EPL Talk Archives for January 2017

Sevilla maintain chase of Barca, Real Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla moved to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona as Vicente Iborra’s first-half winner earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

In a battle between the two principal candidates to take over at Barca next season after Luis Enrique announced his decision to step down at the end of the season, Jorge Sampaoli edged out Ernesto Valverde in a nervy 90 minutes at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

‘I’m a football priest’, says Arsenal manager Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has compared being a football manager to entering the priesthood as both jobs involve making all-consuming personal sacrifices.

The 67-year-old Frenchman has been at Arsenal for 20 years and is hoping to extend that stay with a new contract at the end of the season although there have been calls for him to leave with the Gunners facing the likelihood of no silverware.

Sevilla maintain chase of Barcelona, Real Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla moved to within two points of La Liga leaders Barcelona as Vicente Iborra’s first-half winner earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

In a battle between the two principal candidates to take over at Barca next season after Luis Enrique announced his decision to step down at the end of the season, Jorge Sampaoli edged out Ernesto Valverde in a nervy 90 minutes at the Sanchez Pizjuan.

Clear CT scan allays fears over Atletico Madrid’s Torres

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish football breathed a sigh of relief after a CT scan on Fernando Torres revealed the Atletico Madrid striker suffered no traumatic brain injuries in a sickening on-field clash on Thursday.

Torres, 32, was hit from behind by Deportivo’s Alex Bergantinos in a clash of heads five minutes from time and hit the ground hard as he appeared to have already lost consciousness.

Football: Atletico’s Torres suffers ‘traumatic brain injury’

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Madrid (AFP) – Concern for Fernando Torres overshadowed Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw at Deportivo la Coruna on Thursday as the former Liverpool striker suffered a “traumatic brain injury” after being knocked unconscious.

Torres, 32, was hit from behind by Deportivo’s Alex Bergantinos in a clash of heads five minutes from time and hit the ground hard as he appeared to have already lost consciousness.

Jack Wilshere quietly having solid season at Bournemouth

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Many people were surprised to hear that Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere was going on loan at Bournemouth of all places for the 2016/17 campaign. In fact, many Gooners weren’t thrilled with the idea, and wanted Wilshere to remain in north London. Nevertheless, the oft-injured midfielder made the move to the south coast with the intention of gaining fitness and playing as much as possible.

Atletico Madrid’s Torres suffers ‘traumatic brain injury’

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Madrid (AFP) – Concern for Fernando Torres overshadowed Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw at Deportivo la Coruna on Thursday as the former Liverpool suffered a “traumatic brain injury” after being knocked unconscious.

Torres was hit from behind by Deportivo’s Alex Bergantinos in a clash of heads five minutes from time and hit the ground hard as he appeared to have already lost consciousness.

Ignored Bony finding Stoke situation ‘painful’

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London (AFP) – Ivory Coast international striker Wilfried Bony says his prolonged omission from the Stoke team is “painful” as he continues to be overlooked for selection by manager Mark Hughes.

The 28-year-old - who has scored just twice in 11 games since his loan move from Manchester City last August - added he had turned down a move to China in January’s transfer window because he wants to prove he has the quality still to succeed.

Football fan offers $3,000 to be Ibrahimovic mascot

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Rostov-on-Don (Russia) (AFP) – A mystery fan offered Russian side Rostov a bribe of nearly $3,000 to allow his son to lead Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic onto the pitch as a mascot in next week’s Europa League clash.

“Yesterday a man called the club and offered 170,000 rubles for his son to lead out Ibrahimovic,” Rostov spokesman Ivan Bodylevsky wrote on Twitter.

NBC Sports to debut West Bromwich Albion Behind The Badge series this weekend

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NBC Sports’ popular Behind The Badge documentary returns this weekend with the first of a four-part series about Premier League club West Bromwich Albion.

Previously, NBC Sports has featured Crystal Palace and Watford. Both were critically received and featured plenty of fly-on-the-wall footage to give soccer fans a unique perspective on what it’s like to work and play behind the scenes at a top-level soccer club.

CAF hopeful Ahmad Ahmad eyes change in Africa

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Abuja (AFP) – Ahmad Ahmad insisted Thursday he can bring widespread, meaningful change to African football if he unseats Issa Hayatou as president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

Ahmad, a CAF executive committee member and head of the Madagascar football federation, made a whistle-stop visit to Nigeria to canvas for support in the CAF presidential poll slated for March 16 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Manchester United’s Carrick admits future uncertain despite testimonial

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London (AFP) – Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick admits he doesn’t know if his future lies at Old Trafford despite being awarded a testimonial.

Carrick’s contract expires at the end of the season but his continued importance to United was emphasised by a composed display as a second-half substitute in last weekend’s League Cup final victory over Southampton.

Rule-makers IFAB to evaluate video assistance for football referees

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London (AFP) – FIFA’s plans to introduce video assistance in time for next year’s World Cup are on the agenda for Friday’s London AGM of rule-making body, the International FA Board (IFAB).

The IFAB will assess various ongoing tests involving video assistant referees (VAR), as well as discussing the possibility of introducing a fourth substitute in games that go to extra time.

Determined Depay seeking renaissance at Lyon

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Paris (AFP) – With three goals in seven league games, including a brace against Metz last weekend, former Manchester United outcast Memphis Depay is striving to reignite his career in France with Lyon.

“He’s making good progress and is proving that we did well to recruit him,” said coach Bruno Genesio, after Lyon stumped up an initial fee of 16 million euros ($17 million) to prise him away from Old Trafford.

Stadium bans for 88 Dortmund fans after combat cache discovered

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Berlin (AFP) – Nearly 100 Borussia Dortmund fans have been banned from Bundesliga stadiums nationwide for up to two years after police stopped them in possession of combat equipment, the German FA (DFB) said Thursday.

The gang of 88 were stopped en route to a game at Darmstadt on February 11 and sent back to Dortmund, a week after Dortmund fans attacked women and children from visiting RB Leipzig.

What to expect from Turner Sports’ Champions League coverage: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast from Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 16, we cover a range of topics including:

• What soccer fans can expect to see from Turner Sports’ UEFA Champions League coverage,

• News about YouTube TV and whether it’ll be a good fit for soccer fans,

• Looking ahead to the start to the 2017 MLS season and what the level of interest is,

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners and much more.

Argentina pays players to avert strike

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina’s government said Thursday it paid $22 million dollars to the country’s Football Association to avert a players’ strike over unpaid wages that threatened to disrupt the new season.

The Argentina Footballers’ Union (AFA) had threatened to strike on the first day of the season Friday in a dispute over redistribution of broadcasting revenues.

Manchester City team-mates back struggling ‘keeper Claudio Bravo

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London (AFP) – Pablo Zabaleta insists error-prone goalkeeper Claudio Bravo still retains the support of his Manchester City team-mates.

Bravo suffered another dispiriting night on Wednesday as his mistake gifted second tier Huddersfield the lead in an FA Cup fifth round replay at Eastlands.

Don’t boycott Russia World Cup, British MPs told

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London (AFP) – British lawmakers should not boycott the 2018 World Cup in protest at Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a parliamentary committee said on Thursday.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said last year “all options” were being considered as means of putting pressure on Russia over its role in the ongoing conflict in Syria.

No excuses for Madrid despite Bale dismissal – Zidane

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insisted his side had no one to blame but themselves despite Gareth Bale’s red card in a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas on Wednesday.

Madrid looked set for a first home league defeat in a year as Las Palmas took advantage of Bale’s dismissal early in the second-half to lead 3-1 with just three minutes remaining.

Guardiola salutes Bravo despite fans doubts

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted he has no concerns about his goalkeeper Claudio Bravo despite the club’s supporters appearing to show their displeasure at the experienced Chilean international during a 5-1 FA Cup win over Huddersfield Town.

No limit on MLS potential: Commissioner Garber

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Los Angeles (AFP) – The 22nd season of Major League Soccer kicks off on Friday with all eyes on two new expansion teams as the competition continues its steady growth across the American sporting landscape.

The arrival of Atlanta United FC and Minnesota United FC is the latest example of the league’s increasing maturity and America’s ever closer embrace of the world’s most popular sport.

Red card unfair, claims repentant Bale

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale complained he had been harshly treated after the first red card of his Real Madrid career cost the European champions in a thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas on Wednesday.

Bale kicked out at Jonathan Viera twice before finally pushing the Las Palmas midfielder to the ground early in the second-half with the scores level at 1-1.

USA down Germany to kick off women’s football SheBelieves Cup

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Los Angeles (AFP) – The United States launched their 2017 season with a 1-0 victory over Germany on Wednesday in a duel of FIFA’s top-ranked women’s teams in the SheBelieves Cup women’s tournament.

Lynn Williams scored in the 56th minute to give the United States the victory in the second match of a double-header in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Luis Enrique calls time on Barcelona reign

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique’s decision to remove any suspense over his future by confirming he will step down as coach after three trophy-filled but turbulent seasons at the Camp Nou at the end of the campaign was met with surprise on Thursday.

“Goodbye leader,” said the front page of Barcelona sport daily Mundo Deportivo in reference to Enrique’s announcement coming on the same night Barca overtook Real Madrid at the top of La Liga.

Celtic’s ‘Lisbon Lion’ Tommy Gemmell dies aged 73

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London (AFP) – Celtic great Tommy Gemmell, who inspired the club to glory in the 1967 European Cup, has died aged 73 after a long illness, the Scottish giants announced on Thursday.

Gemmell scored Celtic’s equaliser and played a part in Stevie Chalmers’s 84th-minute winner as Celtic came from behind to beat Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon in the 1967 final.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger not interested in Barcelona job

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger said he had no interest in succeeding Luis Enrique as Barcelona coach on Thursday, but admitted his future as Arsenal manager remains up in the air.

Luis Enrique announced after Barcelona’s 6-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Wednesday that he will step down from his role at the end of the season in order to take a break.

Leicester make £16.4 mn profit from title season

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London (AFP) – Leicester City made a pre-tax profit of £16.4 million ($20.1 million, 19.1 million euros) in the season of their fairytale Premier League title win, the club announced on Thursday.

Prize money from winning the 2015-16 title saw the Thai-owned club’s turnover swell by over £24 million from the previous financial year, when Leicester had finished 14th.

German star Podolski joins Japan’s Vissel Kobe

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Tokyo (AFP) – German World Cup winner Lukas Podolski has formally joined Japan’s Vissel Kobe, the J-League club said Thursday, bucking a trend of big-name players moving to cash-rich China.

The 31-year-old forward, who has played for Turkey’s Galatasaray since 2015, is expected to arrive in Japan in June.

Aguero ends drought in City cup romp

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Sergio Aguero scored twice, ending a run of six domestic games without a goal, as Manchester City advanced to the FA Cup quarter-finals with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Championship side Huddersfield.

Leroy Sane, Pablo Zabaleta and Kelechi Iheanacho also scored for Pep Guardiola’s side who booked a place in the last eight of the competition, where they will travel to take on Premier League rivals Middlesbrough.

‘MSN’ send Barcelona top in Sporting rout

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Barcelona (AFP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all struck as Barcelona leapfrogged Real Madrid to the top of La Liga with a 6-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon on Wednesday.

Madrid trail their title rivals by two points but have two games in hand and can reclaim top spot when Las Palmas visit the Santiago Bernabeu later on Wednesday.

Pele’s son freed pending appeal of money laundering conviction

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – The son of Brazilian football legend Pele was ordered released on Wednesday pending an appeal against his conviction and 13-year sentence for laundering drug-trafficking money.

Edson “Edinho” Cholbi do Nascimento, 46, had turned himself in last Friday, a day after a judge reconfirmed his conviction handed down in 2014 but cut his prison term from the original 33 years.

Monaco outgun Marseille, PSG wade into cup quarters

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Paris (AFP) – Thomas Lemar swept Monaco into the quarter-finals of the French Cup in a thrilling 4-3 extra-time victory at Marseille on Wednesday, while holders Paris Saint-Germain trudged past second tier Niort 2-0.

League leaders Monaco led three times at the Stade Velodrome through an own goal from Marseille keeper Yohann Pele and strikes from Kylian Mbappe and Benjamin Mendy.

Madrid draw sends Barca top as Enrique confirms exit

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona moved top of La Liga on the night Luis Enrique confirmed he will not continue as coach next season as Gareth Bale was sent-off in Real Madrid’s thrilling 3-3 draw at home to Las Palmas.

Enrique announced his decision to step down after Barca’s 6-1 rout of Sporting Gijon earlier on Wednesday which leaves Barcelona a point clear at the top, but having played a game more.

Sublime Lewandowski fires Bayern into cup semis

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Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski took his season tally to 30 goals to inspire Bayern Munich’s 3-0 win over ten-man Schalke in the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Having hit a hat-trick in last weekend’s 8-0 mauling of Hamburg at home, Lewandowski’s rich form continued at the Allianz Arena as he was involved in all three Bayern goals, scoring twice.

Celtic go 27 points clear in Scotland

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to 27 points as they eased to a 4-0 victory at bottom of the table Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

A superb strike from Scott Sinclair fired Celtic in front just before the break before a horrendous mistake from Inverness goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams allowed in-form French striker Moussa Dembele to make it 2-0 just 11 seconds into the second half.

Bale sees red for first time in Madrid career

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale was sent-off for the first time in his Real Madrid career for lashing out at Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera on Wednesday.

Bale was shown a straight red three minutes into the second-half with the scores level at 1-1 for pushing Viera after reacting angrily to a late challenge by the Spaniard.

Milinkovic-Savic, Immobile give Lazio edge over Roma

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Rome (AFP) – Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile gave Lazio a deserved 2-0 win over bitter city rivals Roma in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final at a half-full Stadio Olimpico.

The result made Lazio the favourites to reach the final where they are likely to face Juventus who beat Napoli 3-1 in their opening leg 24 hours earlier.

Luis Enrique to leave Barcelona at end of season

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique ended speculation over his future on Wednesday by confirming he will leave the Catalan giants at the end of the season.

“I will not be the coach of Barcelona next season,” Enrique said after Barca’s 6-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon in La Liga.

Coach Luis Enrique to leave Barcelona at end of season

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique ended speculation over his future on Wednesday by confirming he will leave the Catalan giants at the end of the season.

“I will not be the coach of Barcelona next season,” Enrique said after Barca’s 6-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon in La Liga.

Dortmund demand German Cup minnows switch pitch

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund want their German Cup quarter-final at minnows Sportfreunde Lotte played at an alternative stadium after snow forced Tuesday’s game to be postponed just an hour before kick-off.

The rescheduled match will be on March 14 but Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke is worried the pitch could again prove dangerously unplayable, presenting his side with a potential fixture headache.

‘MSN’ send Barelona top in Sporting rout

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Barcelona (AFP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all struck as Barcelona leapfrogged Real Madrid to the top of La Liga with a 6-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon on Wednesday.

Madrid trail their title rivals by two points but have two games in hand and can reclaim top spot when Las Palmas visit the Santiago Bernabeu later on Wednesday.

Paris Saint-Germain trudge into French Cup quarters

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Paris (AFP) – Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani both came off the bench to score late as French Cup holders Paris Saint-Germain waded past second-tier Niort 2-0 in a rain-soaked last-16 tie on Wednesday.

The Argentine midfielder bundled in a free-kick from Christopher Nkunku on 78 minutes before Cavani struck his 36th goal of the season deep into stoppage time as PSG prevailed amidst a torrential downpour in western France.

Who Turner Sports should hire for Champions League TV coverage

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Turner Sports’ coverage of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League won’t launch until August 2018, so the sports network has plenty of time to execute its plan to bring the world’s number one soccer club competition into the homes of viewers across the United States.

While FOX Sports certainly improved the quantity of UEFA Champions League coverage in the United States by making every game available between TV and streaming, Turner Sports now has the opportunity to raise the bar on the quality.

Liverpool report £19.8 mn annual loss, despite record revenue

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London (AFP) – Liverpool announced a pre-tax loss of £19.8 million ($24.5 million, 23.2 million euros) for last year on Wednesday, despite record revenue of £301 million.

The loss in the year ending May 2016 was due to investment in the first-team squad and pay-offs to manager Brendan Rodgers, who was sacked in October 2015, and his back-room staff.

Lucas Perez deserves more starts at Arsenal

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When Lucas Perez was brought in from Deportivo La Coruna near the end of the summer transfer window, many fans and pundits assumed that the Spaniard would be a solid addition to the club. While not a world-class striker, Perez is a capable and versatile player. Whether being deployed up front as a center forward, out wide on the left flank, or perhaps even sitting just behind the number nine as a secondary striker, the 28-year-old certainly has the skill set to play for a top Champions League level club.

Where to find Bayern Munich vs. Schalke DFB-Pokal on US TV and live streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Bayern Munich vs. Schalke in the DFB Pokal, you’ve come to the right place.

The quarterfinal of the DFB-Pokal features Bayern Munich hosting Schalke in a match that’ll determine which team advances to the semi-final. Despite Bayern being the obvious favorites, this could be Schalke’s ticket to save a disappointing season.

Where to find USA Women’s Team vs. Germany on TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch US Women’s National Team against Germany in the SheBelieves Cup, you’ve come to the right place.

The US Women’s National Team competes in its first game on Wednesday in the second-annual SheBelieves Cup. As current holders, the pressure will be on the USA team to get a result against a German team that will be wanting to seek revenge.

Liverpool report £19.8m annual loss

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London (AFP) – Liverpool announced a pre-tax loss of £19.8 million ($24.5 million, 23.2 million euros) for last year on Wednesday despite record revenue of £301 million.

The loss in the year ending May 2016 was due to investment in the first-team squad and pay-offs to manager Brendan Rodgers, who was sacked in October 2015, and his back-room staff.

FIFA chief Infantino promises Africa World Cup dream

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Nouakchott (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino vows to honour a promise to hike Africa’s World Cup finals berths to nine or ten during a visit to the impoverished West African state of Mauritania this week.

“We want everyone to have the right to dream and how better to do that that taking part in a major event such as a World Cup,” Infantino told a press conference.

Dybala penalty double puts Juve in control in Italian Cup

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Paolo Dybala’s second-half penalty double put holders Juventus in control with a 3-1 win over Napoli in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

Spaniard Jose Callejon had given the visitors the lead after 36 minutes as the hosts looked out of sorts at home in Turin.

Simpson supports Shakespeare’s Leicester credentials

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London (AFP) – Leicester defender Danny Simpson believes Craig Shakespeare deserves to be seriously considered as the club’s permanent manager.

Shakespeare was in caretaker charge of Leicester as they beat Liverpool 3-1 on Monday in their first game since the shock sacking of Claudio Ranieri.

Guardiola rules out Hart return

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has indicated that England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s Manchester City career is over, regardless of how well he performs at Torino.

Hart has impressed in Serie A since his arrival on a season’s loan in August, having been frozen out by Guardiola.

Eibar deny Sociedad at death amid red-card furore

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Sociedad missed the chance to leapfrog Atletico Madrid into fourth in La Liga as Pedro Leon’s 93rd-minute equaliser snatched a 2-2 draw for Eibar in a controversial Basque derby on Tuesday.

Juanmi’s header opened the scoring for Sociedad, but he was booked for showing a t-shirt honouring Pablo Raez.

Hulk, Oscar on target as Aussies take a hammering

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Shanghai (AFP) – Big-money Brazilians Hulk and Oscar were among the scorers as Australian sides were brutally put to the sword in the Asian Champions League on a night of goals on Tuesday.

Heavy-spending Shanghai SIPG hammered 2014 champions Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1, while the Brisbane Roar fared even worse, crashing 6-0 to Ulsan Hyundai of South Korea.

Hull’s Mbokani ruled out for six weeks

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London (AFP) – Hull’s DR Congo striker Dieumerci Mbokani will be sidelined for six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury, dealing a blow to their hopes of staying in the Premier League.

Mbokani will miss a significant chunk of Hull’s battle for survival after being forced off in the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley.

FIFA ban Nigeria’s Adamu for two years

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Zurich (AFP) – Nigeria’s former football official Amos Adamu was on Tuesday banned for two years by world governing body FIFA for ethics violations.

Adamu, a former FIFA executive committee member and West African Football Union president, cannot take part in any “football-related activity at national and international level” for the next two years, FIFA said in a statement.

Naive not to be Messi-dependent: Luis Enrique

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona boss Luis Enrique insists his side’s reliance on Lionel Messi is perfectly normal when you have “the best player in the world” on your side.

Messi has kept Barca’s La Liga title challenge alive with late winners in 2-1 wins over Leganes and Atletico Madrid in their last two outings to take his tally for the season to 35 goals in as many games.

Hulk strikes as Aussies take AFC hammering

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Shanghai (AFP) – Brazilian forward Hulk was amongst the scorers as Australian sides were put to the sword in the Asian Champions League on a day of one-side matches on Tuesday.

Big-spending Shanghai SIPG hammered 2014 champions Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1, while the Brisbane Roar fared even worse, crashing to a 6-0 humbling against Ulsan Hyundai.

Guardiola to select Man City goalkeepers game-by-game

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has effectively admitted he no longer has a first-choice goalkeeper after declaring he will choose between Willy Caballero and Claudio Bravo on a game-by-game basis.

Bravo was brought in from Barcelona in August to be the senior goalkeeper, but has lost his Premier League place to Caballero in recent weeks after a series of inconsistent displays.

Zidane hopes Jese fulfils potential – but doesn’t haunt Real

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Madrid (AFP) – Real boss Zinedine Zidane hopes Jese Rodriguez rediscovers the form that once made him the star of Madrid’s academy - but only after his return to the Santiago Bernabeu with Las Palmas on Wednesday.

Jese left Real Madrid for French champions Paris Saint Germain on a five-year deal in August for a reported 25 million euros ($27 million).

Zidane hopes Jese fulfils potential, but doesn’t haunt Real

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hopes Jese Rodriguez rediscovers the form that once made him the star of Madrid’s academy, but only after his return to the Santiago Bernabeu with Las Palmas on Wednesday.

Jese left Madrid for French champions Paris Saint-Germain on a five-year deal in August for a reported 25 million euros ($26.

No short-term fix for Goetze – Dortmund boss

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund said Tuesday they do not expect Mario Goetze to return anytime soon as Germany’s World Cup winner battles with a unspecified metabolism disorder.

“This will not be a short-term issue,” Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

Former FIFA executive Valcke challenges 10-year ban

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Lausanne (AFP) – Shamed former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against a 10-year ban for ethics breaches.

The world body fired the Frenchman in January 2016 over black market World Cup ticket sales and suspect television deals.

Naive not to be Messi-dependent – Luis Enrique

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona boss Luis Enrique insists his side’s reliance on Lionel Messi is perfectly normal when you have “the best player in the world” on your side.

Messi has kept Barca’s La Liga title challenge alive with late winners in 2-1 wins over Leganes and Atletico Madrid in their last two outings to take his tally for the season to 35 goals in as many games.

Everton boss Koeman open to Rooney return

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London (AFP) – Everton manager Ronald Koeman paved the way Tuesday for Wayne Rooney’s return to the club of his youth by saying he would make the side “stronger”.

Last week Rooney said he was staying with Manchester United following persistent speculation he could make a lucrative move to the Chinese Super League.

SheBelieves Cup TV schedule and streaming links

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The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) will once again be competing against the national teams of Germany, France, and England as the SheBelieves Cup makes its return to American television with its second annual edition beginning March 1.

The United States won all three of their 2016 SheBelieves Cup matches to win the inaugural tournament, conceding only one goal to runners up Germany on the final match day.

Fuchs wants Liverpool win to start Leicester run

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester defender Christian Fuchs has urged his team-mates to build on their 3-1 win over Liverpool as the champions look to secure their Premier League future following the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri.

In a remarkable transformation, Leicester looked like the side that stormed to a dramatic title win last season rather than the insipid team of recent weeks as they overwhelmed Liverpool to climb out of the relegation zone, just four days after Ranieri was dismissed.

Lahm offers Schalke tips for facing rampant Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) – Philipp Lahm has offered Schalke tips on how to avoid being the next victims of a Bayern Munich pounding in Wednesday’s German Cup quarter-final.

Holders Bayern have reached the cup’s last eight in each of the last 10 years, which no other German club can match.

Lahm offers Schalke tips to face rampant Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) – Philipp Lahm has offered Schalke tips on how to avoid being the next victims of a Bayern Munich pounding in Wednesday’s German Cup quarter-final.

Holders Bayern have reached the cup’s last eight in each of the last 10 years, which no other German club can match.

Where to find Juventus vs. Napoli Coppa Italia semi-final on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Juventus vs. Napoli, you’ve come to the right place.

The first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final kicks off today between Juventus and Napoli. With Juventus already 7 points ahead atop the Serie A table, today’s match gives Napoli an excellent opportunity to get a head start on winning silverware this season.

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

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

Today’s match between Brighton and Newcastle features a top of the table clash, which could have a saying on who will end up as the Championship title winner. Brighton is on 71 points, while Newcastle is in second with 70.

FA Cup is not a side issue for Manchester City, says Fernandinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho insists the FA Cup remains a priority for his side despite their bid to advance in the Champions League.

Last week’s thrilling 5-3 victory over French side Monaco has left Pep Guardiola’s side in a strong position to advance to the quarter-finals in a competition in which the coach has excelled throughout his career.

Revenge not on the menu, says Celtic’s Gamboa

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic defender Cristian Gamboa says the runaway Premiership leaders will not be seeking revenge when they take on the only side to take a point off them this season Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Wednesday.

Celtic are strolling to the defence of their league crown - which will be their sixth successive title - holding a 24 point advantage over Aberdeen at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Illness caps Goetze’s fall from hero to zero

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Berlin (AFP) – Mario Goetze had the nation at his feet when Germany’s hero netted the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final.

Fast-forward nearly three years and Monday’s news that the Borussia Dortmund star is sidelined indefinitely by a metabolism disorder is the latest blow to affect the attacking midfielder since the Brazil triumph.

Life-saving Togo striker wins over Czech fans

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Prague (AFP) – Racially abused by their fans, Togolese striker Francis Kone has taken on hero status after saving a rival goalkeeper’s life in a Czech top-flight game last weekend.

Half an hour into Saturday’s tie pitting Bohemians 1905 Prague against Kone’s FC Slovacko, Bohemians keeper Martin Berkovec sprinted towards the edge of the box to head out a long pass.

I’m ready for Leicester job: Shakespeare

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester City caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare said he was ready to take on the role full-time after overseeing an impressive 3-1 win against Liverpool in his first game.

Shakespeare was promoted from his role as assistant following Claudio Ranieri’s sensational dismissal last Thursday, nine months on from Leicester’s 5,000-1 Premier League title triumph.

Asian football body ditches troubled Chinese broadcaster

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Asia’s football body on Tuesday said it has terminated the contract of cash-strapped LeSports to broadcast its games in China and found a new partner after reports of payment defaults and legal action.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said it had “no alternative” but to end its $100 million, four-year deal with China’s LeSports, which was due to run until 2020.

China football transfers hit new record despite crackdown

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Beijing (AFP) – Chinese clubs splashed a record 388 million euros ($411 million) on footballers in the January-February transfer window despite an official crackdown on spending, with Oscar’s heavyweight move to Shanghai SIPG leading the way.

In spite of moves to curb “irrational” expenditure, China’s top tier beat last year’s record of 345 million euros and outstripped the English Premier League’s winter spending (259 million euros) for the second year in a row, according to industry website transfermarkt.

