World Cup Buzz Archives for January 2016

Colombia crash pilot reported he was out of fuel: tape

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Medellín (Colombia) (AFP) Fans mourned Wednesday for a Brazilian football team decimated in a plane crash that killed 71 people in Colombia, as a recording emerged of the panicked pilot reporting he was out of fuel.

Authorities are still investigating what caused the charter flight to crash in the mountains outside Medellin as it carried Cinderella story team Chapecoense Real to a major match.

Nice in pole as ton-up Cavani keeps PSG in hunt

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain hotshot Edinson Cavani bagged his 100th goal for the club in a 2-0 win over Angers on Wednesday to keep the reigning Ligue 1 champions on the heels of leaders Nice.

Cavani scored from the spot, adding to Thiago Silva's opener to round off a win for the Parisians, who trail Nice by a solitary point after the Cote d'Azure table-toppers handed Guingamp a first home defeat.

6 ways to watch el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid for free

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If you want to watch el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid and you live in the United States, there are no excuses. Here are six ways you can watch the game live and legally —and in HD-quality (instead of illegal streams that have ad pop-ups, malware and can spy on your computer).

Or if you get beIN SPORTS or beIN SPORTS en Español on your TV set, then you can watch the game on television.

Colombia crash pilot reported ‘total electrical failure, no fuel’

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Medellín (Colombia) (AFP) The pilot of a plane that crashed in the Colombian mountains, killing 71 people, radioed the control tower in a panic to report he had run out of fuel, according to a recording aired Wednesday by Colombian media.

"Ma'am, LAMIA 2933 has a total failure, total electrical failure, without fuel," pilot Miguel Quiroga says in the recording, minutes before the charter flight crashed outside the city of Medellin.

Two-goal Muirhead leads Hearts past Rangers

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Glasgow (AFP) Robbie Muirhead scored twice as Hearts beat Rangers 2-0 at Tynecastle to move into second place in the Scottish Premiership on Wednesday, piling the pressure onto Gers boss Mark Warburton.

It was the perfect send-off for head coach Robbie Neilson, who is expected to become English League One club MK Dons' new manager subject to the two clubs agreeing compensation.

Ibra, Martial see Man Utd through, Arsenal crash

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial scored twice as Manchester United crushed West Ham United 4-1 in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, while Arsenal were unexpectedly humbled by Southampton.

United manager Jose Mourinho served a one-game touchline ban after his dismissal for kicking a water bottle during Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw against West Ham, but his absence had no ill-effects.

Southampton stun Arsenal in League Cup

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London (AFP) Southampton dealt Arsenal a shock defeat in the English League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday as goals from Jordy Clasie and Ryan Bertrand earned Claude Puel's side a 2-0 win.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had been hoping to win the competition for the first time, but instead his decision to make 10 changes backfired as Southampton ended his side's 19-game unbeaten run.

Dutch delight as Ajax Cape Town stun Sundowns

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Johannesburg (AFP) Ajax Cape Town stunned African champions Mamelodi Sundowns 2-0 on Wednesday to continue a South African Premiership revival under former Netherlands goalkeeper Stanley Menzo.

Content to contain the CAF Champions League title-holders for much of the clash, Ajax scored twice within three minutes for a second successive win.

Jail for man who killed fellow French fan

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Paris (AFP) A French football supporter who beat to death another fan of French top flight side Paris Saint Germain on Wednesday received a five-year jail term.

Jeremy Banh, 35, was convicted of killing 37-year-old Yann Lorence while a second accused, Romain Lafon, was acquitted.

Both men had faced up to six years in prison.

Zidane’s son scores on debut in Real Cup rout

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane's son, Enzo, scored on his senior debut as the European champions brushed aside third tier Cultural Leonesa to progress into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

Enzo, 21, and the oldest of Zidane's four sons, all of whom play at different levels in Real's youth teams, was introduced at half-time with Madrid already leading 3-1 on the night and 10-2 on aggregate.

Man Utd remember Colombia plane crash victims

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United paid a poignant tribute to the victims of the Colombia plane crash with a minute's silence prior to their League Cup quarter-final against West Ham United on Wednesday.

With many of the 71 victims members of Brazilian top-flight team Chapecoense, the tragedy brought back memories of the 1958 Munich air disaster, in which eight United players died.

Zenit beat Ufa to keep tabs on leaders Spartak

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Moscow (AFP) Zenit St Petersburgbounced back from a disappointing defeat in their previous Premier League match at Krasnodar beating Ufa 2-0 on Wednesday to narrow the gap on leaders Spartak Moscow.

The late goals by Brazilian Giuliano and Russian international forward Alexander Kokorin set Saint Petersburg side on their way to a hard-fought win to stay in second, three points adrift of Spartak.

Palermo crash out of Italian Cup

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Milan (AFP) Serie A strugglers Palermo joined fellow top flight side Empoli in crashing out of the Italian Cup following defeat to second division La Spezia on Wednesday.

Palermo sit bottom of Serie A after registering a club record seventh consecutive defeat, a 1-0 reverse at home to Lazio, at the weekend.

Fans mass at Brazil football stadium to mourn dead players

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) Thousands of Brazilians who had been expecting to spend Wednesday night cheering their beloved Chapecoense football team in its hour of glory were instead gathering at the home stadium to mourn the dead players.

The reality of late Monday's crash in the Colombian mountains of a charter plane carrying the team to a regional championship final against Atletico Nacional in Medellin had yet to sink in fully.

Mourinho banned from touchline for quarter-final

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was hit with a touchline ban for the second time this season and will have to watch Wednesday's League Cup quarter-final with West Ham from the stands.

The 53-year-old Portuguese, who served a one-match touchline ban earlier this season after an altercation with referee Mark Clattenburg, has also been fined £16,000 ($20,000, 19,000 euros) after accepting an improper conduct charge from the Football Association (FA).

Football team’s plane crashed after skipping refuel stop: report

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La Paz (AFP) The plane that crashed in Colombia killing 71 people including Brazilian footballers had skipped a scheduled refueling stop, media quoted a representative of the Bolivian airline as saying Wednesday.

"The plane should have refueled in Bogota," but instead bypassed the Colombian capital and headed straight for its destination Medellin, Gustavo Vargas, a representative of airline LAMIA, was quoted as saying in Bolivian newspaper Pagina Siete.

Police swoop on ex-FIFA executive in 2006 World Cup probe

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Lausanne (AFP) A Swiss corruption probe into the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany was broadened on Wednesday to include former FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi after police raided homes.

Switzerland's attorney general's office (OAG) opened an investigation last year into fraud and money laundering allegations against four members of the 2006 World Cup organising committee: Germans Franz Beckenbauer, Hans-Rudolf Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach.

Colombia probes plane crash that wiped out football team

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Medellín (Colombia) (AFP) Colombia was investigating Wednesday what made a charter plane crash into its northwestern mountains, killing 71 people including most of a Brazilian football team and 20 journalists.

Football fans were in tears in the team's hometown of Chapeco and their opponents mourned in the Colombian city of Medellin, where the doomed flight crashed Monday.

Southgate lands England job on permanent basis

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate was appointed England's new full-time manager on Wednesday and will lead the national team's challenge for the 2018 World Cup and 2020 European Championship.

The 46-year-old, who has been in charge of the England squad for four games on a temporary basis, signed a four-year contract, the Football Assocation (FA) announced.

Southgate named England manager – FA

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate is the new full-time England manager, the Football Association (FA) announced after a board meeting on Wednesday.

The 46-year-old, who has been in charge of the national team for four games on a temporary basis, signed a four-year contract which will take in both the 2018 World Cup and the 2020 European Championship.

Eddie Nketiah is latest Arsenal teenage prodigy

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Arsenal, particularly since manager Arsene Wenger arrived to the club, have a history of both producing young talent, and also giving these players a chance with the senior squad. Current first team players Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, and Theo Walcott all either progressed through the youth Arsenal ranks, or were brought in and quickly contributed alongside the big boys.

Luis Enrique striving for balance as Barcelona face up to Real Madrid test

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After five major honors in his first two seasons in charge at Barcelona, manager Luis Enrique set himself high standards at the Camp Nou.

Indeed, Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic arrived in the same summer as the former Blaugrana midfielder and in the main, they haven't looked back since. Enrique tweaked the system to get the best from Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi, and that trio have trailblazed Barcelona to title after title.

FA expected to confirm Southgate as England boss

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate is expected to be approved as the new England manager by Football Association chiefs on Wednesday, according to British media reports.

Southgate has been in interim charge since replacing Sam Allardyce in September after he was forced out just 67 days into his reign following a Daily Telegraph investigation into corruption in football.

Ex-football coach Bennell charged with child abuse

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London (AFP) Former coach Barry Bennell, who is at the centre of a scandal rocking English football, was on Tuesday charged with eight counts of child abuse, prosecutors said.

Bennell, who has already served three jail terms for previous child sex offences, has faced a slew of new allegations by at least 20 former footballers spanning three decades beginning in the 1970s when he was working for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

Agent provocateur Pique leads Barca into fresh Clasico battle

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Madrid (AFP) Among the stalwarts of Barcelona's near decade of dominance of Spanish football there is no one that stokes the ire of Real Madrid like Gerard Pique.

Pique is Barca's best defender, leader, possible future president and principal provocateur to the Madrid fans and media.

Yet, ahead of the latest meeting between the Spanish giants on Saturday, Barcelona, who trail Madrid by six points at the top of La Liga, need the positive side of Pique's game and character more than ever.

Football mourns Brazilian players killed in air crash

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La Unión (Colombia) (AFP) A plane that crashed in the mountains of Colombia, killing 71 people, including members of a Brazilian football team, may have run out of fuel, a Colombian military source told AFP.

"It is very suspicious that despite the impact there was no explosion. That reinforces the theory of the lack of fuel," the source said Tuesday.

Klopp to keep record-breaker Woodburn under wraps

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London (AFP) Jurgen Klopp says he will do his best to protect starlet Ben Woodburn from the media spotlight after he became the youngest scorer in Liverpool's history in their League Cup victory over Leeds.

Woodburn, aged 17 years and 45 days, edged out Liverpool legend Michael Owen by 98 days when he struck in the 81st minute of Tuesday's quarter-final with the previous record holder sitting in the stands.

House searches in Switzerland over 2006 World Cup

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Geneva (AFP) Swiss prosecutors said Wednesday that houses had been searched last week as part of a broadening investigation into corruption allegations over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

The investigation targetting members of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, including German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, has been expanded to include Urs Linsi, the former General Secretary of world football's governing body FIFA, the office of Switzerland's Attorney General said in a statement.

Where to find Arsenal vs. Southampton on US TV and streaming (League Cup quarterfinal)

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

The League Cup game between Arsenal vs. Southampton won't be shown live on US television, but it is available in the US via legal streaming, which means you can cast the game to your television set or watch it on my smartphone, tablet, computer, Roku or Apple TV.

Where to find Man United vs. West Ham on US TV and streaming (League Cup quarterfinal)

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

The League Cup game between Manchester United vs. West Ham will be shown live on US television via beIN SPORTS. But whether you get beIN SPORTS or not on your cable or satellite system, you can watch the game for free with a 24-hour trial to legal streaming service fuboTV.

Swiss police raid homes in World Cup probe

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Geneva (AFP) Swiss police raided homes last week as part of a broadening probe into corruption allegations over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The investigation targeting members of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, including German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, has been expanded to include Urs Linsi, the former General Secretary of world football's governing body FIFA, the office of Switzerland's Attorney General said in a statement sent to AFP.

Colombia plane crash: What we know

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La Unión (Colombia) (AFP) Here's what we know and don't know about flight LMI 2933, which crashed into the Colombian mountains Monday night with a Brazilian football team on board, killing 71 people. Six people survived.

What happened?

The charter flight from the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz reported "electrical failures" around 10:00 pm Monday (0300 GMT Tuesday).

Step-by-step instructions of how to watch beIN SPORTS Connect via fuboTV

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If you're a soccer fan in the US who wants to be able to watch more games from around the world, beIN SPORTS Connect needs to be a part of your streaming tools. The streaming service from beIN SPORTS makes a ton of games available that are not on beIN SPORTS or beIN SPORTS en Español. Those include games from the League Cup, World Cup qualifiers, Serie A, Ligue Un, Copa do Brasil, La Liga and much more.

Monaco go top despite Dijon stalemate

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Paris (AFP) Monaco took provisional top spot of Ligue 1 on Tuesday despite Europe's best attacking side conceding a late goal in a 1-1 stalemate in Dijon.

A Frederic Sammaritano equaliser snatched a point for the hosts three minutes from time after Monaco had led early following Guido Carrillo's 17th minute goal.

Woodburn makes history as Liverpool move into League Cup semis

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London (AFP) Liverpool starlet Ben Woodburn made history as the teenage striker became the club's youngest ever goalscorer in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Leeds in the League Cup quarter-finals.

Aged 17 years and 45 days, Woodburn enjoyed a moment to remember forever in the 81st minute at Anfield when he fired home in front of the famous Kop End to eclipse the previous record set by Michael Owen, who was 17 years and 143 days old when he scored against Wimbledon in May 1997.

Ex-coach Bennell charged with child abuse

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London (AFP) Former coach Barry Bennell, who is at the centre of a scandal rocking English football, was on Tuesday charged with eight counts of child abuse, prosecutors said.

Bennell, who has already served three jail terms for previous child sex offences, has faced a slew of new allegations by at least 20 former footballers spanning three decades beginning in the 1970s when he was working for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City.

Bale undergoes ankle operation

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale underwent an operation on Tuesday in London on his injured ankle that will likely see him ruled out of action for two months.

"Our player Gareth Bale has successfully come through the operation he underwent today after suffering an injury to the peroneal tendons in his right ankle," the Spanish giants said in a statement.

Toronto, Montreal vie for slice of MLS history

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Toronto (Canada) (AFP) A slice of Major League Soccer history will be up for grabs on Wednesday when Toronto FC and Montreal Impact clash with the aim of becoming the first Canadian side to reach the MLS Cup final.

The two Canadian clubs meet in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship, with Montreal taking a 3-2 first-leg lead to Toronto's BMO Field on the banks of Lake Ontario.

Footballers’ plane crash deaths stun Brazilian home city

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Chapecó (Brazil) (AFP) Fans of Chapecoense, the Brazilian football club enjoying a fairy tale season until almost wiped out in a plane crash, gathered outside the stadium in shock and disbelief Tuesday.

All year the once struggling, impoverished club had delighted the people of Chapeco, a city of about 200,000 in Santa Catarina state.

Liverpool star Coutinho out for at least five weeks

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London (AFP) Liverpool forward Philippe Coutinho will be out of action for at least five weeks with ankle ligament damage.

Brazil international Coutinho had a scan on his right ankle on Monday after being carried off on a stretcher in Saturday's win over Sunderland.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Tuesday that the 24-year-old will probably be out until the new year.

Football mourns as plane crash kills Brazilian players

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La Unión (Colombia) (AFP) The football world was plunged into mourning Tuesday after a plane carrying a Brazilian team crashed in the mountains in Colombia, killing 75 people with six survivors, officials said.

Football legends Pele and Maradona as well as current superstar Lionel Messi led tributes to the players of Chapecoense Real.

Colombia plane crash — world reaction

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Paris (AFP) Reaction from around the world to the plane crash in Colombia carrying the Brazilian top-flight team Chapecoense among the 81 on board:

"Brazilian football is in mourning. It is such a tragic loss. My sincere condolences to the families of the deceased. Rest in peace."

Brazilian football legend Pele

"Sadly those lads, who were on the way to becoming a force in football, took the wrong plane.

Colombia football club says opponents in plane crash should take title

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Bogota (AFP) Colombian club Atletico Nacional called on football authorities Tuesday to hand the Copa Sudamericana title to their opponents, Brazilian side Chapecoense, as a tribute to the team's players killed in a plane crash.

The Colombian side made the request to regional football confederation CONMEBOL in a statement.

Sling TV DVR capabilities coming soon to soccer fans

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Sling TV has announced that they will be adding DVR capabilities soon that have the added benefit of recordings not being limited to 28 days, like they are on PS Vue.

Available starting in December, the cloud DVR beta program will roll out first on Roku streaming players and Roku TV's. Customers who subscribe to Sling Orange and/or Sling Blue using Roku devices may request an invitation for the beta program by visiting www.

Pele leads football tributes to plane crash victims

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) Brazil football legend Pele and Argentines Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi led numerous sporting tributes Tuesday to the Brazilian footballers killed in a plane crash in Colombia.

Players of the Chapecoense Real team were among 81 people on board the doomed flight that crashed into mountains in northwestern Colombia.

FA chairman says football sex abuse scandal is ‘biggest crisis’

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London (AFP) The abuse scandal rocking English football is the greatest crisis current Football Association chairman Greg Clarke can recall, he told Sky News on Tuesday.

Clarke was referring to the serial child molester Barry Bennell, who has been accused by at least 20 footballers of abusing them when he worked for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City and Stoke City across three decades beginning in the 1970s.

Brazilian footballers killed in Colombia plane crash

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La Unión (Colombia) (AFP) A plane carrying a Brazilian football team crashed in the mountains in Colombia, killing an estimated 75 people while six survived, including several players, officials said Tuesday.

The LAMIA airlines charter declared an emergency at around 10:00 pm (0300 GMT Tuesday), reporting it had suffered "electrical failures," and crashed a short time later near the city of Medellin, officials said.

Zinedine Zidane can give Real Madrid much sought managerial stability

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As far as starts to a managerial tenure go, Zinedine Zidane's opening stint in the Real Madrid hot seat is about as good as it could get.

After being appointed on January 4 to replace the maligned Rafael Benitez at the Santiago Bernabeu, the Frenchman has enjoyed a remarkable beginning to his first position in senior football management.

Plane crash kills dream of Brazilian football team that defied odds

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Sao Paulo (AFP) Traveling on the doomed airliner that crashed in Colombia overnight were the players and staff of a Brazilian football club about to complete a fairytale journey from unknowns to would-be South American champions.

The LAMIA charter plane went down near Medellin late Monday with 81 people aboard and so far only six are reported to have survived.

Slumping Man Utd pursue League Cup ‘revenge’

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London (AFP) Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says his side will be out for "revenge" when they welcome West Ham United back to Old Trafford in the League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

West Ham held Herrera and his team-mates to a 1-1 draw on Sunday in a Premier League match that saw United manager Jose Mourinho sent to the stands for angrily kicking a water bottle.

Cavani chases PSG centenary, pressure on Nice

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Paris (AFP) Edinson Cavani is in the best form of his career in French football and is targeting his 100th goal for Paris Saint-Germain as the reigning Ligue 1 champions entertain Angers on Wednesday.

Uruguay striker Cavani scored both goals as PSG won 2-1 away to Lyon on Sunday, taking his tally to 99 altogether for the club he joined from Napoli in 2013 for a French record fee of 64 million euros ($67.

41% of football players made to wait for wages – survey

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London (AFP) Over 40 percent of the world's professional footballers have experienced delayed payment of wages, according to a wide-ranging survey published by global players' union FIFPro on Tuesday.

In the survey, carried out by the University of Manchester, 41 percent of the 13,876 players who responded had been forced to wait for their salaries over the past two seasons.

Colombia air crash death toll rises to 76

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Bogota (AFP) The death toll from the crash in Colombia of an airliner carrying a Brazilian football team rose to 76 Tuesday as officials said only five people survived the disaster.

"We were able to rescue six people alive but one of them died on the way to the hospital," Jose Gerardo Acevedo, a police commander, told reporters.

Where to find Liverpool vs. Leeds on US TV and streaming (League Cup quarterfinal)

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

The League Cup game between Liverpool vs. Leeds United will be shown live on US television via beIN SPORTS. But whether you get beIN SPORTS or not on your cable or satellite system, you can watch the game for free with a 24-hour trial to legal streaming service fuboTV.

Plane carrying Brazilian football players crashes in Colombia

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Bogota (AFP) A charter plane carrying a Brazilian football team crashed in the mountains in Colombia late Monday, killing 76 people, officials said. They said five survived the disaster.

The LAMIA airlines charter declared an emergency at around 10 pm local time" 0300 GMT Tuesday, reporting it had suffered "electrical failures," and crashed a short time later near the city of Medellin, officials said.

China’s Shenhua name Poyet as coach

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Shanghai (AFP) Chinese football club Shanghai Shenhua named former Uruguay international Gustavo Poyet as their new coach on Tuesday, after cutting ties with his Spanish predecessor Gregorio Manzano despite finishing fourth in the Chinese Super League.

Poyet, 49, was himself sacked earlier this month by struggling Spanish outfit Real Betis.

Where to find Hull City vs. Newcastle United on US TV and streaming (League Cup quarterfinal)

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

The League Cup game between Hull City vs. Newcastle United won't be shown live on US television, but it is available in the US via legal streaming, which means you can cast the game to your television set or watch it on my smartphone, tablet, computer, Roku or Apple TV.

Icardi double helps Inter thwart 10-man Viola

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Milan (AFP) Captain Mauro Icardi hit a brace as Inter Milan held on amid a stirring Fiorentina fightback to secure a precious 4-2 Serie A win at the San Siro.

Inter started life under new coach Stefano Pioli with a credible 2-2 draw with city rivals AC Milan last week.

And, despite a few shaky moments on Monday, the former Lazio handler won more plaudits for another solid display that closed the gap on leaders Juventus to 12 points.

Surprise OGC Nice looking to keep momentum going

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Heading into the current campaign, many assumed that Paris Saint-Germain would ease into their fifth consecutive Ligue 1 title. After all, the Parisians are one of the richest clubs on the planet and have superstar players such as Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti, Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva, and Blaise Matuidi.

Icardi double helps Inter Milan thwart 10-man Fiorentina

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Milan (AFP) Captain Mauro Icardi hit a brace as Inter Milan held on amid a stirring Fiorentina fightback to secure a precious 4-2 Serie A win at the San Siro.

Inter started life under new coach Stefano Pioli with a credible 2-2 draw with city rivals AC Milan last week.

And, despite a few shaky moments on Monday, the former Lazio handler won more plaudits for another solid display that closed the gap on leaders Juventus to 12 points.

Souness fears ‘scary’ Chelsea could end Liverpool title bid

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London (AFP) Liverpool great Graeme Souness believes Chelsea represent the greatest threat to the Reds' title hopes this season.

The Merseysiders, who were last crowned champions of England in 1990, before the start of the Premier League, are second in the table, a point behind leaders Chelsea.

LA Galaxy appoint former skipper Vagenas to GM role

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Los Angeles (AFP) The Los Angeles Galaxy on Monday appointed former captain Pete Vagenas to the role of general manager as they continue their search for a head coach to replace the departed Bruce Arena.

Vagenas fills one of the two vacancies created by Arena's appointment last week as head coach of the United States national team following the sacking of Jurgen Klinsmann.

Strachan still the man for Scotland coaching job: chief

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Glasgow (AFP) Gordon Strachan will remain as Scotland coach despite a poor 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with Scottish Football Association president Alan McRae declaring he could still get them to the finals.

Strachan who had a distinguished international career being capped 50 times looked to be in trouble after the Scots were soundly beaten 3-0 by historic foes England in a qualifier for Russia.

Defrel stunner dents Napoli title hopes

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Milan (AFP) Gregoire Defrel came off the bench to hit a sensational late leveller as Sassuolo dented Napoli's Serie A title hopes in a 1-1 draw at the San Paolo on Monday.

Napoli dominated throughout and looked to be on their way to a 1-0 win that would have moved them to within six points of leaders Juventus after Lorenzo Insigne put the hosts ahead in the 42nd minute.

Bonucci blow for Juventus takes ‘BBC’ defence off air

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Milan (AFP) Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci has been ruled out for up to two months, leaving the injury-ravaged Serie A champions without their formidable three-man defence.

Bonucci, a reported target for Premier League giants Chelsea, has suffered several injury knocks this season and on Monday was diagnosed with a hamstring injury after being forced off during a shock 3-1 defeat at Genoa a day earlier.

Mourinho charged by FA after dismissal

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association (FA) after being sent to the stands during Manchester United's 1-1 draw with West Ham United on Sunday, it was announced on Monday.

It is the third time this season the 53-year-old Portuguese has been charged by the FA he was suspended for a game and fined after an altercation with referee Mark Clattenburg and previously received a hefty fine for critical remarks about the appointment of another referee.

Manchester United’s Mourinho charged by Football Association after dismissal

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association (FA) after being sent to the stands during Manchester United's 1-1 draw with West Ham United on Sunday, it was announced on Monday.

It is the third time this season the 53-year-old Portuguese has been charged by the FA he was suspended for a game and fined after an altercation with referee Mark Clattenburg and previously received a hefty fine for critical remarks about the appointment of another referee.

West Brom boss Pulis loses £3.7m Palace court battle

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London (AFP) West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis has lost a £3.7 million ($4.6 million, 4.3 million euros) legal action against former club Crystal Palace, a High Court judgement revealed Monday.

Earlier this year, Pulis had been ordered to pay Palace £3.7 million by a Premier League Managers' Arbitration Tribunal which found he had "deliberately misled" the south London club and described his conduct as "disgraceful".

Liverpool boss Klopp wary of League Cup changes

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London (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he has no plans to make wholesale changes for Tuesday's EFL Cup quarter-final against second-tier Leeds United at Anfield.

Klopp's men are second in the Premier League and in the last round the German boss made 11 changes for the win over Tottenham Hotspur in the last round of the EFL Cup.

China joint-venture to build Qatar World Cup stadium

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Doha (AFP) A Chinese state-owned construction company will build the Qatar 2022 World Cup final stadium in a joint venture, Qatar's World Cup organisers said Monday.

The China Railway Construction Corporation Limited and Qatari contractor HBK Contracting Co. W.L.L. have won the bidding process to build the stadium designed by award-winning British architect Norman Foster's firm, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said.

Sex abuse coach Barry Bennell in hospital over ‘fears for welfare’

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London (AFP) The paedophile coach at the centre of an abuse scandal that has rocked English football has been taken to hospital by police responding to a "fear for welfare incident" it was announced Monday.

Barry Bennell has been at the centre of numerous revelations after former Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward came forward to reveal he was abused by the convicted child molester in the 1980s.

Schedule of League Cup quarterfinals on US TV and streaming

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We're down to the final eight in the EFL Cup (also known as the League Cup). And the great news for soccer fans in the United States is that every single match will be available via TV or streaming.

With eight English clubs vying to get their hands on the first piece of silverware this season, it's a chance for Premier League clubs such as Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, West Ham, Hull City and Southampton to make their way to the semi-finals.

World Soccer Shop launches Cyber Monday sale for soccer fans

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World Soccer Shop, the leading soccer merchandise site in the United States, has launched a Cyber Monday sale to give 25% off orders storewide.

The 25% savings is only available for the next 24 hours (on Monday, November 28, 2016). All you have to do is visit the World Soccer Shop website and then use promo code CYBER1 at checkout.

Mourinho dismissal just ‘passion’, says Jones

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London (AFP) Manchester United centre-back Phil Jones has defended Jose Mourinho following the manager's latest dismissal, saying it was just an indication of his "passion".

Mourinho left himself exposed to the risk of sanctions from the Football Association after being sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle during United's 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United on Sunday.

Five things we learned about the Bundesliga

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Berlin (AFP) Uli Hoeness has returned as Bayern Munich's president, Borussia Dortmund slumped after their midweek Champions League goal fest and new boys RB Leipzig remain unbeaten and top of the league.

Here are five things we learned from the twelfth round of matches in the Bundesliga:

Hoeness returns.

BT Sport’s Champions League Goals Show the ideal accompaniment to European soccer

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The UEFA Champions League has always been a fascinating competition from a television viewer's perspective. Because while it's considered as the biggest prize in the domestic game, the group stages can often be a monotonous affair.

Sure, there are titanic tussles in the early parts of the tournament—Atletico Madrid vs.

