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Bundesliga: Robben wins it for Bayern, BVB draw

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Bundesliga: Robben wins it for Bayern, BVB draw

 

Arjen Robben’s superb solo goal five minutes into time added on sealed a dramatic 5-4 comeback win for Bayern Munich at RB Leipzig in an electric top-of-the-table clash on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s star-studded Bayern, who were already confirmed as Bundesliga champions for the fifth straight year, were 4-3 down on 90 minutes until David Alaba drilled home a free-kick a minute later.

Robben, 33, then proved he had the legs to sprint clear of the tiring home defence as he capped a superb run with the winner.

“It was a crazy game,” said Ancelotti.

“We had a difficult start, but at the end it was enough for this crazy result.

“Both teams played great football, but could have defended better.”

It was heartbreak for second-placed Leipzig, who were minutes from avenging their 3-0 defeat at Bayern’s Allianz Arena last December.

“Congratulations Bayern for this mad victory and congrats to those who were in the stadium to witness it,” said Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl.

“We didn’t win any points today, but won a few hearts and some sympathy.

“We looked like being the winners for a long time against the best team in Germany.”

Bayern’s last-gasp victory leaves them 13-points clear in the table and captain Philipp Lahm will lift the Bundesliga trophy after next Saturday’s home match against Freiburg.

Leipzig’s Timo Werner netted twice and with 21 league goals is the Bundesliga’s leading German striker, and a shoe-in when Germany’s squad for next month’s Confederations Cup is announced on Wednesday.

In the race to be the league’s top-scorer, Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski also scored twice to leave him on 30 goals, one more than nearest rival, Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with a game left.

The first goal came after just 65 seconds when Leipzig’s Marcel Sabitzer headed home, then Werner hit the post on 12 minutes.

Bayern drew level when a Lahm cross clipped the arm of defender Bernardo and Lewandowski drilled home the penalty on 16 minutes.

Leipzig restored their lead when Xabi Alonso fouled playmaker Emil Forsberg and Werner netted from the spot.

Danish striker Yussuf Poulsen made it 3-1 to Leipzig just after the break when his shot wrong-footed Bayern’s third-choice goalkeeper Tom Starke after clipping Alonso’s boot.

But Bayern stayed in touch as Thiago Alcantara headed home Alonso’s cross on 60 minutes, before Werner grabbed his second five minutes later after turning Germany defender Jerome Boateng.

When Robben hit the crossbar with a free-kick on 84 minutes, Lewandowski reacted fastest to head home the rebound, cutting their deficit to one goal again and setting the scene for the dramatic finale, reports supersport.com.

Questions will be asked of Bayern’s defence, which shipped four goals for the first time since losing 4-1 at Wolfsburg in January 2015.

With Bayern and Leipzig already assured direct Champions League places, the battle rages on for the third automatic place after third-placed Dortmund drew 1-1 at Augsburg.

Aubameyang’s equaliser cancelled out Alfred Finnbogason’s early strike for Augsburg.

The result leaves Dortmund level on 61 points with fourth-placed Hoffenheim, who romped to a 5-3 victory at Werder Bremen as ex-Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric netted twice.

Hertha Berlin and sixth-placed Freiburg, who drew 1-1 at home to Ingolstadt, are in pole position to qualify for the Europa League next season.

Hertha are fifth after 19-year-old defender Jordan Torunarigha scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win at already relegated Darmstadt, with Salomon Kalou netting the opener.

Ingolstadt, 17th in the table, had their relegation confirmed after Hamburg’s 1-1 draw at home to Schalke left them four points adrift with one game left.

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Chinese Cup win delights Ighalo

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Chinese Cup win delights Ighalo

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ormer Super Eagles striker, Odion Jude Ighalo has expressed his joy after helping Shanghai Shenhua claim the Chinese FA Cup following there 3-0 win over Shandong Luneng, AOIFootball.com reports.

 

The former Watford of England attacker completed a perfect end to the year for his career as his side made amends for their disappointing league finish, with the striker claiming his first silverware in the Asian country.

 

With his side 1-0 up, the 2019 AFCON top scorer came off the bench for goal scorer Shin Wook Kim with Shanghai going on to score two late goals to claim their 5th FA Cup and their first since 2017.