Asian body urges FIFA to rule on Council picks

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Asia’s football body on Tuesday urged FIFA to rule whether its candidates can stand for election to the world organisation’s top decision-making body, following a walk-out over the issue last year.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said FIFA’s decision on the candidates was already overdue, after their names were submitted early this month.

Struggling Deportivo hire Pepe Mel

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Madrid (AFP) – Deportivo la Coruna hired former Real Betis and West Bromwich Albion coach Pepe Mel on Tuesday with the task of leading the Galicians away from the La Liga relegation zone.

Gaizka Garitano was sacked by Deportivo on Sunday after Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at Leganes left the 1999/2000 La Liga winners just one place and two points above the relegation zone.

Leicester win a reaction to bad press: Vardy

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy said his side’s 3-1 victory over Liverpool on Monday had been a reaction to negative media reports over the dismissal of manager Claudio Ranieri.

Ranieri was sacked on Thursday, less than 10 months on from Leicester’s 5,000-1 title triumph, after a run of five straight defeats plunged the club into a relegation battle.

Vardy lifts Leicester to post-Ranieri win

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jamie Vardy scored twice as a revitalised Leicester City started life without sacked manager Claudio Ranieri by sinking Liverpool 3-1 on Monday to spark their Premier League survival hopes.

Ranieri, 65, was dismissed last Thursday, nine months on from Leicester’s fairytale title win, and fans honoured him with banners, masks and a smartphone light show in the 65th minute.

Late Belotti brace for Torino stuns Fiorentina

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Milan (AFP) – Italy striker Andrea Belotti made amends for missing a second-half penalty for Torino with a late brace that secured a share of the points in a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A Monday.

In a clash helpful to both sides’ chances of qualifying for Europe next season, Fiorentina raced to a two-goal lead before half-time after Riccardo Saponara, in the eighth minute and Nikola Kalinic, with a 38th minute header, beat Joe Hart in the Torino net.

Trigger-happy Zamparini resigns from Palermo post

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Milan (AFP) – Coaches fired in quick succession at Palermo could become a thing of the past after trigger-happy president Maurizio Zamparini announced his resignation Monday amid plans to bring in “Anglo-American” investors.

Zamparini, who is notorious for hiring and firing managers at the Serie A club, has seen no less than 28 - many of whom were hired for a second or third time - walk in the door since he bought Palermo in 2002.

Leicester fans honour sacked Ranieri

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester City supporters held banners aloft and donned masks in support of sacked manager Claudio Ranieri prior to Monday’s Premier League home game with Liverpool.

Ranieri was sacked on Thursday, less than 10 months on from Leicester’s 5,000-1 title triumph, after a run of five straight defeats plunged the club into a relegation battle.

Chinese investors complete 100mn Lyon cash injection

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Lyon (AFP) – Lyon’s new Chinese stakeholder on Monday completed a promised 100-million-euro investment, as the French Ligue 1 club attempts to rediscover its glory years.

Chinese investment fund IDG Capital Partners injected 30 million euros into the multiple French champions in December, with the remaining 70 million euros ($75 million) arriving on Monday.

Uproar in Nigeria over federation boss’ CAF pick

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Abuja (AFP) – The head of Nigerian football’s governing body is at loggerheads with his executive committee after he endorsed Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad to be president of the Confederation of African Football.

The Nigerian Football Federation said it had called a meeting on Tuesday to distance itself from Amaju Pinnick’s position and instead throw its weight behind the incumbent Issa Hayatou.

Trump travel restrictions could wreck US World Cup bid, says UEFA

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warned the United States that President Donald Trump’s controversial travel restrictions could torpedo any hopes of hosting the 2026 World Cup.

Measures that prevent players, fans or journalists from entering the US would count against a bid to host football’s showpiece, The New York Times quoted Ceferin as saying in an interview at UEFA headquarters in Switzerland.

Metabolism disorder sidelines Goetze indefinitely

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund will be without Mario Goetze for the forseeable future after a medical check revealed a metabolism disorder, the latest set-back for Germany’s World Cup hero.

“I am in the process of getting treatment and I will do everything I can to get back into training as quickly as possible to help my team achieve our common goals,” Goetze told the club website on Monday.

New boss Jonker brings Ljungberg to Wolfsburg

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Berlin (AFP) – Arsenal youth academy boss Andries Jonker was on Monday named head coach at struggling Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg and revealed that ex-Gunners star Freddie Ljungberg will be his assistant.

This is the first time Jonker has been appointed head coach at a top club after previous stints on the staff at Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Arsenal’s academy, where he was working with the Swede Ljungberg, 39.

Turner Sports’ acquisition of Champions League rights is massive development for soccer

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The soccer world reacted with a combination of shock, sarcasm and guarded optimism on Friday afternoon when World Soccer Talk broke the news that Turner Sports - who has not broadcast soccer on TV since the folding of the WUSA in 2003 (which aired on TNT and the now-defunct CNNSI) and has not shown men’s soccer since the 1990 World Cup - had won the English-language rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League in the United States from August 2018 until June 2021.

‘Animal’ Ibrahimovic thanks kids, Mourinho for Man Utd chance

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London (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic thanked his children and Jose Mourinho for getting him to sign for Manchester United but refused to commit his future to the club after his goals helped them win the League Cup.

Ibrahimovic scored United’s first and their winner in a 3-2 victory over Premier League rivals Southampton at Wembley on Sunday as they lifted their first trophy under Mourinho.

Leicester flops face Liverpool after Ranieri sacking

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester’s underachieving stars will be in the spotlight when the crisis-torn champions start life without Claudio Ranieri in a crucial home clash against Liverpool on Monday.

Ranieri was ruthlessly sacked by Leicester’s Thai owners on Thursday amid reports several of the team’s senior players had lost faith with the Italian.

Rising star Werner hoping for Germany call-up

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Berlin (AFP) – Rising star Timo Werner, currently the Bundesliga’s best homegrown striker, is in line for a senior call-up for next month’s internationals against England and Azerbaijan after praise from Germany coach Joachim Loew.

With 13 league goals for second-placed RB Leipzig, Werner - who only turns 21 next Monday - is the top-scoring German in the Bundesliga.

French defender, girlfriend get community service for spat

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid’s French defender Lucas Hernandez and his girlfriend were on Monday ordered to serve 31 days of community service and to not see each other for six months after a violent altercation.

Hernandez, 21, was arrested after his girlfriend was taken to hospital with minor injuries following a fight between the pair on February 3.

Celtic great Billy McNeill has dementia

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London (AFP) – The family of former Celtic captain and manager Billy McNeill has said he is suffering from dementia as they called for more research into whether footballers were at greater risk of brain injury from heading the ball.

A central defender, the 76-year-old Celtic great’s glittering career saw him become the first British player to lift the European Cup when the Hoops won the trophy in 1967 and he also had two spells as the Glasgow club’s manager.

FIFA backs troubled Saint Petersburg pitch

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – FIFA on Monday said it was confident problems plaguing the pitch at the new Saint Petersburg stadium will be fixed in time for the Confederations Cup in June.

Last year inspectors said the retractable pitch at the 68,000-seater Saint Petersburg Arena - which is set to hold the opening and final games of the Confederations Cup - was unstable and not fit for matches.

Brighton’s Bloom deserves promotion, says Seagulls CEO

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London (AFP) – Tony Bloom deserves promotion to the Premier League as a return on the £200 million (234m euros, $248m) he has invested in Championship side Brighton, says club chief executive Paul Barber.

Chairman since 2009, Bloom - a hometown boy and successful property developer, as well as a renowned poker player - has seen the ‘Seagulls’ go close in three of the past four seasons.

Allegri warns Juve over ‘angry’ Napoli

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has warned against complacency when the Turin giants host ‘angry’ Napoli in the first leg of their Italian Cup semi-final on Tuesday.

Napoli’s hopes of staying in the title hunt were dented by a humiliating 2-0 home defeat to 10-man Atalanta on Saturday which left them 12 points off the top.

Rui Almeida replaces Ciccolini as Bastia coach

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Bastia (France) (AFP) – Rui Almeida has replaced Francois Ciccolini as coach of struggling Ligue 1 club Bastia.

Portuguese Almeida, sacked by Ligue 2’s Red Star in December, takes over a club which lies second from bottom of France’s first division, just one point off bottom team Lorient.

Jonker replaces Ismael at struggling Wolfsburg

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Berlin (AFP) – Andries Jonker was on Monday named head coach at struggling Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg following Valerien Ismael’s sacking after just four months.

Ismael, 41, was told his services were no longer required on Sunday night in the wake of Wolfsburg’s 2-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.

Puel tells Southampton to make up for Wembley pain

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London (AFP) – Claude Puel insists his heartbroken Southampton players will use their League Cup final pain as fuel for a strong finish to the Premier League campaign.

Puel’s side were denied only the second major trophy in their club’s history as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s 87th minute header gave Manchester United a 3-2 victory in Sunday’s showpiece at Wembley.

Zidane hails impact of subs in Madrid comeback

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hailed the impact of Isco and Alvaro Morata off the bench as the European champions came from 2-0 down at Villarreal on Sunday to win 3-2.

Morata completed the comeback after Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo had hauled Madrid level to ensure Zidane’s men move back ahead of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

Kane growing into a Tottenham legend – Pochettino

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino believes Harry Kane is on course to becoming a Tottenham Hotspur great after the striker scored the 100th club goal of his career.

Kane, 23, scored a first half hat-trick in his club’s 4-0 victory over Stoke City, reaching the century mark with his first goal and ending the game with his season tally on 22 goals.

Mourinho demands Manchester United trophy charge

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has challenged his Manchester United stars to use their dramatic League Cup final win against Southampton as a springboard to bigger prizes.

Mourinho lifted the first major trophy of his United reign on Sunday after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late header clinched a 3-2 victory at Wembley.

Kane growing into a Tottenham legend: Pochettino

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino believes Harry Kane is on course to becoming a Tottenham Hotspur great after the striker scored the 100th club goal of his career.

Kane, 23, scored a first half hat-trick in his club’s 4-0 victory over Stoke City, reaching the century mark with his first goal and ending the game with his season tally on 22 goals.

Jonker to replace Ismael at Wolfsburg – reports

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Berlin (AFP) – Andries Jonker is set to be named head coach at struggling Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg on Monday, press reports said, following Valerien Ismael’s sacking after just four months.

Ismael, 41, was told his services were no longer required on Sunday night in the wake of Wolfsburg’s 2-1 defeat at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.

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

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

All eyes will be on Leicester against Liverpool on Monday to see what state the Foxes will be on and off the pitch after sacking Claudio Ranieri. At the same time, the Reds could climb into third place with a win and convincing goal difference.

Nainggolan brace rocks Inter Milan as Roma roll on

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Milan (AFP) – A spectacular double from Belgium midfielder Radja Nainggolan kept the Serie A title race ticking over after Roma stunned Inter Milan 3-1 at the San Siro on Sunday.

Inter welcomed Luciano Spalletti’s visitors confident of avenging their 2-1 defeat in the capital having suffered only one defeat, away to Juventus, in their past 10 league outings.

Goal-crazy Paris Saint Germain hammer Marseille

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Paris (AFP) – Edinson Cavani bagged his 35th goal of a spectacular season as Paris Saint Germain swept aside Marseille 5-1 on Sunday in “Le Classique” to move second in Ligue 1.

The reigning French champions are three points behind prolific league leaders Monaco and level with Nice, but go second thanks to a better goal difference in what has become a three-way tussle for the title.

Goal-crazy PSG hammer Marseille

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Paris (AFP) – Edinson Cavani bagged his 35th goal of a spectacular season as Paris Saint Germain swept aside Marseille 5-1 on Sunday in “Le Classique” to move second in Ligue 1.

The reigning French champions are three points behind prolific league leaders Monaco and level with Nice, but go second thanks to a better goal difference in what has become a three-way tussle for the title.

Real Madrid stage Villarreal fightback, Messi nets winner for Barcelona

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo hauled Real Madrid back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Villarreal on Sunday and regain top spot in La Liga from Barcelona.

Earlier, Barca had momentarily usurped Real thanks to Lionel Messi’s winner four minutes from time in a 2-1 victory at Atletico Madrid.

Five things we learned in the Bundesliga

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Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick as leaders Bayern Munich thrashed Hamburg 8-0 and RB Leipzig won again to keep up the pressure in second, while some of German football’s biggest names are in danger of the drop.

Here are five things we learned from the Bundesliga this weekend:

Bayern just love to beat Hamburg

Heading to Munich, Hamburg were sitting firmly in the relegation places and needed a win to leapfrog Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg to safety.

Emotional Mourinho hails United’s Wembley glory

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho was overcome with emotion after a thrilling 3-2 win against Southampton in the League Cup final gave the Manchester United manager the first major trophy of his reign.

Mourinho’s side were below par for long periods at Wembley but still ended up with the silverware thanks to the ageless Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

‘I keep doing it’ declares Wembley hero Ibrahimovic

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London (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrated his League Cup final heroics in typically bullish style as the Manchester United star insisted he never doubted he would thrive in England.

Ibrahimovic scored twice in Sunday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Southampton at Wembley, opening the scoring with a powerful free-kick before sealing the first major trophy of his time at United with a clinical 87th minute header.

Ibrahimovic double downs Saints in Wembley thriller

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London (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic sealed the first major silverware of Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United reign and broke Southampton’s hearts as the Swedish star’s late goal clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory in Sunday’s League Cup final.

Ibrahimovic was one of Mourinho’s marquee signings in the close-season and he repaid his manager’s faith with a typically dominant display on the big occasion at Wembley.

Marseille’s American owner vows buying spree

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Marseille (AFP) – Marseille’s American billionaire owner Frank McCourt says he intends to invest heavily in new talent to restore the glory days of the once-dominant French giants.

Marseille stumped up a club-record 30 million euros ($32m, £25m) to lure French international Dimitri Payet back from Premier League West Ham during the winter transfer window, when they also signed veteran Patrice Evra on a free from Juventus.

Immobile, Bacca spot-on for Lazio and Milan

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Milan (AFP) – Ciro Immobile and Carlos Bacca hit spot-kicks for Lazio and AC Milan respectively on Sunday in key wins that boosted the Serie A sides’ hopes of European football next season.

Table-toppers Juventus took their lead over Roma to 10 points with a comfortable win over Empoli on Saturday, and the gap will remain if Roma suffer defeat at Inter Milan later Sunday.

Messi haunts Atletico once more to send Barcelona top

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Madrid (AFP) – Lionel Messi struck the winner four minutes from time as Barcelona moved top of La Liga on Sunday with a crucial 2-1 win at Atletico Madrid.

All the goals came in the final half hour as Rafinha put Barcelona in front before Diego Godin’s header quickly restored parity.

Spurs up to second as Kane treble crushes Stoke

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London (AFP) – Harry Kane hit a first-half hat-trick as Tottenham stormed up to second in the Premier League with a 4-0 home demolition of Stoke on Sunday.

Kane’s treble took his tally to 17 league goals this season, while his first of the day at White Hart Lane was his 100th club goal.

Koeman eyes Europe after Everton down Sunderland

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Liverpool (AFP) – Ronald Koeman insists he hasn’t given up on a late Europa League challenge after Everton’s 2-0 win against lowly Sunderland.

A brilliantly worked finish from Idrissa Gueye in the first half opened the scoring for Everton before Romelu Lukaku’s late finish confirmed the three points at Goodison Park on Saturday.

Chelsea’s title pedigree key for Conte

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte believes Chelsea’s experience of winning the Premier League two years ago will prove decisive as they attempt to maintain their stranglehold on the title race.

A 3-1 victory over Swansea on Saturday gave Conte’s side an 11-point lead as they head into the final third of the season, with the pressure resting firmly on the chasing pack.

Mourinho demands United hunger for Wembley showdown

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho can win the first major silverware of his Manchester United reign in Sunday’s League Cup final against Southampton and Wayne Rooney might be the man to help him do it.

Mourinho will become the first United manager to win a top prize in his maiden season at Old Trafford if his team triumph at Wembley.

Celtic’s Dembele ‘oozes quality’ – Rodgers

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised the quality of striker Moussa Dembele after the French forward fired the Glasgow giants to their 21st league victory in a row on Saturday.

The French under-21 international grabbed both goals in the 2-0 win over bottom club Hamilton Academical at Celtic Park to take his tally to 29 goals in 42 games since joining the Hoops from Fulham in the summer.

Sampaoli super subs keep Sevilla’s La Liga dreams alive

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sevilla’s unlikely La Liga title bid remained intact as another masterstroke from Argentine coach Jorge Sampaoli maintained their dominance over local rivals Real Betis.

With his side 1-0 down and thoroughly outplayed in the first-half at the Benito Villamarin on Saturday, a Sampaoli double substitution turned the game around.

Leicester flops in spotlight after Ranieri sacking

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester’s underachieving stars will be in the spotlight when the crisis-torn champions start life without Claudio Ranieri in a crucial clash against Liverpool on Monday.

Ranieri was ruthlessly sacked by Leicester’s Thai owners on Thursday amid reports several of the team’s senior players had lost faith with the Italian.

Japan’s ‘King Kazu’ turns 50 with J-League start

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Yokohama (Japan) (AFP) – Twinkle-toed former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura celebrated his 50th birthday by starting a J-League game for Yokohama FC on Sunday, marking yet another landmark in a storied career.

Miura, the oldest Japanese to play professional football, lasted 65 minutes in a 1-0 home win over second division rivals Matsumoto Yamaga as he became the first quinquagenarian to grace the J-League.

Brighton’s Hughton coy on league promotion talk as Seagulls fly high

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London (AFP) – Brighton manager Chris Hughton tried to calm talk of promotion to the Premier League after his high-flying Seagulls returned to the top of the second-tier Championship with a 3-0 win at home to Reading on Saturday.

The south coast club made the most of Newcastle dropping points in a 2-2 draw with Bristol City to fly above the Magpies thanks to goals from Sam Baldock, Jamie Murphy and Anthony Knockaert.

Mandzukic inspires Juve to easy Empoli win

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Milan (AFP) – Mario Mandzukic overcame a wasteful first half to inspire Juventus to a 2-0 home win over Empoli that edged the Turin giants closer to a record sixth straight Serie A title.

Juventus, claiming their 22nd win in 26 games, moved 10 points clear of closest challengers Roma ahead of their visit to Inter Milan late on Sunday.

Mandzukic inspires Juventus to easy Empoli win

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Milan (AFP) – Mario Mandzukic overcame a wasteful first half to inspire Juventus to a 2-0 home win over Empoli that edged the Turin giants closer to a record sixth straight Serie A title.

Juventus, claiming their 22nd win in 26 games, moved 10 points clear of closest challengers Roma ahead of their visit to Inter Milan late on Sunday.

Champions League a step too far, says Atalanta coach

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Milan (AFP) – Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has played down suggestions the success-starved Serie A minnows could launch an audacious bid to qualify for the Champions League.

Gasperini lasted only five, winless matches at Inter Milan when he replaced Leonardo in 2011.

But the former Genoa handler’s stock is flying high after Atalanta’s shock 2-0 win at Napoli on Saturday, despite being reduced to 10 men following Franck Kessie’s second-half expulsion, which put them within sight of Europe’s premier club competition.

Where to find Man United vs. Southampton EFL Cup Final on US TV and streaming

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

Sunday’s League Cup Final will be the first opportunity to win silverware in England this season. While Manchester United are favorites, many were surprised that Jose Mourinho fielded a very strong side against Saint Etienne in the Europa League on Wednesday.

Leicester’s Vardy denies rift with axed Ranieri

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London (AFP) – Jamie Vardy has slammed claims a breakdown in his relationship with Claudio Ranieri played a key role in the Leicester manager’s shock sacking.

Ranieri was dismissed by Leicester’s Thai owners on Thursday, less than a year after masterminding his team’s fairytale Premier League title triumph.

Where to find Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona on US TV and streaming

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

After Sevilla beat Real Betis on Saturday to go joint top with Real Madrid, the title race in Spain is now a three-way race. Barcelona can leapfrog both Real Madrid and Sevilla to jump into first place.

Zarate injury overshadows Watford stalemate

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Watford forward Mauro Zarate was taken to hospital for scans on a serious knee injury suffered during his side’s 1-1 draw with 10-man West Ham on Saturday.

Zarate had won the penalty that Troy Deeney converted to give Watford an early lead at Vicarage Road, but the former West Ham star’s evening turned sour just before half-time.

Juventus-bound Caldara dents Napoli title hopes with Atalanta win

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Milan (AFP) – A brace from Juventus-bound Mattia Caldara torpedoed Napoli’s Serie A title hopes on Saturday as 10-man Atalanta underlined their growing Euro ambitions in style with a shock 2-0 win at the San Paolo.

Napoli welcomed high-flying Atalanta looking to tighten their grip on the third and last Champions League qualifying spot.

Everton’s Gueye and Lukaku down Sunderland

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Liverpool (AFP) – Idrissa Gueye’s superb finish and a late second goal for Romelu Lukaku saw Everon to a 2-0 win over Sunderland at Goodison Park on Saturday as the visitors took another step closer to relegation from the Premier League.

Everton will happily take the points and the plaudits from this occasion –- but little else on an afternoon where entertainment and quality were extremely thin on the ground in Merseyside.

Cheeky Fabinho puts Monaco clear at top

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Paris (AFP) – Nerveless Fabinho chipped in a late penalty winner as Monaco beat Guingamp 2-1 away on Saturday to move clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table once again.

Kamil Glik gave the principality side the lead in Brittany and Fabinho netted with a “Panenka” from the spot with four minutes left before Etienne Didot pulled one back late on for the hosts.

Dembele hits brace as Celtic football enjoy huge lead

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Glasgow (AFP) – Moussa Dembele bagged a double to give Celtic a comfortable 2-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Hamilton at Parkhead and maintain their mammoth lead in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday.

The in-form French forward - linked to a number of English Premier League clubs - opened the scoring with a superb strike seconds before the break.

West Bromwich Albion fightback puts pressure on Bournemouth

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) – West Bromwich Albion surged back from an early goal down to pile pressure on struggling Bournemouth with a 2-1 win at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Tony Pulis’s side trailed to Josh King’s fifth-minute penalty, but goals from defenders Craig Dawson and Gareth McAuley turned the game on its head before half-time as Albion won at home for the seventh time in the last eight outings.

Lewandowski leads Bayern to new rout against Hamburg

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Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski netted a hat-trick as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich handed Hamburg an 8-0 thrashing at the Allianz Arena on Saturday in Carlo Ancelotti’s 1000th match as a coach.

Kingsley Coman came off the bench to score twice while Arturo Vidal, David Alaba and Arjen Robben were also on target as Bayern got back to winning ways after last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin.

Allardyce’s Crystal Palace edge Middlesbrough in relegation scrap

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London (AFP) – Former England boss Sam Allardyce oversaw just his second Premier League win in nine games as Crystal Palace edged relegation rivals Middlesbrough 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Injury ravaged Palace started the day level bottom with Sunderland on 19 points, but climbed clear of the drop zone by leapfrogging Hull, Leicester and Boro as they snapped a five home-game losing streak.

Keane from villain to hero as Burnley claim rare away point

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Kingston upon Hull (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Michael Keane gave away a penalty but then redeemed himself with Burnley’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw at struggling Hull City in the Premier League on Saturday.

Tom Huddlestone’s 72nd-minute spot-kick gave Hull the lead but Keane quickly equalised for the visitors.

Sevilla beat rivals Betis to go joint top

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – A second-half comeback saw Sevilla take the spoils once more in the Seville derby with a 2-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday to move joint top of La Liga.

Danish defender Riza Durmisi’s well-struck free-kick gave Betis a deserved first-half lead.

However, the hosts’ porous defending at set-pieces was exposed as first Gabriel Mercado and then captain Vicente Iborra stretched Sevilla’s unbeaten run over their local rivals to 10 games.

Leaders Chelsea stroll as Fabregas marks milestone

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London (AFP) – Cesc Fabregas marked his 300th Premier League appearance with the opening goal in Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Swansea as the runaway leaders moved 11 points clear at the top on Saturday.

Fabregas’s first half goal was cancelled out by an equaliser from Fernando Llorente on the stroke of half time at Stamford Bridge, but second half goals from Pedro and Diego Costa sealed a comfortable win.

Chelsea go 11 points clear, Leicester into bottom three

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London (AFP) – Chelsea surged 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League as Pedro inspired a 3-1 win over Swansea, while Leicester’s gloom deepened as the troubled champions plunged into the relegation zone on Saturday.

Antonio Conte’s leaders won for the 17th time in their last 20 league games to push them a step closer to the title.

Ex All Black Williams, Australian O’Connor held over cocaine

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Paris (AFP) – Former All Black Ali Williams and Australian international James O’Connor were arrested in Paris on Saturday in possession of cocaine, police said.

The pair, currently playing for French clubs Racing 92 and Toulon respectively, were stopped at around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) outside a nightclub near the city’s Champs Elysees avenue and found to be in possession of two grammes (0.

Barcelona still the best, warns Atletico’s Simeone

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone insisted Barcelona remain the best team in the world despite their recent struggles ahead of the sides third meeting this month on Sunday.

A poor opening first 45 minutes in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie cost Atletico dear as wonder goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi put Barca well on their way to a 3-2 aggregate win.

Rivals more motivated when facing Madrid – Zidane

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane believes opponents raise their game when facing the European champions after suffering a shock defeat to Valencia in midweek.

Madrid spurned the chance to extend their one-point lead over Barcelona at the top of the table as they conceded twice to a Valencia side languishing in the bottom half of the table in the opening eight minutes to lose 2-1 at Mestalla on Wednesday.

Rome Olympics killer Raggi says yes to new Roma stadium

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Milan (AFP) – Serie A side Roma can look forward to playing in a new purpose-built stadium after city officials finally gave their backing to an amended project.

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi last year ended Rome’s hopes of bidding to host the 2024 Olympic Games.

But after months of uncertainty over Roma’s bid to move away from the Stadio Olimpico home they share with Lazio and the Italian rugby team, Raggi gave the ‘Giallorossi’ the news they had been hoping to hear.

Sacked Ranieri says goodbye to Leicester stars

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London (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri visited Leicester City’s training ground on Saturday to say farewell to his former players and staff after his shock sacking.

Ranieri had visited the club’s Belvoir Drive headquarters to clean out his office on Friday following his dismissal 24 hours earlier.

Atletico Madrid vs. Barcelona predicted lineups and preview

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In recent La Liga seasons, matches between Atletico Madrid and Barcelona at the Vicente Calderon have felt like decisive occasions.

Earlier in the week, the upcoming meeting didn’t feel quite so crucial. But on the cusp of the contest, with Real Madrid losing to Valencia on Wednesday, it’s a match that could breathe life back into Spanish football’s top flight.

Manchester United vs. Southampton League Cup Final predicted lineups and preview

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The first piece of silverware in the English football season will be awarded at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in the League Cup final, with Manchester United, looking to make it five wins in this tournament, taking on Southampton, who are seeking to win only the second major title in the club’s history.

Pele’s son ordered to begin 13-year Brazil prison sentence

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Sao Paulo (AFP) – A Brazilian court has ruled that football legend Pele’s son Edinho, who was convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking, must begin serving nearly 13 years in prison, his lawyer said.

The 46-year-old former goalkeeper, who briefly played for his father’s former club Santos, was sentenced to 33 years in 2014.

Gabbiadini can engineer Saints shock at Wembley

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London (AFP) – Manolo Gabbiadini has all the tools to be Southampton’s League Cup final hero against Manchester United after completing a remarkable journey from a garage in Italy to Sunday’s Wembley showpiece.