Rookie star Morris lifts Sounders into MLS final

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Commerce City (United States) (AFP) Jordan Morris scored a second half goal on Sunday as the Seattle Sounders defeated the Colorado Rapids 1-0 to reach their first MLS championship final in franchise history.

Morris scored in the 56th minute on a pass from Nelson Haedo Valdez as the Sounders took the semi-final series 3-1 in aggregate scoring.

Mourinho facing more hot water

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho faces disciplinary action from the FA, and an almost definite touchline suspension, after being sent to the stands by referee Jon Moss during a 1-1 Premier League home draw with West Ham.

It is the third time in less than two months that the fiery Manchester United manager will face disciplinary action from the sport's ruling body.

Arsenal had to steady their nerves says Wenger

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal had to conquer their nerves before securing the 3-1 win that thrust them back in the Premier League title race.

Wenger's side had fallen six points behind leaders Chelsea after drawing three of their last four league games and they were in danger of another damaging setback at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

League Cup win reward for Celtic players – Rodgers

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says winning the Scottish League Cup is a tangible reward for his players after their great start to the season.

The Hoops cruised to a 3-0 win over Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday thanks to first-half strikes from Australian international Tom Rogic and James Forrest while in-form French striker Moussa Dembele added a second-half penalty.

Draw a ‘miracle’ from worst Barca display – Luis Enrique

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona boss Luis Enrique lamented what he described as the worst display of his time in charge as the Catalan giants escaped with a 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Barca have now failed to win in their last eight visits to San Sebastian, but for once the slip-up felt like a victory as Sociedad dominated from start to finish.

Coutinho blow a test for Liverpool – Origi

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London (AFP) Liverpool's Divock Origi says his team-mates must step up in the absence of Philippe Coutinho as they prepare to face Leeds United in the League Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

The influential Coutinho sustained suspected ankle ligament damage during Liverpool's 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday and could now be out until next year.

What has gone wrong for Barcelona?

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona are off to their worst La Liga start since Lionel Messi's debut season nine years ago.

A 1-1 draw at Real Sociedad was described as a "miracle" by Barca boss Luis Enrique in what he singled out as the worst performance in his three seasons in charge.

Barca are already six points adrift of Real Madrid ahead of their meeting in El Clasico on Saturday.

PSG beat Lyon to turn up pressure on leaders Nice

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain closed to within a point of leaders Nice in Ligue 1 on Sunday as Edinson Cavani's brace secured an impressive 2-1 win away to Lyon.

Cavani opened the scoring with a penalty only for Mathieu Valbuena to equalise, but the Uruguayan headed in the winner nine minutes from time for his 18th goal of the season in all competitions.

Simeone double stuns Juve as Roma, Milan close in

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Milan (AFP) A quickfire brace from Giovanni Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego, carved the Serie A title race open on Sunday as Genoa claimed a stunning 3-1 win over leaders Juventus.

Juve's third defeat of a season in which they are hoping to secure a record sixth consecutive 'scudetto' left the Turin giants just four points ahead of Roma, 3-2 winners over Pescara thanks to an Edin Dzeko brace, and on-form AC, who beat Empoli 4-1 away on Saturday.

Zaha answers Ivory Coast call

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Abidjan (AFP) Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has swapped his international allegiance from England to the Ivory Coast, where he was born, the Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) said on Sunday.

Zaha, 24, was born in Abidjan but appeared in two friendlies for England under former Three Lions' boss Roy Hodgson, making his debut against Sweden in November 2012.

Barca fail to break Sociedad hoodoo, Atletico bounce back

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona's winless streak at Real Sociedad stretched to eight games as the Spanish champions were outplayed in a 1-1 draw on Sunday that leaves them six points adrift of La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

A sumptuous finish from Lionel Messi spared Barca's blushes after Willian Jose had headed Sociedad into a deserved lead just after half-time.

Simeone grabs double as Juve stunned by Genoa

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Milan (AFP) A quickfire brace from Giovanni Simeone, the son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego, opened up the Serie A title race on Sunday as Genoa claimed a stunning 3-1 win over leaders Juventus.

Juve's third defeat of a season in which they are hoping to secure a record sixth consecutive 'scudetto' left the Turin giants just four points ahead of on-form AC Milan, with several other challengers close behind.

Chat with dad Diego inspired Giovanni Simeone Juve double

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Milan (AFP) Genoa's Giovanni Simeone said a pre-match talk with his dad, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, spurred him on to a brace that laid the foundations for a shock 3-1 win over Serie A champions Juventus.

Simeone, starting in place of injured striker Leonardo Pavoletti, was on hand to get the hosts off the mark after just three minutes when Gianluigi Buffon spilled shots from Luca Rigoni and Lucas Ocampos.

Austin spoils Koeman’s Southampton return

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) Charlie Austin scored after just 41 seconds to secure Southampton's 1-0 victory over Everton on Sunday and ensure Ronald Koeman experienced a painful return to his former club.

Everton manager Koeman left Southampton during the close season after two seasons at St Mary's, during which he guided the south coast club to their best Premier League finishes of seventh and sixth.

Two-goal Ibisevic sent off as Hertha go third

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Berlin (AFP) Vedad Ibisevic scored both goals before being sent off in Hertha Berlin's 2-1 comeback win over Mainz to lift his side to third in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Both teams finished with ten men for the final quarter of an hour as Ibisevic was sent off for receiving his second yellow card.

Mourinho sent off as Man Utd slump goes on

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands as his Manchester United side drew 1-1 at home to West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic cancelled out Diafra Sakho's opening goal to leave United contemplating a run of four straight home league draws for the first time since Dave Sexton's managerial tenure in 1980-81.

Neymar starts for Barca despite Ferrari smash

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Madrid (AFP) Brazilian star Neymar shrugged off a minor road accident that damaged his Ferrari Spider to start Barcelona's clash with Real Sociedad in La Liga on Sunday.

The 24-year-old striker hit trouble driving to the Barcelona training ground in rain before the team flew to the northern city of San Sebastian for the match.

Nice held as rivals turn up pressure

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Paris (AFP) Nice reclaimed top spot in Ligue 1 on Sunday but had their momentum slowed in a 1-1 draw at home to bitter rivals Bastia at the Allianz Riviera.

Alassane Plea had put the home side in front only for Enzo Crivelli to earn the Corsicans a draw and leave Nice with only one win in their last five games in all competitions.

Mourinho off in Man Utd draw, Sanchez fires Arsenal

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was sent off as his side lost more ground in the Premier League title race by drawing 1-1 with West Ham United on Sunday.

After Diafra Sakho's second-minute opener was cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho was sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle in protest at Paul Pogba's booking for diving.

Choupo-Moting atones as Schalke continue rise

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Berlin (AFP) Schalke 04 continued their rise up the Bundesliga table on Sunday as striker Eric Choupo-Moting atoned for a penalty miss by netting in their 3-1 comeback win against Darmstadt.

Having been bottom of the table after losing their first five games the worst start to a season in the club's history the result left Schalke eighth and unbeaten in their last 11 games in all competitions.

Victorious Atletico bounce back at Osasuna

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madridgot back towinning ways and moved back into La Liga'stop four as goals from Diego Godin, Kevin Gameiro and Yannick Carrasco ensured a comfortable 3-0 win at Osasuna on Sunday.

The hosts remain rooted in the bottom three and were left to rue Roberto Torres's missed penalty with the scores still level at 0-0.

Mourinho sent to stands for kicking bottle

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for angrily kicking a water bottle during his side's Premier League home game with West Ham United on Sunday.

With the score 1-1, Mourinho took his displeasure out on a plastic bottle standing beside his technical area after Paul Pogba was booked for diving by referee Jonathan Moss.

Giroud, Debuchy injuries overshadow Arsenal win

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger is sweating on the fitness of Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Debuchy after the France stars suffered injuries in Arsenal's 3-1 Premier League win against Bournemouth on Sunday.

Debuchy limped off after just 16 minutes of his first appearance for Arsenal since November 2015 and Giroud sustained a hamstring problem.

Where to find Chivas vs. America on US TV and streaming (Liga MX Apertura; 2nd leg)

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

In the first leg of the quarterfinal last week, the game ended in a 1-1 tie. Who will move on to the Liga MX Apertura semi-finals? Will it be Club America or Chivas de Guadalajara. We shall see tonight.

Sanchez double keeps Arsenal in title hunt

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London (AFP) Arsenal closed the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea as Alexis Sanchez bragged a brace in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side are within three points of top spot after Chile forward Sanchez struck in each half at the Emirates Stadium to take his goal tally for the season to 10.

Schweinsteiger returns to Man Utd bench

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Bastian Schweinsteiger made a surprise return to the Manchester United bench for Sunday's Premier League home game against West Ham United, having previously been frozen out by manager Jose Mourinho.

The 32-year-old former Germany captain has not played a minute since Mourinho was appointed manager in pre-season.

Neymar damages Ferrari in road accident

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona's Brazilian star Neymar damaged his Ferrari Spider in a road accident but his club said he was ready to play against Real Sociedad on Sunday night.

The 24-year-old striker hit trouble driving through the rain to the Barcelona training ground before the team's flight to the northern city of San Sebastian for the match.

England’s FA probes junior football sex abuse claims

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London (AFP) England's Football Association is investigating allegations of sexual abuse in junior football after several formers players came forward to say they were molested by youth coaches, it confirmed on Sunday.

The FA has appointed independent leading counsel Kate Gallafent, who is an expert in child protection, to assist it with an internal review of the allegations.

Where to find Aberdeen vs. Celtic Scottish League Cup Final on US TV and streaming

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

Celtic and Aberdeen battle on Sunday to try to win the first silverware of the 2016/17 season. Celtic, while favorites, will face a stiff test from Aberdeen. While the Dons sit in third place in the league, they're just 90 minutes away from trying to prevent Celtic from winning the Scottish League Cup.

Klopp hails Kop roar as Liverpool see off Sunderland

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Liverpool (AFP) Jurgen Klopp saluted the Anfield crowd after they willed Liverpool to a 2-0 victory against Sunderland.

Klopp's sidewere involved in a war of attritionon Saturday as failed to break down Sunderland during the first half.

After the re-start, Reds boss Klopp ran down the touchline to implore the Kop to sing louder and it seemed to havethe desiredeffect.

Conte urges leaders Chelsea to stay ‘humble’

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London (AFP) Chelsea manager Antonio Conte warned his players to remain grounded after they returned to the Premier League summit courtesy of a gritty 2-1 victory at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Christian Eriksen fired Spurs ahead at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but Pedro Rodriguez with a glorious curler and Victor Moses scored either side of half-time to give Chelsea a seventh successive league win.

Asian title is ‘unforgettable dream’ for Jeonbuk

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Al-Ain (United Arab Emirates) (AFP) Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' coach said they had achieved an "unforgettable dream" after regaining the AFC Champions League title in an incident-packed second leg of the final against Al Ain.

The South Korean club held on for a 1-1 draw and a 3-2 aggregate win after the UAE's Al Ain had missed a penalty and had their coach Zlatko Dalic sent to the stands in stormy scenes at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

Man City’s Guardiola relishing Chelsea showdown

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) Pep Guardiola had barely savoured Manchester City's 2-1 victory at Burnley before he was considering preparations for a more sumptuous Premier League feast against pacesetters Chelsea.

The former Barcelona manager, still adapting to life in the English fast lane, will have a whole week to get ready for the Etihad Stadium clash that will pit together two likely title contenders.

Where to find Genoa vs. Juventus on US TV and streaming

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

Juventus has an opportunity to increase their lead and good form atop the league in Italy. With a win, Juve can be ten points ahead of Roma in Serie A. Genoa, meanwhile, will want to try to get a surprise home win to get into the top half of the table.

Asian Champions League title an ‘unforgettable dream’ for Jeonbuk

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Al-Ain (United Arab Emirates) (AFP) Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors' coach said they had achieved an "unforgettable dream" after regaining the AFC Champions League title in an incident-packed second leg of the final against Al Ain.

The South Korean club held on for a 1-1 draw and a 3-2 aggregate win after the UAE's Al Ain had missed a penalty and had their coach Zlatko Dalic sent to the stands in stormy scenes at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium.

Milan football motors into second

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Milan (AFP) AC Milan motored into second place in Serie A on Saturday with an emphatic 4-1 win at Empoli their first win in the fixture in eight seasons.

Gianluca Lapadula, taking advantage of the absence through injury of Colombia striker Carlos Bacca, bagged a brace a goal in either half while Spaniard Suso also hit the target.

Football: Ronaldo double extends Real lead, Sevilla up to second

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Real Madrid were thankful to a late missed penalty from Duje Cop to open up a seven-point lead over Barcelona with a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Madrid looked set for an easy afternoon as Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot before he headed home a second inside 20 minutes.

Camacho set to become Gabon football coach

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Paris (AFP) José Antonio Camacho is set to become the new coach of Africa Cup of Nations host Gabon, the Spaniard told AFP on Saturday.

Camacho, 61, was in the capital Libreville on Saturday with the president of the country's federation to sign a contract that will see him succeed Portuguese Jorge Costa in the dugout.

Conte shies away from Chelsea title talk

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London (AFP) Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said it was "too early" to talk about the Premier League title after his team recaptured the summit by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Saturday.

Chelsea fell behind to Christian Eriksen's stunning 11th-minute strike, but equalised through Pedro Rodriguez's exquisite curler and took victory after Victor Moses rammed home Diego Costa's cross.

Hummels header sees Bayern halve Leipzig’s lead

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Berlin (AFP) Mats Hummels headed in the crucial goal as Bayern Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 on Saturday to end a three-game winless streak and close back to within three points of leaders RB Leipzig.

Leipzig had gone six points clear on Friday with a 4-1 win at Freiburg, and Bayern were grateful to Hummels for heading home a Joshua Kimmich corner in the second half as they got the better of Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena to cut the deficit.

Moses downs Spurs to lead Chelsea back to summit

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London (AFP) Chelsea stormed back from behind to end Tottenham Hotspurs' unbeaten Premier League record with a 2-1 victory on Saturday that propelled Antonio Conte's soaring side back into top spot.

Chelsea had seen Liverpool and Manchester City steal past them earlier in the day and fell behind in the 11th minute when Christian Eriksen became the first player to score past them in seven games.

Chelsea down Spurs as City, Liverpool keep pace

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London (AFP) Chelsea fought back for a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur that cemented their place on top of the Premier League, while title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool kept pace with the leaders on Saturday.

Antonio Conte's Chelsea had been knocked out of pole position by City's 2-1 win at Burnley and Liverpool's 2-0 success against Sunderland earlier in the afternoon.

Four English police forces probe abuse claims

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London (AFP) Four police forces are investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse against children in English football circles as part of a deepening scandal, it was revealed on Saturday.

Several former footballers have spoken out about being abused after ex-Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward came forward to reveal he was abused by convicted child molester Barry Bennell in the 1980s.

Zidane unconcerned as unconvincing Madrid march on

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Madrid (AFP) Zinedine Zidane admitted his side had an afternoon to forget on Saturday despite Real Madrid moving seven points clear at the top of La Liga thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double in a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon.

Victory extended Real's unbeaten run in all competitions to 31 matches, but Madrid were grateful to a late Duje Cop missed penalty to secure all three points against a Sporting side that hasn't won in 10 games.

Irresistible Monaco blow away Marseille

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Paris (AFP) Monaco kept up their outstanding recent form as Valere Germain scored twice in a 4-0 win over Marseille in the Mediterranean principality on Saturday.

Gabriel Boschilia opened the scoring from a free-kick before Germain added two more of his own as Monaco put the game to bed before half-time, with substitute Guido Carrillo putting the gloss on the result at the death.

Hull City’s Dawson header clips West Brom’s wings

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Kingston upon Hull (United Kingdom) (AFP) Michael Dawson netted a 72nd-minute equaliser as Hull City drew 1-1 against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday to deny Tony Pulis's team a third successive Premier League win.

West Brom, the visitors, were bidding to go level on points with sixth-place Manchester United and took a deserved 34th-minute lead when centre-back Gareth McAuley headed in.

Ronaldo double extends Real lead over Barcelona

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice as Real Madrid were thankful to a late missed penalty from Duje Cop to open up a seven-point lead over Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win over Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Madrid looked set for an easy afternoon as Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot before he headed home a second inside 20 minutes.

Origi, Milner help Liverpool sink Sunderland

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Liverpool (AFP) Divock Origi and James Milner pitched in with second-half goals as Liverpool finally broke down stubborn Sunderland in a 2-0 victory on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp's side will happily take the three points from this Premier League clashas their patience was pushed to the limits in a war of attrition at Anfield.

Slimani spot on to save Leicester

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester salvaged a dramatic 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough as Islam Slimani converted a penalty deep into stoppage-time at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Claudio Ranieri's side trailed twice to goals from Middlesbrough striker Alvaro Negredo, but Riyad Mahrez got Leicester's first equaliser with a penalty before his Algerian team-mate Slimani struck from the spot to earn a point with virtually the last kick of a thrilling encounter.

Jeonbuk Hyundai win Asian Champions League

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Al-Ain (United Arab Emirates) (AFP) South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors won the Asian Champions League 3-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw with UAE's Al Ain in the final's second leg on Saturday.

An atmosphere of gloom enveloped the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium as home fans wept after Al Ain squandered a penalty to let Jeonbuk off the hook and let a second Asian Champions League crown slip through their hands.

Liverpool go top as Aguero lifts Man City

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London (AFP) Substitute Divock Origi and James Milner struck to send Liverpool top of the Premier League as both they and Manchester City stole past previous leaders Chelsea in Saturday's action.

Sergio Aguero scored two scruffy goals as City won 2-1 at Burnley and Liverpool followed suit by downing Sunderland 2-0 after losing Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho to a worrying injury.

Llorente late double cheers Swans as Palace choke

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Spanish striker Fernando Llorente scored twice in injury-time Saturday to give Swansea a thrilling 5-4 win over fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and drag the Welsh club off the foot of the Premier League.

The astonishing finale left Palace bemoaning a sixth straight loss which has sucked them to the brink of the drop zone.

Dortmund crash to defeat at Frankfurt

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Dortmund were brought crashing to earth on Saturday following their record Champions League win with a 2-1 Bundesliga defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, who went third in Germany's top flight.

It was a first defeat in 10 games for Dortmund and came hot on the heels of their 8-4 romp on Tuesday at home to Legia Warsaw a record score for a Champions League game.

Lahm set to fill Bayern’s sports director vacancy

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has hinted ex-Germany captain Philipp Lahm will fill the vacant sports director job at the Bavarian giants, probably for next season.

"We all know that a sports manager is also needed at Bayern," said Rummenigge after Uli Hoeness was re-elected as Bayern's president on Friday at the club's annual general meeting.

Aguero double seals Man City fightback at Burnley

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City overcame Burnley's spirited challenge as Sergio Aguero's double inspired their fightback for a 2-1 win at Turf Moor on Saturday.

Aguero's decisive brace took his remarkable scoring run to 33 goals in 34 Premier League games after Dean Marney had given Burnley a surprise lead over the title contenders.

Rooney ‘cleared over drinking storm’

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London (AFP) England captain Wayne Rooney has been cleared after the Football Association investigated reports he stayed up late drinking while on international duty, British media outlets reported on Saturday.

Rooney, 31, apologised for the publication of "inappropriate" pictures of him mingling with wedding guests at England's team hotel between their recent games against Scotland and Spain.

Four English police forces investigate football sex abuse claims

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London (AFP) Four police forces are investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse against children in English football circles as part of a deepening scandal, it was revealed on Saturday.

Several former footballers have spoken out about being abused after ex-Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward came forward to reveal he was abused by convicted child molester Barry Bennell in the 1980s.

Saints boss Puel calls for Everton recovery

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) Claude Puel has demandedhis Southampton side to put aside their Europa League disappointment ahead of the Premier League visit of Everton on Sunday.

The 1-0 defeat at Sparta Prague left Puel's side needing a win or scoreless draw against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in their final group game to progress in the competition.

Gunners must start firing sooner says Jenkinson

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London (AFP) Carl Jenkinson admits Arsenal must cut out their habit of making lethargic starts if they are to get back on track against Bournemouth on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side have failed to win their last three matches in all competitions and Jenkinson believes the Gunners have only themselves to blame.

Record-breaker Rooney waits to deliver Hammer blow

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) It is a sign of Wayne Rooney's recent troubles that he is not guaranteed to make Manchester United's starting line-up against West Ham on Sunday despite breaking a club record this week.

The United captain became the Red Devils' all-time leading European scorer on Thursday with a fine finish to set up a 4-0 Europa League victory over Feyenoord.

Russia under scrutiny at Confederations Cup draw

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) The wisdom of awarding Russia the right to stage the 2018 World Cup will come under sharp scrutiny in Kazan on Saturday at the draw for next year's Confederations Cup.

Kicking off in Kazan on June 17 and ending in a Saint Petersburg final on July 2, the Confederations Cup involves only eight nations but is widely seen as important preparation for the World Cup the following year.

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

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

After Liverpool's disappointing 0-0 draw against Southampton last week, the Reds have a chance to close the gap at the top of the Premier League table with a win. Sunderland, meanwhile, will be cautious but also feeling optimistic after getting their first win last week.

Where to find Real Madrid vs. Sporting on US TV and streaming

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

Real Madrid holds a commanding lead atop the table in La Liga with a four point lead above Barcelona. That lead could be seven points after this game if Real Madrid can defeat Sporting at the Bernabeu Stadium.

Four English police forces probe football sex abuse claims

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London (AFP) Four police forces are investigating allegations of historical sexual abuse against children in English football circles as part of a deepening scandal, it was revealed on Saturday.

Several former footballers have spoken out about being abused after ex-Crewe Alexandra player Andy Woodward came forward to reveal he was abused by convicted child molester Barry Bennell in the 1980s.

Ex-Chelsea doctor Carneiro reveals death threats

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London (AFP) Former Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro received death threats following her departure from the club last year, she revealed in a newspaper interview published on Saturday.

"Even though I don't have a presence on social media I think I have made one post ever in my life some of the threats of sexual violence and death threats make it through," she told the Daily Telegraph.

Hoeness – German football saint, tax sinner

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Berlin (AFP) Uli Hoeness was on Friday re-elected as Bayern Munich's president, returning to lead Germany's top club despite a spectacular own goal which landed him in jail.

After 21 months behind bars, Hoeness was released in February from Landsberg prison, where Adolf Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf', after being convicted of evading at least 28.

Mourinho warns Martial over Man United place

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) French forward Anthony Martial risks slipping from the first-team picture at Manchester United if he does not start making more of his opportunities, manager Jose Mourinho has warned.

Martial, 20, impressed in his first United season after his move from Monaco for an initial fee of 36 million pounds ($44.

Hoeness returns as Bayern president

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Berlin (AFP) Uli Hoeness, the man who helped make Bayern Munich one of the world's most powerful clubs, was re-elected president of the Bavarian giants on Friday.

His election comes nine months after he was released from prison after serving half of a three-and-a-half-year sentence for tax evasion.

Impressive RB Leipzig win again to cement top spot

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Berlin (AFP) RB Leipzig continued their stunning start to life in the Bundesliga on Friday with a 4-1 win at Freiburg that saw them move six points clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the table.

Timo Werner scored twice for the visitors at the Schwarzwald Stadion in between goals by Naby Keita and Marcel Sabitzer, with Florian Niederlechner replying in vain for the home side.

Maradona sees Argentina level Davis Cup final

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Zagreb (AFP) Argentina football legend Diego Maradona was courtside as Juan Martin del Potro beat veteran Ivo Karlovic to draw his country back level at 1-1 against Croatia in the Davis Cup final on Friday.

Maradona, 56, who inspired Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, watched on with his girlfriend as Croatia went 1-0 up when Marin Cilic battled back from a mid-match collapse to beat Federico Delbonis 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2 at the Zagreb Arena.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 13

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Chelsea host Tottenham in a battle between top-five Premier League teams and London rivals this Saturday, Nov. 26, at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC UNIVERSO, highlighting this weekend's Premier League coverage.

When the teams last met in May, Chelsea ended Tottenham's hopes of winning the Premier League title after they came from down 2-0 to secure a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Bayern Munich announce record turnover for 2015-2016 financial year

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Berlin (AFP) German champions Bayern Munich on Friday announced record turnover for the 2015-16 financial year of 627 million euros (£533.3m; $664.6m), up by more than 100 million euros on the previous year.

Bayern's pre-tax profits also increased by around 30 percent, from 23.8 million euros in 2014-15 to 33 million euros.

Probes widen into youth sex abuse at English football clubs

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London (AFP) Police investigations into the sexual abuse of youngsters within English football widened Friday as England captain Wayne Rooney praised victims for speaking out.

Jason Dunford, once a youth player with Premier League giants Manchester City, added to the growing tide of abuse accusations that have rocked the English game by alleging that a football paedophile ring was covered up.

Chelsea vs. Spurs predicted lineups and preview

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By the time Chelsea kick off against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday, the chances are that the Blues will have been provisionally usurped in top spot.

It's a factor that'll add another extra dynamic to what has become one of the most ferocious fixtures in English football in recent years.

Taxman targets Real and Barca over fraud: report

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Madrid (AFP) Giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are amongst five La Liga clubs from whom the Spanish taxman is looking to recover 52 million euros, online newspaper El Confidencial claimed on Friday.

Alongside Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia, the big two are accused of having avoided tax by paying player's agents directly.

Guardiola wants Messi to stay at Barcelona

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Pep Guardiola insisted Friday he had no intention of signing Lionel Messi, saying he wants the Barcelona star to see out his career at the Nou Camp.

Manchester City manager Guardiola has been linked repeatedly with a move for the reigning world footballer of the year.

Police extend English soccer sex abuse inquiries

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London (AFP) Police said Friday they were widening the scope of their investigations into sexual abuse within English football as England captain Wayne Rooney praised victims for speaking out.

Jason Dunford, once a youth player with Premier League giants Manchester City, added to the growing tide of abuse accusations that have rocked the English game by alleging that a football paedophile ring was covered up.

Putin pledges swift fix to St Petersburg stadium issues

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Moscow (AFP) President Vladimir Putin on Friday assured FIFA boss Gianni Infantino that problems with the World Cup venue in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg would be solved by the end of the year.

"It's a very sad story," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as telling Infantino at the Kremlin, referring to the scandal-plagued construction of the Saint Petersburg stadium that will host the Confederations Cup in 2017 and a World Cup semi-final in 2018.

Varane absence adds to Real’s injury woes

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has pulled out of Saturday's game against Sporting Gijon, adding to the injury woes of the La Liga leaders who will be without Gareth Bale for at least two months.

The 23-year-old Frenchman hurt his right knee which needed surgery in 2013 and has since suffered from inflammation.

Chelsea great Terry set for more than two weeks out

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London (AFP) Chelsea captain John Terry will be out of action for more than two weeks because of a "muscular problem", Blues boss Antonio Conte said Friday.

Former England centre-back Terry, 36 next month, has made just one substitute appearance since the London club started a six-match winning run that has taken them to the top of the Premier League.

Iniesta eyes Clasico return after knee injury

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta returned to training on Friday following a month out with a knee injury and is hopeful of playing in next month's Clasico, the Spanish champions said.

Iniesta, 32, suffered knee ligament damage in a 3-2 win at Valencia on October 22, but the former Spain star is in line to feature against bitter rivals Real Madrid next Saturday after it was initially feared he could be sidelined for months.

UK football sex abuse claims rise as Rooney lauds victims

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London (AFP) A former youth player with Premier League giants Manchester City alleged Friday that a football paedophile ring was covered up as England captain Wayne Rooney praised victims for speaking out.

Jason Dunford added to the growing tide of abuse accusations that have rocked English football.

Man City aim to extend unbeaten run at Burnley

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City head into their Premier League match against Burnley on Saturday boosted by having secured a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a game to spare after a midweek draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach.

The 1-1 result in Germany means manager Pep Guardiola and his City players can focus on the Premier League for the next month or so, beginning with a visit to Burnley.

