Sports – Punch Newspapers

Posted on Sep 29 2017 - 8:26pm by admin

Sports – Punch NewspapersSports – Punch NewspapersJuventus fans in mafia grip, say Italian justice officialsAguero can’t play against Chelsea on saturday – GuardiolaMan City rocked as Aguero suffers broken rib in car crashMarley hired as interim England women’s coachMan City striker Aguero suffers broken rib in car accident2018 World Cup Qualifier: Boateng back for Germany, Ozil, Khedira outBellew, Haye announce London rematchStrikers take centre stage in Premier League title raceBen Arfa appeals to LFP over PSG exclusionBayern to appoint new coach in two weeks – HoenessEngland star Dele Alli bannedEngland name Abraham for European qualifiersMan City striker Aguero injured in car crashMbappe is the player PSG have been missing — VerrattiGOtv to air La Liga gamesPlayers forced out Ancelotti – BayernBNB, Accra Golden set for independence netballCOPA Lagos: Nigeria face Holland, LebanonEx-Akwa players storm Govt House for Fed Cup cashAbia Angels out of AITEO CupFalconets leave for TanzaniaStar rewards four fansIrish international Doyle retires over concussion fearsMan City’s Mendy ruptures knee ligament, set for surgeryEuropa League: Giroud reaches century as Arsenal win in BelarusWest Ham, Tottenham fined by FA over meleeAlli in England squad despite risk of FIFA banAsensio extends Real Madrid contractBen Stokes suspended from England duty due to street fightingUPDATED: Bayern Munich coach, Carlo Ancelotti, sacked –ClubChampions League: Learn from ‘painful’ PSG defeat, Rummenigge tells BayernDublin to host Euro 2020 qualifiers drawRummenigge urges Bayern to learn from painful PSG defeatUPDATED: Brazil’s Leonardo named new Antalyaspor managerUEFA Champions League scorersConte lashes tight turnaround for Man City clashTrump drags Bolt into anthem rowViolence: Ondo commissioner not fit to hold public office – Aregbesola’s aidePSG humiliate Bayern, Batshuayi stuns AtleticoUgbade, Babayaro back Rohr squad for ZambiaNigeria to host FIBA Africa Club eliminationDuke Udi slams Osun Utd fansChampions League: Higuain lifts Juventus to win over OlympiakosUEFA Champions League tablesChampions League: Lukaku, Martial lead Man United in CSKA routChampions League: Cavani, Neymar on target as PSG outclass BayernWhy I became an Arsenal fan — AregbesolaUEFA Champions League resultsBotswana referee to officiate Nigeria/Zambia clashUEFA open disciplinary probe against Spartak

http://punchng.com The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:04:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 http://punchng.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/19220759/favicon.jpg http://punchng.com 32 32 http://punchng.com/juventus-fans-in-mafia-grip-say-italian-justice-officials/ http://punchng.com/juventus-fans-in-mafia-grip-say-italian-justice-officials/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 19:01:45 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=285127

Supporters of Italian football giants Juventus are controlled by mobsters linked to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia, justice officials said Friday as the sale of tickets to hardline ultra fans was investigated.

“The ‘Ndrangheta has imposed itself within the organised groups, exercising a real control over the groups that support Juventus,” wrote Judge Giacomo Marson in a judgment reported in the Italian press.

The report came just four days after Juventus president Andrea Agnelli was banned for a year for his role in the sale of tickets to fan groups and fined 20,000 euros ($ 23,770).

Agnelli was accused of helping sell tickets to ultras fans, several of whom have links with organised crime. The tickets were then resold for a huge profit.

According to the Gazzetta dello Sport, Marson also warned against the impact of fans groups capable of “exercising a considerable power of intimidation against the club”.

He added that some of these groups “act under the direct control” of the ‘Ndrangheta, which has monopolised a “significant part of the profits” derived from the resale of tickets.

Marson believes Juventus had to know that the management of the sale of tickets to the ultras was “not very transparent”.

No official of the Turin club has been convicted or even charged in the case.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/juventus-fans-in-mafia-grip-say-italian-justice-officials/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/aguero-cant-play-against-chelsea-on-saturday-guardiola/ http://punchng.com/aguero-cant-play-against-chelsea-on-saturday-guardiola/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 17:50:38 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=285101 Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola on Friday said he had “no problem” with Sergio Aguero being in Amsterdam where he had an accident on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Argentine was in a taxi going to the airport after watching singer Maluma perform when the accident happened.

Guardiola, after confirming the striker suffered a broken rib in a car accident, added: “He had a day off. He’s OK — the most important thing.

“He cannot play against Chelsea on Saturday.”

The Spanish manager said he did not know how long Aguero would be sidelined, and added that he only discovered his striker was in the Netherlands early on Friday.

“I think days off are to be happy. I want the players to be happy. Always I am a manager who doesn’t like to train every day.

“I think the players have to rest mentally and physically. They can enjoy their lives. I want my players to have fun. If they decide to go there, they decide to go there. It is OK for me.”

Speaking on the accident, Aguero had told an Argentine radio station that the taxi driver didn’t see the curve, and the car skidded before crashing into the post.

“I’ve broken a rib. Now I’m resting but it’s really painful.”

Aguero’s former club Independiente sent the player their best wishes on Twitter, saying: “Strength and speedy recovery @aguerosergiokun! All @Independiente is with you at this difficult time.”

The striker has scored seven goals in eight matches for City this season.

This has helped Pep Guardiola’s side reach the top of the Premier League and win they’re first two UEFA Champions League group matches.

The international break follows City’s match against Chelsea.

Aguero was named in Argentina’s squad for their final two World Cup qualifiers against Peru on Oct. 5 and Ecuador on Oct. 10.

Argentina is fifth in the South American section standings which only guarantee a play-off place.

(NAN)

]]> http://punchng.com/aguero-cant-play-against-chelsea-on-saturday-guardiola/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/man-city-rocked-as-aguero-suffers-broken-rib-in-car-crash/ http://punchng.com/man-city-rocked-as-aguero-suffers-broken-rib-in-car-crash/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 16:17:23 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=285083 Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has suffered a broken rib in a car crash in the Netherlands, dealing a major blow to the Premier League leaders’ title aspirations.

Aguero had established himself as the driving force behind City’s surge to the top of the table with six Premier League goals this season, but now the Argentine ace could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The 29-year-old sustained the injury after a taxi taking him to an Amsterdam airport following a music concert was involved in an accident on Thursday night.

City manager Pep Guardiola said Aguero will miss City’s clash at champions Chelsea on Saturday, and is also set to be sidelined for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers early in October.

British media reports claim Aguero will be out of action for at least two months, but Guardiola did not have an exact time frame for how long his star would spend recovering from the injury.

“The first impression is he has broken a rib but the number of days he will be out, I don’t know,” Guardiola told reporters in Manchester on Friday.

Aguero was due to return to Manchester on Friday morning, with Guardiola insisting he had no problem with Aguero being in Amsterdam on his day off.

“A day off is to be happy,” he said. “I am a trainer who doesn’t want to train every day because they (the players) need to rest, mentally and physically.”

Amsterdam police spokesman Frans Zuiderhoek told AFP that officers attended an accident in the city at around 11:00pm (2100 GMT) on Thursday after “a taxi-cab hit a lamp-post”.

He could not confirm the identities of the two passengers and the driver, who all asked to remain anonymous.

“No other vehicles were involved,” he told AFP early on Friday, adding that three people in the taxi “have been transferred to hospital for observation… but there were no bad injuries”.

The accident occurred on De Boelelaan street, said Zuiderhoek, not far from the Arena A where Colombian singer Maluma performed on Thursday.

Television images showed a black cab, mounted on the grassy middle of a busy four-lane highway, the front staved in after it apparently ploughed front first into a tall blue-and white striped lamppost.

It was surrounded by at least two ambulances and two police cars.

Aguero, who has scored 176 goals for the English club, on Thursday posted a picture of himself with Maluma on his official Instagram page.

Aguero’s former club Independiente posted a message of support on Twitter, saying: “Strength and speedy recovery @aguerosergiokun! All @Independiente is with you at this difficult time.”

The striker, whose side are above Manchester United on goal difference, needs only two more goals to pass Eric Brook as City’s all-time leading scorer and is widely viewed as one of the world’s most feared strikers.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/man-city-rocked-as-aguero-suffers-broken-rib-in-car-crash/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/marley-hired-as-interim-england-womens-coach/ http://punchng.com/marley-hired-as-interim-england-womens-coach/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 16:13:31 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=285055

Mo Marley has been hired interim head coach of England women’s national team following the controversial departure of Mark Sampson.

Sampson was sacked by the Football Association on September 20 and Marley has moved up from her role in charge of the England Under-19 team.

The 50-year-old will lead England in a friendly against France on October 20 and in World Cup qualifiers in November against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kazakhstan.

“It is a privilege to be asked to work with the senior team on an interim basis, especially when I have witnessed the dedication both players and staff have shown to become the third best team in the world,” Marley told the FA website.

“It will be my job to step in and ensure they stay focused on the World Cup qualification. We know these players are talented and I know they are capable of great things in the future.”

Sampson was dismissed over what the FA described as “inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour” stemming from his previous job with Bristol Academy.

He had also been forced to deny claims of wrongdoing during his England reign, after 102-cap striker Eni Aluko made allegations of racism, bullying and harassment.

Sampson was cleared by two separate investigations into the accusations and appeared to have the full support of his squad.

He lost his job the day after England began their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 6-0 win over Russia.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/marley-hired-as-interim-england-womens-coach/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/man-city-striker-aguero-suffers-broken-rib-in-car-accident/ http://punchng.com/man-city-striker-aguero-suffers-broken-rib-in-car-accident/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 13:51:45 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=285014

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero suffered a broken rib in a car crash in the Netherlands, the club’s manager Pep Guardiola confirmed on Friday.

Aguero sustained the injury after a taxi taking him to an Amsterdam airport following a music concert was involved in an accident on Thursday night.

READ ALSO: Gunmen kidnap ACP, family members, demand N30m ransom

Guardiola said Aguero will miss the Premier League leaders’ clash at champions Chelsea on Saturday, and is also set to be sidelined for Argentina’s World Cup qualifiers early in October.

British media reports claim Aguero will be out of action for at least two months, but Guardiola did not have an exact time frame for how long his star would spend recovering from the injury.

“The first impression is he has broken a rib but the number of days he will be out, I don’t know,” Guardiola told reporters in Manchester on Friday.

The prolific 29-year-old was due to return to Manchester on Friday morning, with Guardiola insisting he had no problem with Aguero being in Amsterdam on his day off.

“A day off is to be happy,” he said. “I am a trainer who doesn’t want to train every day because they (the players) need to rest, mentally and physically.”

READ ALSO: England star Dele Alli banned

News of the accident first broke when City released a statement that read: “Sergio Aguero will be assessed by club doctors today after being involved in a road accident on Thursday. The City forward was in Holland on his day off and has sustained injuries.”

Amsterdam police spokesman Frans Zuiderhoek told AFP that officers attended an accident in the city at around 11:00pm (2100 GMT) on Thursday after “a taxi-cab hit a lamp-post”.

He could not confirm the identities of the two passengers and the driver, who all asked to remain anonymous.

“No other vehicles were involved,” he told AFP early on Friday, adding that three people in the taxi “have been transferred to hospital for observation… but there were no bad injuries”.

The accident occurred on De Boelelaan street, said Zuiderhoek, not far from the Arena A where Colombian singer Maluma performed on Thursday.

Television images showed a black cab, mounted on the grassy middle of a busy four-lane highway, the front staved in after it apparently ploughed front first into a tall blue-and white striped lamppost.

It was surrounded by at least two ambulances and two police cars.

It is understood Aguero’s accident occurred as he travelled back to the airport to return to Manchester.

