<![CDATA[rss-Sports]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Sports]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[After 10 years in England, Elmohamady wants to end his career in the Premier league]]>
Elmohamady spoke in a lengthy dialogue with his club Aston Villa website about his period in England, the increase of Egyptians in the English Premier League and the best players played with him in the Egyptian team.

Congratulations on completing ten years in English football. How do you reflect on your time in this country so far?

I remember my first day in England when I joined Sunderland, the first club I played for. It was a difficult beginning because I came to a different country, different culture and climate without my family and friends. But I got used to it well and enjoyed it. There were also some difficulties with language, but over time I learnt it. I’m proud of what I did, and I hope it will continue for years to come, as I think I’m the first Egyptian player to spend ten years here in England.


Tell us about how last season was for you and the journey of getting promotion to the Premier League?

The Championship is a tough league and it’s not easy to get promoted from it. The club spent two years in the Championship, and we reached the Play-Off Final in 2018 but we didn’t make it. We reached Wembley again in 2019 and we were determined to win and get promoted to the Premier League. We were inconsistent last season, but we were able to win the last 11 or 12 matches and finish in the Play-Off positions. It was one of the best days in my career. Of course, I prefer to play in the Premier League.

What makes Aston Villa special?

Aston Villa is one of the greatest clubs here in England and worldwide. The fans and atmosphere in Villa Park is awesome. I am pleased to be here and I’ve spent the best times of my ten years in England with Villa.

Away from football, how do you describe your life in England?

I am well settled here. I have my wife and my two kids, Malek and Nejma. I wanted to make a family ever since I came here to settle as early as possible.

Do you want to end your career in Egypt?

I’ve been here in England for a long time and I am looking to end my career here too, to be the first Egyptian player to finish their career in England.

How do you feel when you see more Egyptian players come to the Premier League?

It’s a good thing for Egyptian football. We have Salah and Trezeguet in the Premier League and Hegazi in the Championship. Playing in such a big league will benefit those players and in turn will benefit the Egyptian national team. I hope we see more Egyptian players play here in the future.

What is your advice to young Arab players?

You should be committed and work hard. Commitment is the key to achieve your goals, we have seen this in Salah and Trezeguet.

Who is the person that most influenced your career?

My father, because he always advises and supports me during difficult times.

Who is the best manager you’ve played for before Dean Smith?

Steve Bruce. He was the one who brought me here through Sunderland, then signed me for Hull City and Aston Villa. I respect Steve so much and he helped me a lot.


Who is the best player you’ve played with at international level?

I’ve played with many great players like Barakat, Aboutrika, Mido, Salah and Trez now. I can’t identify one player. They are all great players and I am proud of playing alongside them.

And who is the best player you’ve played alongside in England?

I’ve played with a lot of great players like John Terry and Jack Grealish. But for me Jack is the best because he is brilliant and can make the difference at any time.

Who is the best player you’ve played against in England?

Eden Hazard. He was one of the toughest and he is so talented. Also, Ashley Cole when he was in his prime at Chelsea.

Finally, what is the best moment of your ten years in England?

Promotion to the Premier League with Aston Villa. When you see the joy in the fans’ eyes, you realise how much they wanted it. It’s my best moment here for sure.
3/30/2020 9:45:00 AM
<![CDATA[I had no friends in football: Elhadary]]>
El-Hadary said in statements to OnTime Sport channel: "Sherif Ekrami, Mohamed Al-Shennawi and others say they are friends in front of the cameras? I can say that too, but it will not be true."

"If their words were correct, then perhaps I am wrong, and for this reason I have continued for more than 25 years as number one."

El-Hadary continued, "In my career, I went into trouble with Thabet Al-Batal, Shoubir and Mustafa Kamal, and then with Abdel Wahid El-Sayed, Mohamed Abdel-Monsef and Mohamed Sobhy. Then Sherif Ekramy and Ahmed El-Shennawy. In the end I was always Number 1 for 25 years."

The 47-year-old continued, "Do not think that in football there are players in the same position as friends. In my entire career, maybe I have a relationship with Mohamed Shawky, Mohamed Zidan and Ahmed Elmohamady. They are not my friends and we go out together but I have a relationship with them."

"Out of the stadium, my friends and I wish them well. On the field (I don’t have mercy on me)."

Essam El-Hadary was the goalkeeper of the Egyptian team for 22 years from 1996 to 2018.

El-Hadary has been crowned the nations of Africa four times in 1998, 2006, 2008 and 2010. He participated in the 2018 World Cup finals as the largest player to participate in the World Cup historically.
3/30/2020 8:53:00 AM
<![CDATA[Scrap season if it can't be finished by end of June says Kane]]>
The English top-flight is currently suspended until at least April 30 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with a likely further delay to be announced soon.

There is no clear idea about when or if football will be able to resume, but Euro 2020 has been cancelled, which opens a window to bring domestic seasons to a conclusion in the summer.

But Tottenham striker Kane does not want Premier League chiefs to let the current campaign go past June or even the start of what would be the 2020-21 season in August, as has been suggested in some quarters.

"I know the Premier League will do everything they can to finish the season, and that they are looking at every option possible," Kane said in an Instagram Live conversation with former Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp.

"I think, for me, we do need to try to finish the season. But there needs to be a point where enough is enough.

"Playing into July or August and pushing next season back I don't see too much benefit in that. But obviously I don't know too much about behind the scenes and financially.

"Probably the limit for me is the end of June. If the season's not completed by the end of June we need to look at the options and just look forward to next season."

Premier League matches could potentially be staged behind closed doors in a bid to complete this campaign once the current lockdown in Britain is over.

Kane does not think dragging out the season will help anyone though, especially if it delays the next term.

"The further this season is pushed on, it would have such a big knock-on effect for next season, with the Euros in 2021, and even World Cup 2022. But that's just my opinion," he said.

"Football is secondary at the moment. I know there still have to be plans in place, and I'm sure everyone is trying to do that.

"All that is out of my hands though, there's nothing I can do personally, so from my point of view we've just got to wait and see what happens. Hopefully this clears up as soon as possible, and we can try to get back to normal."]]>
3/30/2020 4:32:00 AM
<![CDATA[Xavi wants 'total harmony' to return to Barcelona as coach]]>
Hernandez is in charge of Al-Sadd in Qatar and turned down an approach in January after Barca sacked Ernesto Valverde, which led to the surprise appointment of Quique Setien.

In an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia published on Sunday, Xavi said Neymar would be a "spectacular signing", and singled out former Spain defender Carles Puyol and the one-time Dutch winger Jordi Cruyff as people he would like to work with.

Yet the relationship between Barcelona's board, led by president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and the players has remained tense, with Lionel Messi's public criticism of technical secretary Eric Abidal among a number of off-field controversies.

"I am clear that I want to return to Barca, I am very excited," said Xavi, who was asked if a change of board would be needed for it to happen. "Obviously I would like to be in tune with everyone," he said. "In the dressing room there can't be a negative or toxic atmosphere."

"Everything has to fit," Xavi added. "I would like to come in with people from my environment that could form a good team."

Pushed on whether working with the current board would be a deal-breaker, Xavi said: "It wouldn't be definitive but I insist I would like to have total harmony. I don't know if that can happen... I have nothing against anyone and I don't have a bad relationship with Bartomeu.

Xavi mentioned the likes of Puyol, whom he played with under Pep Guardiola, and Cruyff, son of Johan and former Barca and Manchester United winger, as the kind of people he would like to work alongside.

"I would like to work with people in whom I have confidence, with whom there is loyalty," said Xavi. "We are talking about Carles Puyol, who was captain of Barca, and Jordi Cruyff, a very good businessman with a lot of experience as a technical secretary."

He also said Neymar, whom the Catalans tried and failed to sign from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, would be a "spectacular signing".

"Most of the squad seems extraordinary," Xavi said. "The base is very good. I would sign forwards, like Neymar. I don't know if he would fit in a social sense but in football terms I have no doubt he would be a spectacular signing."]]>
3/30/2020 2:31:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ittihad from Saudi Arabia denies interest in Ashour ]]>
Diab tweeted on Saturday through his official twitter account stating that there isn’t any sort of communication between Al-Ittihad and Al Ahly.

“The world is in a crisis and people continue on spreading rumors. The news circulating about the club being interested in Ashour isn’t true. He is not in our list of names that we want for next season,” Diab said.

On a similar note, Al Ahly informed their team captain Ashour earlier this month that he is not in the Rene Weiler’s, Al Ahly’s manager, plans and offered him a position at the club's official channel.

However, the 34-year-old midfielder told Egyptian Giants [Al Ahly] that he wishes to continue his professional career as a footballer.

Al Ahly’s number 25 [Ashour] won the following titles: 12 Egyptian Leagues, 8 Egyptian Super Cups, 5 CAF Champion Leagues and 5 CAF Super Cups along with other trophies during his 15 years at the club.]]>
3/29/2020 12:18:29 PM
<![CDATA[Juventus players and staff agree to wage cut ]]>
The Italian club [Juventus] published a statement stating that their manager Maurizio Sarri and Porteguese star Cristiano Ronaldo agreed among other players to reduce their wages for the next four months.

Juventus statement read as follows: "Juventus Football Club S.p.A. announces that, due to the current global health emergency is preventing the performance of the sporting activity, it has reached an understanding with the players and the coach of the First Team regarding their compensation for the residual portion of the current sport season.
"The understanding provides for the reduction of the compensation for an amount equal to the monthly payments of March, April, May and June 2020. In the coming weeks, personal agreements with the players and the coach will be finalised, as required by the current regulations.
"The economic and financial effects of the understanding reached are positive for about EUR 90 million for the 2019/2020 financial year.

"Should the current season's matches be rescheduled, the Club will negotiate in good faith with the players and the coach conditional increases of compensations according to the actual resumption and finalisation of official competitions.

"Juventus would like to thank the players and the coach for their commitment at a difficult time for everyone," as reported from Sky Sports.

The idea of the wage cut came as a result of the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte announcing on March 9th the suspension of the Serie A until April 3rd [with a potential extension] due to the spread of the coronavirus in Italy.

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China during late November 2019, around 657,000 people were infected and about 30,000 people died because of the disease.

As a result, several countries such as Italy, Spain, France, and England suspended their sports competitions due to the coronavirus being widespread among around 199 countries and territories.
3/29/2020 5:58:00 AM
<![CDATA['I struggled to breathe' Dybala reveals coronavirus nightmare]]>
The Argentine international announced last Saturday he was one of three Juventus players to catch the virus along with Daniele Rugani and Blaise Matuidi, who both had no symptoms.

"I feel better now after some strong symptoms," the 26-year-old Dybala told JTV channel.

"A couple of days ago I was not well, I felt heavy and after five minutes of movement I had to stop because I was struggling to breathe.

"Now I can move and walk to start trying to train, because when I tried in the past few days I started to shake too much.

"I gasped for air and as a result I couldn't do anything, after five minutes I was already very tired, I felt the body heavy and my muscles hurt.

"Now I'm fine. My fiancée Oriana (Sabatini) has also overcome the symptoms."

Dybala has scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, including in league leader's Juventus's last game against Inter Milan before Serie A and all sport in Italy was suspended.

"The goal against Inter was the greatest emotion, (Aaron) Ramsey provided the perfect assist - it's a pity that there was no public," added Dybala.

3/29/2020 12:06:31 AM
<![CDATA[Pedro reveals angst of separation from children due to virus]]>
Pedro's kids are back in Spain and the 32-year-old is unable to go home to see his family because of the travel restrictions imposed around the pandemic.

The Spaniard has remained in England and the separation has been an unsettling experience.

"It's hard not to be seeing your children, your parents, your siblings, not having them close by at a complicated, difficult time for us all," Pedro told Chelsea's website.

"We are in permanent contact on the phone, keeping in touch about what we are up to in isolation and trying to be as close as possible.

"Of course, we would have liked to be there but for safety reasons that isn't possible so for now we are going to stay where we are and try to get through it as best we can."

The Premier League remains suspended until April 30, but that date could be extended as the spread of the virus remains a major concern.

Pedro is helping the community effort in Spain through his own foundation, while the Blues' senior squad has made a sizeable donation to the Chelsea Foundation to help those in need in west London.

Pedro has kept in contact with several of his Spanish Chelsea team-mates.

"It's a very delicate, complex situation; a critical situation because there have been lots of cases of infection, especially in Madrid and Catalonia, which are probably the most affected regions, but now it has spread across the country," Pedro said.

"They are in total lockdown in their houses so they are living through a crisis situation. It's also an economic crisis, of course, but at the moment that is secondary. The most important thing is that people stay at home with their family.

"The police and army are on the streets and the situation is maybe more controlled than here in the UK but we are living in a situation of chaos and crisis because of this pandemic.

"I've been on the phone to Kepa (Arrizabalaga) and Marcos Alonso. I've also called Jordi Alba from Barcelona. I'm in touch with other players too, to see how they are handling the situation, with players who are alone, which can sometimes be difficult.

"These are tough times and we are in constant contact. I'm also speaking a lot to Azpi (Cesar Azpilicueta)."]]>
3/29/2020 12:04:44 AM
<![CDATA[Carteron will keep his position, Mansour ]]>
"Carteron is a great manager and he decided to stay in Egypt since the crisis started. He will keep his position whatever happened." Mansour said on Saturday.

Carteron has had a massive impact on Zamalek since he was appointed as the club manager, having led the club to secure the Egyptian Super Cup title, African Super Cup title as well as securing a spot at the CAF Champions League semi-final.

Mansour reflected on the rumors regarding the cancellation of the season, saying" What concerns me more is the safety of the people in Egypt."

On 14 March, Egyptian Football Association, EFA, announced on Saturday that all football-related activities are suspended for two weeks as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension includes fixtures of all Egyptian league divisions and age groups.
3/28/2020 2:35:40 PM
<![CDATA[Ismaily player tests negative for coronavirus ]]>
"I was diagnosed with stong flu and I am now at home." Mgdy told filgoal on Saturday.

The player was admitted to the hospital after suffering from coronavirus symptoms.

Magdy is a youth product of Al Masry and he played 35 games for the club. His amazing performance caught the eye of Cairo giants, Zamalek.

Magdy spent two years inside the white castle but failed to book a starting position during his two years in Cairo and decided to return back to the Canal but this time for Ismailia to wear the famous yellow jersey of the local giants.

Magdy traveled with his team to Morocco to face their giants, Raja Casablanca, but the game was postponed amid the spread of coronavirus.

On 14 March, Egyptian Football Association, EFA, announced on Saturday that all football-related activities are suspended for two weeks as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension includes fixtures of all Egyptian league divisions and age groups.]]>
3/28/2020 2:16:51 PM
<![CDATA[We have to give people time to find solutions, Klopp ]]>
The German manager believes that football will resume one day but people have to be disciplined and follow the authorities' instructions to get back to the normal life.

"Football is not the most important thing in the world. The only way to get football back as soon as possible, if that’s what the people want, the more disciplined we are now the earlier we will get, piece by piece by piece, our life back." Klopp told Liverpool official website.

Klopp and his boys are out of action for two weeks since they lost to Athletico Madrid 3-2 at home to be knocked out of the UEFA Champions League competition.

Despite their loss, Klopp praised his players' performance during the game, saying" I loved the game, I loved what I saw from the boys, it was a really, really good performance other than the result."

Liverpool have had a fantastic campaign at the league and they were two wins away from clinching the league title for the first time since 1990. ]]>
3/28/2020 2:04:14 PM
<![CDATA[Ismaily player in quarantine after showing coronavirus symptoms]]>
"Magdy felt sick as he suffered from high fever and he was admitted to the hospital until his test results come back." El Meniawy told press on Friday.

Magdy is a youth product of Al Masry and he played 35 games for the club. His amazing performance caught the eye of Cairo giants, Zamalek.

Magdy spent two years inside the white castle but failed to book a starting position during his two years in Cairo and decided to return back to the Canal but this time for Ismailia to wear the famous yellow jersey of the local giants.

Magdy traveled with his team to Morocco to face their giants, Raja Casablanca, but the game was postponed amid the spread of coronavirus.]]>
3/27/2020 7:00:45 PM
<![CDATA[Abdelhak Nouri awakes from coma ]]>
The youngster collapsed in July 2017 during a friendly game between Ajax and German's Werder Bremen and sustained severe and permanent brain damage.

"He is aware of where he is, he is back in a familiar environment with his family. He’s no longer in a coma. He’s just awake. He sleeps, he sneezes, he eats, he burps, but it’s not like he gets out of bed. He’s very bedridden and still very dependent on us." Nouri's brother said.

Nouri was considered by many football experts as one of the promising talents in the world and he was expected to secure a spot at Ajax and the Dutch national team.

Nouri's brother continued "We talk to him like he’s not sick. We take him into our conversations and we watch football with him in the living room, for example."]]>
3/27/2020 2:23:14 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool send a heartwarming message to health care workers]]>
Liverpool men''s team, Liverpool women's team and their coaching staff appeared in a compilation video to offer their own messages of gratitude to the health care workers.

Liverpool players are training at home since the club decided to suspend the training sessions following the FA's decision to suspend the league amid the spread of coronavirus.

Liverpool were leading the league table with 25 points ahead of the second-placed Manchester City and they were two victories away from winning their first league title since 1990.

UEFA and CONCACAF decided to postpone the UEFA EURO 2020 and Copa America 2020 to 2021 summer to buy time for the domestic federations to complete the season.]]>
3/27/2020 1:15:01 PM
<![CDATA[Ter Stegen on Bayern Munich’s radar ]]>
The German goalkeeper affirmed in many occasions that he does not want to leave Barcelona. However, the club’s poor results in the recent seasons, could force the German to leave the club.

Ter Stegen, who is considered by many as Barcelona’s second best player after Lionel Messi, joined the club in 2014 summer from his childhood club, Borussia Mönchengladbach.

During his first season with the club, Ter Stegen was made the first-choice goalkeeper in both the Copa del Rey and in the UEFA Champions League but he did not participate in the league as then Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique, picked Claudio Bravo.

The same situation continued for two years until Bravo left the Catalan club to join Manchester City, paving the way for the German goalkeeper to be Barcelona’s first choice goalkeeper in all competitions.

During his time with Barcelona, Ter Stegen won Four LaLiga titles, four Copa del Rey titles as well as winning the 2015 UEFA Champions League title. ]]>
3/26/2020 3:12:33 PM
<![CDATA[I miss feeling like a footballer, Braithwaite]]>
"What do I miss the most? Being on the pitch and feeling like a footballer. Obviously I like going to train, but I'm working hard at home. I try not to lose my routine.” Braithwaite told Marca.

The Danish joined Barcelona this winter from Leganes and he did not have the time to prove his worth for the club fans as he only participated in three games with the club.

Braithwaite explained his training at home, saying “We have a spectacular coaching staff. I try to follow the team's recommendations, from Antonio Gomez, the club’s physio, and I send him photos and videos, so that he has no doubt that I train.”

Braithwaite is expecting a fierce competition with the club’s starting strikers, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez, once football competition resume.
3/26/2020 1:58:05 PM
<![CDATA[Coaching Al Ahly will make me a better manager, Weiler ]]>
“What I’m experiencing here is great and incredibly enriching. It will make me a more complete and better coach. You get a new perspective on life when you live and work in Africa.” The Swiss said during an interview with NZZ.

Al Ahly fans highly appreciate their manager’s work as he led the club to CAF Champions League semi-finals and they are leading the domestic league table with 16 points clear.

Al Ahly has a record 8 CAF Champions League titles and their fans put much hope on their manager to lead the club to win the long-awaited title.

Weiler added “I am not interested in what the manager earns or how long he is employed in the club. It's the performance principle that counts.”

Weiler is still living in Cairo and did not return back home despite the suspension of football competitions in Egypt amid the spread of coronavirus.]]>
3/26/2020 12:07:04 PM
<![CDATA[My first season at Madrid has been bad, Hazard ]]>
“My first season at Madrid has been bad, but none all of it. "It's been a season of adaptation. I will be judged on the second one. It is up to me to be in good shape next year.” Hazard said during an interview with Marca.

Hazard joined Real Madrid last summer from Chelsea and he was considered as Real Madrid’s replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo who left the club to join Juventus in 2018 summer.

Hazard added "The group is good; it's been a great experience for me. I still have four years left on my contract."

The Belgian winger revealed his disappointment following the postponement of UEFA EURO 2020 due to the spread of coronavirus.

“I was expecting to reach it, so I was disappointed by the change. I had planned to play it. But I also think there are priorities in life.” Hazard added.

Hazard is one of his national team’s key players and he hopes to be in his best form next year to be ready for the EURO finals. ]]>
3/26/2020 11:40:48 AM
<![CDATA[Tokyo postponement has 'no impact' on Paris 2024 Olympics, says organiser]]>
The 2020 Games were delayed until "no later than summer 2021" by the IOC and Japanese Prime Minister Sinzo Abe earlier on Tuesday, but Estanguet said the first postponement of an Olympics during peacetime would not affect the Paris edition, which will now be staged three years after the Tokyo event.

"The 2024 Games will be held in the summer of 2024. There is no impact on the date," said the three-time Olympic canoeing champion.

The Olympics were due to be held from July 24-August 9 this year, but it was deemed too dangerous to hold it as planned due to the pandemic which has claimed the lives of almost 7,000 people worldwide.

"It was the best decision for the athletes, for all the players in the Games," added Estanguet.

"I believe that the Games must stay in their place.

"We are really advancing on our own preparation plan. Each situation in the Games is different. We do not have the same infrastructure to build.

"We are advancing on our schedule independently of that of Tokyo."

The Olympics became the highest-profile of a long list of sporting events hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, with football's Euro 2020 also postponed until next year, while the majority of global international sport has been put on hold.]]>
3/25/2020 9:08:13 AM
<![CDATA[Sobhi: My loan could be extended ]]>
In his interview with Egyptian channel ON Time Sports, the 23-year-old winger confirmed that his loan with the Red Devils [Al Ahly] could be extended in order to complete the current season.

“There isn’t any updates with my contract at Al Ahly. My loan with the team will end on 31 June. However, it could be extended in order to finish the Egyptian League and the CAF Champions League with the team,” Sobhi said in his interview.

Sobhi who experienced his breakthrough with Al Ahly as a youngster before joining Stoke City F.C. added that he wishes to continue with his boyhood club [Al Ahly] yet doesn’t dismiss the chance of playing abroad once again.

“I am not the type of person who likes to play on the emotions of the fans, I really want to continue with Al Ahly. However, playing abroad is my number one priority. My dream is to play in Europe and become successful,” Sobhi added in his interview.

Throughout the 162 games that he played during his club career, the Egyptian winger [Sobhi] scored 28 goals and made 24 assists.]]>
3/25/2020 8:42:54 AM
<![CDATA[Guardiola donates €1m to help fight coronavirus ]]>
The Spanish manager [Guardiola] who is from Barcelona and is currently there with his family donated to the Medical College of Barcelona and the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation.

"Pep Guardiola has made a donation of one million euros to the Fundacio Angel Soler Daniel for the acquisition and supply of health equipment to deal with the Covid-19 [coronavirus] pandemic," the Foundation announced in a statement, according to Sky Sports.

Moreover, the foundation announced in their statement that such donations will also be used to help finance protective items for health works such as respirator masks.

"The fundraising campaign led by the Official College of Doctors of Barcelona and managed through the Foundation, is aimed at obtaining cash donations from doctors who are members of the college and the general population to buy health equipment which is currently lacking in hospitals in Catalonia,” the Foundation concluded their statement, as reported by Sky Sports.

Spain is currently the fourth largest country that is negatively impacted by the spread of the pandemic having around 39,800 people infected with about a total recovery of about 3,700 and more than 2,800 dead.

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 417,000 people were infected and about 18,000 people died because of the disease.

As a result, Spain, Italy, England and several other countries decided to suspend their sports competitions due to the coronavirus being widespread among 196 countries and territories.
3/25/2020 8:41:30 AM
<![CDATA[Bayern Munich, other Bundesliga clubs, take pay cut]]>
Newspaper Bild said players and club officials at champions Bayern, top of the Bundesliga when the season was halted on March 13, have accepted a 20 percent cut in their salaries.

Like all top European leagues, the German top flight is losing income from broadcasting, sponsorships and ticket sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with matches in Germany suspended until at least April 2.

Bayern have a massive wage bill which reached 336 million euros ($364 million) last year, almost half of club turnover.

Players at Borussia Moenchengladbach were the first in the Bundesliga to propose a pay cut, followed by others at Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund. Bayer Leverkusen players are in talks over pay cut proposals with management.

Second-placed Dortmund said their squad members had taken a salary reduction to show solidarity with the club's 850 employees.

Coach Lucien Favre and club directors have also made a personal offer to take a pay cut.]]>
3/25/2020 8:38:25 AM
<![CDATA[Australia says qualified athletes assured of Tokyo spots in 2021]]>
The 2020 Olympics were pushed back by a year on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic which has disrupted qualifying for thousands of Tokyo hopefuls in a slew of sports.

Almost 60% of the 11,000-odd athletes set for Tokyo had already qualified but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to clarify publicly whether their 2021 berths are assured.

AOC chief executive Matt Carroll said qualified athletes were guaranteed their 2021 spots, however.

“That is our understanding at this time,” Carroll told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.

“Athletes may change their minds between now and 2021. But let’s cover that off.

“Today the most important thing is that athletes have certainty for those who have been selected and certainty for those who are yet to qualify.”

Carroll said he had spoken to the chief of Australia’s national institute of sport and the heads of the sports federations about ensuring qualified athletes would be in peak form to compete in 2021.

“Therein does lie a challenge for the high performance structures at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sports) and our sports to work with our athletes to meet those challenges,” he said.

“If you’re talking about the athletes who have been selected or the ones who are coming through, I am sure all selected athletes will work hard to be at the Tokyo 2020 Games in 2021.

“That’s their nature and I have no doubt about that.”

Carroll said soccer’s global governing body FIFA and the IOC would need to work together to iron out qualification issues for the Olympic tournament given that a number of qualified players could become ineligible due to age restrictions.

The tournament allows only three players per national squad to be above 23-years-old.

“This is hopefully a once-in-history event, postponement of the Games,” he said.

“So I think we’re good working together, (good) relationships together, we can get over all those technical details and are sure that people who have qualified will remain qualified.”

Working out qualifying for the remaining athletes remains a challenge for organizers, given the dates for the postponed Games remains up in the air.

The United States wasted little time in delaying qualifying, putting off athletics, swimming and gymnastics trials on Tuesday while they await clarity on the Olympic schedule.

Carroll said he was confident Japan would be able to work through the “huge logistical challenge” of rescheduling.