Klopp has given Liverpool strength – Coutinho

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Liverpool (AFP) Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho believes his team-mates possess greater mental strength under Jurgen Klopp's management as they battle to regain top spot in the Premier League.

Liverpool host Sunderland at Anfield on Saturday and victory would keep the pressure up on leaders Chelsea, who face Tottenham Hotspur in the day's late kick-off.

Faltering Bayern host Leverkusen denying ‘crisis’

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Berlin (AFP) Faltering Bayern Munich hope to break their second mini winless streak this season when they host Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday to launch their counter-attack on top spot in Germany.

For the first time since September 2015, second-placed Bayern do not top the table at the start of a weekend of Bundesliga fixtures.

Bloodied Spurs set for Stamford Bridge return

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur face a major test of nerve on Saturday when they return to Stamford Bridge, scene of the 2-2 draw with Chelsea that ended last season's title challenge.

Spurs had nine players booked and Mousa Dembele was hit with a six-game ban for gouging Diego Costa's eye in a stormy May 2 encounter that delivered the Premier League crown to Leicester City.

Juve fans wait for Milan fan Kean at Genoa

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Milan (AFP) Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri could hand teenage starlet Moise Kean his full debut for the injury-hit Turin giants against Genoa on Sunday even if he is secretly an AC Milan fan.

Kean, a powerfully-built striker, joined an elite group of 16-year-old Serie A debutants when he replaced Mario Mandzukic in a 3-0 win over Pescara last weekend.

Celtic look to secure 100th trophy against Aberdeen

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers cannot afford to linger long on his side's European elimination as they prepare to take on Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup final on Sunday.

The match at Hampden Park is an opportunity for Rodgers to secure his place in the club's history books days after he watched as the Hoops were powerless to stop a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona secure a 2-0 win at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

Sociedad hoodoo hangs over Barca ahead of Clasico

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Madrid (AFP) Barcelona face an uncomfortable trip to bogey side Real Sociedad as they seek to avoid losing further ground on Real Madrid just a week before the two clash in the Clasico.

Barca have lost on their travels to San Sebastian in each of the past three seasons and already trail Real by four points having been held 0-0 at home by nine-man Malaga last weekend.

Acclaimed Monaco keep cool ahead of Marseille clash

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Paris (AFP) Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva brushed off comparisons between the Ligue 1 title contenders and Europe's heavyweights ahead of Saturday's visit of traditional French giants Marseille.

Leonardo Jardim's side qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek as winners of Group E following a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur and find themselves locked in a three-way battle with Nice and Paris Saint-Germain in France.

Pochettino primes Spurs for Chelsea battle

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Saturday's trip to in-form Premier League champions Chelsea represents an ideal opportunity for his side to reinvigorate their season.

Tottenham have won just one of their last nine fixtures in all competitions and go into the game on the back of a Champions League exit at Monaco's hands in mid-week.

Setbacks endure as Russia preps for World Cup

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Moscow (AFP) Corruption scandals, extended deadlines and even a wobbly pitch are just a few of the setbacks Russia has faced ahead of the 2018 World Cup, though authorities vow everything will be ready on time.

Putting the final touches on the infrastructure in four host cities Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi has become all the more pressing because they will also host the Confederations Cup next year, a dress rehearsal for the 2018 tournament.

Zenit face Krasnodar boosted by Europe run

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Moscow (AFP) Zenit St Petersburg face Krasnodar this weekend boosted by a fifth straight win in the Europa League and the return of three players from suspension.

Zenit are placed second in the Russian Premier League, three points behind Spartak Moscow who play Terek Grozny.

After Thursday's 2-0 Europa League defeat of Israeli side Maccabi Tel-Aviv Zenit coach Mircea Lucescu said: "I'm happy with the wins in our last matches against Samara and Maccabi.

Mourinho sets Rooney Europa League goal

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho challenged Wayne Rooney to lead the club to Europa League glory after the England captain broke United's European scoring record against Feyenoord.

Rooney, 31, scored his 39th European goal as United crushed Feyenoord 4-0 on Thursday, thereby closing to within just one goal of Bobby Charlton's all-time club scoring record of 249 goals.

China signs football deal with Germany

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Berlin (AFP) China and Germany signed a deal Friday to boost cooperation in football, as the Asian giant sets its sights on becoming a superpower in the sport.

The five-year deal comes after football talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both fans of the game.

FA chairman regrets ‘appalling’ failure over abuse coach

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London (AFP) The chairman of England's Football Association said Thursday the governing body's failure to respond after a youth coach's conviction for sexually abusing young players was "appalling".

Barry Bennell, who worked for Crewe Alexandra, Manchester City, Stoke City and several junior teams in northwest England, was given a four-year sentence for raping a British boy on a football tour of Florida in 1994 and a nine-year sentence for 23 offences against six boys in England in 1998.

Man Utd big winners, Southampton left sweating

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Paris (AFP) Wayne Rooney claimed a piece of club history as he set Manchester United on the way to a 4-0 Europa League win over Feyenoord on Thursday that saw them close on the last 32.

Rooney got the opening goal against the Dutch side at Old Trafford to score for the 39th time in Europe, matching Ruud van Nistelrooy's club record.

Record man Rooney gives Man Utd Europa lift

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Wayne Rooney became Manchester United's outright leading European goal-scorer as Jose Mourinho's side enhanced their chances of progressing in the Europa League by sinking Feyenoord 4-0 on Thursday.

Rooney struck in the 35th minute to claim his 39th European goal, one more than Ruud van Nistelrooy, and move to within just one goal of Bobby Charlton's all-time club scoring record of 249.

Record-breaker Rooney shuts down booze talk

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Wayne Rooney gave short shrift to talk about his recent off-field indiscretions while on England duty after breaking Manchester United's European goal-scoring record against Feyenoord on Thursday.

Rooney, 31, scored his 39th European goal in a 4-0 victory to eclipse Ruud van Nistelrooy as the club's leading scorer in UEFA competitions and move to within one goal of Bobby Charlton's club record of 249.

Southampton left sweating after defeat in Prague

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Paris (AFP) Southampton's hopes of reaching the Europa League knockout rounds remain in the balance after Claude Puel's side lost 1-0 away to Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic on Thursday.

A solitary first-half goal by Zimbabwean full-back Costa Nhamoinesu, firing a Borek Dockal free-kick past Fraser Forster, was the difference between the sides at the Generali Arena in Prague.

Goalkeeping great Ceni becomes Sao Paulo football coach

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Sao Paulo (AFP) Legendary former goal-scoring goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni was on Thursday named coach of the Brazilian club Sao Paulo where he starred as a player.

He replaces Ricardo Gomes, who was fired on Wednesday with the team languishing in the bottom half of the Brazilian top flight.

Ceni, 43, played more than 1,200 games for Sao Paulo a record after joining in 1990 and, remarkably, scored 131 goals.

British charity launches hotline after abuse revelations

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London (AFP) A British children's charity has launched a new telephone helpline for sexual abuse victims after four English former footballers said they were abused by their coaches during childhood.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has set up a dedicated football hotline with the support of England's Football Association.

Russia’s Putin to meet FIFA chief Infantino

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Moscow (AFP) Russian president Vladimir Putin will meet FIFA chief Gianni Infantino in Moscow on Friday ahead of this weekend's draw for the Confederations Cup, the Kremlin announced on Thursday.

"The head of state will meet the FIFA president in Moscow," read a brief statement from the Kremlin, with Infantino on his way to Kazan for the draw for next year's tournament.

FIFA face lawsuit over ban on transfer of minors

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Zurich (AFP) A complaint has been filed to a court in the Swiss city of Zurich against a FIFA-imposed ban on the transfer of under-age players, lawyers representing the complainant said on Thursday.

The Zurich firm Nater Dallafior Rechtsanwälte launched the lawsuit at a court in the city on Wednesday on behalf of a 17-year-old African player and his parents.

Liverpool football great Gerrard calls time on career

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London (AFP) Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday at the age of 36, calling time on an emblematic career.

Gerrard spent 17 years at his home-town club Liverpool, 12 as captain, and won nine honours including the 2005 Champions League before finishing his career with an 18-month stint at LA Galaxy.

Where to find America vs. Chivas on US TV and streaming (Liga MX Apertura; 1st leg)

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

Match: America vs. Chivas Genre: Sports Looking to watch America vs. Chivas online from your office, home or on the go? If you live in the USA, there are several options to catch all the action.

Samuel Eto’o risks 10-year jail sentence for ‘fraud’

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Barcelona (AFP) Spanish prosecutors have asked that Cameroonian football great Samuel Eto'o be handed a 10-year jail sentence and pay a 14.3-million-euro ($15 million) fine for alleged tax fraud, a court filing revealed Thursday.

They allege that Eto'o now at Antalyaspor in Turkey set up front companies to avoid paying taxes from 2006 to 2009, when he was a striker at Barcelona before leaving for Inter Milan.

Samuel Eto’o on massive tax fraud charges in Spain

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors have asked that Cameroonian football great Samuel Eto'o be handed a 10-year jail sentence and pay a 14.3-million-euro ($15 million) fine for alleged tax fraud, a court filing revealed Thursday.

They allege that Eto'o now at Antalyaspor in Turkey set up front companies to avoid paying taxes from 2006 to 2009, when he was a striker at Barcelona before leaving for Inter Milan.

Holiday gift guide for soccer fans

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It's that time of the year when your loved ones are asking you what you want for the holidays. If you're soccer fan, there are so many things to choose from. We've hand-selected several items that we think would make a perfect gift for most soccer fans.

Holiday gift guide for soccer fans: Terrace Club

Whether it's you or one of your loved ones that's a soccer fan, you're probably looking for a unique soccer gift that will stand out from the crowd of usual items.

Eto’o on massive tax fraud charges

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors have recommended that Cameroonian football great Samuel Eto'o be handed a 10-year jail sentence and pay a staggering 18-million-euro ($19 million) fine, a court filing revealed on Thursday.

The prosecutor alleges that Eto'o set up a series of front companies to avoid paying taxes during his decade of soccer success in Spain's La Liga where he notably fronted Barcelona's attack.

Steven Gerrard retires — what they said

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London (AFP) Reaction to former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard's retirement, which he announced on Thursday at the age of 36:

"We started at Liverpool together at 11. He was brilliant then. He went on to be world class. Liverpool's greatest player. Congrats Stevie G."

Former Liverpool and England team-mate Michael Owen

"He'll go down in the top three players ever to play for Liverpool, if not the best.

Udinese captain injures three teammates

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Milan (AFP) Serie A side Udinese have demanded an apology from fiery Brazilian captain Danilo Larangeira after he lost the plot during a training session that left three of his teammates requiring treatment.

"We expect the player to issue an apology, that is the absolute minimum," Udinese sporting director Nereo Bonato said.

Bayern’s Boateng ‘must come back to earth’

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Berlin (AFP) Jerome Boateng has been told to focus on his football, and forget the limelight, in the wake of Bayern Munich's shock Champions League defeat at Rostov.

"Jerome has to calm down and take things easier (off the pitch)," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told Bild.

"Since the summer, it's all been a bit too much for me.

Hamsik says Napoli can revive Champions League dream

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Milan (AFP) Napoli captain Marek Hamsik has called for his teammates to cap their stuttering Champions League campaign with a win at Benfica and qualify for the last 16 as group winners.

Napoli's hopes of making the knockout phase for the first time since elimination by eventual winners Chelsea in 2012 were left hanging in the balance by a scoreless draw at home to Dinamo Kiev on Wednesday.

Gareth Bale to undergo ankle operation, out for two months

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale is to undergo an operation on his injured ankle that will likely see him ruled out of action for two months.

Bale was forced off just before the hour mark of Real's 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday as the European champions secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League for a record 20th consecutive season.

Gerrard’s five greatest Liverpool games

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London (AFP) Former Liverpool and England skipper Steven Gerrard called time on his glittering playing career on Thursday at the age of 36.

AFP Sport remembers five of the Liverpool legend's finest displays:

Miracle in Istanbul (v AC Milan, 2004-05 Champions League final)

Faced with the prospect of a humiliating defeat after falling 3-0 behind against an inspired AC Milan, Liverpool overcame extraordinary odds to win their first European Cup for 21 years thanks to Gerrard, whose never-say-die efforts at the Ataturk Stadium ensured he would forever be regarded as an Anfield icon.

Schedule of Europa League games on US TV and streaming on Thanksgiving Day

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Soccer fans in the United States are in for a treat with a full slate of Europa League matches scheduled including teams such as Manchester United, Villarreal, Southampton, Schalke, Ajax, Olympiacos, AS Roma, Inter Milan and many others in action.

The permutations for several of the clubs to try to advance to the next round of the tournament are too numerous to mention.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for week of November 18-21, 2016

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It was a big weekend for the Bundesliga as Borussia Dortmund's 1-0 home victory against Bayern Munich was watched by 426,000 people on the FOX broadcast network, making it the most-watched Bundesliga broadcast of the season so far. The Bundesliga saw another high on Sunday morning as 102,000 people watched Hoffenheim take on Hamburg on FOX Sports 1, the first time a Bundesliga match has averaged more than 100,000 viewers on the network this season.

Bayern welcome back beloved Ex-con Hoeness

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Berlin (AFP) Uli Hoenesswill complete his redemption on Friday when re-elected president of Bayern Munich having served out his tax evasion jail term earlier this year.

The 64-year-old who in his playing days won three European Cups with Bayern plus the World Cup and European Championships with West Germany was released in February from Landsberg prison, where Adolf Hitler wrote 'Mein Kampf'.

Russia squad fear home World Cup humiliation

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Moscow (AFP) Soul-searching following Russia's miserable performance at the 2016 Euro led to one inescapable conclusion: the squad has a long way to go to avoid humiliation on home turf at the 2018 World Cup.

Russia crashed out of Euro 2016 without a win, its short run at the tournament tarnished by hooliganism among its fans and scandals in its dressing room.

Arsenal have lost momentum, admits frustrated Wenger

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal have lost momentum and look destined for a frustrating second-placed finish in their Champions League group after being held to a 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain.

Wenger's side were on course to wrap up top spot in Group A when they led 2-1 late in the second half at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Guardiola happy to avoid Bayern in last 16

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Monchengladbach (Germany) (AFP) Pep Guardiola admits he is glad his Manchester City will avoid his ex-club Bayern Munich in the draw for the last 16 of the Champions League.

City booked their place in the knock-out phase on Wednesday with a sluggish 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach as both teams finished with ten men.

Southgate offered England job – reports

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate has been offered the England manager's job and could be confirmed in the role as early as Monday, according to British newspaper reports on Thursday.

Southgate, who recently completed a four-game stint as interim manager, was interviewed by a five-man panel at the St George's Park national football centre in Burton-on-Trent, central England, last Monday.

British charity launches hotline after football abuse revelations

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London (AFP) A British children's charity has launched a new telephone helpline for sexual abuse victims after four English former footballers said they were abused by their coaches during childhood.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has set up a dedicated football hotline with the support of England's Football Association.

Liverpool great Gerrard announces retirement from football

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London (AFP) Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday at the age of 36.

Gerrard spent 17 years at his home-town club Liverpool, 12 as captain, and won seven major honours including the 2005 Champions League before finishing his career with an 18-month stint at LA Galaxy.

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

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

Thanksgiving Day doesn't stop for soccer as viewers in the United States will be able to watch Manchester United against Feyenoord live from Old Trafford. For United, they face a must-win game against Feyenoord in order to keep their Europa League hopes alive.

Liverpool great Gerrard calls time on career

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London (AFP) Former Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday at the age of 36, calling time on an emblematic career.

Gerrard spent 17 years at his home-town club Liverpool, 12 as captain, and won seven major honours including the 2005 Champions League before finishing his career with an 18-month stint at LA Galaxy.

Griezmann on target as Atletico beat Bayern to top spot

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid guaranteed top spot in Champions League Group D with a game to spare ahead of Bayern Munich as Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann struck in a 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.

Already assured of their place in the last 16, Bayern's shock 3-2 defeat to Rostov earlier on Wednesday meant Atletico needed just a point to win the group.

Gladbach draw puts sluggish 10-man City in last 16

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Monchengladbach (Germany) (AFP) Pep Guardiola's Manchester City booked their place in the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach as both teams finished with 10 men.

The point confirms City will finish second in their group with one game left.

Gladbach are confirmed in third which means the last 32 of the Europa League after bottom side Celtic lost 2-0 at home to Barcelona, who win Group C.

Arsenal, PSG draw to take battle for top spot to final match

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London (AFP) Arsenal squandered a chance to wrap up first place in Champions League Group A as Paris Saint-Germain hit back to earn a 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger's side were on course to secure top spot and a possible easier draw in the last 16 after taking a 2-1 lead in the second half.

Messi bags double as Barca see off Celtic

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Glasgow (AFP) Lionel Messi bagged a brace as he returned to the Barcelona line-up to help them book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Celtic on Wednesday.

Messi, who missed Saturday's goalless draw with Malaga due to illness, provided a fine finish to Neymar's lofted pass to hand his side a 24th-minute lead in Glasgow.

Arsenal draw with PSG, battle for top Champions League spot goes to final match

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London (AFP) Arsenal squandered a chance to wrap up first place in Champions League Group A as Paris Saint-Germain hit back to earn a 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger's side were on course to secure top spot and a possible easier draw in the last 16 after taking a 2-1 lead in the second half.

Misfiring Napoli frustrated by Dynamo

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Milan (AFP) Napoli's Champions League last-16 hopes will be decided by a final group showdown away to Benfica after the Italians were held to a frustrating scoreless home draw by Dynamo Kiev on Wednesday.

Napoli, who will need a draw in Portugal, were given extra incentive to seek their last-16 ticket when Benfica, despite racing to a 3-0 lead, were held to a 3-3 draw by Besiktas in Istanbul.

Arsenal draw 2-2 with PSG, battle for top spot goes to final match

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London (AFP) Arsenal squandered a chance to wrap up first place in Champions League Group A as Paris Saint-Germain hit back to earn a 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger's side were on course to secure top spot and a possible easier draw in the last 16 after taking a 2-1 lead in the second half.

Griezmann on target as Atletico beat Bayern to Champions League top spot

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid guaranteed top spot in Champions League Group D with a game to spare ahead of Bayern Munich as Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann struck in a 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.

Already assured of their place in the last 16, Bayern's shock 3-2 defeat to Rostov earlier on Wednesday meant Atletico needed just a point to win the group.

Draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach puts ten-man Manchester City in Champions League last 16

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Monchengladbach (Germany) (AFP) Pep Guardiola's Manchester City booked their place in the Champions League's last 16 on Wednesday with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach as both teams finished with ten men.

The point confirms City will finish second in their group with one game left.

Gladbach are confirmed in third which means the last 32 of the Europa League after bottom side Celtic lost 2-0 at home to Barcelona, who win Group C.

Africa Cup of Nations won’t be switched: CAF

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Paris (AFP) The African Football Confederation (CAF) on Wednesday denied "persistent rumours" that next year's Africa Cup of Nations will be moved from Gabon.

Gabon is scheduled to host the event from January 14 to February 5, although the country is mired in political crisis.

In a statement the CAF said its president Issa Hayatou had stressed many times that "there has never been any question of finding a substitute host nation".

Benfica frustrated after stirring Besiktas fightback in Champions League

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Istanbul (AFP) Benfica must wait on a place in the last 16 of the Champions League after they squandered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Turkey's Besiktas on Wednesday.

The Portuguese cruised into a 3-0 lead inside barely half an hour but were pegged back as the Turks maintained their unbeaten record with two goals in the final seven minutes, including a penalty by former Sporting Lisbon and Porto man Ricardo Quaresma.

Leipzig out to defend top spot from Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) RB Leipzig are determined to defend their hard-earned status as the new Bundesliga leaders with a win at Freiburg on Friday to pile the pressure on faltering Bayern Munich.

Leipzig, sponsored by Austrian energy drinks giant Red Bull, went top last Friday with a 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen, setting a new Bundesliga record in the process.

Benfica must wait after stirring Besiktas fightback in Champions League

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Istanbul (AFP) Portugal's Benfica must wait on a place in the last 16 of the Champions League after they squandered a three-goal lead to draw 3-3 at Turkey's Besiktas on Wednesday.

The Portuguese cruised into a 3-0 lead inside barely half an hour but were pegged back as the Turks maintained their unbeaten record with two goals in the final seven minutes, including a penalty by former Sporting Lisbon and Porto man Ricardo Quaresma.

Watford to be featured as next team in NBC Sports’ popular Behind The Badge series

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Watford will be the next team featured on NBC Sports' critically-acclaimed Behind The Badge series, which takes viewers behind the scenes to reveal the inner workings of Premier League clubs.

Last season, it was Crystal Palace that was the subject of the Behind The Badge series. This season, the four-part series debuts this Sunday, Nov.

Fourth English former player alleges sex abuse

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London (AFP) A fourth former footballer said he too suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a youth coach as an aspiring player, in a snowballing scandal rocking the game in Britain.

Former England and Manchester City star David White, now 49, joins ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker Paul Stewart and two other former players alleging they were abused when they were children in youth football.

Faltering Bayern stumble to shock Rostov defeat in Champions League

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Rostov-on-Don (Russia) (AFP) Christian Noboa's superb free-kick earned Rostov a shock 3-2 Champions League win over Bayern Munich in Russia on Wednesday, leaving Carlo Ancelotti's side facing a tough last-16 draw.

Douglas Costa rifled Bayern ahead on 35 minutes at the Olimp-2 stadium, but Rostov equalised through Sardar Azmoun on the stroke of half-time before going ahead courtesy of a Dmitri Poloz penalty.

FIFA boss Infantino confronts numbers game in World Cup expansion

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Paris (AFP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Wednesday that everyone agrees on the need to expand the World Cup finals but there are divisions on whether there should be 40 or 48 teams.

Infantino campaigned for the FIFA leadership this year on the back of adding to the 32 nations at the current World Cup.

Schedule set for Liga MX Apertura Liguilla games on US TV and streaming

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The stage is set for the Liga MX Apertura Liguilla games, which kick off tonight and continue through Sunday.

The final eight of the Apertura part of the 2016/17 Liga MX season features Chivas, Club America, Tigres, Pumas, Tijuana, Club Leon, Necaxa and Pachuca. While the showcase game will be the two legs between Chivas and Club America, many of the other games promise to be entertaining too.

Wales, N. Ireland FAs charged over poppy tributes

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London (AFP) FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Wales and Northern Ireland over the display of commemorative poppy symbols in their recent matches, the world governing body announced on Wednesday.

Both countries' football associations opted against allowing their players to wear black armbands with poppy symbols, but they have been charged anyway.

FIFA chief Infantino kicks off talks on World Cup expansion

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Paris (AFP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrapped up the first of 11 executive meetings with federation representatives Wednesday by saying those gathered in Paris were all in favour of expanding the World Cup.

Infantino is all for growing the cash cow tournament from 32 to as many as 48 teams.

Bale to miss El Clasico due to ankle injury – reports

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale will miss his side's blockbuster clash with Barcelona next weekend due to an ankle injury, Spanish media reported on Wednesday.

Bale was forced off just before the hour mark of Real's 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday as the European champions secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League for a record 20th consecutive season.

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

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

For soccer fans in the United States, the game will be televised live on FOX Sports Net (your local FOX Sports affiliate) as well as FOX Deportes. But if you can't access either of those channels, you can watch the game on ESPN3.

Leverkusen’s last 16 joy at Spurs’ expense

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Berlin (AFP) Bayer Leverkusen boss Rudi Voeller admits their qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League, at the expense of Tottenham Hotspur, was a welcome tonic before facing Bayern Munich.

Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern, who are no longer top in Germany, are next up at the Allianz Arena on Saturday and Leverkusen will travel to Munich in buoyed spirits.

Champions League qualification no guarantee of Premier League upturn for Leicester

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On Saturday against Watford at Vicarage Road, a venue where Leicester City took a huge step towards the Premier League title last term, they conceded after 34 seconds, setting a moribund early tone for a 2-1 loss. After that surrender, the Foxes sit just two points above the relegation zone.

On Tuesday the English champions booked their spot in the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League with a game to spare, beating Club Brugge 2-1.

Vietnam edge Malaysia to make Suzuki Cup semis

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Yangon (AFP) A late goal by Nguyen Trong Hoang gave Vietnam a narrow victory over Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup on Wednesday, thrusting his side into the semi-finals.

The forward, a rising star in Vietnam's domestic league, secured his country's second win in three days on 80 minutes when he danced between two Malaysian defenders to slot home.

Juventus boss Allegri to unleash teen starlet Moise Kean

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Milan (AFP) Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has hinted he could unleash teenaged sensation Moise Kean after he became the first player born in 2000 to feature in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Kean was born to Ivorian parents in Italy on February 28, 2000 and joined an elite group of 16-year-old Serie A debutants when he replaced Mario Mandzukic at Pescara last weekend.

Man Utd to extend Ibrahimovic deal by one year: Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United will trigger an option to extend Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's contract by a year, manager Jose Mourinho told a press conference on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic, 35, joined United from Paris Saint-Germain in July on a one-year contract with an option for an extra year.

Spanish prosecutors want Neymar jailed for two years

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors recommended that Brazilian star Neymar be handed a two-year jail sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($10.6 million) for alleged corrupt practices in his transfer to Barcelona, a court filing revealed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors are also seeking a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell who resigned over the scandal in 2014 on counts of fraud and corruption, but dropped charges against current president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Spanish prosecutors seek two-year sentence for Neymar

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors recommended that Brazilian star Neymar be handed a two-year jail sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($10.6 million) for alleged corrupt practices in his transfer to Barcelona, a court filing revealed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors are also seeking a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell who resigned over the scandal in 2014 on counts of fraud and corruption, but dropped charges against current president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Man Utd to extend Ibrahimovic deal by one year – Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United will trigger an option to extend Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's contract by a year, manager Jose Mourinho told a press conference on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic, 35, joined United from Paris Saint-Germain in July on a one-year contract with an option for an extra year.

Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich game scores more than 400,000 viewers on FOX

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Saturday's broadcast of the Bundesliga's biggest game of the season between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich was watched by more than 400,000 people on the FOX over-the-air broadcast network.

The exact number, 426,000, represents a significant improvement over the 248,000 people that watched Borussia Monchengladbach versus Bayer Leverkusen in August, which was also televised on the over-the-air FOX network.

‘Naive’ Spurs nurse Champions League wounds

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur were accused of being "naive" and manager Mauricio Pochettino of having made a reckless "gamble" following their embarrassing group-stage exit in the Champions League.

Despite boasting the biggest wage bill in Group E, Tottenham were bundled out with a game still to pay following Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at French Ligue 1 title-chasers Monaco.

Where to find Atlético Mineiro vs. Gremio on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Atlético Mineiro vs. Gremio, you've come to the right place.

The first leg of the Copa do Brasil final features two of Brazil's most popular teams —Atlético Mineiro and Gremio. While the first leg of this match won't be shown on US TV, you can still watch the match with a free trial to fuboTV.

Leicester’s Drinkwater charged over Behrami clash

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London (AFP) Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater has been charged with violent conduct over an incident during his side's 2-1 defeat at Watford last weekend, the Football Association announced on Wednesday.

England international Drinkwater appeared to swing his elbow into Valon Behrami's face during the second half of Saturday's game at Vicarage Road and now faces a three-match ban.

Spanish prosecutors seek two-year jail term for Neymar

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors recommended that Brazilian star Neymar be handed a two-year jail sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($10.6 million) for alleged corrupt practices in his transfer to Barcelona, a court filing revealed on Wednesday.

Prosecutors are also seeking a five-year sentence for former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell who resigned over the scandal in 2014 on counts of fraud and corruption, but dropped charges against current president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Where to find Celtic vs. Barcelona on US TV and streaming

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

In what promises to be an incredible atmosphere in Glasgow, Barcelona are through with a win, or with a draw if Manchester City do not lose. Barcelona will clinch the group if they win and City do not.

