quartet completed the line-up on the final night of group-stage action that was also notable for another Cristiano Ronaldo goals record in the competition.

Brazilians fire Shakhtar into last 16

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Kharkiv (Ukraine) (AFP) – Inspired by Brazilians Bernard and Ismaily, Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 victory over a much-changed and subdued Manchester City on Wednesday.

First-half goals from Shakhtar’s Brazilian pair, both created by Brazilian-born Ukraine international Marlos, proved enough to ensure the Ukraine champions would go into the draw on Monday with a plum tie against the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain on the cards.

Late defeat confirms Champions League exit for Leipzig

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Leipzig (Germany) (AFP) – A late strike from Talisca saw RB Leipzig end their first Champions League campaign with a bitter 2-1 defeat at home to Besiktas on Wednesday night.

Porto’s comprehensive 5-2 victory over Monaco in the other Group G game meant that even a win would not have been enough for Leipzig to progress from the group stage.

Brazilians fire Shakhtar into Champions League last 16

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Kharkiv (Ukraine) (AFP) – Inspired by Brazilians Bernard and Ismaily, Shakhtar Donetsk qualified for the Champions League last 16 with a 2-1 victory over a much-changed and subdued Manchester City on Wednesday.

First half goals from Shakhtar’s Brazilian pair, both created by Brazilian-born Ukraine international Marlos, proved enough to ensure the Ukraine champions would go into the draw on Monday with a plum tie against the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain on the cards.

‘Fab Four’ fire seven-goal Liverpool into last 16

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Liverpool (AFP) – Philippe Coutinho’s first Liverpool hat-trick propelled Jurgen Klopp’s side to a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow on Wednesday that swept the Merseyside club into the Champions League last 16.

Sadio Mane scored twice and Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah both found the net as Liverpool’s ‘Fab Four’ emphatically returned the five-time champions to the knockout rounds after a nine-year absence.

Ronaldo breaks new ground as Madrid edge out Dormund

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to ever score in all six Champions League group games in one season as Real Madrid edged out a dispirited Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on Wednesday.

Lucas Vazquez grabbed the winner nine minutes from time for the European champions, who were already guaranteed to go through to the last 16 as runners-up in Group H to Tottenham Hotspur.

Five things we learned from the Champions League

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Paris (AFP) – Five-time winners Liverpool romped into the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday, while Shakhtar Donetsk, Porto and Sevilla also joined them in the knockout stage.

Here, AFP Sport looks at five things we learned from the final day of group-stage matches:

Liverpool’s ‘fab four’ ready for latter stages

Needing only to avoid defeat against Spartak Moscow at Anfield to reach the last 16 for the first time in nine years, Liverpool hammered the Russian champions 7-0 to win Group E and send out a statement of intent to future opponents.

Liverpool report Spartak over youth game ‘racism’

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool have reported Spartak Moscow to UEFA, the English club confirmed on Wednesday, after teenage striker Rhian Brewster was allegedly subjected to racist abuse by the Russian club’s players.

Brewster, who won the Under-17 World Cup with England in October, was visibly irate at the end of Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Spartak in the UEFA Youth League and had to be restrained by team-mates and coaching staff.

UAE’s Al Jazira win in Club World Cup opener

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Abu Dhabi (AFP) – Romarinho’s goal allowed Al Jazira of the United Arab Emirates to beat Auckland City 1-0 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Wednesday, keeping them on course to meet Real Madrid.

Al Jazira were making their debut at the tournament as champions of the host nation, and the Brazilian’s rasping drive from 25 yards in the first half was enough to take them through to the second round.

French Federation chief blocks path to Benzema return

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Paris (AFP) – The president of the French Football Federation (FFF) has effectively ruled out any prospect of a return to the national team for Karim Benzema ahead of next year’s World Cup.

“You would need to be a bit blind or deaf to not understand that it will be difficult to select him, that seems unquestionable,” the FFF’s Noel Le Graet told RMC radio on Wednesday.

Final Europa League knockout places up for grabs

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Paris (AFP) – There will be some jangling nerves as the Europa League group stage concludes on Thursday – but not many, with the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan and Lyon already through.

Of the 48 teams in the 12 groups, 16 have already ensured qualification and 15 are eliminated.

That leaves 17 clubs scrapping for the remaining eight spots in the round of 32 draw on December 11.

Nicola quits Serie A strugglers Crotone

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Milan (AFP) – Davide Nicola has resigned as coach of Serie A strugglers Crotone, the club confirmed on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old took over in June 2016 leading the promoted side from Calabria in their maiden Serie A campaign.

They dramatically survived last season by finishing 17th but this season are just one place higher with 12 points from 15 games.

FIFA ends Kuwait’s suspension for political meddling

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Kuwait City (AFP) – World football governing body FIFA announced on Wednesday it was lifting its suspension of Kuwait, after the Gulf state’s parliament adopted a law meant to end government interference in the sport.

“The suspension of the Kuwait football association is lifted,” FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino announced alongside a Kuwaiti official in a short video shared widely on Twitter.

Coppell against match in Delhi smog for ISL players

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New Delhi (AFP) – Steve Coppell said he did not want his Indian Super League side Jamshedpur FC to play in smog-tainted Delhi later Wednesday but insisted the players would not wear masks if the game goes ahead.

The former England winger said medical authorities must decide whether the evening game against Delhi Dynamos should take place but “common sense should prevail”.

Mourinho pledges only ‘the truth’ on injuries

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has aimed a subtle dig at Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger by declaring he would only tell “the truth” about the fitness of his players.

United, who beat CSKA Moscow 2-1 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2013-14, face Guardiola’s Manchester City on Sunday seeking to cut their eight-point lead in the Premier League.

Roma coach delight at proving doubters wrong

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Rome (AFP) – Eusebio Di Francesco hailed his Roma side for proving the doubters wrong after the Serie A runners-up qualified for the Champions League last 16 top of their group ahead of Chelsea on Tuesday.

There was double celebrations for Di Francesco’s side on the night after it was announced just before kick-off that the construction of their new stadium had been given the green light.

Real deal Ronaldo set for fifth Ballon d’Or

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Paris (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to match his great rival Lionel Messi on Thursday by claiming a fifth Ballon d’Or as recognition for leading Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double last season.

Barcelona’s 30-year-old Argentinian superstar won the coveted award from 2009 to 2012 and in 2015.

Chelsea don’t fear Euro superpowers – Conte

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte insists Chelsea have nothing to fear in the Champions League last 16 even though his side could face a crunch clash with Barcelona or Paris Saint Germain.