“At least we have a new goal and planning has started,” he said.

“For the IOC, it’s working with the international federations because it’s an entire shift in the planning for global events such as world championships, world cups, all those sorts of things will have to be worked through.”]]>
3/25/2020 8:15:02 AM
<![CDATA[Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar the world's best-paid footballers, study claims]]>
The study estimates the income of the world's highest-paid players by adding their estimated gross salaries and income from image rights to bonuses earned last season.

As a result, the publication calculates Barcelona star Messi's total annual income as 131 million euros ($141 million).

That puts the Argentine ahead of Ronaldo, with the Portuguese forward second on the list with 118 million euros of estimated income.

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazil star Neymar, who moved to France from Barcelona for a world record transfer fee in 2017, is third on the list with total pay of 95 million euros, way ahead of Real Madrid's Gareth Bale.

The Welshman is fourth on the list with 38.7 million euros.

Meanwhile, according to the magazine, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone is the best-paid coach with total wages of 40.5 million euros, way ahead of Antonio Conte at Inter Milan on 30 million euros and Pep Guardiola at Manchester City on 27 million euros.]]>
3/24/2020 8:38:02 AM
<![CDATA[Napoli, Lazio backtrack on return to training]]>
Italian football has been on hold since March 9 because of the COVID-19 outbreak which has become the Mediterranean nation's biggest disaster since World War II.

But some clubs had been thinking of resuming training behind closed doors.

"SSC Napoli announces that sports activities are suspended until a date to be decided," the southerners said in a statement.

"The resumption of training sessions will be established in relation to the evolution of the health emergency regarding the spread of Covid 19."

Napoli are sixth in Serie A and last trained on March 12, before their Champions League last-16 second leg against Barcelona was postponed.

They had been planning to return to training on Wednesday.

The south of Italy has not been as badly hit by the virus as the epicentre in northern Lombardy.

League rivals Lazio and Cagliari also pushed back the date for a return to training.

Capital club Lazio -- just a point behind champions and Serie A leaders Juventus -- have had said they wanted to start training as early as Monday, as had Sardinian outfit Cagliari.

All sport in Italy has been suspended until April 3.]]>
3/24/2020 8:37:09 AM
<![CDATA[Arteta confirms recovery from coronavirus ]]>
Arteta is believed to have contracted the disease earlier this month after meeting with Evangleos Marinakis, Olympiacos’ president, following Arsenal’s match against Olympiacos in the Europa League.

The 37-year-old manager [Arteta] spoke to Spanish television channel La Sexta about his experience with the coronavirus disease.

“I am very well now. I feel that I have recovered," Arteta expressed, according to BBC.

Additionally, Arteta revealed the story behind him being tested positive with coronavirus and how he informed Arsenal’s board.

“I got a call from the board of directors after training while I was in my car and they told me the president of Olympiakos had tested positive, and everyone who had been in contact was at risk.
"I went on to tell them that I wasn't feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with them,” Arteta added, as reported from BBC.
The Premier League decided to suspend England’s top flight football until late April after the Spanish manager [Arteta] was tested positive with coronavirus along with other Premier League players.
Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 374,000 people were infected and about 16,000 people died because of the disease.]]>
3/24/2020 8:35:27 AM
<![CDATA[Marwan Mohsen: I can’t find an explanation to people’s criticism ]]>
The 31-year-old striker [Mohsen] responded to people’s critics on Egyptian television channel ON Time Sports.

“Criticism on me has been increasing in the past period and I don’t really know what people want. I couldn’t find an explanation for why that’s happening to me,” Mohsen said, according to Yallakora.

Additionally, Egypt’s national team striker added that such criticism often reaches a point where it is unacceptable ;however, he has faith in God while facing these situations.

Mohsen also talked about the missed opportunities and Rene Weiler’s , Al Ahly manager, main demands for Al Ahly’s striker.

“Coach Weiler asks me to fulfill specific technical roles on the pitch. Ofcourse, I like to be present in clinical positions because scoring opportunities will be more. However, my biggest role is to open up spaces for my teammates on the pitch,” Mohsen added, as reported from Yallakora.

Al Ahly’s number nine [Mohsen] scored 17 goals and made 6 assists in his 67 appearances with the Red Devils [Al Ahly] ever since joining them in the summer of 2016.
3/24/2020 8:32:51 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil's football clubs offer stadiums to help with coronavirus sick]]>
With football in the country suspended until further notice, more than half the clubs in Brazil's Serie A have given up their stadiums as authorities in densely populated Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro seek to expand hospital capacity to deal with the crisis.

Current South American champions Flamengo are giving control of their famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro to health authorities, said club president Rodolfo Landim.

"In this grim moment, I wanted to invite our great Red and Black nation to renew hope and work for better days. Let us take care of our elders, help those who need it most," Landim wrote in a message to supporters.

Authorities in Sao Paulo -- Brazil's biggest city -- said they would install 200 beds in a field hospital at the Pacaembu municipal stadium to relieve pressure on the city's hospitals, while two of the city's big clubs were also lending a hand.

Corinthians said they have made their Itaquerao stadium and their training headquarters available "so that the authorities can evaluate how they can be used to combat the spread of the disease".

Santos announced that a temporary clinic would be set up in one of the lounges inside its Vila Belmiro stadium.

Brazil currently has 1,128 confirmed infections and 18 deaths.

Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta on Friday predicted the virus would reach its peak in the country between April and June, anticipating a drop in COVID-19 infections from September.

Mandetta warned the health system in the country of 210 million people could reach saturation by the end of April.]]>
3/23/2020 2:18:45 PM
<![CDATA[Fate of Olympic torch relay in balance as virus worsens]]>
"The torch relay will start on March 26 in Fukushima, the plan has not changed," Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters, a day after the International Olympic Committee said it was considering postponing the Games due to the pandemic.

"The situation is getting worse and worse," admitted Muto, but he added: "For now, the decision made one week ago (to proceed as planned) is still appropriate."

The coronavirus has already had a major impact on the torch relay. In what they described as a "heartbreaking" decision, organisers downscaled a ceremony on Friday to welcome the flame from Greece, keeping 200 children away.

They have also urged people following the torch to avoid forming crowds, and closed daily welcoming and departure ceremonies to the public.

The nationwide torch relay begins on March 26, starting from the J-Village sports complex in Fukushima that was used as a base for workers during the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Muto said organisers would learn from the experience of this weekend when tens of thousands flocked to see the Olympic flame on display -- forming exactly the sort of crowds they had hoped to avoid.

On Saturday, more than 50,000 people queued to watch the flame displayed at Sendai station in Miyagi, with some lining up for several hours.

"This is evidence of interest from residents, so in one sense we were delighted," said Muto, adding that their priority was to prevent the virus from spreading and putting in place "advanced countermeasures".

Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori said: "We still have three days until the grand start on the 26th, so I told (IOC chief Thomas Bach) that we'd like to consult (with the IOC) while discussing with related parties. Mr. Bach said he will let us handle this."

He said even Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had voiced doubts over whether it was appropriate for him to attend the start of the relay.

"I said it is not our position to tell the prime minister if he should come or not, so please make a decision as the government."

Later Monday, US-based footballer Nahomi Kawasumi announced she was pulling out of the torch relay as she did risk potentially spreading the coronavirus.]]>
3/23/2020 2:16:25 PM
<![CDATA[Maldini and Dybala test positive for coronavirus ]]>
According to AC Milan’s statement, Maldini and his 18-year-old son Daniel tested positive for coronavirus [COVID-19].

Part of AC Milan’s statement read as follows: “Paolo Maldini and Daniel are both well and have already completed two weeks at home without contact with others. They will now remain in quarantine until clinically recovered, as per the medical protocols outlined by the health authorities,” as reported by Goal.

On a similar note, Dybala became the third player from Juventus first team’s squad to be found positive for coronavirus after defender Danile Rugani and midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

Moreover, Dybala posted on his official instagram saying, “ Hi everyone, I just wanted to inform you that we have received the results for the Covid-19 test and both Oriana [Dybala’s girlfriend] and I have tested positive. Luckily we are in perfect conditions. Thanks for your messages.”

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 304,000 people were infected and about 12,900 people died because of the disease.
As a result, several countries such as Italy, Spain, France, and England suspended their sports competitions due to the coronavirus being widespread among around 188 countries and territories.]]>
3/23/2020 9:11:00 AM
<![CDATA[Madrid’s Former President Sanz dies of coronavirus ]]>
One of Real Madrid’s successful presidents, Sanz was diagnosed with coronavirus [COVID-19] at 76-years-old after days of having fever and suffering from the disease.

“My father just passed away,” Sanz’s son Lorenzo Sanz Duran tweeted on Saturday.

“He did not deserve this ending and this way. One of the kindest, bravest, and hardworking people I’ve ever seen is leaving. His family and Real Madrid were his passion,” continued Lorenzo on his twitter account.

Sanz’s presidency term at the Spanish Giants [Real Madrid] lasted for five years from 1995-2000 when Madrid won the UEFA Champions League twice.

During his time at Los Blancos [Real Madrid] Sanz managed to assemble a strong competitive team with Fabio Cappello as manager along with players like Roberto Carlos, Clarence Seedorf, and Davor Suker.

July 2000 marked the end of Sanz presidency with Real Madrid after losing the elections to Real Madrid’s current president Florentino Perez who secured La Decima [10th Champions League trophy] to Los Merengues [Real Madrid] .]]>
3/23/2020 8:19:00 AM
<![CDATA[We need Ahaddad against Zamalek, Raja manager]]>
Ahaddad joined the club in 2018 summer on a one year loan from Zamalek but Zamalek added a clause on the player's contact that prohibits him from playing against his parent club.


However, Raja can pay Zamalek $200k to be able to use the player when the two clubs meet at CAF Champions League semi-finals.

"The club must solve this issue as Ahaddad is one of the most important players and scored many decisive goals during the season," Sellami said on Saturday.

Ahaddad scored four goals and provided two assists during his 17 appearances with the Moroccan superpower this season.

Raja knocked out TP Mazembe at the quarter-finals to reach the competition's semi-finals for the first time since 2005.]]>
3/21/2020 1:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Herrera aims to finish his career at Zaragoza]]>
"I have  been hugely lucky to have been able to play for Athletic and enjoy their philosophy, but my aim is to return to Zaragoza, the club that I've supported since I was young." The midfielder said according to Marca.

Herrera started his career at Real Zaragoza, where his father played as a professional footballer for six years between 1982 and 1988.


Herrera is a Zaragoza academy product and got promoted through the club youth rankings till he joined the first team at 20.

The Spaniard left the club in 2011 to join Athletic Bilbao where he played for three years before going abroad to represent Manchester United in England and Paris Saint Germain in France.

Herrera added "When I have worn the shirt of Athletic, Manchester United or PSG, I've always tried to represent them and defend them as if I was their biggest fan, but my team is Zaragoza."]]>
3/21/2020 12:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ashour, Ekramy to leave Al Ahly]]>
Al Ahly informed the team captain Ashour that he is not in the manager's plans and offered him a position at the club's official channel.

The club also promised the team captain to support him in his future plans and organize a testimonial game for him in case he announced his retirement. However, Ashour told the club that he wants to continue his career as a professional footballer.

On the other hand, the club offered a contract extension for Ekramy but he rejected the club's offer and told the club board that he wants to leave the club seeking for a more playing time.

Ekramy became the club's second-choice goalkeeper since Mohamed El Shenawy's arrival.

The goalkeeper received many offers from different league clubs but he is close to join Pyramids according to different sources.]]>
3/21/2020 11:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Aubameyang is what Manchester United are missing, Merson]]>
"They are crying out for someone who is going to score them 20 to 25 goals, and that's what Aubameyang can bring." Merson told skysports.

Aubameyang joined Arsenal in 2018 winter transfer market and since then he became a vital player for the gunners.

Aubameyang, who has one year to run on his contract with Arsenal, shared the Premier League Golden Boot title last season with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané, on 22 goals.

Merson added "He gets you 25 goals without even breaking sweat. Add a Grealish if they can get him and then you've got Bruno Fernandes as well playing in behind a striker, Manchester United will be a major force."]]>
3/21/2020 10:22:19 AM
<![CDATA[Southgate urges English people to stay united ]]>
"For everyone in our country, the primary focus of the present – and the coming months – is undoubtedly to look after our families, support our communities and work together to come through what is clearly the most extreme test that we’ve faced collectively in decades." The manager wrote.

Southgate leads the Three Lions since 2016 and he was preparing with his staff and players to play two friendly games against Italy and Denmark but the games were postponed.

Southgate continued "We were due to play next week and to represent you all this summer, but now is clearly not the moment for us to take centre-stage. The heroes will be the men and women who continue working tirelessly in our hospitals and medical centres to look after our friends and families."

The English manager led the English team to 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinals and they were one of the main contenders to win the European title this summer.

However, the governing body of European football, UEFA, decided to postpone the UEFA EURO 2020 to 2021 summer to buy time for domestic federations to complete the season.]]>
3/20/2020 4:44:26 PM
<![CDATA[German virus expert expects football to return by 2021 ]]>
"I am convinced that we'll only be able to start playing again next year. I don't think it's realistic to think that the current season can be completed." The German told Marca.

Coronavirus outbreak has had a huge effect on football as many football competitions worldwide has been halted completely due to the coronavirus.

Schmidt-Chanasit added "I don't think we can start talking about playing matches again in April. Not even behind closed doors, because there is the potential of people gathering in their homes to watch it."

The governing body of European football, UEFA, decided to postpone the UEFA EURO 2020 to 2021 summer to buy time for domestic federations to complete the season.]]>
3/20/2020 2:30:38 PM
<![CDATA[I want to face Zamalek at CAF Champions League final, Afsha ]]>
"We wanted to face them at the league after losing the Egyptian Super Cup title and I want to face them at CAF Champions League final." Afsha said on Thursday.

Al Ahly and Zamalek have reached the competition's semi-finals after knocking out South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns and Esperance of Tunisia respectively.

Al Ahly will face Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca while Zamalek will face another powerhouse from Morocco, Raja Casablanca.

Al Ahly have won a record 8 CAF Champions League titles and they aim to add their 9th title this year while Zamalek, who won 5 Champions League titles, hope to continue their success on continental level after winning the CAF Confederation Cup title last season.]]>
3/20/2020 1:53:25 PM
<![CDATA[Football is not a priority now, Kolarov ]]>
“Honestly, I don’t know how we can start again in May and finish by June 30. I’m not very optimistic, even if I hope so." The defender told Serbian press on Thursday.

The Italian league like many football leagues worldwide was suspended as part of the government's precautionary and prevention measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Kolarov added "Football is not a priority now; we would like to be back on the pitch as soon as possible but we must be rational."

UEFA decided earlier to postpone UEFA EURO 2020 to 2021 summer to give the local federations the proper time to complete the season.

The Serbian continued "Given the situation in Italy, I don’t know how we will be able to conclude everything by June.”]]>
3/19/2020 2:47:35 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to shut down sporting clubs overnight]]>
The decision also includes all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops.

This decision comes in line with the nation's continuing efforts to raise the level of precautionary and preventive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Egyptian Football Association, EFA, announced on Saturday 14 March that all football-related activities are suspended for two weeks as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension includes fixtures of all Egyptian league divisions and age groups.

Coronavirus outbreak has had a huge effect on football as many football competitions worldwide has been halted completely due to the coronavirus.

Egypt’s Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday evening that 14 new coronavirus cases were detected, including two foreigners and 12 Egyptians, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 210. However, it added that 40 patients were recovered from the disease and two cases of Egyptian nationals were discharged from the isolation hospital.]]>
3/19/2020 1:45:16 PM
<![CDATA[Barnes backs completion of the football season]]>

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Barnes explained his perspective about the current suspension of most European Leagues following the coronavirus outbreak.

"You have leagues to be finished and I think leagues have to be finished, not just from Liverpool's point of view or any other club in any country,” Barnes told Sky Sports.

Additionally, the 56 year-old veteran footballer [Barnes] commented on the idea of giving Liverpool the Premier League title while still dismissing the rest of the season.

"If you are going to give Liverpool the title, then who would get promoted and relegated? You can't just give Liverpool the title because we are so far ahead,” Barnes added to Sky Sports.

If this season is dismissed Liverpool won't have the opportunity to be crowned as champions of the Premier League for their first time ever despite having a 25 points lead, according to the current rules of the Premier League.

Lastly, Barnes, who scored 120 goals throughout his whole career, believes that the leagues should be continued even though if it would affect the league next season.

"Even if we have to start in July or August, what we have to do is finish these games even if it takes up until December, which writes off the [next] season.

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 188,000 people were infected and about 7,500 people died because of the disease.

As a result, several countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and England suspended their sports competitions due to the coronavirus being widespread among around 132 countries and territories.]]>
3/19/2020 9:14:58 AM
<![CDATA[World Cup winner Matuidi catches coronavirus]]>
"Matuidi has undergone medical tests that have revealed his positivity to the Coronavirus-COVID-19," the Italian champions said in a statement.

Juve added 32-year-old Matuidi, who lifted the World Cup in 2018, is currently "in voluntary home isolation".

His club teammate Daniele Rugani was the first top-flight footballer to be diagnosed with coronavirus last Wednesday.

The 25-year-old was also asymptomatic and is currently self-isolating in a room at the team's J-Hotel, beside the Italian champions' training centre and the whole squad were all in quarantine after Rugani tested positive.

In total 12 Serie A players have been diagnosed with the illness which has killed more than 2,000 people in the Mediterranean country.]]>
3/18/2020 9:06:00 AM
<![CDATA[Olympic gymnastics qualifier in Tokyo cancelled over virus]]>
The Japan Gymnastics Association announced the scrapping of the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup Tokyo on April 4-5, an Olympic test event, just a few days after saying it would be held without spectators.

"Due to the impact of the spread of coronavirus infections in Europe and cancellations of World Cups in other countries, many athletes and judges decided not to participate in the event," the JGA said in a statement.

Leading gymnasts including four-time Olympic gold medallist Biles, who is expected to be among the stars of Tokyo 2020, had been on the original entry list for the event.

A rhythmic gymnastics Olympic test event scheduled for April 6 is still going ahead, according to the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee.

"After confirming it is safe to do so, Tokyo 2020 will carry out an operational test within the given dates," the organizers said, adding they will consult with the International Olympic Committee and Federation Internationale de Gymnastique.

The cancellation comes as doubts grow about whether the Games can open as scheduled on July 24.

Organizers and the International Olympic Committee insist preparations are moving ahead as scheduled despite cancellations and alterations to events ranging from qualifiers to the torch relay.

Tokyo 2020 organizers said Tuesday they had taken the "heartbreaking" decision to scale back parts of flame's journey across Japan, beginning with its arrival in the country on Friday.

A recent poll by Kyodo News showed 70 percent of respondents in Japan said they did not think the Games could be held as scheduled.

But the IOC said Tuesday there was no change to the program so far.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage," it said in a statement after its executive board met in Lausanne.

"Any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive."]]>
3/18/2020 7:24:30 AM
<![CDATA[Norewiegan FA: Euro 2020 postponed until next summer]]>
“UEFA has decided to postpone Euro 2020 to be played on June 11 to July 11 of next year,” the Norwegian FA posted on their official Twitter account.

The decision came after the Union of the European Football Associations [UEFA] held talks over a video conference that involved the 55 members of the association, according to Sky Sports and the BBC.

On a similar note, several countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and England suspended their sports competitions due to the coronavirus being widespread among around 132 countries and territories.

Such postponement of Euro 2020 gives an opportunity for the completion of the majority of the European leagues in the summer especially with many leagues being in the last fixtures of the competition.

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 188,000 people were infected and about 7,500 people died because of the disease.]]>
3/18/2020 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Infantino offers to move Club World Cup to accommodate Euro in 2021]]>
South America's equivalent of the Euros, the Copa America, also scheduled for this June and July, has also been postponed by a year, ensuring European-based players will be free to finish the season with their clubs.

Moving the tournaments by a year puts them on a collision course with FIFA and its president Infantino, who had planned to stage the inaugural edition of his highly lucrative Club World Cup in June and July next year in China.

Infantino said in a statement he would hold a conference call with FIFA officials on Wednesday, during which he will suggest "to decide at a later stage -- when there is more clarity on the situation -- when to reschedule the new FIFA Club World Cup, later in 2021, in 2022 or in 2023."

He also said FIFA will plan "to discuss with the Chinese FA and the Chinese Government the postponement of the new FIFA Club World Cup from 2021 in order to minimise any negative impact."

UEFA said the new proposed dates for the tournament were June 11 to July 11 next year, as Euro 2020 becomes Euro 2021.

This year's tournament was due to be held in 12 countries. There is no suggestion the format or number of venues will change.

"The world is facing an unprecedented health challenge and clearly a global and collective response is needed," said Infantino.

"Cooperation, mutual respect and understanding must be the guiding principles for all decision makers to have in mind at this crucial moment in time.

"Particularly in football, finding appropriate and fair solutions at global level is imperative."

Infantino added FIFA would pledge $10 million (9.1 million euros) to the World Health Organization's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

The outbreak, which first emerged in China late last year, has quickly marched across the globe, infecting more than 180,000 people and killing over 7,000.]]>
3/18/2020 4:05:00 AM
<![CDATA[Copa America postponed to 2021]]>
The CONMEBOL [South American Football Confederation] announced that the tournament which was supposed to be held in Argentina and Columbia from June 12 to July 12 has been postponed to the summer of 2021.

"This is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation and responds to the fundamental need to avoid the exponential evolution of the virus," said CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez, as reported from Sky Sports.

Additionally, Dominguez confirmed that the tournament is scheduled to be held between June 11 to July 11 of the following year.

On a similar note, Euro 2020 also has been postponed to the summer of 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Such postponement of Euro 2020 and the Copa America gives an opportunity for the completion of the majority of the European leagues in the summer especially with many leagues being in the last fixtures of the competition.

Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 188,000 people were infected and about 7,500 people died because of the disease.]]>
3/18/2020 3:02:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly officials take preventive measures to combat COVID-19]]>
This decision came in light of the spread of the Coronavirus and to preserve the safety of everyone inside the club, according to Mohamed Morgan, the CEO of Al-Ahly.

Also, the coaching staff of Al-Ahly led by Rene Weiler gave the first team a negative six-days break in light of the suspension of all sports competitions due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

The coaching staff of the players sent three messages, as follows:

** Adhere to preventive measures to avoid infection with the Coronavirus.
** Adherence to the diet to avoid weight gain at rest.
** Not to travel and avoid mixing.

Al-Ahly will then return to resume their regular training on a daily basis, after the end of the break. The team trained naturally on Monday morning.

Al-Ahly tops the league table with 49 points after 17 games.
3/17/2020 9:20:43 AM
<![CDATA[Coronavirus spells uncertainty for footballers and clubs]]>
A UEFA meeting on Tuesday bringing together Europe's 55 member associations is widely expected to delay Euro 2020, which was due to start in June.

That could free up some space in the calendar for national leagues and European club competitions to be completed in the summer months.

The approach favoured by officials, players and pundits is to finish the league seasons whenever it is safe to do so.

"For the European leagues it is most essential that domestic competitions can be completed this season, to limit the negative impact for the entire football ecosystem," said the European Leagues, which represents more than 950 clubs from 29 countries.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said on Sunday he was "convinced" the Spanish domestic league season would be played to a finish despite a state of emergency in the country.

However, there are extra complications with extending the season beyond its traditional end point in May for every layer of the football pyramid.

- Out of contract? -

Player contracts and loan deals are a major stumbling block should the season be postponed into July or beyond as many expire in May and June.

Among the big names in the Premier League whose deals expire at the end of June are Chelsea trio Olivier Giroud, Willian and Pedro Rodriguez and Jan Vertonghen of Tottenham.

However, it is further down the leagues where the impact could be more drastic.

Football League clubs, many of whom will struggle to survive a couple of months without gate receipts, have far greater numbers of players out of contract.

In extreme cases, some would even struggle to field a team with players still under contract come July.

Short-term extensions have been proposed should this scenario come to pass but clubs may not even get to June with enough money to pay players and staff.

"The main issue for those clubs is cash flow," said football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

"Many clubs are surviving on a match-to-match basis and are reliant on the loyal few thousand turning up.

"Even if matches are postponed we have a three-week gap for certain so how will clubs pay wages and their suppliers?"

Even before the virus caused chaos across the globe, the finances of many Football League clubs were perilous.

Bury went bust in August after 125 years in the Football League and only a last-minute takeover prevented Bolton from going the same way.

"We could definitely see casualties here," said former banker Fausto Zanetton, who runs a crowdfunding platform for clubs to acquire investment with former Italy international and Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli.

Stevenage are one of the clubs to have entered into an agreement with Zanetton and Vialli's Tifosy platform.

The League Two side, rooted to the foot of the table, face relegation even if the season recommences, and chairman Phil Wallace admitted on Monday they could be forced to the brink by an extended lay-off.

"We have no idea how the club can survive whilst paying players and staff with no income," said Wallace.]]>
3/17/2020 9:11:32 AM
<![CDATA[Euro 2020 fate to be decided as virus threat looms]]>
All of Europe's leading domestic leagues ground to a halt last week with football confronting its biggest issue in modern times, and the fate of UEFA's Champions League and Europa League competitions must also be determined.

UEFA will hold a video conference with representatives from all 55 member associations as well as from clubs and players bodies. It will then hold an executive committee meeting at 1400 (1300 GMT) at its Swiss headquarters.

The future of the European Championship, due to take place for the first time in a dozen different cities spread across the continent from June 12 to July 12, is up in the air.

The "dark scenarios" that UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warned against envisaging when he spoke at the organisation's congress in Amsterdam just two weeks ago now have to be considered.

Europe has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, with Italy and Spain on lockdown, France rapidly following suit, and other countries closing borders to halt the spread of the outbreak.

More than 2,100 people have died in Italy, which is supposed to host the opening game of Euro 2020 in Rome.

- Postponed for a year? -

The head of the Italian football federation, Gabriele Gravina, has already proposed that the Euros be postponed, with Italy coach Roberto Mancini calling for it to pushed back 12 months.

"We would have won the European Championship this summer, we can also win it in 2021," Mancini told television station Rai Sport.

It is a position that many across the continent are coming round to amid much uncertainty as to when club football can resume.

"UEFA has no choice. They have to postpone the Euros and the Champions League," one senior figure in the world game told AFP, although finding agreement across the board may not be easy.

German league chief Christian Seifert believes postponing the European Championship is inevitable.

"I firmly count on the fact the tournament will be postponed," Seifert said. "The probability that we have a perfect Euros this summer is measured by a number close to zero."