Ranieri gears up for another Leicester ‘fairytale’

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri looked forward to "another fairytale" after the 5,000-1 Premier League champions booked their place in the knockout phase of the Champions League.

Leicester are toiling in the Premier League, sitting two points above the relegation zone, but Tuesday's 2-1 win over Club Brugge took them into the Champions League last 16 with a game to spare.

Tottenham Hotspurs not yet up to European demands, admits Pochettino

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Monaco (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted his side have struggled to cope with the twin demands of playing in the Premier League and in Europe after their shock exit from the Champions League on Tuesday.

Spurs slumped to their third defeat in five games in Europe's elite club competition when they went down 2-1 to Monaco at the Stade Louis II to end their hopes of reaching the last 16 with a group game still to play.

Manchester United, Southampton eye Europa League progress

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Paris (AFP) Europa League nights are a distraction for some, given far lower prize money than the Champions League, but a means of staying in touch for others such as Manchester United, who are seeking to reach the last 32 on Thursday.

United are one of five former European champions playing in what, compared with the Champions League, they view as a bridesmaid's competition.

Hat-trick delights Reus, Tuchel in Dortmund’s record win

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Dortmund (Germany) (AFP) Marco Reus was delighted to have netted a hat-trick on his comeback in Borussia Dortmund's record 8-4 hammering of Legia Warsaw in the Champions League after six months out.

"That was an important step for me, it's how you imagine your first day back will go," said Reus with a grin.

English former footballers allege sex abuse

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London (AFP) Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Paul Stewart and two other ex-players have come forward to allege sexual abuse at the hands of youth coaches when they were children.

Stewart, capped three times by England, said he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a man who threatened to kill his family if he told anyone.

Vietnam edge towards football’s Suzuki Cup semis

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Yangon (AFP) A late goal by Nguyen Trong Hoang gave Vietnam a narrow victory over Malaysia in the Suzuki Cup on Wednesday, putting his side in poll position to make the semi-finals.

The forward, a rising star in Vietnam's domestic league, secured his country's second win in three days on 80 minutes when he danced between two Malaysian defenders to slot home.

Hat-trick delights Reus in Dortmund’s record win

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Dortmund (Germany) (AFP) Marco Reus was delighted to have netted a hat-trick on his comeback in Borussia Dortmund's record 8-4 hammering of Legia Warsaw in the Champions League after six months out.

"That was an important step for me, it's how you imagine your first day back will go," said Reus with a grin.

Spain prosecutors call for two-year jail for Neymar

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors recommended Wednesday that Barcelona's Brazilian star Neymar be handed a two-year jail sentence and a fine of 10 million euros ($10.6 million) over his allegedly fraudulent transfer to the club.

The striker is accused of, along with several accomplices, having concealed a portion of the cost of his multi-million-dollar transfer from Santos to Barca in 2013.

Monaco send Tottenham Hotspur crashing out of Champions League

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Monaco (AFP) Harry Kane scored his first Champions League goal but could not prevent Tottenham Hotspur from crashing out of the competition with a 2-1 defeat in Monaco on Tuesday.

Spurs needed at least a point to keep their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive and Kane brought them level with a penalty shortly after Djibril Sidibe had put Monaco in front at the Stade Louis II.

10-man Sevilla furious as Juventus fightback to qualify

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) Sevilla were left fuming at English referee Mark Clattenburg as Juventus came from behind to win 3-1 in Spain and seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The hosts made the perfect start through Nico Pareja's ninth minute opener, but were reduced to 10 men after just 36 minutes when Franco Vazquez was shown a second yellow card by Clattenburg.

Bale suffers ankle injury in Real win

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Lisbon (AFP) Real Madrid suffered a huge injury scare just 11 days before facing Barcelona in La Liga as Gareth Bale hobbled off with a right ankle injury in the European champions 2-1 win at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

Bale has been in supreme form in recent weeks having tied his future to the European champions with a bumper contract extension to 2022.

Real Madrid strike late to progress in Champions League on Ronaldo’s homecoming

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Lisbon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo was lauded like a king on his return to where his career began at Sporting Lisbon, but Real Madrid showed no mercy in booking their place in the knockout stages for a 20th consecutive season with a 2-1 win on Tuesday.

However, victory came at a cost for the European champions as Gareth Bale limped off just before the hour mark with an ankle injury just 11 days before Real travel to face Barcelona in El Clasico.

Dortmund comeback king Reus hits hat-trick in Champions League record haul

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Dortmund (Germany) (AFP) Germany winger Marco Reus claimed a hat-trick on his comeback as Borussia Dortmund hammered Legia Warsaw 8-4 on Tuesday in a record Champions League result which yielded seven first-half goals.

It was the first time a Champions League game has had a 5-2 half-time scoreline since Monaco ended up beating Deportivo de La Coruna 8-3 in November 2003.

Okazaki and Mahrez fire Leicester into Champions League last 16

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Shinji Okazaki and Riyad Mahrez scored as England's miracle club Leicester City beat Club Brugge 2-1 on Tuesday to book their place in the Champions League knockout phase.

Leicester are toiling in defence of their 5,000-1 Premier League title, but victory over Brugge made them the first Champions League debutants to win their group since Malaga in 2012.

Real Madrid strike late to progress on Ronaldo’s homecoming

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Lisbon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo was lauded like a king of his return to where his career began at Sporting Lisbon, but Real Madrid showed no mercy in booking their place in the knockout stages for a 20th consecutive season with a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

However, victory came at a cost for the European champions as Gareth Bale limped off just before the hour mark with an ankle injury just 11 days before Real travel to face Barcelona in El Clasico.

10-man Sevilla furious as Juventus fightback to qualify for Champions League last 16

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) Sevilla were left fuming at English referee Mark Clattenburg as Juventus came from behind to win 3-1 in Spain and seal their place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The hosts made the perfect start through Nico Pareja's ninth minute opener, but were reduced to 10 men after just 36 minutes when Franco Vazquez was shown a second yellow card by Clattenburg.

Dortmund’s comeback king Reus hits hat-trick in Champions League record haul

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Dortmund (Germany) (AFP) Marco Reus netted a hat-trick on his comeback as Borussia Dortmund hammered Legia Warsaw 8-4 on Tuesday in a record Champions League result which yielded seven first-half goals.

It was the first time a Champions League game has had a 5-2 half-time scoreline since Monaco ended up beating Deportivo de La Coruna 8-3 in November 2003.

Arena will stress teamwork for USA to reach World Cup 2018

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Los Angeles (AFP) An older, wiser Bruce Arena returned to the US national team coaching roleTuesday after a 10-year absence, vowing talent and hard work will result in a 2018 World Cup berth.

Arena, who had guided the team from 1998-2006 before taking charge of Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, was named to replace Jurgen Klinsmann, who was fired Monday after five years in the role.

Monaco send Tottenham Hotsupr crashing out of Champions League

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Monaco (AFP) Harry Kane scored his first Champions League goal but could not prevent Tottenham Hotspur from crashing out of the competition with a 2-1 defeat in Monaco on Tuesday.

Spurs needed at least a point to keep their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive and Kane brought them level with a penalty shortly after Djibril Sidibe had put Monaco in front at the Stade Louis II.

Antonetti departs Ligue 1 strugglers Lille

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Lille (France) (AFP) Coach Frederic Antonetti has parted company with Ligue 1 strugglers Lille, the French club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 55-year-old Corsican has agreed terms to leave "in a friendly manner," a statement from the northern outfit said.

Antonetti paid the price for a disastrous start to the season with the 2011 Ligue 1 winners sitting second from bottom of the table with nine losses from 13 games.

Real Madrid’s Bale forced off with ankle injury

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Lisbon (AFP) Real Madrid suffered a huge injury scare just 11 days before facing Barcelona as Gareth Bale hobbled off with a right ankle injury just under an hour into their Champions League clash at Sporting Lisbon.

Bale has been in supreme form in recent weeks having tied his future to the European champions with a bumper contract extension to 2022.

Atletico Madrid seek Champions League tonic to derby hangover

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Madrid (AFP) Boasting the only perfect record in the Champions League this season Atletico Madrid have already booked their place in the last 16, but PSV Eindhoven's visit on Wednesday offers a much-needed chance for Diego Simeone's men get back to winning ways.

Since Antoine Griezmann's stoppage time winner saw off FC Rostov three weeks ago and sealed Atletico's place in the knockout stages for a fourth consecutive season, back-to-back La Liga defeats to Real Sociedad and Real Madrid have left Atletico's title chances in tatters.

Arena returns to coach US after Klinsmann sacked

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Chicago (AFP) Bruce Arena was rehired Tuesday for a second stint as United States head coach, replacing sacked German Jurgen Klinsmann.

The 65-year-old American who guided the United States to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals during his previous tenure from 1998-2006, struck a new deal Tuesday through to the 2018 Russia World Cup.

Leverkusen hold on for CSKA draw in Champions League

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Moscow (AFP) Bayer Leverkusen played out a 1-1 draw at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday to put the German club on the verge of qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages.

Kevin Volland put Leverkusen ahead after 16 minutes before Israeli international Bibras Natcho converted a second-half penalty to snatch a draw for the Russian club.

Manchester City captain Kompany out ‘for weeks’: Guardiola

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Berlin (AFP) On the eve of Wednesday's Champions League game at Borussia Moenchengladbach, Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola revealed captain Vincent Kompany could 'be out for weeks' with a knee injury.

City are chasing a win in Germany to put them in the last 16, but they must do so without their skipper.

Aurier barred from UK for Arsenal tie: PSG

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier has been barred from Britain and will miss the club's Champions League tie against Arsenal on Wednesday after British authorities revoked his visa.

The French champions called the decision "incomprehensible" but Britain's Interior Ministry said it was acting according to established immigration rules.

Arena succeeds Klinsmann as US coach

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Chicago (AFP) Bruce Arena, who guided the United States to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, was named Tuesday to his second stint as coach of the US national team, replacing Jurgen Klinsmann a day after the former German star's firing.

The 65-year-old American, who has been coaching Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy, will assume the role on December 1 after being named to the post by US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati.

Balotelli to miss Nice’s Schalke clash

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Nice (France) (AFP) Nice go into their crunch Europa League clash with Schalke 04 without star striker Mario Balotelli after the Italian pulled a calf muscle in training, the French club said on Tuesday.

Nice are bottom of Group I on three points while Schalke have already qualified for the next round on 12 points.

China’s CEFC takes full control of Slavia Prague

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Prague (AFP) Private Chinese company CEFC China said Tuesday it had taken full control of Czech top-flight side Slavia Prague after snapping up a 20 percent stake from a minority shareholder.

It is just the latest example of Chinese money flowing into European football, after investors from the country bought up stakes in scores of clubs including Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

FIFA envoy seeks deal on Israeli settlement clubs

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Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) FIFA envoy Tokyo Sexwale on Tuesday called for movement on the "headache" issue of Israeli clubs in settlements in the occupied West Bank, after meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino last month told AFP the issue was a "priority" for him, and Sexwale, chairman of theFIFA Monitoring Committee on Israel-Palestine, addressed the subject in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

‘Hunters’ Bayern now chasing Leipzig: Rummenigge

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Berlin (AFP) Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admits Bayern Munich are now the hunters rather than the hunted as they attempt to reclaim top spot from surprise new Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig.

Bayern flew to Russian side Rostov for Wednesday's Champions League clash with the Bavarian giants already through to the last 16, but needing a win to challenge Atletico Madrid for top spot in Group D.

Napoli’s Mertens a happy striker ahead of Dinamo clash

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Milan (AFP) Belgium's Dries Mertens said he's happy to remain Napoli's number one striker against Dinamo Kiev on Wednesday, as long as it helps the Italians secure their ticket for the Champions League last 16.

With Poland striker Milik not due to return from a knee ligament injury until January, Mertens has been pushed in to the centre of Maurizio Sarri's attack and has delivered with impressive results.

Sling Blue adds two alternate channels to show more Premier League games from NBC

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Sling Blue, the streaming service, has added two brand-new alternate channels for subscribers to have access to more Premier League games.

The addition of the two new NBC Sports overflow channels —named NBCSN Alternate 1 and NBCSN Alternate 2 —are included with Sling Blue and Sling Blue+Orange at no additional charge.

Holder Aubameyang, Mahrez vie for African crown

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Paris (AFP) Borussia Dortmund's Gabonese goal king Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains in the running to defend his African Player of the Year crown after making the final shortlist of five players on Tuesday.

But the 27-year-old faces competition from Leicester's Algerians Riyad Mahrez and Islam Slimani, Senegal's Sadio Mane of Liverpool and Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah who also made the final cut for the African Football Confederation's annual award.

Arsenal boss Wenger denies Sanchez risk

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London (AFP) Arsene Wenger has insisted the Gunners are looking after the fitness of Alexis Sanchez just fine.

The striker featured in the whole of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Manchester United despite suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty with Chile.

Sanchez, who scored twice for his country while carrying the injury, was a doubt for the Old Trafford clash right until the morning of the game.

Inter’s Medel out for several weeks with knee injury

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Milan (AFP) Inter Milan's Gary Medel is expected to be sidelined for at least three weeks after suffering a knee injury during Sunday's 2-2 derby draw with AC Milan.

"Scans this morning revealed that Gary Medel has suffered damage to the meniscus in his right knee. An evaluation of his recovery time will be made in the coming days," a club statement said.

World Soccer Talk Podcast – Where were the TV networks when Klinsmann was fired?

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In the new format of the show, episode 3 of the rebooted World Soccer Talk Podcast discusses the wake-up call for soccer fans in the United States given the lack of TV coverage about the breaking Jurgen Klinsmann news story.

It was the biggest story of the year, but where were the sports TV networks?

FIFA chief Infantino wants video refs for next World Cup

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Paris (AFP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he is in favour of introducing video refereeing for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, after previously expressing fears it would break up games too much.

The head of world football's governing body told Tuesday's Le Parisien newspaper that he was sceptical at first about using video technology to assist referees in crucial decisions.

Aurier barred from UK for Arsenal tie – PSG

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier will not be allowed into Britain to face Arsenal in their Champions League clash on Wednesday after British authorities revoked his visa, the French club said.

"Paris Saint-Germain is stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the UEFA Champions League," the club said on Tuesday, adding it was because of Aurier's September conviction for assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub.

Football: Aurier barred from UK for Arsenal tie – PSG

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier will not be allowed into Britain to face Arsenal in their Champions League clash on Wednesday after British authorities revoked his visa, the French club said.

"Paris Saint-Germain is stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the UEFA Champions League," the club said on Tuesday, adding it was because of Aurier's September conviction for assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub.

Aurier barred from entering UK for Arsenal clash – PSG

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Paris (AFP) Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier will not be allowed into Britain to face Arsenal in their Champions League clash on Wednesday after British authorities revoked his visa, the French club said.

"Paris Saint-Germain is stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the UEFA Champions League," the club said on Tuesday, adding it was because of the Ivory Coast international's September conviction for assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub.

Steven Gerrard destined for management, says Jamie Carragher

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London (AFP) Jamie Carragher believes it is just "a matter of time" before former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard becomes a manager.

Gerrard reportedly turned down a chance to take over at English third-tier side Milton Keynes Dons after his playing contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy expired.

Where to find Sporting CP vs. Real Madrid on US TV and streaming

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

Real Madrid is one step away from reaching the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League. Madrid will go through to the next round if they win or draw today. If Sporting wins, they'll keep their Champions League dreams alive.

Where to find Sevilla vs. Juventus on US TV and streaming

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

Both Sevilla and Juventus have plenty to play for in today's UEFA Champions League match. Sevilla will advance with a draw and clinch first place with a win. Juventus are through with a victory or if Lyon fail to win.

Manchester City hunt Moenchengladbach win on Pep’s Germany return

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Berlin (AFP) Pep Guardiola returns to Germany with his Manchester City team on Wednesday, hunting a win at Borussia Moenchengladbach to put his side in the last 16 of the Champions League.

City, second in Group C behind leaders Barcelona, will book their place in the knockout phase with victory over Gladbach, having won the reverse fixture 4-0 when Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in mid-September.

Arsenal extending Bellerin’s contract is massive step in right direction

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Arsenal, along with Hector Bellerin himself, announced on Monday that the defender has signed a fresh contract extension with the north London club. The 21-year-old right back is widely considered to be one of the hottest prospects in all of Europe, and the new deal rebuffs interest of Bellerin from teams like Barcelona and Manchester City.

Klinsmann fired as US coach

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Chicago (AFP) Former Germany player and coach Jurgen Klinsmann was fired Monday as coach of the United States after losing two 2018 World Cup qualifying matches.

The 52-year-old, who won the World Cup as a player with Germany in 1990, had been in charge of the US since 2011.

US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati announced the "difficult decision" without naming a replacement.

West Brom thrash woeful Burnley 4-0

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West Bromwich (United Kingdom) (AFP) West Bromwich Albion climbed into the top half of the Premier League after scoring three times in the first half in a clinical 4-0 home victory over Burnley on Monday.

Matt Phillips struck after just four minutes at The Hawthorns after Dean Marney inadvertently rolled the ball into his path and even though the away side saw plenty of the ball, West Brom made it 2-0 soon after.

Arsenal’s Giroud makes his case after spell in exile

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London (AFP) Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud faces an anxious wait to see if his last-gasp equaliser against Manchester United was enough to get him back in Arsene Wenger's plans on a permanent basis.

Giroud is a polarising figure in north London after a lengthy spell of erratic displays, but he is hoping to be given a chance to silence the critics in Wednesday's Champions League clash against Paris Saint Germain.

Southgate edges closer to England job with interview

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate took another step towards becoming England's next full-time manager following a formal interview with Football Association officials on Monday.

Barring a late change of heart or the kind of damaging revelation that forced predecessor Sam Allardyce out of the job, Southgate could now be confirmed as England's new permanent manager when the FA board meets on November 30.

Ronaldo ‘confident’ of Ballon d’Or after wiping smile off French faces

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels confident of winning a fourth Ballon d'Or title after a stellar year in which Portugal wiped the smiles off French faces at Euro 2016.

The 31-year-old Real Madrid striker said in an interview published in Tuesday's edition of France Football that 'Les Bleus' "thought they were going to easily win" and "smiled a lot" before the final in Stade de France last July.

Injured Neuer out of misfiring Bayern’s Rostov trip

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich head to Russia for Wednesday's Champions League clash against Rostov without goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and with a trio of other stars also out injured.

Germany's captain is suffering from a calf problem picked up in Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund and missed training on Monday, the German champions said.

Bellerin signs long-term Arsenal deal

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London (AFP) Flying full-back Hector Bellerin, who had been linked with big-money moves to Manchester City and Barcelona, has signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, the Londoners said on Monday.

Arsenal did not disclose the precise length of the Spain international's new deal but British media reported that the 21-year-old right-back had extended his stay with the Gunners by a further six years.

Homecoming king Ronaldo eyes European century

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Lisbon (AFP) Fresh from vanquishing Atletico Madrid with his 39th Real Madrid hat-trick, Cristiano Ronaldo will be guaranteed a hero's welcome when he returns to where his career began at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday.

Ronaldo has another landmark in his sights as he is just two goals short of 100 in European competitions and history suggests he won't go easy on the side that handed him his breakthrough.

Under-strength Juventus offer Sevilla route to last 16

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Seville (Spain) (AFP) Sevilla have a golden opportunity to seal their return to the Champions League last 16 for the first time in seven years when a Juventus side lacking firepower visits the Sanchez Pizjuan on Tuesday.

Despite winning three consecutive Europa League titles, Sevilla have struggled to take the step up to Europe's premier club competition in recent years, missing out on the last 16 to Juventus and Manchester City last season.

Rodgers – Celtic fans right to believe we can beat Barcelona

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Glasgow (AFP) Brendan Rodgers says it's a sign of how far Celtic have progressed this season that the club's supporters believe they can defeat Barcelona.

It is a belief that would have seemed preposterous just two months ago when they watched their side trudge off the pitch at the Nou Camp aftersuffering a 7-0 mauling at the hands of the Catalan giants.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says may ‘conquer’ United States

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Stockholm (AFP) Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic said Tuesday he was eyeing the possibility of a move to the the United States.

"I can see myself conquering the US, just as I have (conquered) Europe," the 35-year-old Swede told daily newspaper Aftonbladet.

"People stay in one place throughout their entire career, but I have travelled around like Napoleon in Europe and conquered every country I've arrived in," Ibrahimovic said.

With Klinsmann’s firing, a new dawn awaits US Men’s National Team

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Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports

It's over. Jurgen Klinsmann, five-and-a-half years after being hired to transform the United States men's national team, has been fired.

US Soccer President Sunil Gulati finally pulled the plug on his handpicked coach on Monday afternoon, six days after the US lost 4-0 in Costa Rica in one of its worst performances in recent times.

Isco must preserve Madrid derby standards to become a Real Madrid mainstay

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Had Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane had a full cast of players to choose from in Saturday's showdown with Atletico Madrid, Isco wouldn't have featured from the start.

The Frenchman's blueprint in marquee matches in the past has included Casemiro prowling at the base of the midfield, adding an additional defensive foundation to an otherwise attacking side.

Jurgen Klinsmann fired by US Soccer after disappointing losses to Mexico and Costa Rica

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Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Jurgen Klinsmann has been sacked as head coach and technical director of the US Men's National Team.

Klinsmann began his tenure as head coach on July 29, 2011, and compiled a 55-27-16 record during his tenure. In 2013, he led the team on a record-setting 12-game winning streak, the longest in program history.

UEFA Champions League schedule for US TV and streaming: November 22-23, 2016

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Matchday 5 of the UEFA Champions League kicks off this week in the penultimate round of the Group Stage of Europe's premier soccer tournament.

For soccer fans in the United States, we have all of the action available to you, which includes key matchups between Celtic-Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon vs.

US Soccer Federation faces three critical short-term issues

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Sunil Gulati is entering perhaps the most critical three-week period of his tenure as US Soccer Federation (USSF) President today. Gulati, who has served since 2006 as the leader of the governing body for the sport in the United States, faces three separate and distinct challenges he must navigate through.

Without promotion/relegation, USSF is holding back growth of soccer argues report

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A new report from one of the most respected analyst firms in the world has sent a loud and clear message to the US Soccer Federation —by preventing promotion/relegation from happening in the United States, the USSF is holding back the growth of soccer in this country.

The Deloitte report suggests that as the MLS franchise model reaches maturity, a revised structure can advance the long-term health of the US soccer system.

Sunil Gulati needs to be a leader and fire Klinsmann instead of living in his shadow

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Photo credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jurgen Klinsmann is going down in flames.

The consensus around US Soccer circles is that a decision on the manager's future with the US Men's National Team he has led since 2011 will be made sometime this week.

Klinsmann is in deep trouble.

Rolling back the years by playing Subbuteo at a brewery

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This past week, I did something I haven't done in 30 years. I played a game of Subbuteo.

The last time I played the table soccer game, I had bought a set from Toys R Us in the 1980s. In that game, my cousin and I picked up the generic red and blue teams that came with the set, and played the game across the green cloth pitch on the carpet in my apartment.

Manchester City evolving in Champions League under Pep Guardiola

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While Manchester City'sfinancial might and excessive spending are without a doubt the primary forces behind their rise to the top of English football, both Roberto Mancini and Manuel Pellegrini deserve credit as well. Though both were dismissed by the club, the two managers were able to build excellent sides and to guide City to numerous pieces of silverware.

Looking back to a time when Real Sociedad ruled La Liga

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There is a common urban myth in soccerthat La Liga has always been ruled by the two Madrid powers (Real, and Atleti) as well as Catalan club Barcelona. If you look back at the history of Spanish soccer, that isnot the case. In fact, there have beenmany other clubs that have been powerful in Spain other than the three aforementioned giants.

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

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

The tables have turned in Italy where it's now Inter that's the club that's struggling instead of AC Milan. Nevertheless, both Italian giants meet up today in the Derby della Madonnina, which will be shown live on US TV and streaming.

US Soccer Federation under microscope again in TV journalism pieces from HBO and CBS

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With the upcoming release of two new investigative journalism pieces byHBO and CBS, don't be surprised if there'll be some nervous days ahead at the headquarters of the US Soccer Federation in Chicago, Illinois.

First up is an interview with several US Women's National Team players, which will appear on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday at 7:30pm ET.

Where to find Juventus vs. Pescara on US TV and streaming

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

For soccer fans in the United States, the game between Juve and Pescara will not be shown live on US television due to the Madrid derby being played at the same time and shown on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español.

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

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

Coming into this weekend, Real Madrid is in first place while Atleti is in fourth. A win for Atletico Madrid and they'll close the gap with Los Blancos. On the other hand, a win for Real Madrid and they'll keep their lead atop the Spanish top-flight league.

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

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

When it comes to rivalries in football management, there is no bigger one than Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger. On the pitch, the match should be brilliant to watch. Off the pitch, it's always fascinating to watch Mourinho and Wenger and their interactions on the sidelines.

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

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

Before the weekend kicked off, Liverpool sat in first place in the Premier League after 11 gameweeks of scintillating form. Southampton, meanwhile, are mid-table despite playing better in recent weeks.

Where to find Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich, you've come to the right place.

The biggest match of the Bundesliga season kicks off on Saturday as Bayern Munich travels to the Westfalenstadion to play against Borussia Dortmund in front of 81,000 screaming soccer fans.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 12

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Manchester United host Arsenal this Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC UNIVERSO, kicking off NBC Sports Group's Premier League coverage this weekend. Prior to the international break, Manchester United's leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the Red Devils with two goals in their 3-1 defeat of Swansea City on Nov.

Atletico now on a par with Real Madrid – Simeone

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes his side can now count themselves as equals when facing Real Madrid in the last La Liga derby at Atletico's Vicente Calderon stadium on Saturday.

Simeone has overseen a dramatic turnaround in Atletico's fortunes since taking over nearly five years ago, including ending a 14-year winless streak against Real to win the Copa del Rey in 2013.

Ronaldo, Griezmann face final 2016 shootout

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann have a late chance to enhance their cases for the Ballon d'Or as the best player in the world in 2016 when Real Madrid travel to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Both are frontrunners along with Barcelona's Lionel Messi among a shortlist of 30 for the prize, but Ronaldo is the strong favourite for his fourth Ballon d'Or having beaten Griezmann in the finals of the Champions League and Euro 2016.

Guardiola has sympathy for drink row Rooney

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Wayne Rooney received support from an unlikely source when Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed Friday he too drank alcohol while on international duty.

England captain Rooney publicly apologised after pictures taken in the early hours of the morning of him at a wedding party at the team hotel following a 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Scotland at Wembley last week were published by the Sun newspaper.

Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid predicted lineups and preview

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Never in the history of the rivalry between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have matches between the two sides been as fiercely contested as they are in this era.

Of course, thoughts immediately turn to the two UEFA Champions League finals they've played out, which Real have won on both occasions in dramatic fashion, but the La Liga tussles involving the two Madrid clubs are some of the most pulsating games in European football.

Carl Jenkinson should replace injured Hector Bellerin in Arsenal XI

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It was revealed on Thursday that the reigning Premier League right back of the year, Hector Bellerin, will be forced to sit the next month out of action due to an ankle injury. "Hector is out for four weeks," claimed Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "He got injured in the last 10 seconds against Spurs after a very strong tackle by Danny Rose.

Southgate set for England interview Monday – reports

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate is set to be interviewed for the full-time post of England manager on Monday, the BBC and several other British media organisations reported Friday.

Southgate, 46, was placed in interim charge after Sam Allardyce left the role in September.

His four games as caretaker boss yielded 2018 World Cup qualifying wins over Malta and Scotland, a draw with Slovenia and another draw in a friendly international against Spain at Wembley.

Arsene Wenger more respected than me, complains Jose Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claimed on Friday he is not shown the same respect as his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger, ahead of their Premier League showdown on Saturday.

Mourinho, 53, has regularly clashed with Wenger, 67, over the course of his two spells as Chelsea manager and his current role at United.