Conte’s team blew their chance to finish top of Group C as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Shanghai Shenhua face tough Asian Champions League

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Chinese FA Cup winners Shanghai Shenhua face a tough test in the 2018 Asian Champions League after being drawn Wednesday against top Japanese club Kashima Antlers and Australian A-League leaders Sydney FC.

The Chinese side unexpectedly beat expensively assembled rivals Shanghai SIPG in last month’s FA Cup final, without Argentine forward Carlos Tevez whose future in China is in doubt after a poor run of form.

Where to find Liverpool vs. Spartak Moscow Champions League on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Liverpool vs. Spartak Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, you’ve come to the right place.

Liverpool will qualify with a draw, and will clinch first place with a win, or a draw if Sevilla fail to win. If Liverpool lose they are out unless Sevilla are also defeated (as Liverpool would be below Spartak in a two-way head-to-head or would be third in a three-way head-to-head on nine points).

Cuadrado, Bernardeschi send Juventus through

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Piraeus (Greece) (AFP) – Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi scored in either half as Juventus sealed a berth in the Champions League knockout rounds on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Olympiakos in Piraeus.

Colombian international Cuadrado turned in Alex Sandro’s cross after 15 minutes with Italian Bernardeschi getting the second in the final minute as last year’s finalists advanced to the last 16 for the fourth straight year.

Manchester United secure Champions League passage as Bayern down PSG

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Paris (AFP) – Manchester United and Juventus were among the sides to clinch a place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday, while Bayern Munich gained a measure of revenge over Paris Saint-Germain.

United, Juventus, Roma and Basel all went through with victories in their final group games, but Atletico Madrid, beaten finalists in 2014 and 2016, were eliminated.

Leipzig’s Werner out to purge Besiktas pain

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Leipzig (Germany) (AFP) – Germany striker Timo Werner hopes to purge painful memories of Istanbul with a win over Turkish champions Besiktas on Wednesday that would fire RB Leipzig into the Champions League’s last 16.

When the teams last met in September Werner had to leave the field, feeling dizzy and in clear distress, after only 32 minutes of his side’s 2-0 defeat at Besiktas’ Vodafone Park.

Atletico crash out, Chelsea sink to second place

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London (AFP) – Atletico Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League after a 1-1 draw at Chelsea that denied the English side top spot in Group C.

It was a depressing evening for both clubs at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday as neither got what they wanted from their final group fixture.

Bayern gain revenge, but PSG win group

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Corentin Tolisso struck twice as Bayern Munich avenged September’s defeat at Paris Saint-Germain with a 3-1 victory in Bavaria on Tuesday, but the French side finished top of Group B.

With both teams already through to the last 16, Bayern needed to win by four goals to usurp PSG having lost 3-0 at the Parc des Princes.

Lukaku, Rashford send Man Utd into last 16

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford scored as Manchester United defeated CSKA Moscow 2-1 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2013-14.

A contentious goal awarded to Vitinho gave CSKA a shock lead on half-time, but Lukaku and Rashford struck twice in two second-half minutes to send Jose Mourinho’s side into the last 16 as Group A winners.

Cuadrado, Bernardeschi send Juve through

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Piraeus (Greece) (AFP) – Juan Cuadrado and Federico Bernardeschi scored in either half to seal Juventus’s berth in the Champions League knockout rounds on Tuesday with a 2-0 win over Olympiakos in Piraeus.

Colombian international Cuadrado turned in Alex Sandro’s cross after 15 minutes with Italian Bernardeschi getting the second in the final minute as last year’s finalists advanced to the last 16 for the fourth straight year.

Atletico Madrid crash out, Chelsea sink to second place

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London (AFP) – Atletico Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League after a 1-1 draw at Chelsea that denied the English side top spot in Group C.

It was a depressing evening for both clubs at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday as neither got what they wanted from their final group fixture.

Atletico crash out of Champions League, Chelsea sink to second place

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London (AFP) – Atletico Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League after a 1-1 draw at Chelsea that denied the English side top spot in Group C.

It was a depressing evening for both clubs at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday as neither got what they wanted from their final group fixture.

Lukaku, Rashford send Manchester United into last 16

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford scored as Manchester United defeated CSKA Moscow 2-1 on Tuesday to reach the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2013-14.

A contentious goal awarded to Vitinho gave CSKA a shock lead on half-time, but Lukaku and Rashford struck twice in two second-half minutes to send Jose Mourinho’s side into the last 16 as Group A winners.

Leipizg missing Forsberg for Besiktas clash

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig will be without playmaker Emil Forsberg amid a trio of injuries for Wednesday’s crunch Champions League clash at home to Besiktas.

The Sweden international is suffering from an abdominal injury, while midfielder Marcel Sabitzer has a shoulder injury and teenage French defender Dayot Upamecano has a thigh problem.

Much-changed Barcelona still too good for Sporting

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona rounded off an unbeaten Champions League group stage as Paco Alcacer’s header and a late own goal from Jeremy Mathieu secured a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

Juventus will join the Spanish giants in the last 16 after they too were 2-0 victors away at Olympiakos, relegating Sporting to the consolation of a place in the Europa League in the new year.

Peru striker Guerrero has doping ban extended

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Lima (AFP) – Peru striker Paolo Guerrero has had a 30-day ban for doping extended by a further 20 days, Peru’s football federation announced Tuesday.

Federation president Edwin Oviedo told reporters in Lima that FIFA had informed them of the extension at the weekend.

The extension means the Flamengo player will miss the final of the Copa Sudamericana against Argentina’s Independiente, the first leg of which is being played on Wednesday.

Roma get green light for new stadium

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Rome (AFP) – Serie A side Roma were given the green light on Tuesday by Italian authorities to build their own stadium which they hope to occupy by the 2020/21 season.

The club’s American president James Pallotta officially launched the project in March 2014 but there were numerous setbacks before the four main governing bodies involved finally approved plans to build the Stadio della Roma.

Rocco Commisso speaks out about Steve Malik and USSF

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Rocco Commisso on buying the Cosmos, NASL’s sanctioning and North Carolina FC’s Steve Malik

New York Cosmos Owner and Chairman Rocco Commisso recently spoke exclusively to World Soccer Talk about the state of the North American Soccer League (NASL) that his club plays in, which has been sanctioned as a second division by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) since 2011.

FIFA Club World Cup TV schedule for viewers in the United States

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The 2017 FIFA Club World Cup will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and features defending champions Real Madrid as well as CONCACAF Champions League winners Pachuca, the Copa Libertadores winners Gremio plus Urawa Red Diamonds, Wydad Casablanca, Auckland City and Al Jazira.