German broadcaster ZDF reported that two possible options are on the table.

One is to push it back to 2021, although that is not as simple as it might appear, as it would need FIFA president Gianni Infantino to agree to halting the inaugural edition of his highly lucrative Club World Cup, due to take place in June and July next year in China with some of Europe's top club sides involved.

FIFA offered "no comment" on Monday on the matter.

There is also the issue of the women's European Championship, scheduled to run from July 7 to August 1 next year in England, with the final at Wembley. The London venue is also supposed to hold the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020. UEFA have also planned to stage an Under-21 Euros in Hungary and Slovenia in June next year.

The alternative option for UEFA, according to ZDF, is to maintain a Euro 2020 by playing it later in the year.

- Financial stakes 'enormous' -

That supposes that the crisis will have calmed down by then, and there is also the issue of all the other football that has been suspended.

UEFA may come to a decision to try to complete the Champions League and Europa League by curtailing the competitions, meaning ties up to the semi-finals could be decided in one-off matches.

Financially, UEFA would undoubtedly prefer postponing their flagship tournaments to cancelling them altogether, or playing matches behind closed doors.

"The financial stakes are enormous," according to one senior figure in the international game. "We know that FIFA has significant reserves but we don't know about UEFA or the different leagues."]]>
3/17/2020 9:09:56 AM
<![CDATA[No deadline for Olympic decision - IOC's Coates]]>
John Coates, chairman of the Tokyo coordination commission, was speaking before his return from Switzerland to Australia, where he is facing a mandatory two-week quarantine.

The Lausanne-based IOC is set for emergency talks Tuesday as doubts grow over whether it remains feasible to hold the Games during the coronavirus emergency, with world sport largely grinding to a halt.

Senior IOC member Dick Pound suggested last month that a final call would be made by late May.

But Coates, who is also president of the Australian Olympic committee, disputed the timeline.

"The IOC didn't recognise any dates that Dick came up with and I think Dick backed off that as well," he told Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald. "It's all proceeding to start on the 24th of July.

"It's never been the IOC's position. It was Dick's idea," he added of the apparent deadline. "There is four months to go."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach have repeatedly insisted preparations should continue as scheduled even as the virus scare intensifies.

The IOC's executive board is due to meet via conference call to prepare an "information exchange" ahead of a series of talks with athletes' representatives, National Olympic Committees and International Federations.

The issue of qualifying is expected to be a particular focus of the telephone meeting, after a long list of events were called off.

"The difficulty for those who have qualified or will qualify is they won't get any more international competition," admitted Coates, who said it will also be difficult to get athletes into Japan without further spreading coronavirus.

"Japan has got some restrictions on athletes but I know that the Chinese are probably the best organised," he said.

"The Chinese are in various parts of Europe and the last I heard is they're bringing them all together in a university in Paris where they'll be fully contained, 600 of them.

"They will go straight from confinement there, straight into Japan. They won't put anyone on a plane who has got coronavirus."

Coates will go into a two weeks' isolation on his return home after Australia imposed strict travel rules to counter the spread of the virus.

He welcomed the tough measures being taken by Australia and other countries to tackle the growing crisis, but criticised Europe's response.

"Despite a bit of personal inconvenience, I'm very happy that countries are taking these steps that clearly some of the European countries should have taken earlier," he said.]]>
3/17/2020 9:07:54 AM
<![CDATA[Van Dijk fears Liverpool will win title in empty stadium]]>
All Premier League games have been postponed until at least April 3 due to the spread of the global pandemic.

Premier League chiefs are set to meet on Thursday to discuss if it will be possible to continue the season and, if so, in what format.

Games could be played behind closed doors, which would mean Liverpool, who are 25 points clear of second placed Manchester City, winning the title without their fans being present.

That is a depressing prospect for Liverpool defender Van Dijk.

"If we won it in an empty stadium and the fans weren't there, I'd be gutted for them," he told several British newspapers on Sunday.

"Obviously, if there are no fans at Anfield, then it will be a bit of a blow. No one wants to play games without the fans.

"Until a decision is made on how we go on from here, then we just have to deal with it. But when it happens, we are still bringing the title to our fans, definitely."

Liverpool could have wrapped up the title on Monday with a win at Everton if Manchester City were beaten by Burnley on Saturday, but both those games were postponed, along with the rest of the Premier League programme.

Some have suggested the season should be scrapped for safety reason, which would leave Premier League chiefs to decide if Liverpool should be given the title even though the campaign did not reach its scheduled 38-game conclusion.

Sport is expected to be subjected to further restrictions next week, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly ready to announce a ban on major public gatherings.

The sporting programme has once again been decimated on Sunday, although the Super League match between Castleford and St Helens, the All England badminton Championship and Olympic boxing qualifiers are still going ahead in Britain.]]>
3/16/2020 9:24:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pogba makes coronavirus fund-raising pledge]]>
Pogba has organised a fundraising page on Facebook and the France midfielder will double the amount raised if the target of £27,000 is reached.

World Cup winner Pogba, who had his 27th birthday on Sunday, wrote: "It's my birthday and I'm always grateful that me, my family and friends are healthy. Nonetheless, not everybody is in good health right now.

"The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting the health and lives of many, including children. The impact of a large-scale outbreak, especially on poor and vulnerable children, can be immense.

"UNICEF is helping prevent the spread of Coronavirus by supplying vital medical supplies, consulting with communities and implementing prevention campaigns.

"It is a priority to stop the spread of this new virus, and the misinformation that's spreading alongside it.

"At times like this we need to come together. With your help, I am hoping today to raise £27,000 to help fight this war and I will double the amount if we reach the goal.

"If we manage to reach our target, it will be enough to provide 333,332 pairs of disposable gloves for health workers, 2,777 surgical masks to help prevent the disease spreading further and 9,615 sets of vented goggles.

"Any amount will be welcome to help fight this war against COVID19. Thank you for all the support. Stay safe."

Pogba's appeal had raised over £2,000 within hours of being launched.]]>
3/16/2020 8:23:00 AM
<![CDATA[Valencia CF announce 5 positive COVID-19 tests ]]>
The Spanish football club released a statement informing the Spanish community of having five cases of COVID-19 [coronavirus] among Valencia’s first-team staff and players.

The statement read as follows: “Valencia CF informs that five positive cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been detected amongst first-team staff and players.
“All of these persons are now at home, in good health and obeying self-isolation measures.

“ Besides providing further information over the coming hours, the club reiterate our support for the health authorities and their social awareness campaigns and emphasize to all of the population the importance of staying at home and continuing to follow the previously published hygiene and illness-prevention measures.

“Likewise, Valencia CF reiterate our confidence in the Spanish health system, and in the recommendations made by the Ministry of Health for cases of coronavirus infection such as these.

“We remind you that the telephone number for matters regarding coronavirus in the Valencia region is 900300555.

“We trust that, with solidarity, responsibility and good morale, we will beat this pandemic. Amunt Valencia.”

According to the Spanish website Marca, the other two people who are believed to be found positive of having COVID-19 are Paco Camarasa, Valencia’s matchday delegate, and Juan Aliaga, one of the medical staff members at the club.

Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 163,000 people were infected and about 6,050 people died because of the disease.

As a result of the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, several countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and England decided to suspend their sports competitions due to COVID-19 being widespread among around 132 countries and territories.]]>
3/16/2020 4:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Rooney: footballers were treated as guinea pigs]]>
The 34-year old player at Derby County FC [Rooney] wrote in his column in the Sunday Times that the past week lacked leadership from authorities.

“For players, staff and their families it has been a worrying week. One in which you felt a lack of leadership from the government and from the FA and Premier League," Rooney said according to BBC.
Additionally, Rooney believes that footballers weren’t treated in the right manner until late last week following the outbreak of COVID-19 [coronavirus] in the English Premier League.
"After the emergency meeting, at last the right decision was made - until then it almost felt like footballers in England were being treated like guinea pigs,” Rooney said, as reported from BBC.
The Premier League announced in an emergency meeting last week the suspension of English football competitions until 3 April at the earliest following.

The decision to suspend England’s top flight football came after Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s manager, was tested positive for COVID-19 [Coronavirus] along with other Premier League players.

Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 163,000 people were infected and about 6,050 people died because of the disease.]]>
3/16/2020 2:11:00 AM
<![CDATA[Vertonghen's family held at knifepoint during home invasion]]>
British police said four men wearing balaclavas and armed with knives broke into Vertonghen's house while the Belgian international's wife and children were inside.

The 32-year-old was in Germany for Tottenham's Champions League last 16 second leg defeat against Leipzig on Tuesday.

Vertonghen was an unused substitute as Tottenham lost 3-0 to crash out of the competition.

"We have been supporting Jan and his family through this terribly traumatic time," a Tottenham spokesperson said.

"We encourage anyone who has any information to come forward to help the police with their investigation."

A Police spokesman said: "Police were called to a residential address in NW3 at 7.49pm on 10 March to a report of a burglary.

"Officers attended. It was reported four men wearing balaclavas, armed with knives, had forced entry to the property and stolen a number of items before leaving.

"Nobody was injured. The suspects had left the scene before officers arrived. There have been no arrests and inquiries continue."

The incident comes after Arsenal stars Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac were targeted by armed moped riders while driving through north London earlier this season.]]>
3/15/2020 3:57:37 PM
<![CDATA[Olympic team march camp suspended]]>
Earlier on Saturday, the Egyptian Football Association, EFA, announced that all football-related activities are suspended for two weeks as a result of the spread of coronavirus.

The suspension includes fixtures of all Egyptian league divisions and age groups.

Egypt qualified for 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after winning U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, held in Egypt between 8 and 22 November 2019.

Egypt appeared at the Olympic games 11 times before and their best achievement was the fourth place in 1928 in Amsterdam and 1964 in Tokyo.

Egypt’s last participation at the tournament was in 2012 in London and the national team was eliminated from the competitions at the quarter-finals after losing to Japan.]]>
3/15/2020 12:49:40 PM
<![CDATA[Trezeguet on Besiktas's radar]]>
The Egyptian winger had a magnificent spell in Turkey where he wore Kasimpasa's jersey for two seasons.

The player joined the Turkish club in 2017 summer on loan from Anderlecht before they made the move permanent in 2018 summer.

During his time in Turkey, Trezeguet established himself as one of the most promising talents at the competition.

The winger had been linked with a move to the big clubs in Turkey last summer but he decided to move to England to play for Aston Villa.

Despite Villa's frustrating position at the league table, Trezeguet has been a key player for the club and scored a decisive goal that took them to Wembley for EFL Cup Final, which they lost to Manchester City.

It is worth to mention that, Mohamed Elneny is playing for Besiktas on a loan from Arsenal.]]>
3/15/2020 12:46:19 PM
<![CDATA[EFA suspends football-related activities for two weeks]]>
The suspension includes fixtures of all Egyptian league divisions and age groups.

This decision comes after President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed to suspend study at schools and universities across the country for two weeks as of Sunday, March 15, as part of the country's comprehensive strategy to combat Coronavirus.

President Sisi further allocated L.E. 100 billion to fund the anti-Coronavirus strategy and its related precautionary measures.

Coronavirus outbreak has had a huge effect on football as many football competitions worldwide has been halted completely due to the coronavirus.]]>
3/14/2020 8:09:52 PM
<![CDATA[Ismaily clash against Raja postponed over coronavirus fears ]]>
The Egyptian team traveled to Morocco with the aim of securing a spot at the final after winning the first leg in Egypt 1_0.

"As we were informed, the game was postponed indefinitely." Ismaily board member, Ibrahim Faris, said.

The Royal Moroccan Football Federation suspended all football-related activities in the country due to coronavirus pandemic.

Egyptian clubs' fate this season is associated with the Moroccan sides as Al Ahly and Zamalek will face Wydad Casablanca and Raja Casablanca respectively at the CAF Champions League semi-finals.

The two games are scheduled next may as the first leg games are scheduled in Casablanca on 1_2 May while the second leg games are scheduled a week later in Cairo.]]>
3/14/2020 2:18:44 PM
<![CDATA[VAR proves its worth at Egyptian league debut ]]>
Egyptian league became the second in the continent to implement the new technology.


The new technology's debut was during the game between El Geish and Enppi as Mohamed El Sabahy became the first VAR referee in the league's history.

"I am so proud to be the first VAR referee in the Egyptian top flight. It was a huge responsibility as it was the debut of VAR at the league." El Sabahy said after the game.

El Sabahy did not have much work to do as the game ran smoothly without the need to consult VAR referee.

VAR proved its worth during the second game between Ismaily and El Gouna
which ended with a 1-1 draw.

The official referee of the match consulted the VAR referee in many cases and the new technology played a massive role in deciding the game result.

Ahmed Rayan, El Gouna’s striker, opened the score after 17 minutes but the goal was disallowed by the assistant referee and VAR confirmed the referee's decision.

VAR was of great use to the assistant referees during the game as it confirmed the decision to disallow Ismaily's goal as Ismaily striker was offside.

Also, the referee reviewed the VAR to decide a red card case which ended with a yellow card for Ismaily’s player.

The VAR was reviewed in four cases during the third game between El Gaish and Arab Contractors including three penalty decisions and a red card case.


The new technology disallowed a penalty for El Geish in the first half, but awarded a penalty for Arab Contractors in the first half and another one for El Geish in the second half.

Additionally, the referee reviewed the VAR to decide a red card decision for Arab Contractors player, Maarouf Youssef, but the VAR decided that it was a yellow card instead.

On a similar note, the VAR also saved Al Ahly's unbeaten run as it handed the Red Devils a penalty in the dying minutes of the game which was converted by Amr El Solia who secured a 1-1 draw against Smouha.



3/14/2020 1:39:03 PM
<![CDATA[UEFA postpones Champions League and Europa League matches ]]>
The Union of European Football Associations [UEFA] released a statement on their official website stating that such a decision was taken as a result of the spread of COVID-19 [Coronavirus] in Europe.

UEFA’s statement read as follows: “In the light of developments due to the spread of COVID-19 in Europe and related decisions made by different governments, all UEFA club competitions matches scheduled next week are postponed.

This includes the remaining UEFA Champions League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020; all UEFA Europa League, Round of 16 second leg matches scheduled on 19 March 2020; all UEFA Youth League, quarter-final matches scheduled on 17 and 18 March 2020. Further decisions on when these matches take place will be communicated in due course.”

Additionally, UEFA clarified on their website that as a result of these decisions the draw for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League quarter-finals will be also postponed.

On a similar note, several countries such as Spain, Italy, France, and England decided to suspend their sports competitions due to COVID-19 being widespread among 132 countries and territories.

Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on 1 December 2019 around 138,900 people were infected and 5,100 people died because of the disease.
3/13/2020 4:47:08 PM
<![CDATA[Premier League Suspended due to coronavirus]]>
The decision to suspend England’s top flight football came after Mikel Arteta, Arsenal’s manager, was tested positive for COVID-19 [Coronavirus] along with other Premier League players.

English Football Association’s statement read: "The FA, Premier League, EFL and Barclays FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship have collectively agreed to postpone the professional game in England until 3 April at the earliest."

This action, which will be kept under constant review, has been taken due to the increasing numbers of clubs taking steps to isolate their players and staff because of the COVID-19 virus," as reported from ESPN.

England’s decision to suspend their sports competitions came after several countries such as Spain, Italy and France took the same decisions with their sports competitions due to COVID-19 being widespread among 132 countries and territories.

Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Wuhan, China on December 1st 2019 around 138,900 people were infected and 5,100 people died because of the disease.
3/13/2020 4:43:59 PM
<![CDATA[Klopp criticizes Athletico Madrid's style following early UCL exit ]]>
Athletico Madrid defeated the Reds 3-2 to reach the competition's quarter-finals after winning the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

"I am completely happy with the performance. It's so difficult to play a side like this. We accept it, of course, but it doesn't feel right tonight." Klopp said after the game.

Liverpool opened the score through Dutch midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, minutes before half time to equalize the first leg's result.

Both teams failed to add another goal at the regular time to send the game to extra time.

Firmino added Liverpool's second goal at the opening minutes of the first half of extra time but Athletico Madrid's golden substitute, Marcos Llorente, who scored two goals to equalize the score for the visitors.

Athletico striker, Alvaro Morata, scored the winning goal for the visitors minutes before the final whistle to send the title holders out of the competition.

Klopp added, "I realize I am a really bad loser, especially when the boys put such an effort in against world-class players on the other side."

Liverpool failed to defend the title and they will focus on clinching the league title after being knocked out of the domestic cup competitions as well as UEFA Champions League. ]]>
3/12/2020 1:55:57 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool crash out of UEFA Champions League ]]>
The Spanish side repeated their victory over the Reds as the first leg in Madrid ended with a 1-0 win for the Spaniards who won the tie 4-2 on aggregate.

Liverpool opened the score through Dutch midfielder, Georginio Wijnaldum, minutes before half time to equalize the first leg's result.

Both teams failed to add another goal at the regular time to send the game to extra time.

Firmino added Liverpool's second goal at the opening minutes of the first half of extra time but Athletico Madrid's golden substitute, Marcos Llorente, who scored two goals to equalize the score for the visitors.

Athletico striker, Alvaro Morata, scored the winning goal for the visitors minutes before the final whistle to send the title holders out of the competition.

"I scored and that puts us through and I cannot describe this feeling. Everyone has congratulated me. I am very happy and we're all very happy." Llorente said after the game.

Athletico Madrid became the fourth team to advance to the Quarter-finals alongside Paris Saint Germain, RB Leipzig and Atalanta. ]]>
3/12/2020 1:14:38 PM
<![CDATA[Alli blames mental weakness for Tottenham collapse]]>
Marcel Sabitzer profited from two errors by Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the first 21 minutes to give Leipzig a commanding lead before substitute Emil Forsberg added the third late on.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho was repeatedly used the absence of key injured players such as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for a run of six games without a win in all competitions.

But Alli insisted that is not a good enough excuse for the manner in which last season's Champions League finalists exited the competition with a whimper.

"We were missing some good players, but that's football, that happens. This is Tottenham, the players that come in have to step up and we haven't done that today," Alli told BT Sport.

"I think we have to apologise to the fans. They travelled all this way and to go out and lose like that, they deserve better."

Alli refused to point the finger at Lloris, but claimed Spurs were not mentally strong enough to produce the same sort of fightback as they did from 3-0 down on aggregate against Ajax in last season's semi-finals.

"We were second to a lot of balls, to concede them goals shows our mentality wasn't strong enough," added Alli.

"We have to stay together and not talk about anyone in particular.

"It's not down to one player to score goals, to stop goals, the whole team performance and the mentality wasn't strong enough."

Tottenham now have just nine games left this season in the Premier League to try and avoid missing out on the Champions League for the first time in five seasons.

Mourinho's men lie eighth in the table, seven points off the top four, and badly need to end their barren run at home to Manchester United on Sunday.

"I think probably it is (a) good (thing)," said Mourinho of his side's exit from Europe. "Sometimes difficult moments are moments that can prepare the future in a better way."

On top of losing Kane and Son, Mourinho pointed to the absence of Steven Bergwijn, Moussa Sissoko and Davinson Sanchez for his side's capitulation in Germany.

"People can say excuses but I'm pretty sure it is bad for anyone.

"I don't think anyone would resist to such a situation. In this moment we have matches to play in the Premier League with these players, there are not others, and we go until our limits. Let's see how we end the season."]]>
3/11/2020 8:42:49 AM
<![CDATA[Paraguayan judge orders Ronaldinho to remain in prison]]>
A court rejected a request for conditional release for the 39-year-old World Cup winner and his brother, who were spending a fifth day in a police cell in Asuncion, said prosecutor Osmar Legal.

Judge Gustavo Amarilla cited the seriousness of the case and the discovery of new evidence, as well as the involvement of public officials and entrepreneurs who helped Ronaldinho get into Paraguay.

Amarilla acknowledged the harshness of the measures taken against the brothers but said it was his responsibility to ensure the they did not flee the country.

"There are many procedures that need to be done with the presence of both of them," the judge said.

Legal said he opposed house arrest because the property offered as a guarantee was only valued at $750,000 to $800,000.

"It's a tiny amount given the economic solvency of one of the (accused)," he said.

The brothers arrived in Asuncion from Brazil on Wednesday and showed their passports to immigration police, who did not immediately notice any problem.

Hours later, when the passports were determined to be fake, investigators raided the football star's hotel room and seized the brothers' identity cards and travel documents.

- 'No crime' -

Ronaldinho said the passports had been given to him by people who had invited him to attend conferences sponsored by charities working with disadvantaged children.

A Brazilian businessman has also been arrested in connection with the fake travel documents, while two Paraguayan women have been placed under house arrest and the country's migration director has resigned.

Ronaldinho's Brazilian lawyer Sergio Queiroz has said the brothers were carrying Brazilian documents and were given the Paraguayan passports "to facilitate the possibility of doing business" in Paraguay.

"Ronaldinho did not commit a crime because he did not know that the passport they gave him was faked," he said.

However, the body overseeing the creation of companies in Paraguay told AFP there was no regulation preventing Brazilians for applying for a business permit.

The administrator of the charity that invited Ronaldinho, Dalia Lopez, has admitted requesting the passports but said she didn't know they were forged.

A warrant has been issued for her arrest.

- Money laundering -

Amarilla said the investigation is looking into possible criminal association and money laundering.

He said the brothers' phones needed to be examined, in order to "know the true intention for their presence" in Paraguay.

Ronaldinho, considered one of the greatest footballers of all time, was a star of Brazil's 2002 World Cup win and played for European giants Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, among others.

There had been rumors he needed to use the Paraguayan document because his real passport had been seized by Brazilian authorities in late 2018 after he failed to pay a $2.5 million fine for building a pier in a protected lake.

But it was returned to him a year later following an agreement with the public prosecutor in Rio Grande do Sul state.

As both countries are part of the MERCOSUR trade bloc, travelers between Brazil and Paraguay need only carry an identity document rather than a passport.]]>
3/11/2020 8:41:25 AM
<![CDATA[Premier League suffers first postponement as Arsenal players quarantined]]>
Arsenal said players and four staff had been isolated at their homes after coming into contact with the owner of Greek club Olympiakos, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

"We are strictly following the government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact," an Arsenal statement said.

"As a result, the players are unavailable for tonight's (Wednesday's) match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed."

The first postponement in the Premier League, which has a worldwide following of billions of TV viewers, follows widespread disruption to football and other sports across the globe.

Arsenal were knocked out of the Europa League by Olympiakos in late February. Vangelis Marinakis, owner of the Greek club and England's Nottingham Forest, announced on Tuesday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

But Arsenal said the players and staff, who met Marinakis after the game at the Emirates Stadium, will return to work on Friday ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton.

"The medical advice we have received puts the risk of them developing COVID-19 at extremely low," it added.

The Premier League called the move a "precautionary measure" and said there were no plans to postpone any other games.

Football's Serie A and all other sports have been put on hold in Italy, while the top two divisions in Spain and France will be played in empty stadiums for at least the next two weeks.

UEFA's Champions League and Europa League have also been both forced to arrange matches behind closed doors as the epidemic spreads.

Olympiakos host Wolverhampton Wanderers in Athens this week in the Europa League, in one of the last-16 games that will be played in front of an empty stadium.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has joined a number of managers, including Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp, in voicing disquiet at being asked to play without fans.

"If we have to go we will. But we don't agree -- we're not happy to go," he told Sky Sports.

"Behind closed doors doesn't make sense," he added. "We're pretending to live a normal life when things aren't normal."

Wednesday's postponement could also frustrate Premier League leaders Liverpool, as a Manchester City defeat would have taken them to the brink of their first top-flight title in 30 years.]]>
3/11/2020 8:39:31 AM
<![CDATA[Big Names out of Al Ahly’s Squad against Smouha SC]]>
Al Ahly’s squad witnessed for the first time ever this season the appearance of Al Ahly’s 19 year old midfielder El-Arabi Badr as well as the return of Mahmoud Wahid, left back.

On the other side, Junior Ajayi, winger, and Yasser Ibrahim, defender, were left out due to suspension. Moreover, Mahmoud Metwally, defender, and Ramadan Sobhi, winger, were not chosen due to their injury.

While, Sherif Ekramy, goalkeeper, Ali Maaloul, and Geraldo, winger, were left out due to technical reasons.

Al Ahly’s Squad

Goalkeeper: Mohamed El Shenawy, Ali Lotfi, Mostafa Shobeir

Defenders: Ramy Rabia, Ayman Ashraf, Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Hany, Mahmoud Wahid.

Midfielders: Hossam Ashour, Walid Soliman, Hussein El Shehat, Amr El-Souleya, Magdy Afsha, Ahmed El Sheikh, Aliou Dieng, El-Arabi Badr.

Strikers: Marwan Mohsen, Aliou Badji.

Al Ahly, first place with 48 points, will play against Smouha, 7th place with 24 points, on Wednesday 7:30 P.M at Cairo Stadium.]]>
3/11/2020 8:35:20 AM
<![CDATA[Klopp praises Mohamed Salah]]>
Klopp said in statements to his club: "I don't think Salah needed this goal to reach this position among the Liverpool fans, but this helps you to remember people for you."

"He was a very important goal, he decorated his wonderful performance in the meeting, it was a really good match from Salah," the German coach added.

"Salah is a great world-class striker. I am really happy that he has reached these numbers and I think Sadio Mane has a chance to do similar things. This would be really great."

Salah reached his 70th goal in the Liverpool jersey during his 100 games with the Reds.

"We need all the players because, with everything you can do on the field, you need someone to shake the net," Klopp said. "Often it's Salah."

Liverpool is preparing to face Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 next Wednesday after losing the first goal.

Salah is spending his third season with the Reds since his arrival from Rome, Italy, and in the first season, he broke many records to take the top scorer in the league, two goals behind Harry Kane, his closest rival.

In his second season, he maintained the Golden Boot award, sharing it with his colleague Sadio Mane and Arsenal player Pierre Aubameyang.]]>
3/10/2020 8:56:40 AM
<![CDATA[Youth & Sports ministry issued a statement regarding COVID-19]]>
Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports, met on Monday evening with the leaders of the Ministry, to prepare for a campaign "to introduce the youth and sports community to the Coronavirus and work to develop proactive preparatory plans at the level of youth centers and clubs in the various governorates of the Republic."

Ashraf Sobhi stressed "the importance of educating the Egyptian youth about the virus and addressing the youth and athletes of Egypt to work to reduce infection and prevent disease."

The Ministry of Youth and Sports will work in coordination with the Ministry of Health to "raise awareness of the importance of sterilization and increase national campaigns to raise awareness about the disease and pay attention to the cleanliness of youth centers at the governorate level."