Injury-ravaged Real recover Benzema, Ramos for derby

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Madrid (AFP) Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos were named among Real Madrid's injury-ravaged 20-man squad for the last ever derby at Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon on Saturday.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane will be without defender Pepe, the influential midfield duo of Casemiro and Toni Kroos, as well as striker Alvaro Morata.

China’s Suning to pay $650m for Premier League TV rights

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Shanghai (AFP) A Beijing conglomerate has won the rights to broadcast the English Premier League in China for three years, it said Friday, with reports putting the deal's value at $650 million.

The contract would represent a huge uplift on the previous contract as Chinese money pours into football, including major investments in England, and businesses rush to support President Xi Jinping's national footballing ambitions.

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique dismisses Messi move speculation

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona boss Luis Enrique insists Lionel Messi will remain at the Catalan giants for many years to come, but was less explicit over his own future when quizzed on Friday.

Barca boss Josep Maria Bartomeu claimed on Thursday that he remains confident Messi, 29, will end his career at the Camp Nou despite having just 18 months left to run on his contract.

Mourinho tight-lipped over Rooney drink row

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho refused to be drawn on the drinking controversy affecting his captain Wayne Rooney when asked to comment on the matter on Friday.

Rooney, 31, apologised this week after being pictured looking the worse for wear as he mingled with guests at a wedding party at the England team hotel last weekend.

Arsene Wenger highlights threat from Man Utd’s ‘killer’ Rashford

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London (AFP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes "killer" striker Marcus Rashford will help Manchester United cope without suspended team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic when the Premier League giants meet at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Teenage forward Rashford made a dramatic entrance into senior football in February, scoring twice in United's 3-2 win over Arsenal just after days after grabbing two goals in his first-team debut against FC Midtjylland.

Where to find Bayer Leverkusen vs. RB Leipzig on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Bayer Leverkusen vs. RB Leipzig, you've come to the right place.

With RB Leipzig in second place in Bundesliga, the newly promoted club can leapfrog Bayern Munich into first place today with either a win or a draw. In their way is a Bayer Leverkusen side that's currently struggling and desperate to get all three points.

China’s Suning ‘to pay $650m for Premier League TV rights’

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Shanghai (AFP) A Chinese conglomerate has won the rights to broadcast the English Premier League in the Asian country for three years, it said Friday, with reports putting the deal's value at $650 million.

The contract would represent a huge uplift on the previous contract as Chinese money pours into the game and businesses rush to support President Xi Jinping's national footballing ambitions.

FIFA boss touts Club World Cup shake-up

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Rome (AFP) Gianni Infantino wants a radical shake-up to the Club World Cup, increasing the number of teams taking part in the annual event from seven to 32.

The existing format brings together champions from each of the continental federations and is held in December with Japan the 2016 hosts.

Wenger, Mourinho set for Old Trafford reunion

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London (AFP) The next chapter in one of the Premier League's most volatile managerial rivalries will be written this weekend when Arsene Wenger's Arsenal visit Jose Mourinho's Manchester United.

Sparks often fly when the pair are obliged to share a touchline, typified by a notorious shoving match during a Chelsea-Arsenal fixture at Stamford Bridge two years ago.

Klopp confident Liverpool momentum is intact

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Southampton (United Kingdom) (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the international break will not affect his side's momentum as they look to consolidate their position at the top of the Premier League.

The Reds, who are a point clear of second-place Chelsea, travel to Southampton on Saturday on the back ofseven wins in their lasteight league fixtures.

Guardiola seeks right gear at petering Palace

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London (AFP) The one thing people would not have expected of Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, who takes his side to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday, is inconsistency.

Yet they veered between inspired and insipid in the lead-up to the international break, following up a superb 3-1 Champions League victory over Barcelona by failing to beat Middlesbrough four days later.

Spurs hope Kane fit for West Ham derby date

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London (AFP) Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is crossing his fingers Harry Kane will be fit enough to feature in all three of his side's high-profile fixtures over the next week.

The Premier League's only remaining unbeaten team host West Ham United in the Saturday evening fixture and go into battle in another London derby at Chelsea a week later.

Atletico seek Real revenge in last Calderon derby

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid host Real Madrid for the last time in La Liga at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday with the pain of a second Champions League final defeat in three years to their city rivals still fresh in the memory.

However, both sides have been troubled by severe injury problems with Atletico's top scorer Antoine Griezmann and Real captain Sergio Ramos facing a race against time to be fit.

‘New Vardy’ set for Leicester return at Watford

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) A two-week break from Premier League action has brought good news and bad for flagging champions Leicester City, who visit Watford on Saturday.

A 2-1 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion sent Claudio Ranieri's men into the international break just two points above the relegation zone and with injury issues piling up.

Mourinho v Wenger — the rivalry in quotes

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London (AFP) As Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger prepare to resume their rivalry this weekend, AFP Sport recalls some of their most famous exchanges:

"Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people.

Rooney in a fix as Arsenal gun for Man United

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London (AFP) Damaged and derided, Wayne Rooney embodies Manchester United's delicate current predicament as they prepare for Arsenal's visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.

Rooney has been splashed across Britain's newspapers this week after photographs emerged of him looking the worse for wear during a post-wedding party at the England team hotel last weekend.

Baptism of fire for new Inter boss

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Florence (Italy) (AFP) New Inter Milan coach Stefano Pioli faces a baptism of fire in Sunday's derby against AC Milan, who are on a hot run of form as they seek their first Serie A title since 2011.

Chinese-owned Inter wielded the axe when they sacked Frank de Boer after just 11 games, and Pioli has the toughest of assignments in what will be a cauldron atmosphere at the San Siro stadium.

Bayern under pressure for ‘biggest challenge’

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Berlin (AFP) Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich face a stern challenge to their place at the top of the table this weekend when Carlo Ancelotti's Bavarian giants play Borussia Dortmund away on Saturday.

Bayern could be knocked from top spot even before kick-off if second-placed RB Leipzig pick up a point at Bayer Leverkusen on Friday night to extend their unbeaten record to 11 matches.

Nice seek response as rivals step up chase

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Paris (AFP) French league leaders Nicewill look to shake off a first defeat of the season as chasing duo Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain attempt to crank up the pressure on Lucien Favre's side this weekend.

A 1-0 loss at Caen before the international break saw Nice's lead at the top trimmed to three points, and they could find themselves knocked from the summit with Monaco visiting bottom side Lorient on Friday.

Keane follows Gerrard in LA Galaxy exodus

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Los Angeles (AFP) Robbie Keane is leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy after six seasons with the Major League Soccer franchise, confirming his exit just days after Steven Gerrard announced his departure.

Ireland international record goalscorer Keane, 36, said in a statement he was targeting one final challenge in club football before hanging up his boots for good.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for week of November 9-16, 2016

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Unsurprisingly, the two most-watched games of the November international window featured the Mexican national team. The opening fixture of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying between the United States and Mexico averaged over 5.3 million viewers (4.05 million watched on Univision while FOX Sports 1 contributed an additional 1.

TV ratings for US Men’s National Team increase 32% in 2016 after Copa America boost

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In addition to revenue generated, sponsorships and attendances, TV ratings are one of the key metrics that US Soccer measures to gauge theeffectiveness of the federation. During 2016, both the US Men's National Team (USMNT) and US Women's National Team (USWNT) saw impressive ratings figures from participating in Copa America and the Olympics respectively.

Gerrard in MK Dons talks – report

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London (AFP) Former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is in contact with Milton Keynes Dons over the England third-tier club's vacant managerial role, the BBC reported on Thursday.

Gerrard, 36, announced earlier this week that he will leave the LA Galaxy in December after 18 months in Major League Soccer.

Premier League clubs agree to more ‘safe standing’ talks

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London (AFP) Premier League clubs agreed to hold further talks about introducing "safe standing" at their stadiums following an initial stakeholders' meeting on Thursday.

Standing has been banned in England's top two divisions after all-seater stadiums were made mandatory in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

Scotland manager Strachan gets SFA backing

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Glasgow (AFP) Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has received unanimous backing from the Scottish Football Association despite his side's recent struggles, SFA chief executive Stewart Regan announced on Thursday.

Scotland were the only team from the British Isles not to qualify for Euro 2016 and are currently six points below group leaders England in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA open ‘disciplinary’ case against England for poppy tribute

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA said Thursday it has started "disciplinary proceedings" after England and Scotland wore poppies on an armband in tribute to their countries' war dead in breach of a ban on political symbols.

"We can confirm that disciplinary proceedings have been opened on this matter," a FIFA spokesperson told AFP when asked about action planned after the November 11 match at Wembley.

World Soccer Talk Podcast – US National Team holding back growth of soccer in US

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Welcome to the latest episode of the World Soccer Talk Podcast, the longest running soccer podcast on the planet (since 2006).

In the new format of the show, episode 2 of the rebooted World Soccer Talk Podcast focuses on soccer TV coverage, as well as the latest news about how you can watch soccer on TV, streaming and apps.

Klopp defends Rooney as FA probes party reports

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London (AFP) England captain Wayne Rooney faces a Football Association investigation over his role in a late-night hotel party, chief executive Martin Glenn said on Thursday.

Rooney was thrown into the spotlight after The Sun tabloid alleged he drunkenly gatecrashed a wedding at England's team hotel in Watford, north of London, on Saturday.

Southgate wants England job – FA chief

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate has made it clear he would like the England manager's job on a permanent basis, Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn said on Thursday.

Southgate, 46, was placed in interim charge after Sam Allardyce left the role in September and has overseen wins over Malta and Scotland and draws with Slovenia and Spain.

Manchester United profits dive on Champions League absence

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London (AFP) Manchester United posted sliding quarterly profits Thursday as the team paid the price for failing to qualify for the lucrative UEFA Champions League.

Operating profit dived one third to £6.2 million (7.2 million euros, $7.7 million) in three months to September 30, or the first quarter of the club's 2016/2017 financial year.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defends Rooney after drink

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London (AFP) Wayne Rooney has apologised after "inappropriate" photos of him at a hotel party were released but the England captain has been defended by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who said all the game's greats "drank like devils".

Rooney was thrown into the spotlight after The Sun tabloid alleged the Manchester United forward drunkenly gatecrashed a wedding at England's hotel in Watford, north of London, on Saturday.

Liverpool boss Klopp defends Rooney over ‘inappropriate’ images

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London (AFP) Wayne Rooney has apologised after "inappropriate" photos of him at a hotel party were released but the England captain has been defended by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who said all the game's greats "drank like devils".

Rooney was thrown into the spotlight after The Sun tabloid alleged the Manchester United forward drunkenly gatecrashed a wedding at England's hotel in Watford, north of London, on Saturday.

FC Barcelona seals massive deal with Japan’s Rakuten

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Barcelona (AFP) Spanish giants FC Barcelona sealed a massive shirt sponsorship deal Wednesday with Japanese online retailer Rakuten worth at least 55 million euros ($59 million) a year.

One of world football's most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals sees Japan's leading e-commerce company replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, confirming Asia's appetite for major investment in European football.

Germany’s new-boys Leipzig eye history in Leverkusen

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Berlin (AFP) RB Leipzig can claim a milestone in their fledgling history on Friday by taking a point at Bayer Leverkusen to knock Bayern Munich from the top of the Bundesliga table.

"We definitely want to take something there and remain unbeaten. If there is a point available, then there will also be three," said Leipzig's coach Ralph Hasenhuettl ahead of the clash at Leverkusen's BayArena.

Shaolin kungfu seeks to strike a blow for Chinese soccer

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Dengfeng (China) (AFP) The young martial arts pupils cartwheeled across a pitch, before football coach Sun Dawei ordered one to deliver him a kung fu kick to the stomach.

"You see I avoid the kick like this," Sun said, dodging out of harm's way before grabbing his young charge's leg and throwing him to the turf.

Mourinho punished for ‘adding pressure’ on referee

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London (AFP) Jose Mourinho was fined by the Football Association for pre-match comments about Anthony Taylor after his remarks were found to have brought "an additional layer of pressure" upon the referee, it was revealed Wednesday.

Manchester United manager Mourinho spoke about Taylor ahead of last month's goalless draw away to arch-rivals Liverpool in the Premier League.

Southgate plans review after ‘drunk’ Rooney reports

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate intends to review how England's players spend their free time if he secures the manager's job permanently after newspaper photographs showed captain Wayne Rooney allegedly drunk.

British tabloid The Sun published pictures of Manchester United skipper Rooney, 31, supposedly looking the worse for wear after "gatecrashing" a wedding last weekend.

Rooney apologises for hotel conduct

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London (AFP) England captain Wayne Rooney "unreservedly" apologised Wednesday to interim manager Gareth Southgate and Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth after the publication of embarrassing photographs at the squad's hotel.

Rooney started England's 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over arch-rivals Scotland at Wembley on Friday, a match in which he suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of Tuesday's 2-2 friendly draw at home to Spain.

Rooney ‘wedding crash’ incident prompts FA review

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London (AFP) England captain Wayne Rooney's conduct at the squad's hotel has led the Football Association to review its policy regarding players' free time and issue a warning Wednesday regarding "appropriate" behaviour.

Rooney started England's 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over arch-rivals Scotland at Wembley on Friday, a match in which he suffered a knee injury that ruled him out of Tuesday's 2-2 friendly draw at home to Spain.

Newcastle’s Shelvey contests FA charge

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London (AFP) Newcastle United and England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey pleaded not guilty to a Football Association (FA) misconduct charge on Wednesday.

Shelvey, accused of using abusive language towards an opponent that included reference to ethnicity, race or nationality, has requested a personal hearing.

FIFA bans top Qatari football official

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) FIFA's ethics tribunal on Wednesday banned top Qatari and Asia football official Saoud al-Mohannadi for one year for refusing to help in an investigation.

Al-Mohannadi is vice-president of the 2022 World Cup host nation's football association and had wanted to run for an Asian Football Confederatioin vice president's position this year as a first step to getting into FIFA.

Messi will never leave Barca – club president

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu predicted Wednesday that Lionel Messi would not only extend his contract with the Catalan club but also end his playing days there too.

Speaking at the launch of a 55 million euros ($59 million) a year shirt sponsorship deal Bartomeu told journalists he was "relaxed about Messi's contract".

Messi will never leave Barca – club president

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu predicted Wednesday that Lionel Messi would not only extend his contract with the Catalan club but also end his playing days there too.

Speaking at the launch of a 55 million euros ($59 million) a year shirt sponsorship deal Bartomeu told journalists he was "relaxed about Messi's contract".

Messi will never leave Barcelona – club president

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu predicted Wednesday that Lionel Messi would not only extend his contract with the Catalan club but also end his playing days there too.

Speaking at the launch of a 55 million euros ($59 million) a year shirt sponsorship deal Bartomeu told journalists he was "relaxed about Messi's contract".

Knives out for Klinsmann after Costa Rica rout

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Los Angeles (AFP) Calls for Jurgen Klinsmann to be sacked were mounting Wednesday as the worst defeat of his five-year reign left the United States facing an uphill battle to qualify for the World Cup.

A brutal 4-0 mauling by Costa Rica on Tuesday in San Jose, just four days after a shattering 2-1 loss to Mexico in Columbus on Friday, has left the US rooted to the bottom of CONCACAF's six-team final qualifying group.

US Soccer suffers 23% decrease in attendance for USMNT games in 2016

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Both the US Men's National Team and US Women's National Team have completed their last games of the 2016 calendar year. And while their performances on the pitch have been a mix of good and poor, the attendance figures for home games paint a worrying picturefor both the men and women's teams.

In 2016, every single friendly for the US Men's National Team was attended by less than 10,000 people.

Barca seals massive deal with Japan’s Rakuten

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Barcelona (AFP) Spanish giants FC Barcelona sealed a massive shirt sponsorship deal Wednesday with Japanese online retailer Rakuten worth at least 55 million euros ($59 million) a year.

One of world football's most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals sees Japan's leading e-commerce company replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, confirming Asia's appetite for major investment in European football.

Barcelona seal massive deal with Japan’s Rakuten

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Barcelona (AFP) Spanish giants FC Barcelona sealed a massive shirt sponsorship deal Wednesday with Japanese online retailer Rakuten worth at least 55 million euros ($59 million) a year.

One of world football's most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals sees Japan's leading e-commerce company replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, confirming Asia's appetite for major investment in European football.

Barcelona strike new sponsorship deal with Japan’s Rakuten

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Barcelona (AFP) Japanese online retailer Rakuten will be Barcelona's main sponsor for the next four years in a deal worth at least 55 million euros ($59 million) a year, the Spanish giants said Wednesday.

Rakuten will replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, who were reported to have paid 35 million euros for the final year of their deal taking them up to the end of the 2016-17 season.

Spurs-West Ham on NBC face off against FOX’s Dortmund-Bayern Munich on Saturday

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The Bundesliga's biggest game of the season will be televised on the over-the-air FOX network this Saturday, but Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich will face stiff competition against Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United, which will kick off at the same time on the over-the-air NBC network.

Rodgers plays down talk of Gerrard reunion

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London (AFP) Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers was coy Wednesday over suggestions that Steven Gerrard could be on his way to the Glasgow giants.

Former England captain Gerrard was Rodgers' skipper when the pair were at Liverpool.

The 36-year-old midfielder moved from Anfield to join the Los Angeles Galaxy but it was announced Tuesday he was leaving the Major League Soccer side.

Japan’s Rakuten is new Barcelona sponsor – club

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Barcelona (AFP) Japanese online retailer Rakuten will be Barcelona's main sponsor for the next four years, the Spanish giants said Wednesday,

Rakuten will replace Qatar Airways, Barcelona's shirt sponsor since 2013, who were reported to have paid 35 million euros for the final year of their deal taking them up to the end of the 2016-17 season.

Messi magic as Argentina down Colombia

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San Juan (Argentina) (AFP) Lionel Messi scored a majestic free-kick and set up two more goals as Argentina got their faltering 2018 World Cup qualification campaign back on track with a 3-0 win over Colombia here Tuesday.

Barcelona maestro Messi curled in a superb free-kick from 30 yards in the 10th minute before providing the cross for Lucas Pratto's 23rd minute header.

Sanchez at the double as Chile sink Uruguay

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Santiago (AFP) Alexis Sanchez's injury gamble paid off here Tuesday as the Arsenal striker scored twice to help Chile defeat bitter rivals Uruguay 3-1 in their World Cup qualifier.

Sanchez had risked the wrath of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after playing in the Santiago showdown despite injuring a hamstring during training last week.

Stand-in Southgate proud of England impact

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate said he has shown he can handle "big matches" after concluding his four-game tenure as England's interim manager with a 2-2 friendly draw against Spain.

Appointed caretaker manager in the wake of Sam Allardyce's departure, Southgate led England to two wins and two draws in his brief stint at the helm, culminating in Tuesday's result at Wembley.

Football: Messi leads press boycott over Lavezzi marijuana claim

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San Juan (Argentina) (AFP) Lionel Messi announced a press boycott here Tuesday to protest against a journalist who alleged team-mate Ezequiel Lavezzi had used marijuana at Argentina's training base.

Standing in front of the entire Argentina squad at a post-match news conference following his team's 3-0 win over Colombia, Messi said the players would no longer speak to press following the controversy.

Messi leads press boycott over Lavezzi marijuana claim

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San Juan (Argentina) (AFP) Lionel Messi announced a press boycott here Tuesday to protest against a journalist who alleged team-mate Ezequiel Lavezzi had used marijuana at Argentina's training base.

Standing in front of the entire Argentina squad at a post-match news conference following his team's 3-0 win over Colombia, Messi said the players would no longer speak to press following the controversy.

Messi’s media fury after Argentina sink Colombia

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San Juan (Argentina) (AFP) Lionel Messi scored a majestic free-kick as Argentina reignited their misfiring World Cup qualification campaign against Colombia on Tuesday before declaring a media boycott over claims of drug use by a team-mate.

Barcelona maestro Messi was at his bewitching best in a 3-0 win over the Colombians which included his 10th-minute 30-yard free-kick before assists for Lucas Pratto and Angel Di Maria.

US misery as Costa Rica run riot

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San José (AFP) Joel Campbell scored twice as Costa Rica thrashed the United States 4-0 here Tuesday to pile the pressure on beleaguered coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Campbell, who is on loan at Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon from Arsenal, scored twice in three minutes in the second half as the 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists ran riot against Klinsmann's men.

Brazil virtually home as Peru downed

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Lima (AFP) Brazil made it six wins out of six as goals from Gabriel Jesus and Renato Augusto handed them a 2-0 win over Peru to edge them ever closer to World Cup qualification here Tuesday.

Manchester City-bound teenager Gabriel fired Brazil into the lead with an assured 57th-minute finish.

Messi magic sparks Argentina, Brazil march on

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Montevideo (AFP) Lionel Messi produced a magical display to get Argentina's World Cup qualification back on track Tuesday as Brazil notched their sixth consecutive victory to put one foot in the 2018 finals in Russia.

Messi curled home a stunning 30-yard free-kick and set up goals for Lucas Pratto and Angel Di Maria in a 3-0 win over Colombia in San Juan.

Klinsmann stunned by Costa Rica mauling

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San José (AFP) United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann said his team's 4-0 thrashing by Costa Rica was the most dispiriting loss of his reign on Tuesday as he reflected on back-to-back World Cup qualifying defeats.

"It's definitely the defeat that hurts the most in my five years, for sure," a somber Klinsmann admitted after watching Costa Rica dismantle his men on a sultry night at San Jose's Estadio Nacional.

Lippi says China’s World Cup dream still alive

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Beijing (AFP) Marcello Lippi said China's hopes of reaching the next World Cup aren't dead and buried yet after they were unlucky not to snatch all the points in his first game in charge.

China drew 0-0 with Qatar to remain bottom of Group A but Lippi took heart from a bright performance when the hosts twice hit the woodwork in Kunming.

Former Russian official arrested over World Cup stadium fraud

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Moscow (AFP) Russian investigators said Wednesday they had detained the former deputy governor of Saint Petersburg over suspected fraud during the construction of a World Cup venue.

Marat Oganesyan, who was deputy head of his region from 2013 to 2015, stands accused of making an "illegal" deal in 2014 with a construction firm that was supposed to provide the stadium with a video scoreboard.

Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo quits over World Cup defeats

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Oslo (AFP) Per-Mathias Hogmo quit as Norway's football coach Wednesday after a series of defeats in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup finals, the Norwegian Football Federation announced.

"Per-Mathias and the NFF have agreed that Hogmo will end his functions as Norwegian manager," the NFF said in a statement.

Ecuador rout Venezuela, Paraguay stunned in World Cup qualifying

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Montevideo (AFP) Ecuador romped to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Venezuela to reignite their 2018 World Cup qualifying challenge on Tuesday as Paraguay's bid suffered a setback with a defeat to struggling Bolivia.

Ecuador, who had taken only a point from their previous two games, proved too strong for a Venezuela side buoyed by a 5-0 win over Bolivia last week.

Buffon reaches landmark as Germany hold Italy

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Milan (AFP) Gianluigi Buffon earned a European record-equalling 167th cap as Italy played out a goalless friendly draw with their Euro 2016 quarter-final tormentors Germany in Milan on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old Buffon, who made his Italy debut in 1997, is now level with retired Spain legend and fellow goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Southgate dismayed by Lallana injury

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London (AFP) England interim manager Gareth Southgate expressed his dismay after midfielder Adam Lallana went off injured during his side's 2-2 friendly draw with Spain on Tuesday.

The Liverpool player put England ahead with a ninth-minute penalty, his third goal in three international outings, but was forced off mid-way through the first half, with Theo Walcott coming on.

France held in Ivory Coast friendly

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Lens (France) (AFP) A much-changed France team was held to a goalless draw by African champions the Ivory Coast in a friendly in the northern city of Lens on Tuesday.

The Ivorians came closest to breaking the deadlock at a packed Stade Bollaert-Delelis in the 11th minute when a fierce strike by the Basel left-back Adama Traore smashed against the post and Salomon Kalou converted the rebound, only for the offside flag to deny the Hertha Berlin striker.

Coach-less South Africa stretch unbeaten run

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Johannesburg (AFP) Coach-less South Africa stretched an unbeaten record to 14 matches on Tuesday by drawing 1-1 away to Mozambique in an international friendly.

Clesio Bauque gave the Mambas a first-half lead in Maputo that was cancelled by Bafana Bafana substitute Bradley Grobler early in the second half.

Aspas, Isco deny Southgate’s England victory

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London (AFP) Substitute Isco struck deep in stoppage time to earn Spain a 2-2 draw and deprive Gareth Southgate of victory in his final game as England interim manager on Tuesday.

Goals from Adam Lallana and Jamie Vardy had set England up for an impressive win, but Spain debutant Iago Aspas reduced the arrears in the 89th minute before Isco levelled with practically the last kick.

Coach-less South Africa stretch unbeaten football run

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Johannesburg (AFP) Coach-less South Africa stretched an unbeaten record to 14 matches on Tuesday by drawing 1-1 away to Mozambique in an international friendly.

Clesio Bauque gave the Mambas a first-half lead in Maputo that was cancelled by Bafana Bafana substitute Bradley Grobler early in the second half.

Howard faces surgery after football season-ending injury

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Los Angeles (AFP) United States goalkeeper Tim Howard will undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a groin injury which has ended his season, his club confirmed.

The Colorado Rapids said in a statement Howard would face an operation to repair a fractured right adductor in the upper groin.

The injury and operation is expected to leave Howard sidelined for up to four months, meaning he will miss the Rapids' bid for glory in the Major League Soccer post-season.

Russia beat Romania in historic Chechnya football friendly

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Moscow (AFP) An injury-time goal by local hero Magomed Ozdoev gave 2018 World Cup hosts Russia a 1-0 win over Romania in a historic friendly in Chechen capital Grozny on Tuesday.

The volatile Caucasian region, where Moscow fought two brutal conflicts against separatists two decades ago, played host to the national team for the very first time at the modern Akhmat Arena home of Premier League side Terek Grozny.

Football: Lippi reality check, Aussies held in Bangkok

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Kunming (China) (AFP) Marcello Lippi's dreams of taking China to the next World Cup received a reality check on Tuesday, while Asian champions Australia were made to sweat in a near-nightmare in Bangkok.

China's 0-0 draw with Qatar did nothing to boost their dwindling hopes of reaching Russia 2018, even after World Cup-winning coach Lippi was appointed last month.

Lippi World Cup reality check, Aussies held in Bangkok

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Kunming (China) (AFP) Marcello Lippi's dreams of taking China to the next World Cup received a reality check on Tuesday, while Asian champions Australia were made to sweat in a near-nightmare in Bangkok.

China's 0-0 draw with Qatar did nothing to boost their dwindling hopes of reaching Russia 2018, even after World Cup-winning coach Lippi was appointed last month.

Gerrard leaves LA Galaxy – club

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Los Angeles (AFP) Former England midfielder Steven Gerrard has left Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy, the club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old was out of contract at the end of the Galaxy's MLS season and the club said in a statement that he "will not return to the LA Galaxy for the 2017 MLS season.

Iran bogged down in World Cup qualifying bore draw with Syria

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Paroi (Malaysia) (AFP) Asian heavyweights Iran splashed to a 0-0 draw against Syria in World Cup qualifying Tuesday on a swampy Malaysian pitch that will raise questions over why the match was allowed to proceed.

Neither side mounted much sustained pressure in the dreary contest as their keepers easily picked off what few serious shots they encountered due to the slow pace of play.

Qatar agrees joint World Cup stadium inspections

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Doha (AFP) Qatar World Cup 2022 organisers, under fire over labour conditions, said Tuesday they will allow international trade union inspections of stadium sites from next year.

An agreement has been reached with the global Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) group for joint inspections of construction and accommodation sites.

Reality check for China’s Lippi, Australia held in World Cup qualifier

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Kunming (China) (AFP) Marcello Lippi's dreams of taking China to the next World Cup received a reality check on Tuesday, while Asian champions Australia avoided a nightmare result in Bangkok.

