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Carabao Cup: Fred will play Pogba’s position, Solskjaer confirms

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Carabao Cup: Fred will play Pogba’s position, Solskjaer confirms

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Fred will replace the injured Paul Pogba in the Manchester United midfield “for a while” and has backed him to “step up” in the Frenchman’s absence.

Following United’s 3-1 victory over Norwich in the Premier League, Solskjaer admitted that Pogba would not be back to full fitness and available for selection again until December.

Fred, 26, has featured in six top-flight games so far this season, but has only played the full match in the defeat against Newcastle and the draw with Liverpool in October, reports Sky Sports.

Last season the Brazil international played a largely peripheral role in the United squad, following his £52m move from Shakhtar Donetsk.

“Fred will probably take Paul’s position for a while now,” Solskjaer said.

“There’s no use talking about who’s not going to be here for a long, long time because he’s not going to come on the pitch and help us until he’s fit.

“Paul’s been brilliant and he is a creative midfielder that we need, but then it is up to the others to step up.”

United face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup round of 16 on Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.

The two sides’ previous meeting ended in a 4-0 victory for United on the opening day of the season, thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford (two), Anthony Martial and Daniel James.

Ahead of their clash with Frank Lampard’s side, Solskjaer insists that the result did not reflect the performance that his side put in against the Blues at Old Trafford in early August.

“I think Frank has done a good job because the performance against us was good. The result was bad,” said Solskjaer.

“We held our hands up as well and said: ‘4-0? Yeah, flattering’.

“We were pegged back, they pressed us, but we scored two goals, the second and the third within a minute which decided the game for us, so we didn’t think we were 4-0 better than them but it’s going to be an interesting game.”

Martial scored in the second half against Norwich last weekend and, along with David de Gea, provided a welcome boost to Solskjaer’s squad, with both coming back from spells on the sidelines at Carrow Road.

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Boxing: Why I lost to Anthony Joshua – Ruiz Jr

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Boxing: Why I lost to Anthony Joshua – Ruiz Jr

*Wants third fight against Nigerian

Andy Ruiz Jr said three months of partying and a lack of proper training left him “overweight” for his world title rematch with Anthony Joshua.

Ruiz, 30, was comprehensively out-pointed in Saudi Arabia, six months after shocking the boxing world by stopping Joshua in New York.

The Mexican vowed he would be “a lot better” if he gets a third fight.

“I should have trained harder. I should have listened to my team and coaches,” he said.

“For this fight I was overweight. I didn’t move how I wanted to.”

‘The partying got the best of me’

Ruiz, the second-heaviest world champion in heavyweight history behind Nikolai Valuev, gained 15lb since his win over Joshua, who is now a two-time champion in the glamour division, reports the BBC.

He scaled 20st 3lb at Friday’s weigh-in and, while he was brave and durable as Joshua ran out a unanimous points winner, he never threatened to repeat his incredible upset from earlier in the year.

Many had questioned if a lifestyle which saw him buy new homes and cars, and make countless media appearances in the aftermath of his win, could prove costly.

He appeared regretful and apologised to his trainer Manny Robles and father Andres at his post-fight news conference but was applauded out at its conclusion.

The former champion claimed he had initially lost weight after his win but added: “I put on the weight and it was my mistake. No-one knows about the training we had. We did the best we can.

“Being a champion for the first time, being over here and there and missing training, it was hard.

“For the trilogy I will be a lot better. I want to redeem myself in Saudi Arabia.”

Trainer Robles has stressed Ruiz had a full three-month camp but that would have still left more than three months between his win over Joshua and the start of preparations.

“I don’t want to say the three months of partying or celebrating didn’t affect me, as to tell you the truth it kind of did,” Ruiz added.

“There’s no excuses. The partying got the best of me. The next fight is going to be a lot different.

“People are still doubting me. I am still a dangerous fighter to anyone in the division. At 100% I can dominate anyone in the world.

“You best believe I am going to come back and be the heavyweight champion of the world once again.”

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Manchester derby: City threaten fan bans after ‘monkey gesture’, missiles thrown

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Manchester derby: City threaten fan bans after ‘monkey gesture’, missiles thrown

Manchester City have said any fans found guilty of racist abuse will be banned from the club for life after a supporter appeared to make a monkey gesture towards a United player during Saturday’s derby match.

The incident happened during the second half of a dramatic but occasionally ugly clash at the Etihad Stadium.

At least two United players including Brazilian star Fred are believed to have been targeted with abuse during the game, which also saw missiles thrown from the stands, reports Sky Sports.

In a statement, City said they were “aware of a video circulating on social media which appears to show a supporter making racial gestures” – and were working with Greater Manchester Police to help identify those involved.

City added: “The club operates a zero tolerance policy regarding discrimination of any kind, and anyone found guilty of racial abuse will be banned from the club for life.”

Police are also working with City regarding the missiles that were thrown on to the field.

City players were seen appealing for calm in the section of the crowd where the missile appeared to have come from, with Fred the player who was struck.

Teammate Marcus Rashford told Sky Sports he was not aware of the incident during the game, but said the fact such abuse was still happening “isn’t good enough”.

He added that there was “obviously work still to do in that area”.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer branded the alleged abuse “unacceptable”.

He told Sky Sports: “I’ve seen it on the video. Fred and Jesse (Lingard) in the corner taking coins from the City fans first of all, so they’ve got to go away.

“And then there’s this not-so-intelligent fella chanting racist abuse towards my two players and I hope City and the authorities will deal with it, because he shouldn’t be watching football again. Not live, anyway.

“We have to stamp it out. We keep talking about it every single week and it’s not acceptable. He should not be allowed back into a ground. That’s how simple it is.”

English football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out said it had been “inundated with reports of alleged racist abuse from a number of individuals” during the game, which United won 2-1.

Rashford and fellow striker Anthony Martial scored the goals for United, with champions City falling 14 points behind league leaders Liverpool.

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Ex-Bayern boss, Kovac, watches Everton beat Chelsea

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Ex-Bayern boss, Kovac, watches Everton beat Chelsea

Former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac watched managerless Everton’s win over Chelsea from the Goodison Park directors’ box on Saturday.

The 48-year-old Croat was not sat with Everton’s owners for the 3-1 home victory, overseen by interim caretaker Duncan Ferguson and which lifted the club out of the bottom three.

It is understood that Kovac has travelled to England on a ‘fact-finding’ mission about the English game, having left Bayern by mutual consent in November.

From Goodison, he travelled to the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby between City and United, before attending the Hawthorns on Sunday to watch West Brom against Swansea, reports Sky Sports.

But his appearance has only heightened speculation among supporters that he is one of the names on a four-man shortlist of candidates to replace Marco Silva on Merseyside.

Also understood to be on that list is the Shanghai SIPG boss Vitor Pereira, who is due to begin negotiations with Everton over the weekend.

Ex-Toffees boss David Moyes is also said to be on the list and the preferred choice of Chairman Bill Kenwright, while Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti is another name to have emerged.

Kovac won a Bundesliga and German cup double as Bayern Munich boss last season, having taken over from Jupp Heynckes on a three-year contract.

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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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