The Coronavirus has infected more than 100,000 people worldwide, with more than 3,500 people worldwide dead.

Egyptian Health Ministry on Sunday announced seven new coronavirus cases in the North African country, bringing the total number of infected persons to 55 including Egyptians and foreigners.]]>
3/10/2020 8:50:52 AM
<![CDATA[Serie A, all sport in Italy halted because of coronavirus crisis]]>
The final Serie A game before government announcement saw Sassuolo beat Brescia 3-0 behind closed doors in Reggio Emilia on Monday.

After scoring his opening goal Sassuolo striker Francesco Caputo held up a handwritten message on piece of paper, urging fans: "Everything will be fine. Stay at home."

A few hours later the Prime Minister used similar words as he announced a countrywide lockdown.

"I am going to sign a decree that can be summarised as follows: I stay at home," Conte announced in a dramatic evening television address.

The unprecedented measures limiting travel and banning public gatherings across the country of more than 60 million people came after 97 more deaths took Italy's toll to 463.

The measures include the closure of schools, universities and the suspension of sports competitions.

"There is no reason why matches and sporting events should continue and I am thinking of the football championship," said Conte.

"I'm sorry but all the fans must take note of it, we will not even allow gyms to be used for sports activities," he added.

The decree allows the possibility of organising matches under international jurisdiction behind closed doors, such as ties in UEFA's Champions League and Europa League.

Juventus are due to host Lyon in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Turin next week. Inter Milan are due to host Spain's Getafe in the Europa League on Thursday while Roma welcome Sevilla a week later.

- Draconian measures -

Earlier Monday, Italy's National Olympic Committee (CONI), which has authority over all national sports federations, had recommended "sporting activities at all levels" be suspended until April 3 to help contain the virus outbreak and called for a government decree to enforce the request.

The decree, which goes beyond sport and provides for draconian new measures to combat the coronavirus, will come into force on Tuesday throughout Italy, the second most-affected country after China.

Since Sunday, there had been growing calls to stop sports competitions and in particular Serie A, with lower football leagues already paused.

Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora called for the suspension of Serie A while Italian Footballers' Association president Damiano Tommasi tweeted that "stopping football is the most useful thing for our country right now".

On Monday several Italian federations, such as those in swimming and winter sports, announced the end of competitive activities, joining rugby and volleyball which had been already suspended.

Serie A is now frozen after 26 games out of 38 in the season, with eight-time reigning champions Juventus leading the table one point ahead of Lazio. Inter Milan are third, nine points behind, with a game in hand.

Questions remain about getting the season finished. At least three rounds of matches will need to be rearranged after April 3 before the end of the season scheduled for May 24.

There is little room for manoeuvre because of Euro 2020 beginning on June 12. And there are also concerns that Euro 2020, due to be hosted across 12 countries including Italy, might face an unprecedented cancellation.

In 1973 a cholera epidemic which left 227 dead in Italy, including more than 170 in Naples, did not stop "calcio" in the football-mad country.]]>
3/10/2020 8:41:51 AM
<![CDATA[Barnes, Vardy doubles put Leicester back on track]]>
The Foxes had won just one of their previous seven Premier League games, but remain in third and restored an eight-point advantage over fifth-placed Manchester United in the battle for a top-four finish.

"The last few games we haven't been at our level. In terms of attacking, we were much better this evening. After the first goal we went on and played very well," said Rodgers.

"Early on you could see our confidence wasn't where it has been. The only way you regain that confidence is hard work and these players have been brilliant."

Defeat leaves Villa rooted in the relegation zone and there was little from the visitors to suggest they can save themselves in the final 10 games of the season.

No side has conceded more goals in the Premier League this season than Villa and it was easy to see why as Leicester passed up a host of simple chances from poorly defended set-pieces early on.

"We started the game quite well but then we didn't defend corners well enough and we had a big mistake for the (first) goal," said Villa boss Dean Smith.

"Individual mistakes are costing us. We need to get better."

Pepe Reina was a spectator when Villa stunned Leicester to reach the League Cup final in January and Dean Smith's decision to recall the Spaniard in place of Orjan Nyland backfired for the opening goal five minutes before half-time.

The former Liverpool goalkeeper raced well outside his box, but was beaten to the ball by the pace of Barnes, who kept his cool to fire into an unguarded net.

Iheanacho then missed a great chance to double Leicester's lead early in the second half and the Nigerian may find himself back on the sidelines in the weeks to come as Vardy refound his scoring touch.

The former England striker started on the bench as he returned from injury and had only been on the field four minutes when he grabbed his first goal in 10 games from the penalty spot after Tyrone Mings was adjudged to have handled Barnes's cross.

Vardy was back in the groove and doubled his tally 11 minutes from time when he found space at Reina's near post to move two goals clear in the race for the Premier League golden boot.

"The injury over seven or eight weeks had curtailed him but his running and movement were back to what we are used to from him," added Rodgers on his top scorer. "He got his reward for his hard work."

Barnes then also smashed home his second of the evening from Marc Albrighton's low cross.]]>
3/10/2020 8:39:40 AM
<![CDATA[PSG-Dortmund Champions League clash behind closed doors due to virus fears]]>
The decision comes after the French government on Sunday announced measures to cope with the spread of the virus, including banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

France has so far seen almost 1,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths.

"In accordance with the measures announced...last night, the police chief has decided that the match...will be played behind closed doors," said Paris police in a statement late on Monday morning.

PSG, who would have expected a full house of more than 45,000 fans at the Parc des Princes for the game, issued a statement of their own, saying: "In this context, the club remains fully mobilised to organise the match in the best possible conditions."

The announcement was closely followed by the postponement of the Six Nations rugby match between France and Ireland scheduled for Saturday in Paris. They are the highest profile sporting events in France to be hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

France's sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, said that the final matches of an ongoing four-team women's international football tournament involving France, the Netherlands, Brazil and Canada will also be played behind closed doors on Tuesday.

According to the French Football Federation, 12,000 tickets have been sold for the game between France and the Netherlands in the northern town of Valenciennes.

Elsewhere, this week's Paris-Nice cycling race is going ahead, but no spectators will be allowed at the start and finish lines for the remaining stages.

- 'Exceptional situation' -

"This is an exceptional situation," Maracineanu said at a press conference. "What I advise is that sports events continue to take place."

Maracineanu said that the ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people would also be applied to the France men's football team's scheduled games against Ukraine in Paris on March 27 and Finland in Lyon on March 31.

"If they can be postponed, they possibly will be postponed, otherwise they will have to respect the limit of 1,000," Maracineanu said at a press conference.

Meanwhile, Lyon announced on Monday that they will play their Ligue 1 match at home to Reims on Friday behind closed doors due to the government ruling.

PSG had already had their Ligue 1 match at Strasbourg on Saturday postponed due to the extent of the outbreak in the Alsace region of eastern France.

The state of North Rhine Westphalia, where Dortmund is situated, has been the worst hit in Germany, with close to 500 confirmed infections, according to official data.

"We were prepared for this eventuality and have made the appropriate preparations," Dortmund said in a statement.

Dortmund won the first leg of their tie 2-1 at home last month, leaving PSG requiring a second-leg comeback to avoid a fourth straight exit in the first knockout round of the Champions League.

Tuesday's Champions League clash between Valencia and Italian side Atalanta in Spain will also be played behind closed doors, with the visitors travelling from Bergamo in the Lombardy region which is amongst the worst hit parts of Italy by the virus. No journalists will be allowed to attend that game either.]]>
3/10/2020 8:37:49 AM
<![CDATA[Juventus beat Inter to go top after coronavirus chaos]]>
Earlier in the day, Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora called for the league season to be put on hold.

His statement caused chaos at the early game between SPAL and Parma, with confused players sent back to the dressing rooms from the tunnel before eventually taking to the field 75 minutes after the scheduled kick-off.

Juventus' game against Inter in Turin did go ahead, although in an empty Allianz Stadium, with the defending champions taking a one-point lead over Lazio at the top of the table.

Juve coach Maurizio Sarri told Sky Sport Italia that he "doesn't know what is the right thing to do" when it comes to the thorny question of cancelling matches.

"What have to I ask is whether it's right to take away two hours of enjoyment from those who are stuck indoors or if there really is a serious risk for the players and staff, I just don't know the answer to those questions," said the 61-year-old.

On the game itself, he added: "This is an important victory, but there are still 12 games to go, so it's a long road ahead.

"It's very positive that we barely allowed a quality side like Inter a single shot on goal."

Antonio Conte's third-placed Inter are now nine points adrift, but with a game in hand on Juve and Lazio.

Douglas Costa went closest in a tight first half, but was denied by an excellent save from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

The hosts broke the deadlock 10 minutes after the break, as Cristiano Ronaldo got to a low ball first inside the box, with it then falling kindly for Ramsey to sweep a low shot into the net from close range.

It was the Wales midfielder's fourth goal of the season after joining Juve from Arsenal last year.

The 29-year-old created his side's second goal 12 minutes later, playing a neat one-two with Paulo Dybala, who wriggled clear of two defenders and fired home.

Inter substitute Christian Eriksen went close to pulling one back when he drilled a shot narrowly over the crossbar.

Things went from bad to worse for the away side when Daniele Padelli, sitting on the substitutes' bench, was shown a red card for dissent.

- 'FIGC should consider stopping Serie A' -

The climax of the season remains uncertain, though, after a deadly outbreak of the new coronavirus in Italy which has claimed the lives of over 350 people.

Italians woke up to discover the entire Lombardy region around Milan and other parts of the north in which a quarter of all Italians live -- and most big teams play -- under lockdown.

Italian Footballers' Association president Damiano Tommasi tweeted that "stopping football is the most useful thing for our country right now".

"The teams to cheer are playing in our hospitals, in emergency rooms," Tommasi wrote.

Spadafora quickly sounded his own support for the idea of suspending the season right away.

"The FIGC (Italian Football Federation) should consider immediately STOPPING Serie A," Spadafora wrote on Facebook.

Elsewhere on the pitch, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's fourth goal since returning to AC Milan could not prevent the seven-time European champions from slipping to a 2-1 loss at home to struggling Genoa.

Milan remain seventh, three points off a Europa League place.

SPAL edged out Parma 1-0 in the delayed early match to boost their slim survival chances, while Sampdoria moved out of the bottom three by beating Verona 2-1.]]>
3/9/2020 8:49:26 AM
<![CDATA[Bayern go clear at top as Bundesliga faces virus threat]]>
Bayern lacked fluency in the opening stages despite scoring 13 goals in their previous three Bundesliga games, but did enough to edge closer to an eighth straight title.

German health minister Jens Spahn on Sunday called for the cancellation of all gatherings of more than 1,000 people in the country over fears surrounding the spread of the new coronavirus.

But the German league immediately reacted, insisting that it was "out of the question" that the season would be delayed beyond its scheduled finish on May 16, a week before the German Cup final.

Cases of COVID-19 in the country reached close to 850 on Sunday.

Bayern extended their unbeaten run to 15 games despite starting slowly.

It was not until near the end of the first half when the home side looked like troubling the scorers, with Mueller shooting over the crossbar with just the keeper to beat.

Mueller made no mistake in the 53rd minute however, collecting a long ball from Jerome Boateng and side-footing into the net.

The goal, reminiscent of the prolific Mueller of a decade ago, continued his recent strong form under manager Hansi Flick.

Since Flick took over, Mueller has scored six Bundesliga goals and assisted 12 more in 15 games.

Augsburg had several chances to equalise on the counter. Their best opportunity came when Florian Niederlechner had two bites at the cherry just two yards from goal in the 80th minute.

He had his first effort saved by Manuel Neuer and was unable to take advantage of a fortunate bounce from the rebound, shooting straight into the desperate Bayern defence.

Niederlechner found the back of the net in the 89th minute, but the goal was later ruled out for a marginal offside near the halfway line.

Leon Goretzka put the game beyond doubt with a goal in second-half stoppage time after being expertly fed by Serge Gnabry before dribbling the ball past keeper Andreas Luthe.

- Bayern lacked 'killer mentality' -

Mueller blamed his side's slow start on "a failure to invest in running – both on and off the ball" but praised his teammates for coming out "more forcefully in the second half".

"We didn't show the killer mentality that we've shown in recent weeks. We can thank Manu (Neuer) that it didn't go to 1-1 in the 80th minute," Mueller told Sky.

Flick echoed Mueller's sentiments. "We knew that it was going to be a difficult game – and the first half proved that," he said.

"Augsburg stood deep and worked hard to close all available space."

Mainz and Fortuna Dusseldorf drew 1-1 at the Opel Arena later on Sunday, leaving both clubs well entrenched in a relegation fight.

Mainz took the lead in the 62nd minute through Levin Oztunali, whose effort was originally ruled out for offside before the decision was overturned by VAR.

But the home side saw Jean-Philippe Mateta sent off for a second yellow card and Kenan Karaman equalised for Dusseldorf in the 85th minute.

Mainz remain in 15th place, four points ahead of Fortuna who occupy the relegation playoff spot.]]>
3/9/2020 8:47:27 AM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly in talks with Weiler over contract extension]]>
According to Filgoal and El-Ahly.com, Al Ahly’s board is willing to extend Weiler’s contract especially following Al Ahly’s qualification to the semifinals of the CAF Champions League.

Also, filgoal adds that there is an initial agreement between Al Ahly and Weiler, which will become official once Al Ahly’s President Mahmoud El Khatib sits with the Swiss manager [Weiler].

Ever since Weiler’s arrival to Al Ahly and the 46 year old managed to win the 2017/2018 Egyptian Super after achieving a 3-2 victory over Zamalek.

R.S.C. Anderlecht’s former manager [Weiler] also led Al Ahly to 16 consecutive victories in the Egyptian Premier League guiding them to first place with a total of 48 points in the first half of the season.

While in the CAF Champions League, Weiler led Al Ahly to the semifinals where they will play two decisive matches against last year’s competition runner up Wydad Athletic Club from Casablanca, Morocco.]]>
3/9/2020 8:44:28 AM
<![CDATA[United Wins in Manchester Derby]]>
The first half began with both teams looking to score the opening goal of the match; however, both teams lacked the final touch in the early minutes of the first half.

Manchester United’s winger, Anthony Martial opened the scoresheet on the 30th minute after converting Bruno Fernendes’, Manchester United’s attacking midfielder, foul to the net.

Following Martial’s goal, Manchester City kept looking to score the equalizer but Kevin De Bruyne’s absence affected the level of chances that they created.

During the second half, City’s ball possession increased dramatically reaching to 71% especially with Manchester United dropping back to defend their lead.

It was not until the dying minutes of the game, when Scott McTominay, United’s midfielder, doubled the score for United following Ederson’s, Manchester City’s goalkeeper, mistake.

The Red Devils’ [Manchester United] important victory made them reach 5th place with a 3 points gap from Chelsea who are 4th.

While, The Citizens’ [Manchester City] loss means that Liverpool who sit in first place with 82 points are only six points away from achieving their first English Premier League title ever.
3/9/2020 8:42:52 AM
<![CDATA[Elbadry calls four foreign based players for Togo clashes]]>
El Badry called Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, West Bromwich Albion's Ahmed Hegazi, Aston Villa's Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet and Olympiakos striker, Ahmed Hassan Koka.

Egypt plays in group C alongside Comoros, Kenya and Togo.

Egypt faces Togo on 26 March in Cairo and three days later they will meet again in Togo capital, Lome.

The Pharaohs gained two points from the first two rounds as the two games against Kenya and Comoros ended with a draw.

Egypt shares the second position of the group with two points each and they are two points behind Comoros who lead the group.

Egypt has won a record seven Africa Cup of Nations titles and they aim to secure their spot at the 2021 edition in Cameroon.]]>
3/8/2020 4:14:41 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona confidence unaffected by fan frustration, says Setien]]>
Messi's 24th goal of the season, and fifth in four games, was enough to save Barca, despite a drab display that threatened to bring more disappointment following last weekend's loss against Real Madrid.

As tension grew inside Camp Nou, some of the home fans whistled to express their dissatisfaction, which Jordi Alba then seemed to confront when celebrating a late goal, ruled out for offside, by putting his fingers in his ears.

"We have not lost confidence in what we are doing," said Setien. "The fans sometimes don't expect the opposition to restrict you but you have to take into account that Real Sociedad are a great team."

On his own reaction, Alba said: "I respect the fans but the fans have to respect me. Nobody likes to be whistled, and even less after 15 minutes at 0-0."

Madrid drop to second in the table but can restore their one-point advantage at the top by winning away at struggling Real Betis on Sunday night.

Their Clasico victory at the Santiago Bernabeu put the pressure back on Barcelona, whose response was hardly resounding, with Setien's side ultimately reliant on VAR to spot a handball in the 81st minute from Robin Le Normand.

The lack of appeal and the chunk of play that passed before VAR intervened made the decision all the more surprising and la Real's players were still shaking their heads at the final whistle.

Yet the win was all-important for the Catalans at the end of another week dominated by headlines surrounding problems off the pitch.

Setien said he had apologised to the squad after his assistant Eder Sarabia was recorded launching into a number of foul-mouthed rants against his own players during the game against Madrid, even if there were chants in support of Sarabia before kick-off.

"When the club is in a moment of weakness, these kinds of things come out," said Gerard Pique. "It's normal for an assistant coach, with the adrenaline high, to express himself. We see it as normal."

- Braithwaite causes trouble -

Barcelona created a handful of openings during the first half and Martin Braithwaite, making his first start, was at the heart of most of them, with his willingness to run in behind offering a good alternative in attack.

Twice Messi sent Braithwaite free early on but his lung-busting runs ended in tame shots. When he did hit one into the net, he was pulled back for offside.

Messi created a chance of his own by hunting the ball down in the corner before retrieving a chipped Sergio Busquets pass, only to scuff the finish.

The chances came more frequently in the second half as Barca turned the screw. Messi slid one past the post and then sliced another over from Antoine Griezmann's cushioned header.

Ivan Rakitic's drive was parried, Pique's header too straight and Alba's ball across the face of goal just too far ahead of the diving Rakitic.

As chances went begging, la Real sensed an opportunity. Nacho Monreal flashed wide and Alexander Isak hammered over.

But just as the tension was growing, Barcelona were leant a helping hand, with VAR reviewing a handball from Le Normand and referee Juan Martinez Munuera persuaded to point to the spot. Messi made no mistake.

Atletico Madrid will hope for a tighter contest against Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday than their frantic 2-2 draw earlier on Saturday against Sevilla.

Joao Felix looked as sharp at the Wanda Metropolitano as he has done all season and completed a four-minute comeback for Atletico after Alvaro Morata's penalty cancelled out Luuk de Jong's opener for Sevilla.

But Lucas Ocampos levelled with another penalty at the end of a pulsating first half, again with the help of VAR after a foul by Kieran Trippier.

The draw will be more gratefully received by Sevilla, who sit third in La Liga and two points ahead of Atletico, who stay fifth after missing an opportunity to close the gap.

Fourth-placed Getafe had Mauro Arambarri sent off late on as they drew 0-0 at home to relegation battlers Celta Vigo.]]>
3/8/2020 1:14:51 PM
<![CDATA[Guardiola surprised by City's dominance over Man Utd]]>
Since Guardiola came to England in 2016, City have finished above United every season with a combined points difference of 60 over that time.

Even though City are 25 points behind Premier League champions-elect Liverpool, they still hold a 15-point advantage over their city rivals.

And last Sunday's League Cup success was a sixth major honour for Guardiola in England, compared to two for United in the same period.

"I never expected when I arrived in England to have this distance over United in these three or four years," said Guardiola.

"There are no doubts about United's quality and I appreciate a lot the manager, and he represents the club in an exceptional way.

"When you analyse their players in an individual and collective way, they are so good. That's why I did not expect this gap."

City are looking for a fourth consecutive win at Old Trafford, but United are enjoying their best moment of another turbulent season on a nine-game unbeaten run.

"What United expect is to get closer to the teams above them," added Guardiola.

"But at the same time as United are working to improve, Manchester City won't sit still and at the end of the season, the distance is what it is and reflects the quality.

"So if we are also 22 points behind Liverpool, it's because they have been much better than us."

However, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss recognises the work Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing at United.

They are a long way off challenging for the title, but with signings like Harry Maguire and recently Bruno Fernandes, Solskjaer is slowly putting the pieces of United's puzzle back together.

"I always believe that managers and clubs need time to implement and build something that the manager believes in," said Guardiola.

"Unfortunately results sometimes take the decision to break that process.

"I'm not there, I'm not part of United but what I feel is that people believe in Ole and I think he is doing a really good job."

United are three points behind Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League position and entertain Everton at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and Guardiola can see that the Reds are building some momentum.

"Now the results are coming back," he added. "They are scoring goals, creating chances and conceding few because they have a good goalkeeper and good defenders."]]>
3/8/2020 1:12:23 PM
<![CDATA[Maaloul's early goal helps Al Ahly secure semifinal spot ]]>
The Red Devils knew how to get the result they needed to advance to the semi-finals.

Al Ahly Tunisian left back Ali Maaloul opened the score from a free kick as his shot was deflected by Sundowns defender to grant Al Ahly an early lead.

The home team equalised the score minutes later by Gastón Sirino who followed Mohamed El Shenawy's save to make the score 1_1.

The South African side needed three goals to overcome the 2_0 loss in Cairo but Al Ahly players stopped their attempts to keep the result 1_1 and advance to the semi-finals.

Al Ahly will face the winner between Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia and Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca.

Al Ahly have a record 8 Champions League titles and the Red Devils aim to win their 9th title and their first since 2013.]]>
3/7/2020 5:23:18 PM
<![CDATA[Weiler announces starting line-up for Sundowns clash ]]>
Al Ahly enter the game with a slight advantage as they won the first leg in Cairo 2_0 thanks to two goals from Ali Maaloul.

The South African giants need to overcome a two-goal first-leg deficit without conceding.

Weiler preferred to count on Ramy Rabia as a central defender alongside Yasser Ibrahim while Mahmoud Metwally will start at the midfield alongside Amr El Solia and Aliou Dieng.

Al Ahly starting line-up consists of: Mohamed El Shenawy, Ahmed Fathy, Ali Maaloul, Yasser Ibrahim, Ramy Rabia, Mahmoud Metwally, Amr El Solia, Aliou Dieng, Geraldo, Junior Ajayi and Aliou Bedji.

Weiler decided to keep Mohamed Magdy Afsha, Hussein El Shahat and Walid Soliman on the bench to use them during the game.

Al Ahly have a record 8 Champions League titles and the Red Devils aim to win their 9th title and their first since 2013.]]>
3/7/2020 2:45:44 PM
<![CDATA[Salah marks 100th league appearance for the Reds ]]>
Egyptian winger, Mohamed Salah, will lead the attacking line alongside Senegal's Sadio Mane and Brazilian striker, Roberto Firmino.

The Egyptian has been a vital player in Liverpool's squad since he joined the club in 2017 summer from AS Roma, having scored 69 goals and provided 27 assists for his teammates.

Salah holds the record of the most goals scored before the 100th appearances for the Reds in the top flight.

The Egyptian needs a hat trick to break Liverpool's Roger Hunt’s record of 72 goals in the first 100 league appearances across all divisions.

Salah also has an amazing record against Bournemouth as he scored 7 goals in his last five appearances against the Cherries.

Salah and his teammates aim to get back to the right track after losing three of their last four games at all competitions.]]>
3/7/2020 2:24:46 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek lose to Espeqrance, advance to the semi-finals]]>
CAIRO-7 March 2020: The White Knights booked the first ticket to the CAF Champions League semi-finals after they won the quarter-finals tie against Esperance 3_2 on aggregate.

Zamalek lost the second leg 1_0 in Tunisia which wasn't enough for the home team to advance to the semis as Zamalek won the first leg 3_1 in Cairo.

Esperance scored the only goal in the game after five minutes through Billel Bensaha from the penalty spot but Zamalek experienced players dominated the game after the goal.

The Tunisian team failed to create chances against the solid defense from Zamalek players and the game ended 1_0 for the Egyptian side.

"We played with much courage against the defending champions and we deserved to win the tie and quality to the semi-finals." Zamalek manager, Patrice Carteron said after the game.

Zamalek will face the winner between Raja Casablanca and TP Mazembe.]]>
3/7/2020 1:37:39 PM
<![CDATA[Our goal is to win the 9th Champions League, Weiler ]]>
“We know that we won the first leg at home in Cairo but the tie is not finalized. We have to come here at the stadium tomorrow afternoon with 100 percent concentration and play our normal football to try and finish off the job.” Weiler said during the pre-game press conference.

Al-Ahly won the first leg 2-0 at Cairo stadium thanks to two goals from the team Tunisian left back, Ali Maaloul.

The opening goal came from a wonderful play between the left flank stars Maaloul and Junior Ajayi who passed the ball to the Tunisian to put him one on one situation with the goalkeeper who failed to stop Maaloul's shot.

The referee awarded the Red Devils a penalty minutes later as Sundowns defender tackled Al Ahly striker, Aliou Bedji.

Al Ahly first choice penalty-taker Maaloul converted the spot kick to make the score 2_0.

Weiler added “The eight teams that are left in the competition are the strongest on the continent and it is not easy against any one of them. Our objective is to win the ninth Champions League for the club.”

Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria hosts the CAF Champions League quarter-finals second leg between Al-Ahly and Mamelodi Sundowns. ]]>
3/6/2020 3:36:16 PM
<![CDATA[Bilbao set up an all-Basque Copa del Rey final with Real Sociedad]]>
Athletic Bilbao lost to Granada 2-1 on Thursday night but they advanced to the final thanks to a 1-0 victory at home at the first leg.

Granada was so close to secure the ticket to the final as they scored two goals by Carlos Fernández and Germán Sánchez but a late goal from Bilbao’s defender, Yuri Berchiche, was enough for Los Leones to secure the ticket for the final.

“The Basque final is going to set an example, we're going to set an example so that fans of both teams can enjoy a festival of football; the history of the two clubs is ahead of the result," Bilbao president Aitor Elizegi said after the game.

Bilbao have the second-most titles in the competition with 23 titles and they aim to win the competition for the first time since 1984 while Sociedad target their third title in the competition. ]]>
3/6/2020 1:19:27 PM
<![CDATA[We have much respect for Esperance, Carteron ]]>
Zamalek secured first-leg advantage with a 3-1 win in Cairo thanks to goals from Mohamed Ounajem, Achraf Bencherki and Mahmoud Alaa.

“We have much respect for Esperance but we came here to get a ticket for the semi-finals. They have a great team with many experienced players and a very good manager.” Carteron said during the pre-game press conference.