China's 0-0 draw with Qatar did nothing to boost their dwindling hopes of reaching Russia 2018, even after World Cup-winning coach Lippi was appointed last month.

Jedinak saves Australia against Thailand in World Cup qualifier

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Bangkok (AFP) Mile Jedinak's disputed penalty saved Australia from an embarrassing defeat to Thailand as they came from behind to draw 2-2 in 2018 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

Jedinak's second successful spot-kick of the night in the 65th minute rescued a point for the Asian champions, who slip out of the automatic qualifying places in Group B.

Guardiola’s sex ban got best out of Messi: Nasri

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Paris (AFP) Notoriously obsessive taskmaster Pep Guardiola got the most out of Lionel Messi when they were together at Barcelona by banning the world's best player from having sex after midnight.

That was the claim by Samir Nasri, who was shipped off by the now Manchester City boss on loan to Sevilla for allegedly being overweight.

Lippi’s China dealt World Cup qualifying blow with Qatar draw

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Kunming (China) (AFP) Marcello Lippi's hopes of leading China to the next World Cup received a serious blow when they were held 0-0 by Qatar in Kunming on Tuesday.

Lippi is tasked with setting China on the road to football greatness but there was no dream start for the Italian in his first game in charge.

Koo spares S. Korea’s blushes in Uzbekistan World Cup qualifier

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Seoul (AFP) Koo Ja-Cheol's late winner spared South Korea's blushes as the hosts came from behind to beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The FC Augsburg midfielder rifled home in the 85th minute, much to the relief of Korea's fans and coach Uli Steilike whose evening had threatened to end in disaster.

Saudi fury as Japan boost World Cup hopes

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) Japan beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 in a foul-tempered qualifier Tuesday as a debatable Hiroshi Kiyotake penalty boosted their hopes of qualifying for a sixth successive World Cup in 2018.

The Blue Samurai drew level with the Group B leaders on 10 points after a tempestuous clash in Saitama, where Kiyotake's spot kick and a Genki Haraguchi effort eased the pressure on under-fire coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Michael Carrick admits Manchester United days could soon be up

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick says this could be his last season at the club and backed world-record signing Paul Pogba to showcase his "very special" talent.

The veteran playmaker has mainly been used in cup competitions this season under Jose Mourinho, although he did start United's last league game and is in contention for only his second Premier League start of the campaign this weekend against Arsenal.

go90 FAQ: Streaming HD-quality soccer games to your phone and tablet

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Q: What is go90?

A: go90 is a streaming app from Verizon Wireless that features live and on-demand programming from sports, action, comedy, drama, reality TV, fashion and more. That includes soccer matches —lots and lots of them!

Q: Is it legal?

Costa Rica vs. USA preview: USMNT ready to bounce back in World Cup 2018 qualification

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The final round of World Cup Qualifying got off to a disastrous start for the USMNT on Friday night. Not only did they lose to arch-rival Mexico, but they did so in Columbus — home of the famous Dos a Cero scoreline. As if that weren't enough, the US now has to travel to a place where they've never won and take on a team they have struggled with over the years: Costa Rica.

Where to find Japan vs. Saudi Arabia on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Japan vs. Saudi Arabia, you've come to the right place.

In this important World Cup qualifier, Japan can go level on points in Group B with leaders Saudi Arabia if Japan can win the match. However, if Japan lose, the Japanese team will be six points behind Saudi Arabia, which could mean that Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic will lose his job.

Where to find South Korea vs. Uzbekistan on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch South Korea vs. Uzbekistan, you've come to the right place.

In Group A of the World Cup qualification in Asia, Uzbekistan sit in second with 9 points while South Korea is in third with 7 points. If either nation wants to catch up with Iran who are atop the Group with 10 points after 4 games, this match between Korea and Uzbekistan could help to determine who will narrow the gap.

A North Korean Messi? Pyongyang academy hopes so

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Pyongyang (AFP) Undaunted by sanctions and hard realities on the pitch, North Korea's lone football academy has set its sights high producing players better than Lionel Messi, and teams that can dominate the world.

They are lofty goals for a country whose men's side is currently ranked 126th, sandwiched between Armenia and Ethiopia and more gallingly way below regional rivals South Korea, Japan and China.

Where to find England vs. Spain on US TV and streaming

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

After England's victory against Scotland and Spain's win against Macedonia, both countries will meet each other in a friendly live from Wembley Stadium in London. For England, it's a chance for interim coach Gareth Southgate to prove his worth of being the full-time permanent head coach.

Where to find Italy vs. Germany on US TV and streaming

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

Both Italy and Germany head into this friendly after important World Cup qualification wins. In addition to both of these teams being among the most successful in Europe, the clash between the two teams will take on an additional importance as video replays will be used for key refereeing decisions.

Where to find Argentina vs. Colombia on US TV and streaming

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

After Argentina got thumped against Brazil last week, the albiceleste now face a must-win match against Colombia in order to keep their chances of trying to qualify for World Cup 2018. Argentina currently sits in sixth place in the CONMEBOL qualification group, two points behind third-place Colombia.

Where to find Chile vs. Uruguay on US TV and streaming

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

Second faces fifth in CONMEBOL World Cup qualification today as Uruguay plays away against Chile. Uruguay sits in second, just one point behind Brazil. Chile, helped by Bolivia's point deduction, sit in a precarious place with Argentina just one point behind them.

Where to find Panama vs. Mexico on US TV and streaming

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

Mexico is coming into this game after a huge confidence boost with their 2-1 away win against the United States in Columbus. At the same time, Panama is buoyed by their 1-0 win against Honduras in Central America.

Where to find Costa Rica vs. USA on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Costa Rica vs. USA, you've come to the right place.

After losing to Mexico on Friday night in Columbus, the United States will want to bounce back against Costa Rica in order to keep their chances alive of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup 2018.

Where to find Peru vs. Brazil on US TV and streaming

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

Last week, Brazil put in a superb performance against Argentina and they will want to follow that up with one or three points against Peru to maintain their lead atop the CONMEBOL qualifying. Peru, on the other hand, sit in eighth place, but a shock win for Peru could push them into contention for qualification.

Bumpy plane ride too much for Messi

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Lionel Messi had to reach for the sick bag on Monday as the plane carrying the Argentina team endured a bumpy ride from Buenos Aires to San Juan ahead of a World Cup qualifier.

The Barcelona superstar and several of his team-mates took ill due to the turbulence during the journey to the city near the Andes where Argentina will face Colombia on Tuesday.

Pre-football match antics were too much, admits England’s Hart

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London (AFP) England goalkeeper Joe Hart has consciously toned down his pre-match routine after criticism he was excessively motivated during his country's ill-fated Euro 2016 campaign, he confessed to reporters on Monday.

Hart was caught on camera thumping his chest and bellowing at his team-mates in the tunnel prior to games at Euro 2016, with former England striker Ian Wright accusing him of being "too pumped up".

USA-Mexico nets 5.3 million viewers on FS1 and Univision for World Cup qualifier

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Friday's broadcast of the USA against Mexico World Cup qualification game on FS1 and Univision was watched by an audience of 5.3 million, according to Sports TV Ratings.

During Friday's pre-match coverage on FOX Sports 1, analyst Alexi Lalas proclaimed that the game was the biggest match the USA faced since the World Cup 2014 Round of 16 game versus Belgium.

Injured Wayne Rooney out of England’s Spain test

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London (AFP) Skipper Wayne Rooney has been ruled out of England's year-ending friendly against Spain at Wembley on Tuesday because of a knee problem, the English Football Association confirmed.

"The striker sat out this morning's session at Tottenham Hotspur's training ground as a precaution due to a minor knee injury," the FA said.

Serge Aurier, ‘bad boy’ in France but adored in Ivory Coast

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Abidjan (AFP) Serge Aurier has made headlines in France for his off-field antics, including an altercation with a policeman and insulting his coach on social media, but in his native Ivory Coast they love him.

The 23-year-old had already been hit with a three-match ban from European competition by UEFA for comments made about a referee when he found himself at the centre of controversy in February this year.

Spain’s Busquets relishes England progress test

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London (AFP) Spain's friendly against England at Wembley on Tuesday presents an ideal opportunity to measure the team's progress under new head coach Julen Lopetegui, midfielder Sergio Busquets said on Monday.

Lopetegui was appointed in July following the retirement of Vicente del Bosque, who stood down after Spain followed up a group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup with elimination in the last 16 at Euro 2016.

San Marino hit back at Mueller over criticism

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Milan (AFP) San Marino have hit back at Thomas Mueller and accused the German striker of arrogance and disrespect after he said playing the minnows has "nothing to do with professional football".

Germany's 8-0 rout on Friday of San Marino saw Joachim Loew's men reinforce their grip at the top of their World Cup qualifying group with a five-point lead on Northern Ireland.

Robben okay for Dortmund despite injury scare

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is expected to be fit for Saturday's Bundesliga showdown with Borussia Dortmund after an injury suffered playing for the Netherlands turned out to be less serious than feared.

Robben, 32, came off at half-time in the Netherlands' 3-1 win in Luxembourg in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday with a sore thigh after scoring in the first half.

Ex-Chelsea star Frank Lampard to leave New York City

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New York (AFP) Former Chelsea star Frank Lampard will leave Major League Soccer's New York City FC once his contract expires at the end of the year, the team announced Monday.

The 38-year-old English midfielder was signed by the North American league expansion squad in 2014 and scored 15 goals in 31 appearances.

Ander Herrera adamant Mourinho has Manchester United backing

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London (AFP) Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera dismissed Monday talk of Jose Mourinho "losing" the Old Trafford dressing room and instead thanked his club manager for the prospect of a first Spain cap.

Mourinho's arrival in Manchester was supposed to herald an upturn in United's fortunes after they failed, under his mentor Louis van Gaal, to qualify for the Champions League for the second time in three years last season.

Wayne Rooney doubtful for England’s Spain test

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London (AFP) Skipper Wayne Rooney and left-back Ryan Bertrand are injury doubts for England's year-ending friendly against Spain, interim manager Gareth Southgate said on Monday.

Rooney and Bertrand were the only players absent from training at Tottenham Hotspur's north London training base on the eve of Tuesday's meeting with Spain at Wembley.

Southgate wants quick decision on England future

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate says he wants to know within weeks whether he will be England's next permanent manager.

The former England centre-back was given the job on a caretaker basis following the Football Association's dramatic decision to dispense with Sam Allardyce, whose one-game reign was ended by controversial comments he made to undercover reporters.

Southgate ends England audition with Spain test

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London (AFP) England's caretaker manager Gareth Southgate faces a man he aspires to emulate in terms of style and status in Tuesday's friendly against Julen Lopetegui's Spain.

The match at Wembley will be the fourth and final assignment of Southgate's interim stint and following Friday's 3-0 win over Scotland in World Cup qualifying he is expected to be handed the role full-time.

Belotti targets more goals in Germany friendly

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Milan (AFP) Andrea Belotti could further underline his status as Italy's current go-to striker when the Azzurri host Germany in a San Siro clash that should produce the usual fireworks between the European giants.

Having marked his full debut with the opener in a 3-1 World Cup qualifying win over Macedonia last month, the Torino striker pressed his case with a first Italy brace in a 4-0 rout of Liechtenstein on Saturday.

Klinsmann wants angry US after World Cup blow

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Los Angeles (AFP) United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called for his team to harness a sense of anger as they attempt to bounce back from a shattering World Cup defeat to Mexico against Costa Rica on Tuesday.

Klinsmann's men suffered an agonizing last-gasp loss to Mexico in Columbus on Friday, when Rafa Marquez's 89th-minute header secured a dramatic 2-1 win for 'El Tri' at the Mapfre Stadium.

Lippi down to business as China host Qatar

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Beijing (AFP) Marcello Lippi said China need to shed their "underdog" mentality as he faces a tough first game in charge a World Cup qualifier against Qatar which neither team dare lose.

While Lippi, who coached Italy to win the 2006 World Cup, admits rock-bottom China need a "miracle" if they are to reach Russia 2018, he said top priority was restoring their swagger.

Gerrard hints at LA Galaxy departure

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Paris (AFP) Former England star Steven Gerrard has hinted his time with LA Galaxy may be up with a post to Instagram suggesting he will shortly leave California.

Recent weeks have seen speculation mount that the 36-year-old former England skipper could be mulling a possible coaching role at former club Liverpool or even take a playing role at Celtic.

Argentina coach Bauza calls for World Cup ‘risks’

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Lionel Messi and Argentina's stars will have to take "risks" to beat Colombia and keep their World Cup hopes alive, coach Edgardo Bauza said ahead of their must-win clash on Tuesday.

Messi used expletives to Argentinian media to highlight his anger after the Albiceleste lost 3-0 to Brazil last week.

Belgium rampant, Portugal survive scare in World Cup qualifiers

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Paris (AFP) Belgium hammered Estonia 8-1 to go clear in Group H, while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal survived a scare before overcoming Latvia 4-1 in World Cup qualifying on Sunday.

There were braces from Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens as Belgium ran rampant with further goals from Thomas Meunier, Eden Hazard, Yannick Carrasco and an own goal to make it four wins from four.

Injured Howard out for Costa Rica clash

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Los Angeles (AFP) Goalkeeper Tim Howard has been officially ruled out of the United States' 2018 World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica in San Jose on Tuesday with a right adductor muscle injury.

"He has returned to Colorado for further evaluation and to determine treatment plans," US Soccer said in a statement confirming the diagnosis on Sunday.

Egypt take World Cup revenge over Ghana

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Johannesburg (AFP) Egypt avenged a humiliating World Cup defeat by Ghana three years ago with a 2-0 victory Sunday in a 2018 African Group E qualifier before an 85,000 crowd in Alexandria.

Ghana triumphed 6-1 in the first leg of a 2014 World Cup play-off to set up an aggregate victory that prolonged the agony of Egypt, who have not competed at the finals since 1990.

Manchester United flop Depay saves Dutch blushes in World Cup qualifying

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Paris (AFP) Out-of-favour Manchester United winger Memphis Depay came off the bench to score twice and save the Netherlands' blushes in Luxembourg in World Cup qualifying on Sunday.

On an evening when Europe's minnows came close but ultimately fell short of springing some major upsets, Depay gave United manager Jose Mourinho a reminder of his worth just as the Dutch were sliding to an embarrassing draw.

South Africa suspend coach Mashaba

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Johannesburg (AFP) South Africa suspended coach Ephraim Mashaba on Sunday after "a regrettable incident", a day after he guided the team to a 2-1 World Cup qualifying home victory over Senegal.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) gave no reason for the suspension, but media speculation said that the 66-year-old argued with officials from the national body after the match in Polokwane.

England release recovering Kane ahead of Spain friendly

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London (AFP) Harry Kane has returned to Tottenham Hotspur to build up his fitness after injury and will play no part in England's home friendly against Spain on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old was an unused substitute in England's 3-0 defeat of Scotland on Friday in World Cup qualifying, having only just returned from a seven-week lay-off with an ankle injury.

Bolt to join training at Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt, who has often said he dreams of becoming a professional footballer, will spend a few days training with Borussia Dortmund, the German club confirmed Sunday.

Britain's The Guardian had quoted the nine-time Olympic champion as saying he had been in touch with the club's coach to join training for a couple of days and to then "see what happens".

I don’t fear England job, says Southgate

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate has declared he would not be afraid to take on the England manager's job on a permanent basis when his four-game stint as interim head coach ends.

Southgate was installed following Sam Allardyce's abrupt departure in September and Friday's 3-0 win over Scotland in World Cup qualifying left him with two wins and one draw from his first three games.

Moses leads Nigeria to another World Cup win

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Johannesburg (AFP) Victor Moses opened and closed the scoring as Nigeria overcame Algeria 3-1 Saturday to take charge of their group in 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Captain John Obi Mikel, a Chelsea team-mate of Moses, was also on target for Nigeria at a packed Uyo stadium while Nabil Bentaleb scored for Algeria with an unstoppable drive.

Spain, Italy cruise as Wales held again

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Paris (AFP) Wales conceded an agonising late equaliser as Serbia battled to a 1-1 draw in a World Cup qualifier on Saturday as forner champions Italy and Spain both won 4-0.

Earlier Saturday, the Republic of Ireland had stunned Austria 1-0 in Vienna and are top of Group D on 10 points, with Serbia second on eight and Wales third on six.

Irish stun Austria as Iceland go down in Croatia

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Paris (AFP) Republic of Ireland stunned Austria 1-0 in Vienna to climb top of their World Cup qualifying group but Iceland failed to replicate their Euro 2016 heroics in a 2-0 defeat in Croatia on Saturday.

The Irish provisionally leapfrogged Serbia in Group D thanks to a James McClean strike three minutes after half-time, leaving Austria facing World Cup heartache.

Lucky penalty helps South Africa beat Senegal

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Johannesburg (AFP) South Africa converted a penalty that should not have been awarded as they beat Senegal 2-1 Saturday to boost their chances of reaching the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

It was a must-win matchday 2 qualifier for the hosts in northern city Polokwane and they survived a late onslaught from the visitors to collect maximum points and top Group D.

Klinsmann directly responsible for USA defeat to Mexico in Hex opener

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Photo credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Dos A Cero is a thing of the past. For the first time in fifteen years, the United States lost a World Cup qualifier on home soil – falling on Friday night against Mexico by a score of two goals to one.

In this most meaningful Hexagonal opener, the mystique of Columbus fell apart for the USMNT – done in by another dose of aggressively incompetent coaching, and maybe a little bit of karma.

Pogba’s game not about the goals – Deschamps

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Paris (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps insists there is an awful lot more to Paul Pogba's game after the Manchester United star found the net again in his country's 2-1 win over Sweden on Friday.

The world's most expensive player headed in France's equaliser before Dimitri Payet got the winning goal in the World Cup qualifier at the Stade de France on Friday.

England and Scotland await poppy verdict

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London (AFP) England and Scotland face an uncertain wait to discover if they will face sanctions after proceeding with a contentious poppy tribute to Britain's war dead in their World Cup qualifier.

The two teams, led by England captain Wayne Rooney and his Scotland counterpart Darren Fletcher, wore black armbands with red poppy motifs during Friday's game at Wembley, which the hosts won 3-0.

Southgate and Strachan coy about job prospects

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London (AFP) England's interim manager Gareth Southgate and his Scotland counterpart Gordon Strachan refused to be drawn on their respective futures following the World Cup qualifier between their teams.

England won 3-0 at Wembley on Friday to boost Southgate's chances of being given the job full-time, having won two and drawn one of the first three games in his four-match tenure.

FOX Sports acquires Gold Cup TV rights to 2017 and 2019 tournaments

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FOX Sports has acquired the English-language TV rights to the 2017 and 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournaments, the network announced today.

The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will be played in the United States in July 2017, will feature the United States and Mexico as the two automatically qualified nations.

Marquez sinks US as Mexico snatch thriller

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Columbus (AFP) Mexico skipper Rafael Marquez scored an 89th-minute winner as the United States crashed to their first World Cup qualifying defeat on home soil in 15 years with a 2-1 loss.

Marquez, 37, headed home a Miguel Layun corner in the dying minutes of a pulsating battle to end the USA's long record of dominance at Columbus's Mapfre Stadium, where they had beaten Mexico in the past four World Cup cycles.

Rojas double lifts New Zealand World Cup campaign

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Wellington (AFP) Marco Rojas bagged a double as New Zealand downed New Caledonia 2-0 to claim the first leg of their Oceania third-round World Cup qualifier in Auckland on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Melbourne Victory midfielder found the net just before half-time and again in the 72nd minute when he latched on to a back heel from his captain and Leeds striker Chris Wood.

Azerbaijan bear the Brunt of Northern Irish firepower

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Belfast (AFP) Chris Brunt put behind him the disappointment of missing Euro 2016 as he scored one and made another in Northern Ireland's 4-0 whipping of Azerbaijan in their 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Brunt, who missed Euro 2016 because of a serious knee injury, also played most of Friday's match with his head bandaged after a clash of heads early on.

England sweep Scots away, France hit back to win

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Paris (AFP) England shrugged aside the potential ramifications of sanctions over poppy emblems Friday with a 3-0 Wembley win over Scotland to bring a 2018 World Cup berth a step closer.

A trio of headers from Liverpool pair Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana and Chelsea's Gary Cahill saw interim coach Gareth Southgate's side cruise home, the win consolidating England's leadership of Group F as they made it 10 points from four games.

Payet gets winner as France mark anniversary of attacks

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Paris (AFP) Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet scored as France fought back to beat Sweden 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier on Friday that was marked by tributes to the victims of last year's Paris terror attacks.

Emil Forsberg had put Sweden in front from a free-kick early in the second half at the Stade de France in a meeting of the top two teams in Group A in European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Gnabry hat-trick in Germany eight-goal romp

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Serravalle (San Marino) (AFP) Ex-Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick on his senior Germany debut in Friday's 8-0 World Cup victory at San Marino as coach Joachim Loew set a new winning record.

Gnabry, 21, who left the Gunners before the start of the season, is the first German to score a hat-trick on his debut since Dieter Mueller achieved the feat for West Germany in 1976.

England boost Southgate with win over Scotland

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London (AFP) Gareth Southgate enhanced his chances of keeping his job and shortened the odds on Gordon Strachan losing his as England sank Scotland 3-0 in World Cup qualifying on Friday.

In the third game of Southgate's four-match stint as interim England manager, headers by Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill secured a victory that may land him the role full-time.

Trump vote won’t affect US World Cup bid decision

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Columbus (AFP) The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States would not impact any decision the country may make to bid for the 2026 World Cup, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said on Friday.

The US is considered favourite to host the tournament with the bidding process expected to get under way next year.

Stade de France falls silent for terror victims

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Paris (AFP) A minute's silence was held at the Stade de France on Friday to mark the first anniversary of the Paris terror attacks.

A capacity crowd of 80,000 at the national stadium fell silent prior to kick-off in France's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Sweden, almost exactly a year on from the attacks which killed 130 people and injured many more on Friday November 13, 2015.

England, Scotland go through with poppy tribute

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London (AFP) England captain Wayne Rooney and Scotland counterpart Darren Fletcher led out teams sporting black armbands with red poppy motifs for Friday's World Cup qualifier, paying a commemorative war dead tribute at Wembley that leaves both nations at risk of FIFA sanctions.

Football's world governing body has warned the move could contravene rules banning "political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images".

FIFA calls for life ban for ex-CONCACAF president

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA's ethics commission on Friday called for a life ban from football for the former head of the CONCACAF federation and former Honduras federation president Alfredo Hawit on corruption charges.

Hawit was extradited from Switzerland last January to the United States to face charges a month after his arrest in Zurich on the fringes of a FIFA executive committee meeting.

France elects first woman football chief

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Paris (AFP) Nathalie Boy De La Tour became the first female president of one of European football's big leagues when she took over the French Professional Football League (LFP) on a four-year term on Friday.

Boy De La Tour, 48, who previously worked with the 'Football Foundation' which promotes the game in the community, takes over fromFrederic Thiriez who resigned last month after 14 years.

No police action against former England football boss Allardyce

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce will not face a police investigation over the newspaper sting operation that saw his time as England manager brought to an end after just one game in charge, it was announced Friday.

Allardyce, 62, was sacked following the publication by the Daily Telegraph in September of controversial comments made to undercover reporters.

TV viewership of MLS Conference Semifinals drops 25% on FOX Sports 1

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For the series of Seattle Sounders against FC Dallas games, FOX Sports 1 saw a dramatic decrease of 25% in TV viewership for the 2016 MLS Conference Semifinals compared to last season.

Not one of FOX Sports 1's MLS Conference Semifinal games between FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders exceeded 200,000 viewers.

beIN SPORTS surpasses 550,000 viewers for most-watched La Liga game of season

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Sunday's broadcast of Sevilla against Barcelona on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol was the most-watched La Liga game of the 2016/17 season thus far.

The match averaged 552,000 viewers. The game averaged 408,000 on the Spanish-language beIN SPORTS en Espanol as well as 144,000 on beIN SPORTS.

Premier League to consider ‘safe standing’ at grounds

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London (AFP) Premier League clubs are set to discuss proposals to re-introduce standing areas at English top-flight grounds for the first time in more than 20 years when they meet in London next Thursday.

The issue of so-called "safe standing" areas will be on the agenda of a Premier League shareholders' meeting.

Interview with FIFpro’s Chief Medical Officer on topic of mental health in soccer

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Mental health is an issue that soccer has an uneasy relationship with. Despite all the advancements in the game from physical conditioning, boot design and treatment of injuries the topic of mental health still draws uncomfortable breaths from players and coaches alike. Mental health is still an area that is considered taboo in football circles although there are ongoing efforts to lift the stigma attached it.

FIFA deny ‘poppy ban’ ahead of England-Scotland clash

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London (AFP) Football global governing body FIFA insisted Friday it was a "distortion of the facts" to suggest they would punish British national associations determined to mark this weekend's World Cup qualifiers with poppy tributes.

Both England and Scotland pan to defy what they believe to be a FIFA ban on the wearing of poppies, a national symbol honouring war dead, when their teams meet at Wembley on Friday.

Where to find France vs. Sweden on US TV and streaming

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

Both France and Sweden are tied with the same number of points atop Group A in World Cup qualifying from the UEFA region, so the top of the table clash between both countries could help determine who will be in pole position in this group after today's game.

Mexico keen to solve Columbus conundrum

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Columbus (AFP) Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio believes his team has everything in place to finally end their Columbus jinx and get a victory over arch-rivals the United States in Friday's World Cup qualifier.

Since 2001, the two nations have met four times in Columbus in World Cup qualifiers and on each occasion the Americans have run out 2-0 winners.

War, terror put World Cup into proper focus

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Paris (AFP) From poppies and black armbands in a moving remembrance of millions of war dead to brutally graphic nightmares caused by terrorist carnage, Friday's World Cup qualifiers will be sobering as well as raucous.

At Wembley in London, football's oldest rivalry will be renewed when England and Scotland face off in the latest staging point on the road to the 2018 finals in Russia.

Half century for Neymar as Brazil crush Argentina

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Belo Horizonte (Brazil) (AFP) Neymar scored his 50th international goal as Brazil thrashed arch-rivals Argentina 3-0 in their 2018 World Cup qualifying duel here Thursday.

Barcelona superstar Neymar took his tally to 50 goals in 74 games as Brazil recorded their fifth consecutive victory under new coach Tite to remain on top of South America's qualification table.

Brazil, Uruguay march towards 2018, Argentina crash again

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Montevideo (AFP) Brazil thrashed arch-rivals Argentina to tighten their grip on South America's 2018 World Cup qualification campaign as Uruguay maintained their push towards the finals with a hard-fought defeat of Ecuador.

Barcelona superstar Neymar outshone club-mate Lionel Messi with his 50th international goal for Brazil in Belo Horizonte as the five-time World Cup winners romped to a 3-0 win in the Estadio Mineirao.

Neymar’s Brazil leave Argentina struggling for 2018 place

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Montevideo (AFP) Neymar scored his 50th international goal as Brazil thrashed Argentina 3-0 to tighten their grip on South America's 2018 World Cup qualification campaign and leave their arch-rivals struggling to reach the finals.

Barcelona superstar Neymar outshone club-mate Lionel Messi in Belo Horizonte the venue where Brazil were humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals.

Chelsea ‘punishing’ Mikel over Olympics – Nigeria coach

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Abuja (AFP) Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr claims Mikel Obi is being "punished" by Premier League club Chelsea for playing at the Rio Olympics.

Mikel, 29, missed most of Chelsea pre-season as he helped his country win a bronze medal at the football event of the Summer Olympic Games.

He has yet to play for his London club this season even after he rejoined them in August.

Where to find USA vs. Mexico on US TV and live streaming

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

There are plenty of viewing options to choose from of how you can watch USA against Mexico in the Hex opener, live from Columbus, Ohio. The game will be shown on FS1 (English-language) as well as Univision and Univision Deportes (Spanish-language).