Aguero, who has scored 176 goals for the English club, on Thursday posted a picture of himself with Maluma on his official Instagram page.

Aguero’s former club Independiente posted a message of support on Twitter, saying: “Strength and speedy recovery @aguerosergiokun! All @Independiente is with you at this difficult time.”

The striker, who has already scored six times in the Premier League this season, needs only two more goals to become City’s all-time leading scorer and is widely viewed as one of the world’s most feared strikers.

– Hero for fans –

Yet just seven months ago, Aguero’s Eastlands future appeared bleak after he lost the trust of City manager Pep Guardiola.

READ ALSO: Firefighter suspended after photo of couple having sex in fire engine appears online

Having earned his way back into Guardiola’s good graces by refusing to complain publicly about his treatment last term, Aguero has made himself indispensible with a barrage of goals.

He is a hero among City fans after scoring the winning injury-time goal that snatched the 2011/12 Premier League title away from arch-rivals Manchester United, one of the most dramatic goals in the league’s history.

Signed from Atletico Madrid for £38 million ($ 51 million, 42 million euros) by then-City boss Roberto Mancini in 2011, Aguero wasted little time announcing his arrival on the Premier League stage.

He marked his City debut with two goals in a 30-minute substitute appearance against Swansea.

By the time City reached the final game of the season, Aguero had scored 23 times in the league to fire the club towards their first title in 44 years.

His goals were a key element in City’s second Premier League triumph two years later.

He has also won the League Cup twice and finished as the Premier League’s top scorer in the 2014/15 season.

]]> http://punchng.com/man-city-striker-aguero-suffers-broken-rib-in-car-accident/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/2018-world-cup-qualifier-boateng-back-for-germany-ozil-khedira-out/ http://punchng.com/2018-world-cup-qualifier-boateng-back-for-germany-ozil-khedira-out/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 13:38:18 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=285011

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng made his return to the Germany squad announced by Joachim Loew on Friday for the closing two World Cup qualifiers.

Group leaders with eight straight wins, Germany need just a single point to ensure direct qualification for the finals in Russia, either against Northern Ireland next Thursday in Belfast or at home to Azerbaijan on October 8.

But several key players are missing from Loew’s squad due to injury.

Although the experienced Boateng will be back to bolster the defence alongside Mats Hummels, many of Germany’s World Cup winning squad are left off the list.

In midfield, the defending world champions are without Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Mario Goetze, who is still below-par after having only returned in August following seven months off with a metabolic disorder.

Missing from defence are Benedkit Hoewedes and Jonas Hector, while forward Mario Gomez is also out.

Another key absence is that of captain Manuel Neuer, who is sidelined until January after fracturing his left foot.

Goalkeeper Neuer has not played for Germany since October 2016, when Die Mannschaft beat Northern Ireland 2-0.

To replace them, Loew has turned to Confederation Cup winners Sandro Wagner, Marvin Plattenhardt and forward Timo Werner, with Barcelona’s Marc-Andere ter Stegen keeping goal.

Germany squad

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona/ESP), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal/ENG), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea/ENG), Niklas Suele (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Emre Can (Liverpool/ENG), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/ESP), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Manchester City/ENG), Amin Younes (Ajax/NED), Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim)

Forwards: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Lars Stindl (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/2018-world-cup-qualifier-boateng-back-for-germany-ozil-khedira-out/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/bellew-haye-announce-london-rematch/ http://punchng.com/bellew-haye-announce-london-rematch/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 13:11:38 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284983 British rivals Tony Bellew and David Haye have agreed to a second instalment of their heavyweight grudge match in December.

Former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight Bellew stepped up to the heavyweight class to hand former world champion Haye just the third defeat of his career in London in March.

But Haye fought for five of their 11 rounds with a ruptured Achilles leading to more questions than answers and leaving many hoping for a rematch.

There was plenty of bad blood between the pair in the build-up to the first fight and now, with Haye fit again, the pair will have a rematch at London’s 02 Arena on December 17.

“I will have the exact same attitude I had going into the first fight — win at all costs,” Bellew said on Friday.

“I will be victorious on December 17 and I will end David Haye’s career. Another loss to me closes the curtain on the Hayemaker.

“This isn’t personal anymore, it’s strictly business. This is just another fight.”

Haye, a heavyweight title-holder between 2009 and 2011, has rebuilt both his body and his team since the loss to Bellew, with Ismael Salas taking over from Shane McGuigan as his trainer.

“I’m excited to give the public the rematch they truly crave, ever since the explosive first showdown earlier this year. On March 4, the script was thrown out the window and the unpredictability of sport revealed itself in its most raw form,” he said.

“He somehow won the lottery in our first fight, but believe me, he won’t win the lottery twice.”

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/bellew-haye-announce-london-rematch/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/strikers-take-centre-stage-in-premier-league-title-race/ http://punchng.com/strikers-take-centre-stage-in-premier-league-title-race/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:44:07 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284981

From Romelu Lukaku battering defences into submission to Alvaro Morata’s dazzling array of sublime finishes, one of the central themes of the Premier League’s opening weeks has been the renaissance of the star strikers.

In recent years, coaches with an eye for the latest tactical trend ditched the traditional forward role in favour of the “false nine” — a player capable of operating in midfield and wide areas instead of solely functioning as a penalty box predator.

But this season, the Premier League’s title chasers have changed tack, with many spending big on strikers capable of bringing a more pronounced edge to their attacks.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have all reaped the rewards of that philosophy, while Tottenham and Manchester City have made the most of their in-house talent, leaving only Liverpool, still searching for a prolific finisher, as the odd ones out.

Here is a closer look at some of the leading men in the Premier League’s blockbuster goal blitz:

Romelu Lukaku

When Jose Mourinho reviewed his frustrating first season as Manchester United boss, he was left with one glaring conclusion — the lack of a muscular finisher had wrecked his title challenge.

To remedy the situation, Mourinho splashed out £75 million ($ 100 million, 85 million euros) on Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and the bruising Belgian has wasted little time repaying that hefty fee.

Lukaku, once sold by Mourinho during their time at Chelsea, has appeared to the manor born with United, swiftly kick-starting his new team’s bid for their first title since 2013.

With 10 goals in nine appearances in all competitions, including six in six in the Premier League, the 24-year-old has given United a swagger they badly missed during a series of dull stalemates at Old Trafford last season.

“They are amazing numbers for Romelu. He is humble and wants to learn and improve all the time,” Mourinho said.

Alvaro Morata

Having cast Diego Costa into exile after growing tired of the Spaniard’s temper tantrums, Blues boss Antonio Conte has found the ideal replacement in Morata.

Initially, Conte wanted to bring Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge, but when Mourinho won that race the Italian switched to Morata, who arrived from Real Madrid for a club record £58 million.

Morata has adapted to English football so successfully that he already has seven goals in eight appearances, including six from six in the Premier League.

Unlike Costa, who menaced opponents with his snarling aggression, the 24-year-old is a more cerebral assassin, preferring to punish defenders with astute movement and peerless shot-making.

Determined to repay Conte’s faith after spending much of his time in Madrid on the bench, Morata said: “I came to Chelsea because one club and one coach believed in me. I’m very happy.”

Harry Kane

Derided as a one-season wonder when he burst onto the Premier League scene three years ago, Kane now finds himself ranked among the world’s best strikers.

Back when he was being loaned out to the likes of Millwall and Leyton Orient, it seemed impossible Kane would ever be mentioned in the same breath as other-worldly talents such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

But, if he were not so modest, the 24-year-old could make his case by pointing to the barrage of goals that have marked every step of his remarkable rise.

Kane has netted at least 20 goals in each of the past three Premier League seasons and the England international is not slowing down this term, hitting nine goals in eight appearances in all competitions.

No wonder Pochettino is running out of superlatives, saying: “Harry Kane is one of the best in the world. “All the praise and words I can use to describe him, I cannot find any more.”

Alexandre Lacazette

Assailed by critics at every turn over the past year, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could ill-afford to give the naysayers more ammunition by bungling the club’s record signing.

Luckily for the beleaguered Wenger, the £52 million purchase of France striker Lacazette from Lyon looks like money well spent so far.

While Arsenal’s performances have been inconsistent, the 26-year-old has been part of the solution rather than cause of their problems.

With four goals in six Premier League appearances, Lacazette has provided hope in a gloomy time for Gunners fans, with his brace against West Bromwich Albion last weekend making him the first player to start his Arsenal career by scoring in three successive home league games since 1988.

“I am not looking for this particular type of record but more stability with the team,” Lacazette said of his fast start.

]]> http://punchng.com/strikers-take-centre-stage-in-premier-league-title-race/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/ben-arfa-appeals-to-lfp-over-psg-exclusion/ http://punchng.com/ben-arfa-appeals-to-lfp-over-psg-exclusion/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:39:29 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284973

Outcast France international Hatem Ben Arfa has appealed to the French League’s legal committee after again being sent to train with Paris Saint-Germain’s reserves, the LFP told AFP on Friday.

An earlier story in L’Equipe newspaper said the French giants had told Ben Arfa to return to training with the reserves from Friday onwards.

It’s the second time this season the 30-year-old has been banished from the first team and comes only two weeks after being welcomed back into the fold.

PSG originally sent the attacking midfielder to train with the reserves after unsuccessfully trying to offload the former Newcastle United and Marseille player during the summer.

“Legally, I believe the club has violated the professional football Charter,” Ben Arfa’s lawyer Jean-Jacques Bertrand told AFP three weeks ago.

The Charter allows teams to relegate a professional player to a second training group as long as it is only “temporary (and) exclusively for sporting reasons relating to the management of the squad”.

Ben Arfa was left out of PSG’s Champions League squad this season while his hopes of forcing coach Unai Emery into a rethink took a hit by the mega-money signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in August.

With the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United, Ben Arfa was PSG’s marquee signing just over a year ago following a stellar campaign with Nice that saw him rebuild his faltering career after several unsuccessful years in England.

But his PSG dream soon turned sour and he was left in limbo as Emery made clear before the season began that he didn’t want the temperamental player.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/ben-arfa-appeals-to-lfp-over-psg-exclusion/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/bayern-to-appoint-new-coach-in-two-weeks-hoeness/ http://punchng.com/bayern-to-appoint-new-coach-in-two-weeks-hoeness/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:18:39 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284963 Bayern Munich want to find a successor to sacked coach Carlo Ancelotti within the next two weeks, club president Uli Hoeness said on Friday.

Ancelotti was abruptly dismissed on Thursday in the wake of Bayern’s 3-0 Champions League loss at Paris Saint-Germain the previous night.

READ ALSO: Players forced out Ancelotti – Bayern

Hoeness told German radio station FFH: “We’re not under any pressure, but after the two week (international) break we want to have a solution.”

Assistant coach Willy Sagnol, the ex-France international, will be in charge of the team for Sunday’s Bundesliga outing at Hertha Berlin.

Local media suggest two German managers, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann, could be in the frame to replace the Italian.

Tuchel was let go by Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season after differences with the club’s management, while 30-year-old Nagelsmann is currently in charge of Hoffenheim.

Earlier this month, Bayern lost 2-0 at Hoffenheim and then relinquished a two-goal lead at home to Wolfsburg to draw 2-2 before Wednesday’s bruising loss at the Parc des Princes.

Facing criticism from the fans and the media for his failure to accomodate Thomas Mueller, Ancelotti’s relationship with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery was also reported to be under strain.

The defeat in Paris was Bayern’s heaviest since losing 3-0 away to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg in May 2015.

Bayern are currently third in the Bundesliga table after six games, three points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, before visiting Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

Ancelotti led Bayern to a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title last season in his first campaign in charge after succeeding Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.