Just eight years after dreaming of becoming a mechanic, Gabbiadini will walk onto the Wembley turf as one of Southampton’s main hopes of engineering a shock victory over Jose Mourinho’s star-studded United.

‘Indiana’ Ibrahimovic comes, sees and conquers

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London (AFP) – Having spectacularly exploded doubts about his age since joining Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic approaches Sunday’s League Cup final against Southampton seeking a second triumph of the season at Wembley Stadium.

The 35-year-old made his first official United appearance at Wembley in August’s Community Shield against Leicester City, a towering late header giving him the 29th trophy of his career.

League Cup glory key to Mourinho’s United revolution

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has challenged Manchester United’s stars to prove his revolution is on track by winning the first major silverware of his reign in Sunday’s League Cup final against Southampton.

Given his remarkable success in 17 years as the world’s most fascinating and polarising manager, it’s understandable Mourinho labels the League Cup as only a “little detail” on a glittering CV including two Champions League triumphs and league titles in England, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

Spurs look to kickstart league campaign

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur will begin the task of repairing their faltering season when Stoke City visit White Hart Lane this weekend.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side have seen their Premier League title hopes fade in recent weeks and were hit by another blow on Thursday when their failure to beat Gent at Wembley ended their hopes of success in the Europa League.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 26

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Following the FA Cup break, NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage returns, kicking off this Saturday, Feb. 25, at 9 a.m. ET with Premier League Live on NBCSN, followed by league-leaders Chelsea and their leading scorer Diego Costa (15 PL goals) v. Swansea City at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC UNIVERSO.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for February 14-20, 2017

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El Súper Clásico between Chivas and América drew 2.433 million viewers on Univision and Univision Deportes, making it the most-watched regular season Liga MX match since the two clubs met on August 27, 2016 in front of 1.92 million. In addition, the English-language stream on Facebook Live drew 26,000 viewers.

Pele’s son turns self in for Brazil prison sentence

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Sao Paulo (AFP) – The son of football legend Pele turned himself in late Friday after being ordered by a Brazilian court to begin serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence for money laundering and drug trafficking.

Edson “Edinho” Cholbi do Nascimento, who briefly played for his father’s former club Santos, had so far avoided serving time while his case underwent a lengthy appeals process.

Shakespeare takes unwanted role as pantomime villain

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leicester caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare claims he feels like a pantomime villain after taking over following the shock sacking of Claudio Ranieri.

Shakespeare is in temporary charge and will pick the team for Monday’s crucial meeting with Liverpool after Ranieri was sacked on Thursday just nine months on from leading the club to the Premier League title.

Slumping Rangers beaten again

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Glasgow (AFP) – Managerless Rangers slumped to their second consecutive defeat as a last-minute Billy McKay strike helped Inverness Caledonian Thistle to a 2-1 win in the Scottish Premiership at the Caledonian Stadium on Friday.

Greg Tansey fired Inverness into a first-half lead before Martyn Waghorn’s second-half penalty levelled matters.

Mourinho won’t let emotion cloud Rooney decision

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho won’t let his heart rule his head as the Manchester United manager ponders handing Wayne Rooney a start in the League Cup Final against Southampton on Sunday.

Rooney, 31, announced on Thursday that he will remain at Old Trafford for the rest of the season after turning down lucrative offers from Chinese Super League clubs.

Mourinho won’t let emotion cloud Rooney decision

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho won’t let his heart rule his head as the Manchester United manager ponders handing Wayne Rooney a start in the League Cup Final against Southampton on Sunday.

Rooney, 31, announced on Thursday that he will remain at Old Trafford for the rest of the season after turning down lucrative offers from Chinese Super League clubs.

Comeback man Le Bihan fires Nice to victory

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Paris (AFP) – Mickael Le Bihan enjoyed a dream return from 18 months out injured by coming on to score twice as Ligue 1 title hopefuls Nice came from behind to beat Montpellier 2-1 on Friday.

Steve Mounie had given Montpellier an early lead at the Allianz Riviera but Le Bihan was introduced just before the hour mark and equalised in the 68th minute.

FIFA chief Infantino meets Zimbabwe’s Mugabe

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Harare (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino met Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe on Friday a day after he attended a birthday party for the country’s football chief, an official said.

Zimbabwe Football Association spokesman Xolisani Gwesela confirmed to AFP that Infantino had paid a courtesy call on Mugabe at State House, but gave no details.

UEFA doubles Champions League TV rights revenue in $100 million/year deals

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While the past 12 months have been a turbulent time for UEFA, the European soccer organization has managed to double the amount of revenue it’ll generate for Champions League and Europa League coverage in the United States.

Under UEFA’s current deal with FOX Sports, the broadcaster pays approximately $52 million per year for the rights to show the games in both English and Spanish to viewers in the United States.

Turner Sports and Univision acquire UEFA Champions League TV rights in USA

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EXCLUSIVE: The US TV rights to the UEFA Champions League for seasons 2018 through 2021 have been acquired by Turner Sports and Univision in the United States, according to a World Soccer Talk source who is close to the situation.

FOX Sports, the current rights holder until the end of the 2017/18 season, lost the English-language TV rights to Turner Sports in a very competitive bidding process that included ESPN.

Ranieri’s dream shattered as Leicester owners take flak

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri admitted his dream had died after he was ruthlessly sacked as Leicester manager in a brutal move that brought the wrath of the football world down on the troubled champions’ Thai owners.

Ranieri was axed barely two weeks after the owners gave him their “unwavering support” despite disastrous results that have left Leicester just one point above the relegation zone.

‘Yesterday my dream died’, says axed Ranieri

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London (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri said on Friday he had dreamt of staying at Leicester City “for always” before being ruthlessly sacked as manager of the troubled champions.

Ranieri was stunningly dismissed by Leicester’s Thai owners on Thursday, less than a year after guiding the 5,000-1 outsiders to the Premier League title.

United draw delights Rostov in Europa League last-16

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Favourites Manchester United were drawn on Friday to face faraway Russian outfit Rostov, who unlike Jose Mourinho were delighted with the Europa League last-16 tie.

Mourinho’s side beat French club Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate in the last 32 and the English club will now travel to Russia on Thursday, March 9 with the second leg in Manchester a week later on March 16.

Mourinho happy with Rooney’s decision to stay

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho confirmed Wayne Rooney will be in Manchester United’s League Cup Final squad against Southampton after the club’s record goal scorer declared he will remain at Old Trafford for the rest of the season.

United manager Mourinho was impressed with the way England forward Rooney handled rumours of a possible lucrative move to the Chinese Super League.

Ribery fit for Bayern bench – Ancelotti

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Berlin (AFP) – Franck Ribery is back from a five-week injury lay off and will be on the bench for Bayern Bundesliga game with Hamburg this weekend, coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Friday.

The charismatic 33-year-old French winger tore thigh muscles in training in January.

“He’s ready, I think we’ll start him on the bench,” said Ancelotti, who confirmed that Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso would be unavailable for the game.

Man Utd draw delights Rostov in Europa League last-16

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Favourites Manchester United were drawn on Friday to face faraway Russian outfit Rostov, who unlike Jose Mourinho were delighted with the Europa League last-16 tie.

Mourinho’s side beat French club Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate in the last 32 and the English club will now travel to Russia on Thursday, March 9 with the second leg in Manchester a week later on March 16.

Dele Alli sorry for red card shame

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London (AFP) – Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli has apologised to his team-mates and Gent midfielder Brecht Dejaegere after being sent off for a horror tackle in the Premier League club’s shock Europa League exit.

Alli saw red for a studs-up lunge on Dejaegere in the 39th minute at Wembley on Thursday and Tottenham were unable to recover.

Man Utd draw Rostov in Europa League last-16

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Favourites Manchester United were drawn on Friday to face modest Russian side Rostov in the last-16 of the Europa League.

Jose Mourinho’s side beat French club Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate in the last 32. The English club will travel to Russia on Thursday, March 9 with the second leg a week later on March 16.

Real blow as Varane sidelined

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid’s France international central defender Raphael Varane has picked up a hamstring injury and risks missing up to three weeks as the European champions fight on two fronts for silverware.

Real Madrid revealed on their website Friday that Varane suffered the injury in their shock 2-1 defeat at Valencia midweek where he was substituted after 72 minutes.

Seville divided in two by unique derby passion

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – In a city famous for its flamenco and religious parades, nothing captures hearts and minds in Seville more than when Real Betis and Sevilla clash in Spanish football’s most passionate derby.

“You are Betis or Sevilla. It is an identity, like a religion,” former Sevilla defender Julien Escude tells AFP.

Barcelona legend wants Marseille to have ‘soul’ of 90s success

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Marseille (AFP) – Everyone keeps asking Andoni Zubizarreta, a Barcelona legend, why he joined Olympique Marseille and when they are going to unveil the next Lionel Messi.

“That is the first question that Patrice Evra asked when I went to Turin to sign him up,” the Spanish goalkeeper hero and now sporting director at the French giants told AFP in an interview.

Hazard warns Chelsea, as Leicester face storm

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard has warned Chelsea not to lose their focus as the runaway Premier League leaders approach the final furlong in the title race, while crisis-torn champions Leicester face up to life without sacked boss Claudio Ranieri.

Antonio Conte’s side are eight points clear at the top with just 13 games remaining and they have a golden opportunity to extend that lead when they host lowly Swansea on Saturday.

Hamburg next up in Bayern treble drive

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich central defender Mats Hummels says the club’s powerful position going into their Bundesliga home tie with Hamburg this weekend is a good measure of coach Carlo Ancelotti’s ambitions for the season.

After Robert Lewandowski last gasp equaliser saved their 2017 unbeaten record in Berlin last weekend, Bayern are five points clear at the top, and 5-1 up against Arsenal in the Champions League Last-16.

Inter host Roma in Serie A amid flak from De Boer

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Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan’s Champions League qualifying hopes could hinge on victory over Roma this Sunday, and former coach Frank De Boer believes the ‘Nerazzurri’ only have themselves to blame.

Inter, fourth at 15 points adrift of leaders Juventus and six behind Napoli in the third and final Champions League spot, have failed to qualify for the competition since an ill-fated group stage campaign in 2012.

Conte hopes rugby coach Jones talk will benefit Chelsea

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte will hope to take inspiration from England rugby union coach Eddie Jones when his Premier League leaders face Swansea City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Conte demonstrated his desire to improve his team’s performance when he shared ideas with Jones, who has a perfect record of 15 wins from 15 games since taking charge of England, with his latest success a 21-16 defeat of Wales.

Everton look to Lukaku as Moyes returns

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Liverpool (AFP) – Romelu Lukaku’s return to fitness has given Everton extra reason for optimism as they prepare to welcome their former manager David Moyes back to Goodison Park in the Premier League on Saturday.

Lukaku was outstanding in Everton’s last home match, scoring four times in a 6-3 victory over Bournemouth at the start of February, but missed his club’s recent five-day warm-weather training camp in Dubai to have treatment on a calf problem.

Tierney eyes Celtic treble

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic defender Kieran Tierney is desperate to help his side to a domestic treble because the teenager is too young to remember the Hoops’ last clean sweep.

The 19-year-old hadn’t even started school when Martin O’Neill’s side swept all before them as they claimed the Championship, League Cup and Scottish Cup in 2000-01.

Barcelona launch major football academy in China

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Beijing (AFP) – Ronaldinho launched a Barcelona academy for about 1,000 students in China on Friday as the world’s most populous nation pursues its grand ambitions in the world’s most popular sport.

The Barcelona and Brazil great and club president Josep Maria Bartomeu met children and toured the site at the Mission Hills golf complex on Hainan island, which will have seven pitches when it opens later this year.

Manchester United ‘most followed club in China’

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Shanghai (AFP) – Manchester United is the most popular club online in China but the Bundesliga’s web presence far outstrips the English Premier League, a new study has shown.

The survey by sports marketing company Mailman also found that Cristiano Ronaldo was the player with the biggest presence among Chinese fans with United’s Wayne Rooney, who has been linked with a move to the country, ranked fifth.

Ranieri sacking stuns football – smashes Leicester fairytale

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – The sacking of Claudio Ranieri as Leicester City manager just nine months after guiding the unfashionable club to a sensational Premier League title stunned the football world Friday and brought widespread condemnation on the owners.

The Thai owners axed the Italian barely two weeks after giving Ranieri “unwavering support” despite disastrous results that have left the team just one point above the relegation zone.

Bastia punished over Balotelli abuse

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Paris (AFP) – French Ligue 1 side Bastia were punished Thursday over racist abuse directed at Nice striker Mario Balotelli in a game last month.

The French league’s disciplinary commission docked Bastia one point – suspended – and ordered the club to close its East Stand for the next three home games over the monkey chants by some of its fans.

Gent foil Spurs, Lyon cruise into Europa last 16

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Paris (AFP) – Unheralded Gent stunned Tottenham at Wembley as their more illustrious fellow Belgians Anderlecht, Ajax and Lyon also progressed to the Europa League last 16 on Thursday.

Among those joining this quartet in Friday’s draw at UEFA’s headquarters in Nyon were Roma, Besiktas and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Spurs stunned as Gent spring Europa League shock

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London (AFP) – Tottenham slumped to a shock Europa League exit as Gent’s 2-2 draw at Wembley gave the unfancied Belgians a stunning 3-2 aggregate success in the last 32 second leg on Thursday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side trailed 1-0 from the first leg and they were unable to overturn the deficit despite twice leading on the night.

Ranieri pays the price as Leicester fairytale turns sour

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London (AFP) – The anguished tone in Kasper Schmeichel’s voice told the story of the turmoil gripping Leicester as the Premier League champions slumped into a relegation crisis that triggered Claudio Ranieri’s brutal sacking on Thursday.

“We’re the reigning champions and quite frankly it’s been terrible.

Lineker laments ‘unforgivable’ Ranieri exit

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London (AFP) – Former Leicester City and England striker Gary Lineker said the club had taken an “unforgivable” decision in sacking manager Claudio Ranieri on Thursday, less than a year after he led them to a shock Premier League title success.

Ranieri’s position had come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes just a point above the relegation zone following last term’s starting title triumph, with Leicester 5,000/1 no-hopers before the start of the 2015/16 campaign.

Kiese Thelin heads Anderlecht into Europa League last 16

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Paris (AFP) – A last-minute header from Isaac Kiese Thelin squeezed Anderlecht into the Europa League last 16 on away goals on Thursday where the Belgian side were joined by Ajax and Roma.

Anderlecht’s hopes of progressing against Zenit St Petersburg appeared over after the Russians overturned a 2-0 first leg deficit to lead 3-2 with seconds remaining.

Premier League champions Leicester City sack Ranieri

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London (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager of Leicester City just months after leading the club to a remarkable Premier League title triumph, the Midlands side announced Thursday.

The Italian’s position has come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes just a point above the relegation zone.

Premier League champions Leicester sack Ranieri

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London (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri has been sacked as manager of Leicester City just months after leading the club to the Premier League title, the Midlands side announced Thursday.

The Italian’s position has come under intense scrutiny this season during a slump that has left the Foxes, who started the 2015/16 campaign as 5,000/1 title no-hopers, just a point above the relegation zone and battling for top-flight survival ahead of this weekend’s matches.

Naples mayor shames Napoli chief ahead of Real clash

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Milan (AFP) – The mayor of Naples has hit out at Napoli’s president, claiming an upcoming Champions League clash against Real Madrid would not be possible without the city’s commitment to repair the decrepit San Paolo stadium.

“Were it not for our intervention, the game against Real Madrid probably wouldn’t be played because the San Paolo wouldn’t meet criteria,” city mayor Luigi De Magistris told Radio Crc Thursday.

Most accessible soccer leagues on US TV and streaming: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast from Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 15, we cover a range of topics including:

• Latest news about what TV networks are bidding on the UEFA Champions League TV rights in the USA,

• Which soccer network used a green screen to fake their commentators being at the stadium,

• A discussion on which soccer-related networks are the most accessible on US television,

• Our opinions about Univision’s Facebook Live broadcast of the Liga MX Super Clasico,

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners!

Rooney says he’s staying at Manchester United

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London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney said Thursday he was staying with Manchester United following persistent speculation he could make a lucrative move to the Chinese Super League.

British media reports said Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, had been in China speaking to interested clubs but the United and England captain insisted he was staying put at Old Trafford.

I’m staying at Manchester United says Rooney

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London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney said Thursday he was staying with Manchester United following persistent speculation he could make a lucrative move to the Chinese Super League.

British media reports said Rooney’s agent, Paul Stretford, had been in China speaking to interested clubs but the United and England captain insisted he was remaining at Old Trafford.

US broadcasters bid on UEFA Champions League TV rights for 2018-2021

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The bidding for the next round of US TV and streaming rights to the UEFA Champions League is close to being completed, a source revealed to World Soccer Talk.

Our source understands that the TV networks bidding for the rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League in the United States from 2018 to 2021 are FOX Sports, ESPN, Turner Sports and NBC Sports.

Emery’s PSG face Marseille fight

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain must win their Ligue 1 grudge match at resurgent Marseille with the club’s Qatari owners demanding nothing less than the successful defence of their title.

Such are the demands at PSG that should they lose to their bitter southern rivals on Sunday and drop six points behind leaders Monaco it would be considered a crisis.

2017 MLS season preview and predictions

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Photo credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS offseason is drawing to a close, with opening day in Portland less than two weeks away.

After an exciting 2016 season, MLS sees two new teams join the league for 2017 with Atlanta United and Minnesota United making their debuts.

Here is a preview of the season to come as well as predictions on where the teams will finish in their respective conferences:

MLS WESTERN CONFERENCE

1.

Chelsea’s Conte inspired by rugby ‘winner’ Jones

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said Thursday he had gained “inspiration” from meeting with England rugby coach Eddie Jones and experiencing the Australian’s “winning” mentality at first hand.

The Italian clearly knows something about winning himself, having revived Chelsea’s fortunes since his pre-season arrival at Stamford Bridge to the extent that the Blues head into this weekend’s Premier League fixtures eight points clear at the top of the table.

Mourinho’s United building momentum after slow start

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Winning by a single goal away to Saint Etienne in the Europa League may not seem a significant milestone for a team of Manchester United’s stature but manager Jose Mourinho knew otherwise.

United are desperate to recapture the glory days of past when under Alex Ferguson they dominated the Premier League, winning 13 titles in 21 years.

Arsenal’s Cazorla ‘set to miss rest of season’

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London (AFP) – Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla’s recovery from ankle surgery could see the Spain international ruled out of the rest of the English season, British media reported Thursday.

The 32-year-old has been sidelined since being forced off during the second half of Arsenal’s 6-0 Champions League group win against Ludogorets on October 19.

Porto win puts vintage Allegri on display

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Milan (AFP) – A perfectly-orchestrated 2-0 win over depleted Porto has put Juventus on the cusp of the Champions League quarter-finals, and underlined Massimiliano Allegri’s credentials amid rumours of an eventual move England’s Premier League.

Croatia starlet Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves came off the bench to strike late and ease the beaten 2015 finalists to victory over the Portuguese, who had been reduced to 10 men following Alex Telles’ 27th minute expulsion.

Mourinho worried about distant Euro draw

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – As Manchester United continue to battle on four fronts, wracking up too many air miles is proving a concern to manager Jose Mourinho.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the only goal of the game away to Saint Etienne on Wednesday after just 16 minutes, effectively killing off any suspense in the Europa League last 32 tie that the Red Devils won 4-0 on aggregate.

Vardy goal gives Leicester hope in Sevilla Champions League defeat

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes his side can continue their “holiday” from the reality of a Premier League relegation battle in the Champions League after Jamie Vardy’s away goal gave them a lifeline against Sevilla on Wednesday.

Despite being thoroughly outplayed in southern Spain, Leicester emerged with just a 2-1 last 16, first leg defeat, leaving the tie finely balanced ahead of the return leg on March 14.

McMenemy backs Southampton to trim Zlatan down to size

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London (AFP) – Despite harbouring some reservations about his hairstyle, Lawrie McMenemy knows Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the man his old club Southampton must stop in Sunday’s League Cup final against Manchester United.

As Southampton manager, McMenemy led the south-coast club to their greatest success when they produced a huge upset to beat United 1-0 in the 1976 FA Cup final.

Rooney’s agent in China for transfer talks

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London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney’s agent Paul Stretford held talks in China on Thursday amid mounting speculation over the Manchester United captain’s future, British media said.

Rooney, 31, has been sidelined by manager Jose Mourinho heightening expectations he could leave United for the mega-rich Chinese Super League.

Shabby Maracana to reopen after dispute

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Rio’s mythic Maracana stadium, fallen into disrepair since taking centre stage at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, is due to reopen next month.

Left abandoned due to a political-legal dispute over upkeep Brazil’s legendary venue will stage its first game this year on March 8.

Vardy gives Leicester hope in Sevilla Champions League defeat

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Jamie Vardy’s first Champions League goal gave Leicester City a lifeline in their last 16 tie despite going down 2-1 to Sevilla in Wednesday’s first leg.

Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa had given Sevilla a deserved 2-0 lead, whilst Correa also saw a penalty saved by the inspired Kasper Schmeichel.

Pjaca, Alves strikes lift Juve past depleted Porto

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Porto (Portugal) (AFP) – Croatian starlet Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves came off the bench to strike late as Juventus overcame 10-man Porto 2-0 in their Champions League last 16 first leg on Wednesday.

Porto hosted Juventus, the beaten 2015 finalists, looking for their first win in four meetings between the sides - and confident in their chances after a recent six-game winning run.

2.4 million soccer fans watched Chivas-Club America Súper Clásico on Univision

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Last weekend’s Súper Clásico between Chivas and Club America was the most-watched soccer game on any network in 2017, averaging 2.4 million total viewers.

The 2.4 million number exceeded the 1.92 million number that watched the Super Clasico in September, 2017

The broadcast on Univision Deportes featured longtime rivals América and Chivas aired Saturday at 10:00 p.

Sevilla beat Leicester 2-1 in Champions League

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa helped Sevilla beat Leicester 2-1 in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie on Wednesday.

Kasper Schmeichel saved Correa’s early penalty but the Danish keeper was powerless to stop Sarabia’s header in the 25th minute.

Juventus beat Porto 2-0 in Champions League

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Porto (Portugal) (AFP) – Substitutes Marko Pjanic and Dani Alves scored as Juventus beat 10-man Porto 2-0 in their Champions League last 16 first leg tie on Wednesday

Porto were down to 10-men after two rapid first half bookings picked up by Alex Telles.

Juventus capitalised on his red card with second half goals from Pjanic and Alves to put the Italians in command of the tie.

Vardy gives Leicester hope in Sevilla defeat

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Jamie Vardy’s first Champions League goal gave Leicester City a lifeline in their last 16 tie despite going down 2-1 to Sevilla in Wednesday’s first leg.

Goals from Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa had given Sevilla a deserved 2-0 lead, whilst Correa also saw a penalty saved by the inspired Kasper Schmeichel.

European finish the focus now for St Etienne’s Galtier

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – No sooner had Saint Etienne crashed out of the Europa League to Manchester United on Wednesday than coach Christophe Galtier was plotting their return next season.

With the European dream over after Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal gave United a 1-0 win on the night and 4-0 aggregate success in the last 32 clash, Galtier wants his team to now focus on holding onto fifth place in Ligue 1.

Messi happy at Barcelona – Argentina coach

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Lionel Messi could not be happier than at Barcelona, and can crown his status as an all time great by winning the World Cup with Argentina, national coach Edgardo Bauza told AFP on Wednesday.

“I can see just how happy he is at Barcelona with his family around him,” said Bauza, who has been at the helm of the Argentine national team since August 2016.

Valencia early show stun Real Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Two goals in the opening eight minutes from Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana blew the La Liga title race wide open as Valencia beat leaders Real Madrid 2-1 on Wednesday.

The defeat leaves Madrid just a single point clear of Barcelona and three points ahead of Sevilla and now enjoy just one game in hand over their title rivals.

Valencia early show stuns Real Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Two goals in the opening eight minutes from Simone Zaza and Fabian Orellana blew the La Liga title race wide open as Valencia beat leaders Real Madrid 2-1 on Wednesday.

Italian striker Zaza had broken down in tears after scoring his first goal since May at the weekend, but showed his confidence is suddenly sky high with a brilliant volleyed finish to open the scoring.

Mourinho fears Mkhitaryan, Carrick out of Cup final

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Henrkh Mkhitaryan and Michael Carrick look set to miss the League Cup final after picking up injuries against Saint Etienne, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted on Wednesday.

Armenian winger Mkhitaryan scored the winning goal in United’s 1-0 Europa League second leg victory at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium to give the Premier League side a 4-0 aggregate victory in their last 32 tie.

Mkhitaryan secures United progress despite injury

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored but was then forced off with a hamstring injury as Manchester United cruised into the Europa League last 16 with a 1-0 win at St Etienne on Wednesday.

That completed a 4-0 aggregate victory in the last 32 tie, although United finished the match with 10 men after Eric Bailly was dismissed for two yellow cards in quick succession.

Lallana extends Liverpool deal

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London (AFP) – England midfielder Adam Lallana has signed a contract extension with Liverpool, the Premier League club said on Wednesday.

Although Liverpool did not make public the length of Lallana’s new contract, but British media reports said he had signed a new three-year deal with the option of an extra 12 months.

Ranieri recalls Vardy, Mahrez for Sevilla test

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri made 10 changes to the side that suffered a humiliating FA Cup exit to third tier Millwall on Saturday for the English champions Champions League last 16, first leg at Sevilla.

Only Nigerian Ahmed Musa retained his place as last season’s title heroes returned, including Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.

Hazard hails Bridge factor as key to Chelsea’s success

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London (AFP) – Chelsea’s Eden Hazard believes some teams are already beaten even before they kick-off at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table heading into this weekend’s matches, with Chelsea at home to relegation-threatened Swansea City.

Africa wants 10 World Cup places – official

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Africa wants 10 places in a proposed 48-nation World Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was told in Johannesburg Wednesday.

The Swiss-Italian was attending a two-day meeting of African national football association presidents behind closed doors.

“All associations back an expanded World Cup and Africa hopes for 10 places,” said South African FA president Danny Jordaan, according to a Johannesburg radio station.

Blackburn look to Mowbray for Rovers revival

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London (AFP) – Indian-owned Blackburn Rovers have appointed Tony Mowbray as the club’s new manager, the English second-tier strugglers announced Wednesday.

Mowbray, 53, has signed an 18-month contract after former manager Owen Coyle left the Championship club by mutual consent on Tuesday.

Ibra and Pogba return for Man United

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho restored Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba to his starting line-up on Wednesday against Saint-Etienne in the Europa League.

Leading 3-0 from last week’s last 32 first leg at Old Trafford, Mourinho made six changes to the side that beat Blackburn 2-1 in the FA Cup on Sunday.

USA World Cup qualifier against Panama in March will be televised on beIN SPORTS

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The important US Men’s National Team World Cup qualifier against Panama in late March will be shown live on beIN SPORTS.

No announcement has been made about the Spanish-language broadcast, but the English-language broadcast of the Tuesday March 28, 2017 match will be on beIN SPORTS for viewers in the United States.

Talented Balotelli needs attitude change – Italy coach

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Milan (AFP) – Controversial striker Mario Balotelli has shown few signs of wanting to fight his way back into the national side, Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura warned on Wednesday.

Balotelli last played for Italy at their ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign, but his international and club career have been in a tailspin since then.

Smog may force FIFA U-17 World Cup out of Delhi

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New Delhi (AFP) – FIFA could pull Under-17 World Cup matches out of New Delhi because of concerns over air quality in the world’s most polluted capital city, the tournament director said.