CAF announced heavy sanctions on the Tunisian side following the players and coach’s behavior against the match referee, Redouane Jiyed.

CAF suspended four Esperance players, Khalil Chamam and Abderaouf Benguit as well as the head coach, Mouine Chaabani, and the team assistant coach, Mejdi Traoui.

Esperance will also miss their defender, Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, who received a red card during the game.

carteron added “They will not be affected by the sanctions. They are playing under more pressure and we need to produce a better performance to advance in the competition.”

The game starts on 21:00. ]]>
3/6/2020 11:42:19 AM
<![CDATA[Ajax trio told to stay away from club over virus fears]]>
The trio must stay at home until next Friday after Poulsen came in contact with former Danish international Thomas Kahlenberg, who has since been diagnosed with the virus.

Kahlenberg was celebrating Poulsen's 40th birthday in the Netherlands last Sunday.

The other two are exercise physiologist Alessandro Schoenmaker and an unnamed physiotherapist who were also at the party.

"They have no symptoms and if it stays that way they will return to work next week," an Ajax spokesman told Dutch media.

Poulsen, the former Juventus and Liverpool midfielder, will not be able to take his place on the bench alongside coach Erik ten Hag when Ajax travel to Heerenveen at the weekend.

Players from Danish Super League clubs Brondby and Lyngby are in isolation after they met and hugged Kahlenberg, who has since tested positive for coronavirus, at a match last weekend.

Kahlenberg, who played 47 matches for Denmark between 2003 and 2014 and also played for clubs Auxerre and VfL Wolfsburg before retiring in 2017, tested positive on Thursday and has been in quarantine, Brondby said in a statement.

Kahlenberg, who played for Denmark at the 2010 World Cup, was infected during a visit to Amsterdam, it said.

Brondby, who beat Lyngby 1-0 last Sunday, said 13 employees had been put in isolation, including the general manager Ole Palma, defender Joel Kabongo and assistant coach Martin Retov.

Lyngby said three players, who were in physical contact with Kahlenberg on Sunday, had been put in isolation.

Both teams have league games this weekend. The Danish FA said that for now all matches will go ahead as planned this coming weekend, but that it is monitoring the situation.

The clubs said they are working with the Danish Patient Authority to track down players, fans and members of staff who were in contact with Kahlenberg during Sunday's match.]]>
3/6/2020 10:58:46 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian League to use VAR ]]>
The game between Enppi and El Geish at Egyptian League Matchweek 18 will be the first game to use VAR as Egyptian referee, Mohamed El Sabahy, will be the VAR referee for the game.

“I am so proud that we fulfilled our promise regarding VAR implementation in the league. This is a massive achievement.” El Ganainy said during the press conference.

VAR technology was used at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia and since then it was implemented at the top leagues in the world.

VAR role is to help the referee to check incidents in the four match-changing situations.

EFA President added “13 accredited companies have applied to obtain the rights to implement the technology. In December, we reached an agreement with Media Pro to take over the task.” ]]>
3/5/2020 4:13:03 PM
<![CDATA[Besiktas keen to keep Elneny ]]>
The Egyptian midfielder joined Besiktas from Arsenal last summer on a season-long loan deal and since then he became a vital member at the club.

Elneny expressed his desire to stay at the Turkish club, saying “Of course I am happy because I feel like I am part of the Besiktas family. Always, always, know I am glad to be here and I don’t know about the future.”

Elneny was a key player under Arsenal’s former manager, Arsene Wenger, who signed him from Basel FC in Switzerland in 2016.

Elneny failed to establish himself as a key player at the club since the arrival of Unai Emery who succeeded Wenger at the manager’s position.

The Egyptian midfielder’s journey with football started when he was 6 as he was recruited by scouts of the Egyptian giants, Al-Ahly.

Elneny defended the red shirt for almost a decade before the club released him which was a turning point in his life as he joined Arab Contractors.

Three years later, Elneny was a first team member and started his journey with football as a professional. ]]>
3/5/2020 3:47:04 PM
<![CDATA[Rooney welcomes familiar faces from Manchester ]]>
The two teams are challenging each other for the remaining spot at FA Cup Quarter-finals.

“For us as a team it is a great challenge for us to come up against Manchester United, to see if we can beat them. It is a challenge, but it is something we are all looking forward to." Rooney said ahead of the game.

The English striker lifted the FA Cup title in 2016 when he was playing for the Reds.

The draw for the Emirates FA Cup quarter finals, held on Wednesday night, resulted in a tough trip for Frank Lampard and his boys to Leicester while the title holders, Manchester City, will visit Newcastle to face the local giants.

On the other hand, Arsenal, the most successful club in the competition with 13 titles, will face Sheffield United while Norwich City will face the winner between Manchester United and Derby County.]]>
3/5/2020 12:55:36 PM
<![CDATA[McManaman expects Salah to stay at Liverpool ]]>
“I see his future at Liverpool to be honest. Regarding this whole aura about Real Madrid and Barcelona, I think players are consistently linked with them because they were both considered the best sides in the world back in the day. The best sides are now in the Premier League.” McManaman said on Thursday.

Since Salah joined Liverpool in 2017 summer, he has been linked with a move to both Spanish giants, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

McManaman added “The best teams in Europe now are in England, so I don't understand the premise of why you need to go to LaLiga at the minute."

Salah led Liverpool to win UEFA Champions League title last season, having scored the opening goal against Tottenham Hotspur at the final in Madrid, which ended with a 2-0 win for the Reds.

Salah won two consecutive golden boot awards and he is one of the main contenders to win the award this year, having scored 15 goals, only two goals behind Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy who lead the list.
3/5/2020 12:31:50 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek’s 23 Player Squad Announced ahead of Esperance’s Match ]]>
The Frenchman’s 23 player selection witnessed the return of Youssef Obama, attacking midfielder, and Mohamed Awad, goalkeeper, after being dropped last match.

While, two of Zamalek’s important players Abdullah Gomaa, left back, and Omar El Said, striker, were excluded from the squad.

Zamalek will visit Tunisia's Esperance next Friday at the Stade de Rades in the second leg of the CAF Champions League quarter-final,with the first leg ending with a 3-1 victory to the White Knights.

Zamalek’s 23 Players Selection:

Goalkeepers: Mohamed Abou-Gabal, Mahmoud Gennesh, Mohamed Awad, and Mohamed Sobhi.

Defenders: Hazem Emam,Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud Hamdy El-Wensh, Mohamed Abel-Shafy, Mohamed Abdel-Salam, and Ahmed Eid.

Midfielders: Mahmoud Abdel-Razek Shikabala, Ferjani Sassi, Tarek Hamed, Achraf Bencharki, Ahmed Sayed Zizo, Youssef Obama,Mohamed Ounajem, Mohamed Hassan, Mohamed Antar, Mostafa Fathi, and Islam Gaber.

Forwards: Mostafa Mohamed, and Kabongo Kasongo.
3/4/2020 4:09:12 PM
<![CDATA[Coronavirus Could Postpone 2020 Olympic Games ]]>
Hashimoto stated that the Olympic Games could be held “within” 2020 hinting on a possible postponement when asked in the Japanese parliament.

“Tokyo's contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) "calls for the Games to be held within 2020," Hashimoto revealed, reporting from the BBC.

Additionally, she added that such a statement could be interpreted as allowing for the postponement of the Olympic Games only if it will be held at a later time of the year.

“At this moment, the Tokyo 2020 committee, the IOC and Tokyo (city government) are doing their best to make sure the Games will be held from July 24. The government will fully support that,” Hashimoto said, according to Kingfut.

The Olympic Games are currently set to be held from the 24th of July to the 9th August with the Egyptian Olympic Football team set to participate again ever since their last appearance in London 2012.

Several countries decided to suspend their sports competitions due to coronavirus [COVID-19] being widespread among 81 countries.

Ever since the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan, China on December 1st 2019 around 93,000 people were infected and 3,200 people died because of the disease.
3/4/2020 4:07:14 PM
<![CDATA[Klopp: Stop mentioning the Watford loss]]>
After the match, the German manager refused to talk about Liverpool’s recent defeat against Watford, but addressed Liverpool’s performance against Chelsea.

"I would really like it if you stop mentioning it [the Watford loss]. But we deserved to lose because they scored twice and we made massive mistakes for both goals,” Klopp said to BBC Sport, according to Goal.

Additionally, the 52 year old [Klopp] stressed that Liverpool needs to improve in the upcoming part of the season.

“We know we have to improve, it is not about destiny, not about not clicking here or there, it is all about us and we have to take it in the right way,” Klopp said, reporting from Goal.

Current Club World Cup title holders [Liverpool] sit in first place in the Premier League competition and are in the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool will face AFC Bournemouth next Saturday in the Premier League before playing a decisive match against Atletico Madrid next Wednesday in the second leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League.
3/4/2020 4:05:08 PM
<![CDATA[Maaloul is ready for Sundowns clash]]>
Maaloul, who missed the past training sessions, felt a strain in the front muscle, but a slight strain that will not prevent the player from the important game next Saturday.

Mahmoud Al-Khatib, head of Al-Ahly and head of the delegation, is keen to always be with the team players in order to support them before the upcoming meeting.

For his part, Sami Komsan, the assistant coach of the team’s coaching staff, said that all things are going well inside the team’s delegation before the expected and important confrontation.

The assistant coach stressed that the team went a long way against Sundowns in Cairo and made a strong performance, but the second and decisive half remains next Saturday, which is a knockout run and at the same time qualifying for the semi-finals, and needs to focus more.

Al-Ahly's list includes: Muhammad Al-Shennawi, Ali Lutfi, Mustafa Shoubir, Mahmoud Mitwalli, Rami Rabia, Yasser Ibrahim, Walid Suleiman, Ayman Ashraf, Hussein Al-Shahat, Aliu Diang, Amr Al-Sulaya, Marwan Mohsen, Muhammad Magdi Afsha, Ali Maaloul and Ahmed Al-Sheikh, Alio Badji, Ahmed Fathi, Junior Ajay, Geraldo and Mohamed Hani.

Al-Ahly beat Sundowns 2-0 in the first leg match that was held at Cairo Stadium last Saturday night.

The opening goal came from a wonderful play between the left flank stars Maaloul and Junior Ajayi who passed the ball to the Tunisian to put him one on one situation with the goalkeeper who failed to stop Maaloul's shot.

The referee awarded the Red Devils a penalty minutes later as Sundowns defender tackled Al Ahly striker, Aliou Bedji.

Al Ahly first choice penalty-taker Maaloul converted the spot kick to make the score 2_0.

The two teams will meet again at the second leg on 7 March in Pretoria.
3/4/2020 9:56:46 AM
<![CDATA[Southgate hopeful on Kane, Rashford fitness as England draw Belgium in Nations League]]>
Tuesday's draw for the next Nations League saw England -- who finished third last year in the inaugural version of the competition -- come out in a group with Belgium, Denmark and Iceland in League A.

Those matches will be played from September to November, with the four-team finals set for June 2021.

"We enjoyed the competition last time, and the quality of the fixtures again shows how exciting this could be," Southgate said after Tuesday's draw ceremony in Amsterdam.

England played Belgium twice at the 2018 World Cup, in the group stage and the third-place play-off, and lost both matches.

They are also due to host Denmark at Wembley in a friendly on March 31. However, there are currently worries that game -- and the scheduled March 27 clash with Italy -- might be postponed or played behind closed doors if required to contain the coronavirus outbreak which has already caused the postponement of numerous sporting events worldwide.

"We don't need to speculate at the moment," Southgate said. "I think we have to be adaptable and have to make sure that we are prepared for every eventuality, but as we stand we are trying not to get too worried by all the hype, make sensible decisions on hygiene and go from there."

England cruised through qualifying for Euro 2020, in which they will play group games at Wembley and would also be at home in the semi-finals and final should they get there.

However, loss of form to certain squad members -- not least the struggles of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford -- and injuries to Kane and Rashford are problems.

It was feared Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane would not play again this season after having hamstring surgery in January, while Manchester United's Rashford is out with a back injury.

"All I know is that both players have given themselves the best possible chance of being fit and available not only for us but for the end of the season for their clubs," said Southgate.

- Martinez 'confident' for Hazard -

"Obviously that is their priority, they have got to get back playing club football, then of course we are hoping both come through with no issues ahead of the summer for us."

He added: "We have really good competition for places, but clearly we want to be going to the Euros with our best players and there is no doubt that Kane and Rashford would be in that category."

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez was pleased with Tuesday's draw -- his team, who lead the world rankings, faced Iceland in the last Nations League and are already set to take on Denmark at the European Championships in Copenhagen.

It is the approaching Euro itself which is at the forefront of his mind, and the Spaniard is hopeful Real Madrid star Eden Hazard will be fit to play in June despite needing an operation on a potentially season-ending foot injury.

"I'm very confident. I think if the operation goes well I think Eden could finish the season with Real Madrid," he said.

"We need to get the right treatment, we need to get a very good operation, and from that point I have no worries about Eden being back on the pitch very quickly."

Meanwhile, with his contract expiring, Martinez admitted that he still does not know if he will be in charge of Belgium after Euro 2020 and by the time the Nations League comes around.

"It's about the right answer, not when you give the answer," he said. "When there is something concrete about my position we will make it clear before the Euro so there is no distraction, but it will be a good decision for Belgian football."]]>
3/4/2020 9:47:54 AM
<![CDATA[Liverpool beaten again as Chelsea ease into FA Cup quarters]]>
Klopp made seven changes to the side beaten for the first time in 45 Premier League games at Watford on Saturday, but still named a far stronger XI than the youthful teams that had seen off Everton and Shrewsbury to reach the fifth round.

However, goals from Willian and Ross Barkley gave Frank Lampard's men a much-needed lift at Stamford Bridge.

"Losing 2-0 is not good, but it is relatively easy to explain. We made two massive mistakes around the goals," said Klopp.

Liverpool remain well on course for a first league title in 30 years with a 22-point lead at the top of the Premier League, but run the risk of their competitive campaign coming to an early end once the title is sewn up unless they can overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next week.

"It is not the best three weeks of the whole season but it is a chance to make it the best three weeks now and that is the plan," added Klopp.

"Nobody has to feel sorry for us, we will win football games and that is what we want to do on Saturday."

A run of five wins in 16 league games and a 3-0 thrashing at home by Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie last week meant the pressure was on Chelsea to keep their hopes of silverware this season alive.

"We are not the Chelsea of different eras gone by with (Eden) Hazard and (Diego) Costa, (John) Terry and (Didier) Drogba, we've got younger players but we are trying to bridge the gap upwards," said Lampard.

"I can't ask for any more in the spirit, work ethic and quality. You have got to defend very well to keep a clean sheet against them."

Chelsea got the lift they needed from the opening goal as Liverpool's understudy goalkeeper Adrian undid the good work of a brilliant save from Willian within a minute.

The Brazilian was gifted possession again just outside the Liverpool box and this time Adrian could only turn his powerful drive into the bottom corner.

At the other end, Kepa Arrizabalaga, who had been dropped for the previous five games, showed why Chelsea spent £72 million ($92 million) on him just over 18 months ago as he made three reaction saves in a matter of seconds to deny Mane, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino what seemed a certain equaliser.

Chelsea then lost Mateo Kovacic and Willian to injury either side of half-time to further deplete Lampard's midfield options.

But that may provide the opportunity Barkley needs to kickstart his flagging career at the Bridge.

The England international doubled Chelsea's lead in spectacular style midway through the second half as he galloped forward from inside his own half before smashing past Adrian from outside the area.

Newcastle and Sheffield United also booked their place in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

A double from Miguel Almiron helped Newcastle to a 3-2 win at West Brom to reach the last eight for the first time in 14 years.

Sheffield United needed extra-time to see off Reading 2-1, but the Blades' brilliant campaign continued thanks to a winner from captain Billy Sharp.]]>
3/4/2020 9:39:33 AM
<![CDATA[Kimmich fires Bayern into cup semis, Saarbrucken stun Fortuna]]>
Bayern sit top of the Bundesliga and are also set for a place in the Champions League quarters having beaten Chelsea 3-0 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

There was also a major upset as fourth-tier Saarbrucken performed a giant killing act on top-flight Fortuna Duesseldorf by winning a thrilling penalty shoot-out 7-6 following a 1-1 draw.

Saarbrucken's hero was their goalkeeper Daniel Batz, who saved a penalty in regular time and then stopped two more in the shoot-out.

The minnows took the lead in the 31st minute but were pushed into the shoot-out after Fortuna equalised in the 90th minute through Mathias Jorgensen.

Defending Cup winners Bayern have won 13 of their past 14 games under coach Hansi Flick but played Tuesday without injured strikers Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman, who scored all the goals in last year's 3-0 final win over RB Leipzig.

Kimmich's first-time strike from the edge of the area came in the 40th minute while Schalke hit the woodwork and had a goal ruled out for offside.

In the other quarter-finals on Wednesday Bayer Leverkusen host Union Berlin while Eintracht Frankfurt greet Werder Bremen.]]>
3/4/2020 9:33:48 AM
<![CDATA[Zamalek's delegation heads to Tunisia for Esperance Sportive clash]]>
Zamalek will visit Tunisia's Esperance next Friday at the Stade de Rades in the second leg of the CAF Champions League quarter-final, and the first leg ended with The White's victory with 3-1.

Hani Zada, a member of the club’s board, booked Al-Menzah Stadium on Wednesday evening for the first training of the team.

Zada travelled to Tunisia before Zamalek's delegation to arrange the team's accommodation and training procedures. Zamalek delegation travelled this evening.

Zamalek is scheduled to train on Monday evening at the club’s headquarters in preparation for the next match.

Zamalek SC achieved an important 3-1 victory against Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the first leg of CAF Champions League quarter finals at Cairo Stadium.

The first half began with the away team Esperance missing a few chances, while the home team Zamalek made sure that they kept a clean sheet in the opening minutes of the match.

It was not until the 27th minute when the Algerian midfielder Raouf Benguit opened the scoresheet by scoring Esperance’s only goal in the match. However, Zamalek’s winger Mohamed Ounnajem quickly equalized for the home team before the end of the first half.

The second half witnessed an exchange in chances for both teams, however, the Morrocan attacking midfielder Achraf Bencharki scored Zamalek’s second goal on the 71st minute to give Zamalek the lead.

Just two minutes after Zamalek’s second goal Esperance’s midfielder Mohamed Ben Romdhane was sent off letting his team play with ten players only.

Zamalek’s defender Mahmoud Alaa made use of that advantage by scoring a penalty in the dying minutes of the game to achieve a 3-1 victory for the White Knights.
3/3/2020 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sturridge handed four-month ban for betting breaches]]>
The suspension comes after the English Football Association won an appeal against a two-week ban and £75,000 ($95,756) fine given to Sturridge in July of last year.

The former England international was accused of passing on inside information on potential transfer moves in January 2018.

Sturridge's contract with Turkish club Trabzonspor was terminated by mutual consent on Monday.

"Daniel Sturridge has been suspended from all football and football-related activity from today until the end of 17 June 2020," the FA said in a statement.

"In relation to the sanction, the Appeal Board agreed with The FA that the penalty originally imposed on Mr Sturridge was unduly lenient and therefore increased his effective playing ban from two weeks to four months.

"The Appeal Board also doubled the fine to £150,000."

Sturridge, 30, began his career at Manchester City before moving to Chelsea in 2009.

He enjoyed the best spell of his career at Liverpool after a move to Anfield in 2013.

Sturridge scored 24 goals in the 2013/14 season as part of a prolific front three alongside Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling as the Reds came agonisingly close to ending a long wait to win the Premier League.

He also led the line for England at the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 among 26 caps for his country, the last of which came in 2017.

The rest of his time at Liverpool was largely derailed by injury, although he did make 27 appearances last season as Jurgen Klopp's men won the Champions League and missed out on the Premier League by just a point to Manchester City.

Sturridge left the European champions on a free transfer to join Trabzonspor in August.]]>
3/3/2020 9:48:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly performs their first training in South Africa]]>
Sherif Issa, Egypt's ambassador to South Africa, was keen to receive the team’s delegation as soon as it arrived on Monday morning.

The Egyptian ambassador accompanied Al-Ahly's delegation from Johannesburg airport to Pretoria to overcome any obstacles and provide all their requirements.

Al-Ahly boarded a bus for an hour, as soon as the team arrived at Johannesburg airport in order to reach Pretoria.

Al-Ahly's list includes: Muhammad Al-Shennawi, Ali Lutfi, Mustafa Shoubir, Mahmoud Mitwalli, Rami Rabia, Yasser Ibrahim, Walid Suleiman, Ayman Ashraf, Hussein Al-Shahat, Aliu Diang, Amr Al-Sulaya, Marwan Mohsen, Muhammad Magdi Afsha, Ali Maaloul and Ahmed Al-Sheikh, Alio Badji, Ahmed Fathi, Junior Ajay, Geraldo and Mohamed Hani.

Al-Ahly beat Sundowns 2-0 in the first leg match that was held at Cairo Stadium last Saturday night.

The opening goal came from a wonderful play between the left flank stars Maaloul and Junior Ajayi who passed the ball to the Tunisian to put him one on one situation with the goalkeeper who failed to stop Maaloul's shot.

The referee awarded the Red Devils a penalty minutes later as Sundowns defender tackled Al Ahly striker, Aliou Bedji.

Al Ahly first choice penalty-taker Maaloul converted the spot kick to make the score 2_0.

The two teams will meet again at the second leg on 7 March in Pretoria.
3/3/2020 9:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Klopp hopes defeat fuels Liverpool's fire]]>
The Reds are still well on course for a first league title in 30 years with a commanding 22-point lead at the top of the table.

But they were beaten for the first time in 45 Premier League games and in comprehensive fashion at Vicarage Road as Ismaila Sarr's double and Troy Deeney's measured finish completed a famous win for Watford.

"Of course sometimes a little knock is important," said Klopp. "So I don't see anything negative in it. From time to time if you are not good enough you need to see effect."

Liverpool need a maximum of four wins from their last 10 games to guarantee the title but could still go on to win five trophies this season.

The Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup have already been claimed, while Klopp's men travel to Chelsea in the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday and trail Atletico Madrid 1-0 from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

"We can start again with whatever we did before, and we will," said Klopp. "We cannot say now we will react in this way or that. We have to show it in the next games."

Dejan Lovren was one of those blamed by the Liverpool support for a rare defeat as Deeney relished the battle with the Croatian international.

And Lovren is also hoping a "wake-up call" inspires Liverpool in the final stages of the season.

"Maybe it is a wake-up call for us," he said. "It can be a benefit to help us get to the end of the season.

"We know there is always an end for everything. It is here where our unbeaten run ended. We will not look at this result and think it was a bad season because of losing here. One performance won't ruin everything, but this is always a learning process.

"The last couple of games hadn't been the best performances but we won. This one, it didn't happen. This one was like someone hit us in our faces -- and we deserved it."]]>
3/3/2020 8:45:00 AM
<![CDATA[Everton boss Ancelotti sees red in Man Utd draw]]>
Goalkeeping errors by both United's David De Gea and Everton's Jordan Pickford were central to the outcome at Goodison Park.

But Everton thought they had won the game in stoppage time when a shot from Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who had opened the scoring, deflected off United's Harry Maguire and into the net.

The goal, however, was ruled out by the video assistant referee with the offside Gylfi Sigurdsson, lying in the path of De Gea, deemed to have obstructed the view of the keeper.

Ancelotti was as unhappy as the home crowd on Merseyside, with the Toffees boss sent off after approaching referee Chris Kavanagh on the field after the final whistle.

- 'Borderline situation' -

"He sent me off the pitch but then after that I had a long conversation with him that I would like to keep private," Ancelotti told Sky Sports.

"The goal (Calvert-Lewin's disallowed shot) I think was a borderline situation.

"He (the referee) says that Gylfi (Sigurdsson) was offside but in our opinion he did not affect the vision of De Gea. It is difficult to decide but the game is finished, it is a draw and we played really well so we are happy."

The red card means Ancelotti is in line for a touchline ban for Everton's next match, against his former club Chelsea.

"I hope not because I did not disrespect the referee, he knows this," said the Italian.

"If I have to be banned I will be in the stands at Stamford Bridge. It is not a big problem, honestly, we will prepare well for the game."

The draw saw fifth-placed United miss the chance to cut the gap to Chelsea in fourth to a single point in the Premier League table as Everton stayed in 11th position.

"We should be leading at half-time," said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

"Then they threw everything at us. But we should have won it with the chance at the end. I am pleased with a point."

It took Everton just three minutes to break the deadlock with a bizarre goal that delighted the Goodison Park faithful.

There seemed little danger as De Gea dwelt on a clearance.

But his eventual kick downfield was blocked by the charging Calvert-Lewin, with the rebound flying into the unguarded United net.

De Gea did make amends in part by denying Calvert-Lewin a second goal by tipping a shot wide.

Another goalkeeping error helped United draw level in the 31st minute when England number one Pickford, with national manager Gareth Southgate watching from the stands, failed to cover Bruno Fernandes' speculative, if well-struck, effort from long range.

- 'Makes amends' -

Everton midfielder Sigurdsson went close to making it 2-1 early in the second half.

United's Victor Lindelof carelessly gave away a free-kick on the edge of the box and Sigurdsson saw his curling strike come back off the post, with Richarlison unable to get the rebound on target as he followed up.

In the closing moments of normal time, Pickford blocked Fernandes' initial shot and acrobatically dashed across his goal to keep out Odion Ighalo's follow-up.

De Gea then saved from Sigurdsson before the replay row at the other end of the pitch, with Solskjaer saying: "What a great save. He makes amends there."]]>
3/2/2020 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Khatib heads Al Ahly's delegation to South Africa]]>
Al-Ahly’s delegation left at 11:30 PM on Sunday, to South Africa, and Al-Ahly will play against Sundowns on March 7 at 03:00 PM.

Al-Khatib headed the team’s mission due to the importance of the decisive and expected meeting in the African team’s march and an affirmation of providing all support and support to the players and the technical staff in this separation station.

Al-Ahly beat Sun Downs 2-0 in the first leg of the quarter-finals.

Al-Khatib was keen to make a phone call to his physician in order to consult him about traveling to South Africa, in light of his persistent back pain.

This is due to the long journey to Johannesburg, which takes approximately 8 hours, in addition to the time it takes to move from the capital to Pretoria.

Al-Ahly is training in the university stadium in Pretoria after the stadium has been reserved.