However, the Bavarians lost to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and to Dortmund in the semi-finals of the German Cup.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/bayern-to-appoint-new-coach-in-two-weeks-hoeness/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/england-star-dele-alli-banned/ http://punchng.com/england-star-dele-alli-banned/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:09:50 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284960

Dele Alli has been given a one-game England ban after making an offensive gesture during his country’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

Alli was hit with the punishment and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,800) by world governing body FIFA following the incident in England’s win at Wembley last month.

READ ALSO: IPOB leader, Kanu, not in military custody –Army sources

Television footage showed the Tottenham midfielder making a middle-finger salute shortly after a collision with Martin Skrtel.

But Alli claimed the gesture was aimed at England team-mate Kyle Walker rather than the officials or any Slovakia player.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee accepted the 21-year-old was not taunting referee Clement Turpin, but still handed out the suspension.

Alli is set to miss next Thursday’s game against Slovenia at Wembley as England look to seal their place at next year’s World Cup,

He could return for the final group game in Lithuania on Sunday.

“Following the incident that occurred during the match between England and Slovakia on 4 September 2017. Dele Alli has been sanctioned with a suspension for one official match, and a fine of CHF 5,000 for making an offensive and unsporting gesture,” a FIFA spokesman said.

READ ALSO: Yerima ‘remarries’ Adeboye, wife on stage

“Although the Disciplinary Committee was not convinced that the player directed the gesture at the referee, and regardless of whether it was allegedly directed at a team-mate, it did consider such gesture to be offensive and unsporting and therefore it amounted to a violation of art. 57 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.”

Prior to the suspension being announced, England manager Gareth Southgate said he hoped Alli would learn from his mistake.

“I’ve had a good chat with Dele about a lot of different things but the biggest disappointment for him is to miss football,” Southgate told the FA website.

“So the upshot of all of this is that he recognises the responsibility and it’s important for him and us that he’s available for games which he wants to play.

READ ALSO: Nigerians fault new Awolowo statue, say it distorts sage

“He’s a young player, a young man and young people are going to make mistakes – old people make plenty of mistakes.

“For certain, he knows something like what happened that night won’t happen again.”

]]> http://punchng.com/england-star-dele-alli-banned/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/england-name-abraham-for-european-qualifiers/ http://punchng.com/england-name-abraham-for-european-qualifiers/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 09:55:04 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284742 Tammy Abraham has been named in the England U21 squad after rejecting reports from last week that he wanted to start representing Nigeria at international level, Skysports reports.

Manager Aidy Boothroyd has named a 24-man squad for their European qualifiers against Scotland and Andorra, which includes Abraham who is eligible to play for Nigeria through his father.

The Chelsea striker, who is currently on loan at Swansea, confirmed he held talks with Nigeria Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick earlier this month, but has since released a statement confirming his commitment to England.

Boothroyd’s team features the majority of the group which secured a draw and victory against Netherlands and Latvia earlier this month, although they are without Chelsea’s Kasey Palmer through injury.

“I was really pleased with the way it went, we got four points on the board in our games which was what we’d targeted and the way the group came together for the start of our campaign was pleasing,” Boothroyd told the official FA website.

“The game with Scotland is an intriguing fixture and it’s a really good game for us. The fact that the Scots beat the Dutch is good for the group I think because it now sets it up nicely for our game with them.

“They’re a team that will naturally want to beat us and they’ll be working very hard to do that.”

Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks and Crystal Palace’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek have both been selected for October’s fixtures alongside Leicester striker Demarai Gray.

Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Nottingham Forest’s Joseph Worrall and Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson (on-loan at Shrewsbury Town), are the three uncapped players.

]]> http://punchng.com/england-name-abraham-for-european-qualifiers/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/man-city-striker-aguero-injured-in-dutch-car-crash/ http://punchng.com/man-city-striker-aguero-injured-in-dutch-car-crash/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:06:34 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284914 Manchester City’s Argentine striker Sergio Aguero “sustained injuries” in a car crash in the Netherlands and is returning to Britain to be checked ahead of the weekend’s Premier League fixtures, the club said Friday.

“Sergio Aguero will be assessed by club doctors today after being involved in a road accident on Thursday. The City forward was in Holland on his day off and has sustained injuries,” said the statement.

The prolific 29-year-old will return to Manchester Friday morning and will be assessed ahead of City’s Premier League clash at Chelsea on Saturday.

Amsterdam police spokesman Frans Zuiderhoek told AFP that officers attended an accident in the city at around 11:00pm (2100 GMT) on Thursday after “a taxi-cab hit a lamp-post”.

He could not confirm the identities of the two passengers and the driver, who all asked to remain anonymous.

“No other vehicles were involved,” he told AFP early Friday, adding three people in the taxi “have been transferred to hospital for observation… but there were no bad injuries.”

The accident occurred on De Boelelaan street, said Zuiderhoek, not far from the Arena A where Colombian singer Maluma performed Thursday.

The Argentina striker, who has scored 128 goals in 187 games for the English club, on Thursday posted a picture of himself with the singer on his official Instagram page.

]]> http://punchng.com/man-city-striker-aguero-injured-in-dutch-car-crash/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/mbappe-is-the-player-psg-have-been-missing-verratti/ http://punchng.com/mbappe-is-the-player-psg-have-been-missing-verratti/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 07:00:44 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284744 Marco Verratti believes that Kylian Mbappe was the pacy player that Paris Saint-Germain were missing, and said the teenager is so fast that even his teammates struggle to keep up with him in play, The Independent reports.

Mbappe was again sensational in PSG’s brilliant 3-0 Champions League win over Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes, setting up two goals with supreme forward play, and trickery as well as pace.

“I think Kylian deserves all of this (praise), because he’s a very good boy, on and off the field,” Verratti said of his new teammate. “He works a lot. On the field, he only makes choices that are for the team, never just for him. He’s a player with a future…

“We’re lucky to have him here. And we want to put him in the best conditions possible to use all of his talent.

“Sometimes you can’t even keep up with him because he’s moving so fast. We were missing a player like him. He always makes good decisions for the team, never stupid choices.”

PSG put a week of controversy behind them in a gloriously collective display that sent a warning to Europe’s footballing establishment, but Verratti was at pains to play down the victory.

“We’re very happy. We won 3-0. But we haven’t won anything yet, we haven’t achieved anything yet,” he added. “It’s good for our confidence and we showed we’re a team that’s difficult for anybody.”

Nevertheless, the Italian midfielder is pleased with the way his new teammates have gelled and feels there is plenty more to come from this PSG side.

“We’re very happy for the performance, for the way we won, for the victory. It’s a signal to ourselves. Because if we play like this, all together, against other teams, then I think the rest of Europe will respect us more,” he said. “When you buy Neymar, when you buy Mbappé, those are players who make a difference. It’s a signal to us to keep working and to give the maximum.”

]]> http://punchng.com/mbappe-is-the-player-psg-have-been-missing-verratti/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/gotv-to-air-la-liga-games/ http://punchng.com/gotv-to-air-la-liga-games/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:46:06 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284759 GOtv  has promised Nigerian football fans  live  Spanish La Liga games.

 “The GOtv Open Window periods are one of the innovative ways we aim to provide more value for our subscribers,”   the Managing Director of  MultiChoice Nigeria John Ugbe  said.

“We are delighted that our GOtv Plus customers will get to experience this new world of entertainment.”

He explained that GOtv MAX was introduced as a continuation of their desire to keep widening entertainment options for subscribers.

Ugbe added,  “Quality entertainment has always been a key focus on the GOtv platform and we are excited to continue building our entertainment options for our customers by bringing them this new package.”

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]]> http://punchng.com/gotv-to-air-la-liga-games/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/players-forced-out-ancelotti-bayern/ http://punchng.com/players-forced-out-ancelotti-bayern/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:34:10 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284761 Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness revealed Carlo Ancelotti’s position at the club became untenable after a group of players turned against the Italian, Goal reports.

Ancelotti was sacked on Thursday following a comprehensive 3-0 defeat to former club Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, the latest chapter in an underwhelming start to the campaign at home and abroad.

In announcing the decision, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed Ancelotti’s dismissal was due to the team’s performances failing to meet expectations.

But Hoeness indicated that dressing-room fractions played a key part in the manager’s downfall.

“There were five players against Ancelotti,” Hoeness told Westfalenpost.

“It was impossible to get out of that.”

Star trio Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben have all voiced their discontent at various stages of the season, with the latter refusing to back Ancelotti after the defeat in Paris.

When questioned on Thursday, the 58-year-old former AC Milan, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss told reporters, “I don’t want to speak but I will be writing a statement.”

Former France defender Willy Sagnol has been installed as manager on an interim basis.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti would prefer a return to the Premier League to continue his management career after being sacked by Bayern Munich, according to The Telegraph.

He was expected to leave Bayern at the end of this season but was dismissed on Thursday after months of growing discontent at the club.

The writing has been on the wall for Ancelotti for some time despite him winning the German title last season. his first at the club, with Bayern only reaching the last eight of the Champions League and the semi-finals of the German Cup. Bayern are currently third in the Bundesliga.

Ancelotti, with his outstanding record, having won league titles in Italy, England, France, Spain and Germany, and the Champions League three times as a coach, will certainly be in demand. There are likely to be offers from around the world and possibly back in Italy at AC Milan unless their current coach Vincenzo Montella can improve the club’s fortunes.

But it is understood that Ancelotti would still like to return to England, if the right club becomes available, having spent two seasons at Chelsea where he became the first manager there to win the league and FA Cup double.

West Ham United did make contact with Ancelotti before they hired Slaven Bilic as their manager and with Bilic in the final year of his contract and under pressure at the club it could be that they make a move for him once again. Whether he will regard West Ham as a big enough club remains to be seen.

Manchester United were keen to hire Ancelotti as first Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement and then after David Moyes was sacked, but Jose Mourinho is in a rock-solid position at the club and there is more chance that he will extend his contract rather than him leaving.

Liverpool interviewed Ancelotti before they hired Jurgen Klopp while Arsenal would be an ideal club for him but Arsene Wenger has only just gone into another two-year contract at the Emirates.

]]> http://punchng.com/players-forced-out-ancelotti-bayern/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/bnb-accra-golden-set-for-independence-netball/ http://punchng.com/bnb-accra-golden-set-for-independence-netball/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:04:48 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284745 Netball will  be part of  the 57th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence with  Lagos club   Bringing  Netball Back hosting Accra Golden Maidens of Ghana at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Sunday. Ghana is expected to  host the Nigerian side  on October 6, 2018

The event tagged West Africa Netball Fest is  organised by the Lagos State Sports Commission and BNB  as part of designs to create awareness for the sport.

The 25-man delegate from Ghana will be led by the President of Ghana Netball Federation, Rev Emmanuel Nikoi.

The President of BNB, Abimbola Smith,  says she is  delighted at the prospect of the club’s first international match and  commended  the LSSC for its  support for  netball and the BNB in  the past five years.

“The underlying mission is to increase participation in netball across schools in Lagos as well as to encourage the emergence of netball clubs across Nigeria,”  the organisers of the event said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement added that there would be  a ‘train the trainers’ workshop on Monday  with over 50 school sports teachers and games mistresses expected to participate.

“This segment of the programme is to be facilitated by the Secretary of the Nigerian Netball Federation, Ms. Hellen Manufor, who herself is an ex-England netball player,” the statement said.

 BNB said they would equip the participants to introduce and run netball programmes  in their respective schools.

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]]> http://punchng.com/bnb-accra-golden-set-for-independence-netball/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/copa-lagos-nigeria-face-holland-lebanon/ http://punchng.com/copa-lagos-nigeria-face-holland-lebanon/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:04:23 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284763 Nigeria’s Super Sand Eagles, Lebanon and Holland   have been scheduled to battle  for the  2017  COPA Lagos title.