In the United States, Telemundo Deportes has the rights to the tournament.

Salah’s armada gets Liverpool shipshape

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London (AFP) – Mohamed Salah has hogged the headlines this season, but as Liverpool’s 5-1 demolition of Brighton and Hove Albion demonstrated, he is but one component in a scintillating attacking armada.

Salah took a back seat at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, contenting himself with an assist as Roberto Firmino scored twice and Philippe Coutinho found the net with a delightful free-kick beneath the jumping Brighton wall.

Ben Yedder leads a Sevilla playing for Berizzo

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Madrid (AFP) – Barely an hour after the elation of a historic fightback to draw 3-3 against Liverpool, news that Sevilla’s coach Eduardo Berizzo is suffering from prostate cancer was made public.

The reaction of the Sevilla players to Guido Pizarro’s 92nd minute equaliser - having trailed 3-0 at half-time of their last Champions League match - as they raced to embrace Berizzo was therefore all the more understandable, if tinged with sadness.

Leipzig’s Werner out to purge Besiktas pain

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Leipzig (Germany) (AFP) – Germany striker Timo Werner hopes to purge painful memories of Istanbul with a win over Turkish champions Besiktas on Wednesday that would fire RB Leipzig into the Champions League’s last 16.

When the teams last met in September Werner had to leave the field, feeling dizzy and in clear distress, after only 32 minutes of his side’s 2-0 defeat at Besiktas’ Vodafone Park.

Where to find Man United vs. CSKA Moscow Champions League on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League, you’ve come to the right place.

Manchester United would qualify in first place with a point (and can afford to lose by six goals and still go through). If they lose to CSKA and Basel do not win, United and CSKA will go through with first place determined by head-to-head results between the two.

US soccer chief Gulati to step down

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Los Angeles (AFP) – United States Soccer Federation chief Sunil Gulati said Monday he will not seek re-election next year as the fallout from the USA’s failure to qualify for the World Cup claimed another victim.

Gulati told ESPN in an interview that he had decided not to enter the battle for the presidency of the USSF, which has seen several candidates enter the running.

Fabregas delighted to have proved Conte wrong

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London (AFP) – Veteran Spanish international Cesc Fabregas is happy he has proved Chelsea manager Antonio Conte wrong and shown he is an indispensable part of the Premier League champions’ side.

The 30-year-old midfielder - who has played 18 times already this season compared to just the four appearances he had at a similar stage last term - is hoping this season might yield him one of the few winners medals he is lacking: the Champions League.

Prolific Bonatini gives Wolves edge over Birmingham

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London (AFP) – Leo Bonatini’s 12th goal of the season was sufficient to give Championship leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-0 win over struggling Birmingham City on Monday for their sixth successive victory.

Bonatini’s first-half effort - which was given thanks to goal line technology - saw Wolves restore their four point lead over Cardiff, who beat Norwich 3-1 on Friday, and a 10 point advantage over third-placed Bristol City.

PSG face cup trip to Rennes

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Paris (AFP) – Holders Paris Saint-Germain face a trip to fellow Ligue 1 outfit Rennes in the French Cup last 64 following Monday’s draw.

The two sides faced each other in the last 32 a year ago, with PSG romping to a 4-0 success in Brittany.

Champions Monaco face a trip to fourth tier Yzeure while Ligue 1’s other powerhouses Lyon and Marseille are up against Ligue 2 pair Nancy and Valenciennes respectively.

MLS audience jumps 38% for MLS Cup Playoffs across ESPN and ESPN2

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Buoyed by the increased interest in watching MLS games because of the Columbus Crew controversy, ESPN’s audience for the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs is up 38 percent entering this weekend’s MLS Cup Final. The seven playoff matches on ESPN and ESPN2 to date have delivered an average audience of 343,000 viewers, according to Nielsen, up from 249,000 viewers for the six playoff matches in 2016.

Buffon, Pjanic doubts for Juventus in Champions League

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Athens (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri revealed captain Gianluigi Buffon and midfielder Miralem Pjanic were both in doubt for Tuesday night’s crunch Champions League game against Olympiakos.

Juventus - runners-up twice in the last three seasons - head to Athens needing a win to ensure their passage to the knockout phase.

FA Cup hots up with Liverpool-Everton derby draw

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London (AFP) – Liverpool will host city rivals Everton for the second time inside a month when they face-off in the third round of the FA Cup in early January after the draw was made on Monday.

Liverpool - who beat Everton in the 2012 semi-final, their last FA Cup meeting - also host their struggling neighbours in the Premier League next Sunday.

Valencia outcast Orellana joins Eibar

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Madrid (AFP) – Valencia midfielder Fabian Orellana will join Eibar on loan until the end of the season, the Basque club confirmed on Monday.

The temporary move for the Chilean international will be made permanent if Eibar stay up at the end of the season.

“The interest of the club and their sporting project attracted me,” said Orellana, who claimed to have turned down other offers.

Guardiola escapes sanctions over Redmond rant

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London (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will face no sanctions following a bizarre post-match rant aimed at Southampton’s Nathan Redmond after the Premier League leaders stole a late win.

Guardiola harangued the Southampton midfielder following his side’s last-gasp 2-1 victory last week and the Football Association gave him until Monday to respond.

Europa League schedule for December 7 matches on US TV and streaming

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All of Thursday’s Europa League games will be aired either on US TV and/or streaming for soccer fans in the United States.

Already qualified for the Round of 32 are Villarreal, Dynamo Kyiv, Partizan, Braga, AC Milan, Atalanta, Lyon, FCSB, Viktoria Plzeň, Arsenal, Salzburg, Östersund, Lazio, Nice, Zenit and Real Sociedad.

UEFA Champions League TV schedule for December 5-6

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For matchday 6 of the UEFA Champions League, there are several key matches remaining that will be aired on US television. The clubs that have an opportunity to make it into the Round of 16 are Atlético Madrid, Basel, CSKA Moskva, Juventus, Leipzig, Liverpool, Manchester United, Napoli, Porto, Roma, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk, Spartak Moskva, Sporting CP.

Southgate safe even if England fail in World Cup

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London (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate has been told his job is safe even if his side lose all their group matches at next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Southgate took the reins on a permanent basis 12 months ago on a four-year contract and oversaw a successful qualification for the 2018 showpiece event, where England will face Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in the group stage.