Javier Ceppi said that air quality in Delhi was a “serious concern”, particularly after the Hindu Diwali festival which this year falls in October - the month the tournament will be held.

Juventus hitting form at the perfect time in pursuit of overdue Champions League glory

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Winning the UEFA Champions League requires a clutch of different qualities. Teams who go all the way are supremely talented, yet underscoring all their ability is diligence, intensity and a steely mentality.

Champions League success can be circumstantial too. In 2016, Real Madrid were a mess under Rafael Benitez in the early stages of the campaign, before Zinedine Zidane added some organization and impetus to the team which ultimately proved vital on their way to an 11th European crown in Milan.

Liverpool set for Melwood training ground exit

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London (AFP) – Liverpool plan to leave their longtime Melwood training ground and move their practice facilities to the Kirby area of the city instead, the Premier League club said Wednesday.

The Reds have trained at Melwood since Bill Shankly took over as manager in the late 1950s and started the process that saw five-times European champions Liverpool become a major force in English football.

Liverpool set for Melwood exit

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London (AFP) – Liverpool plan to leave their longtime Melwood training ground and move their practice facilities to the Kirby area of the city instead, the Premier League club said Wednesday.

The Reds have trained at Melwood since Bill Shankly took over as manager in the late 1950s and started the process that saw five-times European champions Liverpool become a major force in English football.

Falcao penalty miss leaves Monaco with plenty of regrets

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – A penalty miss by Radamel Falcao left Monaco with plenty of Champions League regrets after they let a 2-1 lead at Manchester City turn into a devastating 5-3 defeat, according to coach Leonardo Jardim.

Some of the Ligue 1 leaders said they had gifted the game to City and despite his two goals, Falcao’s stuttering runup before his penalty miss was singled out as the turning point.

Gamba Osaka off to AFC Champions League flyer in Adelaide

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Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) – Japan’s former winners Gamba Osaka dominated their AFC Champions League Group H match, outclassing Australia’s Adelaide United 3-0 in Adelaide on Wednesday.

Gamba, the last Japanese club to lift the trophy with their final victory over Adelaide in 2008, were too organised and skilful for the inexperienced Reds team.

Toure says City need two more to see off Monaco

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City’s Yaya Toure says his side must score at least two more goals against Monaco if they are to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

City twice came from behind to defeat the Ligue 1 leaders in a stunning 5-3 win in the first leg of their last 16 clash at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, with Sergio Aguero scoring twice for the Premier League club.

Guardiola vows more of same after Monaco goalfest

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola pledged that Manchester City will continue to fight fire with fire when they take a 5-3 lead to Monaco in their Champions League last 16 tie.

City procured a two-goal advantage after a remarkable first-leg match at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday in which they fought back from 2-1 and 3-2 down to put themselves in the driving seat.

Smog may force U-17 football World Cup out of Delhi

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New Delhi (AFP) – FIFA could pull Under-17 World Cup matches out of New Delhi because of concerns over air quality in the world’s most polluted capital city, the tournament director said.

Javier Ceppi said that air quality in Delhi was a “serious concern”, particularly after the Diwali festival which this year falls in October - the month the tournament will be held.

Thailand to bar ‘ultras’ from football World Cup qualifiers

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Bangkok (AFP) – Thai football authorities said on Tuesday they would cancel the tickets of around 800 ‘ultras’ for three World Cup qualifiers after flares were set off at a December international.

The Football Association of Thailand (FAT) was fined $30,000 over the incident, which saw plumes of smoke blanket crowds at Bangkok’s Rajamangala stadium after the War Elephants triumphed over Indonesia in the regional Suzuki Cup final.

Ranieri seeks matadors as faltering Leicester head to Sevilla

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Under fire Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has called on his players to show the courage of “matadors” to cause a huge Champions League shock against high-flying Spaniards Sevilla during their last-16 first leg Wednesday.

A year on from winning the Premier League title against all the odds, Ranieri’s men lie just a point above the relegation zone.

Griezmann among goals as Atletico gain upper hand

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Leverkusen (Germany) (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann was among the scorers for Atletico Madrid as they weathered a late storm against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday to claim a 4-2 victory in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Saul Niguez and Griezmann put the Spanish side two goals up at the interval, but Leverkusen pulled one back through Karim Bellarabi at the start of the second half.

Manchester City will learn from Monaco thriller – Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said the experience of Tuesday’s exhilarating 5-3 Champions League victory over Monaco would stand his side in good stead in the competition.

City are in control of the last-16 tie ahead of the return leg on March 15, but at several moments during the first leg their European destiny appeared to be hanging by a thread.

Aguero stars as Manchester City sink Monaco in thriller

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Sergio Aguero starred as Manchester City beat Monaco 5-3 in a breathless and dizzyingly end-to-end Champions League last 16 first-leg encounter at a rocking Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead, only for Kylian Mbappe to level and Radamel Falcao to score twice - the second goal a magnificent chip - as Leonardo Jardim’s side moved into a 3-2 lead.

Griezmann among goals as Atletico Madrid gain upper hand against Leverkusen

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Leverkusen (Germany) (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann was among the scorers for Atletico Madrid as they weathered a late storm against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday to claim a 4-2 victory in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann scored to put the Spanish side two goals up at the interval, but Leverkusen pulled one back through Karim Bellarabi at the start of the second half.

Manchester City must tighten up, admits Sterling

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Raheem Sterling conceded Manchester City must improve defensively after they edged Monaco 5-3 in the madcap first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

City took a 26th-minute lead through Sterling, found themselves 2-1 and then 3-2 down, but rallied to win thanks to late goals from Sergio Aguero, who scored twice, John Stones and Leroy Sane.

Atletico Madrid close in on Champions quarter-finals with victory over Leverkusen

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Leverkusen (Germany) (AFP) – Atletico Madrid closed in on a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday after winning 4-2 away to Bayer Leverkusen in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann scored to put the Spanish side two goals up at the interval, but Leverkusen pulled one back through Karim Bellarabi at the start of the second half.

Manchester City come from behind to beat Monaco in Champions League

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Three goals in 11 minutes helped Manchester City come from behind to beat Monaco 5-3 in their Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday.

A brace from former Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao helped Monaco into a 3-2 lead just past the hour mark.

PSG football fans banned from Marseille trip – police

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Marseille (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain fans have been barred from Sunday’s Ligue 1 trip to Marseille, local police said on Tuesday.

Champions PSG are due to play bitter rivals Marseille at the Velodrome on Sunday evening.

Previous matches between the sides have been marred by trouble between opposing fans.

Mourinho gives no guarantees on Rooney future

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was coy on questions over Wayne Rooney’s future at the club as he confirmed the striker was still not fit enough to return for their Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne.

There have been rumours that Rooney, who is no longer an integral part of the United side under Mourinho, could eventually leave for the mega-rich Chinese Super League.

Incredible Hulk blasts Shanghai to victory

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Seoul (AFP) – Brazilian forward Hulk blasted Shanghai SIPG to a 1-0 victory over FC Seoul but the big-spending Chinese giants needed to survive a penalty and a red card before winning their AFC Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Hulk’s rocket of a strike on 53 minutes got Andre Villas-Boas’s team off to a winning start in Group F, where they lie second on goal difference after Urawa Red Diamonds’ 4-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers.

Ranieri seeks matadors inside faltering Leicester

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Under fire Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri on Tuesday called on his players to show the courage of “matadors” to cause a huge Champions League shock against high-flying Spaniards Sevilla.

A year on from winning the Premier League title against all the odds, Ranieri’s men lie just a point above the relegation zone.

Juventus Bonucci drop for Porto clash after Allegri row

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Rome (AFP) – Juventus centre-back Leonardo Bonucci will watch his team’s Champions League last 16, first leg against Porto in Portugal on Wednesday from the stands after a row with Massimiliano Allegri, his coach said.

“Bonucci will be in the stand tomorrow. It is a justified decision, out of respect to the team, the supporters and the club.

Leicester must forget fairytale – Vardy

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Misfiring Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy insists the time has long gone for the Foxes to gloat over their incredible Premier League triumph as they face up to the reality of a relegation battle.

The story of Vardy’s rise from non-league to Football Writers’ Player of the Year honours last season was transformed into a movie script as his 24 goals fired Leicester to the most unlikely of title triumphs.

Manchester United’s Rooney still not fit to play – Mourinho

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – England captain Wayne Rooney is still not ready to return for Manchester United despite training on Tuesday morning, manager Jose Mourinho said ahead of their Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne.

Rooney trained with his United team-mates in Manchester on Tuesday morning but was not part of the 20-man squad that flew to France for Wednesday’s last 32 second leg.

Monaco teen Mbappe starts against Manchester City

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim sprang something of a surprise by handing a first Champions League start to 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe in Tuesday’s last 16 first-leg match at Manchester City.

Mbappe, whose 11 goals this season include two hat-tricks, replaced Valere Germain in one of four changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Bastia in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Gameiro starts for Atletico football match in Leverkusen

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Leverkusen (Germany) (AFP) – Kevin Gameiro comes into the Atletico Madrid starting line-up for Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first leg against Bayer Leverkusen after coming off the bench to score a hat-trick at the weekend.

The Frenchman played less than half an hour away to Sporting Gijon on Saturday but he scored the second-fastest hat-trick in La Liga history, three goals in five minutes securing a 4-1 win.

Incredible Hulk blasts Shanghai to victory in AFC Champions League

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Seoul (AFP) – Brazilian forward Hulk blasted Shanghai SIPG to a 1-0 victory over FC Seoul but the big-spending Chinese giants needed to survive a penalty and a red card before winning their AFC Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Hulk’s rocket of a strike on 53 minutes got Andre Villas-Boas’s team off to a winning start in Group F, where they lie second on goal difference after Urawa Red Diamonds’ 4-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers.

Second-tier Blackburn football seek new manager after Coyle departure

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London (AFP) – English second-tier strugglers Blackburn Rovers are seeking their seventh full-time manager since Indian owners Venkys bought the club in 2010 after Owen Coyle left by mutual consent on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old Scot - who guided them to just 11 wins in 37 matches since taking over in June last year - leaves with the former English champions second from bottom of the Championship and three points adrift of safety.

Hernandez in race to reach Germany for Champions League tie

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Madrid (AFP) – Centre-back Lucas Hernandez was dashing to Germany on Tuesday in a desperate bid to make kick-off for Atletico Madrid’s Champions League clash at Bayer Leverkusen after being released by a court.

Hernandez and his girlfriend pleaded not guilty to domestic violence in a Madrid court earlier on Tuesday before the case was adjourned.

China football league like ‘lightning in a bottle’: Brighton boss

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London (AFP) – China’s astonishing spending spree on foreign players could all end in tears like the United States’ first foray into building a football league in the 1970’s, according to Brighton chief executive Paul Barber.

Barber, whose side are on course for promotion to the Premier League for the first time in their history, said the China Super League could be just ‘lightning in a bottle’.

Ancelotti escapes middle finger punishment

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Carlos Ancelotti will not be punished for showing Hertha Berlin fans his middle finger but must make a donation to charity, the German Federation (DFB) said on Tuesday.

The Italian coach had made the explicit gesture after being spat at by Hertha fans during Bayern’s 1-1 draw in Berlin on Saturday.

fubo Premier vs. fubo Latino: Differences between streaming services

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In February 2017, fuboTV launched two brand-new products - fubo Premier and fubo Latino. Both of them are legal streaming services that offer consumers in the United States a way to watch HD-quality channels without needing a cable or satellite subscription. But what are the differences between the two products and which is the right one for you?

Saint-Etienne need ‘madness’ against Man United

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Saint-Etienne believe they are capable of reversing a Europa League first leg deficit against Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Manchester United if they can add a dash of ‘madness’ to their game.

At 3-0 down from the Old Trafford first leg all scored by nemesis Ibrahimovic, few are betting on a French revival in Wednesday’s last 32 second leg at the club’s Geoffroy-Guichard stadium.

Pie escapade ends in tears for Sutton United keeper

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London (AFP) – Laughter turned to tears for Sutton United’s reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw on Tuesday as he left the club after it emerged the Football Association had launched an investigation into whether their betting rules had been breached.

The FA and the Gambling Commission launched their separate inquiries over claims Shaw’s eating of a pie in the final minutes of the 2-0 loss to Arsenal in their FA Cup fifth round clash on Monday had been so friends of his could win a bet.

Rooney returns to Man Utd training

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London (AFP) – Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney returned to training on Tuesday having missed the last four matches with a muscular injury.

The 31-year-old forward - who became United’s all-time goalscorer passing Bobby Charlton’s tally of 249 when he scored against Stoke on January 21 - took part in the squad’s last session before they fly to France for Wednesday’s Europa League last 32 second leg clash with St Etienne.

Russia names Smertin as anti-racism watchdog

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian football has put former Chelsea midfielder Alexei Smertin in charge of its investigations into racism as the country seeks to clean its image ahead of the World Cup next year.

Smertin, also an ex-captain of the national team, has been named inspector on racism and discrimination.

Ribery returns to full training with Bayern

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Former France international forward Franck Ribery resumed full training with Bayern Munich on Tuesday following injury, his club said.

The 33-year-old took part in his first training session with team-mates following seven weeks out with a thigh problem.

He had trained on Monday too, but alone as the rest of the squad was given the day off.

Sampaoli focused on Leicester amid Barca links

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli insisted his focus is solely on making history in the Champions League despite increasing speculation the Argentine could take charge of Barcelona next season.

The Europa League holders host struggling English champions Leicester City in the first leg of their last 16 tie on Wednesday hoping to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the Champions League era.

Angola football stampede ‘sparked by flawed security’, probe says

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Luanda (AFP) – An official investigation into a stampede that killed at least 17 fans at a football match in Angola has blamed security measures and crowd control, the national football federation said Tuesday.

Several witnesses accused the police of provoking panic by attempting to disperse crowds outside the ground in the northern town of Uige at the game earlier this month.

Sutton United keeper may have bitten off more than he can chew

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London (AFP) – Sutton United’s reserve goalkeeper Wayne Shaw is not only in hot water with his club but also it emerged on Tuesday with the Football Association for eating a pie in the final minutes of the FA Cup clash with Arsenal.

The portly 46-year-old - a former Southampton youth team-mate of England icon Alan Shearer - told the ‘Daily Mail’ that while he had not had a bet at odds of 8/1 of him being caught on camera eating a pie several of his friends had.

Pressure on Ranieri inevitable, says Sevilla’s Sampaoli

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli believes Claudio Ranieri’s position as Leicester City boss will undoubtedly come under pressure unless results drastically improve, despite his remarkable success last season.

Leicester travel to face Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday mired in a relegation battle just a year after miraculously defying the odds to win the Premier League.

Age-defying Casillas, Buffon renew rivalry

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Rome (AFP) – Goalkeeping icons Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon will renew a rivalry going back almost two decades when Porto host Juventus in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16.

Age is just another number for Spaniard Casillas, 35, and 39-year-old Italian nemesis Buffon.

Between them they have 334 caps, 275 Champions League matches, 12 league titles, two World Cups, two European championships, three Champions Leagues, a UEFA Cup and a combined age of 74.

Where to find Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid, you’ve come to the right place.

While both Bayer Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid aren’t having the best seasons in their respective leagues, both teams are capable of making a good run in the UEFA Champions League.

Where to find Man City vs. Monaco on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Man City vs. Monaco, you’ve come to the right place.

Manchester City and AS Monaco will meet each other in the first leg of their Round of 16 game in the UEFA Champions League today. Both City and Monaco had difficult results over the past weekend, but will hope to bounce back on the European stage.

Hulk blasts Shanghai to victory in AFC Champions League

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Seoul (AFP) – Brazilian forward Hulk blasted Shanghai SIPG to a 1-0 victory over FC Seoul but the big-spending Chinese giants needed to survive a penalty and a red card before winning their AFC Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Hulk’s rocket of a strike on 53 minutes got Andre Villas-Boas’s team off to a winning start in Group F, where they lie second on goal difference after Urawa Red Diamonds’ 4-0 demolition of Western Sydney Wanderers.

Potent new Juventus face Porto acid test

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Milan (AFP) – A potent new attacking formation that has sent Gonzalo Higuain towards another top scorer’s award faces the acid test Wednesday when Juventus take on Porto away in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Juventus, beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in the 2015 final, are en route to a record sixth Serie A crown and remain many pundits’ favourites to challenge the likes of Real Madrid for the trophy in Cardiff next May.

Wenger relieved to beat ‘astonishing’ Sutton

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London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his team would have faced FA Cup humiliation against non-league Sutton United had they shown less application in their fifth-round victory.

Arsenal won 2-0 in Monday’s tie at Sutton’s 5,000-capacity Gander Green Lane ground, but they were given a real run for their money by a team ranked 105 places below them in the English league system.

Western Sydney face red card for sex banner

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Sydney (AFP) – Football Federation Australia has demanded an explanation from Western Sydney Wanderers over an “offensive” banner unfurled at the weekend’s fierce derby showing a rival coach engaging in a sex act.

The FFA issued a show-cause notice on Wanderers, foreshadowing a likely hefty fine, ahead of the Sydney club’s Asian Champions League opener against Urawa Red Diamonds on Tuesday.

Mourinho eying changes for Europa League St Etienne 2nd leg

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Paris (AFP) – Jose Mourinho will likely ring the changes again as Manchester United look to wrap up their progress to the Europa League last 16 away to Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.

A Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick led them to a 3-0 victory in last week’s Old Trafford first leg and barring an alarming meltdown, the English giants should comfortably see out the second leg in France.

Monchi’s magic leads Sevilla into Europe’s elite

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – There are few football clubs where the star is the sporting director, but Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, or “Monchi” as he is better known, has been the architect of Sevilla’s most successful era by far.

Since taking over as sporting director in 2000, the former goalkeeper has guided the club from Spain’s second division to five Europa League titles.

Hong Kong’s ‘Beef Ball’ takes bite out of gender gap

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Hong Kong (AFP) – Hong Kong’s Chan Yuen-ting will smash another hole through football’s glass ceiling when she makes history in the AFC Champions League on Wednesday - but it couldn’t be a tougher debut for the trailblazing female coach.

Chan, nicknamed “Beef Ball” and just 28 years old, will etch her name in the record books as the first woman worldwide to lead a professional men’s team into continental competition, at the helm of Hong Kong’s Eastern.

Ronaldo’s Indonesian protege hit by injury

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Jakarta (AFP) – An Indonesian tsunami survivor and Cristiano Ronaldo protege has been forced to take a break from his football career over a knee injury, he told AFP on Tuesday.

Nineteen-year-old Martunis, sometimes described as Ronaldo’s “adopted son”, said he was quitting Java-based PS TNI to return to his home province of Aceh.

Diamonds cut Sydney to ribbons in AFC Champions League game

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Sydney (AFP) – Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds smashed four second-half goals past Western Sydney Wanderers to start their AFC Champions League with a thumping 4-0 win on Tuesday.

Shinzo Koroki and Tadanari Lee struck within two minutes of each other before Tomoaki Makino and Rafael Silva also got on the scoresheet as the Group F visitors ran riot in Sydney.

Bayer count on Chicharito to blunt Atletico threat

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Leverkusen (Germany) (AFP) – Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez has hit goalscoring form again for Bayer Leverkusen in a warning to Atletico Madrid ahead of their Champions League clash on Tuesday.

Five goals in three games ended a 16 match scoring drought for the Mexican and took him back into the top five hitmen in the German championship with 10 goals.

Newcastle flies back to top of table

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London (AFP) – A Yoann Gouffran strike and an Henri Lansbury own goal propelled Newcastle back to the top of the Championship and a step closer to an immediate return to the Premier League in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Monday.

Rafael Benitez’s Magpies are embroiled with Brighton in a thrilling ding dong battle for supremacy in the second tier Championship and victory over another of the sides that went down with them from the Premier League last season saw Newcastle move a point ahead of the ‘Seagulls’.

Ton-up Walcott ends Sutton’s FA Cup dream

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London (AFP) – Theo Walcott scored his 100th Arsenal goal as Arsene Wenger’s side ended non-league minnows Sutton United’s FA Cup fairytale with a 2-0 victory in the FA Cup on Monday.

The England forward added to Lucas Perez’s opener as Arsenal returned to winning ways following their 5-1 drubbing by Bayern Munich last week and set up a home quarter-final with another non-league team, Lincoln City.

‘Players right behind Enrique’ – Pique

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Barcelona (AFP) – Under-fire Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has the total support of his players, influential central defender Gerard Pique insisted on Monday.

Pique was keen to rally fans to the cause after they had booed the team during a 2-1 league win over lowly Leganes on Sunday, as the fallout from a 4-0 Champions League first-leg last-16 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain last week turned ugly.

Partizan condemn Brazilian star’s racist abuse

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Belgrade (AFP) – Partizan Belgrade on Monday “strongly condemned” racist abuse directed at their Brazilian star Everton Luiz, declaring the midfielder had “won the hearts of fans”.

The 28-year-old player was reduced to tears at the monkey chants he received from fans of local rivals Rad, local media reported.

No change of strategy for City, says Monaco’s Jardim

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Leonardo Jardim says there will be no battening down the hatches when his Monaco side play Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.

The 42-year-old Venezuela-born coach - who has guided Monaco to the top of Ligue 1 despite having a significantly inferior budget to champions Paris Saint-Germain - said attacking football was in the team’s DNA and the players know that.

Spanish court rejects Neymar, Barca appeal

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Madrid (AFP) – A Spanish court on Monday dismissed appeals from Neymar and Barcelona over alleged fraud and corruption in the Brazilian star’s transfer from Santos in 2013.

The decision brings the possibility of the player and club facing trial a step closer.

Neymar’s arrival from Brazil’s Santos has been a huge success for the Spanish champions on the pitch but a judicial nightmare off it.

Alves says Barcelona directors have ‘no idea how to treat players’

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Madrid (AFP) – Brazilian right back Dani Alves has slammed Barcelona directors for their treatment of him during his final seasons with the Spanish club.

The former Barcelona star signed for Serie A champions Juventus on a free transfer last summer after eight years with the Catalan giants.

Zuma not backing Hayatou – minister

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Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa sports minister Fikile Mbalula Monday denied a Confederation of African Football statement that President Jacob Zuma was backing incumbent Issa Hayatou in the CAF leadership race.

A CAF statement made the claim after its president met Zuma at the weekend ahead of the African Super Cup match in Pretoria between Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Qatar’s Lekhwiya hit groove in Doha

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Doha (AFP) – Moroccan international Youssef al-Arabi registered a brace as Qatar giants Lekhwiya downed UAE’s Al Jazira 3-0 on the opening day of the Asian Champions League on Monday.

Lekhwiya, who lately have experienced a slight slump in form in the domestic Qatar Stars League, hit their groove from the very outset to put the top UAE side under pressure and emerged deserving winners on a chilly evening in Doha.

Saudi-bound Clattenburg remains on ref duty

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London (AFP) – Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg will continue to officiate in the English top-flight before taking up his new post in Saudi Arabia.

Clattenburg announced his decision last week to become head of referees in Saudi Arabia.

It had been expected Clattenburg would leave the Premier League immediately following his decision to quit.

Comparison of fubo Latino, Sling TV and FOX Soccer 2GO soccer streaming services

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When it comes to deciding which legal soccer streaming service to sign up for, the number of choices available continues to increase. At the same time, the services are adding new networks and enhancing their features quite often. To help make the decision easier, we’ve created a comparison below between the leading low-cost legal soccer streaming services available in the United States.

Man City v Monaco – clash of the nouveaux riches

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – They are the nouveaux riches of football but with very different business models: Manchester City and Monaco’s Champions League last 16 clash on Tuesday is not one of equals.

Since being taken over by Emirati billionaire Sheikh Mansour in 2008, Manchester City have invested heavily in stars and played the international card to revive the fortunes of a club which has since won Premier League titles in 2012 and 2014.

Guardiola’s Man City face Monaco reckoning

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – A hotly anticipated staging post in Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola era arrives on Tuesday when Monaco visit the Etihad Stadium in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

Guardiola was appointed to take City to the next level on the European stage and he has already masterminded a stirring 3-1 win over his former club Barcelona in the group phase.

Ancelotti must explain explicit gesture

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti has been asked to explain how he lost his calm and stuck a finger up at a group of Hertha Berlin fans at the weekend.

The German Football Federation have asked the usually affable Ancelotti to explain his behaviour in an exchange with Hertha fans whilst going down the tunnel after Bayern earned a late 1-1 draw in Berlin.

Man City’s Guardiola keen to keep peace with Aguero

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola insists his relationship with Sergio Aguero remains strong despite mounting speculation over the Manchester City striker’s future since the arrival of Gabriel Jesus.

Teenage sensation Jesus took Aguero’s place in Guardiola’s starting line-up before breaking a bone in his foot, an injury that may rule the Brazilian out for the remainder of the season.

Partizan condemn racist abuse of Brazilian star

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Belgrade (AFP) – Partizan Belgrade on Monday “strongly condemned” racist abuse directed at its Brazilian star Everton Luiz, declaring the midfielder had “won the hearts of fans”.

The 28-year-old player was reduced to tears at the monkey chants he received from fans of local rivals Rad, local media reported.

Egypt court confirms death sentences over football riot

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Cairo (AFP) – A court Monday upheld death sentences against 10 people over rioting at a Port Said football stadium five years ago that killed 74 fans and sparked more violence in Egypt.

The February 2012 riot, the country’s deadliest sports-related violence, broke out when fans of home team Al-Masry and Cairo’s Al-Ahly clashed after a premier league match between the two clubs.

FIFA head Infantino to to meet African football bosses

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Johannesburg (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino will be in South Africa and Zimbabwe this week to meet African football bosses and attend a birthday party.

He has invited all 54 African national football association presidents to Johannesburg for two days of meetings, starting Tuesday.

Rashford targets Chelsea revenge mission

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London (AFP) – Marcus Rashford insists Manchester United will be on a revenge mission when they face Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Stamford Bridge.

Jose Mourinho’s side suffered an embarrassing 4-0 defeat against the Premier League leaders in west London in October.

It was a chastening afternoon for former Chelsea boss Mourinho on his first return to the Bridge since being sacked at the end of his second spell with the Blues.

Egypt court upholds death sentences over football riot

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Cairo (AFP) – An Egyptian court upheld Monday death sentences against 10 people convicted over rioting that claimed 74 lives at a stadium in Port Said in 2012, judicial and security officials said.

The ruling by the Court of Cassation, which is final, excluded an 11th defendant who remains at large after his death penalty was also confirmed in June 2015 by another court.

Guardiola’s Man City face Monaco moment of truth

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – A hotly anticipated staging post in Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola era arrives on Tuesday when Monaco visit the Etihad Stadium in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

Guardiola was appointed to take City to the next level on the European stage and he has already masterminded a stirring 3-1 win over his former club Barcelona in the group phase.

Manchester City and Monaco load their Silva bullets

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London (AFP) – Manchester City and Monaco go into Tuesday’s Champions League showdown each pinning their hopes on short, left-footed midfield creators from the Iberian peninsula who go by the name of Silva.

Monaco’s Silva is Bernardo, a 22-year-old Portuguese winger whose knack for decisive goals has made him a central figure in their free-scoring surge to the Ligue 1 summit.

Barcelona boos unhelpful: Luis Enrique

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona boss Luis Enrique labelled harsh treatment dished out to his players by Barca fans nonsensical as the Spanish champions squeezed past Leganes 2-1 on Sunday.

Following a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, Barca needed a last minute Lionel Messi penalty to see off a Leganes side without a win since November and on their first ever league visit to the Camp Nou.