Where to find England vs. Scotland on US TV and streaming

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

The oldest rivalry in international soccer history returns today as England takes on Scotland at Wembley Stadium. England is currently undefeated in Group F with 2 wins and 1 draw, while Scotland has drawn 1, lost 1 and won 1.

FIFA moves to close loss-making museum – source

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA plans to close its loss-making $142 million World Football Museum, a landmark project of ousted president Sepp Blatter, which was only opened eight months ago, a FIFA source said Friday.

While football's world body denied any immediate closure, it estimated a loss of more than $30 million for 2016 and said the FIFA Council will hold talks on the museum's future at a January meeting.

Joy and pain as Chile skipper Bravo thwarts Colombia

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Barranquilla (Colombia) (AFP) Claudio Bravo was the hero as Chile ground out a hard-fought 0-0 draw in their 2018 World Cup qualifier with Colombia here Thursday before departing with a leg injury.

Manchester City goalkeeper and Chile captain Bravo pulled off two superb first half saves as the Copa America champions dug in for a vital point in sweltering conditions in Barranquilla.

Southgate wards against England arrogance

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England must learn to be more streetwise but ward against arrogance, interim manager Gareth Southgate said ahead of Friday's World Cup qualifier against old enemies Scotland at Wembley.

Southgate said the difference between arrogance and confidence had come up during a squad meeting before the game, which is the third assignment of his four-match tenure.

Qatar beat Russia in penalty-strewn friendly

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Doha (AFP) Qatar beat fellow future World Cup hosts Russia in Doha on Thursday, in a friendly game which featured four penalties.

A smart 72nd minute header from Karim Boudiaf was enough to secure a morale-boosting 2-1 victory for Qatar ahead of next week's crucial World Cup qualifier in China.

No one worth 100 million, says Verratti

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Rome (AFP) Italy midfielder Marco Verratti categorically dismissed the possibility of him leaving Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday and insisted that no player was worth 100 million euros ($108.9 million).

The 24-year-old has regularly been the subject of media reports linking him with a move away from Paris, with Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Juventus all said to be chasing his signature.

Former Venezuelan football leader pleads guilty in FIFA scandal

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New York (AFP) A former president of Venezuela's football federation pleaded guilty Thursday over the massive FIFA corruption scandal, eight months after posting a $7 million bond and professing his innocence.

Rafael Esquivel, 70, also a former vice president of the South American Football Confederation, pled guilty to seven counts of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for week of November 1-6, 2016

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Following decreased viewership for the Knockout Round of the MLS Playoffs, FOX Sports 1 saw a 25% decrease in viewership for the Conference Semifinals compared to last season. None of FOX Sports 1's matches managed to break the 200,000-viewer mark with the series between Supporter's Shield winners FC Dallas and sixth seed Seattle Sounders averaging only 147,000 viewers over both legs.

France mark anniversary of terror attacks in Sweden clash

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Paris (AFP) There will be a poignant mood at the Stade de France on Friday as France host Sweden in a World Cup qualifier a year on from the Paris terror attacks.

It was on Friday, November 13 last year that France were playing Germany at the same stadium in a friendly when three suicide bombers blew themselves up immediately outside the ground.

Arsenal fans hold collective breath on Alexis Sanchez injury

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Arsenal Twitter nearly went into meltdown mode on Tuesday when reports surfaced that Alexis Sanchez suffered a torn calf muscle in training with the Chile national team. An injury of that magnitude would surely keep the superstar forward out of commission for a few months; however, the Chilean FA quickly released a statement claiming that the setback was just a "low grade muscle injury.

USA vs. Mexico preview: North America rivals meet in Hex opener

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The final round of World Cup qualifying is set to begin with a bang with USA against Mexico, one of the biggest rivalries in this hemisphere.

Every game between these two nations is gripping and intense. But with a good start to the final qualifying round at stake, this should be even better than previous meetings.

No Candreva rift, insists new Inter coach Pioli

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Milan (AFP) New Inter Milan coach Stefano Pioli said he will be "expecting a lot" from Italy winger Antonio Candreva despite a rift between the pair when they were at rival Serie A club Lazio.

Pioli was unveiled as the successor to sacked Dutchman Frank De Boer on Thursday.

His appointment comes less than a fortnight before the Nerazzurri face AC Milan in the first city derby of the season.

Where to find Brazil vs. Argentina on US TV and streaming

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

The points deduction for Bolivia helped Chile but hurt Argentina. With Chile being given back two points, that means they leapfrogged over Argentina. At it stands, Chile is fifth place in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying while Argentina is in sixth.

Where to find Uruguay vs. Ecuador on US TV and streaming

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

Second battle third in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table as Uruguay hosts Ecuador in an important match in South America that could have a big impact on who is in the driving seat or not.

Football Manager Touch 17 review

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It's a testament to how sports gamers will continue to flock to games such asFIFA, Madden and PES every yeareven though there rarely is enough of an excuse to justify a full price purchase. Most of us love to see thenew bells and whistles, no matter how minute.

As November came around, I knew that Football Manager in all of its iterations was coming soon and I would lose yet another weekend playing the touch version for the iPad.

Where to find Colombia vs. Chile on US TV and streaming

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

After Bolivia was deducted points for fielding an ineligible player, Chile was the greatest benefactor as the national team gained two points and moved them up from seventh to fifth in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying table.

Poppies and pride as England, Scotland collide

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London (AFP) England and Scotland renew the oldest rivalry in international football on Friday in a 2018 World Cup qualifier that has been dogged by a pre-match row about commemorative poppies.

The football associations of both countries have pledged to defy a FIFA ban on political, religious or commercial symbols by wearing black armbands with red poppy emblems.

Giants Germany set to steamroll tiny San Marino

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Serravalle (San Marino) (AFP) World champions Germany face minnows San Marino in a 2018 World Cup qualifier with a true David verses Goliath match-up on Friday.

Germany take on fellow European powerhouses Italy in Milan next Tuesday in a friendly, their last international of the year, but before the Azzurri, the Germans look destined to clinch three more qualifying points against tiny San Marino.

‘Leftie’ Lineker becomes voice of post-Brexit outrage

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London (AFP) Having spent his football career at centre-forward, Gary Lineker's outspoken stance in the aftermath of Britain's Brexit referendum has seen him proclaimed as the country's most prominent left-winger.

Lineker, renowned as English football's Mr Nice during his playing days, said he was "ashamed of my generation" after Britain voted to leave the European Union on June 23.

Wayne Rooney to make England return against Scotland

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England captain Wayne Rooney will return to the starting line-up for his country's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Scotland on Friday, interim manager Gareth Southgate announced on Thursday.

Rooney, 31, started on the bench in England's last game, a 0-0 draw away to Slovenia, after losing his place in Manchester United's starting XI.

FA are morally right over poppies issue: Glenn

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London (AFP) The English Football Association (FA) are morally right to insist on the England team wearing commemorative poppies in Friday's World Cup qualifier with Scotland said chief executive Martin Glenn on Thursday.

World governing body FIFA forbids teams from wearing political, commercial or religious symbols during matches and has warned England and Scotland they could face sanctions if they defy the directive.

Netherlands, Belgium in low-key friendly draw

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Amsterdam (AFP) The Netherlands and Belgium played out a 1-1 friendly draw Wednesday where Premier League stars Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard struggled and the Dutch suffered injury setbacks ahead of a key World Cup qualifier.

A penalty from Davy Klaassen gave the Dutch a 38th-minute lead from the penalty spot before Yannick Carrasco levelled eight minutes from the final whistle.

Galaxy boss ‘hopeful’ Gerrard, Keane may stay

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Carson (United States) (AFP) Los Angeles Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said Wednesday he hopes Steven Gerrard can be persuaded to prolong his career in Major League Soccer amid reports the former England captain is seeking a coaching or playing role in Britain.

Gerrard is out of contract with the Galaxy following the completion of the Los Angeles club's season last weekend in the MLS playoffs.

Qatar World Cup labourer dies in lorry crash – official

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Doha (AFP) A 29-year-old Nepalese labourerwho died while working at a Qatar World Cup stadium site died after being hit by a water lorry, an investigation has concluded, according to a statement released Wednesday.

Anil Kumar Pasman suffered "fatal injuries... in a tragic accident" at Al-Wakrah stadium, according to the statement from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body overseeeing organisation of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Scotland’s Burke sees Leipzig usurping Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) Scotland's teenage international Oliver Burke says his German league club RB Leipzig can knock Bayern Munich from their perch at the top of the Bundesliga.

"I want to win the Bundesliga and I want to win it with RB Leipzig. Why not?" he told Sky.

"We have the players, the quality.

Trump win adds twist to ‘respect’ in USA-Mexico rivalry

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Columbus (AFP) United States captain Michael Bradley says he expects the team's supporters to show respect to Mexican fans in Friday's World Cup qualifier which comes in the wake of Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential vote.

Trump's controversial rhetoric about Mexican illegal immigrants during the campaign adds to the already strong rivalry between the two nations on the football field, but Bradley said he hopes that won't be a factor at the stadium.

More prize money for African competitions

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Johannesburg (AFP) All CAF competitions will offer increased prize money from 2017, the Cairo-based African football body said Wednesday.

The announcement came months after French oil-gas company Total signed an eight-year sponsorship deal with CAF reportedly worth more than one billion dollars (915 million euros).

Life ban demanded for ex-Honduran president

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA's ethics committee on Wednesday recommended a life ban from all football-related activities for former Honduras president Rafael Callejas, who is awaiting judgement in the United States on kick-back charges.

Head of state between 1990-1994, Callejas previously pleaded guilty to racketeering to a New York court in March, and now faces a series of charges from FIFA

"In his final report, (FIFA ethics investigator) Cornel Borbely recommended imposing on Mr Callejas a lifelong ban from taking part in any kind of football-related activity," a FIFA statement said.

Ticket prices for USA vs. Mexico game decline 49% on secondary market

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Ticket prices for Friday's World Cup qualifier between the United States and Mexico have declined on the secondary market ahead of the game in Columbus, Ohio.

The cheapest price on the secondary market for a ticket to USA-Mexico has decreased 49% from October 27. At the end of October, prices started at $268.

Ex-football greats shoot for business glory with tech ventures

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Lisbon (AFP) There was a time, before TV deals brought untold riches to the game, when retiring footballers had little in the bank and few options for the rest of their lives.

But as the boom of the past two decades has transformed the business fortunes of the big clubs, so has it opened up new vistas for cashed-up players when they end their on-pitch careers.

Premier League TV viewership down 19% on NBC Sports in the US

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Viewership of Premier League matches on NBC Sports in the United States is down 18.96%, according to a report.

For gameweek one through eleven of the 2016/17 Premier League season, the average viewership for a game on NBC Sports is 381,418 (for 67 matches in total). That compares to an average viewership of 470,681 for the first eleven gameweeks of the 2015/16 Premier League season on NBC Sports (after 69 matches).

Greek football matches off as referee’s home burns

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Athens (AFP) Greece's football federation on Wednesday postponed all this weekend's professional matches after a fire ripped through the home of a top referee.

"The federation and the Central Referee Committee denounce the destruction of the home of the committee's president Giorgos Bikas from a suspicious fire, the causes of which are being investigated by the Fire Department," read a statement from the Greek FA.

Manfred Neuer joins Germany’s mounting casualty list

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Berlin (AFP) Captain Manuel Neuer is the latest Germany star ruled out of Friday's World Cup qualifier against minnows San Marino, the German FA (DFB) confirmed on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Bayern Munich goalkeeper withdrew because he felt unwell shortly before Germany's flight to Rimini to face the microstate in northern Italy.

Brazil eye Argentina ambush, World Cup exorcism

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Belo Horizonte (Brazil) (AFP) A resurgent Brazil return to the scene of the most humiliating defeat in their history on Thursday when they face Argentina in a titantic 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Two years ago at Belo Horizonte's Estadio Mineirao, Brazil were ripped apart 7-1 by Germany in the World Cup semi-finals, a traumatic mauling that sent the football-mad country into a nosedive of despair.

Malaysia calls for proof after match-fixing claim

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) Malaysian football authorities on Wednesday called on a former FIFA official to provide evidence after he claimed the country had become the hub for match-fixing in Southeast Asia.

Chris Eaton, an independent industry consultant and FIFA's former security chief, said Tuesday that Malaysia had overtaken Singapore in match-fixing following a crackdown in the city-state.

Suarez says Barcelona extension talks ‘moving nicely’

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Barcelona (AFP) European Golden Shoe winner Luis Suarez said negotiations to extend his contract with Barcelona until 2021 were running smoothly.

The 29-year-old, who claimed the award for a second time after finishing top scorer across Europe last season, originally joined Barcelona on a five-year deal from Liverpool in 2014.

No alcohol in streets, public places at World Cup – Qatar

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Doha (AFP) Alcohol will be banned from streets and public places and if Qatari officials get their way even stadiums during the 2022 World Cup, the head of the country's tournament organising committee said on Tuesday.

The comments by Hassan Al-Thawadi will further alarm football traditionalists already unhappy that the tournament will be moved to the winter because of fierce summer temperatures in Qatar.

José Luis López Salido and Enrique Bermudez to announce USA-Mexico game on Univision

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Univision's announcers for Friday's must-watch game between USA and Mexico will be José Luis López Salido and Enrique Bermudez.

Alongside Lopez and Bermudez in the booth will be analystsDiego Balado, former Mexican national team player Gonzalo Pineda and former captain of the U.S. national team Marcelo Balboa.

Neymar gives Messi lift on private jet

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Belo Horizonte (Brazil) (AFP) They may be about to lock horns in the latest instalment of Brazil and Argentina's ferocious football rivalry, but Neymar was not about to let 102 years of South American footballing enmity get in the way of his friendship with Barcelona mates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.

N. Ireland decide against wearing poppies

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London (AFP) Northern Ireland's players will not wear commemorative poppies in their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on Friday, the Irish Football Association said.

The football associations of England and Scotland, who meet at Wembley the same day, have decided to defy a ban by world governing body FIFA on political, commercial or religious symbols.

Now Ronaldo bags ‘long-term’ Nike deal

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Madrid (AFP) A day after signing a bumper fresh contract with Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo has boosted his mind-boggling earnings with a new deal with Nike, the American sports giant said on Tuesday.

Together the multimillion mega-deals are expected to cement Ronaldo's status as the world's highest-paid sportsman, ahead of great Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.

Albania-Israel match moved over attack fears

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Jerusalem (AFP) Israel said on Tuesday that the Islamic State group had been planning attacks "in the Balkans" and specifically warned its citizens not to attend an upcoming Israel-Albania football match.

Albanian football officials said earlier Tuesday that the country's 2018 World Cup qualifier with Israel this weekend would be moved for "security reasons", following reports of a planned attack.

England’s players want to wear poppies – Kane

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England's players are pleased they will be able to wear commemorative poppies in Friday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland, striker Harry Kane said on Tuesday.

World governing body FIFA forbids teams from wearing political, commercial or religious symbols during matches and has warned England and Scotland they could face sanctions if they defy the directive.

John Strong and Stu Holden to commentate USA-Mexico game on FS1

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FOX Sports has announced that John Strong and Stu Holden will announce Friday's USA vs. Mexico game, which will air live on FS1 and Sling Blue beginning at 8pm ET.

Rob Stone hosts pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage live from a field-level set at MAPFRE Stadium, where the United States has dominated the previous four qualifiers against El Tri, all by scores of 2-0, inspiring the rally cry, "Dos a Cero.

Inter Milan appoint Pioli as new coach

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Milan (AFP) Italian Stefano Pioli has been appointed coach of Inter Milan to replace Dutchman Frank De Boer, the Serie A club announced on Tuesday.

The 51-year-old takes over from De Boer, who was sacked a week ago following a 1-0 defeat at Sampdoria, Inter's fifth loss in 11 outings.

Inter, taken over in June by new Chinese owners, are struggling this season and are sitting ninth in Serie A and last in their Europa League group.

Albania-Israel football match moved over attack fears

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Tirana (AFP) Albanian football officials said Tuesday that the country's 2018 World Cup qualifier with Israel this weekend would be moved for "security reasons", following reports of a planned attack.

The national football federation said in a statement that Saturday's match would be held in the central town of Elbasan instead of the northern town of Shkodra.

Pioli appointed Inter Milan coach

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Milan (AFP) Italian Stefano Pioli has been appointed coach of Inter Milan, the Serie A club announced on Tuesday.

The 51-year-old replaces Dutchman Frank De Boer, who was sacked a week ago following a 1-0 defeat at Sampdoria, Inter's fifth loss in 11 outings.

Inter, taken over in June by new Chinese owners, are struggling this season and are sitting ninth in Serie A and last in their Europa League group.

England’s players want to wear poppies: Kane

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England's players are pleased they will be able to wear commemorative poppies in Friday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland, striker Harry Kane said on Tuesday.

World governing body FIFA forbids teams from wearing political, commercial or religious symbols during matches and has warned England and Scotland they could face sanctions if they defy the directive.

World Soccer Talk Podcast Episode 1 – Talking soccer TV coverage

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Welcome to the latest episode of the World Soccer Talk Podcast, the longest running soccer podcast on the planet (since 2006).

In the new format of the show, episode 1 of the rebooted World Soccer Talk Podcast focuses on soccer TV coverage, as well as the latest news about how you can watch soccer on TV, streaming and apps.

Mourinho’s public blasts lay bare Man Utd tensions

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's man-management skills are under scrutiny after he appeared to publicly accuse defenders Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling of malingering.

Whilst not mentioning either player by name, Mourinho expressed unhappiness after the pair missed United's 3-1 win at Swansea City on Sunday, suggesting they had shown a lack of bravery.

Jose Mourinho’s public blasts lay bare Man Utd tensions

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London (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's man-management skills are under scrutiny after he appeared to publicly accuse defenders Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling of malingering.

While not mentioning either player by name, Mourinho expressed unhappiness after the pair missed United's 3-1 win at Swansea City on Sunday, suggesting they had shown a lack of bravery.

McCarthy pulls out of Irish World Cup qualifier

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Dublin (AFP) Ireland midfielder James McCarthy withdrew from the squad for Saturday's 2018 World Cup qualifier with Austria ending a fiery debate between national coach Martin O'Neill and his Everton manager Ronald Koeman over his fitness.

Koeman blamed O'Neill for giving 25-year-old McCarthy too much game time in two 2018 World Cup qualifiers last month as he had just returned from a groin operation.

Southgate backs Manchester United duo after Mourinho rebuke

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England interim manager Gareth Southgate is satisfied Manchester United's Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw are genuinely injured, he said on Monday, despite reservations voiced by their club manager Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho hit out after Smalling and Shaw missed United's 3-1 win at Swansea City on Sunday, making a distinction between "the brave" and "the ones for whom a little pain can make a difference".

Struggling Osasuna sack coach Monreal

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Madrid (AFP) Relegation threatened La Liga side Osasuna sacked coach Enrique Martin Monreal on Monday after just one win in 11 games on their return to the Spanish top flight.

"The club has taken the decision to relieve coach Enrique Martin Monreal of his duties," Osasuna said in a statement.

US TV schedule of international soccer games from November 9-15, 2016

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In the next week, more than 50 international games will be aired live across US television and streaming featuring teams from all around the world.

The matches include a must-see World Cup 2018 qualifier between USA and Mexico in Columbus, Ohio. Plus, there's the oldest international fixture in the world between England and Scotland live from Wembley.

Mexico to launch 15th US tour against Iceland

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Los Angeles (AFP) Iceland will meet Mexico next February at Las Vegas to launch the 15th annual US tour for "El Tricolor."

The Mexican Football Foundation announced the friendly match Monday, the team's first-ever visit to the US gambling haven coming February 8 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

"Soccer is the world's game and Las Vegas is the world's city, so I can't think of a better match for this event," Las Vegas mayor Carolyn G.

Five reasons why RB Leipzig are level with Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) New boys RB Leipzig are level with leaders Bayern Munich on 24 points at the top of the Bundesliga table in Germany's top flight and on a record run.

AFP sports looks at five reasons why the Red Bull-backed outfit from the former East Germany city is still unbeaten after their first ten games:

Lots of cash, cautious signings

Unlike many other newly-promoted teams in their first Bundesliga season, RB Leipzig are not wanting for cash.

4 of the most famous droughts in world soccer as well as worst MLS teams

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Soccer fans love belting out jaunty and uplifting tunes, like "You'll Never Walk Alone" at Anfield and Parkhead, "Glory Glory Man United" at Old Trafford, "Delilah" at the Britannia, "No One Likes Us We Don't Care" at the New Den, and "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" at West Ham's new Olympic home. But unless you're fortunate enough to support a trophy-gobbling upper crust club then the truest song to sing is Tom Petty's "The Waiting.

Neymar nears trial over transfer corruption case

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Madrid (AFP) The prospect of Barcelona superstar Neymar standing trial moved closer Monday as a Madrid judge accepted an appeal by prosecutors for corruption charges to be brought against the Brazilian, a court filing said.

The decision overturns a ruling in July that said irregularities detected in the Brazilian's 2013 transfer to Barcelona were an issue for a civil court, not a criminal court.

Severed bull’s head costs Dynamo fine, fans ban

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Berlin (AFP) A severed bull's head thrown onto the pitch during a German Cup match cost second-division Dynamo Dresden a 60,000 euros ($66,222) fine plus a spectator ban on Monday.

The gruesome incident occurred during Dynamo's first round win over RB Leipzig on August 20 with the head hurled from an enclosure of home fans.

Scottish football team takes inspiration from watching Murray

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London (AFP) Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee says Andy Murray's rise to the top of the tennis world rankings can inspire their country to a famous victory against old rivals England.

The 29-year-old Murray, who has won Wimbledon and Olympic gold this year, is now widely regarded as one of Scotland's greatest ever sportsmen.

Ibrahimovic sorry for costly booking

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London (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic has apologised for the booking that earned him a suspension for Manchester United's clash with Arsenal.

Ibrahimovic was shown his fifth yellow card of the season for a second half incident with Swansea's Leroy Fer in United's 3-1 win at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s top five Madrid moments

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo signed a new Real Madrid deal on Monday, tying him to the Spanish giants until 2021.

AFP Sports looks at some of Ronaldo's finest moments since joining Madrid from Manchester United in 2009:

Pep's Barca beaten

Amid a run of four heated El Clasico clashes between Pep Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona and Jose Mourinho's Madrid in the spring of 2011, Madrid struck first blood.

Ronaldo eyes 10 more years after ‘dream’ season

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo signalled his intention to keep playing for 10 more years after rounding off a "dream year" by signing a bumper new five-year contract with Real Madrid on Monday.

The deal, expected to protect Ronaaldo's status as the world's highest paid footballer, will keep the Portuguese tied to the European champions until he is 36.

Juve’s Barzagli out for two months

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Milan (AFP) The dislocated shoulder that saw Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli stretchered off at the weekend is to keep the Italy international out of action for two months, his club said on Monday.

"Further examinations at J-Medical today have confirmed the scale of the shoulder inury sustained by Andrea Barzagli five minutes into Sunday's victory over Chievo in Verona," a statement on the club's website said.

Cristiano Ronaldo eyes 10 more years after ‘dream’ season

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo signalled his intention to keep playing for 10 more years after rounding off a "dream year" by signing a bumper new five-year contract with Real Madrid on Monday.

The deal, expected to protect Ronaldo's status as the world's highest paid footballer, will keep the Portuguese tied to the European champions until he is 36.

Van Persie says eye ‘undamaged’ after scare

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Istanbul (AFP) Dutch striker Robin Van Persie on Monday calmed fears for his eyesight after an ugly injury picked up playing for his Turkish club Fenerbahce at the weekend had sparked concern.

After colliding with a defender during Sunday's clash with Akhisar Belediyespor the 33-year-old was stretchered off the pitch with a plaster covering his bloodied left eye.

10 things we learned from MLS Conference semi-finals, 2nd legs

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Here are the ten things we learned from the second leg of the Conference Semifinals in the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.

1. The Playoffs Have Underwhelmed

There's no getting around it. Thus far, the playoffs have been terrible.

Sunday should have been the best day of MLS of the year.

Rangers lack killer touch, says Warburton

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Glasgow (AFP) Mark Warburton says Rangers must be more clinical in front of goal as they slipped up in the Scottish Premiership for the seventh time this season.

Rangers were held to a 1-1 draw away to bottom of the table Ross County, who remain the only team in Scotland's four divisions never to have been beaten by the Glasgow giants in the league following a goalless draw at Ibrox earlier in the season.

Combative Mourinho questions fight of Manchester United stars

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at the Manchester United players he fears might not have the right attitude to guide his side back into the Premier League title race.

Mourinho saw first half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba help United to only a second league victory in eight games as his side cruised to a 3-1 success at Swansea on Sunday.

Klopp tells table-topping Reds to keep cool

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Liverpool (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has urged his players to "be cool" after his side went top of the Premier League for the first time since he arrived at Anfield.

Klopp watched Liverpool produce one of their most emphatic displays of the season as they thrashed Watford 6-1.

Sadio Mane scored twice while Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum also got their names on the scoresheet as Liverpool produced the kind of performance that will further fuel title talk.

Ranieri backs Okazaki over Vardy at Leicester

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri admits that Japanese international striker Shinji Okazaki is his preferred option for Premier League outings rather than England star Jamie Vardy.

Vardy was left on the bench for the second successive Premier League fixture on Sunday as the champions were beaten 2-1 by West Brom.

Europe no burden for Arsenal, says Wenger

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London (AFP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not believe the teams free of Champions League commitment have an advantage in the Premier League despite both Liverpool and Chelsea outstripping his side.

Liverpool are top after crushing Watford 6-1, with Chelsea a point back in second following a scintillating 5-0 win over Everton, and neither side must contend with European distractions.

Rapids oust Galaxy, Toronto humble NYCFC in MLS Cup playoffs

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Los Angeles (AFP) Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves in a penalty shootout to advance the Rapids over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

The Rapids on Sunday won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-0 victory in the second leg of a two-match MLS Cup Western Conference semi-final series left the teams deadlocked 1-1 on aggregate.

Canadian clubs douse New York MLS hopes, Gerrard’s Galaxy ousted

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Los Angeles (AFP) Montreal and Toronto put paid to New York's MLS Cup hopes with Eastern Conference semi-final wins, as the Los Angeles Galaxy bowed out in the West in what was likely Steven Gerrard's MLS swansong.

Until Sunday, a Canadian team had never booked a spot in the MLS Cup conference finals.

Laos footballers suspended in match-fixing probe

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) The Asian Football Confederation said on Monday it had provisionally suspended four Laos national-team members as it investigates suspected manipulation of "multiple matches" going back years.

The players Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya, Chintana Souksavath, Moukda Souksavath and Phatthana Syvilay were provisionally suspended for 60 days for "various violations.

Right for England to wear poppies, says Southgate

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England's interim manager Gareth Southgate believes it will be fitting for his and Scotland's players to wear commemorative poppies during Friday's World Cup qualifier at Wembley, he said on Monday.

The football associations of England and Scotland have vowed to defy world governing body FIFA, which bans players from wearing political, commercial and religious symbols during matches.

England boss Southgate to check on Kane fitness

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) England's interim manager Gareth Southgate will check on the fitness of Harry Kane before deciding if the striker can start Friday's World Cup qualifier against Scotland, he said on Monday.

Kane, 23, made a goal-scoring return from a seven-week lay-off with ankle ligament damage in Tottenham Hotspur's 1-1 Premier League draw at Arsenal on Sunday.

Qatar World Cup a ‘done deal’ organiser claims

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Doha (AFP) Holding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a "done deal", a confident head of the Gulf state's tournament organising committee said Monday, shrugging off ongoing corruption and human rights concerns.

Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, told the local Arabic daily Al-Sharq newspaper that football's biggest tournament will go ahead in the Middle East despite calls elsewhere for Qatar to be stripped of hosting rights.