Suarez cannot see Neymar joining Real Madrid

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona striker Luis Suarez insisted he cannot envisage former teammate Neymar moving to rivals Real Madrid due to his “admiration” for Barca.

Neymar spent four years at the Camp Nou before sensationally moving to Paris Saint-German in August for a world record 222 million euro ($264 million) fee.

Pochettino says Spurs will learn from poor run

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London (AFP) – Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says his struggling side can thrive on criticism over their patchy form, admitting the team have not yet learned the winning habit of teams such as Real Madrid.

Spurs laboured to a 1-1 draw at Watford on Saturday, their fourth Premier League match in a row without a victory, and are a whopping 18 points off top spot.

Guardiola regrets Pogba’s derby absence

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola says he wishes Manchester City could face Paul Pogba when the Premier League leaders bid to re-write the history books in their huge derby with Manchester United.

Guardiola watched his side equal a Premier League record by winning their 13th straight match on Sunday when David Silva’s late volley snatched a 2-1 win for City over West Ham on Sunday.

Lukaku in Man Utd spotlight as goals dry up

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London (AFP) – With Zlatan Ibrahimovic fit again and closely scrutinising his performances from the substitutes’ bench, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is under pressure to rediscover his goal-scoring touch.

Having scored 11 goals in his first 10 games following his £75 million ($100.

Japan will struggle at World Cup, warns Troussier

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Tokyo (AFP) – Former Japan coach Philippe Troussier has cast doubt on the country’s hopes of surviving their group at next year’s World Cup, describing their draw as “bad news”.

The Frenchman, who led the Blue Samurai to the last 16 as 2002 co-hosts, fears that Colombia and Senegal could have too much firepower for Japan in their first two Group H games in Russia.

English eyes on Griezmann for crunch Chelsea clash

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Madrid (AFP) – As a red-hot Antoine Griezmann hopes to keep Atletico Madrid’s faint Champions League hopes alive at Stamford Bridge, the stage is also set for the Frenchman to showcase his talents to a host of Premier League suitors.

Atletico need to beat Chelsea in London on Tuesday and hope Roma don’t beat Champions League debutants Qarabag in the Italian capital if they are to make the last 16 for a fifth consecutive season.

Heynckes takes Bayern back to basics for PSG

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Berlin (AFP) – Jupp Heynckes, the 72-year-old disciplinarian who has steadied the ship at Bayern Munich, has urged his side to keep it simple for Tuesday’s crunch Champions League match at home to Paris Saint-Germain.

Bayern need to win by a four-goal margin in order to win their group, a situation they find themselves in because of the 3-0 thrashing by a Neymar-inspired PSG in the French capital that precipitated the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti.

Tevez told to return by December 26 as China saga drags on

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Shanghai (AFP) – Carlos Tevez has three weeks to resolve his future at Shanghai Shenhua with the handsomely paid Argentine forward expected back with the rest of the squad by December 26.

The 33-year-old, who earns some of the highest wages in world football on a reported 730,000 euros a week, has flopped in China and was a notable absentee when Shanghai Shenhua won the FA Cup late last month.

Ancelotti snubs Italy job

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Milan (AFP) – Italian Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that he turned down the role of Italy coach preferring to stay in club management.

Ancelotti, 58, was the favourite to take over after Giampiero Ventura was fired following Italy’s shock failure to reach the World Cup final for the first time in 60 years.

Wenger refuses to give up on Premier League title

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London (AFP) – Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is refusing to concede defeat in the Premier League title race even though his team are now 15 points adrift of Manchester City in top spot.

Mauricio Pochettino has ruled Tottenham out of contention but Wenger is refusing to throw in the towel despite Saturday’s painful 3-1 loss to Manchester United.

Klinsmann keen on Socceroos job – reports

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Sydney (AFP) – Former United States boss Jurgen Klinsmann is keen on leading Australia at the World Cup, replacing Ange Postecoglou who quit last month, reports said.

The German legend, who was sacked in 2016 after a poor start to the Americans’ World Cup qualifying campaign, commissioned one of his closest friends to scout out the Socceroos job, according to The Adelaide Advertiser and other media late Sunday.

Perisic hat-trick sends Inter Milan top of Serie A

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Milan (AFP) – Ivan Perisic fired unbeaten Inter Milan top of Serie A on Sunday with a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Chievo, after Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan reign began with goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli’s header giving Benevento their maiden Serie A point.

Croatian Perisic opened the San Siro goal blitz after 23 minutes and added two more in the second half, while Inter captain Mauro Icardi made it 16 for the season seven minutes before the break and defender Milan Skriniar found the net on the hour mark.

Lyon go second as Marseille wobble

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Paris (AFP) – Lyon moved second in Ligue 1 as Marseille failed to take advantage of Paris Saint-Germain’s slip at Strasbourg after stumbling to a 1-1 draw at Montpellier on Sunday.

Rudi Garcia’s Marseille were fortunate to escape Montpellier with a point as Florian Thauvin’s disputed penalty negated Giovanni Sio’s opener for the home side at the Stade de la Mosson.

Gattuso licking ‘stab’ wounds after Benevento draw

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Milan (AFP) – New AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said Benevento goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli’s last-gasp equaliser against his team felt worse than being stabbed after the newly-promoted side gained their first ever Serie A point on Sunday.

Brignoli scored an improbable diving header in the fifth minute of injury time to draw 2-2 with Milan at the Stadio Vigorito and end the southern club’s record-breaking losing run, which has stopped at 14 consecutive defeats.

Perisic hat-trick sends Inter top of Serie A

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Milan (AFP) – Ivan Perisic fired unbeaten Inter Milan top of Serie A on Sunday with a hat-trick in a 5-0 win over Chievo, after Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan reign began with goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli’s header giving Benevento their maiden Serie A point.

Croatian Perisic opened the San Siro goal blitz after 23 minutes and added two more in the second half, while Inter captain Mauro Icardi made it 16 for the season seven minutes before the break and defender Milan Skriniar found the net on the hour mark.

Valencia fall to first defeat at 10-man Getafe

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Madrid (AFP) – Valencia blew a huge chance to move to within two points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga as they slumped to a first defeat of the season, losing 1-0 at Getafe.

The visitors’ disappointment was also compounded by the fact Getafe played for 65 minutes a man down after Mauro Arambarri was sent off midway through the first half.

Record-equalling Manchester City savour Silva service

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League as David Silva’s superb late strike capped a dramatic 2-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s side maintained their recent habit of finding dramatic, late winning goals, with Silva netting seven minutes from full-time at Eastlands to give City a record-equalling 13th successive Premier League victory.