The annual beach soccer tournament organised by  Kinetic Sports  will take place from December  8  to 10  at Eko Atlantic City in Lagos.

The organisers  told reporters in Lagos on Thursday that  Pepsi Football Academy would take part in the championship alongside a Lagos selected beach soccer side.   There will also be a match  between ex-internationals  and Nigerian celebrities,  as well as a  female celebrity match.

 “Like in previous   editions, this year’s edition will feature a combination of sports, music, fashion and celebrity entertainment that will draw into the night,”  organisers say.

Samson Adamu, Managing Director of Kinetic Sports, who are the organisers of the tournament, praised  FCMB,  Pepsi, Hero and  Wakanow  for supporting the event.

Adamu said, “This year’s edition is back to its normal  three days of beach soccer, fashion, music, business and networking opportunities and fun. Furthermore,  the plan is to make COPA  Lagos more than just a beach  soccer event but to be a major spectacle that will put Nigeria on the global tourism  space and   promote a beach culture and lifestyle in Lagos.”

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]]> http://punchng.com/copa-lagos-nigeria-face-holland-lebanon/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/ex-akwa-players-storm-govt-house-for-fed-cup-cash/ http://punchng.com/ex-akwa-players-storm-govt-house-for-fed-cup-cash/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:04:05 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284767 Etim Ekpimah, Uyo

Former Akwa United  players on Thursday  protested against the failure  of   the Akwa Ibom State Government  to fulfil  the promise it  made to the  Uyo Premier League  team   after winning  the 2015 Federation  Cup.

Governor Udom Emmanuel while hosting the team reportedly promised each player N2m   after Akwa defeated   Lobi Stars 2-1 to win the coveted trophy in Lagos.

After waiting for two years for the state government to redeem its promise,  the players, who have since left Akwa for other clubs reportedly stormed the Government House in Uyo demanding their money.

The placard-carrying protesters were said to have  blamed   the Commissioner of Youths  and Sports  Monty Uko for the failure of the state government to pay them.

Sources told our correspondent that the protesters left the  Government House following assurances that they would be paid soon.

It was also learnt they calmed down after learning that the governor had travelled out of the state.

Uko, who confirmed the development,  condemned the protest.

He said, “That was a gift, not a right. So, they should allow the person who made the promise to redeem his promise. It is not a matter of carrying placards. It is not about somebody’s  salary, so to speak.”

Chairman, Sport Writers Association of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State chapter, Mr. Solomon Bassey, said it was true that the governor promised the players some money when they won the Federation Cup (now AITEO Cup).

He  said  the commissioner  had made several efforts to ensure that the money was  released to the players without success.

Bassey  said, “The protest is not about unpaid salaries. The people that protested this morning are former players of Akwa United who won the 2015 Federation Cup.

“The governor promised them some money, which to the best of my knowledge, has  yet to be released.

“The commissioner for youths and sports is making efforts to ensure that the money is released. The governor is not in town right now. I believe when he returns, he will fulfil his promise to the players.”

Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State-owned side will  take on  Sunshine Stars in the first leg AITEO Cup semifinal in Ijebu Ode on Saturday.

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]]> http://punchng.com/ex-akwa-players-storm-govt-house-for-fed-cup-cash/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/abia-angels-out-of-aiteo-cup/ http://punchng.com/abia-angels-out-of-aiteo-cup/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:03:47 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284765 The organising committee  for  the 2017 AITEO Cup on Thursday threw out Abia Angels of Umuahia out of the competition after  considering a protest lodged by Confluence Queens of Lokoja on player eligibility.

Head of  the competition Emmanuel Adesanya told  thenff.com that the  Angels had  forfeited their slot in the semifinals, which will now be taken by Confluence Queens.

The Angels defeated the Queens 1-0 in their  first leg quarterfinal clash  in Umuahia before they   battled to  a 2-2 draw in the return leg in Lokoja.

The disqualification means Confluence Queens will now proceed to Uyo to play Ibom Angels in the  first leg semifinal on Saturday, before hosting the Ibom girls in Lokoja on Wednesday.

Meanwhile,  AITEO Cup holders  IfeanyiUbah (men) and Rivers Angels (women)  will seek to reach the finals on Saturday.

IfeanyiUbah are away to Niger Tornadoes in  Lokoja in a semifinal clash, while   2015 champions Akwa United   face  Sunshine Stars  in the other semifinal at  Ijebu Ode.

In the women’s competition, champions Rivers United will engage  Bayelsa Queens in Nembe while Ibom Angels host Confluence Queens.

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]]> http://punchng.com/abia-angels-out-of-aiteo-cup/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/falconets-leave-for-tanzania/ http://punchng.com/falconets-leave-for-tanzania/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:03:01 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284737 The Falconets departed the country for Dar es Salaam on Thursday ahead of their  second leg France  2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifier  against  Tanzania in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

 A goal by wing back Lilian Tule and a brace from Rasheedat Ajibade  helped  Nigeria  to win the first leg 3-0 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium  in Benin a fortnight ago.

Eighteen Falconets  players as well as  eight technical and backroom staff led by  a member of the NFF Executive Committee Babagana Kalli are scheduled to connect Dar es Salaam from Addis Ababa in the early hours of Friday.

Nigeria coach Chris Danjuma told thenff.com before  the team left  Abuja for the East African country,  “We won the first leg 3-0 but that does not mean we will rest on our laurels. We should have won more comfortably but we threw away a number of chances.

“The truth is we have to be more clinical in front of goal. After the first leg, we have worked on some areas that we realised needed serious attention, and I have confidence that we will get a handsome result in Dar es Salaam.”

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]]> http://punchng.com/falconets-leave-for-tanzania/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/star-rewards-four-fans/ http://punchng.com/star-rewards-four-fans/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:01:24 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284738 Nigeria’s premier beer brand Star  has rewarded four football fans  with an all expense-paid trip to London.

Ugochukwu Chigozie, Nneamaka Anyanwu, Onyedika Nwokedike and Chinedu Mbanefo arrived in London on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the brand said in a statement  the trip was  “part of the Star Football experience”.

“But there are other surprises along the way,” the statement added.

Ugochukwu, who is the Co-Founder/COO of JORG Technologies (NAIRABOX) and also the Co-Founder/CEO of Tremendoc Limited, a digital healthcare solution, says the trip is “a much-needed holiday”.

He added, “I’ve always been an ardent follower of Star and its activities in Nigeria so I’m very  excited to be on this trip. It’s a much-needed holiday and I’m grateful to Nigerian Breweries. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for us.”

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]]> http://punchng.com/star-rewards-four-fans/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/irish-international-doyle-retires-over-concussion-fears/ http://punchng.com/irish-international-doyle-retires-over-concussion-fears/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 20:53:51 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284667 Former Ireland international striker Kevin Doyle announced his immediate retirement from football on Thursday after suffering two concussions and a series of debilitating headaches this season.

Doyle, 34, who had been playing for Colorado Rapids in the MLS in the United States, enjoyed a 16-year career which also included spells at Reading, Wolves, Crystal Palace and QPR in England.

However, fearful for his health, he has hung up his boots on medical advice.

“Today I’m sad to announce that after listening to medical advice I will play no further part this season and will be retiring,” Doyle said in a statement released on his Twitter account.

“This year it has been clear to me that heading the ball was becoming problematic, and causing me to have repeated headaches. Two concussions this season and numerous others over the years have made this more concerning.

“After consulting with experts in the field it has been decided that to avoid the possibility of these symptoms become more serious and permanent, I will be hanging up my boots for good.”

Doyle played 63 times for the Republic of Ireland and played at the 2012 European championships.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/irish-international-doyle-retires-over-concussion-fears/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/man-citys-mendy-ruptures-knee-ligament-set-for-surgery/ http://punchng.com/man-citys-mendy-ruptures-knee-ligament-set-for-surgery/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 20:05:00 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284655 Manchester City full-back Benjamin Mendy faces a long injury lay-off after the Premier League leaders confirmed Thursday he has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The 23-year-old French international — signed for £50 million ($ 67 million) from Monaco in the summer — will undergo surgery in Barcelona on Friday on the injury he suffered in last weekend’s victory over Crystal Palace.

“Bad news guys — I’ll be joining Injury FC on loan for a couple monthes with ruptured ACL… but will be back soon & stronger hopefully,” tweeted Mendy.

Mendy had already travelled to Barcelona to see City manager Pep Gaurdiola’s personal medical team for tests on Thursday.

“After initial tests in Manchester at the start of the week, Benjamin travelled to Barcelona to see a specialist doctor, where further examinations of the knee today confirmed the extent of the injury,” read a Manchester City statement.

“Benjamin will undergo surgery tomorrow (Friday) in Barcelona, and everyone at the Club wishes him a speedy recovery.”

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/man-citys-mendy-ruptures-knee-ligament-set-for-surgery/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/europa-league-giroud-reaches-century-as-arsenal-win-in-belarus/ http://punchng.com/europa-league-giroud-reaches-century-as-arsenal-win-in-belarus/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 19:46:44 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284654

Olivier Giroud got his 100th Arsenal goal as a youthful Gunners side beat BATE Borisov 4-2 in Belarus in the Europa League on Thursday.

Theo Walcott netted twice for the Premier League side and Rob Holding was also on target as they eased to a second victory in as many matches in Group H.

Arsene Wenger’s side beat Cologne 3-1 at home in their first outing a fortnight ago, and the Germans lost again on Thursday, going down 1-0 at home to Red Star Belgrade.

Wenger made nine changes to the Arsenal team after they travelled to eastern Europe on the back of a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Monday.

Only Shkodran Mustafi and Mohamed Elneny kept their places, while a number of youngsters featured with Joe Willock being handed a first senior start.

It was two comparative veterans who combined for Arsenal’s early opener, though, with Jack Wilshere setting up Walcott to head in from close range.

Walcott made it 2-0 midway through the first half after an awful error by BATE goalkeeper Denis Scherbitski, who miscued a clearance straight to the England forward.

Holding then bundled in his first Arsenal goal but a superb header by Mirko Ivanic allowed the Belarusian champions to pull one back before the half-hour.

Holding and Willock hit the woodwork and Giroud converted from the penalty spot early in the second half, becoming the 19th player to reach a century of goals for Arsenal.

That was not the end of the scoring, though, as Mikhail Gordeichuk got the hosts’ second of the night, converting the follow-up after David Ospina saved from Ivanic.

Arsenal next go to Serbia to face a Red Star side whose winner in Germany was scored by Ghanaian international Richmond Boakye.

In other early kick-offs on Thursday, Marseille lost 1-0 away to Salzburg in Austria in Group I while Athletic Bilbao and Hertha Berlin both lost in Group J.

Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile were both on target as Lazio defeated the Belgians Zulte-Waregem 2-0 in Group K.

In the same section, Alassane Plea scored twice and Allan Saint-Maximin found the net in stunning style after collecting possession deep in his own half as Nice beat Vitesse Arnhem of the Netherlands 3-0 in a game interrupted for around 15 minutes due to floodlight failure.

Former UEFA Cup winners Zenit St Petersburg were 3-1 winners at home to Real Sociedad in Group L with Russian international Alexander Kokorin scoring twice.

Later games include Everton — beaten at Atalanta on matchday one — at home to Apollon Limassol of Cyprus and AC Milan up against Croatian champions Rijeka.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/europa-league-giroud-reaches-century-as-arsenal-win-in-belarus/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/west-ham-tottenham-fined-by-fa-over-melee/ http://punchng.com/west-ham-tottenham-fined-by-fa-over-melee/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 19:38:13 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284639 The Football Association fined West Ham and Tottenham £20,000 ($ 27,000, 23,000 euros) each on Thursday after both Premier League clubs admitted failing to control their players during last Saturday’s derby at London Stadium.

Spurs won 3-2 but the Hammers were pressing for an equaliser in stoppage time when tempers frayed.