The 30-year-old told AOIFootball.com afterwards that he was excited with the outcome of the game as he now wants to have a wonderful off season ahead of the New Year.

 

“It’s a nice feeling to end the season on a high. To even win my first trophy here in my first season even makes it more special. It’s been a tough season for the club and I will say the fans really deserve this fantastic ending.

“Now it’s time to look back at the season and pick the positives and ensure I remain sharp ahead of the New Year,” Ighalo said.

 

Despite being linked with a return to the EPL, the CAF best player nominee stated that a whole lot of things can happen before the New Year as he just wants to focus on having a pleasant holiday with family and friends.

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EPL: Foxes continue top two quest at Villa Park

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EPL: Foxes continue top two quest at Villa Park

Surprise 2016 Premier League champions, Leicester City go into this afternoon’s match full of confidence following their impressive hard fought 2-0 win over Watford during the midweek fixtures. Although the visiting team may be at the foot of the table, but they made life very difficult for the Foxes for very long periods of the game until leading scorer Jamie Vardy and James Maddison in the second half swung the three points their way.

The final outcome was also an indication of how far the Foxes have progressed under former Liverpool manger, Brendan Rogers. Incidentally, Rodgers’ reign at Leicester got off to a losing start with a 2-1 defeat at Watford back in March, but the two sides have gone in opposite directions since that day. The Foxes have gone on to collect 52 points from 24 games compared to just 15 for the Hornets over the same period, while this win was Leicester’s 11th from their opening 15 games of the season – the first time they have won so many games at this stage of a league campaign.

 

This was not Leicester at their fluid, attacking best but even so they could still have won by an even bigger margin. Leicester is putting together form they did not even manage in their title-winning campaign and show no signs of slowing down. Talk of a second Premier League title may still be premature but they certainly appear ready to pounce should Liverpool slip up during a busy December. Speaking to Match of the Day afterwards, the former Celtic manager said: “It was a tough game for us. Hayden Mullins had Watford very well organised. We had to be patient this evening and worked very hard for that but I thought we deserved it. “Jamie Vardy is absolutely fantastic.

 

I thought he should have a penalty in the first half. I don’t know why that was overturned. In the current rules that is normally given but it wasn’t and we gathered our composure and continued to work away to get the goal. “It was a real team effort tonight and to get seven wins on the spin in the Premier League is a great achievement. The team is developing and are proving they have a winning mentality and mind-set. We will do our best (to stay in top two), we fight and work and see where it takes us.”

 

This afternoon the Foxes will hope to stay on course for his prediction when they travel to Villa Park to face 15th placed Aston Villa, which stretched Chelsea to the limit before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday. For Dean Smith the performance of his wards in London would have given him confidence that they can mix it with the ‘big boys’.

 

Villa has performed admirably against the Premier League’s leading lights since returning to the top flight, without earning the rewards their performances have merited. Smith’s side opened the scoring in four of their five matches against established top-six opponents this season, pushing Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United close, with only defending champions Manchester City beating them with relative comfort.

 

Although these displays provided plenty of encouragement, Villa earned a solitary point. At Stamford Bridge, they again showed the basic prerequisites of hard work and organisation, but were unable to stretch Chelsea as their forays into the opposition half were limited. Smith knows that if he is to avoid slipping straight back down, he needs to start turning performances into points and the game against the Foxes will be a good time to do so. Also in action today, fifth-placed Wolves are on the road at Brighton & Hove Albion hoping to keep their winning run going, while in the final game of the day struggling Norwich City (19th) is at home to ninth-placed Sheffield United.

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Club World Cup: FIFA switches final host stadium

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Club World Cup: FIFA switches final host stadium

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IFA has been forced to switch the venue for the final of the Club World Cup in Qatar because the stadium where it was scheduled to be held has not been signed off.

 

The Education City Stadium in Doha was due to host Liverpool’s semi-final on December 18, plus the third-place play-off and the final on December 21.

The 40,000-capacity ground is built but yet to hold any test events, reports the BBC.

 

Matches will now be held at the city’s Khalifa International Stadium.

The venue, which has a capacity of 48,000, hosted the World Athletics Championships in September and October, and was already scheduled to host two games in the seven-team competition.