Lyon second in Ligue 1 after Caen win

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Caen (France) (AFP) – Lyon moved second in Ligue 1 after taking advantage of Paris Saint-Germain’s slip at Strasbourg with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Caen on Sunday.

Maxwel Cornet’s tap-in and Mariano Diaz’s stunning 12th league goal of the season were enough for Lyon to blast away the blues of their shock home defeat to struggling Lille midweek and move up to 32 points.

Boateng strike breaks Hertha hearts in Berlin

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Berlin (AFP) – Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng hit a superb winning goal 10 minutes from time to seal Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-1 comeback victory at his ex-club Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

In falling snow at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, the 30-year-old Boateng unleashed a superb shot from the edge of the area to leave Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein with no chance.

Kuwait passes new sport law aimed at ending FIFA, IOC bans

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Kuwait City (AFP) – Kuwait’s parliament on Sunday endorsed a new law on sport which it hopes will end bans from international competitions over alleged government interference.

World sports bodies led by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee suspended Kuwait in October 2015 for the second time since 2010 over alleged government meddling in sports.

Austin leveller rescues Saints

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – In-form Charlie Austin rescued Southampton with a second half equaliser in a 1-1 draw at south-coast rivals Bournemouth on Sunday.

Mauricio Pellegrino’s side trailed to Ryan Fraser’s goal late in the first half, but Austin nabbed an important point with his third goal in as many games.

Brignoli rescues Benevento to spoil Gattuso’s Milan debut

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Milan (AFP) – Goalkeeper Alberto Brignoli sealed the first ever Serie A point for newcomers Benevento to spoil Gennaro Gattuso’s debut as AC Milan coach in a 2-2 draw that was greeted like a victory by the hosts.

In a desperate scramble in front of goal Brignoli headed in five minutes into injury time to give the side from outside Naples their first point in 15 games.

Iniesta sidelined by calf strain

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta will miss Tuesday’s Champions League meeting with Sporting Lisbon, the Catalan giants confirmed on Sunday.

Iniesta asked to be replaced early in the second-half of Barca’s 2-2 draw at home to Celta Vigo on Saturday, but he could return as early as next weekend for a testing La Liga visit to Villarreal.

Rock bottom Cologne fire coach

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Berlin (AFP) – Peter Stoeger was finally sacked as Cologne coach on Sunday, ending his 1,634-days reign with the club bottom of the Bundesliga and winless after a disastrous run of results.

Although Cologne earned a 2-2 draw at Schalke on Saturday, denying the hosts the chance to go second in the Bundesliga, it emerged Stoeger knew it was his last game following discussions on Friday.

Conte admits Premier League could be out of Chelsea’s reach

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte admits retaining the Premier League title may be out of Chelsea’s reach despite an impressive recent run of results ahead of their midweek Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid.

The Blues fought back from a goal down on Saturday to beat Newcastle 3-1 courtesy of two goals from the impressive Eden Hazard either side of a headed effort from Alvaro Morata.

Pochettino confident ‘suffering’ will benefit Spurs

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino believes his Tottenham Hotspur side are coming of age despite their already-fading hopes of Premier League title glory suffering another setback with a 1-1 draw away to Watford.

Saturday’s result was Spurs’ fourth successive league game without a win they’ve now gone from vying for the title to facing a battle to qualify directly for next season’s Champions League in recent weeks.

Liverpool boss Klopp only has eyes for top four

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Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp has insisted Liverpool’s immediate target is to establish themselves in the top four of the Premier League before they start looking towards leaders Manchester City.

Klopp’s side confirmed their recent progress with a 5-1 win away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Pogba sees red over Koscielny reaction to dismissal

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho revealed Paul Pogba was furious with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny for his role in the red card that rules the Manchester United midfielder out of next weekend’s summit meeting with Manchester City.

Pogba was sent off in the 74th minute of United’s 3-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday for a crude challenge on Hector Bellerin.

Pep says early wins gave Man City huge boost

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola says landmark early-season wins infused his Manchester City stars with the belief that they could beat all-comers but warned that his Premier League high-fliers they have won nothing yet.

The City boss, whose team host West Ham on Sunday, believes four victories in particular gave his players an injection of confidence.

Barca, Real Madrid held, Griezmann gives Atletico hope

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid remain eight points adrift of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after failing to break down Athletic Bilbao in a 0-0 stalemate as captain Sergio Ramos saw the 24th red card of his career.

Earlier, Celta Vigo became the first team this season to take points off Barcelona at the Nou Camp in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Emery shrugs off shock PSG loss

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery shrugged off concerns about next week’s Champions League clash with Bayern Munich after his side fell to their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season at lowly Strasbourg on Saturday.

Neymar’s PSG travel to Munich knowing that they will top Group B as long as they don’t lose 4-0 to Bayern, and asked by reporters if he was worried about his team ahead of the clash, Emery replied “No”.

Man Utd stun Arsenal as Spurs slip up again

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London (AFP) – Manchester United ended Arsenal’s 12-match home winning run in a breathless encounter to close the gap on Manchester City on Saturday but Tottenham slipped further off the pace with a costly draw at Watford.

With Pep Guardiola’s pacesetters not in action until Sunday, United’s 3-1 victory took them to within five points of the Premier League summit following emphatic wins for Chelsea and Liverpool earlier in the day.

Sevilla’s Berizzo home after cancer operation

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo has been released from hospital just four days after undergoing an operation on a cancerous prostate tumour, the club confirmed on Saturday.

“Berizzo will continue his post-operative treatment at home,” Sevilla said in a statement.

The Argentine’s assistant Ernesto Marcucci took charge as Sevilla beat Deportivo la Coruna 2-0 to move above Real Madrid into fourth for a few hours at least ahead of Madrid’s trip to Athletic Bilbao later on Saturday.

Man Utd stun Arsenal in thriller as Spurs slip again

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London (AFP) – Manchester United blitzed Arsenal with two quick-fire goals in a breathless encounter to close the gap on Manchester City on Saturday but Tottenham slipped further off the pace with a costly draw at Watford.

With Pep Guardiola’s Premier League pacesetters not in action until Sunday, United’s 3-1 victory took them to within five points of the Premier League summit following emphatic wins for Chelsea and Liverpool earlier in the day.

Philipp, Castro add to Dortmund’s injury woes

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund are set to be without midfielders Maximilian Philipp and Gonzalo Castro for the foreseeable future after the pair picked up serious injuries on Saturday.

Dortmund already have German World Cup winner Mario Goetze sidelined for the next six weeks with damaged ankle ligaments.