Colorado Rapids oust Gerrard’s Galaxy in MLS playoffs

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Los Angeles (AFP) Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves in a penalty shootout Sunday to advance the Rapids over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

The Rapids won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-0 victory in the second leg of a two-match Western Conference semi-final series left the teams deadlocked 1-1 on aggregate.

Klinsmann names veteran squad for Mexico showdown

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Chicago (AFP) US coach Jurgen Klinsmann named a veteran lineup featuring Jozy Altidore and Bayern Munich's Julian Green on Sunday for a showdown with Mexico to open the final phase of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

The Americans will entertain Mexico on Friday at Columbus, Ohio, in the opening match in the "hexagonal," the six-team round robin qualifying series from the North American (CONCACAF) region.

Fenerbahce’s Van Persie suffers eye injury

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Paris (AFP) Former Manchester United and Dutch international striker Robin Van Persie suffered an eye injury playing for Fenerbahce against Akhisar Belediyespor in the Turkish league on Sunday.

After colliding with a defender, the 33-year-old was stretchered off the pitch with a plaster covering his bloodied left eye.

Rapids oust Gerrard’s Galaxy in MLS playoffs

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Los Angeles (AFP) Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard made two saves in a penalty shootout Sunday to advance the Rapids over the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Major League Soccer playoffs.

The Rapids won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-0 victory in the second leg of a two-match Western Conference semi-final series left the teams deadlocked 1-1 on aggregate.

Messi reaches 500-goal mark, Bale keeps Madrid top

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Madrid (AFP) Lionel Messi, with his 500th Barcelona goal, and Luis Suarez saved the Spanish champions from a second defeat in six days as they came from behind to win 2-1 at Sevilla on Sunday.

Victory keeps Barca just two points adrift of Real Madrid, who were 3-0 victors over Leganes thanks to a double from Gareth Bale.

Barcelona’s Messi reaches 500-goal mark, Bale keeps Real Madrid top

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Madrid (AFP) Lionel Messi, with his 500th Barcelona goal, and Luis Suarez saved the Spanish champions from a second defeat in six days as they came from behind to win 2-1 at Sevilla on Sunday.

Victory keeps Barca just two points adrift of Real Madrid, who were 3-0 victors over Leganes thanks to a double from Gareth Bale.

Sizzling Salah hits maiden hat-trick for Roma

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Milan (AFP) Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah claimed his maiden league hat-trick, stealing the limelight from teammate Edin Dzeko as Roma reclaimed the second spot in Serie A with a 3-0 defeat of Bologna on Sunday.

With 10 goals this season, Dzeko lined up at the Stadio Olimpico hoping to go one ahead of Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi after he pulled level with the Bosnian by hitting a brace in a 3-0 win over Crotone.

Leaders Nice edged by Caen, PSG hit four

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Paris (AFP) Table-toppers Nice suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season on Sunday when they went down 1-0 after a hotly disputed penalty at Caen.

The southern side still top Ligue 1 with 29 points ahead of Monaco on 26 while champions Paris Saint Germain are third, also on 26 points after a 4-0 home win over Rennes.

Pjanic answers critics as Juventus labour to Chievo win

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Milan (AFP) Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic silenced his critics with a superb free-kick winner as injury-depleted Juventus laboured to a 2-1 win at Chievo to stretch their Serie A lead Sunday.

In a hard-fought encounter that saw defender Andrea Barzagli stretchered off after just four minutes, Juventus were given another reminder their bid for a record sixth consecutive league title is far from being a formality.

Kane, Wilshere back for England

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London (AFP) Jack Wilshere and Harry Kane have been recalled by England interim manager Gareth Southgate for the forthcoming matches against Scotland and Spain.

Wilshere has been missing from the England set-up since Euro 2016 as both former boss Sam Allardyce and then Southgate chose to leave him out.

‘I’d be Messi-Ronaldo combined’ says Bolt

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Olympic sprint king Usain Bolt said Sunday that if he ever realised his long-held ambition of becoming a professional footballer, he'd like to have the skills of both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Asked by Argentine magazine Viva: "Would you prefer to be like Lionel Messi or like Cristiano Ronaldo?

Combative Mourinho questions fight of United stars

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at the Manchester United players he fears might not have the right attitude to guide his side back into the Premier League title race.

Mourinho saw first half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba help United to only a second league victory in eight games as his side cruised to a 3-1 success at Swansea on Sunday.

Icardi at double as Inter stage late show

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Milan (AFP) Mauro Icardi struck a late brace including one from the spot as crisis-hit Inter Milan handed their coach-in-waiting a boost with a 3-0 win over basement side Crotone on Sunday.

Inter have been rudderless since Frank De Boer's sacking as coach last week after a fifth reverse of the season, away to Sampdoria, left them 13 points adrift of leaders Juventus.

Phillips ends Leicester’s home run

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester City's 20-game unbeaten home record in the Premier League came to an end as Matt Phillips scored West Brom's winner in a 2-1 victory on Sunday.

The Scotland international winger provided the cross for James Morrison's opener on 52 minutes and then seized on a Danny Drinkwater howler to grab the decisive goal 20 minutes later.

Ibrahimovic unfazed by landmark goal

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic was unfazed as the Manchester United striker enjoyed a landmark double in Sunday's 3-1 win against Swansea.

Ibrahimovic scored the 400th club goal of his career and the 25,000th goal in the history of the Premier League in the first half at the Liberty Stadium.

Ronaldo extends Real Madrid deal to 2021

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo looks set to retire at Real Madrid after agreeing a bumper new five-year contract to be signed on Monday that ties him to the Spanish giants until 2021.

"The official event for the renewal of Cristiano Ronaldo's contract will take place tomorrow, Monday 7 November at 1:30pm in the presidential box at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium," Madrid said in a statement on Sunday.

Kalaba brace fires Mazembe to CAF Cup glory

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Lubumbashi (DR Congo) (AFP) A Rainford Kalaba brace helped TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo outplay Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria 4-1 Sunday to win the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time.

The Lubumbashi 'Ravens' won the second-tier African club competition 5-2 on aggregate after drawing the first leg against the 'Crabs' 1-1 in North Africa last weekend.

Ronaldo extends Real Madrid contract to 2021

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Madrid (AFP) Three-time World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo will sign a bumper new five-year contract with Spanish giants Real Madrid on Monday, the club confirmed on Sunday.

"The official event for the renewal of Cristiano Ronaldo's contract will take place tomorrow, Monday 7 November at 1:30pm in the presidential box at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium," Madrid said in a statement.

Ibrahimovic double inspires United stroll

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Swansea (United Kingdom) (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic eased the pressure on Jose Mourinho as the Manchester United striker's double sealed a 3-1 win at struggling Swansea on Sunday.

With only one victory in their previous seven Premier League games, United manager Mourinho had come under mounting pressure at Old Trafford.

Leaders Nice edged by disputed Caen penalty

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Paris (AFP) Table-toppers Nice suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season on Sunday when they went down 1-0 after a hotly disputed penalty at Caen.

The southern side still top Ligue 1 with 29 points ahead of Monaco on 26 points while champions Paris Saint Germain are third on 23 ahead of their Sunday night game at home to Rennes.

Pjanic answers critics as Juve labour to Chievo win

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Milan (AFP) Bosnia midfielder Miralem Pjanic silenced his critics with a superb free-kick winner as injury-depleted Juventus laboured to a 2-1 win at Chievo to stretch their Serie A lead Sunday.

Roma have the chance to reduce the gap to four points later when they host Bologna at the Stadio Olimpico.

Leipzig equal record to draw level with Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) Bundesliga debutants RB Leipzig drew level on 24 points with Bayern Munich at the top of the table on Sunday with a record-equalling 3-1 win over Mainz.

Leipzig have now matched Bayern's run of seven wins and three draws from their first ten German league games.

They equal the record for a team in their debut Bundesliga season, set by MSV Duisburg, who also went ten games unbeaten in the 1993/94 season.

Ruthless Reds crush Watford to take pole position

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Liverpool (AFP) Liverpool climbed to the top of the Premier League table for the first time under Jurgen Klopp with a dazzling 6-1 demolition of Watford at Anfield on Sunday.

Sadio Mane scored twice for the Reds, while Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum were also on the scoresheet as Liverpool produced the kind of performance that will fuel talk of a serious title challenge on Merseyside.

Dawson delivers welcome win for Hull

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Kingston upon Hull (United Kingdom) (AFP) Robert Snodgrass and Michael Dawson scored within two minutes of each other to end Hull's six match Premier League losing streak with a 2-1 win over Southampton on Sunday.

Hull who had lost their previous six encounters with the Saints had gone behind to a sixth minute penalty by Charlie Austin.

Spurs’ Wanyama lucky to avoid red card: Wenger

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London (AFP) Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama had been "very lucky" to avoid a red card during Sunday's 1-1 draw between the teams.

The Kenyan midfielder proved his usual bustling presence at the base of Spurs' midfield and despite a flare-up with Theo Walcott late in the first half, he avoided a booking.

New deal should end Ronaldo career at Real – Zidane

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has called on Cristiano Ronaldo to follow in his footsteps by retiring at the Santiago Bernabeu with the Portuguese the latest Real star set to sign a bumper new contract.

Widespread Spanish media reports on Sunday said Ronaldo will follow Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in signing a deal tying him to the European champions until 2021, by which time he would be 36.

Bale double puts Madrid five points clear

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Madrid (AFP) Gareth Bale hit both goals as Real Madrid extended their lead at the top of La Liga to five points with a 3-0 win over Leganes on Sunday.

Bale signed one of the most lucrative deals in football history on Monday to keep him at the European champions until 2021.

And the Welshman earned his bumper new wage as he struck twice in seven minutes just before half-time, whilst Alvaro Morata added a third 14 minutes from time.

‘Fantastico’ Chelsea can get better, says Conte

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London (AFP) Antonio Conte claimed Chelsea can still improve, despite recording his best win as manager of the club so far, describing his side's 5-0 thrashing of Everton as "fantastico".

The Italian had been pressed to offer a word from his own language for the display and, having chuckled about the one he picked, then spoke seriously about how the true value of this victory is how it instils confidence in the system and his ongoing work with the squad.

Hamsik celebrations kept in check by Lazio draw in Serie A

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Milan (AFP) Marek Hamsik's celebrations at hitting his 50th Napoli goal at the San Paolo were tempered by a 1-1 draw with Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.

Napoli welcomed on-form Lazio looking to bite into their seven-point deficit to leaders Juventus, compounded by their 2-1 defeat to the champions in Turin last week.

Guardiola wants City to show killer instinct

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Pep Guardiola acknowledged Manchester City need to develop a more ruthless instinct after they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Middlesbrough.

Guardiola's side made a major statement on the European stage when they beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Rodgers hails Celtic’s ‘Blond Cafu’ Armstrong

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers said he expected big things from Stuart Armstrong after his man-of-the-match performance in the 3-0 win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The Scottish midfielder had to slot in at right-back after an injury to Mikel Lustig saw the Swede limp off early on and Rodgers praised him for his performance in an unfamiliar role.

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

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

In one of the biggest matches of every Premier League season, Arsenal takes on Spurs in the north London derby at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal has an opportunity to surge into first place in the Premier League with a win.

Where to find Porto vs. Benfica on US TV and streaming

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

Benfica and Porto compete on Sunday in a top of the table clash in Portugal. Benfica is currently five points ahead in the Primeira Liga, with Porto hoping to close the gap to just two points if they can win.

Hamsik celebrations kept in check by Lazio draw

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Milan (AFP) Marek Hamsik's celebrations at hitting his 50th Napoli goal at the San Paolo were tempered by a 1-1 draw with Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.

Napoli welcomed on-form Lazio looking to bite into their seven-point deficit to leaders Juventus, compounded by their 2-1 defeat to the champions in Turin last week.

Conte warns Hazard not to rest on his laurels

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London (AFP) Antonio Conte challenged Eden Hazard to maintain his superb form after the Chelsea playmaker inspired his side's 5-0 thrashing of Everton on Saturday.

After a poor campaign last season, Hazard has been revitalised under the leadership of Blues boss Conte and the Belgian capped his recent renaissance with two goals in Chelsea's swaggering victory at Stamford Bridge.

Hazard shreds Everton to fire Chelsea top

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London (AFP) Chelsea went top of the Premier League after a brilliant 5-0 win over Everton on Saturday gave them the biggest victory of Antonio Conte's managerial tenure so far.

Eden Hazard put in his best performance of the new era, scoring twice in an exceptional individual performance, with Marcos Alonso, Diego Costa and Pedro Rodriguez also on target.

Bayern’s Ancelotti plays down Robben spat

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti dismissed Arjen Robben's sideline spat as just something "from the media" after the Dutchman was substituted in the Bundesliga leaders' 1-1 draw with Hoffenheim.

Bayern were denied a sixth straight win on Saturday by third-placed Hoffenheim, who preserved their unbeaten record this season under coach Julian Nagelsmann, 29, the youngest in Bundesliga history.

Atletico pay penalty in Real Sociedad defeat

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid's La Liga title hopes suffered another serious setback as two Real Sociedad penalties inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the Champions League finalists on Saturday.

Carlos Vela opened the scoring nine minutes into the second half before handing responsibilities from the spot to Willian Jose to seal Sociedad's third straight win 15 minutes from time.

Chelsea storm to summit after Man City stumble

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London (AFP) Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea exploited a slip-up by Manchester City to claim top spot in the Premier League by clinically crushing Everton 5-0 on Saturday.

Marten de Roon's stoppage-time equaliser earned Middlesbrough a 1-1 draw at City and Antonio Conte's Chelsea took advantage to move a point clear of Pep Guardiola's side at the summit.

Hart avoids howler as five-star Torino rout Cagliari

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Milan (AFP) England goalkeeper Joe Hart narrowly avoided a goal-line howler as Andrea Belotti inspired a rampant Torino to a 5-1 win over Cagliari in Serie A on Saturday.

Torino welcomed the Sardinians looking to get back to winning ways after two draws and a defeat at Inter Milan last month where Hart was beaten by a Mauro Icardi double.

MLS finals preview: New York teams trying to overcome deficit

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The second legs of the MLS Cup conference semi-finals are set to take place this weekend, with a number of exciting fixtures becoming do-or-die for the title hopefuls.

With reigning champions Portland Timbers not making the cut, 2016 will throw up a new competition winner from the remaining eight teams.

Four-goal Aubameyang redeemed for Milan trip

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Berlin (AFP) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earned redemption for a trip to Milan in a private jet with four goals in Borussia Dortmund's 5-2 drubbing of Hamburg on Saturday to get back onside with coach Thomas Tuchel.

Dortmund boss Tuchel threw Aubameyang out of the squad for Wednesday's Champions League win over Sporting Lisbon after the Gabon striker's Italian jaunt with friends on Monday.

Last-gasp Barnes crushes Palace fightback

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Burnley (United Kingdom) (AFP) Ashley Barnes struck a 94th-minute winner as Burnley withstood a stirring second-half fightback by Crystal Palace to claim a breathless 3-2 victory on Saturday.

Sam Vokes's second-minute strike and a long-range Johann Berg Gudmundsson effort put Sean Dyche's Burnley two goals to the good at half-time.

Man City hangover not to blame, says Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola dismissed the hypothesis his side had suffered from a Champions League hangover in Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to Middlesbrough.

City went into the game on the back of a stirring 3-1 victory over Barcelona in mid-week and took a 43rd-minute lead courtesy of Sergio Aguero's 150th goal for the club.

Wolves hire Lambert after Derby defeat

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London (AFP) Championship strugglers Wolves appointed Paul Lambert as their new manager just hours after losing 3-2 against Derby on Saturday.

Lambert, who has a Championship promotion on his CV with Norwich, was hired by Wolves' Chinese owners after the Fosun Group axed Walter Zenga just 87 days into his reign.

City brought down to earth by De Roon’s late goal

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Marten De Roon's dramatic stoppage-time header cancelled out Sergio Aguero's first-half goal and earned Middlesbrough a point with a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Saturday.

Aguero touched in his 150th City goal from Kevin De Bruyne's low cross to cap a dominant first-half performance from Pep Guardiola's side.

Rogic on scoresheet as Celtic ease to victory

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Glasgow (AFP) In-form Australian international Tom Rogic scored as Celtic increased their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to 10 points with a 3-0 win at home to 10-man Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

Goals by Scott Sinclair, Leigh Griffiths and Rogic ensured Celtic exacted revenge for Inverness being the only side to take points off them this season a 2-2 draw in September.

Falcao scores double as Monaco hit six

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Paris (AFP) Radamel Falcao continued his return to prominence on Saturday with a brace as Monaco kept up their superb form by thumping Nancy 6-0 at the Stade Louis II.

Falcao's goals, the second of which came from the penalty spot, were followed by a Kylian Mbappe strike moments after his second-half introduction.

Atletico pay the penalty in Sociedad defeat

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid's La Liga title hopes suffered another serious setback as two Real Sociedad penalties inflicted a 2-0 defeat on the Champions League finalists on Saturday.

Carlos Vela opened the scoring nine minutes into the second-half before handing responsibilities from the spot to Willian Jose to seal Sociedad's third straight win 15 minutes from time.

Aubameyang hits four, Hoffenheim hold Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted four goals on Saturday as Borussia Dortmund routed bottom side Hamburg 5-2 away, while Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw by Hoffenheim.

The result at the Allianz Arena means second-placed RB Leipzig can now move level on points with Bayern at the summit if they win at home to mid-table Mainz on Sunday.

De Roon denies Man City, first win for Sunderland

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London (AFP) Marten de Roon's stoppage-time header earned Middlesbrough a 1-1 draw at Manchester City on Saturday to leave Pep Guardiola's side in a vulnerable position at the Premier League summit.

Sergio Aguero's 150th City goal looked to have sent his side three points clear, but De Roon brought the Etihad Stadium back to earth following Tuesday's brilliant 3-1 win over Barcelona in the Champions League.

Defoe ends Sunderland woe

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Bournemouth (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jermain Defoe's second-half penalty gave 10-man Sunderland their first win at the 11th attempt in the Premier League this season as they beat Bournemouth 2-1 away on Saturday.

The 34-year-old former England striker's sixth goal of the season against a team where he spent a productive season on loan as an 18-year-old scoring 18 goals for them completed the Black Cats comeback.

Preview of MLS Conference Semifinals, second leg

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Four teams will book their places in MLS' Conference Finals. For four more teams, the 2016 season will end. Sunday's quadruple header of playoff action might be the best MLS viewing day of the year. Here's what to watch for.

Colorado v. LA Galaxy

First Leg: LA 1, Colorado 0

What to Expect: The first leg of this tie in Carson last Sunday played out mostly as expected: LA dominated territorially, but the Rapids' defense hung tough.

Bojan punishes Adrian blunder to rescue Stoke

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London (AFP) Bojan Krkic punished a costly mistake from West Ham goalkeeper Adrian as Stoke battled back to salvage a 1-1 draw at the London Stadium on Saturday.

Mark Hughes' side trailed to Glenn Whelan's second half own goal, but they were bailed out when Adrian made a hash of a routine cross and Spanish forward Bojan fired home.

Where to find Club Leon vs. Chivas de Guadalajara on US TV and streaming

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Liga MX's match between Club Leon vs. Chivas will be shown live on US television and streaming.

Here are the details of where and how to watch the match:

Programming note:Even if you don't have a TV subscription to Univision or Univision Deportes Network, you can watch Club Leon vs.

Zola ‘linked’ to vacant Inter job

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Milan (AFP) Former Chelsea fans' favourite Gianfranco Zola has emerged as a surprise, last-minute candidate to replace sacked Inter Milan coach Frank De Boer, reports suggested Saturday.

De Boer's sacking after a 1-0 defeat at Sampdoria last week has plunged the San Siro giants into crisis just 11 games into the season.

Foxes in the hunt for West Brom win

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Leicester City can end a solid week in style with a victory over West Bromwich Albion that would send them into the Premier League's international break on a high.

Yet for a club still making history and breaking down barriers, the Premier League champions had felt a little low heading into Sunday's clash with the Baggies.

Spurs hope Kane can supply derby spark

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London (AFP) Buoyed by the return of Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur will look to arrest their current slump and improve their dismal record at the Emirates Stadium in Sunday's derby against Arsenal.

Though they remain the last unbeaten team in the Premier League, Tottenham have gone six games without victory in all competitions since their stunning 2-0 defeat of Manchester City a month ago.

Manchester United seek Swansea boost as Mourinho looks on

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United are in need of a lift as they travel to Swansea, but must seek it without the presence of their manager Jose Mourinho on the touchline.

Mourinho must watch from the stand at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, having been given a one-match ban for confronting referee Mark Clattenburg at half-time during last weekend's goalless draw with Burnley.

Henderson tells Liverpool to keep eyes on the prize

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Liverpool (AFP) Jordan Henderson wants Liverpool to be remembered for winning trophies rather than as the Premier League's great entertainers.

Prior to this weekend's round of matches, Liverpool were the league's joint top-scorers on 24 goals in 10 games together with leaders Manchester City.

Captain Rainford Kalaba could hold key for Mazembe

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Johannesburg (AFP) Leading scorer and captain Rainford Kalaba could be a key figure when Democratic Republic of Congo club TP Mazembe seek a first CAF Confederation Cup title on Sunday.

The star-studded Lubumbashi 'Ravens' are favoured after forcing a 1-1 draw at star-less Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria last weekend in the first leg of the final.

Where to find Bayern Munich vs. Hoffenheim on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Bayern Munich vs. Hoffenheim, you've come to the right place.

High-flying Hoffenheim are currently in fourth place in the Bundesliga, just four points behind Bayern Munich atop the Bundesliga. A shock win for Hoffenheim and they could end up in second place in the German league before the international break.

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

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

Atletico Madrid are currently in third place in La Liga, just three points behind league leaders Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Real Sociedad is in sixth place in the league, only five points behind Atleti.

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

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

Fourth against sixth clash in the Premier League on Saturday as Chelsea takes on Everton at Stamford Bridge. With Chelsea's quest for a fifth straight Premier League win on Saturday, manager Antonio Conte says his team can only succeed if they learn the lessons of playing Everton last season.

Mourinho backs misfiring Ibrahimovic

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Embattled Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho launched a stirring defence of his misfiring Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Friday.

The 35-year-old Swede has scored just once in 11 games after starting brilliantly for his new club where he was reunited with Mourinho after they were together at Inter Milan following a highly successful spell with Paris Saint Germain.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for week of October 26-31, 2016

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While the first week of the MLS Cup Playoffs got off to a poor start with average viewership for the knockout rounds down 10% from 2015, English language viewership for the first leg of the conference semi-finals was down 6%, averaging just 193,250 viewers compared to 206,000 last season.

ESPN and ESPN Deportes' viewing audience for the LA Galaxy vs.

Marseille outclassed by Boudebouz and Montpellier

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Paris (AFP) Algerian playmaker Ryad Boudebouz scored twice as Montpellier beat Marseille 3-1 on Friday to leave new OM coach Rudi Garcia still looking for a first league win in charge.

Boudebouz netted both of his goals in the first half and Steve Mounie also struck for the hosts at the Stade de la Mosson with Florian Thauvin replying for Marseille.

Kalou hat-trick downs weary Gladbach

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Berlin (AFP) Ivory Coast striker Salomon Kalou bagged a hat-trick as Hertha Berlin defeated weary Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-0 to move into third spot in the Bundesliga on Friday.

The former Chelsea and Lille star allowed Hertha to maintain their 100 percent home record while Gladbach, who were playing just three days after drawing with Celtic in the Champions League, have now gone five successive Bundesliga games without scoring.

Action not words are required, says Mata

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United's Spanish international midfielder Juan Mata said it is time for his team to play well rather than talk a good game, starting with Swansea on Sunday.

The 28-year-old United's player of the month in a spell of poor results for them and manager Jose Mourinho including a 4-0 hammering by Chelsea added the team needed to show character to arrest their dip in form.

Gabon sacks Costa, appoint Garrido ahead of CAN

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Libreville (AFP) Africa Cup of Nations hosts Gabon have sacked coach Jorge Costa littlemore than two months before the start of the 2017 tournament, the country's federation announced on Friday.

The Fegafoot first cancelled a Costa press conference scheduled for Friday morning before announcing the departure of the 45-year-old former Portugal defender.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 11

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NBC Sports Group's Premier League coverage this weekend is highlighted by one of the most anticipated matches of the season, the North London Derby between storied rivals Arsenal and Tottenham this Sunday, Nov. 6, at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC UNIVERSO.

Second-place Arsenal look to widen their three-point lead on fifth-place Tottenham on Sunday after successfully topping Spurs in the race for second place last season.

NBC Sports plans trifecta of soccer coverage after Saturday’s match on NBC

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NBC Sports this weekend will be doing a first TV to digital to social line up to provide soccer fans in the United States with plenty of coverage of the Premier League.

Due to the clocks already going back one hour in the United Kingdom, Saturday's game between Chelsea and Everton on NBC will kick off at 1:30pm ET instead of the usual 12:30pm ET start time.

Chelsea boss Conte hails ‘complete’ Costa

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London (AFP) Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was adamant Friday he had no cause for regret in failing to sign Romelu Lukaku, given he had a "complete player" at his disposal in rival striker Diego Costa.

Brazil-born Spain international Costa tops the current Premier League scoring charts with eight goals, while Belgium's Lukaku has found the back of the net seven times.

Klopp says buck stops with him as Liverpool name sporting director

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London (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp stressed he would have the "final say" over which players were bought and sold at Anfield after the Merseysiders announced Friday their newly-created post of sporting director.

Michael Edwards, who previously held backroom roles as Liverpool's head of analytics, director of technical performance and technical director has the new role.

Bellerin keen to stay at Arsenal

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London (AFP) Arsenal's Hector Bellerin insisted Friday he was happy to see out his existing contract with the Gunners amid reports linking him with a move to Premier League leaders Manchester City or Spanish giants Barcelona.

The 21-year-old Spain full-back, battling to be fit for the North London derby at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, began his career at Barcelona's celebrated La Masia academy but he told the London Evening Standard: "If Iwanted to play there I would have stayed there.

Pochettino glad Kane able to feature in derby squad

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London (AFP) Harry Kane will be fit to play some part in this weekend's North London derby, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino said Friday.

The England striker has been out for nearly seven weeks with an ankle problem but Pochettino said it would "not be a risk" for the 23-year-old to feature in some capacity away to Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

Real Madrid return 20mn euro ‘illegal aid’ payment

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Madrid (AFP) Real Madrid, one of the world's richest clubs, have returned 20.3 million euros to Madrid city council after the EU said it constituted "illegal" state aid, city officials said Friday.

In a statement, the city council said it would inform the European Commission it had received the sum, which is equvalent to $22.

Toure apology ‘good news’, says Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted nothing has changed in his stormy relationship with Yaya Toure although he welcomed the Ivory Coast international's apology for controversial statements issued by the player's agent.

The City manager was talking on Friday just hours after Toure issued an apology over his dispute with the Spaniard as he attempted to bring an end to an impasse that has seen him left out of the team since the opening weeks of the season.

Israeli court questions football on Jewish Sabbath

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Jerusalem (AFP) Israel's Supreme Court has called on the government to explain why football games are allowed on the traditional Jewish day of rest, court documents seen Friday by AFP showed.

The intervention reopens the thorny issue of matches played on the Sabbath, which lasts from sunset Friday until the same time Saturday.

Greece selects squad for World Cup qualifier, friendly

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Athens (AFP) Greece coach Michael Skibbe on Friday announced a 22-man squad for next week's crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier with Bosnia and Herzegovina and a friendly with Belarus.

Missing from Skibbe's previous selection are injured Roma defender Kostas Manolas and Watford defender Jose Holebas, who has retired from the national team.

FIFA take action against Ireland for political symbol

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Zurich (AFP) FIFA have opened disciplinary proceedings against the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) for a political symbol worn during a friendly in March, a spokesperson for the world body said Friday.

Ireland's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the country's Easter Uprising on their shirts has become more sensitive with England and Scotland locked in a battle with FIFA over the wearing of poppies in tribute to war dead.

Manchester City look to cap week to remember

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