“West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have each been fined £20,000 after they admitted an FA misconduct charge and accepted the standard penalty,” read an FA statement.

“It was alleged that in or around the 95th minute of their fixture on Saturday (23 September 2017), both clubs failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion.”

Five players were cautioned by referee Michael Oliver in stoppage time.

West Ham’s Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Andre Ayew were shown yellow cards, while Eric Dier and Fernando Llorente were booked for Spurs.

The incident that prompted the charge came after a foul by Carroll, which drew angry reactions from both sides and saw four players booked. Ayew’s caution for a foul came earlier in stoppage time.

Spurs were under pressure after being reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining when Serge Aurier received a second yellow card.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/west-ham-tottenham-fined-by-fa-over-melee/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/alli-in-england-squad-despite-risk-of-fifa-ban/ http://punchng.com/alli-in-england-squad-despite-risk-of-fifa-ban/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 18:47:31 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284584 Dele Alli was named in England’s squad on Thursday for their concluding World Cup qualifiers against Slovenia and Lithuania despite the threat of a ban by FIFA.

Football’s global governing body could rule the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder out of both matches as a result of a middle-finger gesture he gave in a qualifier against Slovakia.

England face Slovenia at Wembley on October 5 before finishing their Group F campaign away to Lithuania in Vilnius three days later.

With no decision communicated yet by FIFA on Alli’s availability, England manager Gareth Southgate has gone ahead and selected the 21-year-old Spurs star.

“Nothing at the moment, so we have put him in the squad,” Southgate told a news conference after unveiling his squad at their St George’s Park training base in Burton, central England.

“Our hope is that common sense prevails and he is available for our matches, but we’ll have to wait and see,” he added.

“We have to look what happens in the hearing and go from there. We have given our side of events and Dele has given his side of events.

“We’ve had a good chat with Dele about lots of different things and the biggest disappointment for him is that he has to miss football.

“We hope to have him available.”

– Pochettino concern –

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said he wanted Alli back with the London club if FIFA ruled him out of England duty.

“I wish that nothing happens and he can play but I am not the person that will decide what will happen with him,” Pochettino explained.

“I will decide what happens if he is banned. What will happen is impossible to know. I think if he is banned I would prefer him to stay with us working than to be with the national team.

“Then that is a decision between the FA (England’s Football Association) and us. I have not talked to Gareth Southgate yet. (If Alli is banned) we will speak.”

Meanwhile Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph received his first England call-up from Southgate, having won the last of his nine caps against Spain in November 2015.

Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster was the only other change to Southgate’s last squad, with Tom Heaton, Nathaniel Chalobah and Danny Welbeck all missing through injury. Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, who has been troubled by a hip problem, was left out.

England require just two points from their matches against Slovenia and Lithuania to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (West Ham United, on loan from Manchester City), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)

Forwards: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/alli-in-england-squad-despite-risk-of-fifa-ban/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/asensio-extends-real-madrid-contract/ http://punchng.com/asensio-extends-real-madrid-contract/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 17:05:49 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284598

Marco Asensio has extended his contract with Real Madrid by one year, tying him to the Santiago Bernabeu until 2023, the club announced on Thursday.

“Real Madrid C.F. and Asensio have agreed an extension to the player’s contract, binding him to the club until the 30th of June 2023,” read a statement on the club’s website.

Asensio, 21, signed from Real Mallorca in 2015 and burst onto the scene last season to quickly become a favourite with Madrid fans.

A scorer of one of Madrid’s goals in their 4-1 Champions League final win over Juventus in June, Asensio is just the latest in a long line of players to extend their contracts in the Spanish capital.

French defender Raphael Varane extended his contract to 2022 on Wednesday, while Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal have also extended their deals to 2022 over the past fortnight.

Meanwhile, Karim Benzema penned an extension to 2021.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/asensio-extends-real-madrid-contract/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/ben-stokes-suspended-from-england-duty-due-to-street-fighting/ http://punchng.com/ben-stokes-suspended-from-england-duty-due-to-street-fighting/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:08:27 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284540 Ben Stokes will not be considered for England selection ‘until further notice,’ the England and Wales Cricket Board says.

He will not be considered for England international matches “until further notice” after a video emerged apparently showing him fighting outside a nightclub, the ECB said Thursday.

Test vice-captain Stokes was included in England’s Ashes squad announced Wednesday, despite injuring his hand in the incident that led to his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.

The 26-year-old Durham all-rounder was released without charge on Monday, but remains under investigation.

The Sun newspaper published the footage from outside a nightclub in the southwest city of Bristol late on Wednesday.

Opening batsman Alex Hales, who was with Stokes late on Sunday after playing alongside him during England’s win over West Indies in the third one-day international in Bristol, has also been suspended from international selection.

“Ben Stokes and Alex Hales will not be considered for selection for England international matches until further notice,” said an ECB statement.

“Each remains on full pay pending further ECB investigation and the ongoing police investigation into an incident in Bristol in the early hours of Monday 25 September.

“Andrew Strauss, director of England cricket, will today refer the internal disciplinary procedure for these two players to the Cricket Discipline Commission, chaired by Tim O’Gorman.”

The statement added: “These decisions, fully supported by ECB chairman Colin Graves, were made following the release of footage viewed by ECB for the first time on Wednesday night.”

Neither Hales, who returned voluntarily to Bristol on Tuesday to give further evidence to police about the incident, nor Stokes were selected for Wednesday’s six-run win over West Indies in the fourth one-day international at The Oval in London that gave England an unbeatable 3-0 series lead.

Stokes’s hand injury may well have meant he was physically unfit for selection in any case.

England have one more international fixture — the fifth ODI against West Indies in Southampton on Friday — before the end of their home season.

Their next international match will be when they start their Ashes defence with the first Test against Australia in Brisbane commencing on November 23, although they do have three warm-up tour games prior to that fixture.

Hales was not included in the Ashes squad. (AFP)

]]> http://punchng.com/ben-stokes-suspended-from-england-duty-due-to-street-fighting/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/breaking-bayern-munich-coach-carlo-ancelotti-sacked-club/ http://punchng.com/breaking-bayern-munich-coach-carlo-ancelotti-sacked-club/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 14:55:47 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284503

Bayern Munich have sacked coach Carlo Ancelotti in the wake of their Champions League defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, the club announced on Thursday.

“FC Bayern Munich have parted company with head coach Carlo Ancelotti as a result of internal discussions following the 3-0 defeat in the Champions League group stage match at Paris Saint-Germain,” Bayern said in a statement on their website.

Former player Willy Sagnol, the ex-France international who had been serving as an assistant to Ancelotti, has been named interim coach. The 40-year-old has previously coached Bordeaux in his homeland.

But Bayern have also parted company with four Italian members of Ancelotti’s backroom staff, including his son Davide.

Pressure had already been building on Ancelotti, 58, with Bayern enduring an inconsistent start to the season before losing 3-0 to PSG in the French capital on Wednesday.

After that game the Italian was questioned by German media about his tactics and team selection, following his decision to leave Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Mats Hummels on the bench at kick-off.

“The performance of our team since the start of the season did not meet the expectations we put to them,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“The game in Paris clearly showed that we had to draw consequences. (Sporting director) Hasan Salihamidzic and I had an open and serious discussion with Carlo today and informed him of our decision.

“Carlo is my friend and will remain so, but we had to make a professional decision in the interests of FC Bayern. I now expect the team to have a positive development and top performance, so we can reach our goals for this season.”

The defeat in Paris was Bayern’s heaviest since losing 3-0 away to Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg in May 2015.

It was also their heaviest loss in a group game in the competition since a 3-0 reverse in Lyon in March 2001.

Bayern are currently third in the Bundesliga table after six games, three points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, before visiting Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

They have not been so far off the pace at the top of the Bundesliga so early in a season since 2010/11, when Dortmund went on to win the title and Bayern finished third.

Ancelotti led Bayern to a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title last season in his first campaign in charge after succeeding Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.

However, the Bavarians lost to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and to Dortmund in the semi-finals of the German Cup.

Ancelotti has also coached Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid, winning the Champions League three times in his career.

Among the potential replacements being mentioned is Thomas Tuchel, currently a free agent after leaving Dortmund at the end of last season.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/breaking-bayern-munich-coach-carlo-ancelotti-sacked-club/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/champions-league-learn-from-painful-psg-defeat-rummenigge-tells-bayern/ http://punchng.com/champions-league-learn-from-painful-psg-defeat-rummenigge-tells-bayern/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 12:18:58 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284440

Five-time European champions Bayern Munich must draw the consequences from their “very painful” 3-0 Champions league defeat by Paris Saint-Germain, according to the German club’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti could even find himself out of a job, according to German press, after Bayern bosses were summoned to a crisis meeting Thursday.

“It’s a very painful defeat, a defeat we have to analyse and after which we’ll have to talk about clearly and draw the consequences because what we saw was not Bayern Munich,” Rummenigge was quoted by AFP subsidiary SID as saying at the post-match meal in a Paris hotel.

“It’s important we reverse this curb and that we again present ourselves as Bayern Munich and show that we’re a team that has been all the rage in Europe and Germany and that we’re going to kickstart that again.”

Dani Alves, Edinson Cavani and Neymar netted as PSG claimed a convincing victory over a disappointing Bayern in their heavyweight Champions League clash in the French capital on Wednesday.

The result left the French club top of Group B with the maximum six points from two games, eight goals scored and none conceded. They are on course to win the section — Bayern are level on three points with Celtic, who won at Anderlecht.

The Sport Bild newspaper reported that Bayern officials will assemble later Thursday for a crisis meeting, with coach Ancelotti fully in their crosshairs after the crushing loss, Bayern’s worse in 21 years of European competition.

“A separation is no longer to be ruled out, the Bayern coach wavers,” said Sport Bild, not alone in its criticism of Ancelotti, who has previously coached Real Madrid, PSG, Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus.

“The Italian, so experienced, provoked stupefaction and irritation with his team line-up,” said Die Welt.

Kicker football magazine said that “with his selection, Ancelotti took a big risk… he’s the big loser”.

“I tried to put out the best possible team, and if I am criticised for that, I’ll accept it,” Ancelotti said post-match, with the likes of French star Franck Ribery and Dutch winger Arjen Robben left on the bench.

Bayern players, however, opted to stay mum on Ancelotti’s team selection and instead deflect responsibility onto themselves.

“I’ll not say anything on this subject,” Robben said of the starting XI that the much-travelled Italian coach chose to go with.

“The important thing is we now work as a team. We need calm. The person who expresses dissatisfaction from outside does nothing to help the team.”

Thomas Mueller, who captained Bayern against PSG, added: “It’s the coach who takes the decisions. We have to give everything on the pitch to implement his gameplan. In that sense we are responsible.”

AFP.

]]> http://punchng.com/champions-league-learn-from-painful-psg-defeat-rummenigge-tells-bayern/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/dublin-to-host-euro-2020-qualifiers-draw/ http://punchng.com/dublin-to-host-euro-2020-qualifiers-draw/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 11:22:29 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284423 Dublin will host the draw for qualifying groups for the 2020 European football championships on December 2, 2018, UEFA announced Thursday.

All 55 UEFA member nations will be drawn in 10 pools of five or six teams for the March-November 2019 qualifiers for a competition that will be staged in 13 cities across Europe.

Twenty teams, the first two in each of the 10 pools, will advance to Euro 2020, with the remaining four contenders emerging from the play-offs, for which teams will qualify via the new UEFA Nations League.