Spurs stumble in Watford draw

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Ten-man Tottenham Hotspur stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw at Watford on Saturday but this result did little to revive an already faltering Premier League title bid.

Christian Kabasele’s early opener for Watford was cancelled out by Son Heung-Min’s equaliser in the first half.

Neymar’s PSG beaten by lowly Strasbourg

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Paris (AFP) – Newly-promoted Strasbourg put the brakes on Paris Saint-Germain by becoming the first team to beat the runaway Ligue 1 leaders this season with a shock 2-1 win on Saturday.

Stephane Bahoken downed Neymar and company with a bullet finish in the 65th minute to drag the lowly home side away from relegation trouble and up to 14th, and gave Marseille the chance to close the 10-point gap between Rudi Garcia’s in-form side and PSG when they face Montpellier on Sunday.

Chelsea, Liverpool dazzle as Spurs stumble

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard sparkled as Chelsea swept Newcastle aside on Saturday to cling on to the coattails of runaway leaders Manchester City but 10-man Tottenham slipped further off the pace with a costly draw at Watford.

With Pep Guardiola’s Premier League pacesetters not in action until Sunday, Liverpool also took full advantage, demolishing Brighton 5-1 as Arsenal and second-placed Manchester United prepared for their evening blockbuster clash.

Mueller shines on return as Bayern extend lead

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Berlin (AFP) – Thomas Mueller marked his return from five weeks out with injury by creating two goals as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich went six points clear with a 3-1 win over Hanover on Saturday.

Germany forward Mueller provided the cross which Arturo Vidal headed home, then set up Kingsley Coman to put Bayern 2-1 up at the Allianz Arena after Charlison Benschop had equalised for Hanover.

Barca slip in Celta thriller, Griezmann gives Atletico hope

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Madrid (AFP) – Celta Vigo breathed life into La Liga’s title race by becoming the first team this season to take points off Barcelona at the Nou Camp in a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday.

Iago Aspas gave Celta an early lead, but an inspired display from Lionel Messi appeared to have earned Barca another three points as he immediately equalised and then helped tee up Luis Suarez to put the hosts 2-1 in front.

Firmino double helps Liverpool down Brighton

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Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Roberto Firmino scored twice as Liverpool continued their recent fine run with a 5-1 win away to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho were also on target for the visitors at the Amex Stadium before a late own-goal from Lewis Dunk took Liverpool’s tally to 25 goals from their last eight games.

World Cup 2018: What to expect from Groups A through H

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The World Cup draw took place at the Kremlin on Friday. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from all eight groups as the buildup to next summer’s tournament kicks into high gear.

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

This is a remarkably weak group.

Eden Hazard inspires Chelsea comeback against Newcastle

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard gave England followers a glimpse of what to expect at next summer’s World Cup with a glorious display as Chelsea beat Newcastle United 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.

Less than 24 hours after the World Cup draw put Belgium and England in the same group, Belgian Hazard was in imperious form, scoring twice and running at defenders at will.

Guardiola fears bans could derail City

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola admits he is concerned about potential suspensions when leaders Manchester City face West Ham United looking to equal a Premier League record on Sunday.

Victory over West Ham would mark a 13th consecutive league victory for Guardiola’s team, equalling the record for the most straight wins in a single season, currently owned jointly by Chelsea last season and Arsenal in 2001-02.

World Cup travel no worry for England boss Southgate

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Moscow (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate is not fazed at the prospect of having to travel thousands of kilometres across Russia during the group stage of next year’s World Cup.

His side came out in Group G in Friday’s draw ceremony at the Kremlin State Palace in Moscow, along with Belgium, Tunisia and debutants Panama.

Allegri delight as Juventus trip up Napoli

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Milan (AFP) – Massimiliano Allegri could not hide his delight as Juventus tripped up Serie A leaders Napoli to deliver a psychological blow to their title challengers at their San Paolo Stadium.

In an key early clash in the battle for the Scudetto defending six-time champions Juventus move second just one point behind Napoli, who suffered their first defeat in 15 games this season.

Power shift in north London on hold as Arsenal rises and Tottenham sputters

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The annual supposed shift of power from the Arsenal side of north London to Tottenham is currently on hold. Although many experts claimed that a so-called transfer of power between the clubs temporarily separated by 11 miles was in full effect, the Gunners find themselves above Spurs in the standings.

Kawasaki batter Squirrels to win first J-League title

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Tokyo (AFP) – Captain Yu Kobayashi scored a hat-trick as Kawasaki Frontale crushed Omiya Ardija 5-0 on Saturday to capture the J-League championship, their first major Japanese title.

A lopsided home win over the ‘Squirrels’ saw Kawasaki pip Kashima Antlers on goal difference after the defending champions were held to a scoreless draw at Jubilo Iwata.

Juventus’ injury-stricken Higuain ends Napoli run

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Milan (AFP) – Gonzalo Higuain shrugged off a broken hand to inflict a first Serie A defeat of the season on his former club Napoli Friday, as champions Juventus moved a point behind the leaders with a 1-0 win.

Higuain had surgery on Monday, but insisted on starting in a key clash between league leaders Napoli and the six-time defending champions.

Juventus’ injury-stricken Higuain ends Napoli’s run

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Milan (AFP) – Gonzalo Higuain shrugged off a broken hand to inflict a first Serie A defeat of the season on his former club Napoli Friday, as champions Juventus moved a point behind the leaders with a 1-0 win.

Higuain had surgery on Monday, but insisted on starting in a key clash between league leaders Napoli and the six-time defending champions.

Conte fumes over Chelsea’s fixture schedule

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte claims Chelsea have been the victims of a fixture conspiracy this season.

Conte’s side play Newcastle United in the 1230 GMT kick-off at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, having beaten Swansea City 1-0 on Wednesday.

With Newcastle having played 24 hours earlier than Chelsea for their midweek draw at West Bromwich Albion, Conte is once again angry with his team getting less rest than their opponents.

Messi’s Argentina on collision course with Spain

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Moscow (AFP) – Lionel Messi’s quest to deliver World Cup glory for Argentina could pit the two-time champions against a handful of familiar faces in a potential quarter-final showdown with Spain.

But neither 2010 World Cup winners Spain, who finished above Italy in qualifying, nor Argentina, indebted to a Messi hat-trick in the thin air of Quito as they scraped through the South American section, will have it easy in the group stage in Russia.