FOX Sports’ irresponsible programming change leaves Man United fans in the lurch

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By showing a rescheduled NASCAR race on Sunday morning on FOX Sports 1, the programming change caused plenty of consternation among soccer fans in the United States this weekend who wanted to watch the Manchester United FA Cup game against Blackburn Rovers.

Originally scheduled to air at 11:15am ET on Sunday, the Blackburn-Manchester United game was bumped to FS2 to make way for NASCAR on FS1.

Manchester City braced for Monaco, Leicester face Champions League ‘fight’

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Paris (AFP) – Manchester City avoided Europe’s heavyweights in the Champions League last-16 draw but Pep Guardiola’s side must instead beware of an in-form Monaco, the leading scorers in Europe’s top divisions this season.

City host the French league leaders at the Etihad Stadium in the first leg on Tuesday looking to extend a nine-game home unbeaten run in the Champions League.

Murty urges Rangers players to show some fight

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Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers caretaker manager Graeme Murty questioned his side’s desire after they lost further ground on Aberdeen in the hunt for second place in the Scottish Premiership following a 2-1 defeat to Dundee on Sunday.

Rangers fell behind at Dens Park to first-half goals from Mark O’Hara and Kevin Holt before Joe Garner pulled one back in the second half.

Zambian gay rights dispute erupts over football

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Lusaka (AFP) – A proposal by Zambian football authorities to ban discrimination against gays and lesbians has kicked off a dispute over homosexuality, which is illegal in the country and widely seen as immoral.

The new draft constitution of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) contains a clause banning discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, in line with regulations from world governing body FIFA.

Oscar in limelight for Champions League kick-off

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Hong Kong (AFP) – Megabucks import Oscar will hope to make his mark for Shanghai SIPG as the AFC Champions League returns this week, featuring a trailblazing female coach but missing last year’s winners, who were banned for match-fixing.

Brazilian playmaker Oscar, SIPG’s 60-million-euro buy from Chelsea, will be under the spotlight in week one as SIPG look to emulate Guangzhou Evergrande by bringing the Asian club trophy back to China.

Genoa sack Juric, appoint Mandorlini

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Milan (AFP) – Former Croatia midfielder Ivan Juric has been sacked as coach of Genoa following a 5-0 reverse at struggling Pescara and replaced him by Andrea Mandorlini, the Serie A club announced Monday.

“Genoa Cricket and Football Club announces that Ivan Juric has been relieved from his duties as first team coach,” said a club statement.

Egypt court uphold death sentences over football riot

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Cairo (AFP) – An Egyptian court upheld Monday death sentences against 10 people convicted over rioting that claimed 74 lives at a stadium in Port Said in 2012, judicial and security officials said.

The ruling by the Court of Cassation, which is final, excluded an 11th defendant who remains at large after his death penalty was also confirmed in June 2015 by another court.

Swede Jonevret named Orlando Pirates coach

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Fallen South African giants Orlando Pirates named Swede Kjell Jonevret as coach Monday in succession to Turk Muhsin Ertugral.

The 54-year-old Scandinavian inherits a team lying 10th in the league after suffering a club record 6-0 defeat by Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.

Wenger worried about Sutton’s plastic pitch

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has expressed fears about Sutton United’s synthetic 3G pitch ahead of Arsenal’s perilous FA Cup fifth-round match against the non-league minnows on Monday.

The Arsenal manager believes the artificial surface could impede his men despite their best efforts to prepare on a similar pitch.

Five things we learnt from Serie A

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Milan (AFP) – There was a touch of nostalgia with the return to Pescara of Zdenek Zeman, but also the shadow of crime with the blackmailing of Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella.

England’s Joe Hart was given his coach’s backing despite conceding four against Roma, who want more legendary players like Francesco Totti at the club.

Last-gasp Messi penalty rescues poor Barcelona

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona needed a last minute Lionel Messi penalty to see off lowly Leganes 2-1 as a poor week for the Spanish champions continued on Sunday.

Barca were thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday to leave their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread and had to rely on Messi for snatching all three points from another below par display.

Paris Saint-Germain frustrated by Toulouse after Champions League exploits

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain missed the chance to eat into Monaco’s lead at the top of the French Ligue 1 table after being held to a 0-0 draw by Toulouse at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

At the same venue where they had blown away Barcelona five days earlier, winning 4-0 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, Unai Emery’s side could not break down mid-table opposition.

Serb fans racially abuse tearful Brazilian

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Belgrade (AFP) – Partizan Belgrade’s Brazilian star Everton Luiz left the field after a match Sunday in tears after suffering a welter of racial abuse from fans of local rivals Rad, B82 television reported.

Luiz, 28, saw his every touch greeted with monkey noises, the TV said, adding that the match was halted late on after some Rad fans brandished a banner insulting the Latin American midfielder, who won the Serbian Cup last year with Partizan.

Mihajlovic leaps to Hart defence after Roma romp

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Milan (AFP) – Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic leapt to the defence of Joe Hart on Sunday despite the England goalkeeper shipping four goals in a 4-1 defeat to Serie A title hopefuls Roma.

Edin Dzeko, a former teammate of Hart’s at Manchester City, beat the Englishman on 10 minutes with a low strike from the edge of the area.

Saints not Chelsea on Mourinho’s mind

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Blackburn (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho refused to dwell on the prospect of facing his former club Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter-finals after Manchester United negotiated a difficult fifth-round visit to Blackburn Rovers in a 2-1 victory.

It took the substitute pairing of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to combine for the latter to score the winning goal in the second half, maintaining United’s interest in all four competitions.

Roma rout Torino to keep title dream alive

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Milan (AFP) – Edin Dzeko struck his 19th Serie A goal and Francesco Totti came off the bench to provide an assist as Roma kept their ‘scudetto’ hopes alive with a 4-1 win over Torino on Sunday.

Roma’s 18th win of the campaign allowed Luciano Spalletti’s men to leapfrog Napoli, 3-1 winners at Chievo, and return to second spot to sit seven points behind leaders Juventus.

Mourinho faces Chelsea, Lincoln dream of Arsenal

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho will have to get past former club Chelsea if FA Cup holders Manchester United are to keep their hopes of retaining the trophy alive following the quarter-final draw on Sunday.

Giant-killers Lincoln - the first non-league side into the last-eight in over a century after beating Premier League Burnley on Saturday - could have a lucrative trip to Arsenal should the Gunners beat another non-league side Sutton on Monday.

Mourinho faces Chelsea return in Cup

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London (AFP) – Jose Mourinho will have to get past former club Chelsea if FA Cup holders Manchester United are to keep their hopes of retaining the trophy alive following the quarter-final draw on Sunday.

Giant-killers Lincoln - the first non-league side into the last-eight in over a century after beating Premier League side Burnley on Saturday - could have a lucrative trip to Arsenal should the Gunners beat another non-league side Sutton on Monday.

Ibrahimovic sends Manchester United through to Chelsea FA Cup clash

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Blackburn (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic combined to score the winning goal that carried Manchester United through to the FA Cup quarter-finals in a 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers.

United will face Chelsea in a mouthwatering last-eight tie at Stamford Bridge next month as victory maintained Jose Mourinho’s interest in all four competitions in which his side have competed this season.

Quagliarella relief as blackmail ‘nightmare’ ends

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Milan (AFP) – Sampdoria striker Fabio Quagliarella was close to tears Sunday as he recounted the “nightmare” of a stalker bringing his dream move to Napoli to a premature end as his family feared for their lives.

Quagliarella joined hometown club Napoli from Udinese on a five-year deal worth 18 million euros in 2009, scoring 11 league goals in 34 appearances in his maiden season at the club.

Leipzig down Gladbach to trim Bayern’s Bundesliga lead

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig cut Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga to five points on Sunday as Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner netted in a 2-1 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Leipzig brushed off consecutive defeats with an impressive display at Borussia Park to trim the lead of Bayern, who had needed a 96th-minute Robert Lewandowski goal to draw 1-1 at Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Lyon boost Euro push, Saint-Etienne beaten

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Paris (AFP) – Alexandre Lacazette scored his 21st league goal of the season as Lyon fought back from behind to win 4-2 at home to Dijon in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Corentin Tolisso poked the ball in following a corner to give Lyon the lead in the 11th minute at the Parc OL, but Julio Tavares headed Dijon level before the interval.

Hamsik sights Maradona’s Napoli record, Zeman conjures magic at Pescara

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Milan (AFP) – Marek Hamsik moved to within three goals of Diego Maradona’s Napoli record in a 3-1 win at Chievo as veteran Zdenek Zeman steered Pescara to a first win since August in a 5-0 rout of Genoa on Sunday.

Slovakia midfielder Hamsik took his tally to 112 on Sunday with an easy tap-in seven minutes before half-time, and is now just three short of Maradona’s 115-goal club record.

Dundee heap more misery on Rangers

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Glasgow (AFP) – Rangers’ hopes of clinching second place in the Scottish Premiership were dealt a major blow as Dundee defeated the troubled Glasgow giants 2-1 at Dens Park on Sunday.

Mark O’Hara fired Dundee in front early in the first half before Kevin Holt added a second just before the break.

Leipzig down Gladbach to trim Bayern’s lead

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig cut Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the Bundesliga to five points on Sunday as Emil Forsberg and Timo Werner netted in a 2-0 win at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

Leipzig brushed off consecutive defeats with an impressive display at Borussia Park to trim the lead of Bayern, who had needed a 96th-minute Robert Lewandowski goal to draw 1-1 at Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Hamsik sights Maradona record, Zeman conjures magic at Pescara

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Milan (AFP) – Marek Hamsik moved to within three goals of Diego Maradona’s Napoli record in a 3-1 win at Chievo as veteran Zdenek Zeman steered Pescara to a first win since August in a 5-0 rout of Genoa on Sunday.

Slovakia midfielder Hamsik had moved to within four goals of Maradona’s 115-goal club record with his maiden Serie A hat-trick in a 7-1 rout at Bologna two weeks ago taking his tally to 111.

Harry Kane hat-trick gives Spurs FA Cup cheer

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London (AFP) – Harry Kane’s fifth hat-trick for Tottenham and second this year eased the Premier League club past second-tier Championship side Fulham 3-0 and into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

The 23-year-old England striker, who took his tally to 19 for the season, ended a difficult week for Spurs and manager Mauricio Pochettino on a winning note following defeats by Liverpool in the league and then Belgian outfit Gent in the Europa League last 32 first leg.

‘Gabigol’ nets maiden strike as Inter beat Bologna

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Milan (AFP) – Brazilian striker Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa handed Inter Milan all three points and kept his side within reach of the European places with his maiden Serie A strike in a 1-0 win at Bologna on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Brazil international joined Inter from Santos in August for just under 30 million euros ($32M) and the two extra points on Sunday were his first pay back instalments.

Last-gasp Villarreal edge Sociedad

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Madrid (AFP) – Villarreal kept their hopes of Champions League football next season alive as Samu Castillejo’s 93rd minute winner secured a vital 1-0 win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Just a second win of 2017 moves sixth-placed Villarreal to within two points of Sociedad and six of Atletico Madrid in fourth.

Atletico ‘keeper Oblak back for Leverkusen trip

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid received a massive boost ahead of their Champions League last 16, first leg at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday as goalkeeper Jan Oblak was included in Diego Simeone’s squad for the trip to Germany.

The Slovenian international, who kept eight clean sheets in 13 Champions League games as Atletico reached the final last season, has been sidelined since December after having surgery on a dislocated shoulder.

Ancelotti shows Hertha fans the middle finger

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich’s Carlo Ancelotti could be in hot water with the German FA (DFB) after admitting showing the middle finger towards Hertha Berlin fans who he claims spat at him.

“Yes, I made the gesture after being spat at,” Bayern’s coach told broadcaster ARD.

Giant-killers Sutton seek scalp of wavering Wenger

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London (AFP) – A plastic pitch, a vulnerable heavyweight and minnows with giant-killing pedigree could conspire to produce one of the great FA Cup shocks when Arsenal visit non-league Sutton United on Monday.

Arsenal approach the fifth-round tie reeling from Wednesday’s 5-1 humiliation by Bayern Munich and with manager Arsene Wenger closer to the exit door than ever before.

Chelsea’s Conte wary of ‘Double’ talk

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Wolverhampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Antonio Conte has warned his players to avoid complacency as they seek to become just the third club in the history of English football to win the Premier League and FA Cup ‘Double’ on two separate occasions.

A 2-0 fifth round win away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday took Chelsea through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, while they maintain a healthy, eight-point, lead at the top of the Premier League table.

Rodgers wants pitch fit for champions at Celtic

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Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers watched his side beat Motherwell to claim their 20th league victory in a row before slamming the state of the pitch at his club’s Parkhead ground.

A first-half penalty from in-form French forward Moussa Dembele and a James Forrest goal helped Celtic to a 2-0 win that extends their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to 27 points over Aberdeen, who visit Kilmarnock on Sunday.

Kompany report buoys Guardiola after Cup stalemate

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Huddersfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted Vincent Kompany had not suffered a serious injury setback after the captain missed Saturday’s goalless FA Cup draw at Huddersfield Town.

The Belgian centre-back, who has played just six times this season because of a series of injury problems, had been expected to figure against the Championship side but was not on the City team-sheet.

Lincoln boss hails ‘life-changing’ Cup run after beating Burnley

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – The manager of non-league Lincoln City said his club had been on a “life-changing” run in the FA Cup after they knocked Premier League Burnley out of the competition in one of the all-time great upsets.

Sean Raggett’s 89th-minute header secured a famous 1-0 win for Lincoln at Turf Moor as the Imps, who play in the fifth-tier National League, became the first non-league club since 1914 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Lille lure Bielsa back to France

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Lille (France) (AFP) – Iconic Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, known as ‘el Loco’ for his intense ‘all in’ style, will be back in France as manager of Lille as of July, the newly bought out Ligue 1 club said on Sunday.

“Lille and the Argentine coach have signed a two years deal which comes into effect in July,” Lille announced.

Keita keeps Lazio’s Europa hopes ticking over

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Milan (AFP) – Senegal striker Keita Balde came off the bench to hit a late winner in a 2-1 defeat of Empoli that boosted Lazio’s Europa League hopes on Saturday.

Lazio remain in fifth place at 16 points behind Juventus, who saw Paulo Dybala hit a brace in a 4-1 win over former club Palermo on Friday to stretch the Turin giants’ Serie A lead over Roma to 10 points.

I’d prefer to stay at Arsenal, says Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger has revealed he wants to stay in football management long-term and has indicated for the first time he would like to extend his spell as Arsenal’s manager.

The Frenchman’s future is up in the air, with his contract expiring at the end of the season and events on the pitch exposing him to criticism from supporters.

Where to find Sporting Braga vs. Benfica in the USA

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Sporting Braga vs. Benfica, you’ve come to the right place.

Now that Benfica has been knocked off the top of the Primeira Liga table, the clash between Braga and Benfica takes on even more importance between two of the most historic clubs in Portugal.

Balotelli sent off in Nice victory

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Paris (AFP) – Mario Balotelli was sent off on his return to the Nice team but Lucien Favre’s side held on for a 1-0 win at Lorient on Saturday which sees them close the gap on Ligue 1 leaders Monaco.

Wylan Cyprien scored the only goal of the game in Brittany, collecting Arnaud Souquet’s pass and firing home from inside the area in the 15th minute.

Chelsea’s Pedro, Costa muzzle Wolves in FA Cup

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Wolverhampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Second-half goals from Pedro and Diego Costa earned Premier League leaders Chelsea a 2-0 win in a difficult FA Cup fifth-round tie at second-tier Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

Pedro headed in after 65 minutes following an intricate build-up involving Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Willian.

Dembele keeps Celtic juggernaut rolling on

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Glasgow (AFP) – Moussa Dembele was on target again as his 27th goal of the season helped runaway Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic to a 2-0 win over Motherwell on Saturday.

The 20-year-old Frenchman - tipped for a call-up to Didier Deschamps’ France squad for the matches against Luxembourg and Spain next month - expertly despatched a first-half penalty to open the scoring.

Hertha boss Dardai fumes at Bayern’s ‘bonus’ time

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Berlin (AFP) – Hertha Berlin coach Pal Dardai slammed the six minutes of added time as “Bayern’s bonus” after Robert Lewandowski scored a last-minute goal to secure a 1-1 draw for Bayern Munich on Saturday.

“I think this is a Bayern bonus”, the Hungarian fumed to Sky as Lewandowski’s 96th-minute winner at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium denied Hertha a first win against Munich following 11 defeats.

Bale sees silver lining in injury misery

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale hopes three tough months on the sidelines will have their recompense by helping Real Madrid’s bid for La Liga and Champions League glory and Wales’ hopes of reaching the World Cup.

Bale made an instant impact on his first taste of action for 88 days after damaging ankle ligaments as he fired home Madrid’s second in a 2-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday just 13 minutes after coming off the bench.

Where to find Blackburn vs. Man United FA Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Blackburn vs. Man United, you’ve come to the right place.

Over the years, there have been plenty of memorable matches between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United, but most of them have been in the Premier League. Today, the two famous clubs meet each other in the 5th Round of the FA Cup with the prize of moving through to the quarter-finals for the victor.

Marseille win without injured Gomis

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Paris (AFP) – Marseille overcame the absence of injured leading scorer Bafetimbi Gomis to beat Rennes 2-0 in Ligue 1 on Saturday and boost their hopes of European qualification.

Clinton Njie and Florian Thauvin, the latter with a superb strike, both netted in the second half for the hosts as Marseille moved to within a point of fourth-placed Lyon, albeit having played two games more.

Bale back with a bang as Real extend lead

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale made an instant impact on his return from injury as Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to four points with a 2-0 win over Espanyol on Saturday.

Bale had been sidelined three months and on his return took just 13 minutes to score as he swept home into the far corner after coming on as second-half substitute in a much changed Real line up.

Last gasp Lewandowski saves Bayern in Berlin

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Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski hit a 96th-minute equaliser to salvage Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw at Hertha Berlin on Saturday and extended their lead in the Bundesliga table to eight points.

Bayern were seconds away from what would have been their second league defeat this season when Lewandowski fired home his 24th goal in all competitons to cancel out Vedad Ibisevic’s first-half strike.

Lacklustre City held by Huddersfield in Cup

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Huddersfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City face an unwanted replay in the last 16 of the FA Cup after labouring to a 0-0 draw at second tier Championship side Huddersfield on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side struggled to find any tempo against Huddersfield and must now try again at the Etihad Stadium to book their place in the quarter-finals.

Third-tier Millwall upset Leicester in FA Cup

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London (AFP) – Third-tier Millwall’s FA Cup fairytale continued on Saturday as they stunned struggling Premier League champions Leicester City 1-0 in a major fifth-round upset.

Having previously eliminated Bournemouth and Watford, the League One side added a third top-flight scalp by toppling Leicester thanks to a last-minute goal by defender Shaun Cummings.

Lincoln, Millwall claim famous FA Cup upsets

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London (AFP) – Non-league Lincoln City and third-tier Millwall struck late, late winners as Burnley and Premier League champions Leicester City were humbled on a historic day in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Sean Raggett scored an 89th-minute header as Lincoln, who reside in the fifth-tier National League, stunned Burnley 1-0 in the fifth round in one of the biggest upsets in the competition’s history.

Where to find Fulham vs. Spurs FA Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Fulham vs. Spurs, you’ve come to the right place.

Will the London derby between Fulham and Tottenham feature another FA Cup shock result in a weekend where Premier League clubs have had a very difficult time against lower opposition.

Kevin Gameiro hat-trick spurs Atletico Madrid win in La Liga

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Madrid (AFP) – Substitute Kevin Gameiro hit the second fastest hat-trick in La Liga history in five minutes as Atletico Madrid maintained their grip on fourth in La Liga with a 4-1 win at Sporting Gijon.

Gameiro was only introduced 28 minutes from time but struck in the 80th, 81st and 85th minutes to move Atletico to within four points of leaders Real Madrid, who are in action later at home to Espanyol.

Five great FA Cup upsets

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London (AFP) – Non-league Lincoln City claimed a piece of FA Cup history on Saturday when they stunned Premier League side Burnley 1-0 in the fifth round at Turf Moor.

AFP Sport recalls five other stunning upsets that have marked the world’s oldest cup competition:

Hereford United 2 Newcastle United 1 (February 1972)

Perhaps the most fondly remembered FA Cup upset saw non-league Hereford claim a sensational victory over top-flight Newcastle at a mud-spattered Edgar Street.

Lincoln City stun Burnley in historic FA Cup win

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London (AFP) – Sean Raggett scored an 89th-minute winner as non-league Lincoln City stunned Burnley 1-0 on Saturday to claim one of the biggest upsets in the history of the FA Cup.

Eighty-one places below Burnley in the English football pyramid, fifth-tier Lincoln prevailed when centre-back Raggett squeezed a header over the line following a late corner at Turf Moor.

Minnows Lincoln stun Burnley in FA Cup

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London (AFP) – Sean Raggett scored an 89th-minute winner as non-league Lincoln City stunned Burnley 1-0 on Saturday to claim one of the biggest upsets in the history of the FA Cup.

Eighty-one places below Burnley in the English football pyramid, fifth-tier Lincoln prevailed when defender Raggett squeezed a header over the line following a late corner at Turf Moor.

Manchester United’s Mourinho concerned Cup runs could affect league form

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Blackburn (United Kingdom) (AFP) – A significant run of cup ties has Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho worried about fixture congestion, but his chances of ending his first season at the club with a major trophy are looking healthy.

Mourinho’s side have won three successive matches without conceding a goal, and are in good spirits as they prepare to make the short journey to face struggling Championship opponents Blackburn in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.

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

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

Chelsea may be top of the Premier League, but in the United States their game has been bumped from FS1 to FS2 because FOX Sports will be showing NASCAR instead. However, if you don’t get FS2, you can still watch the match for free with a trial to fuboTV’s new FUBO PREMIER service that also includes NBCSN, FS1 and a ton of other channels.

Monaco held ahead of Man City trip

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Paris (AFP) – French Ligue 1 leaders Monaco had to come from behind to draw 1-1 away to Bastia on Friday in an unconvincing performance ahead of their impending Champions League showdown with Manchester City.

Sadio Diallo had given the struggling Corsicans the lead in the first half before Bernardo Silva headed Monaco level early in the second period.

Guardiola rules out return to Barcelona

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he will never go back to Barcelona as their coach amid growing uncertainty about present incumbent Luis Enrique’s future.

Enrique is out of contract at the Nou Camp at the end of the season, and the chances of him leaving have increased significantly after a calamitous 4-0 defeat away to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Old boy Dybala stars as Juventus go 10 points clear

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus went 10 points clear at the top of Serie A on Friday with a 4-1 win over struggling Palermo in a perfectly-timed boost ahead of their Champions League trip to Porto next week.

Former Palermo star Paulo Dybala played a pivotal role as the Argentina international pushed his former employers closer to the drop by scoring twice, creating another and also seeing a free-kick come back off the woodwork.

Chicharito scores twice in Leverkusen victory

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Berlin (AFP) – Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez was on target twice as Bayer Leverkusen warmed up for their Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid by winning 3-1 at Augsburg in the Bundesliga on Friday.

Roger Schmidt’s side went in front midway through the first half when Kai Havertz squared from the right for Karim Bellarabi to score the 50,000th goal in the history of the Bundesliga.

United nations Granada boost survival hopes

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Madrid (AFP) – Granada made La Liga history by naming a team of 11 different nationalities as on loan Borussia Dortmund striker Adrian Ramos scored twice in a 4-1 thrashing of Real Betis on Friday.

Just a third win of the season moves Granada to within two points of safety, although they remain 19th, whilst Betis stay eight points above the drop zone in 13th.

Monaco held ahead of Manchester City trip

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Paris (AFP) – French Ligue 1 leaders Monaco had to come from behind to draw 1-1 away to Bastia on Friday in an unconvincing performance ahead of their impending Champions League showdown with Manchester City.

Sadio Diallo had given the struggling Corsicans the lead in the first half before Bernardo Silva headed Monaco level early in the second period.

Yoreli Rincon, force in Colombia women’s football game

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Duitama (Colombia) (AFP) – Yoreli Rincon says her dad used to burst her footballs with a knife to stop her playing, so sexist was the sport in her native Colombia.

Now 23, she has played professionally in Europe and the United States and currently captains Colombian club Patriotas.

Teenage football sensation Dembele loving life in Dortmund

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Dortmund (Germany) (AFP) – Everything has happened very fast for Ousmane Dembele, still just 19 but starring for Borussia Dortmund and dreaming of making the France squad for the next World Cup.

“I’m loving it, but I can do better,” Dembele admitted to AFP of his first season in the German Bundesliga following a move from Rennes last year.

‘Magic of the Cup’ still there for England hero Hurst

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London (AFP) – England hero Geoff Hurst is convinced that this season’s upset results prove the ‘magic of the FA Cup’ is still there, despite some clubs fielding under-strength line-ups.

Non-League clubs Lincoln and Sutton have both made it through to this weekend’s last 16, while Fulham, Millwall, Oxford and Wolves have all beaten clubs from divisions above them to get to the fifth round.

Bournemouth charged with FA doping rules breach

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London (AFP) – Bournemouth have been charged by the Football Association for a breach of its anti-doping regulations, English football’s governing body said Friday.

The south coast club have been charged with a failure to comply over ‘whereabouts’ rules designed to provide accurate details of training sessions and the location of players so they are available for drug testing at all times.

Chelsea to hold Costa talks at end of season

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte is “confident” Diego Costa will remain with Chelsea, even though talks over the striker’s future with the club will have to wait until the end of the season.

Last month saw Costa, Premier League leaders Chelsea’s leading scorer this season with 15 goals, linked to a lucrative move to the cash-rich Chinese Super League.

ASEAN mulling 2034 World Cup bid – Myanmar

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Yangon (AFP) – ASEAN on Friday held talks on launching a joint bid for the World Cup in 2034 during a visit by FIFA chief Gianni Infantino to Yangon, the head of Myanmar’s football federation said.

Football officials from the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc are keen to capitalise on Infantino’s decision to expand the tournament to 48 teams by 2026, said Myanmar Football Federation chairman Zaw Zaw.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for February 7-13, 2017

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Mexico’s 1-0 win against Iceland last week was the second most-watched friendly in the United States in the past 12 months. The broadcast fell just 40,000 viewers short of last October’s 1.6 million for the match between Mexico and New Zealand in Nashville, Tennessee. The United States also played New Zealand three days later in front of a TV audience of over 1.

Man City’s Jesus out for ‘two to three months’

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola warned on Friday that teen sensation Gabriel Jesus could be out of action for up to three months and might not play again until next season.

The 19-year-old Brazil striker, who has scored three goals in five games since joining City in the January transfer window, broke a bone in his foot during City’s 2-0 win away to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Monday.

Russia slams BBC World Cup hooligan claims

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian officials on Friday slammed a BBC documentary warning of a “festival of violence” by hooligans at next year’s World Cup in the country as “propaganda” aimed at tarring the event.

“We need to look absolutely soberly at all this - an information campaign aimed to discredit,” Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told the state-run TASS news agency.

Gareth Bale returns as Zidane holds other stars in reserve

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will make his return from a three-month injury layoff when Real Madrid host Espanyol on Saturday, coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed on Friday.

However, Zidane has handed a weekend off to a host of other key men as Luka Modric, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas were not included in the Frenchman’s 19-man squad.