Dublin is set to stage three group games and one round of 16 tie in Euro 2020. The other host cities will be Amsterdam, Baku, Bilbao, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome and Saint Petersburg.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/dublin-to-host-euro-2020-qualifiers-draw/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/rummenigge-urges-bayern-to-learn-from-painful-psg-defeat/ http://punchng.com/rummenigge-urges-bayern-to-learn-from-painful-psg-defeat/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 10:30:26 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284402 Five-time European champions Bayern Munich must draw the consequences from their “very painful” 3-0 Champions league defeat by Paris Saint-Germain, according to the German club’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

“It’s a very painful defeat, a defeat we have to analyse and after which we’ll have to talk about clearly and draw the consequences because what we saw was not Bayern Munich,” Rummenigge was quoted by AFP subsidiary SID as saying at the post-match meal in a Paris hotel.

READ ALSO: Cavani, Neymar on target as PSG outclass Bayern

“It’s important we reverse this curb and that we again present ourselves as Bayern Munich and show that we’re a team that has been all the rage in Europe and Germany and that we’re going to kickstart that again.”

Dani Alves, Edinson Cavani and Neymar netted as PSG claimed a convincing victory over a disappointing Bayern in their heavyweight Champions League clash in the French capital on Wednesday.

The result left the French club top of Group B with the maximum six points from two games, eight goals scored and none conceded. They are on course to win the section — Bayern are level on three points with Celtic, who won at Anderlecht.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/rummenigge-urges-bayern-to-learn-from-painful-psg-defeat/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/breaking-brazils-leonardo-named-new-antalyaspor-manager/ http://punchng.com/breaking-brazils-leonardo-named-new-antalyaspor-manager/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 09:53:12 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284387 Ambitious Turkish top flight side Antalyaspor, which boasts a star-studded line up including Samuel Eto’o and Samir Nasri, on Thursday named Brazilian Leonardo as its new manager.

“Following talks, our club has signed a two-year agreement with Leonardo,” Antalyaspor said in a statement without giving financial details.

Leonardo, who has previously been manager of AC Milan and Inter Milan as well as director of football at Paris Saint-Germain, replaces Riza Calimbay who stepped down after a slow start to the season.

Speculation had been rife that the former Brazilian international was joining Antalyaspor after he was spotted on Monday watching the side’s 3-0 home win over Osmanlispor from the stands.

Under chairman Ali Safak Ozturk, the club from the southern Turkish Mediterranean resort city are one of Turkey’s most ambitious sides, despite only winning promotion to the Super Lig in 2015.

Ozturk wants to break the league domination of the Istanbul giants, although the club has failed to make major inroads so far.

With Cameroon international Eto’o captain, Antalyaspor had high hopes for the new season after signing Nasri from Manchester City.

But they are languishing in 13th place in the Super Lig, with just one win in the first six games.

They were disappointed to finish the 2015-16 season in ninth place but improved to fifth place last term, just missing out on a spot in the Europa League.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/breaking-brazils-leonardo-named-new-antalyaspor-manager/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-scorers/ http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-scorers/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:29:35 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284135 Leading UEFA Champions League scorers after Wednesday’s matches:

5: Kane (Tottenham)

4: Ben Yedder (Sevilla), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

3: Cavani (Paris SG), Lukaku (Man Utd)

2: Aboubakar (Porto), Babel (Besiktas), Batshuayi (Chelsea), Messi (Barcelona), Neymar (Paris SG), Oberlin (Basel), Pardo (Olympiakos), Stones (Man City), Talisca (Besiktas)

]]> http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-scorers/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/conte-lashes-tight-turnaround-for-man-city-clash/ http://punchng.com/conte-lashes-tight-turnaround-for-man-city-clash/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:26:42 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284374

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte blasted Premier League schedulers over his side’s short turnaround from Champions League action before facing high-flying Manchester City in a top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.

Conte’s men put in a brilliant performance to inflict only Atletico Madrid’s second Champions League defeat on home soil in 24 games on Wednesday, when Michy Batshuayi’s 93rd-minute winner sealed a 2-1 victory.

However, the Italian lamented the advantage handed to City, who played their Champions League fixture at home to Shakhtar Donetsk 24 hours earlier on Tuesday.

“I think we are a bit penalised and in this case, it is very important to analyse, before taking these decisions, the different situations of the team,” said Conte.

“City played yesterday at home. We played tonight away and we will return to London around four o’clock (in the morning).”

City lead the Premier League from Manchester United on goal difference, with Chelsea three points back in third.

“Man City is a really strong team. They are scoring a lot of goals, they are in a good moment of form and we have to prepare well (for) this game because it is very important.

“Before taking this decision someone must analyse very well this situation.

“There is the international break (after this weekend). My surprise is for this because there is the time (to play the game later).”

Conte was far more content with Chelsea’s display as they battled back to claim a well-deserved three points despite falling behind to Antoine Griezmann’s penalty five minutes before half-time.

Former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata stretched his scoring streak to seven goals in as many games with a deft near-post header from the outstanding Eden Hazard’s cross to level on the hour-mark.

– ‘We kept our head’ –

Morata and Cesc Fabregas then passed up huge chances before Batshuayi struck the decisive blow with the last kick of the game after a patient team move tore a tiring Atletico to shreds.

“It is very difficult when Atletico Madrid score to come back, but despite this we deserved to win because we continued to play with good personality,” added Conte.

“We kept our head on the pitch. We deserved to win against a really good team like Atletico Madrid.”

Batshuayi was the unlikely hero as he came off bench just eight minutes from time to net already his fifth goal of the season despite playing second fiddle to Morata.

“To score for a striker is always important for your confidence but it is more important they understand this way to play is right,” said Conte.

“I want this type of player with great athleticism and to give me the possibility to make a change game-by-game.”

In stark contrast to Chelsea’s euphoria, defeat leaves Atletico, who have reached the Champions League final in two of the previous four seasons, struggling to make it out of Group C.

The Spaniards trail second-placed Roma by three points following their 2-1 win at Azerbaijani champions Qarabag earlier on Wednesday.

“They were better in every aspect of the game,” admitted Griezmann. “We have a lot more games to play and we have to try to win them all.

“Maybe I needed to play better too. Apart from the goal it wasn’t a good day for me. I have to learn from today and keep working.”

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/conte-lashes-tight-turnaround-for-man-city-clash/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/trump-drags-bolt-into-anthem-row/ http://punchng.com/trump-drags-bolt-into-anthem-row/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:18:48 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284254 US President Donald Trump has dragged Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt into the ongoing row about athletes protesting during the US national anthem, Independent.ie  reports.

Trump tweeted a video of the 100m world record holder pausing an interview at the 2012 London Olympics as the US national anthem began to play in the background along with the message, “Even Usain Bolt from Jamaica, one of the greatest runners and athletes of all time, showed RESPECT for our National Anthem!”

READ ALSO: Trump aide Kushner registered to vote as a woman

The tweet from Trump keeps the controversy over athletes protesting during the playing of the anthem bubbling away.

The move comes after a survey revealed the majority of Americans disagree with  Trump’s assertion that football players should be fired for kneeling during the national anthem, even though most say they would personally stand during the song, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

The September 25-26 poll found that 57 per cent of adults do not think the National Football League should fire players who kneel.

This included 61 per cent of NFL fans who watch at least a few games per season.

The results were split along party lines, however, as 82 per cent of Democrats and 29 per cent of Republicans disagreed with the president’s comments about firing football players.

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: editor@punchng.com

]]> http://punchng.com/trump-drags-bolt-into-anthem-row/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/violence-ondo-commissioner-not-fit-to-hold-public-office-aregbesolas-aide/ http://punchng.com/violence-ondo-commissioner-not-fit-to-hold-public-office-aregbesolas-aide/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 07:57:49 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284185 Femi Makinde and Peter Dada

Osun State Commissioner for Sports, Mr. Biyi Odunlade, has launched an attack on   his Ondo State counterpart, Mr. Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye,  saying the latter  is not fit to hold  public office.

Odunlade, who was reacting  to Yusuf-Ogunleye’s   allegations that Osun United  mobilised hoodlums to Ijebu Ode in Ogun State  to attack  Sunshine Stars players and their supporters  after their  second leg Aiteo Cup quarterfinal clash at the Dipo Dina Stadium on Saturday, said the Ondo commissioner lied.

READ ALSO: Why I became an Arsenal fan — Aregbesola

Ondo State-owned Sunshine won the game 3-1 to reach the semifinals 3-2 on aggregate.

But Osun United supporters, whose team won the first leg  1-0, reportedly  invaded the pitch to attack Sunshine players and officials after the referee, Ferdinand Udoh, allegedly denied the Osogbo side a chance to score a  second goal   that would have given them the ticket to the next round.

Over 20 persons were reportedly  injured while no fewer than  10 vehicles   were vandalised after the fight spread to other parts of the stadium.

Odunlade  claimed that  Sunshine and Gateway United   supporters teamed up to attack  Osun State-owned Osun United,

The Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s aide, who accused Sunshine coach, Duke Udi, of  harassing    Osun United players and supporters, also alleged that the referee made many questionable calls during the match.

He said, “If Ogunleye could publicly lie, the way he did against the viciously attacked innocent supporters of Osun United,  then, we dare say that he lacks the integrity and credibility to be part of any upright administration.

“It was discovered that the supporters of Gateway  and Remo Stars  (both based in Ogun State)  joined forces with those of Sunshine  to attack Osun United.

“For the benefit of hindsight, Osun United had earlier defeated Gateway 2-0   in the  league  September  9, thereby cutting short their aspiration to get promoted to the Nigeria Professional Football League. This blow was fatal to Gateway, hence they decided  to join forces with Sunshine.”

“During the attack, the second goalkeeper of Osun United and the captain of the team, Akeem Olalere, were seriously injured by their attackers. Five of the buses that conveyed Osun United  and their supporters to the stadium were vandalised by the supporters of Sunshine  in league with those of Gateway United  and Remo Stars.”

Odunlade added, “It is unfortunate that Ogunleye  is a cabinet member of the administration of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.”

But Yusuf-Ogunleye  said  he would  not  take  issue with Odunlade, saying “we are cultured and decent people in Ondo State”.

He said, “During our press conference, we told the whole world what happened. For calling me a liar   shows the type of person he is.

“By the way of our training here, we are cultured and decent people in Ondo State and we have respect  for  constituted authorities. I will not reply him, and I am not ready to take  issue with him.”

He added,   “The issue goes beyond attacking me or abusing me, it is not a personal matter, the NFF has  been informed, the police and  soldiers have their records and the Ijebu monarch  who  came to the (police) station for the release of the  arrested aggressors is still alive.”

  Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

Contact: editor@punchng.com

]]> http://punchng.com/violence-ondo-commissioner-not-fit-to-hold-public-office-aregbesolas-aide/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/psg-humiliate-bayern-batshuayi-stuns-atletico/ http://punchng.com/psg-humiliate-bayern-batshuayi-stuns-atletico/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 06:57:59 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284187 Neymar starred as PSG sent out a statement of intent with an impressive 3-0 Champions League victory over Bayern Munich on Wednesday, while Michy Batshuayi grabbed an injury-time winner as Chelsea won 2-1 at Atletico Madrid, AFP reports.

It took PSG less than two minutes to break the deadlock in the Group B clash against Bayern, as world-record signing Neymar teed up fellow Brazilian Dani Alves to hammer home.

READ ALSO: Money doesn’t score goals, Robben taunts PSG

Bayern piled on the pressure but failed to take their chances, before Edinson Cavani finished a sweeping counter-attack with an exquisite strike into the top corner.

Unai Emery’s men finished off their visitors in the 63rd minute when Neymar pounced after Kylian Mbappe had bamboozled the Bayern defence.

PSG now lead the five-time champions by three points in the race to finish top of Group B.

Atletico were handed the opener against English champions Chelsea when David Luiz needlessly gave away a penalty and Antoine Griezmann slotted past keeper Thibaut Courtois.

But the Wanda Metropolitano – as well as the watching Diego Costa signed this week from Chelsea –was silenced as former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata headed in an excellent Eden Hazard cross.