Lucas Moribi, the venue for the match, will host one of Al-Ahly's training, according to the African Union regulations.]]>
3/2/2020 8:57:12 AM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid defeat Barcelona in Clasico to regain top spot in La Liga]]>
Vinicius Junior's deflected finish and a stoppage-time goal from Mariano Diaz decided a frenzied contest at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Madrid found new life after a Champions League defeat by Manchester City had left them on the brink of crisis.

"It's been a tough week," said Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane. "We talked about how we had an opportunity this weekend and we took it."

Victory put them one point clear at the top of the table and shifts focus back to Quique Setien's Barcelona, who were outfought and, at times, outplayed.

"The reality is we lost a lot of confidence with the ball," said Setien. "We entered a nervous spell and that's when the goal came."

Lionel Messi's rasping shot was saved by Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the first half but it was the Argentine's opposing captain, Sergio Ramos, who was thrashing his arms in celebration after the final whistle.

His reaction was an indication of the importance of this victory, not only for the effect it has on the standings but on the dynamic of the title race, which had seemed to be switching firmly in favour of Barca.

- Opportunity missed -

Cristiano Ronaldo, now of Juventus, was watching from an executive box and Madrid could have done with him during a period in which they had won only one of their last five games.

Zidane said on Saturday this match would not decide who lifted the trophy in May but a Barca win and a five-point gap might well have been difficult to close.

Yet from the start Barcelona seemed keener to kill the game than win it, playing for time in the hope of keeping the contest tight, when they might have been better off attacking their opponents' fragility.

"The Madrid we faced in the first half was one of the worst Madrids I have faced at the Bernabeu," said Gerard Pique.

"I don't say it as a criticism, we also have our problems, but we've missed an opportunity."

There was more tension than creativity in the early stages as Fede Valverde crashed into Arthur Melo before fellow Spain full-backs Dani Carvajal and Jordi Alba were both booked after a disagreement.

Madrid had the better of the play and regularly broke at speed through Vinicius down the left but constantly they failed to make the final pass, with Isco once left with his head in his hands after Marcelo opted not to pull the ball back.

- Slow Barca -

Barcelona's passing was slow and their lack of urgency obvious. At one point Messi bent to tie his bootlaces and re-spotted the ball before taking a corner.

But the visitors also created chances as Antoine Griezmann drove over from Alba's cutback and then Madrid had Courtois to thank for two excellent saves.

First, Arthur held off Toni Kroos to go clear but his finish was blocked by teh foot of Courtois and then the Belgian palmed away Messi's shot after he had skipped in behind Madrid's defence.

Ramos was lucky to get away with an error that allowed Nelson Semedo to break past him while Alba risked a second yellow when he checked Valverde but referee Mateu Lahoz was unmoved.

Barcelona were sloppy after half-time and Madrid should have capitalised. Instead, Isco's header beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen but not Pique on the line and Karim Benzema volleyed over after a sloppy pass from Arturo Vidal.

Vidal was replaced by Martin Braithwaite, Barca's emergency signing, and he sprinted in behind Marcelo twice in his first minute.

But Madrid remained in the ascendancy and in the 71st minute they took the lead.

Benzema came short and pointed right to encourage Vinicius to run in behind. Kroos found him and Vinicius's shot deflected off the sliding Pique to beat Ter Stegen at his near post.

The game opened up as Barcelona chased an equaliser. Marcelo celebrated when Messi's surge through was stopped by Raphael Varane. Pique headed Messi's cross over at the near post. Messi picked up a yellow card for a frustrated slide on Casemiro.

In injury time, Ter Stegen ventured up for a late free-kick but it was Madrid that struck again. Mariano sped past Semedo and finished from the angle.]]>
3/2/2020 8:47:47 AM
<![CDATA[Man City hold off Aston Villa to retain League Cup]]>
Mbwana Samatta pulled a goal back for Villa, but their wait for the club's first silverware since 1996 goes on as Pep Guardiola's men have now won six of the last seven major trophies in English football.

Guardiola made eight changes from the side that won 2-1 at Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday with Kevin De Bruyne among those left on the bench.

However, it mattered little as City had the luxury of recalling Aguero, Raheem Sterling and David Silva to the starting XI, and the gulf in class showed.

Guardiola's raft of changes also handed a rare start to Phil Foden and the 19-year-old more than justified his selection.

Rodrigo's fine pass picked out Foden to head back into the path of Aguero and the Argentine's deflected effort beat Orjan Nyland in the Villa goal to open the scoring on 20 minutes.

Foden was then inches away from a goal himself with a deflected shot that flew inches wide.

Villa felt aggrieved when City were awarded another corner moments later after Jack Grealish fired the ball off Ilkay Gundogan for what should have been a goal kick.

Instead, City doubled their lead as Gundogan's corner was met with a powerful downward header from Rodrigo.

Villa could barely even get a touch for the next 10 minutes as the holders threatened to run riot in a repeat of the 6-1 thrashing they handed the hosts at Villa Park last month.

Sterling had a glorious chance for his first goal of 2020 deflected behind by a brave block from Tyrone Mings.

But moments later the reason Mings is ahead of John Stones in the pecking order for England selection became clear as the City defender inexplicably fell to the floor to give Villa a lifeline.

A long ball forward eventually came to Anwar El Ghazi and from his cross Samatta headed low past Claudio Bravo to the delight of the travelling thousands from Birmingham and Villa fan Prince William in the stands.

The difference in the desperation for success between the supports was obvious as Villa were roared on vociferously throughout, while City failed to sell out their allocation.

That did not compensate for the difference in quality on the field as City quickly settled back into their rhythm and could then introduce De Bruyne for the final half hour.

However, City failed to turn their dominance into more goals as Rodrigo was denied by a fine save by Nyland from another corner before Aguero then fired into the side-netting to give Villa hope for the last 10 minutes.

And they were very nearly punished as the often-criticised Bravo had to make a brilliant save three minutes from time to turn Bjorn Engels' header onto the post and maintain City's grip on the competition.]]>
3/2/2020 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian National Team in talks with West Brom over Hegazi’s injury ]]>
The Egyptian International defender and West Bromwich Albion player Hegazi pulled up an injury on February 29th during the 43rd minute of West Bromwich’s match against Wigan in the 36th fixture of the Championship.

Following the match the technical staff of the Egyptian National team were informed by representatives from the English club that Hegazi will undergo an X-ray on his foot tonight.

The Egyptian International is on track to return to the English Premier League next season with his club currently sitting in first place of the Championship .

Additionally, the 29 year old defender [Hegazi] is one of Egypt’s crucial players for the Egyptian National team in the qualifications for the African Cup of Nations.

It is important to note that the Egyptian National team will face Togo on the 26th and the 29th of March in the qualifications of the African Cup of Nations.]]>
3/1/2020 5:26:55 PM
<![CDATA[The 244th Classico takes Place tonight ]]>
Real Madrid’s manager Zinedine Zidane will enter the match looking to regain once again first place following Madrid’s 0-1 defeat against Levante.

While FC Barcelona’s manager Quique Setién will enter his first Classico ever looking to maintain the first position for the Catalan Giants [Barcelona].

Additionally, the Blaugrana aims to achieve their fifth consecutive victory against Los Blancos [Real Madrid] at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga.

The last match between the two teams ended with a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou, Barcelona’s stadium, in the La Liga.

Both teams hold an amazing record against each other, with Real Madrid beating Barcelona 72 times more than any other team in the Spanish League. Barcelona also holds the same number of victories in the Spanish League against Real Madrid.

It is important to mention that El Classico took place on 243 occasions, 96 of which Barcelona came out victorious. While Real Madrid defeated Barcelona on 95 occasions and the draw took place 52 times.]]>
3/1/2020 4:22:20 PM
<![CDATA[Our fans made the difference, Weiler ]]>
"It is always a joy to play in front of our fans who inspired the players and made the difference during the game." Weiler said after the game.

More than 40k Al Ahly fans attended the game at Cairo stadium and witnessed Al Ahly's 2_0 win over the South African giants at CAF Champions League quarter-finals first leg.

Weiler added "We played a good game and scored two goals against a tough opponent. The most important thing is the victory"

The opening goal came from a wonderful play between the left flank stars Maaloul and Junior Ajayi who passed the ball to the Tunisian to put him one on one situation with the goalkeeper who failed to stop Maaloul's shot.

The referee awarded the Red Devils a penalty minutes later as Sundowns defender tackled Al Ahly striker, Aliou Bedji.

Al Ahly first choice penalty-taker Maaloul converted the spot kick to make the score 2_0.

The two teams will meet again at the second leg on 7 March in Pretoria.]]>
3/1/2020 2:13:24 PM
<![CDATA[Nadal cruises past Fritz to win Acapulco title]]>
The 33-year-old Nadal, playing in his first tournament since losing in the quarter-finals at the Australian Open last month, didn't drop a set all week and improved to 19-2 all-time at this event.

He nabbed his third Mexico Open title to go with victories in 2013 and 2005.

"I couldn’t be happier. I played a great event from the beginning to the end," Nadal said. "Acapulco was the first big title that I won in my career, so to be able to stay here after 15 years is amazing.

"I can't thank enough the people who make me feel at home every single time."

Nadal wasted no time figuring out Fritz's game in the first career meeting between the two.

The 19-time Grand Slam winner made eight unforced errors and needed just one ace but it came in the final game of the second set to get to championship point.

Nadal closed it out with a blistering serve that handcuffed Fritz and gave Nadal his 85th career title.

Nadal ceded the world number one ranking to Novak Djokovic after the Australian Open, where the Serb won a record eighth title.

Nadal could have regained the top spot with a win in Acapulco, but he also needed Djokovic to fail to reach the final in this week's Dubai event.

Djokovic extended his win streak to 21 matches by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 earlier Saturday to lift the Dubai trophy.

Nadal won the final eight points to take the first set. He seized control by breaking Fritz's serve in the ninth game to go up 5-4. He then served for the set, winning four straight points.

On set point he hammered a serve which Fritz barely got back. That set up an overhead smash for Nadal which he put away nicely.

Nadal broke Fritz twice in the second set, including the fifth game to go up 3-2. He broke Fritz again to take a 5-4 lead and then served out the match.

Nadal has now won a title 17 consecutive years.

In the women's final, seventh seeded Heather Watson captured her first WTA title in three years by grinding out a 6-4, 6-7 (6/8), 6-1 win over Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez.

The persistent Fernandez, of Filipino and Ecuadorean descent, survived nine championship points before finally succumbing to Britain's Watson in a two hour, 46 minute marathon.]]>
3/1/2020 1:50:50 PM
<![CDATA[ Maaloul brace gives Al Ahly advantage in CAF Champions League ]]>
Al Ahly defeated South African giants Mamelodi Sundowns 2_0 thanks to two goals from Al Ahly's Tunisian left back, Ali Maaloul, during the second half.

The opening goal came from a wonderful play between the left flank stars Maaloul and Junior Ajayi who passed the ball to the Tunisian to put him one on one situation with the goalkeeper who failed to stop Maaloul's shot.

The referee awarded the Red Devils a penalty minutes later as Sundowns defender tackled Al Ahly striker, Aliou Bedji.

Al Ahly first choice penalty-taker Maaloul converted the spot kick to make the score 2_0.

The two teams will meet again at the second leg on 7 March in Pretoria.]]>
3/1/2020 1:44:14 PM
<![CDATA[ Djokovic wins 17th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open]]>
Djokovic has now won 18 consecutive matches this season in a period that has seen him lift the ATP Cup trophy for Serbia and his eighth Australian Open crown as well as Dubai, and he now holds 79 career titles.

“Of course I'm trying to embrace the moment and appreciate where I am,” said Djokovic. “I think this has been one of the best starts of all seasons I had in my career. I feel great on the court. I've been playing great tennis on the hard court that is my most successful and preferred surface. I'm just grateful that I'm playing well, feeling well. I've won many matches now in a row. I'll try to keep that run going. It's just way too early to speak about how long that run might go, the calculations.”

The match was close throughout, but it was Djokovic who held the edge in what was always an entertaining finale to the tournament. After saving a break point at 2-2, Djokovic claimed the only break of the first set to lead 5-3. Djokovic broke again to lead 3-2 in the second set but was unable to consolidate his lead as Tsitsipas levelled at 3-3. A final break to lead 5-4 though was decisive as Djokovic served out the match at love.

Despite his tentative start, Djokovic was happy with the way the rest of the match unfolded.

“Yeah, again I think it was a little bit of a slow start from me,” said Djokovic. “I was fortunate to hold my service games. He was very close to break my serve first three service games that I had in the first set. After that, that probably decisive break of serve at 4-3 that allowed me to serve it out for the set, I felt mentally I started having a little bit more of an advantage on the court. You could sense that I got the momentum. I didn't want to lose the momentum.

“I was comfortable from the back of the court playing with him. It seems like he did drop his intensity a little bit from the previous matches. As he was saying on the court (during the trophy presentation), it was a tiring week for him, I guess tiring couple of weeks, because he played every single day more or less since 10 days ago or two weeks ago in Marseille, starting there, winning a trophy and coming to finals here. Anyway, nevertheless it had to be done in a right way. I served out the match in a great fashion, won another trophy here. I'm just obviously very, very pleased.”

Tsitsipas, who was bidding to win his second trophy in two weeks after successfully defending his Marseille title, was naturally deflated after his defeat.

“I don't really feel much, honestly,” he said. “I think I just felt more happy first year when I made the finals. For sure I'm proud of myself because I showed good discipline and I managed to play the same this year. But it's kind of disappointing trying so hard and much and not really getting the final result that you want. For sure I would love to see myself holding that trophy. Of course, he gave more than me and he deserves it. I just think that breakpoint in the first set could have some sort of a difference if I would just return that serve a bit more deep.”

John Peers and Michael Venus defeated Raven Klaasen and Oliver Marach 6-3 6-2 to win the doubles trophy. It is their first ATP Tour title together, and they claimed all their victories during the week in straight sets, including an upset quarter-final win over defending Dubai champions and 2020 Australian Open winners Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. Like the champions, Klaasen and Marach were playing in their first final together, and they had also reached the final without conceding a set.

“We congratulate Novak Djokovic on achieving an incredible 79th career title and his fifth victory in Dubai, and Stefanos Tsitsipas on once again reaching the final,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “We have very much enjoyed watching both of them and all the other 30 players who have competed so well during the 28th year of the tournament. We congratulate too our 2020 doubles champions John Peers and Michael Venus.

“Last week as well produced so many thrilling matches, and it was wonderful to see not only Simona Halep celebrate the 20th anniversary of the WTA event here by winning her second Dubai title, but also one of the most exciting new players to emerge on the WTA Tour, Elena Rybakina. It was also a great pleasure to see Su-Wei Hsieh and Barbora Strycova retain their doubles title. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Dubai next year.”

Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “We have enjoyed two of the most competitive weeks in the history of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, with both champions having to save match point during the week before claiming their title. The ladies champion, Simona Halep, had to save a match point in her opening match against Ons Jabeur, and Novak Djokovic had to save three match points against Gael Monfils in the semi-finals. Now we look forward to an equally exciting tournament in 2021.”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.]]>
3/1/2020 12:35:06 AM
<![CDATA[Suarez praises Barcelona new signing, Braithwaite]]>
Barcelona signed the Danish player to replace the injured Suarez, who is expected to miss the rest of the season for injury.

"Martin is going to surprise people. He is at a great level.He was the best player Leganes had and, with the players he has around him at Barcelona, he can reach his potential." Suarez said on Saturday.

The Danish striker is expected to take part in the biggest game of the season, El Clasico, scheduled on Sunday night in Madrid.

Braithwaite proved his worth and his ability to help the Catalans as he provided two assists in Barcelona's 5_0 win over Eibar at the league.

Suarez added "Bringing in players is good because it makes it more competitive and you're fighting more for your place. Competition is healthy and for the good of the team."

Barcelona are leading the league table with two points ahead of Real Madrid and the Catalans aim to achieve the victory in Madrid to take more steps towards achieving their third league title in a row.
2/29/2020 2:45:11 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek set one foot to the CAF Champions League semi-finals ]]>
The first half began with the away team Esperance missing a few chances, while the home team Zamalek made sure that they kept a clean sheet in the opening minutes of the match.

It was not until the 27th minute when the Algerian midfielder Raouf Benguit opened the scoresheet by scoring Esperance’s only goal in the match. However, Zamalek’s winger Mohamed Ounnajem quickly equalized for the home team before the end of the first half.

The second half witnessed an exchange in chances for both teams, however, the Morrocan attacking midfielder Achraf Bencharki scored Zamalek’s second goal on the 71st minute to give Zamalek the lead.

Just two minutes after Zamalek’s second goal Esperance’s midfielder Mohamed Ben Romdhane was sent off letting his team play with ten players only.

Zamalek’s defender Mahmoud Alaa made use of that advantage by scoring a penalty in the dying minutes of the game to achieve a 3-1 victory for the White Knights [Zamalek].

Esperance will host Zamalek next Friday at Stade Olympique de Rades for the second leg of the quarter finals of the CAF Champions League.
2/29/2020 1:26:01 PM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly seek revenge against Sundowns in the CAF Champions League]]>
The Egyptian Giants [Al Ahly] seek revenge from South African champions Sundowns following their 5-1 loss on aggregate last year in the CAF Champions league quarter finals.

Speaking of the loss, Al Ahly’s manager Rene Weiler said, “I do not want to talk about the past. We are fully prepared for the game and we are expecting a tough tie against one of the best teams in the continent.”

Al Ahly will enter the match without Ramadan Sobhi, one of Al Ahly’s key players, due to not being fully recovered from a muscular injury which he suffered from earlier last month.

Also, the following Al Ahly players: Hossam Ashour, Mahmoud Kahraba, and Mahmoud Wahid were excluded by Weiler from Al Ahly’s squad due to technical reasons.

It is important to mention that the second leg of the quarter finals will be held next Saturday at Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Al Ahly have won a record 8 CAF Champions League titles but they failed to clinch the title since 2013 when they defeated South Africa's Orlando Pirates at the final.

2/29/2020 1:24:05 PM
<![CDATA[Elneny advises Salah to stay at Liverpool ]]>
Since his move to Liverpool in 2017 summer, Salah became a target for the biggest European clubs including Real Madrid and Barcelona.

“He is very settled at his current club, and this Liverpool team is up there with the best. I don't know what he thinks inside, but I would definitely stay at Liverpool." Elneny told press on Friday.

Elneny and Salah enjoy a life time friendship as the two players started their football career together at Arab Contractors in Egypt since they were 15.

Elneny added “Of course, Real Madrid is bigger than Liverpool, Barcelona is bigger than Liverpool. You see Eden Hazard is struggling at Real after he moved from Chelsea.”

Salah has been a key player and established himself as Liverpool fans’ hero, having led the club to win UEFA Champions League title last season and they are so close to win their first Premier League title since 1990. ]]>
2/28/2020 3:19:09 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek aim to keep home record intact ]]>
Esperance hope to be the first Tunisian side to defeat Zamalek in Egypt as the White Knights faced Tunisian clubs 14 times at home and they managed to get the win on 10 occasions and the other four games ended with a draw.

This game will be a repeat of CAF Super Cup clash which ended with a 3-1 victory for the Egyptian side who clinched their fourth Super Cup title.

Zamalek will miss their attacking midfielder, Youssef Obama, who suffered from a slight knee injury but he will be ready for the second leg in Tunisia.

The white knights’ expected starting line-up for the game consists of:

Mohamed Abo Gabal

Hazem Imam, Mohamed Abdelshafy, Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud Hamdy

Fejani Sassi, Tarek Hamid, Ahmed Sayed Zizou

Mohamed Ounajem, Achraf Bencharki and Mostafa Mohamed

Zamalek players aim to continue their continental success in recent years as the club won CAF Confederation Cup title last season, which is their first continental title since 2003. ]]>
2/28/2020 2:07:14 PM
<![CDATA[Ramadan ruled out of Sundowns clash ]]>
“Sobhy is not available for the game. He is suffering from a muscular injury and I do not know his return date.” Weiler told press on Thursday.

Al-Ahly, who finished the group stage as runners-up, will face South African giants, Mamelodi Sundowns, in a repeat of their clash at the same round last season, which witnessed a humiliating elimination for the Red Devils.

The Red Devils suffered a 5-0 loss at the first leg in South Africa and they could not bounce back at the second leg in Egypt which ended with a 1-0 win for Al-Ahly.

Weiler commented on last season’s 5-0 loss, saying “I do not want to talk about the past. We are full prepared for the game and we are expecting a tough tie against one of the best teams in the continent.”
2/28/2020 1:24:50 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek announces squad for Esperence clash ]]>
Zamalek will miss their attacking midfielder, Youssef Obama, who suffered from a slight knee injury but he will be ready for the second leg in Tunisia.

Zamalek squad for the game consists of:

Mohamed Abo Gabal, Mahmoud Gennesh

Mahmoud Alaa, Mahmoud Hamdi, Abdullah Gomaa, Hazem Imam, Mohamed Abdelshafi, Mohamed Abdelsalam

Tariq Hamed, Ferjani Sassi, Mohamed Hassan, Ahmed Sayed "Zizou", Mohamed Antar, Mahmoud Abdel Razek "Shikabala", Mohamed Ounajem, Achraf Bencharki

Mostafa Mohamed and Kabongo Kasongo

This game will be a repeat of CAF Super Cup clash which ended with a 3-1 victory for the Egyptian side who clinched their fourth Super Cup title.

Zamalek players aim to continue their continental success in recent years as the club won CAF Confederation Cup title last season, which is their first continental title since 2003. ]]>
2/27/2020 3:37:30 PM
<![CDATA[Ismaily assistant coach expects a tough clash in Morocco ]]>
“Raja are a strong team and they will receive a massive support from their fans at the second leg. It will be a tough game.” El Selehdar told press on Thursday.

Ismaily achieved a 1-0 victory in Ismailia thanks to a goal from Ismaily Tunisian winger, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.

El Selehdar added “ We aim to advance to the final from Morocco and continue our way towards achieving the title.”

Ismaily, known as the Brazilians, were knocked out of the competition last year against Raja in Morocco after the two legs ended with a 0-0 draw and the hosts won the tie on penalty shootouts.

The winner of the tie will face the winner between Al Ittihad Jeddah and Al Shabab at the final. ]]>
2/27/2020 2:25:37 PM
<![CDATA[We are ready for the cup final, Trezeguet ]]>
“We are ready for the cup final. Of course we feel confident because we reached the final after each player worked very hard.” The Egyptian winger told Aston Villa official website.

The Egyptian took his team to Wembley as he scored a late winner against Leicester City at the semi-final to set up a final with defending champions, Manchester City.

Trezeguet added “Due to this work, we are in the final. I was happy for my goal [against Leicester] but it also came thanks to my teammates who help me a lot.”

The Egyptian international joined Aston Villa last summer and he established himself as one of the key players at Dean Smith’s squad.

The Egyptian winger praised his team’s fans, saying “Fans always support us and we always fight for them to make them happy. We will do everything and we will wait for them on Sunday.”]]>
2/27/2020 2:01:27 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek SC faces sanctions for not attending Cairo derby: EFA]]>
Under the sanctions, Zamalek shall be obliged to pay an LE 200,000 fine and three points are set to be deducted from their total final points at the end of the Egyptian Premier League season.

Al Ahly were also considered winners of the match with a 2-0 result, the EFA said.

Lithuanian Gediminas Mazika, referee of the Al-Ahly and Zamalek match, ended the postponed match from the fourth week of the Egyptian League, announcing the withdraw of Zamalek after being absent.

The match, which was scheduled to be held at 07:30 PM on Monday evening, was postponed for an hour to be held at 08:30 PM due to weather conditions. Which was not enogh for Zamalek to reach the stadium.

However, Al Ahly team was on the pitch as well as the referee who waited for 20 minutes before ending the match.

Zamalek team was supposed to face Al Ahly with a mixture between the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 teams at the White Castle.

No element of the first team was present on the bus. Zamalek’s coaching staff consisted of Ahmed Abdel Maksoud, the coach of the 2001 team, with Amr Fahmy, the coach of the 1999 team.

In addition to Ahmed Abdel-Raouf, the general coach of the 2001 team, Ayman Al-Taweel, the 2001 goalkeeper coach, in addition to Mahmoud Maghawry, the 2001 team manager in Zamalek.

Additional reporting by MENA]]>
2/26/2020 8:31:10 PM
<![CDATA[Griezmann rescues Barcelona first-leg draw at Napoli]]>
Frenchman Griezmann struck just before the hour mark in Naples after Dries Mertens had put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute with his 121st Napoli goal, drawing level with Marek Hamsik as the club's all-time top scorer.

Barcelona ended the game with 10 men after Arturo Vidal was sent off with two minutes to go after picking up two yellow cards, following an angry clash with Napoli defender Mario Rui.

"In the end it's a draw that is a good result considering that we have another home game," said Barcelona coach Quique Setien, with his side in a strong position ahead of the second leg at the Camp Nou on March 18.

The clash was the first between the two teams and also a Champions League debut for both Setien and Napoli counterpart Gennaro Gattuso, who took over after the group stage.

"They didn't hurt us, they tickled us," said Gattuso. "It went wrong in one moment and they punished us."

Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne added: "We could have won, so we're a bit disappointed. It was emotional to face players like (Lionel) Messi."

Messi failed to score on his first appearance at the Stadio San Paolo, where Napoli legend Diego Maradona reigned supreme three decades ago.

The 32-year-old Messi scored four goals at the weekend in Barcelona's 5-0 win over Eibar that put the Spaniards back top of La Liga, but could not add to his 114 Champions League goals.

"If Barca didn't do today what they did three days ago (against Eibar) it's to Napoli's credit," said Gattuso.

"I hope that no one thinks it's over. We know it will be very hard but nothing is finished yet.

"But when on your back you have Messi or Griezmann, you want to play with a little security. This is where we can try to do better on the way back."

- Napoli pressure -

Messi fired over on nine minutes after combining well with Frenkie de Jong but Gattuso's side piled the pressure on the Catalans.

Their pressing paid off on the half-hour mark, with Piotr Zielinski breaking free down the right before finding Mertens, who curled a magnificent finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

He equalled Hamsik's record and is now six goals clear of Maradona, but was forced off early in the second half after a Sergio Busquets tackle for which the Spaniard will be suspended for the second leg.

Barcelona did not waste much time in getting on level terms, as Messi and Busquets combined to send Semedo into the box in the 57th minute.

The Portuguese full-back crossed low for Griezmann to power home right-footed.

"At first we found it hard to find space, or create space or get shots on goal," said Griezmann.

"But the more we saw that they were tiring, the more we were able to push forward and make chances."

Ter Stegen denied Insigne with Jose Callejon also missing a chance for a second, as did Messi with eight minutes to go.