Barcelona capable of historic Champions League comeback: Suarez

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona striker Luis Suarez believes the Catalans can become the first side ever to overcome a four-goal first leg deficit in the Champions League when Paris Saint-Germain visit the Camp Nou on March 8.

Barca were torn apart in a 4-0 thrashing by the French champions in their last 16 clash on Tuesday, sparking fierce criticism in particular of coach Luis Enrique.

Raheem Sterling blossoming at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola

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There are a selection of players who have always endured stick at any Premier League ground they rock up at.

While it’s not desirable, it’s understandable in some cases. During his time as a Liverpool player, Luis Suarez was a regular target, as he did little to earn favor among neutrals despite his obvious brilliance.

Arsenal should pursue Jorge Sampaoli if Arsene Wenger departs club

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Arsene Wenger’s job security, which was already under threat, took a massive hit on Wednesday night when his Gunners were thrashed 5-1 by Bayern Munich. The loss wasn’t exactly a surprise, as the German giants were favorites, but the way in which the north London club fell apart in the second half of the match was surely shameful.

Wenger to decide Arsenal future ‘in March or April’

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London Colney (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger said on Friday that he will make a decision on his Arsenal future “in March or April” as he vowed to remain in football management come what may next season.

The Frenchman is out of contract with the north London side at the end of the current campaign and questions over whether he will stay at Arsenal intensified after the Gunners’ humiliating 5-1 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic says he’s football’s Indiana Jones

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic compared himself to the action movie hero Indiana Jones after scoring his first hat-trick for Manchester United.

Just as fictional archaeologist Jones, played in a series of Hollywood movies by screen star Harrison Ford, usually returns from his adventures with a trophy, so too has the career of the much-travelled Ibrahimovic yielded plenty of silverware.

Russia slams BBC 2018 World Cup hooligan claims

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian officials on Friday slammed a BBC documentary warning of a “festival of violence” by hooligans at next year’s World Cup in the country as “propaganda” aimed at tarring the event.

“We need to look absolutely soberly at all this - an information campaign aimed to discredit,” Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko told the state-run TASS news agency.

Sutton hero of ’89 plots Arsenal ambush

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London (AFP) – For Micky Stephens, assistant manager of English non-league team Sutton United, Monday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Premier League giants Arsenal carries a vivid sense of deja vu.

In January 1989, Stephens was a pivotal member of the Sutton team that stunned Coventry City, FA Cup winners 19 months previously, in one of the tournament’s most celebrated upsets.

Mourinho upbraids unfocused Man United

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho accused his players of not showing an appropriate level of mental preparation during their 3-0 Europa League victory over Saint-Etienne.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hat-trick earned United a handsome win in Thursday’s last 32 first-leg match at Old Trafford, but the scoreline did not tell the full story.

Sutton ready to add to Wenger’s woes

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London (AFP) – The manager of Sutton United will have no qualms about doing all he can to add to the burden of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger when their teams meet in the last 16 of the FA Cup.

The tie of the fifth round, at least for those who still believe in the “romance of the Cup”, sees non-league Sutton at home to joint-record 12-times Arsenal on Monday.

Chelsea look to avoid Cup savaging by Wolves

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Wolverhampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chelsea will look to avoid an FA Cup upset at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday with the mood still upbeat despite being held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at Burnley last Sunday.

The Londoners hold an eight-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League but the Cup could give them a chance to rest some of their more established players even against a side that knocked out Liverpool last time.

Jesus absence offers Aguero chance of renaissance

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Huddersfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola faces a double selection quandary as he prepares for an FA Cup fifth round visit to in-form Championship club Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

The Manchester City manager, still active on three fronts as he seeks silverware in his first season in the English game, will be without injured Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus who broke a metatarsal in this week’s league victory at Bournemouth.

Lowly Leganes hand Barca chance to lick PSG wounds

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Madrid (AFP) – Still reeling from their humiliation at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona can’t afford a Champions League hangover as they return to La Liga action at home to Leganes on Sunday.

Barca trail league leaders Real Madrid by a point, but have also played two games more than their title rivals, leaving Luis Enrique’s men little room for error in their quest for a third straight La Liga title.

Rangers press reset button after week of chaos

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Glasgow (AFP) – Breaking up is never easy, but Rangers supporters are still seeking clarity on the club’s split with former manager Mark Warburton following what has been another chaotic week in the life of the Glasgow giants.

The club’s board announced last Friday that Warburton, his assistant, David Weir, and the club’s head of recruitment, Frank McParland, had resigned their positions at Ibrox -– a version of events the trio strenuously deny.

Dzeko forms a timely boost for Serie A title-chasing Roma

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Milan (AFP) – Edin Dzeko hit his second successive Europa League hat-trick to edge closer to his all-time season record, and give Roma’s title hopes a timely boost ahead of Sunday’s visit of Torino.

Dzeko, who also hit a hat-trick against Viktoria Plzen in November, took the match ball home from Villarreal after a 4-0 rout in Spain to give to his daughter after taking his Europa League-leading tally to eight goals.

‘Fearful’ Toulouse travel to face PSG in Ligue 1

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Paris (AFP) – Toulouse coach Pascal Dupraz knows his team have reasons to be fearful this weekend as they travel to face a Paris Saint-Germain side fresh from a crushing win over Barcelona.

PSG stunned Lionel Messi and co and sent a clear signal of intent to the rest of Europe by winning their Champions League last 16, first leg 4-0 at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

Lahm backs Bayern’s struggling Mueller in Berlin

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Berlin (AFP) – After thrashing Arsenal in mid-week, leaders Bayern Munich return to Bundesliga business at Hertha Berlin on Saturday with captain Philipp Lahm backing Thomas Mueller to return to form.

Bayern head to the capital with a seven-point lead in Germany’s top flight and one foot in the Champions League’s quarter-finals after hammering Arsenal 5-1 in Wednesday’s last 16, first-leg.

Arsene Wenger to decide his Arsenal future in March or April

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London Colney (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger said on Friday that he will make a decision on his Arsenal future “in March or April” as he vowed to remain in football management next season.

The Frenchman is out of contract with the north London side at the end of the current campaign and questions over whether he will stay at Arsenal intensified after the Gunners’ humiliating 5-1 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Critic slams ‘cretin’ Totti and Roma stadium plans

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Milan (AFP) – A top Italian art critic lined himself up for a venomous backlash by fans after calling emblematic Roma captain Francesco Totti a “cretin” who is blindly backing the club’s plans for a new stadium.

Totti, 40, is playing out his 25th and final season with the club he helped lead to only their third Serie A title in 2001.

Ibrahimovic, Dzeko run riot in Europa League

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Paris (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Saint-Etienne to the sword with a hat-trick as Manchester United beat the French club 3-0 in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.

The Swede loved playing against Les Verts throughout his four years at Paris Saint-Germain and he was at it again to take his tally in 14 games against them to 17 goals.

Ibrahimovic treble downs Saint-Etienne in Europa League

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic resumed his torment of Saint-Etienne with a hat-trick as Manchester United claimed a 3-0 victory in their Europa League last 32 first-leg encounter on Thursday.

Saint-Etienne were the Swede’s favoured prey during his time with Paris Saint-Germain and his treble took his tally against the French side to 17 goals in 14 games, and 23 for the season.

Russian hooligans warn of ‘festival of violence’ at 2018 World Cup

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London (AFP) – Russian hooligans have warned of a “festival of violence” at next year’s World Cup, in a BBC documentary aired on Thursday in which the fans celebrate street fights at Euro 2016.

Hours after FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was not concerned about violence at the tournament, the BBC’s “Russia’s Hooligan Army” showed fans predicting clashes between supporters.

Ibra treble downs Saint-Etienne in Europa League

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Zlatan Ibrahimovic resumed his torment of Saint-Etienne with a hat-trick as Manchester United claimed a 3-0 victory in their Europa League last 32 first-leg encounter on Thursday.

Saint-Etienne were the Swede’s favoured prey during his time with Paris Saint-Germain and his treble took his tally against the French side to 17 goals in 14 games, and 23 for the season.

Dempsey given all-clear to return

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Los Angeles (AFP) – United States forward Clint Dempsey has been given the all-clear to return to football following a six-month layoff due to an irregular heartbeat, US Soccer confirmed.

The Seattle Sounders striker, who had not played since last August, has already played 30 minutes and a full 45 minutes during pre-season action for the reigning champions of Major League Soccer.

German star Ozil being made the Arsenal scapegoat — agent

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London (AFP) – German playmaker Mesut Ozil is not happy at being singled out for criticism over Arsenal’s abject 5-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg, his agent told the BBC on Thursday.

The 28-year-old - who like fellow star Alexis Sanchez is yet to commit himself to a new contract with the Gunners in what has become a long-running saga - is according to Erkut Sogut annoyed at being regularly the “scapegoat” for the failings of the team whose only realistic chance of a trophy this season lies in the FA Cup.

Uruguayan defender Caceres signs for Southampton

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Experienced Uruguayan international defender Martin Caceres signed for English Premier League side Southampton until the end of the season on Thursday.

The 29-year-old - capped 68 times and a member of the team that won the 2011 Copa America and reached the 2010 World Cup semi-finals - has been a free agent since leaving Italian champions Juventus at the end of last term.

Embattled Wenger gets thumbs up from Farah

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London (AFP) – Beleaguered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger received some welcome support on Thursday from British athletics legend and Arsenal fan Mo Farah.

Wenger has been pilloried in the press and by frustrated fans following Wednesday’s 5-1 hammering by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 first leg.

Nations Cup winner Broos, Mancini want S. Africa job

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Belgian Hugo Broos, who guided Cameroon to a shock Africa Cup of Nations title 11 days ago, has applied for the vacant post of South Africa coach.

His name was among those released Thursday by the South African Football Association (SAFA) for one of the most sought after football jobs in Africa.

Spurs go down to Belgium in Europe League

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Paris (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur have work to do in their Europa League round of 32 tie against Gent after losing 1-0 in the first leg in Belgium on Thursday.

The only goal of the game came just before the hour mark when French striker Jeremy Perbet scored at the second attempt from a Danijel Milicevic cutback, as Gent coach Hein Vanhaezebrouck celebrated his 53rd birthday with a win.

Allegri bans Porto thoughts ahead of Palermo

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said all thoughts of their Champions League clash at Porto next week are banned as the Serie A champions prepare to host struggling Palermo on Friday.

Juventus, beaten 3-1 by Barcelona in the 2015 Champions League final, travel to Portugal in the last 16 first leg next week.

Watching Women’s Super League and Women’s Champions League from USA: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast from Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 14, we are joined by special guest Jonathan Tannenwald of The Philadelphia Inquirer. We cover a range of topics including:

• Is there enough demand for FA WSL and UEFA Women’s Champions League games in the US to have the games streamed or televised,

• A review of FOX’s Champions League coverage,

• Huge news for Liga MX in the United States,

• First impressions of the fubo Premier service as well as news from DIRECTV NOW

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners!

Manchester City fined £35,000 for doping rules breach

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London (AFP) – Manchester City have been fined £35,000 ($44,000, 41,000 euros) after accepting they breached Football Association rules on anti-doping.

A statement issued by the FA, English football’s governing body, on Thursday said City had failed to ensure their “club whereabouts” information was accurate.

FIFA says no ‘true evidence’ of brain injury risk

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Zurich (AFP) – FIFA insisted Thursday there is no conclusive proof that heading a ball causes an increased risk of brain disease, after the release of a study on footballers who died from dementia.

“To our very best knowledge, there is currently no true evidence of the negative effect of heading or other sub-concussive blows,” football’s world body said in response to calls by British neurological experts for greater research.

Referee Clattenburg quits Premier League for Saudi role

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London (AFP) – Leading referee Mark Clattenburg is quitting the Premier League after 12 years to work in Saudi Arabia, it was announced on Thursday.

The decision of the 41-year-old Englishman, who has also officiated in a Champions League final and the Euro 2016 final, was made public by Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organisation which provides and trains officials for the senior levels of the English game.

Man City fined £35,000 for doping rules breach

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London (AFP) – Manchester City have been fined £35,000 ($44,000, 41,000 euros) after accepting they breached Football Association rules on anti-doping.

A statement issued by the FA, English football’s governing body, on Thursday said City had failed to ensure their “club whereabouts” information was accurate.

Where to find Gent vs. Spurs on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Gent vs. Spurs, you’ve come to the right place.

Tottenham are still reeling from their disappointing performance against Liverpool last weekend. The big question in the minds of many Spurs supporters is whether Mauricio Pochettino now decides to put the FA Cup and Europa League as priorities for Spurs to win silverware this season, or if he’ll continue to put the importance of finishing second in the Premier League.

Pressure on Wenger as never before after Bayern trouncing

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London (AFP) – “Every good story has an ending. Au revoir Arsene,” read the words on a sticker on display in Borehamwood, a commuter town where north London side Arsenal enjoy strong support.

That sticker has been on display for several months and the words were positively polite compared to the torrent of criticism Arsene Wenger, Arsenal’s manager for over 20 years, faced following the Gunners’ humiliating 5-1 loss away to Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday.

FIFA boss unworried about Russia 2018 hooligans

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Doha (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Thursday he was not worried about hooliganism at next year’s Russia World Cup, amid growing fears the tournament could be blighted by fan violence.

Speaking in Qatar following a FIFA executive summit meeting, Infantino also said that football’s governing body has not asked Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko to resign as the tournament’s chief organiser.

‘We collapsed, no excuses’ — Wenger

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side had “collapsed mentally” in their 5-1 Champions League rout by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The under-pressure Frenchman said there were no excuses as the Gunners faced a seventh successive last-16 exit after their latest mauling.

Ancelotti backs Wenger to beat Arsenal slump

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti has backed under-fire Arsene Wenger to lead Arsenal out of their slump, despite their “sensational” 5-1 Champions League thrashing in Germany.

Wenger’s 20-year reign as Arsenal coach is under pressure after their mauling at Thiago Alcantara-inspired Bayern.

Benzema makes Real Madrid click – Zidane

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hailed the impact of Karim Benzema after his compatriot lifted the European champions from the early blow of conceding to beat Napoli 3-1 on Wednesday.

Madrid are now on the brink of a seventh successive Champions League quarter-final as they aim to become the first team to retain the trophy in the Champions League era.

Myanmar, from Asia’s pride to prolonged football slide

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Yangon (AFP) – Shouts reverberate under the concrete overpass as barefoot players jostle for the ball, a sad echo of Myanmar’s long-lost footballing glory days which authorities are now hoping to revive.

Once an Asian powerhouse, Myanmar’s football fortunes suffered a precipitous decline under the former military junta whose 50-year reign ravaged the economy and sporting infrastructure.

22 footballers from Laos, Cambodia get life bans for fixing

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Twenty-two players and officials from Laos and Cambodia have been handed life bans in one of Asian football’s biggest mass punishments for match-fixing.

The Asian Football Confederation said the action follows an investigation that started in 2014, and that it will seek to have the bans extended worldwide.

Arsenal Champions League nightmare ’embarrassing’ for Wenger

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London (AFP) – Former players were brutal in their criticism of manager Arsene Wenger following Arsenal’s latest Champions League humiliation.

And newspapers across Europe were no less scathing of Wednesday night’s “nightmare” 5-1 thrashing at Bayern Munich.

Just a few days after defending his former boss by saying it was “too soon” for Wenger to leave, Martin Keown, a centre-back in all three of Arsenal’s Premier League title triumphs under the Frenchman, pulled no punches this time, saying it had been a clash of “men against boys”.

FIFA boss not worried about hooligans at Russia World Cup

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Doha (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Thursday he did not fear hooligan troubles at the World Cup in Russia next year despite reported threats against foreign fans.

“I am not concerned about trouble in 2018, I have full confidence in the Russian authorities,” Infantino told AFP and a small group of reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in Doha.

Where to find Man United vs. St. Etienne on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Man United vs. St. Etienne, you’ve come to the right place.

With Manchester United continuing to improve in the Premier League, the Red Devils find themselves playing Saint Etienne in the Europa League Round of 32 today in their first leg tie.

‘We collapsed, no excuses’ — Arsenal’s Wenger

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted his side had “collapsed mentally” in their 5-1 Champions League rout by Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

The under-pressure Frenchman said there were no excuses as the Gunners faced a seventh successive last-16 exit after the latest mauling.

Real Madrid bounce back to beat Napoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid shrugged off conceding an early away goal to take a huge step towards a seventh straight Champions League quarter-final as goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Casemiro sealed a 3-1 win over Napoli on Wednesday.

Lorenzo Insigne’s stunning 40-yard strike had the travelling hordes in dream land after just eight minutes of the last 16 first leg.

Thiago-inspired Bayern hand Arsenal 5-1 rout

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger’s future was plunged into further doubt on Wednesday as Thiago Alcantara inspired Bayern Munich to a 5-1 rout of his hapless Arsenal team which left the Gunners facing a seventh straight Champions League last-16 exit.

Bayern extended their Champions League record to 16 home wins by flooring the Gunners with three goals in ten second-half minutes.

Bayern rout Arsenal 5-1 in Champions League

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich routed Arsenal 5-1 in their Champions League last 16 first leg clash on Wednesday thanks to a blistering spell of three goals in 10 second-half minutes.

Arjen Robben opened the scoring after just 11 minutes at the Allianz Arena when the Dutchman beat Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina with a fine left-foot strike into the top corner.

Real Madrid battle back to beat Napoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid came from behind to beat Napoli 3-1 on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Lorenzo Insigne gave the Italians an early lead but Karim Benzema equalised in the 18th minute, before Toni Kroos and Casemiro both scored early in the second half for the holders.

Real Madrid’s Rodriguez handed chance in Bale absence

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Madrid (AFP) – James Rodriguez was handed a rare chance to start on the big occasion after Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane resisted the Champions League temptation to rush back Gareth Bale after three months out with ankle ligament damage.

With Bale left out of the squad altogether, Rodriguez edged out Lucas Vazquez for a role on the right of the Madrid attack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema for the last 16 first leg tie against Napoli.

German strugglers Darmstadt invite ‘fan’ Obama to a game

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Berlin (AFP) – The German Bundesliga’s bottom side Darmstadt have invited Barack Obama to a home game after discovering the former US President follows them on social media platform Twitter.

“It’s a huge honour for us,” said Darmstadt’s German-born US international Terrence Boyd in a video message to Obama posted on Twitter.

Bayern drop Mueller for Arsenal clash

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Germany star Thomas Mueller has been left out of Bayern Munich’s starting line-up for their Champions League last 16 first leg clash at home to Arsenal on Wednesday.

The World Cup winner has struggled for form in front of goal this season.

The 27-year-old was also on the bench for their final Champions League group game against Atletico Madrid and key Bundesliga clash against RB Leipzig in December.

Comparing fuboTV to Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue

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With the news that fuboTV has significantly expanded its product offering to move from soccer-centric channels to those plus a long list of entertainment and news channels, fuboTV’s legal streaming service is now in the same ballpark as Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and DIRECTV NOW.

We already know that fuboTV offers the most comprehensive selection of soccer coverage on any legal streaming platform in the United States, but how does it compare to Sling TV, PS Vue and DIRECTV NOW on everything else?

Aubameyang admits losing fitness at Africa Cup

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Berlin (AFP) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admits his Champions League shocker for Borussia Dortmund against Benfica was down to a loss of fitness due to the Africa Cup of Nations.

The 27-year-old Gabon striker was hauled off on Tuesday moments after missing a penalty in the 1-0 last 16 first-leg defeat in Lisbon.

Manchester City sign US women’s star Carli Lloyd

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London (AFP) – FIFA Women’s Player of the Year Carli Lloyd has joined Manchester City on a short-term contract, the English club announced on Wednesday.

The 34-year-old United States captain arrives from the Houston Dash and will play in the 2017 Spring Series, the FA Women’s Cup and the Women’s Champions League.

Mourinho deals Shaw fresh Europa League snub

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Luke Shaw received another setback on Wednesday when Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho revealed he will not play in Thursday’s Europa League game against Saint-Etienne.

Shaw has battled back from a double broken leg suffered last season, but has made just one appearance since November and has not featured in United’s last three match-day squads.

Rooney, Carrick, Jones out for Man United

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Captain Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Phil Jones will all miss Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Saint-Etienne on Thursday, manager Jose Mourinho revealed on Wednesday.

Jones has not played since sustaining a foot injury in United’s recent 0-0 draw with Hull City and Mourinho said Rooney and Carrick had “little muscular problems”.

Police called to Maradona’s Madrid hotel

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish police were called to a Madrid hotel by concerned staff on Wednesday over an argument between former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona and his girlfriend.

“My lawyer Matias Morla contacted the Spanish authorities. There are no complaints and nobody was able to explain to me the reason for this media show,” said Maradona via his official Facebook page.

Shanghai SIPG sign ex-Madrid defender Carvalho

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Beijing (AFP) – Shanghai SIPG confirmed Wednesday the signing of former Real Madrid and Chelsea player Ricardo Carvalho, the official Xinhua news agency said, making him the latest foreigner to be tempted by the riches of China’s Super League.

Carvalho’s signing had been finalised by the end of winter training, but the announcement was delayed as China’s new restrictions on foreign players forced the team to “think carefully” about his role, Xinhua cited SIPG as saying.

Champions League progress near impossible: Neymar

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona’s Brazil star Neymar says it will be a virtual ‘mission impossible’ for the Spanish giants to progress in the Champions League after their 4-0 first leg demolition by Paris Saint-Germain.

No team has ever come back from a 4-0 first leg deficit to remain in the Champions League and Barcelona are under no illusions about the mountain they will have to climb for the second leg of the last 16 clash at Camp Nou on March 8.

St Etienne have nothing to lose against Man Utd: Loic Perrin

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Saint-Étienne (France) (AFP) – Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin insisted on Wednesday that his team has nothing to lose when they tackle Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Europa League.

And while the centre-back admitted he would have preferred to avoid United so soon in the competition - the last 32 - he said the entire club was excited to be taking on one of Europe’s powerhouses.

Neuer says no contact with City’s Guardiola

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has poured cold water on the latest speculation that he could be reunited with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City next season.

The 30-year-old, Germany’s first choice goalkeeper since the 2010 World Cup, has a Bayern contract until June 2021.

The Pogbas: brothers turned rivals as Europa League clash looms

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London (AFP) – A family football story born on the pitches of Paris’s eastern suburbs arrives at Old Trafford on Thursday as brothers Paul and Florentin Pogba face off in the Europa League.

“The day has come,” says elder brother Florentin, a defender with Saint-Etienne. “We’re going to face each other on the pitch, rather than on our neighbourhood mini-pitch.

Footballers prone to brain damage – study

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London (AFP) – Professional footballers are at heightened risk of developing a brain disease that can cause dementia and is usually found in boxers and American football players, a study published on Wednesday suggests.

The study, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica, looked at 14 retired footballers with dementia who had started playing football and heading the ball in childhood or their early teens.

6 important takeaways from NWSL’s TV deal with Lifetime

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Recently, the NWSL announced a TV deal combined with A&E networks where the media company will also take an equity share in the US-based women’s professional soccer league. The deal represents a massive breakthrough for the NWSL which is entering its fifth season in 2017.

The league, which has been seen by many around the game as being on shaky ground, has recently made significant progress toward the future by linking several of its clubs to successful men’s teams, a technique that is working well to sustain the women’s game in Europe, but had been resisted in the United States by the previous women’s professional leagues (WUSA and WPS) and by many involved with NWSL when the league began play in 2013.

Reunions abound as Man Utd tackle Saint-Etienne

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London (AFP) – Manchester United’s quest for a trophy treble continues with a meeting against a fallen French giant on Thursday as Saint-Etienne visit Old Trafford in the Europa League’s round of 32.

Although United trail leaders Chelsea by 12 points in the Premier League, they remain on track for glory in both the League Cup, where they have reached the final, and the FA Cup.

Where to find Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal, you’ve come to the right place.

Bayern Munich and Arsenal meet again in the Champions League. With the Gunners out of the title race, can Arsene Wenger’s side mount a serious run for the UEFA Champions League by defeating German champions Bayern Munich?

Where to find Real Madrid vs. Napoli on US TV and streaming

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

After Barcelona’s shock defeat to PSG on Tuesday, Real Madrid has the chance to steal the headlines on Wednesday if they can beat Napoli who are currently third in Serie A. Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale will miss the match due to injury, but Los Blancos should have enough firepower to win this match against a high-scoring Napoli side.

Turkey confirms bid to host Euro 2024 football

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Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey’s football authorities confirmed Wednesday the country was bidding to host the Euro 2024 football tournament, which would be the biggest sporting event it has ever held.

Turkey in 2014 withdrew its bid to host final stage matches of Euro 2020 - which uniquely will be held across Europe - in favour of focusing on a one country bid for 2024.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique lambasted after PSG humbling

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique floundered in the firing line on Wednesday after what he called a “disastrous” 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain left the Spanish champions on the brink of their earliest Champions League exit in a decade.

Enrique confronted a television reporter working for Catalan station TV3 after the match, while his tactics were criticised by Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets.

Spanish police called to Maradona’s Madrid hotel

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish police were called to a Madrid hotel by concerned staff on Wednesday over an argument between former Argentine footballer Diego Maradona and his girlfriend.

“When the agents and emergency services arrived, those people (Maradona and his girlfriend) showed no sign of injuries and did not press charges, there was just a discussion,” police sources told AFP.

Griezmann happy in Madrid despite Man Utd link

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann insists he feels “great” in the Spanish capital and hailed the impact Atletico boss Diego Simeone has had on his career despite being consistently linked with a big money move to the Premier League.

Manchester United lead the chase for Griezmann, who has a 100 million euro ($106 million) buyout clause inserted into a new contract he signed with Atletico in June last year.

PSG defeat ‘disastrous’ for Barcelona – Luis Enrique

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Paris (AFP) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique admitted his side need a “heroic performance” in the return to stand any chance of overturning a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday.

“It is difficult to explain. They were superior to us from the start.

Di Maria stars as brilliant PSG stun Barcelona

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Paris (AFP) – Angel Di Maria scored a brilliant brace on his birthday as Paris Saint-Germain sensationally destroyed Barcelona 4-0 at the Parc des Princes in their Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday.

Di Maria, the former Real Madrid star, opened the scoring in the 18th minute and curled in another 10 minutes into the second half to celebrate his 29th birthday in style.

Benfica sneak win as Aubameyang fluffs Dortmund’s lines

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Lisbon (AFP) – Benfica pulled off a classic smash and grab job as they beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in their Champions League last 16 first leg on Tuesday.

Greek striker Kostas Mitroglou scored the only goal of the game, prodding home from close range at the second attempt just after half time after Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki stopped his initial effort.

Bayern’s Hummels backs Ozil to beat slump

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels is backing Mesut Ozil to break his Arsenal slump with the Germany team-mates set to go head-to-head in Wednesday’s crunch Champions League last 16 tie.

Bayern host the Gunners in the first-leg tie at Munich’s Allianz Arena with the Germans on a Champions League record 15-match unbeaten run at home.

Bale left out as Real Madrid aim to halt Maradona-backed Napoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has resisted the temptation to rush back a fit-again Gareth Bale for their Champions League clash on Wednesday against an on-form Napoli backed by Diego Maradona.

Bale returned to training for the first time since suffering ankle ligament damage in November on Sunday and has been left out of Zidane’s 19-man squad.

Pescara sack Oddo, but point finger at players

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Milan (AFP) – Serie A strugglers Pescara sacked coach Massimo Oddo on Tuesday but told fans they “never again” wanted to see the “performances offered” so far by the team’s players.