Antonio Conte’s men deserved all three points and snatched the win in the fourth minute of added time as Belgian subsitute Batshuayi picked out the bottom corner.

Chelsea are now clear of Roma at the top of Group C by two points, after the Italians held on to beat Qarabag 2-1 in the early kick-off in Baku.

Kostas Manolas and Edin Dzeko put the visitors two goals to the good inside quarter of an hour, and although Pedro Henrique pulled one back for Qarabag, the home side couldn’t find a maiden Champions League point.

Three-time winners Manchester United brushed aside CSKA Moscow 4-1 to maintain their unbeaten record in the Russian capital, with Romelu Lukaku continuing his extraordinary start to life at the club with a brace.

The Belgian striker headed Jose Mourinho’s visitors in front, before Anthony Martial made it two from the penalty spot.

Lukaku tapped in his 10th goal of the season before half-time and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the fourth before a late consolation from teenager Konstantin Kuchaev.

The other game in Group A saw Basel make it back-to-back defeats for 10-man Benfica, with a stunning 5-0 thrashing in Switzerland.

Michael Lang slotted into an empty net and Dimitri Oberlin finished off a breakaway to get Basel off to a brilliant start.

Ricky van Wolfswinkel’s penalty ended the game as a contest and Andre Almeida was sent off for a horrendous tackle, with the 19-year-old Oberlin completing a brace.

Copyright PUNCH.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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]]> http://punchng.com/psg-humiliate-bayern-batshuayi-stuns-atletico/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/ugbade-babayaro-back-rohr-squad-for-zambia/ http://punchng.com/ugbade-babayaro-back-rohr-squad-for-zambia/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 06:33:50 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284259 Ex-internationals  Nduka Ugbade and  Emmanuel Babayaro on Wednesday praised Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr  for the calibre of  players he invited for  the October 7 Russia 2018 World Cup qualifier against   Zambia in Uyo.

In separate interviews with  the News Agency of Nigeria, Tunisia ‘94 Africa Cup of Nations winner Ugbade and Atlanta ‘96 Olympic Games gold medallist Babayaro said the players deserved their call-ups.

Former Nigeria defender  Ugbade commended the inclusion of Leon Balogun,  Mikel Obi and Victor Moses in the  squad.

However,  the former Golden Eaglets assistant coach  warned  the Eagles, who lead Group B on 10 points, against complacency in the clash against Chipolopolo, who are second on seven points.

Ugbade said, “I was particularly worried, given Moses’ recent performance for Nigeria and how important he has become to the national team.

“Moses has missed too many recent games and the Eagles suffered without him. I can’t remember the last time he had a poor game.

“It will be interesting to see him again combine well with Odion Ighalo,  who also likes to dart  into  the wing, which will keep Zambian defenders busy all through the game.”

He added,  “He (Mikel) scores the odd goals and his contribution will be massive, while Balogun is another player the Eagles cannot afford to do without against Zambia.

“His energy and probing runs deep from the Nigerian end of the pitch against Cameroon was exciting to see and he could be a genuine threat to Zambia, especially from dead-ball situations.He  brings out the best in Troost-Ekong.”

Former Nigeria goalkeeper  Babayaro said  the inclusion of Hull City’s Ola Aina and Akwa United duo  Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Afeez Aremu in the 23-man  squad against Zambia  was a welcome development.

He said,  “The major surprise is the exclusion of Dele Alampasu and full back Tyronne Ebuehi from the main list.

“In my opinion, Aina has an edge over Ebuehi because of his physical style of play, an area where Ebuehi  has  yet to convince Rohr, although he is technically sound and extremely quick in turning defence into attack.

“Even though Rohr still views Shehu Abdullahi as his first-choice right-back, I think Aina will indeed give Abdullahi a strong fight for the team’s right back position.”

He hailed the return of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi because of his creativity.

“It will indeed be an uphill task for the Zambians to pin the skillful player down to a position, as he is used to drifting wide every now and then,” Babayaro said.

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All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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]]> http://punchng.com/ugbade-babayaro-back-rohr-squad-for-zambia/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/nigeria-to-host-fiba-africa-club-elimination/ http://punchng.com/nigeria-to-host-fiba-africa-club-elimination/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:26:40 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284257 Nigeria has been awarded  the hosting rights for the  2017 FIBA Africa Club Championship zonal elimination by FIBA Africa Zone 3.

Nigeria Basketball Federation president  Musa Ahmadu-Kida expressed his delight at the development.

Kida said after the NBBF’s  meeting  in Lagos   the board frowned upon the country’s inability to host any major   competition had  adversely affected the clubs.

“The cost of prosecuting these international competitions by these clubs when they travel out will be at least reduced by 50 per cent,” the basketball chief said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Now, clubs participating in the elimination series will only be worried about internal transportation, accommodation  and payment of allowances for their players.”

Ahmadu-Kida said the move to host the event slated for October 19  and  29 was  part of the federation’s  plans to  make Nigerian basketball stronger.

According to the statement, the federation is  also considering biding for the  hosting rights for the 2017 FIBA Africa Women’s Club Championship slated to hold in November.

Meanwhile,  the NBBF has lifted the  sanctions it  imposed on some clubs, referees, coaches and players over allegations of participating in illegal leagues in the 2015 season.

The statement quoted Ahmadu-Kida as saying after  the board meeting  in Lagos on Tuesday that after its  fact-finding mission and communication with the affected parties, it was established that due process was not followed  before clamping down on them.

The  NBBF also cleared  Lagos Islanders, Dodan Warriors and Union Bank to play  in the league.

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All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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]]> http://punchng.com/nigeria-to-host-fiba-africa-club-elimination/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/duke-udi-slams-osun-utd-fans/ http://punchng.com/duke-udi-slams-osun-utd-fans/#respond Thu, 28 Sep 2017 00:25:16 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284251 Sunshine Stars coach Duke Udi has  slammed the fans of his former club Osun United for the violence that marred their  second leg Aiteo Cup match  at  Ijebu Ode on Saturday.

No fewer than 20 persons   reportedly   sustained serious injuries while a number of vehicles   were destroyed  during the  fight  between    suspected Osun United  and Sunshine   fans.   According to witnesses, the  invasion of  the pitch by suspected Osun United fans  after the referee  blasted  the final whistle led  to a free-for-all. Sunshine won the game 3-1.

 The referee was said to have incurred the wrath of the fans following a questionable call against the  Osun United, who needed a second goal to advance, having won the first leg 1-0.

Sunshine have been scheduled to meet  the winners of the quarterfinal tie  between Akwa United and Katsina United Feeders team for a place in the  final.

Udi expressed his disappointment with the behaviour of Osun United fans, insisting his side deserved to progress to the next round of the tournament formerly known as the Federation Cup.

 “It was when we equalised and eventually scored our winning goal that they ran into the pitch and started destroying things. Thank God the pictures are there as evidence,” former Super Eagles midfielder Udi, who dumped Osun United for Sunshine earlier in the year, was quoted by SCORENigeria as saying on Wednesday.

“We didn’t even have many fans. Our uniformed fans were just 15, while their fans came in  25 buses.

“It was the Ijebu fans  who mobilised their own people too and destroyed their  (Osun United) buses because they discovered that they had destroyed some  facilities at the stadium (Dipo Dina Stadium), that is just the truth of the matter.”

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All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.

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]]> http://punchng.com/duke-udi-slams-osun-utd-fans/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/champions-league-higuain-lifts-juventus-to-win-over-olympiakos/ http://punchng.com/champions-league-higuain-lifts-juventus-to-win-over-olympiakos/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 21:57:25 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284170

Gonzalo Higuain got Juventus’s Champions League campaign off the mark coming on as a substitute to lift last year’s finalists to a 2-0 Group D win over Olympiakos on Wednesday.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side needed to reignite their European campaign after falling 3-0 to Barcelona in Spain two weeks ago.

And Higuain hit back after being dropped by Allegri by opening the scoring after 69 minutes and having a hand in Mario Mandzukic’s second on 80 minutes at the Allianz Arena.

Juventus are now third in Group D which is led by unbeaten Barcelona but behind Sporting Lisbon — who lost 1-0 at home to the Spanish side — on goal difference.

For Olympiakos a second defeat after their opener to Sporting leaves them rock bottom.

“I made a choice and Higuain wasn’t as good as the others,” said Allegri of his decision to leave the Argentine on the bench for a second straight game after last weekend’s Turin derby.

“But we saw this evening that he already moved differently. He has never been a problem and never will be. He’s a player who can make the difference and win us games.

“This evening we played an intelligent game with patience. They had a good match defensively, they blocked the spaces. It wasn’t easy but the strongest team won.”

Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis was parachuted in two days ago for his fourth spell after Albanian Besnik Hasi was sacked after a derby collapse to AEK.

But despite the turmoil within their squad Olympiakos proved more than a match early for the hosts in Turin.

Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic pulled out in the warm-up for Juventus with Higuain dropped, moving Mandzukic to the centre-forward role, before the Argentine came on for the last 30 minutes.

Olympiakos pinned back the six-time successive Serie A champions initially before the game sprung to life for the hosts late in the first half.

Silvio Proto did well in goal in place of Greek international Stefanos Kapino, banished after the AEK defeat.

And the Belgian kept the visitors net unbreached faced with a dangerous Juventus onslaught in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

Juventus star Paulo Dybala failed to add to his tally of 12 goals this season, sending a couple of free-kicks into the wall.

The hosts missed two quickfire chances on 34 minutes when Juan Cuadrado crossed to Mandzukic but his header was flicked over by Proto, who then dived to keep out Stefano Sturaro’s header off the ensuing corner.

– Decisive –

Olympiakos were very dangerous on the counter but Gianluigi Buffon had his first save on 41 minutes from a Felipe Pardo angled shot.

Juventus had a double chance to break the deadlock just before half-time when Proto again dived to stop Dybala, and Olympiakos narrowly avoided an own goal when Alex Sandro’s cross from the left was accidentally deflected off the post by Bjorn Engels.

Higuain proved decisive when he came on after an hour in northern Italy.

Sandro crossed to to the Argentine whose first effort was blocked, but his second beat Proto for his third goal of the season.

Higuain also had a hand in the second goal when the Argentine played in Dybala before the Olympiakos defence knocked the ball into Mandzukic’s path.

Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli conceded Higuain had won the game for them.

“Higuain made a difference when he came on. At 1-0 it was easier. We hadn’t been concerned he hadn’t been scoring, we were calm. We knew well that he was going to become decisive again.”

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/champions-league-higuain-lifts-juventus-to-win-over-olympiakos/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-tables-2/ http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-tables-2/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 21:25:01 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284146

UEFA Champions League tables after Wednesday’s second round of games (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points):

Group A

Manchester United     2 2 0 0 7 1 6

Basel                 2 1 0 1 5 3 3

CSKA Moscow           2 1 0 1 3 5 3

Benfica               2 0 0 2 1 7 0

Group B

Paris SG              2 2 0 0 8 0 6

Bayern Munich         2 1 0 1 3 3 3

Celtic                2 1 0 1 3 5 3

Anderlecht            2 0 0 2 0 6 0

Group C

Chelsea               2 2 0 0 8 1 6

Roma                  2 1 1 0 2 1 4

Atletico Madrid       2 0 1 1 1 2 1

Qarabag               2 0 0 2 1 8 0

Group D

Barcelona             2 2 0 0 4 0 6

Sporting Lisbon       2 1 0 1 3 3 3

Juventus              2 1 0 1 2 3 3

Olympiakos            2 0 0 2 2 5 0

Group E 

Sevilla               2 1 1 0 5 2 4

Liverpool             2 0 2 0 3 3 2

Spartak Moscow        2 0 2 0 2 2 2

Maribor               2 0 1 1 1 4 1

Group F

Manchester City      2 2 0 0 6 0 6

Shakhtar Donetsk     2 1 0 1 2 3 3

Napoli               2 1 0 1 4 3 3

Feyenoord            2 0 0 2 1 7 0

Group G

Besiktas             2 2 0 0 5 1 6

FC Porto             2 1 0 1 4 3 3

RB Leipzig           2 0 1 1 1 3 1

Monaco               2 0 1 1 1 4 1

Group H

Tottenham            2 2 0 0 6 1 6

Real Madrid          2 2 0 0 6 1 6

Dortmund             2 0 0 2 2 6 0

APOEL Nicosia        2 0 0 2 0 6 0

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-tables-2/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/champions-league-lukaku-martial-lead-man-united-in-cska-rout/ http://punchng.com/champions-league-lukaku-martial-lead-man-united-in-cska-rout/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 21:06:34 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284131

Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial put CSKA Moscow to the sword as Manchester United took control of Champions League Group A with a ruthless 4-1 win on Wednesday.