Organisers believe the change will lead to minimum disruption.

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La Liga: Benzema helps Madrid to easy victory

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arim Benzema scored and picked up an assist as Real Madrid recorded a comfortable win over Espanyol but were down to 10 men for the final stages after Ferland Mendy was sent off.

Benzema set up French team-mate Raphael Varane for the opener and made it 2-0 with just over 10 minutes to go.

 

The striker also wasted a huge chance in the second half, hitting it straight at keeper Diego Lopez from close range, reports the BBC.

 

Mendy was shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a rash challenge.

Real were comfortably the better team, although Espanyol did come close in the first half when Esteban Granero’s header was palmed away by Thibaut Courtois, seconds before Vinicius Junior raced up the other end and forced a save out of Lopez.

 

The hosts squandered numerous chances to extend their lead before Benzema made it 2-0 – Vinicius having three shots on target, while Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde came close.

 

Brazilian Vinicius, 19, was a constant threat on the left, linking up with Benzema and causing problems for Espanyol’s defence. He replaced Wales international Gareth Bale in the starting line-up, with the winger not in the squad after picking up a hamstring problem.

Real Madrid were also playing in an unfamiliar green kit – the first time they have done so at the Bernabeu – to show support for the COP25 climate summit in Madrid.

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EPL: Man United beat City, help Liverpool go 14 points clear

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•Wins for Spurs, Everton 

 

 

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anchester United dented neighbours Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes with a superb counter-attacking victory in the Manchester derby.

City stay third but are now 14 points behind leaders Liverpool, who won at Bournemouth. United move up to fifth.

Marcus Rashford’s first-half penalty, which was awarded after a VAR check, put United ahead.

 

Anthony Martial scored the second with a left-foot shot and Nicolas Otamendi replied with a late header for City.

United’s win was no more than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side deserved after they repeatedly carved the hosts’ defence apart in the opening stages.

Some incisive play saw Rashford hit the crossbar, while Daniel James and Martial could have added to the visitors’ tally.

 

Gabriel Jesus missed an excellent chance to score for the City – heading wide from six yards – as they lost two home matches in a season for the first time under manager Pep Guardiola.

At the Vitality Stadium Liverpool moved 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League with a comfortable win over Bournemouth.

 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, one of seven changes for the Reds, opened the scoring after a brilliant long-range pass from Jordan Henderson.

Naby Keita made it 2-0 before the break, slotting in with the outside of his foot after Mohamed Salah set him up with a sublime backheel.

Keita then turned provider for Salah as Liverpool eased to victory.

It extends Liverpool’s club record unbeaten run to 33 league games and they have won 15 of 16 Premier League matches this season.

 

In London, Son Heung-min scored one of the goals of the Premier League season as Tottenham returned to winning ways under Jose Mourinho by brushing aside Burnley.

Son picked up the ball on the edge of his area before sprinting the length of the pitch – leaving a trail of Burnley players in his wake – and slotting in to give Spurs a 3-0 half-time lead.

That all but sealed victory after Harry Kane had thumped the home team ahead and Lucas Moura converted a second from close range.

Burnley had chances of their own in the first half, hitting the woodwork through Robbie Brady, but paid dearly for their defensive vulnerability.

And Everton caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson made an instant impact on the pitch and a spectacular one off it as he started his reign with a vital victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Ferguson is in interim control after Marco Silva was sacked following Wednesday’s Merseyside derby thrashing at Liverpool that had left the Toffees in the relegation zone.

And Everton banished their recent struggles to run out fully deserved winners on a thunderous occasion illuminated by the former striker’s wild celebrations.

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Pele’s last Brazil jersey sells for N12m in Italy

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he jersey worn by Brazilian football legend Pele during his final match for the five-time world champions has sold for 30,000 euros (N11, 993, 200) in an action in Italy.

The three-time World Cup winner wore the jersey in a friendly against Yugoslavia at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro in July 1971, the last time he played for Brazil.

Pele, 79, regarded as among the greatest footballers of all-time, scored 77 goals for Brazil in 92 appearances.

The shirt was the highlight of objects which went under the hammer at the Bolaffi auction house in Turin on Thursday.