Vidal was sent off after a sliding tackle on Rui before appearing to headbutt the Napoli defender.

The Chilean will also miss the return leg in Spain, with defender Gerard Pique a doubt after going off late on with an ankle injury.

"We will not be able to count on Sergio Busquets or Vidal for the return, but we will find solutions to compensate," said Setien.]]>
2/26/2020 8:56:09 AM
<![CDATA[Gnabry stars as Bayern rock Chelsea]]>
Gnabry had tormented Tottenham Hotspur with four goals in Bayern's 7-2 victory in north London earlier this season and the former Arsenal winger returned to the English capital to push Chelsea to the brink of elimination.

The 24-year-old's time with Arsenal was a disappointment and he even flopped during a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion.

But he has been reborn with Bayern and his two goals in the space of three minutes left Hansi Flick's side within touching distance of the last eight.

Robert Lewandowski got Bayern's third before Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso was sent off in the 83rd minute.

Chelsea will need another Munich miracle in the second leg on March 18 to overturn the deficit at the Allianz Arena, where they famously beat the German club in the 2012 Champions League final.

"I have a lot of friends here. A lot of them were in the stands and I think they were giving me good power," Gnabry told BT Sport of his London goal streak.

"Three goals should give us a lot of confidence. But we need to be prepared for the second leg and we can't take it serious enough.

"We saw last season with Liverpool beating Barcelona, we know we have to be careful and focus."

This hasn't been a vintage year for Bayern, but they have been energised since the exit of disliked boss Niko Kovac and outclassed Chelsea in all phases.

None of the previous six teams to have won all of their Champions League group games have lifted the trophy that season, but five-time winners Bayern will fancy their chances of breaking that duck if they can maintain this form.

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admitted his young team were "underdogs" against a club of Bayern's vast European experience and his pre-match prediction proved spot on in a chastening defeat.

"The performance was poor and sometimes you have to be brutally honest. They outclassed us in every department and it's quite sobering," Lampard said.

"I'm disappointed we couldn't do more against them. We have to take it on the chin and work towards getting back to the levels we want to be at."

Bayern set the tone when Thomas Mueller forced a save from Willy Caballero inside the first minute after stealing possession from Jorginho.

Flick had warned Chelsea that Lewandowski was in the "form of his life" and the Bayern striker escaped Andreas Christensen for a stinging shot that Caballero blocked with his face.

- Irresistible Bayern -

Bayern's pressure was mounting and Mueller drifted onto Gnabry's cross to flick a back header against the bar.

Lampard had kept faith with Olivier Giroud after the 33-year-old marked his first start since November with a goal in Saturday's win against Tottenham.

But retaining Giroud at the expense of Tammy Abraham was a big gamble and the Chelsea striker's muscular but immobile presence offered little to unsettle Bayern.

Bayern deservedly took the lead in the 51st minute with a superbly crafted goal.

Gnabry's deft control and pass sent Lewandowski into the Chelsea area and when he cut the ball back, his team-mate made a perfectly-timed run to fire low past Caballero.

Moving the ball with pace and precision, Bayern were irresistible and they increased their lead three minutes later thanks to another impressive combination from the Gnabry and Lewandowski double act.

Lewandowski nodded onto Gnabry, took the return pass from the winger and played a sublime through ball to Gnabry, who had accelerated away from the Chelsea defence to guide a cool finish into the far corner.

Bayern weren't finished yet and Lewandowski became the first Bayern player to score in six consecutive Champions League matches when he tapped in from Alphonso Davies's 76th-minute cross for his 39th goal of the season.

Alonso's frustration at Chelsea's plight boiled over when he was sent off for whacking Lewandowski with his arm.]]>
2/26/2020 8:54:33 AM
<![CDATA[Van Dijk praises Salah]]>
The Egyptian star participated in the full minutes of the 27th round of the English Premier League, which the Reds won 3-2 against West Ham United and scored Liverpool's second goal.

"I think Salah has shown during his seasons here that he is a great player and the numbers speak for themselves," Van Dijk said in comments highlighted by the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

"We are very happy with him and this is the most important thing for him as well."

"He is a very important member of the Liverpool team, not only in terms of goals, but he also contributes defensively."

"We are very happy to have Salah and to continue in this manner," the Dutch giant concluded.

Salah raised his balance of goals to 15 goals in 27 rounds in the Premier League, in addition to 4 goals in the Champions League.

Liverpool have clinically clinched the Premier League title this season, topping the competition table by 22 points from their nearest stalkers Manchester City 11 rounds before the end.]]>
2/26/2020 8:52:04 AM
<![CDATA[How we fear playing against Al Ahly? : Amir Mortada Mansour]]>
Zamalek was absent from Al-Ahly's match in Cairo Stadium in the postponed match of the fourth round of the Egyptian League.

However, Al Ahly team was on the pitch as well as the referee who waited for 20 minutes before ending the match & announcing Al Ahly as a winner.

Amir Mortada Mansour said on his club's channel, "The team's bus was late to reach Cairo Stadium because of the traffic jam caused by the rain."

"And the proof of that is that Al Ahly bus also delayed reaching the stadium and arriving at 07:30 PM, which is the date of the match."

He continued, "How do we fear playing Al Ahly and our team just achieved two championships within one week, and the last victory for us a few days ago was over Al Ahly in the Egyptian Super."

"Yesterday, due to the rains, the Football Association decided to postpone 3 matches in the second division, so how is our match not postponed?"

He concluded his remarks, "We will file a grievance against all these penalties, whether related to the super game or the league to protect the rights of Zamalek."]]>
2/26/2020 8:48:52 AM
<![CDATA[Man City take fight to UEFA on and off the field]]>
City head to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, knowing failure to beat 13-time winners Real Madrid over two legs could be their final European adventure for two years.

UEFA slapped a stunning two-season ban on City earlier this month for overstating sponsorship income between 2012 and 2016 to breach Financial Fair Play rules and failing to cooperate once an investigation was re-opened following the leak of internal emails to German magazine Der Spiegel.

City remain belligerent and insist they will beat UEFA off the field. An appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport will decide their fate for the next two years.

In the meantime, Pep Guardiola's men have to finally get it right on the field to satisfy City's long-wait to conquer Europe.

Now in their ninth season of Champions League football since Sheikh Mansour's takeover transformed the club's fortunes, City are still waiting for a landmark knockout win in the competition.

Even before the latest body blow of a European ban, the City support have not been enamoured by their new status as Champions League regulars.

The club have had to turn to social media influencers to try and sell tickets for group matches and the competition's anthem is routinely jeered.

"UEFA Cartel" and "UEFA Mafia" were among the banners that greeted their first home outing since the ban was handed down against West Ham last week.

A run to the semi-finals before being beaten by Madrid in 2015/16 is their best ever showing in the competition.

Despite re-writing the history books domestically, Guardiola's star-studded squad have fallen at the quarter-finals to English opposition in each of the past two seasons.

The contrast with Madrid could not be starker. For generations, Real have risen to the occasion on the Champions League stage, while City have crumbled under the pressure.

A former Barcelona coach and player, Guardiola hailed his old foes the "kings of Europe."

And in an interview with Spanish newspaper AS last week, City's Raheem Sterling insisted: "There is no better challenge than Real Madrid."

Guardiola's legacy on the line

However, a meeting with Madrid also offers City an opportunity to change the narrative.

The sort of ferocious atmosphere Guardiola has long pleaded for at the Etihad for Champions League games seems guaranteed when the Spanish giants travel to Manchester on March 17th.

With Liverpool streaking clear at the top of the Premier League, City's season and arguably Guardiola's legacy at the club comes down to what happens in this tie.

"If we don't win it everybody is going to say we are failures like the last five years," said midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. "It's something we've not won yet."

The only two Champions League winners in City's squad are back-up goalkeepers Claudio Bravo and Scott Carson.

Motivation could not be greater for a host of world class players like De Bruyne, David Silva and Sergio Aguero to cap their careers with Champions League success.

Moreover, doing so this season would have the added benefit of sticking it to UEFA by capturing their flagship competition.

"I can't believe they're in the competition now. What would happen if City win this season?" Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports.

"UEFA will be desperate for Man City to be beaten by Madrid."

All the more reason for City to not give European football's governing body the satisfaction.]]>
2/25/2020 11:38:07 AM
<![CDATA[Beyonce kicks off LA memorial for Kobe Bryant and daughter]]>
"I'm here because I love Kobe," said the 70-time Grammy-nominated artist as she launched into one of Bryant's favorite songs "XO," dressed in a golden suit -- the color of the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant's team for two decades.

The public memorial -- dubbed "A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" -- was being held at Staples Center, the arena where Bryant wowed fans for 17 years.

The 2/24 date for the memorial carries special significance as it coincides with Bryant's jersey number -- "24" -- and Gianna's "2" jersey number.

Fellow NBA legends Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell were among those attending the memorial along with Bryant family members and fans.

"It's hard in a two-minute, five-minute time to say everything he meant to the world, to the NBA and to basketball fans. He's bigger than life," Johnson said on Sunday.

"And it will take years to get over his passing and his daughter and the seven other people who lost their lives as well."

- 'He was my everything' -

Bryant's widow Vanessa, paid a tearful tribute to her late husband and daughter, saying she could not fathom life without them.

"He was my everything," she said, recalling meeting Bryant when she was 17 years old. "He was the most amazing husband."

She spoke of her heartbreak at not being able to watch Gianna grow up and missing important moments of her life.

"I won't be able to tell her how gorgeous she looks on her wedding day," she said through tears. "I'll never get to see my baby girl walk down the aisle, have a father-daughter dance with her daddy."

A visibly shaken Jimmy Kimmel also spoke at the ceremony saying he saw Kobe and Gianna's faces and jersey numbers everywhere in Los Angeles.

Among other celebrities attending the memorial were filmmaker Spike Lee -- who was close friends with Bryant and directed a documentary on his life -- and rapper Snoop Dogg, an avid Lakers fan.

Many of the fans lucky enough to nab one of the much sought-after 20,000 tickets for the memorial wore the gold and purple colors of the Lakers as they headed for the two-and-a-half hour ceremony being held amid tight security.

"Kobe meant everything for this city, for this team and for me," said Karen Sanchez, 41, as she waited with friends to enter the arena. "I watched him play from the beginning."

Marcos Rojas, 23, another ticketholder, said Bryant's January 26 death near Los Angeles had been devastating to fans like him who worshipped the player.

"For me, it was like losing a friend," said Rojas who wore a Lakers jersey with Kobe's number.

"I always watched him playing with my friends," he told AFP. "I always picked Kobe to play in my video games. I couldn't leave home the day of his passing."

Those attending the memorial were given a 24-page program with pictures of Bryant and his family as well as a pin and black T-shirt featuring images of Kobe and his daughter on the back.]]>
2/25/2020 11:31:13 AM
<![CDATA[Esperance Sportive & Sundowns perform their training at Cairo stadium]]>
Esperance will visit Zamalek next Friday, while Sun Downs will face Al-Ahly on Saturday at Cairo Stadium.

And it was decided that Esperance will run their training on Thursday at 5:30 pm.

Due to the holding of the Zamalek and Esperance meeting on Friday, Sun Downs will run on Thursday, but at 7 pm.

It is reported that both matches will be played in the presence of 30,000 spectators.

Al Ahly & Zamalek look to achieve a good victory in Cairo before travelling to and play the second leg.
2/25/2020 8:56:08 AM
<![CDATA[Salah leads Liverpool to a comeback against West Ham]]>
Liverpool beat West Ham United 3-2 in the 27th round of the English Premier League, in the match played at Anfield Stadium, home of the Red Team.

Liverpool raised their score to point 79 in the top of the Premier League standings, 22 points behind second-placed Manchester City.

West Ham United's credit freezes at point 24 in 18th place.

Liverpool's three goals scored by Winaldum, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, while West Ham duo was scored by Issa Diop and Pablo Fornals.

Liverpool started the match strongly and scored the first goal in the 9th minute with a header from Dutchman Winaldumafter a superb cross by Alex Arnold.

West Ham hit back quickly and scored in the 12th minute with a header from defender Issa Diop, after a corner kick.

With the start of the second half, West Ham surprised the hosts with a second goal in the 54th minute with a shot from Fornals from inside the penalty area.

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp intervened and made an offensive change by giving the chance to Ox Chamberlain instead of Napi Keita in the 57th minute.

With constant pressure on West Ham's defense, the Egyptian star Mohamed Salah scored the second goal with a shot from inside the penalty area after a cross by Andrew Robertson, goalkeeper Lucas Fabianski failed to hold it.

Liverpool continued to press untill Sadio Mane scored the winning goal in the 81st minute, after a great start from the right-back Arnold, who sent a cross, met the Senegalese star by putting the ball in the net.

Liverpool's win is No. 26 in the Premier League this season, and only one draw.]]>
2/25/2020 8:44:45 AM
<![CDATA[Absent Zamalek loses to Al Ahly in unplayed Cairo Derby]]>
The Egyptian Football Association stated that it is in the process of executing the official decisions after events happened in the unplayed match.

The Egyptian Association stated: "We regret this scene. We will apply the regulations. We communicated the security and it became clear to us that there were no obstacles preventing the teams' buses from reaching the match field. "

Lithuanian Gediminas Mazika, referee of the Al-Ahly and Zamalek match, ended the postponed match from the fourth week of the Egyptian League, announcing the withdraw of Zamalek after being absent.

The match, which was scheduled to be held at 07:30 PM on Monday evening, was postponed for an hour to be held at 08:30 PM due to weather conditions. Which was not enogh for Zamalek to reach the stadium.

However, Al Ahly team was on the pitch as well as the referee who waited for 20 minutes before ending the match.

Zamalek team was supposed to face Al Ahly with a mixture between the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 teams at the White Castle.

No element of the first team was present on the bus. Zamalek’s coaching staff consisted of Ahmed Abdel Maksoud, the coach of the 2001 team, with Amr Fahmy, the coach of the 1999 team.

In addition to Ahmed Abdel-Raouf, the general coach of the 2001 team, Ayman Al-Taweel, the 2001 goalkeeper coach, in addition to Mahmoud Maghawry, the 2001 team manager in Zamalek.]]>
2/24/2020 9:34:46 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Mohamed Safwat defeated in Dubai tennis Championship first round]]>
"Towards in the middle of the second set, I don't know, I just start to feel little bit pain in my quadriceps. It just was on the serve. The points were okay," Safwat said."But was tough because I think I dropped my percentage on the first serve. I had to play every point. He was pretty comfortable with that. Yeah, it was not nice to do that, but it was good, " He added.

Kolschreiber, who is ranked 80 in the world, said " He's a good guy, improved a lot. Unfortunately I think he injured himself a little bit. Still a little bit in the third set I felt he's still running very well. After I broke him, maybe the injury got too much in his head."

Safwat has managed to win the challenger in Launceston this month, where he defeated Alex Bolt in the final (7-6, 6-1). He became just the second Egyptian to win a Challenger title and first since 1996, when Tamer El Sawy went back-to-back in The Bronx, New York.]]>
2/24/2020 7:12:23 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek youth team to face Al Ahly in the Egyptian league]]>
Zamalek team that will face Al Ahly will be a mixture between the 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 teams at the White Castle.

No element of the first team is present on the bus, which actually moved minutes ago to Cairo Stadium.

Zamalek’s coaching staff will be composed of Ahmed Abdel Maksoud, the coach of the 2001 team, with Amr Fahmy, the coach of the 1999 team.

In addition to Ahmed Abdel-Raouf, the general coach of the 2001 team, Ayman Al-Taweel, the 2001 goalkeeper coach, in addition to Mahmoud Maghawry, the 2001 team manager in Zamalek.
The board of directors of Zamalek club, headed by Mortada Mansour, decided not to complete the Egyptian League matches, if the five-year committee continues.

Zamalek club’s board of directors held a meeting on Sunday, at the club’s headquarters, before the decided decided “unanimously” not to complete the league matches.

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Sunday night strict sanctions against Al Ahly and Zamalek Following the post-match altercation that marred Thursday's derby between the two teams in the UAE.

Clashes erupted at Mohamed bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi following Egyptian Super Cup game which ended with a 4-3 win on penalties for Zamalek.

EFA fined Al Ahly and Zamalek 100k pounds and decided to suspend Al Ahly's Mahmoud Kahraba and Zamalek's Imam Ashour for the rest of the season and fined both players 100k pounds.

EFA also suspended Zamalek captain Mahmoud Shikabala 8 games and fined him 100k pounds.

Zamalek's Abdullah Gomaa suspended three games and fined 50k pounds while Al Ahly's Junior Ajayi and Yasser Ibrahim suspended two games and fined 50k pounds.

EFA also banned Zamalek chairman, Mortada Mansour, from all football-related activity for three games and fined him 200k pounds.

2/24/2020 7:00:55 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek decides not to complete the Egyptian league: Mortada Mansour]]>
Zamalek club’s board of directors held a meeting on Sunday, at the club’s headquarters, before the decided decided “unanimously” not to complete the league matches.

Egyptian Football Association (EFA) announced on Sunday night strict sanctions against Al Ahly and Zamalek Following the post-match altercation that marred Thursday's derby between the two teams in the UAE.

Clashes erupted at Mohamed bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi following Egyptian Super Cup game which ended with a 4-3 win on penalties for Zamalek.

EFA fined Al Ahly and Zamalek 100k pounds and decided to suspend Al Ahly's Mahmoud Kahraba and Zamalek's Imam Ashour for the rest of the season and fined both players 100k pounds.

EFA also suspended Zamalek captain Mahmoud Shikabala 8 games and fined him 100k pounds.

Zamalek's Abdullah Gomaa suspended three games and fined 50k pounds while Al Ahly's Junior Ajayi and Yasser Ibrahim suspended two games and fined 50k pounds.

EFA also banned Zamalek chairman, Mortada Mansour, from all football-related activity for three games and fined him 200k pounds.

The two teams will meet again on Monday at Cairo stadium at the domestic league.]]>
2/24/2020 9:26:55 AM
<![CDATA[Defiant Messi gives troubled Barca hope of Champions League glory]]>
Barca play Napoli in the first leg of the last 16 on Tuesday and will be expected to go through, even if their opponents are on a strong run, having won six out of their last seven matches, including victories over Juventus and Inter Milan.

Yet despite a whirlwind couple of months of political wrangling, remarkably Barcelona approach this tie sitting top of La Liga and with a spring in their step, in large part due to Messi.

His quadruple in the 5-0 rout at Camp Nou on Saturday was cathartic and not only because Real Madrid, whom Barca face in the Clasico on Sunday, failed to regain first place after losing to Levante a few hours later.

"It was a win we needed," said coach Quique Setien.

Messi has scored seven quadruples in his career but none executed amid such an intense time of pressure, with the spotlight on the Argentine.

While other players might have sulked or crumbled, Messi delivered with another breathtaking performance that underlined his ability to drag this troubled team through even the most turbulent of periods.

"He's been in this form for 14 or 15 years and he keeps performing like this," said Setien.

"He's a guarantee for any club and for any coach and that's what makes him the best player in the world. He can do things that others can only dream about."

Messi could have had many reasons to feel upset but he hasn't let them affect his performances.

Barcelona's board sacked Ernesto Valverde last month, despite Messi's public backing three days before, and failed to sign a striker in the transfer window with Luis Suarez and Ousamane Dembele both out injured.

- No margin for error -

The club's technical secretary Eric Abidal then said the squad were the main reason for Valverde's departure while the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has been accused of hiring a PR company that criticised key players, including Messi, in a bid to improve his image online.

Barcelona have denied the allegations but when asked in an interview with Mundo Deportivo last week if he was convinced, Messi said he would wait to see if they were true.

He also admitted, "the way we are at the moment, I don't think it's enough to win the Champions League" and identified Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool as greater threats.

Setien was more optimistic on Friday. "There are things that I agree with and others evidently... I have seen every year how Champions Leagues are won and I think we could have the same chance as other teams," he said.

"It is true that there is no margin for error and there are things we have to try to improve and do better. We are not happy with everything but I think we are growing little by little and we are reaching levels that will allow us to challenge."

Yet if Messi were to win the Champions League this season, it would surely represent one of his most impressive achievements.

With the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Arthur Melo in midfield and the excellent Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal, they do not lack for talent but weaknesses in defence remain, not to mention a fragility against the counter-attack.

And by appointing Setien, a coach devoted to a very particular style, Barcelona are having to change mid-season, with Setien admitting this month that it would take time for the players to understand his methods.

"It's not easy," said Messi. "We come from playing under Valverde to playing differently now and being asked to do something else. The truth is we are learning and we still have a lot to learn."

But with in-form Napoli fast-approaching and then Madrid to come at the Santiago Bernabeu, time is not on Barcelona's side. For now, they will look to Messi.]]>
2/24/2020 9:19:01 AM
<![CDATA[Three decisions for Lampard as Chelsea face Bayern clash]]>
AFP Sport looks at three major calls Lampard must get right if Chelsea are to take a step towards the quarter-finals:

Keep faith with Giroud?

Having spent much of the season in exile, Olivier Giroud was back with a bang as he scored the opening goal against Tottenham on Saturday in his first Premier League start since November.

The France striker had been reduced to fringe status by Lampard's decision to give talented youngster Tammy Abraham his opportunity, but an injury to the England international and the ineffective form of Michy Batshuayi gave Giroud a second chance.

He made the most of it with a lethal first half finish in the vital 2-1 win over Tottenham, producing a combative performance that might have given Lampard food for thought.

Giroud's second club goal of the season and his first in the Premier League since April underlined the threat posed by the 33-year-old's physical style and clever movement.

Now Lampard must decide if Giroud, whose lack of match action meant he could only last 70 minutes against Tottenham, is capable of repeating that display against Bayern.

Chelsea, who have struggled to find a cutting edge for much of the season in home games, certainly looked more dynamic with Giroud leading the line en route to their first win in five league matches.

And in the back of his mind, Lampard will know Abraham, who came off the bench to replace Giroud, might be running out of steam with only one goal in 2020 and has just two in his last 10 games.

Retain defensive system?

Jose Mourinho's cheeky pre-match claim that Lampard would return to the five-man defence he had employed against Tottenham earlier this season proved correct on Saturday.

Now the Chelsea boss must be tempted to deploy the same system against Bayern.

Despite his knowledge that Lampard would use Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger as his centre-backs, with Reece James and Marcos Alonso bombing forward as wing-backs, Mourinho had no answer to the effective formation.

The tactics gave Chelsea a more solid look at the back and freed James and Alonso to join the attack, allowing them to overload their opponents in wide areas, a scheme perfectly illustrated when the ball was worked from right to left for Alonso to fire home from 20 yards.

It was the Spanish left-back's first start since December after he spending much of the season behind Emerson and even Azpilicueta, usually a right-back or centre-back, in Lampard's pecking order.

Lampard has twice out-witted Mourinho with the formation this season and, given Chelsea have often looked creaky at the back this season, it would be no surprise if he relied on that security blanket again to subdue the German champions.

Let Barkley run wild?

Like Giroud and Alonso, Ross Barkley had endured a frustrating campaign that suddenly offers hope of a rewarding finale after his influential display against Tottenham.

Liverpool-born Barkley has never looked comfortable among Chelsea's cosmopolitan squad since arriving from Everton in January 2018 and a series of diffident performances had raised questions about the midfielder's long-term future with the club.

The promise shown by Barkley as a youngster at Everton seemed a lifetime ago as he laboured to make an impact in west London, but Lampard might have found a way to unlock his potential at last.

Using the 26-year-old on the left side of Chelsea's attack on Saturday unchained Barkley from any defensive responsibility, giving him freedom to roam and take up positions that could hurt Tottenham.

He did just that with the assist for Alonso's goal by moving into a central position that took him away from any potential markers.

With Brazilian winger Willian rested after being used as substitute against Tottenham, Lampard will have to decide whether Barkley, who has raised eyebrows with some off-field antics since joining Chelsea, can be trusted to repeat that kind of mature show against Bayern.]]>
2/24/2020 9:16:50 AM
<![CDATA[Ramos: A magical week is coming up]]>
The Spanish defender [Ramos] spoke to the press following the loss in the La Liga [Spanish League] about the next two matches against Manchester City and Barcelona.

“A magical week is coming, it's a big thing to play the Champions League and the LaLiga leader. It's a week to show what we are about and take a giant step forward by beating City first and then the Clásico,” Ramos said according to Real Madrid’s official website.

Real Madrid is set to play against Manchester City in the first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, followed by a match in the Spanish League with La Liga’s first position Barcelona on March 1.

Also, the Spanish International [Ramos] commented on Hazard’s injury in the last minutes against Levante saying that such injury is “bad news” to Real Madrid’s squad.

“It seems that when he's well again and helping the team, he'll suffer another injury," Ramos said reporting from Real Madrid’s official website.

Several news websites including Goal reported that Hazard is expected to be out for the upcoming three to four months with Real Madrid’s official website announcing that Belgium’s International winger [Hazard] is diagnosed with a fracture to his right distal fibula.

2/24/2020 9:12:32 AM
<![CDATA[Former CAF Secretary General Amr Fahmy dies at 36 ]]>
Fahmy served as the CAF Secretary General from 2017 to 2019 before leaving and deciding to enter the upcoming presidential elections for the CAF in 2021.

Additionally, Fahmy holds a FIFA Master’s in Management, Law and Humanities of Sport, and has a great experience from working in the CAF.

Fahmy worked as the general coordinator for the 2013 Youth World Cup held in Turkey, general director for the National African Cup of Nations tournaments from 2011 to 2014.

Moreover, Fahmy served as the general manager for the following African Cup of Nations tournaments: 2013 and 2015.

Following these tournaments, Fahmy became the assistant of the general coordinator for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro before serving at French-based Lagardere Sports as director of the operations for Africa from August 2016.

Fahmy comes from a family who all served as the CAF Secretary General with his grandfather Mourad Fahmy serving from 1961 to 1982 followed by his father Mustapha Fahmy who was encharge from 1982 to 2010. ]]>
2/23/2020 5:21:59 PM
<![CDATA[We were waiting for a match like this, Setién]]>
"We were waiting for a match like this, in which things went well for us and we were doing things right. In other games we couldn't finish like today despite doing things right. It went well, with three goals before the break." The manager said after the game.

Lionel Messi scored three goals at the first 30 minutes of the first half to secure a 3_0 lead for Barcelona at the first half.

Messi added his fourth goal at the second half and the fifth goal was scored by Barcelona Brazilian midfielder Arthur minutes before the final whistle.

Setién praised Messi's performance during the game, saying "He's a guarantee for any club and for any coach and that's what makes him the best player in the world. He can do things like today that others dream about."

