Copa Libertadores Review: Lanus advance to last 16 as Chapecoense are docked points

24 May 2017 05:20

Lanus progressed to the Copa Libertadores knockout rounds after Chapecoense were penalised by CONMEBOL, while Santos romped to victory.

On an eventful day in South America, Chapecoense were docked three points for fielding a suspender player in Group 7.

CONMEBOL announced the sanction on Tuesday, with Chapecoense knocked out of the Libertadores as Lanus were awarded a 3-0 win after defender Luiz Otavio was deemed ineligible to play in the 2-1 victory on May 17.

The penalty – which Chapecoense plan to appeal – left the Brazilian side on four points heading into Tuesday’s final game, with Lanus on 10 points and Nacional on eight.

And Lanus made sure of their position atop the standings after travelling to Uruguay and edging Nacional 1-0.

It was not all bad news for Chapecoense, who completed a stunning 2-1 win against Zulia to secure a spot in the Copa Sudamericana as a result of finishing third.

Trailing 1-0 in stoppage time, Arthur and Andrei Girotto struck in the 91st and 92nd minute to upstage 10-man Zulia on home soil.

Santos made it through Group 2 as undefeated leaders after routing Sporting Cristal 4-0, while The Strongest joined them in the last 16 following their 1-1 draw at Santa Fe.

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Cellino era over as Radrizzani completes Leeds United takeover

24 May 2017 00:50

Leeds United have announced Andrea Radrizzani has completed his takeover of the Championship club.

Radrizzani previously bought 50 per cent of the club in January and has now purchased the remaining shareholding from previous owner Massimo Cellino to take full control at Elland Road.

The new owner paid tribute to predecessor Cellino and stressed he sees his involvement at Leeds as a long-term commitment.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to become a custodian of this great football club,” said Radrizzani, who becomes Leeds United’s chairman with immediate effect.

“The heritage and history of Leeds United attracted me to the club and having spent time at games and at [training ground] Thorp Arch, I can see that we are ready to move forward to the next level.

“This is a long-term commitment, there is a lot of hard work ahead of us and I am aware of my responsibilities as owner of Leeds United. I can assure all supporters that everyone at this club will be doing all we can to build a successful team at Elland Road.

“Massimo has been incredibly supportive throughout the investment process and I am grateful that he has afforded me the opportunity to purchase Leeds United. We have had a positive 12 months and I am inheriting a club with a good squad and talented, hardworking staff. Massimo acquired a club in a difficult financial situation but he has created a sound platform for me to take Leeds United forward into a new era.”

Cellino was banned from football for 18 months and fined £250,000 for breaking agent regulations in Ross McCormack’s transfer to Fulham in July 2014.

In his own statement, the outgoing Leeds owner said: “I have been proud to work at Leeds United, with nice people who have worked at the club with me.

“If you can survive working with me, you can survive anything! I have always taught people to work for the club and not for me and in the end the staff have done so in a beautiful way.

“I wish Andrea good luck, I am sure he will continue what I have started and show that people from our country are honest and hard-working people. Owners come and go but Leeds United will be there forever, for the fans – keep Marching on Together. Goodbye and farewell.”

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Metropolitan Police increase armed officer presence for Wembley, Twickenham finals

23 May 2017 18:46

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it will deploy extra armed officers for this weekend’s FA Cup and Premiership Rugby finals in London in light of the Manchester terror attack.

A suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured another 59 at Manchester Arena following a concert by American pop star Ariana Grande on Monday.

Premier League champions Chelsea face Arsenal at Wembley as the English football season reaches its traditional conclusion with the FA Cup final on Saturday, while Wasps and Exeter Chiefs face off at Twickenham for the top prize in domestic rugby union in the country.

In a statement, the Met confirmed it would undertake a thorough review of its operations for the finals, with a provision of additional armed police already in place.

The statement read: “A full review of the security and policing operations for the weekend’s sporting events – the culmination of the football and rugby seasons at Wembley and Twickenham – is underway. This will include the deployment of extra armed officers. 

“Operation Hercules – which sees the deployment of a range of mobile and static overt armed officers – will be stepped up to protect the Capital. This is designed to make London as hostile an environment as possible for any would-be attacker. That means the locations, types of tactics and the numbers of officers deployed at once will continually change to be most effective and avoid predictability.