Other sporting memorabilia included the yellow jersey won by Italian cycling star Fausto Coppi on his way to victory in the 1952 Tour de France, which sold for 25,000 euros.

A rare blue Juventus jersey worn by Italian defender Luciano Spinosi in the final of the 1971 UEFA Cup sold for 9,400 euros.

Another shirt worn by Argentina legend Diego Maradona during his time playing for Napoli in the 1989-90 season sold for 7,500 euros.

A bat used by US basketball great Michael Jordan during his brief foray into baseball fetched 425 euros.

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Joshua reclaims heavyweight titles, beats Ruiz Jr

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Joshua reclaims heavyweight titles, beats Ruiz Jr

Anthony Joshua became a two-time word heavyweight champion by exacting revenge over Andy Ruiz Jr in dominant fashion with a unanimous points victory in a tense rematch in Saudi Arabia.

Six months on from the night where Ruiz stunned boxing, Joshua risked his career being left in tatters with a second defeat but served up 36 minutes of movement and well-timed punching to take the IBF, WBA and WBO titles back to Britain, reports the BBC.

After cutting his Mexican rival inside the first round he simply never looked back and picked out smart jabs and right hands throughout before being serenaded with chants of “AJ, AJ, AJ” by the 14,000 or so fans in the largely full Diriyah Arena.

Ruiz never looked close to landing a knockdown and when scores of 118-110 118-110 and 119-109 were read out, Joshua jumped up and down in the ring in celebration, just as the man who had wrecked his US debut did in June.

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La Liga: Benzema helps Madrid to easy victory

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Karim Benzema scored and picked up an assist as Real Madrid recorded a comfortable win over Espanyol but were down to 10 men for the final stages after Ferland Mendy was sent off.

 

Benzema set up French team-mate Raphael Varane for the opener and made it 2-0 with just over 10 minutes to go.

 

The striker also wasted a huge chance in the second half, hitting it straight at keeper Diego Lopez from close range, reports the BBC.

Mendy was shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute for a rash challenge.

 

Real were comfortably the better team, although Espanyol did come close in the first half when Esteban Granero’s header was palmed away by Thibaut Courtois, seconds before Vinicius Junior raced up the other end and forced a save out of Lopez.

 

The hosts squandered numerous chances to extend their lead before Benzema made it 2-0 – Vinicius having three shots on target, while Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde came close.

 

Brazilian Vinicius, 19, was a constant threat on the left, linking up with Benzema and causing problems for Espanyol’s defence. He replaced Wales international Gareth Bale in the starting line-up, with the winger not in the squad after picking up a hamstring problem.

 

Real Madrid were also playing in an unfamiliar green kit – the first time they have done so at the Bernabeu – to show support for the COP25 climate summit in Madrid.

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Club World Cup: FIFA switches final host stadium

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Club World Cup: FIFA switches final host stadium

FIFA has been forced to switch the venue for the final of the Club World Cup in Qatar because the stadium where it was scheduled to be held has not been signed off.

 

The Education City Stadium in Doha was due to host Liverpool’s semi-final on December 18, plus the third-place play-off and the final on December 21.

 

The 40,000-capacity ground is built but yet to hold any test events, reports the BBC.

 

Matches will now be held at the city’s Khalifa International Stadium.

 

The venue, which has a capacity of 48,000, hosted the World Athletics Championships in September and October, and was already scheduled to host two games in the seven-team competition.

 

Organisers believe the change will lead to minimum disruption.

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Bundesliga: Leaders Gladbach stun Bayern

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Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach scored an injury-time winner to beat champions Bayern Munich.

 

Bayern – who have won the title for the past seven years – are now in sixth, seven points behind Gladbach.

 

They had led when Ivan Perisic smashed home from the edge of the box, reports the BBC.

 

But Ramy Bensebaini powered in a header to level and then scored an injury-time penalty to seal a dramatic victory after Javi Martinez fouled Marcus Thuram in the box and was sent off.

 

Bayern – who lost Corentin Tolisso to a first-half hamstring injury – have now lost two league games in a row under interim boss Hans-Dieter Flic.

 

Monchengladbach, who last won the title in 1977, are one point above RB Leipzig – who beat Hoffenheim 3-1.

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