Injury-stricken Higuain ends Napoli’s run

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Milan (AFP) – Gonzalo Higuain shrugged off a broken hand to inflict a first Serie A defeat of the season on his former club Napoli Friday, as champions Juventus moved a point behind the leaders with a 1-0 win.

Higuain had surgery on Monday, but insisted on starting in a key clash between league leaders Napoli and the six-time defending champions.

Mourinho wants Guardiola to get same treatment as rivals

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hinted he believes Pep Guardiola received preferential treatment in avoiding being sent to the stands on Wednesday.

Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, ran onto the pitch to celebrate Raheem Sterling’s late winner as his team beat Southampton 2-1 to remain eight points clear of United at the top of the Premier League.

Russia breathe sigh of relief after drawing ‘ideal’ World Cup group

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Moscow (AFP) – Russia breathed a collective sigh of relief on Friday after avoiding Spain and looking like favourites to make it out of their group in their first home World Cup.

“The ideal group,” the government-run R-Sport news agency shouted in a banner headline on its website after the State Kremlin Palace draw saw them paired with Saudi Arabia and Egypt for next year’s finals.

World Cup draw throws up Spain, Portugal showdown

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Moscow (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal will come up against Spain in the standout fixture of the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, while England were handed an encounter with a dangerous Belgium side in Friday’s draw.

Spain, the 2010 World Cup winners, have been revitalised under Julen Lopetegui after underperforming in recent years and were seen as the team to avoid after missing out on a place among the top seeds.

Iberian derby delivers fast start to Russia 2018

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Madrid (AFP) – An explosive start to Russia’s 2018 World Cup was guaranteed when the past two European champions Spain and Portugal were paired together in Friday’s draw to clash on the second day of the tournament.

World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo will go head-to-head with Real Madrid teammate and Spanish captain Sergio Ramos in the all-Iberian clash in Sochi on the banks of the Black Sea on June 15, before both sides also face Iran and Morocco in Group B.

Spain and Portugal thrown together in 2018 World Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – The 2010 World Cup winners Spain were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while England will face a talented Belgium side.

Spain’s clash with reigning European champions Portugal in Sochi on June 15 was an early highlight thrown up by the glitzy draw in the Kremlin.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 15

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Weekend Premier League coverage begins Saturday, December 2, at 6:30 a.m. ET with Premier League Live on NBCSN, followed by defending champions Chelsea v. Newcastle at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

Saturday’s coverage continues at 10 a.m. ET with Brighton & Hove Albion v. Liverpool on NBCSN, and Watford v.

Klopp buries hatchet with Allardyce

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London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he doesn’t harbour any grudges against Sam Allardyce despite his past clashes with the new Everton boss.

Klopp rowed with Allardyce after the then Sunderland manager branded him a “soft German” two seasons ago.

Klopp was so furious with a tackle by Sunderland’s Jeremain Lens on Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho that police stepped in to calm the tension between the two benches.

World Cup draw ‘could have been worse’ for France – Deschamps

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Moscow (AFP) – France coach Didier Deschamps said his side “have to win their group”, after Friday’s World Cup draw in Moscow pitted the 1998 champions against Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.

“I’m going to give a classic answer: It could have been worse,” Deschamps, who captained France to World Cup glory 19 years ago on home soil, told BeIN Sport.

Japan coach eyes Colombia ‘revenge’ after World Cup draw

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic promised to avenge his side’s humiliating 4-1 thrashing by Colombia at the 2014 World Cup following Friday’s draw for next summer’s finals in Russia.

The firebrand Franco-Bosnian admitted “it could have been worse” after the Blue Samurai were drawn alongside the Colombians, Senegal and Poland in Group H for their sixth successive World Cup appearance.

Southgate ‘won’t write off’ World Cup foes

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Moscow (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate refused to get carried away with what appeared to be a hugely favourable draw on Friday for his team at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The draw in Moscow saw England given games against Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G.

It meant England, who have not won a major men’s international trophy since lifting the 1966 World Cup on home soil, avoided global giants Argentina, Brazil and Germany after Argentina great Diego Maradona picked them out of Pot 2 at the Kremlin’s State Palace.

Spain and Portugal drawn in same 2018 World Cup group

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Moscow (AFP) – The 2010 World Cup winners Spain were placed in the same group as Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions Portugal in an exciting draw for the 2018 tournament in Russia on Friday.

Neymar’s Brazil meanwhile will have to negotiate a group including Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia as they seek a sixth title.

Rocco Commisso discusses NASL-USSF antitrust case and TV rights

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 52, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• An exclusive candid interview with Rocco Commisso, the New York Cosmos chairman and owner, about the NASL antitrust case against the US Soccer Federation, as well as the tangled web of MLS/SUM/USSF TV rights,

• Our thoughts on FOX Sports’ coverage of the FIFA World Cup Draw,

• News about a new timeslot that’s being proposed for Premier League games and how that’ll impact viewers in the US,

• Observations about NBC’s Premier League Fan Festival, and more

• Plus feedback and questions from you in the Listener Mailbag section.

Russia coach happy to dodge Spain in World Cup draw

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Moscow (AFP) – Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov expressed his relief at avoiding 2010 champions Spain in Friday’s draw for next year’s World Cup.

Hosts Russia, the lowest ranked nation in the 32-team tournament, were placed alongside Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in Group A.

England’s World Cup odds cut after draw

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London (AFP) – England’s odds of winning next year’s World Cup in Russia were cut Friday after Gareth Southgate’s side were given a favourable draw in Moscow.

The draw saw England chosen to face European rivals Belgium together with outsiders Panama and Tunisia in Group G.

England have not won a major international football tournament since the late Bobby Moore lifted the 1966 World Cup on home soil.

Chelsea boss Conte accepts FA charge in referee row

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London (AFP) – Chelsea coach Antonio Conte said Friday he intends to accept a Football Association charge of misconduct after he was sent off against Swansea City.

The Italian was ordered off the touchline and into the stands by referee Neil Swarbrick towards the end of the first half of Chelsea’s eventual 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Wednesday after protesting against the award of a Swansea goal-kick.

Timo Werner not going to Real say RB Leipzig

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Leipzig (Germany) (AFP) – German international centre forward Timo Werner will not be leaving RB Leipzig for Real Madrid in the next year, the Bundesliga club’s sports director Ralf Rangnick said on Friday.

Asked about persistent rumours surrounding the 21-year-old, Rangnick replied: “Not this winter nor next summer.

City boss Guardiola regrets Redmond rage

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has admitted he regrets his extraordinary post-match exchange with Southampton’s Nathan Redmond that has brought him to the attention of the disciplinary department of the Football Association.