“The Met will continue to do everything possible to protect the Capital not just through the use of armed officers but the ongoing work by specialist detectives in the Counter Terrorism Command; working with partner agencies and gathering community intelligence.”

Metropolitan Police commander Jane Connors said: “As the full horror of last night’s attack in Manchester still sinks in, the thoughts of all of us in the Met Police are with those who have lost loved ones or who were injured.

“Here in London we are determined to do all we can to protect the Capital. That means that over the coming days, as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events, you will see more officers – including armed officers.”

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Dolberg downs Lyon & a sensational Schalke comeback

23 May 2017 13:15

Ajax take on Manchester United in the Europa League final on Wednesday in the culmination of a gruelling campaign to win the competition.

Peter Bosz’s men finished second to Feyenoord in the Eredivisie, but now have the chance to win their first European trophy since 1995.

Ajax have already played 14 matches to reach this stage of the tournament, where they take on Jose Mourinho’s United side, who need the trophy to book a place in next season’s Champions League.

Here, we look at the Amsterdammers’ road to Stockholm.


Ajax made an inauspicious start to their Europa League campaign, when Marcus Berg gave Panathinaikos a fifth-minute lead before Bertrand Traore and Jairo Riedewald ensured a come-from-behind 2-1 victory in a match where Hakim Ziyech was one of three players sent off.

Imperious home form has been the bedrock of their run to the final and Kasper Dolberg opened his account for the competition with the only goal against Standard Liege, while the teenage star was also on target as fellow semi-finalists Celta Vigo were downed 3-2.

There were score draws in Liege and Vigo but a 2-0 triumph in the return with Panathinaikos, thanks to Lasse Schone’s free-kick and a Kenny Tete strike, made sure of top spot in the group.


Ajax progressed by a solitary goal in each of the knockout rounds, starting with the Legia Warsaw tie in the last-32.

The Dutch side recorded a 0-0 away draw in the first leg despite a late red card for defender Tete.

The second leg saw Ajax edge to a 1-0 triumph and book their place in the next round, Nick Viergever striking early in the second half to send them through.


FC Copenhagen put Ajax under significant pressure in the last 16, winning the home first leg 2-1 thanks to a headed winner from Andreas Cornelius.

Rasmus Falk had put the hosts in front after just 27 seconds, with Dolberg equalising from what looked to be an offside position – a goal that would ultimately prove critical in the tie – before Cornelius’ winner.

Two first-half goals in the second leg saw Ajax turn the tie around in an impressive all-round performance, a Traore header and Dolberg’s penalty putting Bosz’s men 3-2 up on aggregate – a lead they held on to.


Ajax’s quarter-final tie against Schalke is one that will live long in the memory.

They appeared to be in control after Davy Klaassen’s double earned them a comfortable 2-0 win in the first leg, although Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann made fine saves from Traore and Amin Younes to keep the Germans in with a chance.

A wild second leg went all the way to extra time after Leon Goretzka and Guido Burgstaller had struck for Schalke to match Ajax’s result.

Ajax were already down to 10 men after Joel Veltman’s sending off and looked dead and buried when Daniel Caligiuri’s header put Schalke 3-2 up on aggregate in the first period of extra time.

However, Viergever deflected in an effort after defender Matija Nastasic failed to clear with only nine minutes to play, before Younes wrapped up a famous victory on the counterattack.


Bosz’s talented youngsters made their pitch to be considered alongside Ajax’s feted sides of the past with a vibrant first-leg display to demolish Lyon 4-1.

On-loan Chelsea forward Traore scored a goal in each half, with Dolberg and Younes also getting in on the act as Ziyech’s sublime left foot supplied three assists.

Mathieu Valbuena briefly reduced the arrears in the 66th minute but Ajax ran out comfortable winners, although a Lyon fightback complicated matters in the return.

Dolberg’s impudent finish gave Ajax the lead on the night and gave them one foot in the final but Alexandre Lacazette’s quickfire double set nerves jangling.

Rachid Ghezzal’s header brought Lyon to within a goal of extra time, with Ajax clinging on despite Viergever’s red card for a late lunge on Maciej Rybus. 

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Tributes flow after Manchester attack

23 May 2017 04:32

Tributes have poured in from the football community after a suspected terror attack in Manchester on Monday.

Greater Manchester Police confirmed 19 fatalities and 50 injuries following a blast at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena, which is being treated as a terrorist incident.