Promoted Pescara have spent much of this season in the bottom three but, even when embattled Oddo offered his resignation last month, club bosses waved it away in a rare show of support.

Diarra parts company with Marseille

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Marseille (AFP) – French international Lassana Diarra has left Marseille after reaching a deal to end his contract early, the Ligue 1 club announced on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old quits the Velodrome after a year and a half. He wanted to leave in the winter transfer window without finding a suitable offer.

Wenger determined to end Arsenal’s last 16 curse

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger is urging Arsenal to take their chance to beat Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s first-leg Champions League away clash in their bid to break their last 16 curse.

The Round of 16 has been a source of Gunners’ heartache with Wenger’s side losing at this stage of the competition in each of the last six seasons.

Draxler starts for PSG against Barcelona

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has selected January signing Julian Draxler for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League last 16 first leg against Barcelona at the Parc des Princes.

The German World Cup winner, formerly of Wolfsburg, gets the nod ahead of Lucas Moura to start on the right flank, while Angel Di Maria will play on the other side in support of Edinson Cavani.

Not conceding key to beat Arsenal, says Bayern’s Hummels

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels said keeping a clean sheet in Wednesday’s first leg would be the key to extending Arsenal’s last 16 Champions League misery.

Arsenal have lost in the last 16 in each of the last six seasons and exited at the hands of Bayern at this stage of the competition in 2005, 2013 and 2014.

Man City’s Gabriel Jesus out with broken foot

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London (AFP) – Manchester City’s Brazilian goal-scoring sensation Gabriel Jesus has broken a foot, the club said Tuesday, sparking fears he may miss the rest of the season.

The 19-year-old striker, who has scored three goals in five games since joining City in January, suffered a “fractured metatarsal” bone against Bournemouth on Monday.

What Arsenal’s starting lineup needs to be against Bayern Munich

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shouldn’t be planning to see a majority of possession when his club face off against mighty Bayern Munich Wednesday night. The last time the Gunners traveled to the German giants, they managed just 34% possession of the ball. In fact, the club’s last three away trips to big clubs in Champions League play (PSG, Barcelona, and Bayern) saw Arsenal average just 39% possession.

Why Tottenham’s away form against big clubs continues to be poor

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Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs have improved dramatically in so many ways, though there is still one area of performance that still feels like the old Spurs - performances away from home against the teams around them in the table. The performance at Anfield brought back nasty reminders of the flaws Tottenham still has, and how far they have to go if they really are going to be consistent title challengers.

Tudor set to reign at Galatasaray after Riekerink ousted

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Istanbul (AFP) – Istanbul giants Galatasaray on Tuesday were set to appoint former Croatian international Igor Tudor as new manager after firing Dutch manager Jan Olde Riekerink because of lacklustre results.

Galatasaray’s top executives held an emergency meeting about the Dutchman’s future following the 1-2 home defeat to lowly Kayserispor on Sunday, the Hurriyet daily and Dogan news agency said.

FOX Soccer 2GO free trial returns in time for UEFA Champions League

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For soccer fans in the United States, the legal streaming service FOX Soccer 2GO is offering a free 7-day trial during the month of February.

The free trial is ideal timing for the return of the UEFA Champions League (as well as Copa Libertadores) that begins this week.

With FOX Soccer 2GO, you can watch games live and on-demand via your computer, smartphone and tablet.

Bale left out as Madrid aim to halt Maradona-backed Napoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has resisted the temptation to rush back a fit-again Gareth Bale for their Champions League clash on Wednesday against an on-form Napoli backed by Diego Maradona.

Bale returned to training for the first time since suffering ankle ligament damage in November on Sunday and has been left out of Zidane’s 19-man squad.

Fit-again Bale left out for Napoli clash

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Madrid (AFP) – Gareth Bale will have to wait for his return to action after three months out as the Welshman wasn’t included in Zinedine Zidane’s squad for Real Madrid’s Champions League clash with Napoli on Wednesday.

Bale only returned to full training for the first time on Sunday since suffering ankle ligament damage in November.

Napoli’s chainsmoking coach Sarri out to defy Zidane

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Milan (AFP) – He is a tracksuit-wearing chain-smoker and former bank employee, but Maurizio Sarri certainly won’t feel intimidated when he leads Napoli against the mighty Real Madrid of French legend Zinedine Zidane.

“He’s a master, an extraordinary coach,” Arrigo Sacchi, who orchestrated AC Milan’s unprecedented run of success at home in Europe in the 1990s, said of the 58-year-old Italian coach.

Where to find PSG vs. Barcelona on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch PSG vs. Barcelona, you’ve come to the right place.

After no Champions League games for 70 days, what better way to return to the next round of the tournament than Paris Saint-Germain versus Barcelona, which will be shown live on US television and streaming.

PSG boss Nasser ready for intense times

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Doha (AFP) – The next few days promise to be intense for Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of Paris Saint-Germain and arguably the most recognisable face behind tiny Qatar’s global sporting rise.

On Tuesday night he will take his seat in the Presidentielle Stand at the Parc des Princes for the first leg of the crucial Champions League last 16 tie against Barcelona.

Pressure on Wenger to break Bayern curse in Champions League

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger is once again under pressure to end Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 misery as the Gunners travel to bogey team Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s first leg.

Bayern are riding a record 15-match home winning streak in Europe with the midweek clash marking the 11th meeting between the sides at Munich’s Allianz Arena in the Champions League.

Five sporting fairytales with an unhappy sequel

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London (AFP) – Premier League champions Leicester’s shambolic defence of their title leaves them in real danger of relegation - they would not be the first to have seen a fairytale sporting success quickly decline into a nightmare.

Here AFP Sports looks at five other examples:

Boxing – Buster Douglas

James ‘Buster’ Douglas tamed the fearsome ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson in Tokyo in 1990, the 42/1 outsider inflicting his first defeat and becoming undisputed heavyweight world champion.

Where to find Benfica vs. Dortmund on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Benfica vs. Dortmund, you’ve come to the right place.

On paper, many would expect Borussia Dortmund to have the edge in this game, but Benfica - currently in first place in the Primeira Liga in Portugal - could surprise many world soccer aficionados.

Galatasaray boss job on line after shock loss

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Istanbul (AFP) – The manager of Istanbul football giants Galatasaray Jan Olde Riekerink is facing the sack following a shock weekend league loss, press reports said on Tuesday.

Galatasaray’s top executives held an emergency meeting about the Dutchman’s future following the 1-2 home defeat to lowly Kayserispor on Sunday, the Anadolu news agency and Hurriyet dailies said.

Chinese superclub Evergrande to end foreign signings

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Beijing (AFP) – Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande have announced plans to field a Chinese-only squad by 2020, official media said on Tuesday, in a surprise turnaround after years of success based on big-money foreign signings.

Evergrande have won the Chinese Super League for the last six season, plus the AFC Champions League in 2013 and 2015, with the help of mainly South American firepower and top foreign managers.

Copa Libertadores schedule in US for 3rd Preliminary Round (Feb 15-23, 2017)

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The Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club competition, enters its 3rd Preliminary Round this week. FOX Sports hold the English and Spanish-language rights in the US and have shown the matches from the previous 2 Preliminary Rounds exclusively on their streaming service FOX Soccer 2GO.

Guardiola rejects talk of title despite Manchester City revival

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola is refusing to talk up his team’s title credentials despite three successive league wins taking Manchester City to within eight points of leaders Chelsea.

A 2-0 win at Bournemouth on Monday saw City leapfrog three sides and climb into second place after a goal in each half was enough to see off the challenge of Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium.

Sterling rises to occasion,keeps City in title mix

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goals from Raheem Sterling and an own goal from Tyrone Mings gave Manchester City a 2-0 win against Bournemouth and lifted them from sixth to second place in the Premier League on a blustery Monday night at the Vitality Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side closed the gap on Chelsea to eight points and kept alive their hopes of the title, despite their Spanish manager ruling out the possibility following his team’s 4-0 defeat at Everton last month.

Sterling rises to occasion,keeps Manchester City in title mix

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goals from Raheem Sterling and an own goal from Tyrone Mings gave Manchester City a 2-0 win against Bournemouth and lifted them from sixth to second place in the Premier League on a blustery Monday night at the Vitality Stadium.

Pep Guardiola’s side closed the gap on Chelsea to eight points and kept alive their hopes of the title, despite their Spanish manager ruling out the possibility following his team’s 4-0 defeat at Everton last month.

Suso sizzler ends Milan losing streak at Lazio

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Milan (AFP) – A late equaliser from Suso secured a share of the points as AC Milan relaunched their Europa League bid with a precious 1-1 draw at Lazio on Monday.

Lazio, fighting for a top three finish in a tightly-contested Serie A, looked to be heading for a second successive win after their 6-2 romp at Pescara after Lucas Biglia gave the hosts a 1-0 lead on the stroke of half-time.

Marseille hit by Gomis knee injury

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Marseille (AFP) – Marseille striker Bafetimbi Gomis, his team’s leading scorer with 16 league goals this season, is expected to miss from four to six weeks with a knee injury picked up in Sunday’s defeat at Nantes.

Gomis scored twice in the 3-2 loss in Ligue 1 but sprained his right knee and suffered ligament damage in a collision with Nantes defender Diego Carlos, RMC Sport reported on Monday.

Liga MX English-language broadcasts to debut on MLS Live from Univision Deportes

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In big news for soccer fans in the United States, Univision Deportes will begin broadcasting English-language commentaries of Liga MX games on Facebook Live.

The top-flight Liga MX is already the most popular soccer league in the United States. However, up until now (other than a failed attempt from ESPN), matches haven’t been available as English-language commentaries in the United States.

Atletico’s Calderon to host Copa del Rey final

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Madrid (AFP) – The Copa del Rey final between holders Barcelona and Alaves on May 27 will be played at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium, the Spanish Football Federation said on Monday.

It will be the second year running the final is held at Atletico’s ground, with Barcelona lifting the trophy for a record 28th time last season following a 2-0 extra-time win over Sevilla.

Bilic hit with FA charge after Baggies outburst

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London (AFP) – West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has been charged with improper conduct for his behaviour during Saturday’s draw against West Bromwich Albion, the Football Association announced Monday.

An angry Bilic was sent off by referee Michael Oliver after throwing a television microphone in frustration following West Brom’s late equaliser in a 2-2 Premier League draw at the London Stadium.

Martial relishing renewed Saint-Etienne rivalry

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London (AFP) – Anthony Martial has more reason than most of his Manchester United team-mates for wanting to score against French club Saint-Etienne in Thursday’s Europa League tie at Old Trafford.

Martial, 21, made his way in football as a youth player with Lyon, arch domestic rivals of Saint-Etienne.

Schedule of UEFA Champions League on US TV and streaming (Feb 14-22, 2017)

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The UEFA Champions League returns this week after a break of 70 days since the end of the Group Stage. Sixteen teams remain with a home and away leg. The aggregate winners will then proceed to the quarter-finals of the 2016/17 competition.

Many of the giants of European soccer will be in action across the continent.

Lyon keeper banned over shirt antics

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Paris (AFP) – Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes will miss Sunday’s visit of Dijon in Ligue 1 with a one-match ban for scribbling out the name of arch rivals Saint-Etienne on his jersey.

Teams in this year’s French Cup are wearing special commemorative shirts to mark the 100th anniversary of the competition, with each featuring the names of all the former winners.

Bayern’s Alonso limps out of training ahead of Arsenal clash

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Berlin (AFP) – Midfield star Xabi Alonso is an injury concern for Bayern Munich ahead of their Champions League last 16 home leg against Arsenal after being hurt in Monday’s training session.

German daily Bild and broadcaster Sport1.de both reported the 35-year-old was hurt in a tackle by fellow Spain international Javi Martinez, with Bayern hosting the Gunners at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

Robben says Bayern must raise game against Gunners

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Berlin (AFP) – Evergreen Arjen Robben says Bayern Munich must raise their game for Wednesday’s key Champions League clash against Arsenal with time running out for him to again lift the European trophy.

The 33-year-old scored Bayern’s winning goal in the 2013 final at Wembley to seal the 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

Swansea’s Dyer out for season with Achilles injury

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London (AFP) – Swansea winger Nathan Dyer will miss the rest of the season after rupturing the Achilles tendon in his left ankle, the Premier League club announced Monday.

Dyer suffered the injury during Welsh club Swansea’s 2-0 win at home to champions Leicester on Sunday, limping off after just seven minutes at the Liberty Stadium.

Emery, PSG look to get one over Barcelona at last

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday with their Spanish coach Unai Emery desperate to improve his awful personal record against the Catalans.

Emery was brought to the French capital last year as the successor to Laurent Blanc in order to help take PSG to the next level in Europe after four consecutive quarter-final exits in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo injury scare ahead of Real’s Napoli clash

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo trained apart from the team on Monday just two days ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League last 16 home leg against Napoli.

The Portuguese goal machine with a record 96 Champions League strikes to his name suffered a heavy tackle in a 3-1 win over Osasuna at the weekend.

PSG’s Emery has poor record against Barcelona

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has managed teams against Barcelona 23 times since 2007. Here is the size of his challenge in five figures as his side prepare to take on the Spanish superstars in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday:

1 win

Emery, who moved from Sevilla last year and has also coached Lorca, Almeria, Valencia and Spartak Moscow, has won just once against Barcelona, lost 16 times and drawn six.

Borussia Dortmund to shut stand following hooligan attacks

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund will close their iconic south stand for this weekend’s home Bundesliga match, having on Monday accepted the German FA’s sanctions after hooligans attacked visiting fans a week ago.

The south stand, known as the ‘Gelbe Wand’ (Yellow Wall), holds 25,000 supporters at Borussia’s 80,000-capacity Signal Iduna Park stadium and will be closed for Saturday’s home league match against Wolfsburg.

Wounded Dortmund strive for Benfica remedy

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Lisbon (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel hopes the return of the Champions League will provide the jolt his inconsistent side need ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Benfica in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

The Germans tormented opposing defences and finished above European champions Real Madrid in Group F after setting a new group-stage goals record, but they have failed to reproduce their best form domestically.

‘One mistake and you’re dead’ against Barca: Paris Saint-Germain’s Lucas

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Paris (AFP) – Lucas Moura has been knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona twice before with Paris Saint-Germain, but the Brazilian insists the French club can come out on top in the sides’ latest meeting.

PSG host the Spanish champions in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday knowing they must silence Lionel Messi, Neymar and co to maintain a realistic hope of reaching the quarter-finals ahead of next month’s return.

Digne backs Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ to outgun PSG once more

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Barcelona (AFP) – Lucas Digne says Barcelona’s deadly strike force will again carry them past Paris Saint Germain when the teams meet at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday.

At just 23, left-back Digne has already experienced the demands at the top level with PSG in his homeland and Roma in Italy, but nothing comes close to the demands he faces day-to-day since joining Barcelona in July.

Conte still wary of Chelsea’s pursuers

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Antonio Conte believes any of six teams could still win the Premier League despite his Chelsea side moving 10 points clear at the summit after drawing 1-1 at Burnley.

Chelsea negotiated a potentially difficult visit to Turf Moor on Sunday, where Burnley have the third-best home record in the division, behind only Chelsea themselves and Tottenham Hotspur.

Planes, trains and automobiles for Napoli exodus to Madrid

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Milan (AFP) – Desperate Napoli fans have signed up as official Real Madrid supporters in a bid to attend a Champions League clash that will see an estimated 10,000 Napolitans descend on the Spanish capital Wednesday.

Napoli, last season’s runners-up, are nine points behind Juventus in the Serie A title race but, with a league-topping 57 goals in 24 games, are playing arguably the best football in Italy.

Bundesliga conquerers Bayern set sights on Arsenal

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich turn their focus on Arsenal and the Champions League on Wednesday having effectively ended the title-race in the Bundesliga with a fifth straight-crown now theirs to lose.

With a third of the German league season still to play, Bayern hold a commanding seven-point lead as all their main rivals lost at the weekend.

PSG host Barcelona in Champions League last-16 first leg tie

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain host Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday with their Spanish coach Unai Emery desperate to improve his awful personal record against the Catalans.

Emery was brought to the French capital last year as the successor to Laurent Blanc in order to help take PSG to the next level in Europe after four consecutive quarter-final exits in the Champions League.

Andre Villas-Boas promises ‘special night’ for SIPG boss

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Shanghai (AFP) – Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas on Monday said his team must deliver silverware after the club spent big pre-season including their high-profile signing of Oscar.

SIPG begin their AFC Champions League campaign next week after Oscar, their 60-million-euro signing from Chelsea, helped them reach the group stage with a goal on debut in the play-offs.

Goetze left out of Dortmund squad for Benfica

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s World Cup winner Mario Goetze has been left out of Borussia Dortmund’s squad for Tuesday’s Champions League last 16, first-leg, clash against Benfica.

The 24-year-old has fallen out of favour with coach Thomas Tuchel after a string of below-par performances and is struggling with a leg injury, which kept him out of Saturday’s shock 2-1 defeat at Bundesliga bottom side Darmstadt.

Juventus hot-shot Higuain keeps Roma, Dzeko at bay

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Milan (AFP) – Gonzalo Higuain struck his 21st Serie A brace to go level top of the Serie A scoring charts in a 2-0 win at Cagliari that edged Juventus closer to a record sixth consecutive scudetto Sunday.

Higuain’s 17th and 18th goals of the league season means the Argentina striker is tied with Edin Dzeko, who missed a penalty then made amends with Roma’s second in a 2-0 win at Crotone, in the race for the Capocannoniere (top scorer) award.

Higuain double downs depleted Cagliari as Juve march on

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Milan (AFP) – Gonzalo Higuain struck his 21st Serie A brace to go joint-top in the scoring charts as Juventus opened up a seven-point lead with a comfortable 2-0 win at 10-man Cagliari on Sunday.

Higuain’s 17th and 18th goals of the league season means the Argentina striker is tied with Roma front man Edin Dzeko, who missed a penalty then made amends with Roma’s second in a 2-0 win at Crotone.

Manchester City’s Guardiola can’t give Aguero guarantees

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out the possibility that Sergio Aguero could leave Manchester City at the end of the season, but says he wants to keep the striker.

Aguero, who has a contract until 2020, has been restricted to brief substitute appearances in each of City’s last two matches, largely because of the excellent form of new signing Gabriel Jesus.

Griezmann seals Atletico fightback, Sevilla stay third

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Madrid (AFP) – Antoine Griezmann sealed a thrilling Atletico Madrid comeback from 2-1 down with four minutes remaining to beat Celta Vigo 3-2 and move into fourth in La Liga.

Sevilla remain four points ahead of Atletico in third as they moved within three points of leaders Real Madrid thanks to substitute Joaquin Correa’s winner 10 minutes from time in a 1-0 win at Las Palmas.

Nice lose ground, Marseille beaten in League 1

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Paris (AFP) – Nice’s fading Ligue 1 title aspirations suffered a costly setback as they fell five points behind leaders Monaco despite rallying from two goals down in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Rennes.

First-half strikes from Morgan Amalfitano and Giovanni Sio left Rennes on course for a first win in nine matches, but Valentin Eysseric set up Anastasios Dosis to pull one back on the hour mark.

Correa winner maintains Sevilla title challenge

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla moved to within three points of La Liga leaders Real Madrid thanks to substitute Joaquin Correa’s winner 10 minutes from time in a 1-0 win at Las Palmas.

Las Palmas were the better side for the majority of the 90 minutes, but were caught out by a simple route one move as Correa latched onto Vicente Iborra’s flick on to slot home his first La Liga goal.

Leicester slump ‘unbelievable’, says Ranieri

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri acknowledged Leicester City cannot continue haemorrhaging defeats after Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Swansea City left the Premier League champions one point above the relegation zone.

Swansea defenders Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson struck in the first half at the Liberty Stadium to condemn Leicester to a fifth successive defeat and 14th of the campaign in total.

Swansea City’s Mawson and Olsson sharpen Leicester’s pain

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Defenders Alfie Mawson and Martin Olsson gave Swansea City a 2-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday that nudged the flatlining Premier League champions closer to the relegation zone.

Mawson and Olsson netted crisp strikes prior to half-time at the Liberty Stadium to give Swansea manager Paul Clement a fourth win in six games since he succeeded the sacked Bob Bradley.

Nice lose ground after Rennes draw

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Paris (AFP) – Nice’s fading Ligue 1 title aspirations suffered a costly setback as they fell five points behind leaders Monaco despite rallying from two goals down in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Rennes.

First-half strikes from Morgan Amalfitano and Giovanni Sio left Rennes on course for a first win in nine matches, but Valentin Eysseric set up Anastasios Dosis to pull one back on the hour mark.

Dzeko makes amends as Inter Milan, Atalanta sight Europe

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Milan (AFP) – Edin Dzeko made amends for a first-half penalty miss to hit Roma’s second in a 2-0 win over Crotone that kept the capital side’s Serie A title challenge ticking over on Sunday.

Roma’s 17th win of the campaign moved Luciano Spalletti’s men back up to second spot to close the gap to four points, although Juventus can restore their seven-point lead with a win at Cagliari in Sunday’s late game.

Dzeko makes amends as Inter, Atalanta sight Europe

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Milan (AFP) – Edin Dzeko made amends for a first-half penalty miss to hit Roma’s second in a 2-0 win over Crotone that kept the capital side’s Serie A title challenge ticking over on Sunday.

Roma’s 17th win of the campaign moved Luciano Spalletti’s men back up to second spot to close the gap to four points, although Juventus can restore their seven-point lead with a win at Cagliari in Sunday’s late game.

Hoffenheim stumble in Bayern pursuit

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Berlin (AFP) – Hoffenheim stumbled to a 2-1 defeat at Wolfsburg on Sunday as all five clubs chasing Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga lost over the weekend.

Daniel Didavi came off the bench after the break to inspire Wolfsburg’s second-half fight back as Hoffenheim suffered only their second defeat this season.

Bale back in Real Madrid training

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid received a boost ahead of the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Napoli on Wednesday as Gareth Bale returned to training on Sunday for the first time in three months.

Bale has been sidelined since damaging ankle ligaments in a 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon on November 22.

Burnley’s Brady checks Chelsea charge

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Home debutant Robbie Brady scored a memorable free-kick to earn Burnley a 1-1 draw on Sunday that prevented Chelsea moving 12 points clear at the Premier League summit.

Brady cancelled out an early strike from Pedro and while the point stretched Chelsea’s lead to 10 points, their advantage will be trimmed to eight points if Manchester City win at Bournemouth on Monday.

Nainggolan rescues Roma after Dzeko penalty woe

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Milan (AFP) – Radja Nainggolan came to the rescue after another Edin Dzeko penalty miss as Roma kept the pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus with a hard-fought 2-0 win at plucky Crotone on Sunday.

Roma’s 17th win of the campaign moved Luciano Spalletti’s men back up to second spot to close the gap to four points, although Juventus can restore their seven-point lead with a win at Cagliari in Sunday’s late game.

Stoke ‘loser’ claim ‘disgraceful’ – Pulis

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London (AFP) – West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has described claims he called Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross a “loser” in a voice-mail message as “absolutely disgraceful”.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said Pulis, his predecessor, had hit out at Shawcross after the centre-back suggested West Brom had leaked a story about new Stoke signing Saido Berahino’s failed drugs test.

Pochettino slams ‘sloppy’ Spurs after Anfield loss

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Liverpool (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino delivered a withering assessment of his team’s 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday, labelling them “sloppy” and questioning their nerve.

Spurs were unbeaten in nine games going into the match at Anfield, but never recovered after Sadio Mane scored two quick-fire goals in the first 18 minutes.

Shaky Dortmund worry Tuchel before Benfica

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Berlin (AFP) – Thomas Tuchel admits Borussia Dortmund’s shaky defence is a concern ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Benfica after crashing 2-1 at bottom side Darmstadt in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund suffered their fourth league defeat this season on Saturday to leave them fourth in Germany’s top flight - 15 points behind leaders Bayern Munich.

Police blamed as Angola probes deadly football stampede

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Luanda (AFP) – Angola announced an investigation Saturday into a stadium stampede that killed at least 17 and injured scores, as the nation’s president, the host team and witnesses blamed the deaths on police error.

Children were among the victims in what has been described as the country’s worst football tragedy, with some witnesses confirming that many fans did not have tickets for the match on Friday.

Chaos as Orlando Pirates sink to 80-year low

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Orlando Pirates supporters staged a pitch invasion, fought rival fans and damaged TV cables Saturday as the 80-year-old club suffered a record defeat.

Reigning African champions Mamelodi Sundowns humiliated former African champions Pirates 6-0 in a South African Premiership match at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.

Barcelona’s Vidal to miss rest of season

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona right-back Aleix Vidal will take no further part in the Spanish champions quest for a treble this season after suffering a dislocated right ankle that will keep him out for five months.

Vidal was injured with just three minutes to go of Barca’s 6-0 rout at Alaves on Saturday when he came off worst in a challenge with on-loan Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez.

Madrid remain top as Barca’s ‘MSN’ hit six

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid maintained a one point lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga as Cristiano Ronaldo was on target in a hard fought 3-1 win at rock bottom Osasuna on Saturday.

Earlier, Barca’s front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all struck in a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves.

Late win buoys Bayern for Arsenal – Ancelotti

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Berlin (AFP) – Carlo Ancelotti says Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Ingolstadt, with last-minute goals by Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben, was the perfect confidence-booster for Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Arsenal.

The Gunners are the guests at Munich’s Allianz Arena in what Robben has described as Bayern’s ‘week of truth’ after the German league leaders have struggled for form with lacklustre performances in recent weeks.

Wenger plays down talk of Arsenal exit

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger insists he is not preparing to end his long reign at Arsenal despite Ian Wright’s claim the Gunners boss is on the way out.

Wenger’s future had been questioned in the wake of defeats against Watford and Chelsea that effectively killed off their Premier League title hopes.

Where to find Atletico Madrid vs. Celta on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Atletico Madrid vs. Celta, you’ve come to the right place.

Atleti will feel hard done by after the midweek draw against Barcelona that left the Madrid side out of the Copa del Rey. Diego Simeone’s men will have a chance to avenge that aggregate defeat in their match against Celta Vigo in action from Spain’s La Liga.

Man Utd don’t get enough credit, says Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claims his side’s attacking efforts would be hailed more if someone else was in charge at Old Trafford.

United completely outplayed Watford in Saturday’s 2-0 Premier League win as goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial took Mourinho’s men to within a point of the Champions League places.

Every football team in world would miss Mane, says Liverpool’s Klopp

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp believes every team in the world would suffer without Sadio Mane after the Senegalese star marked his return with both goals in the 2-0 win over Tottenham.

Mane, back from a month on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations, scored in a devastating first half performance at Anfield as Liverpool won their first Premier League match on 2017.

Jesus’ star rises in City revival

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus aims to extend his dazzling start to life in the Premier League with another inspired display at Bournemouth on Monday.

Pep Guardiola’s team dropped out of the Champions League qualification places after losing four of the nine top-flight matches they played during December and January.

Mane stuns Spurs to get Liverpool back on track

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Liverpool (AFP) – Sadio Mane announced his return to Premier League football in emphatic fashion with both goals in Liverpool’s brilliant 2-0 victory over top-four rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

The Senegal forward provided one of several outstanding displays from a Liverpool side who had not previously won a league game in 2017, their worst start to a calendar year since 1954.

Mane sparks Liverpool as Arsenal, Man Utd rise

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London (AFP) – The jet-heeled Sadio Mane scored a quick-fire brace as Liverpool revitalised their Premier League campaign with an impressive 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Saturday.