The FA have asked Guardiola for his observations after he was pictured in what looked like an angry exchange with the player following Premier League leaders Manchester City’s dramatic late win against the Saints on Wednesday.

‘Doping not a problem in football’ as World Cup draw takes place

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Moscow (AFP) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino denied Friday that doping was a problem in football shortly before the draw for the 2018 World Cup in Russia took place in the Kremlin.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to address the footballing world that has descended upon Moscow, in the midst of a freezing winter, to find out who will play who, when and where at the competition next year.

Doping not a big problem in the sport, says Infantino

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Moscow (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Friday sought to distance football from any suspicions of the widespread doping in other sports that has cast a cloud over World Cup hosts Russia.

Russia have been stripped of a third of the medals they won as hosts of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and last week a ban on the country taking part in international athletics was upheld by the sport’s governing body the IAAF.

World Cup TV schedule FAQ: Answering questions about Russia 2018 TV coverage

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For soccer fans in the United States, we’ve compiled all of the details about the World Cup TV schedule and World Cup TV coverage in one place. Plus we’ve answered several questions from you, the readers, so you have all of the information you need at your fingertips.

World Cup TV coverage FAQ:

Q: Who will be showing World Cup 2018 for viewers in the United States?

Wenger v Mourinho — origins of a blood feud

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London (AFP) – When Arsenal face Manchester United in a crucial Premier League clash on Saturday, the antics of the two sworn enemies on the touchline will take up as much attention as the actual match.

It was ever thus when Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and United manager Jose Mourinho lock horns.

Pochettino tells Spurs to face the flak

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino says both he and his Tottenham Hotspur players must “accept the criticism” after dropping to seventh place in the Premier League table.

Spurs travel to Watford on Saturday with their hopes of winning the Premier League all but extinguished following defeats at Arsenal and Leicester City either side of a home draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Liverpool start ‘make or break’ run at Brighton

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Brighton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Liverpool defender Joe Gomez admits the club face a run of games which will “make or break” their season ahead of a Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The Reds are in fifth spot, a huge 14 points behind table-topping Manchester City, but they are in striking distance of Manchester United Chelsea and Arsenal immediately above them.

Five things to look out for in the Bundesliga this weekend

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund boss Peter Bosz will be fighting for his job once again when his struggling side visit a resurgent Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The pressure on the Dortmund coach is higher than ever following last weekend’s collapse against arch rivals Schalke, when Dortmund threw away a four-goal lead and saw their miserable winless run extend to six games.

Faltering Monaco need to show backbone, says coach Jardim

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Paris (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said his faltering French champions need players “with character” after slipping 12 points behind runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

The principality side made a strong start to the domestic season despite seeing their title-winning side decimated in the transfer window, with Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Kylian Mbappe and Tiemoue Bakayoko all leaving the club.

Fabregas vows to maintain Chelsea title charge

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London (AFP) – Cesc Fabregas has promised Chelsea will be dogged in their ongoing pursuit of Manchester City despite admitting Pep Guardiola’s side appear on course for the Premier League title.

Chelsea moved to back to within 11 points of the league leaders after labouring to a 1-0 win over struggling Swansea City and will attempt to close the gap when they face Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge this weekend.

Five things to look out for in La Liga this weekend

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona look to extend their four-point lead at the top of La Liga against an old friend turned foe in Celta Vigo coach Juan Carlos Unzue on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid travel to a struggling Athletic Bilbao with their eyes firmly on one of Athletic’s rising stars.

Russia ready for World Cup draw with Spain the team to avoid

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Moscow (AFP) – The real countdown to the 2018 World Cup in Russia begins on Friday as the draw for the tournament is held at a star-studded ceremony in the Kremlin.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to address the footballing world that has descended upon Moscow, in the midst of a freezing Russian winter, to find out who will play who, when and where at the competition next year.

Russian Premier League leaders Lokomotiv Moscow look to extend lead

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League leaders Lokomotiv Moscow host struggling Rubin Kazan on Saturday, hoping to extend their six-point advantage at the top of the table.

All eyes in Moscow will be on Friday’s World Cup draw, but three of the capital’s clubs are still in the Russian title race.

England national football team, the eternal mystery

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London (AFP) – Though untroubled in qualifying, England approach Friday’s 2018 World Cup draw harbouring the same eternal doubts about whether they will crack under pressure once the tournament comes around.

England have picked up the pieces impressively under Gareth Southgate since their humiliation by Iceland at Euro 2016, finishing unbeaten and eight points clear in their qualifying group.

Magath latest big-name foreign coach to leave Chinese club

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Shanghai (AFP) – Felix Magath on Friday became the latest foreign coach in a matter of weeks to leave his post in the Chinese Super League (CSL), following Andre Villas-Boas and Luiz Felipe Scolari out the exit door.

Villas-Boas on Thursday departed as coach of Shanghai SIPG and the veteran Magath followed suit less than 24 hours later when Shandong Luneng said they would not renew the German’s contract.

France have the World Cup weapons

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Paris (AFP) – With a potent attack featuring teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe and Atletico Madrid hotshot Antoine Griezmann and a midfield stuffed with talent, France should be among the World Cup favourites.

With Alexandre Lacazette offering yet another attacking threat, a top-class goalkeeper in Hugo Lloris and depth at virtually every position, France coach Didier Deschamps will approach Friday’s draw in Moscow with confidence.

Spain rediscover style for new World Cup challenge

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Madrid (AFP) – They may not be a top seed for Friday’s World Cup draw in Moscow, but the fresh blood added by coach Julen Lopetegui has put Spain back among the favourites for glory next July.

Early exits at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 appeared to show the sun was setting on Spain’s most successful generation after three consecutive major tournament triumphs at Euros 2008 and 2012 either side of La Roja’s only ever World Cup title in South Africa in 2010.

Dempsey on target for Seattle as Dynamo fizzle in MLS

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Clint Dempsey got on the scoresheet as the Seattle Sounders defeated Houston Dynamo 3-0 to set up a repeat MLS Cup final showdown with Toronto FC on Thursday.

Veteran striker Dempsey rammed in Seattle’s second goal of the night as the defending champions completed an emphatic 5-0 aggregate victory to advance.

City taken a leaf out of United’s book, says Kompany

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London (AFP) – Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says the Premier League frontrunners have taken a leaf out of their arch rival’s book and will never stop believing they can win games even in the dying seconds.

City have maintained an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League with last-gasp 2-1 victories over Huddersfield and Southampton in their past two games, both late winners scored by Raheem Sterling.