Reports of an explosion were heard just before 22:35 (local time) in Manchester as fans of the American singer fled the arena.

The football world led the tributes as British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her sympathy and condemned the incident.

Premier League giants Manchester City – based at the Etihad Stadium – wrote on Twitter: “It’s with great sadness we hear of the terrible events at the Arena. Our hearts go out to all affected and to our city’s emergency services.”

City captain Vincent Kompany took to Twitter to say: “I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims. It’s a sad day for the great city of Manchester. #Unity”

United States international Carli Lloyd – who plays for City’s womens team – wrote: “Sickened by what has happened in Manchester. Thoughts go out to everyone. This is literally right around the corner from me. I am safe.”

MLS outfit New York City – owned by the City Football Group – said: “Our hearts go out to our friends and all those affected in Manchester following tonight’s tragic events.”

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand added: “Just heard the news what’s happening in Manchester.. hope everyone safe sound!”

Mark Bosnich – who also played for United – wrote: “Thoughts and prayers with those affected by the events in Manchester 2nite and the good people of Manchester.”

“Truly awful news from the great city of Manchester. Thoughts are with all those affected,” said former England international Gary Lineker.

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Play as long as you can

23 May 2017 01:07

John Terry acknowledges the pull to continue his career after leaving Chelsea is strong and experienced former team-mates with club and country have cautioned him against a hasty retirement.

Terry told reporters he felt “physically drained” after an emotional final appearance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The 36-year-old was substituted after 26 minutes of the 5-1 win over Sunderland – to match the squad number he has worn across 717 Chelsea appearances – and received a guard of honour from his fellow players.

After celebrating being presented with the fifth Premier League title of his career, Terry, who has been reduced to a bit-part role under Antonio Conte, revealed he had spoken to Frank Lampard and Jamie Carragher to seek their advice over his next move.

“I need to take a step back away from the bubble and say, ‘What does John Terry want to do?’,” he said.

“Once you stop, that’s it. I have put in a few calls to ex-players, Jamie Carragher, Lamps. Everyone says, ‘Play as long as you can.’

“I never want to be that player who says, ‘I wish I’d played a couple more years.’ You can’t replace these moments.

“When I went out to play against Watford last week, the smell of the grass where it had rained and it was a little bit zippy – all of those things you take for granted over the years. They are the things you are going to miss.

“Ideally, I want to play as long as I can. ­Physically, I know I can. This year I’m probably fitter than I’ve ever been. Under a manager that works with me on the tactical side of things it takes four or five games to get the sharpness. But the hunger is there inside me to push on and win stuff.

“Everything is an option. I’m not ruling anything out. Whether that be retirement, playing, going into management – I’m halfway through my B-Licence – this or that.”

Terry added: “We all think we can play on until we’re 40, but if ever there was a way to go out it was like this.”

Omnisport understands the Football Association has asked betting companies to provide any relevant information following reports punters won money by wagering on the time of Terry’s pre-planned substitution against Sunderland.

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Clichy: I won´t be at Manchester City next season

22 May 2017 18:58

Gael Clichy has told Manchester City fans he will leave the club after six seasons at the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires next month.

Clichy joined City from Arsenal in 2011 and made 203 appearances, winning two Premier Leagues and EFL Cups.

The 31-year-old is one of five remaining senior players out of contract at the end of Pep Guardiola’s first season in charge along with Willy Caballero, Bacary Sagna, Yaya Toure and Jesus Navas.

City announced long-serving right-back Pablo Zabaleta would leave ahead of a farewell appearance against West Brom last week.

Speaking to supporters at an exclusive screening of the club’s 93:20 film, which documents the events surrounding Sergio Aguero’s dramatic title-sealing goal against QPR in 2012, Clichy was asked whether he expected to be playing alongside Joe Hart next season – the England goalkeeper who was sent on loan to Torino in Serie A after it became apparent he did not feature in Guardiola’s plans.

“It’s hard,” Clichy said. “I’m not sure whether or not Joe will be here next season, and I won’t be here next season.”

Clichy made 39 appearances in all competitions for City this term, scoring two of his three career goals for the club, and completed 90 minutes in Sunday’s final-day thrashing of Watford.

Speaking after the game at Vicarage Road, Toure told reporters he wished to see out his career in Manchester and was hopeful over a new deal.

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