Senegalese flier Mane netted twice in three first-half minutes as Jurgen Klopp’s team claimed a first league win of 2017 at the sixth attempt and ended Spurs’ nine-game unbeaten run.

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

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

Chelsea will be ready to continue their impressive form after their convincing victory against Arsenal last weekend. The Blues will not want to be too overconfident however against a Burnley side who are a difficult team to beat especially with the roar from the Turf Moor crowd.

Allen strike freezes out Palace at Stoke

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Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Sam Allardyce’s poor run since taking over Crystal Palace was compounded by their loss at Stoke City on Saturday as Joe Allen’s slick finish gave the hosts a 1-0 Premier League win.

The defeat leaves Palace second bottom on goal difference and the south Londoners have won just once in eight games since the former England boss, who has never suffered relegation from the top flight, took over.

McAuley’s late hammer blow rescues West Brom

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London (AFP) – Gareth McAuley’s header deep in stoppage time salvaged a 2-2 draw for West Brom in an entertaining Premier League encounter at West Ham’s London Stadium on Saturday.

Slaven Bilic’s men were eyeing all three points after goals from Sofiane Feghouli and Manuel Lanzini but for McAuley’s dramatic late intervention.

Barcelona’s ‘MSN’ smash Alaves for six

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Madrid (AFP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as Barcelona went top of La Liga for the first time since October with a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves on Saturday.

In a dress rehearsal of the Copa del Rey final, Alaves paid for their semi-final exertions against Celta Vigo in midweek as Barca moved two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Struggling Lyon lose at Guingamp

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Paris (AFP) – Lyon slumped to a damaging 2-1 defeat at Guingamp on Saturday despite France striker Alexander Lacazette netting his 20th goal of the Ligue 1 season.

Lacazette curled in a superb 10th-minute opener at the Stade du Roudourou as Lyon sought to build momentum on the back of Wednesday’s 4-0 rout of Nancy.

Barca’s ‘MSN’ smash Alaves for six

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Madrid (AFP) – Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar were all on target as Barcelona went top of La Liga for the first time since October with a 6-0 thrashing of Alaves on Saturday.

In a dress rehearsal of the Copa del Rey final, Alaves paid for their semi-final exertions against Celta Vigo in midweek as Barca moved two points ahead of Real Madrid.

Gabbiadini double rocks Sunderland

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Sunderland (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Southampton striker Manolo Gabbiadini punished struggling Sunderland with a double strike that inspired his side’s 4-0 victory at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Gabbiadini was on target twice before half-time to maintain his impressive form since his £14 million ($17 million, 16 million euros) move from Napoli in January.

Goalkeepers on top as Boro, Everton draw

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London (AFP) – Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes and his Everton counterpart Joel Robles shared the limelight as their sides played out a 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Saturday.

Valdes saved sharply from the in-form Romelu Lukaku and Ademola Lookman, while Robles produced a stunning late stop to prevent substitute Rudy Gestede giving Boro victory at the Riverside Stadium.

Fans halt game as Pirates suffer 80-year low

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Pretoria (AFP) – Play was halted for an hour Saturday in a South African league match after Orlando Pirates supporters invaded the pitch when the team fell 6-0 behind against Mamelodi Sundowns.

As frustrated fans wearing Pirates’ colours raced on to the Loftus Versfeld stadium field in Pretoria after 82 minutes, the players and match officials darted unharmed to the dressing rooms.

Sanchez, Martial on mark as Arsenal, Man Utd rise

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London (AFP) – Alexis Sanchez brought manager Arsene Wenger some breathing space with a brace of goals as Arsenal overcame Hull City 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Chilean forward contentiously scored with his hand in the 34th minute and netted a stoppage-time penalty to get Arsenal back to winning ways following successive defeats by Watford and leaders Chelsea.

Martial makes point as Man Utd close on City

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Juan Mata and Anthony Martial helped Manchester United extend their brilliant Premier League form as they outclassed Watford in a comfortable 2-0 victory at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Jose Mourinho may have a reputation as a defensive manager, but that accusation could not be made during this contest as United were wonderfully entertaining from start to finish.

Last-gasp Robben, Vidal put Bayern seven clear

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Berlin (AFP) – Arturo Vidal and Arjen Robben netted last minute goals in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win at Ingolstadt on Saturday to open a seven-point lead as their main Bundesliga rivals all lost.

Bayern, who host Arsenal on Wednesday in the Champions League last 16 first leg, broke the deadlock when Vidal ghosted in behind the Ingolstadt defence and put his side ahead on 90 minutes.

First look at fubo Premier, the new streaming service from fuboTV [VIDEO]

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We’ve taken a first look at fubo Premier, the new streaming service from fuboTV, to give you a quick preview of what you can expect from the package that features NBC Sports, FOX Sports, beIN SPORTS, Univision, FOX Soccer Plus and a ton of other sports, entertainment and news channels.

By subscribing to the re-launched fuboTV product for the introductory price of $34.

Sanchez hands Arsenal lift with win over Hull

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London (AFP) – Alexis Sanchez struck twice as Arsenal returned to winning ways with a contentious and hard-fought 2-0 Premier League win over Hull City on Saturday.

The Gunners had lost their last two games coming into this contest against the relegation-threatened Tigers and had drifted out of the title race as a result.

Angola probes football stampede after 17 killed

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Luanda (AFP) – Angola announced an investigation Saturday into a stadium stampede that killed at least 17 and injured scores in an incident that the host team blamed on police error.

The government has set up a commission to probe Friday’s crush - described as the country’s worst football tragedy - the national Angop news agency reported.

Allegri says wants another 400 games with Juve

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Rome (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has brushed aside rumours of a move to England’s Premier League by saying he hopes to be at the helm of the Serie A champions for “another 300 or 400” games.

Allegri, who led Juventus to the Champions League final in his first season in charge in 2015 and a defeat to Barcelona, has been linked with a move to Arsenal amid reports suggesting Arsene Wenger could step down as coach of the Gunners.

Angola probes deadly football stampede

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Luanda (AFP) – Angola announced an investigation Saturday into a stadium stampede that killed at least 17 and injured scores in an incident that the host team blamed on police error.

The government has set up a commission to probe Friday’s crush - described as the country’s worst football tragedy - the national Angop news agency reported.

Conte warns Chelsea not to rest on their laurels

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Chelsea may now be nine points clear at the top of the Premier League but Antonio Conte is experienced enough to know the title race is far from over.

Conte’s side make the trip to Burnley on Sunday in high spirits thanks to their 3-1 victory over title rivals Arsenal last weekend.

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

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Man United vs. Watford, you’ve come to the right place.

Manchester United are focused on trying to break into the top four in the Premier League. A win for United and a defeat later in the day for Liverpool will see the Red Devils jump over the Reds in the table.

Where to find Leeds United vs. Cardiff City on US live streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Leeds United vs. Cardiff City, you’ve come to the right place.

In a very topsy turvy time near the top of the Championship table, Leeds United again has a chance to leapfrog into third place if they can get a win against Cardiff and if other results go their way.

Angola probes football stampede that killed 17

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Luanda (AFP) – Angola on Saturday announced an investigation into a stadium stampede that killed at least 17 and injured scores in what was described as the southern African country’s worst football tragedy.

The government set up a commission to probe Friday’s crush in the northern town of Uige, the national Angop news agency reported, with children among the victims.

Cavani, Di Maria fire PSG past Bordeaux as Barca loom

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Bordeaux (AFP) – Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria stole the show in Paris Saint Germain’s 3-0 win at Bordeaux on Friday in an ideal warm-up for next week’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

PSG joined Monaco, who face Metz on Saturday, on 55 points at the top of Ligue 1 but remain second on goal difference.

FA council member slammed over ‘ethnic minority’ comments

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London (AFP) – Anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out will complain to the Football Association after one of its council members made controversial comments about the involvement of “ethnic minorities” in reform of the English game’s governing body.

The FA already found itself under fire this week after the House of Commons passed a “no confidence” motion in the organisation’s ability to reform itself, with criticism its board is failing to reflect and represent the diversity of the game.

Cavani, Di Maria fire Paris Saint Germain past Bordeaux as Barcelona loom

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Bordeaux (AFP) – Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria stole the show in Paris Saint Germain’s 3-0 win at Bordeaux on Friday in an ideal warm-up for next week’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

PSG joined Monaco, who face Metz on Saturday, on 55 points at the top of Ligue 1 but remain second on goal difference.

Mertens inspires Napoli to Genoa win

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Milan (AFP) – Poland striker Arkaduisz Milik made his return from a lengthy injury lay-off but watched from the bench as a Dries Mertens-inspired Napoli kept the Serie A title race ticking over with a 2-0 win over Genoa on Friday.

Piotr Zielinski and Emanuele Giaccherini struck in the second half as Maurizio Sarri’s men leapfrogged Roma into second place to sit six points behind leaders Juventus.

Mourinho banks on Real Madrid ties over De Gea

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes his close friendship with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will prevent any underhand efforts to tempt goalkeeper David de Gea to the Bernabeu.

De Gea appeared to re-open the possibility of a move to Madrid on Wednesday when he told Spanish journalists during a sponsorship event at Old Trafford that “nobody knows the future”.

Illarramendi stunner moves Sociedad fourth

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Madrid (AFP) – Asier Illarramendi’s brilliant 25-yard strike just after the hour mark saw Real Sociedad leapfrog Atletico Madrid into fourth in La Liga with a 2-1 win at Espanyol on Friday.

Despite losing top scorer Willian Jose to an early injury, the visitors capitalised on a bright start when Carlos Vela slotted home Inigo Martinez’s fine through ball.

Wenger may quit, says Gunners great Wright

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London (AFP) – Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Arsene Wenger will quit the Premier League club at the end of the season.

Wenger is out of contract in the summer and the Gunners boss has yet to agree a new deal amid growing anger among Arsenal fans at the team’s failure to mount a strong title challenge.

Wenger may quit, says Gunners great Wright

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London (AFP) – Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Arsene Wenger will quit the Premier League club at the end of the season.

Wenger is out of contract in the summer and the Gunners boss has yet to agree a new deal amid growing anger among Arsenal fans at the team’s failure to mount a strong title challenge.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 25

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Fifth-place Liverpool host second-place Tottenham this Saturday, Feb. 11, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC UNIVERSO, highlighting this week’s Premier League coverage. Liverpool look to bounce back from a 2-0 loss to Hull City on Saturday, which knocked them out of the League’s top four.

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

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

With Tottenham nine points behind Chelsea in the Premier League table, the Lilywhites have an excellent opportunity to close the gap with the Blues. However, it’s been years since Spurs have won at Anfield in the league.

‘Grumbling’ Balotelli blasted by Nice teammate

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Nice (France) (AFP) – Italian striker Mario Balotelli was labelled as moody, individual and difficult to talk to by Nice teammate Valentin Eysseric on Friday.

The 24-year-old was also careful to balance his words by adding that Balotelli was clearly “The best (footballer at Nice), the fastest and most skillful”.

List of soccer leagues and competitions featured on fuboTV

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The new and improved fuboTV now features the most comprehensive offering of soccer programming available via legal streaming in the United States. With the addition of FOX Sports and NBC Sports to its portfolio, fuboTV offers a huge amount of soccer-related channels in addition to entertainment, news and other networks.

Klinsmann’s goalkeeper son named to US under-20 team

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Chicago (AFP) – Jonathan Klinsmann, the son of fired US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, has been called into the American squad for the North American regional under-20 championship tournament.

The younger Klinsmann, a goalkeeper for the University of California, was among five college players in the lineup, which also included defender Marlon Fossey and midfielder Luca de la Torre from English Championship side Fulham.

Where to find Arsenal vs. Hull City on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Arsenal vs. Hull City, you’ve come to the right place.

Arsenal against Hull features the Gunners trying to solidify a spot in the top four for Champions League qualification while the Tigers are trying to escape relegation. With Hull City playing better and Arsenal slipping, this should be an entertaining match to watch.

Liverpool football ban The Sun over Hillsborough coverage

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London (AFP) – Liverpool have banned The Sun’s reporters from their stadium and training ground over the tabloid’s coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to AFP on Friday.

Liverpool fans have boycotted the paper ever since it published damaging and subsequently discredited front-page allegations four days after the tragedy, in which 96 of the club’s supporters were crushed to death.

Pep Guardiola keeps Manchester City goalkeepers guessing

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola defended Claudio Bravo on Friday, calling him a “top, top goalkeeper”, but refused to say if he will restore the Chilean to his starting XI.

Willy Caballero, the club’s second-choice goalkeeper, has played in City’s last three matches, with Bravo losing his place after going through a difficult spell.

Antonio Conte can’t put a price on Chelsea star Eden Hazard

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London (AFP) – Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte could not be persuaded to put a price on star man Eden Hazard on Friday.

The Belgian winger scored a magnificent solo goal in Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Arsenal last weekend, taking his tally for the campaign to 10 goals and leaving his side nine points clear atop the Premier League.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for January 31-February 6, 2017

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Juventus’ 1-0 defeat of Inter Milan has joined September 25’s match between Fiorentina and AC Milan as the only two Serie A matches to average an audience larger than 100,000 viewers this season. This is due in large part to severe weather in the city of Vigo leading to a postponement of Celta Vigo’s league match against Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho ‘convinced’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic will stay at Man Utd

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho expects Zlatan Ibrahimovic to remain at Old Trafford next season despite speculation linking the Swedish striker with one last big-money transfer, he said on Friday.

Ibrahimovic, 35, has been a revelation in his first season in England, scoring 20 goals, and is expected to trigger the option of extending his contract by a year.

Liverpool’s lack of depth exposed while Chelsea benefit from lack of European competition

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It is no coincidence that both Liverpool and Chelsea found themselves in the top two at the end of December given their absence from European football. Neither side had the burden of a midweek match and therefore received far more rest than their rivals did. The benefit of this rest was clear through the performances and results of both sides.

Liverpool vs. Spurs predicted lineups, preview and TV times

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When Liverpool supporters surveyed their schedule to begin 2017 having beaten Manchester City 1-0 on New Year’s Eve, Saturday’s contest, against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield, would have been considered another litmus test of this team’s Premier League title mettle.

Naturally, as is so often the case in the beautiful game, plenty has altered since, most pertinently, the perception of both sides as they gear up for this mammoth occasion on Merseyside.

WADA alarmed by lack of La Liga drug testing

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Madrid (AFP) – The World Anti-Doping Agency expressed “alarm” on Friday after it emerged no binding drug testing has taken place in football by Spanish anti-doping authorities for nearly a year.

Spanish anti-doping agency AEPSAD has been declared non-compliant with the WADA code since March 2016.

Leicester City boss Ranieri urges Vardy, Mahrez to raise game

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London (AFP) – Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri wants Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez to rediscover their form from the club’s title-winning season as the champions battle to remain in the Premier League.

Vardy scored 24 goals and Mahrez 17 as Leicester surged to the title last season, but they have contributed only five and three goals respectively this term.

Rested Real Madrid wait on Gareth Bale return

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane hopes to have Gareth Bale back before the second leg of his side’s Champions League last 16 clash with Napoli.

The postponement of Madrid’s visit to Celta Vigo last weekend due to storm damage caused to Celta’s Balaidos stadium has allowed Zidane to recover a fully-fit squad bar Bale, who is still working his way back from ankle ligament damage.

Wenger urges Arsenal to keep title belief

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London (AFP) – Arsenal welcome fast-improving Hull City to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday looking to recover from two deeply damaging results that have all but ruined their Premier League title hopes.

Defeats at home to Watford and away at Chelsea have left Arsene Wenger’s side a mammoth 12 points behind the latter, who lead the way.

De Gea tells United to aim high

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – David de Gea has challenged Manchester United to get as close as possible to runaway leaders Chelsea as Jose Mourinho’s side battle to finish in the top four.

It is one of the Premier League’s stranger statistics that United have not moved from sixth position for three months, despite being unbeaten for 15 matches in the competition.

Slumping Liverpool braced for Spurs test

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Liverpool (AFP) – After a miserable start to 2017, Liverpool are in a sorry state ahead of Tottenham Hotspur’s visit in the Premier League on Saturday.

They have won only one of their last 10 matches, were knocked out of both domestic cups in the space of four days and slipped out of the top four after last weekend’s 2-0 loss at strugglers Hull City.

Wenger and Klopp in search of lost flow

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London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp have their backs to the wall as their teams go in search of restorative victories in the Premier League this weekend.

Arsenal have fallen 12 points off the pace after successive losses against Watford and leaders Chelsea, while Liverpool are a point further back following a dismal sequence of five league games without victory.

Bayern get ‘grubby’ at Patriots-inspired Ingolstadt

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Berlin (AFP) – Strugglers Ingolstadt will take inspiration from the New England Patriot’s stunning Super Bowl fightback when they host Bayern Munich on Saturday with the Bundesliga leaders expecting a ‘grubby’ Bavarian derby.

Bayern host Arsenal at the Allianz Arena next Wednesday, but before the Champions League last 16 clash, Munich must take care of Bundesliga business and travel 80 kilometres (50mi) north to their neighbours.

Barca eye return to the top in Copa del Rey final rehearsal

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona have the chance to go top of La Liga for the first time since October in a Copa del Rey final dress rehearsal when they visit Alaves on Saturday.

Alaves edged out Celta Vigo on Wednesday to reach the final for the first time, whilst nine-man Barca had to survive a second leg onslaught from Atletico Madrid in midweek to make a fourth straight final.

Juve march on in Serie A as Allegri England rumours swirl

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Milan (AFP) – The prospect of Massimiliano Allegri following Chelsea manager Antonio Conte to the Premier League appear on the increase as Juventus travel to Cagliari on Sunday looking to tighten their grip on Serie A.

Conte led the Turin giants to three consecutive league titles before Allegri took over the helm when former Juventus midfielder Conte took charge of Italy for Euro 2016.

Messi v Neymar ‘Superclasico’ heads to MCG

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Sydney (AFP) – Lionel Messi’s Argentina will take on Neymar’s Brazil in a ‘Superclasico’ friendly in Melbourne in June, Australian officials said Friday.

The top two teams in the FIFA rankings will clash in the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, the world’s biggest cricket stadium, on June 9.

Wales appeal FIFA poppy mosaic fine

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London (AFP) – The Football Association of Wales will appeal against the fine imposed by FIFA over the displaying of commemorative symbols during a Wales game, the organisation announced on Friday.

The FAW was fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($19,960, 18,750 euros) after a wreath and poppy mosaic were displayed in memory of Britain’s war dead during a World Cup qualifier against Serbia in Cardiff last November.

57 top-flight players drug-tested, say Spain’s anti-dopers

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Madrid (AFP) – Spain’s anti-doping body on Thursday claimed that 57 top-flight footballers have been drug-tested since the start of the season as they hit back at allegations that not one player had undergone a test in the last year.

The El Confidencial newspaper claimed that no first division footballer had been tested since March 2016, the date when the national anti-doping body (AEPSAD) had been suspended by the world anti-doping agency WADA who deemed it non-compliant.

Porto agree 20-million-euro Torres deal

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Lisbon (AFP) – Porto on Thursday activated a 20-million-euro clause to make midfielder Oliver Torres’s loan move from Atletico Madrid permanent in the second biggest deal in the history of the Portuguese league.

The 22-year-old Spaniard’s move is just two million euros shy of the record transfer of 22 million euros that Benfica paid Atletico for Mexican international Raul Jimenez in 2015.

Spanish league wants legal action in Zozulia scandal

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Madrid (AFP) – The Spanish football league on Thursday said they were pursuing legal action against 10 fans of Rayo Vallecano who accused Ukrainian international Roman Zozulia of having “neo-Nazi” sympathies.

Zozulia, 27, spent just 24 hours on loan at the club from Spanish rivals Real Betis before being recalled following Vallecano fans greeting his arrival with banners reading: “Vallekas is not the place for Nazis.

British MPs vote ‘no confidence’ in English FA

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London (AFP) – British lawmakers passed a motion of no confidence in the Football Association on Thursday after calls for the government to pass legislation forcing England’s governing body to reform.

Damian Collins from the ruling Conservative party tabled the motion and told the House of Commons in London the government should intervene to shake up the FA because “turkeys won’t vote for Christmas”.

Dortmund apologise to Leipzig over fans’ violence

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund’s CEO and president met their RB Leipzig counterparts on Thursday to apologise for last weekend’s violent attacks by hooligans as police say they have started prosecuting the culprits.

Dortmund police have reportedly started criminal proceedings in 32 cases after violent attacks broke out before last Saturday’s German league match when hooligans set upon Leipzig fans, including women and children.

Red-card Suarez to miss Spanish Cup final

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona striker Luis Suarez will miss the Spanish Cup final after picking up a two-match tournament ban for his sending off and subsequent refusal to go to the dressing rooms in a tense semi-final with Atletico Madrid in midweek.

The Uruguayan picked up a second yellow card for elbowing in a heated semi-final second leg.

Van Persie, Tosic suspended after Istanbul derby fracas

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Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey’s football federation on Thursday suspended Fenerbahce’s star Dutch striker Robin van Persie for three games and Serbian defender Dusko Topic of Besiktas for four after a standoff in a tense Istanbul cup derby this week.

The two had been involved in an off-the-ball incident in the February 5 game which saw Tosic sent off in the 41st minute but Beskitas fans feel van Persie also deserved red for exaggerating the contact.

Real Madrid president backs Navas — for now

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said Thursday the club was satisfied with goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but refused to deny local press speculation the European champions would sign a replacement.

Manchester United stopper David de Gea and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois have both been linked with a switch to Real Madrid as Coata Rica international Navas’s form has dipped.

Is there too much soccer on TV? World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast from Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 13, we cover a range of topics including:

• is there too much soccer on TV? We look at recent research from Gilt Edge,

• All the details about fuboTV’s new streaming service that includes NBC and FOX,

• Our thoughts on the soccer TV coverage from the past week,

• Which league is almost generating as many viewers as the Bundesliga,

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners!

List of fuboTV sports, entertainment and news channels available

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With the new and improved fuboTV, consumers in the United States now have a long list of networks to choose from so you can watch everything from the NFL to FX, MSNBC, FOX News Channel, Univision, NBC and a ton of other channels. Plus, if you’re a soccer fan, you can choose from a long list of soccer-related networks to watch the Beautiful Game.

Scotland to appeal against poppy fine

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London (AFP) – The Scottish Football Association will appeal against the fine imposed by FIFA over the wearing of commemorative poppies by Scotland’s players, the organisation announced on Thursday.

The SFA was fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,000, 18,760 euros) after Scotland’s players wore poppy symbols in memory of Britain’s war dead during a World Cup qualifier against England on November 11.

Robben relishing Bayern’s ‘week of truth’

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Berlin (AFP) – Arjen Robben is relishing Bayern Munich’s forthcoming “week of truth” when they host Arsenal in the Champions League with the German champions currently struggling for form.

Bayern scrapped into the quarter-finals of the German Cup on Tuesday with a 1-0 win at home to Wolfsburg, thanks to Douglas Costa’s first-half goal and heroics from Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

UEFA seeks to limit leaders’ terms

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – UEFA’s executive on Thursday voted in favour of limiting leaders to three four-year terms and guaranteeing two seats for Europe’s increasingly powerful clubs.

The moves were part of reforms that new leader Aleksander Ceferin has vowed to introduce since taking over from the scandal-tainted Michel Platini in September.

Man United announce record quarterly figures

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London (AFP) – Manchester United announced record quarterly revenues and profit for the last three months of 2016 on Thursday despite the club’s failure to qualify for the Champions League.

Revenues climbed to £157.9 million ($198.3 million, 185.6 million euros), up 18 percent on the previous year, with broadcasting revenues up 40.

Under-fire Wenger calls for Arsenal unity

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London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has urged everyone connected with the Gunners to remain “united” despite seeing the club slip further behind in the Premier League title race.

Successive defeats by Watford and leaders Chelsea have left Arsenal 12 points off the summit and only one point ahead of Liverpool in the race for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying position.

Holders Bayern host Schalke in cup quarters

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Berlin (AFP) – Holders Bayern Munich will face Schalke 04 in the German Cup quarter-finals while last season’s finalists Borussia Dortmund are away to third division giant-killers Sportfreunde Lotte.

The quarter-finals will be played on February 28 or March 1 with the final taking place at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on May 27.

fuboTV FAQ: Learn about fuboTV’s new product that includes NBC and FOX networks

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With the release of fuboTV’s new streaming product in the United States, the legal streaming platform has morphed from a soccer-specific platform to a well-rounded sports, entertainment and news streaming service.

With over 45 premium networks and 30+ regional sports channels, fuboTV offers a cost-effective service that will entice many consumers to cut the cord and save money each month.

Kalou’s miss puts Dortmund into German Cup quarters

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Berlin (AFP) – Salomon Kalou’s missed spot-kick put hosts Borussia Dortmund into the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday as Hertha Berlin lost 3-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

The Ivory Coast striker gave Hertha a first-half lead in the third-round cup clash in Dortmund when he volleyed home on 27 minutes after the hosts made a slow start.

Ranieri hopes Cup success revives Leicester

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri hopes Leicester’s FA Cup victory against Derby can provide a springboard to ease the spluttering champions’ relegation fears.

Ranieri’s side got a welcome boost as they moved into the last 16 of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win in a fourth round replay at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday.

Relief for Leicester’s Ranieri as Ndidi rocket downs Derby

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Wilfred Ndidi put a smile back on Claudio Ranieri’s face as the Leicester midfielder’s first goal for the troubled champions inspired a 3-1 win over Derby in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth round replay.

Ranieri has found himself under fire after Leicester slumped to within one point of the Premier League relegation zone less than a year after their fairytale title triumph.

Juventus extend Serie A lead, 9-man Milan win

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Rome (AFP) – Champions Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A to seven points with a 2-0 win at Crotone as nine-man AC Milan stunned Bologna 1-0 on Wednesday.

Having seen their lead cut by Roma’s 4-0 success over Fiorentina on Tuesday, second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain kept Massimiliano Allegri’s team on course for a sixth straight scudetto.

Juve extend Serie A lead, 9-man Milan win

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Rome (AFP) – Champions Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A to seven points with a 2-0 win at Crotone as nine-man AC Milan stunned Bologna 1-0 on Wednesday.

Having seen their lead cut by Roma’s 4-0 success over Fiorentina on Tuesday, second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain kept Massimiliano Allegri’s team on course for a sixth straight scudetto.

Alaves to face Barcelona in Copa del Rey final

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Madrid (AFP) – Edgar Mendez’s solo effort nine minutes from time sent Alaves into their first ever Copa del Rey final with a 1-0 semi-final, second leg win over Celta Vigo enough to progress by the same score on aggregate.

The visitors were left to rue a string of missed chances in the first leg as Mendez burst through the Celta defence before firing high past Sergio Alvarez to wild scenes of celebration at Mendizorrotza.

Payet opens Marseille account in win

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Paris (AFP) – Dimitri Payet scored his first goal in his first Marseille start following his controversial return from West Ham in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at home to Guingamp in Ligue 1.

Bafetimbi Gomis headed his 14th goal of the season to hand Marseille a first-half lead before Payet’s deflected 76th-minute free-kick secured the points at the Stade Velodrome.

Juve extend Serie A lead with comfortable win

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Rome (AFP) – Champions Juventus extended their lead at the top of Serie A to seven points with a comfortable 2-0 win at lowly Crotone on Wednesday.

Having seen their lead cut by Roma’s 4-0 success over Fiorentina on Tuesday, second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain kept Massimiliano Allegri’s team on course for a sixth straight scudetto.

Nice, Lyon rebound from derby setbacks