Lukaku scored twice at Moscow’s VEB Arena, taking his United tally to 10 goals in nine games, with Martial setting him up twice and netting a penalty before Henrikh Mkhitaryan completed victory.

It was United’s first away win in the competition since November 2013 and with Basel thrashing Benfica in the other group game, it left Jose Mourinho’s side three points clear at the top of the pool.

After grinding out a 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday, United were back to their fluid best in the Russian capital, the pace and movement of new strike partners Lukaku and Martial causing CSKA headaches all night.

Having beaten Benfica in their opening game, CSKA were brought back to earth with a bump, although substitute Konstantin Kuchaev gave their fans something to cheer with a 90th-minute consolation goal.

While the hosts had their moments, the encounter rather made a mockery of United manager Mourinho’s eve-of-match claim that this was the strongest CSKA team he had ever encountered.

Missing Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick through injury, Mourinho set United out in an unfamiliar 3-4-1-2 system, but the visitors took no time to find their mark.

Paired in a new-look front two, Lukaku and Martial clicked instantly, combining to put United ahead in the fourth minute.

Lukaku’s fine pass down the inside-left channel released Martial on the left and he checked inside before crossing to the back post, where Lukaku leapt to direct a strong header past Igor Akinfeev.

After Akinfeev thwarted Mkhitaryan with his legs, Martial made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 18th minute following a foul on Mkhitaryan by Georgi Schennikov.

Nine minutes later it was 3-0 as Vasili Berezutksi made a hash of clearing Martial’s low cross and Lukaku turned the ball home.

The frustration for CSKA coach Viktor Goncharenko was that his side manged to procure several sights of goal at the other end, only to find David de Gea an impermeable barrier.

The United goalkeeper produced an excellent one-handed save to thwart Alan Dzagoev at 1-0 and tipped a powerful shot from Fedor Chalov over the ball at 2-0, as well as fielding attempts from Vitinho and Dzagoev.

Akinfeev denied Lukaku his hat-trick early in the second half before more slipshod defending gifted United their fourth.

Veteran centre-back Sergei Ignashevich gifted the ball straight to Ander Herrera, whose through ball released Martial.

The Frenchman’s effort was parried by Akinfeev, but Mkhitaryan followed in to slot the rebound into the net.

Akinfeev has now gone 45 games without a clean sheet in the competition proper, although his saves from substitutes Jesse Lingard and Matteo Darmian, allied to Kuchaev’s late effort, spared CSKA further embarrassment.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/champions-league-lukaku-martial-lead-man-united-in-cska-rout/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/champions-league-cavani-neymar-on-target-as-psg-outclass-bayern/ http://punchng.com/champions-league-cavani-neymar-on-target-as-psg-outclass-bayern/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 20:56:33 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284129

Edinson Cavani and Neymar both scored as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a convincing 3-0 victory over a disappointing Bayern Munich in their heavyweight Champions League clash in the French capital on Wednesday.

PSG got off to a dream start as their other Brazilian summer signing Dani Alves gave them the lead inside 90 seconds at the Parc des Princes and they never looked back.

Cavani’s sweeping first-time strike just after the half-hour mark made it 2-0 before Neymar completed the scoring in the second half as Bayern went down to their heaviest defeat since losing to Barcelona by the same score in the semi-finals of this competition in May 2015.

The result leaves the French club top of Group B with the maximum six points from two games, eight goals scored and none conceded. They are on course to win the section — Bayern are level on three points with Celtic, who won at Anderlecht.

For PSG this was a chance to measure themselves against one of the continent’s traditional powers in their biggest European match since their humiliating exit in Barcelona last season.

In that regard the evening was a resounding success for Unai Emery’s team, although the German club were some way short of their usual standards.

The match also saw Cavani and Neymar feature together for the first time since their disagreement over who should take a penalty in a league game against Lyon 10 days previously.

This time there were no such disputes, and both men could celebrate contributing to the final outcome.

Bayern have been among the critics of PSG’s spending policy after a summer which saw them notably spend a world-record 222 million euros ($ 264 million) to sign Neymar from Barcelona.

The Brazilian is reportedly being paid more than three million euros a month in Paris, and Bayern supporters had that in mind as they unfurled a pointed banner prior to kick-off.

Complaining about match tickets costing 75 euros, it read: “We are not Neymar. Ticket prices must be reasonable.”

– Alves with opener –

It would have been easier to swallow paying that price if their team had won, but they fell behind in the second minute and never recovered.

Neymar was allowed to cut in from the left before picking out Alves, who arrived unmarked in the area to take a touch and finish past Sven Ulreich, standing in for the injured Manuel Neuer in the Bayern goal.

Javi Martinez came closest to equalising for Carlo Ancelotti’s side with a half-volley from the edge of the area that was tipped over by Alphonse Areola, but the hosts were able to soak up the pressure and hit on the break.

Cavani shot just wide after being fed by Kylian Mbappe and those two combined for the second goal in the 31st minute, Mbappe again teeing up Cavani for a superb first-time finish high into the net and his 10th goal this season.

Bayern were stunned, and a combination of the ‘MCN’ then almost brought a third, with Neymar laying off Mbappe’s pass for Cavani, whose effort was saved.

Things did get worse for the visitors in the second half and they conceded again in the 63rd minute, with Neymar poking home from inside the six-yard box as Martinez failed to clear following good play by Mbappe.

That was Neymar’s sixth goal for PSG and the 18th in total from the ‘MCN’, with the promise of many more to come.

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/champions-league-cavani-neymar-on-target-as-psg-outclass-bayern/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/why-i-became-an-arsenal-fan-aregbesola/ http://punchng.com/why-i-became-an-arsenal-fan-aregbesola/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 19:30:11 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284096 Governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola made a surprising revelation on Wednesday, saying he became an Arsenal fan because of former Super Eagles player, Kanu Nwankwo.

He made this known when he retweeted a post by his media aide, a few hours ago.

Aregbesola shared a photo of himself with the former Arsenal striker and said that he had been a fan of  Arsenal since the days of Kanu at the club and has not stopped being a fan.

He wrote, “Football is a love language spoken worldwide. A true Gooner meets a legendary @Arsenal player.

“I became an Arsenal fan because of you and I have remained a Gooner ever since.”

Kanu replied by thanking the governor for the love.

“Thanks, I appreciate and nice to meet you. God bless you,” he tweeted.

See photos below:

Aregbesola-shaking-Kanu

kanu-and-Aregbesola-

]]> http://punchng.com/why-i-became-an-arsenal-fan-aregbesola/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-results-9/ http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-results-9/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 18:26:32 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284074 UEFA Champions League results on Wednesday:

Group C

At Baku

Qarabag (AZE) 1 (Henrique 28) Roma (ITA) 2 (Manolas 7, Dzeko 15)

Playing later (1845 GMT)

Group A

At Moscow

CSKA Moscow (RUS) v Manchester United (ENG)

At Basel, Switzerland

Basel (SUI) v Benfica (POR)

Group B

At Paris

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) v Bayern Munich (GER)

At Brussels

Anderlecht (BEL) v Celtic (SCO)

Group C

At Madrid

Atletico Madrid (ESP) v Chelsea (ENG)

Group D

At Turin, Italy

Juventus (ITA) v Olympiakos (GRE)

At Lisbon

Sporting Lisbon (POR) v Barcelona (ESP)

Played Tuesday

Group E

At Moscow

Spartak Moscow (RUS) 1 (Fernando 23) Liverpool (ENG) 1 (Coutinho 31)

At Seville, Spain

Sevilla (ESP) 3 (Ben Yedder 27, 38, 83-pen) Maribor (SLO) 0

Group F

At Manchester, England

Manchester City (ENG) 2 (De Bruyne 48, Sterling 90) Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) 0

At Naples, Italy

Napoli (ITA) 3 (Insigne 7, Mertens 49, Callejon 70) Feyenoord (NED) 1 (Amrabat 90+3)

Group G

At Istanbul, Turkey

Besiktas (TUR) 2 (Babel 11, Talisca 43) RB Leipzig (GER) 0

At Monaco

Monaco (FRA) 0 Porto (POR) 3 (Aboubakar 31, 69, Layun 89)

Group H

At Nicosia

APOEL Nicosia 0 Tottenham (ENG) 3 (Kane 39, 62, 67)

At Dortmund, Germany

Borussia Dortmund (GER) 1 (Aubameyang 54) Real Madrid (ESP) 3 (Bale 18, Ronaldo 50, 79)

AFP

]]> http://punchng.com/uefa-champions-league-results-9/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/botswana-referee-to-officiate-nigeriazambia-clash/ http://punchng.com/botswana-referee-to-officiate-nigeriazambia-clash/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:06:34 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=284026 Joshua Bondo, a 39-year-old referee from Botswana, will handle the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Nigeria and Zambia in Uyo on Oct. 7, the Nigeria Football Federation says.

In a statement on Wednesday by its Communications Department, the NFF said world football-ruling body FIFA appointed Bondo who has 10 years of international experience alongside two of his countrymen.

Oamogetse Godisamang, a 40-year-old international assistant referee since 2010, will serve as Assistant Referee 1, while Tirelo Mositwane, a 30-year-old international referee since 2013, will serve as Fourth Official.

However, Souru Phatsoane, from Lesotho will be Assistant Referee 2, while Carlos Henriques from South Africa will be the Referee Assessor.

Sudanese Osama Ataaelmanan will be the fixture’s Match Commissioner.

The Sudanese was also the Match Commissioner for the Match Day 4 clash between the Super Eagles and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon in Yaounde on Sept. 4.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that three-time African champions Nigeria will seal a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance with the minimum win in Uyo.

It is a clash that will see the winners of the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and the champions of the 2013 edition come face-to-face.

NAN reports that the match’s kick-off time is 5pm at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium.

(NAN)

]]> http://punchng.com/botswana-referee-to-officiate-nigeriazambia-clash/feed/ 0 http://punchng.com/uefa-open-disciplinary-probe-against-spartak/ http://punchng.com/uefa-open-disciplinary-probe-against-spartak/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 15:50:29 +0000 http://punchng.com/?p=283995

UEFA announced on Wednesday they had opened disciplinary proceedings against Spartak Moscow over the behaviour of their fans during the 1-1 draw against Liverpool in the Champions League.

The Russian champions face charges of “illicit banner and chants”, the use of fireworks, and blocking stairways inside the Otkrytiye Arena.

Spartak were fined 250,000 roubles (3,600 euros) by the Russian Football Union (RFU) in July for supporters’ racist chants during the Super Cup against Lokomotiv Moscow.

Brazilian-born goalkeeper Guilherme, a twice-capped Russia international, was the target on that occasion, while former Zenit striker Hulk said in July 2015 that he encountered racism in “almost every game”.

But Russian authorities insist they are stepping up measures to tackle racism ahead of hosting the 2018 World Cup.

AFP

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