Barcelona are leading the league table with two points ahead of El Clasico as Real Madrid suffered a 1_0 loss against Levante on Saturday night.]]>
2/23/2020 8:44:33 AM
<![CDATA[A night to forget for Real Madrid]]>
Real Madrid could not find the target during the game in Valencia despite the many chances they created.

Levante won the game thanks to a late left footed strike from the club captain, Jose Luis Morales, who handed Real Madrid first league loss since October.

"We're annoyed because we did not get the win, but we have a game in three days so we need to focus on that." Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane, said after the game.

Real Madrid's star, Eden Hazard, was forced to leave the game injured minutes before Levante's goal and he is expected miss the team's upcoming clashes against Manchester City at UEFA Champions League and Barcelona at La Liga.

Zidane commented on Hazard's injury, saying" It doesn't look good because he's hurt where he was injured before. It's a blow, but let's see what happens. He's in pain now and we'll see tomorrow, we'll do some more tests."]]>
2/23/2020 8:42:43 AM
<![CDATA[Strict sanctions against Al Ahly and Zamalek following post-derby clashes]]>
Clashes erupted at Mohamed bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi following Egyptian Super Cup game which ended with a 4-3 win on penalties for Zamalek.

EFA fined Al Ahly and Zamalek 100k pounds and decided to suspend Al Ahly's Mahmoud Kahraba and Zamalek's Imam Ashour for the rest of the season and fined both players 100k pounds.

EFA also suspended Zamalek captain Mahmoud Shikabala 8 games and fined him 100k pounds.

Zamalek's Abdullah Gomaa suspended three games and fined 50k pounds while Al Ahly's Junior Ajayi and Yasser Ibrahim suspended two games and fined 50k pounds.

EFA also banned Zamalek chairman, Mortada Mansour, from all football-related activity for three games and fined him 200k pounds.

The two teams will meet again on Monday at Cairo stadium at the domestic league.]]>
2/23/2020 8:40:07 AM
<![CDATA[Simona Halep beats Elena Rybakina to win Dubai tennis Championship]]>
Despite of losing the first set (3-6), Halep notched her 20th career title and the first of the season, as she made an impressive come back in the match, winning the 2nd set (6-3), and the 3rd set 7-6(5).

" My goal is to keep winning titles this season and focus on my game," Halep said. " I think playing against her was tough. She's young. She doesn't feel the fear. She doesn't think too much about the result. What it comes now is a bonus, in my opinion, for her. She's strong. She has a huge serve. She's tall. She has power. I think she's really good to get into the top 10 very soon." She added.

With her 20th title, Halep has drawn level with Victoria Azarenka in sixth place on the list of active title winners (behind Serena and Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova).

On the other side, the runner up, Rybakina, will move to world no.19. It is the fourth final for her this season.

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The tournament continues between 24th and 29th February with the ATP event which features Wimbledon and Australian Open champion and world number 1 Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2020 Rotterdam and Montpellier champion Gael Monfils and 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut.

2/22/2020 11:22:42 PM
<![CDATA[Messi super hat-trick sends Barcelona top]]>
Messi scored three goals at the first 30 minutes of the first half to secure a 3_0 lead for Barcelona at the first half.

Messi added his fourth goal at the second half and the fifth goal was scored by Barcelona Brazilian midfielder Arthur minutes before the final whistle.

Barcelona are on top of the league with two points ahead of Real Madrid who face Levante at home on Saturday night.

Barcelona manager, Quique Setién, gave the team new signing, Martin Braithwaite, the chance to introduce himself to the fans at the last 20 minutes of the game and he was behind his team's two goals at the second half.

Barcelona will face Napoli in Italy on Tuesday at the first leg of UEFA Champions League round of 16 and they will return to Spain to prepare for el clasico, scheduled on Sunday 1 March in Madrid.]]>
2/22/2020 8:35:32 PM
<![CDATA[I am very proud of the players, Mourinho]]>
Tottenham suffered their second loss in one week as they lost 1-0 at home to Leipzig on Wednesday at the first leg of UEFA Champions League round of 16.

"I am very proud of the players, they gave absolutely everything. We don't have a striker. Our attacking players are not strikers and are in huge levels of fatigue, so very, very difficult for us." Mourinho said after the game.

Chelsea opened the score at the first half by Olivier Giroud and doubled the score at the second half through an amazing shot from Marcos Alonso whileChelsea defender, Rudiger, scored an own goal two minutes before the final whistle.

Spurs are in a tough situation as the club main strikers, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane, are injured and the team fails to create many chances to score.

Mourinho added "In the last part of the game when Chelsea was scared of the 2-1 we didn't have that presence, that power, we didn't have that to do more than what we did."]]>
2/22/2020 6:13:39 PM
<![CDATA[Trezeguet on the bench against Southampton]]>
For the fourth consecutive game, Trezeguet starts on the bench and he is expected to take part in the game during the second half.

Aston Villa suffered a shocking 3-2 loss against Tottenham Hotspur last week at home after the Spurs' star, Son Heung-min, scored a late goal to secure the three points for his team.

"We are in a position we do not want to be in. We would obviously be happier with eight or nine more points. But we are where we are and you just have to deal with it." Aston Villa manager said ahead of the game against Southampton.

Aston Villa are one point away from the relegation zone and they need to get positive results at the remaining 12 games of the league to secure their position at the top tier of the English football.]]>
2/22/2020 5:01:07 PM
<![CDATA[Gut-Behrami doubles up as Suter claims downhill globe]]>
Suter assured herself the downhill title after her second to Gut-Behrami with one race in the discipline of the season remaining.

She has an unassailable 155 point lead over Czech Ester Ledecka, fifth on Saturday.

In the overall World Cup standings Federica Brignone is now only 27 points behind Mikaela Shiffrin, who has missed competition since the death of her father at the start of the month.

Gut-Behrami, 28, took the honours again in a time of 1min 27.73sec with Suter at 0.02s and Nina Ortlieb of Austria at 0.05s in third.

The action at Crans Montana concludes on Sunday with a combined.]]>
2/22/2020 3:15:35 PM
<![CDATA[Zidane supports Ramos’ dream to participate in Tokyo Olympics ]]>
“Of course he should go if he wants to, I will support him. It's very beautiful to play for your country and especially for a player like him who has done what he has done in his career." Zidane said on Friday.

Spain, led by Luis de la Fuente, qualified for the tournament after winning 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship title.

Ramos, who turns 34 before the Olympics, aim to be one of the three over-aged players who will join La Roja at the Olympic Games.

The Spanish national team captain is one of the most decorated players in the country’s history, having won two European Cup titles in 2008 and 2012 as well as winning the nation’s only World Cup title in 2010.]]>
2/21/2020 6:23:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt Olympic team face Argentina in March]]>
"We will play against Argentina and we want to fix another friendly game on 26 March. We have three offers from Japan, South Korea and Croatia but we did not decide yet." Egypt Olympic team manager, Shawki Gharib, said on Friday.

Egypt qualified for 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo after winning U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, held in Egypt between 8 and 22 November 2019.

Gharib added "We want to play seven friendly games between Match and July to be ready for the competition."

Egypt appeared at the Olympic games 11 times before and their best achievement was the fourth place in 1928 in Amsterdam and 1964 in Tokyo.

Egypt’s last participation at the tournament was in 2012 in London and the national team was eliminated from the competitions at the quarter finals after losing to Japan.]]>
2/21/2020 2:00:10 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek beat Al Ahly on penalties to clinch Egyptian Super Cup title ]]>
Zamalek defeated Al Ahly on penalties to secure the Egyptian Super Cup title only six days after defeating Esperance in Doha to win the African Super Cup title.

Al Ahly and Zamalek fans in Abu Dhabi packed Mohamed bin Zayed stadium hours ahead of the game to cheer for their players during the game.

The two teams did not produce their best football during the game and the two goalkeepers stopped the rare attempts of the strikers to take the game to penalty shootouts as the regular time ended with a goalless draw.

Ashraf Bencherki missed the third penalty for Zamalek but Al Ahly players, Mohamed Hany and Aliou Bedji, missed the fourth and fifth penalty kick for Al Ahly to grant Zamalek the title.

Zamalek achieved their fourth Egyptian Super Cup title and their second one after defeating their arch-rivals, Al Ahly.

The two teams will meet again on Monday at Cairo stadium at the domestic league before shifting their focus to the African competition as Zamalek will meet Esperance of Tunisia while Al Ahly will meet South African giants, Mamelodi Sundowns.]]>
2/21/2020 1:17:34 PM
<![CDATA[Pliskova and Muguruza Fall in Dubai Tennis Championships Quarter-finals]]>

“I knew I have to serve good today,” said Rybakina, who hit 11 aces against Pliskova. “I knew also that it's not going to be long rallies. I was preparing myself just to return. First three balls I had to play, like, really focused. I was trying to do it. It was hot. It was tough match because first time actually I played here in the heat. It was really difficult for me to come just from indoors. I thought that I will have problems with the serve because indoors it's different feeling. I'm surprised with my serve, that I'm really doing good, yeah.

Despite her defeat, Pliskova was not too disappointed with her week and how she had played.


“She played well. I didn't do that much wrong,” said Pliskova. “Overall I think I tried to be aggressive which with her is tough because you don't get that many chances to be aggressive, especially on the returns. It was about a couple points. It could go both ways I think. Not every week not making the final is a bad week. For me was not bad week here. A lot of positives. I thought my attitude was great.”

Brady had begun the season by beating world number 1 Ashleigh Barty in Brisbane and when she arrived in Dubai she did not drop a set in qualifying before upsetting former two-time champion Elina Svitolina in the first round.


“I think really the match started from 3-2 in the second set for me,” said Brady of her match against Muguruza. “Never really felt like I was in the match from the very beginning. I think maybe a bit of nerves from both of us. Yeah, happy that I was able to close it out at the end. I wasn't feeling my best. Yeah, maybe didn't play my best tennis, but just found a way to stay in there, compete, come out on top.”

Muguruza felt she wasn’t able to capitalize on her chances.

“I had so many opportunities. I can't count how many I had,” she said. “They didn't go my way. I felt like every time I had an opportunity she was playing well the point, serving big, making winners. I was expecting a tough match. I mean, she's playing great. I think she’s confident, her shots are getting in. I think she has a very good serve. Her ball is pretty hard.”


“Every day this week has produced some great surprises and excellent performances from players who may not have been familiar to Dubai tennis fans,” said Tournament Director Salah Tahlak. “We had expected that becoming accustomed to the courts during the qualifying competition might be an advantage to some, and Jennifer Brady believes that has helped her progress so far this week. It will be interesting to see if she can go even further.”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The tournament continues with the WTA event until 22nd February and is then followed between 24th and 29th February by the ATP tournament which features Wimbledon and Australian Open champion and world number 1 Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2020 Rotterdam and Montpellier champion Gael Monfils and 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut.
2/20/2020 6:38:02 PM
<![CDATA[Roger Federer Withdraws from Dubai Championship due to Knee injury]]>
Federer made a public statement on Twitter and revealed that he will be missing Dubai, Indian Wells tournament and the French Open. "My right knee has been bothering me for a little while, I hoped it would go away, but after an examination and discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery in Switzerland yesterday," He wrote.

"After the procedure, doctors confirmed that it was the right thing to have done and very confident of full recovery. As a result, I will, unfortunately, miss Dubai, Indian Wells, Bogota, Miami, and French Open. I am grateful for everyone's support. I cannot wait to be back playing again soon, see you on the grass," he added.

“We are very disappointed that Roger Federer, our defending champion, has been forced to withdraw from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this year,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free. “His victory here last year, the 100th title of his career, was a significant milestone, and he went on to enjoy another outstanding season. We wish him well in his recovery and look forward to not only watching his progress during the rest of the season but welcoming him back to Dubai in 2021.”

Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “We wish Roger Federer the very best, and despite this news, we still have a fantastic field including world number 1 and Wimbledon and Australian Open Champion Novak Djokovic and last year’s finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas as well as Gael Monfils to name a few. In the meantime, WTA week is going very well with great crowds at last night’s match to see top seed Simona Halep play Tunisian Wild Card Ons Jabeur.”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The tournament continues with the WTA event until 22nd February and is then followed between 24th and 29th February by the ATP tournament which features Wimbledon and Australian Open champion and world number 1 Novak Djokovic, ATP Finals winner Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2020 Rotterdam and Montpellier champion Gael Monfils and 2018 Dubai winner Roberto Bautista Agut.
2/20/2020 6:28:14 PM
<![CDATA[Salah fires stern warning to Atletico Madrid ]]>
“Anfield awaits,” Liverpool winger tweeted and shared two photos of him during the first leg in Madrid which ended with a 1-0 win for the hosts thanks to an early goal from Saul Naiguez.

Reigning champions, Liverpool, aim to capture the rhythm of the energetic atmosphere at Anfield to bounce back and get a positive result to advance to the quarter-finals.

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, shared the same message after the first leg, saying “Welcome to Anfield. It is not over yet."

Liverpool stadium, Anfield, is known for its importance to the Reds as the team fans create one of the most energetic atmospheres in European football which helped Liverpool on many occasions to get the result they needed.

Last season, Anfield witnessed one of the most amazing comebacks in the history when Liverpool defeated Barcelona 4-0 at the second leg of UEFA Champions League semi-final to overcome their 3-0 loss at the first leg in Barcelona and progress to the final.
2/20/2020 3:39:12 PM
<![CDATA[Hargreaves praises Dortmund's wonder kid, Sancho ]]>
Hargreaves spoke on BT Sport following Dortmund’s 2-1 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League, saying that the youngster has similar characteristics to that of the Brazilian winger Neymar.

“That performance from Sancho was like Neymar in his prime. Off the cuff. He was unplayable,” Hargreaves said, according to Goal.

Two times Champions League winner, Hargreaves, urged the big European clubs to come and sign Sancho in the summer transfer window.

“Get your cheque books out. Somebody go and sign that kid because he is special,” Hargreaves added, reporting from Goal.

According to Sky Sports and Express, Dortmund has set a price tag of around 100 million on the British winger especially with clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea looking to sign him in the summer.

The 19 year old, Sancho, scored 16 goals and made 17 assists in a total of 31 appearances with Dortmund this season.
2/20/2020 2:07:44 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Super Cup Preview: The Battle of Managers ]]>
Both teams enter the game in a great situation with Zamalek winning the African Super Cup and Al Ahly being first of the Egyptian League table with 13 points clear at the top of the League.

Al Ahly’s Swiss manager Rene Weiler will enter the game looking to add his second consecutive Egyptian Super Cup.

The Swiss manager achieved his first Egyptian Super Cup with a 3-2 victory against Zamalek SC at Borg Al Arab Stadium.

While Zamalek’s French manager Patrice Carteron, will look to add his second cup with Zamalek in the span of one week after his 3-1 victory in the African Super Super Cup against Esperance Sportive de Tunis.

Additionally, Carteron will face Al Ahly today looking for revenge especially after being sacked by the Red Devils [Al Ahly] a few years ago.

It’s important to mention that only four teams: Al Ahly [11], Zamalek [3], Haras El Hodoud [1], Arab Contractors [1] have managed to win the Egyptian Super Cup ever since it was established in 2001. ]]>
2/20/2020 12:07:02 PM
<![CDATA[Carteron eyes his second title in one week ]]>
The French manager spoke in the pre-match press conference about Zamalek’s preparations for the game following the team’s victory of the African Super Cup.

“I was able to prepare the team for Thursday’s game because it will be different than the one against Esperance [African Super Cup match] and we must be mentally prepared to win the cup,” Carteron said according to Kingfut.

Also, Carteron discussed his opinion on whether or not he will play the game to seek “revenge” in the Egyptian Super Cup from Al Ahly, especially after being sacked by Al Ahly Following Al Ahly's loss at the 2018 CAF Champions League Final and the team's knockout from the Arab Club Champions Cup in 2018.

“I won’t play the game in order to seek revenge. I want to achieve victory for my team and for Zamalek fans,” Carteron added reporting from Yallakora.

Following Zamalek’s victory in the African Super Cup, the White Knights will be looking to secure their second title in the span of a week.

Zamalek will play against Al Ahly on February 20 in the Egyptian Super Cup at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. ]]>
2/20/2020 11:58:09 AM
<![CDATA[Weiler comments on Afsha's fitness ahead of Egyptian Super Cup ]]>
The Swiss manager spoke about Al Ahly’s injuries, starting 11 and Zamalek SC as well as highlighting the importance of such a match in today’s press conference.

“The Egyptian Super Cup differs completely from the Egyptian League and the CAF Champions League games and we prepared well for it,” Weiler said according to Yallakora.

Weiler confirmed that Al Ahly’s winger Ramadan Sobhi will miss out the match; however, Al Ahly’s midfielder Magdy Afsha will be ready for the game.

Additionally, Al Ahly’s manager talked about Zamalek’s manager Patrice Carteron along with stressing on the importance of Zamalek’s team as a whole.

“With all due of respect to Carteron, I focus on Zamalek as a team and not players or the manager only. We prepared well for the game and we focus on the team as a whole,” Weiler added according to Yallakora.

Lastly, Weiler refused to reveal the starting 11 when asked about who will play but he insisted that the best 11 will start against Zamalek.

Al Ahly will play against Zamalek in the Egyptian Super Cup on February 20 at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. ]]>
2/20/2020 11:54:29 AM
<![CDATA[Tunisian Ons Jabeur moves to 2nd round of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships]]>Jabeur will meet top seed Simona Halep in the next round for the second time, as Jabeur leads the head to head by one victory.

"I asked my coach to come on court as I had too many negative thoughts I wanted to get rid of. He directed me with very good tactic points," Jabeur told Egypt Today.

Tunisians were seen everywhere at the Centre Court, cheering for the first Arab woman to enter the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam.

"The Tunisian crowd made it sound like a football match," Jabeur said happily. "It really made a difference. I am very grateful that they attended the match, and I hope they attend the upcoming matches as well," She added.

On how her life changed since the historic win at the Australian Open Championship, Jabeur said, "Things have changed, Tunisians know me better now; they support me and this is a great responsibility, as I have to win and make the Arab world proud. I hope I can be an inspiration for them. Not all the fans were Tunisians.There were also Egyptians. I am happy that all Arabs support me."

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, owned and organized by Dubai Duty Free,is held under the patronage of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum. The event begins with the WTA,which will run until February 22,followed by the ATP tournament, which features Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, StefanosTsitsipas and Roberto Bautista Agutbetween February 24-29.


2/18/2020 3:14:21 PM
<![CDATA[Clijsters loses to Muguruza at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships]]>
After struggling a little to make a solid impression in the first set, the 36 year-old really got into her stride in the second set and came close to forcing a third.

“Yeah, second set I felt I was really in the match. I felt like for a while I was dominating some of the points. I think that's a good feeling to have. Knowing the way I started the first set and then the way I was able to get back into that second set, with the type of tennis I played, it's something that is positive about this match. I'll take that with me for the next matches."

“I had a good feeling out there. I do feel a little bit of, I'm not going to say relief, but a feeling of the pace I can handle. Obviously she's probably not the hardest hitter out there. There are some girls that hit the ball a lot harder. I felt like I was able to go toe-to-toe with her from the baseline.”

Muguruza looked forward to the match and was impressed with what she saw.

“I mean, she's an incredible player,” said the 2020 Australian Open finalist. “I am excited to be the first one (to play her) on her third comeback, I think. I was just thinking that no matter who wins, it's going to be a fun match to play because it's a player that I think has been seven years away. I was like, ‘Okay, I'm excited to see what it's going to be like’."

“I think she played very well, especially in the second set at the end. It was very tight. She has the tennis over there. I'm sure she's going to get better and better, for sure give us a lot of trouble. I think she played really well after all these years.”

Ons Jabeur set up a second round meeting with top seed and former Dubai champion Simona Halep with a hard-fought 7-6 1-6 6-3 victory over Alison Riske. It’s a challenge she’s looking forward to.

“Hopefully it's going to be a great match,” said Jabeur. “She's a great inspiration for many players. I'm lucky enough to play her. Hopefully now I'm setting up new mentality for myself. Hopefully, I go for the win.”

The new mentality she speaks of can be a little elusive at times, and although it helped her reach two WTA Tour semi-finals last year and to become the first Arab woman to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, her weakness was partly to blame for her losing the second set against Riske so decisively.

“She was playing better,” said Jabeur after her a two-hour, 13-minute victory. “(But) maybe my concentration was off for some time. She was playing good, but I couldn't find the solution. Probably, I couldn't think. I tried to call my coach to maybe discuss a little bit with him instead of going inside here (her head) crazy. Just sometimes the mind is not in the right place. If I'm really good in my mind, I think I put a good, like, motivation in my head, then it's good, the results can be good.”

In another lengthy battle, former finalist Barbora Strycova needed two hours 34 minutes to edge past Amanda Anisimova 7-6, 2-6, 6-4, but Elise Mertens needed just 62 minutes to overwhelm Qiang Wang 6-3, 6-0. Marketa Vondrousova defeated Anastasija Sevastova 6-3, 6-2.

“It was wonderful to see how well Kim Clijsters performed in what was her very first match in Dubai,” said Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free Colm McLoughlin. “She was able to place under pressure an opponent who just last month came very close to winning her third Grand Slam title, and it will be fascinating to see how well she does in the weeks and months ahead.”

Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “As well as seeing Kim Clijsters return to the game, tennis fans were able to enjoy an excellent performance by Ons Jabeur, who has become a major force on the WTA Tour. It is hoped that her continuing success will have a positive effect, encourage and inspire many more Arabic women to take up the game.”

The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, owned and organized by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, begins with the WTA event which continues until February 22. The WTA is then followed by the ATP tournament which features Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Roberto Bautista Agut between February 24 and 29.

2/18/2020 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kindergarten Klopp says Simeone's Atleti still a threat to rampant Reds]]>
"People say I am emotional but if I am level four, he is level 12. I am Kindergarten Cop compared to him," Klopp told reporters in Madrid.

"He has been there eight years and to still have that emotional level, that's impressive."

Klopp will face Simeone for the first time at the Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday and he paid tribute to the Argentinian while brushing off Atletico's disappointing form that has them clear outsiders to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Atletico are fourth in La Liga, 13 points behind Real Madrid, and will be up against an irrepressible Liverpool side that is yet to lose in the Premier League and sits 25 points clear of the chasing pack.

"Playing Atletico is one of the most difficult things in the life of a football player, they are organised, a results machine," said Klopp.

"What they have done so far this season was not as bad as people say and it has nothing to do with our chances tomorrow. The team that fights more will go through, not the team that has done better in La Liga or the Premier League."

Both coaches were keen to play up the closeness of the tie but Simeone's claim the balance stands at "50/50" seemed optimistic.

"Anything is possible," Simeone said.

He confirmed Diego Costa could play a part after the striker's timely recovery from a slipped disk while Alvaro Morata is likely to start after coming off the bench against Valencia on Friday.

- Pressure on -

Atletico are not the defensive force they once were and there is a debate in Spain over whether Simeone is the right man for the club moving forward.

"Criticism is needed because it makes us improve," Simeone said. "I only feel optimism and excitement."

Atletico are looking to salvage their season, given they are adrift in the title race and already out of the Copa del Rey.

But Liverpool are still in contention for a treble and seeking to retain the trophy they lifted at the Wanda Metropolitano last June.

"The best players in the world want to get to finals and win trophies and so do the best teams," said Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold.

"If we want to be known as one of the best teams in the world we have to be getting to those latter stages. We believe we can do it."

Klopp signed off with a grin by insisting Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to win the Champions League this season. "Now the pressure is on them!" he said.

And Simeone was asked if preparing for this test reminded him of taking on the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in their pomp in recent seasons.

"This Liverpool team will go down in history because it has different achievements to all those teams we have admired," said Simeone. "They are a team with lots of options and I like that a lot."

Klopp added: "Whatever happens Atletico are always there. If you are not 100 per cent concentrated, they close you down with two or three players and then counter-attack. If you are not focused, you won't even have a shot on target.

"But on the other side, they also haven't played against a team like us."]]>
2/18/2020 9:17:39 AM
<![CDATA[Lampard asks for Chelsea fight after smash and grab United defeat]]>
The Blues had two goals disallowed by VAR reviews and were furious Harry Maguire was not sent-off for an off-the-ball kick out at Michy Batshuayi before he headed in United's second goal after Anthony Martial's opener.

Lampard cut a frustrated figure as the flaws in both boxes which have seen his side win just four of their last 14 league games were exposed once more against ordinary opposition.

"The fight starts now," said Lampard. "It's not worth me going on about it now but the reality was there for us to see.

"If we're not going to take chances then we're not going to win games. When you dominate large periods you have to take your chances."

Victory lifts United up to seventh and within three points of Chelsea in fourth, while fifth could now even be good enough to qualify for the Champions League next season pending Manchester City's appeal again a two-season ban from European competition.

However, even United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he had not been impressed by the visitors' performance.

"When you win 2-0 here you are delighted," said Solskjaer.

"Then again I didn't think we played well, particularly with the ball in the first half. We were cumbersome, slow, passing wasn't great but we got the first goal then we hung in there."

Lampard made a bold call before kick-off by again dropping the most expensive goalkeeper in football history, Kepa Arrizabalaga, to the bench in favour of the 38-year-old Willy Caballero.

Batshuayi also started with Tammy Abraham ruled out by injury and Lampard's anger at missing out on a striker in the January window was borne out by a poor night for the misfiring Belgium forward.

But the course of the game could have been very different had Maguire not escaped unpunished for kicking Batshuayi after the two collided in front of the dugouts.

"I know I caught him and I felt he was going to fall on me and my natural reaction was to straighten my leg to stop him," said Maguire.

"I apologised to him and it was nice that the referee saw sense."

- One-way traffic -

Chelsea's sense of injustice increased when Willian was harshly booked for diving as he went down under a challenge from Bruno Fernandes looking for a penalty.

United had not made Caballero make a single save before going in front a minute before the break when Martial planted a brilliant header into the far corner from Aaron Wan-Bissaka's cross.

There was still time for Batshuayi to miss another chance before half-time when he skewed wide from a narrow angle.

The one-way traffic continued at the start of the second period as Mount hit the post and a brave block from Wan-Bissaka deflected Pedro's goal-bound effort behind.

But even when Chelsea did get the ball in the net through substitute Kurt Zouma, the goal was ruled out by VAR for a push on Brandon Williams by Cesar Azpilicueta.

Fernandes was unable to make much of an impact from open play in his second United appearance since a £47 million ($62 million) move from Sporting Lisbon.

However, the Portuguese international is a huge threat from set-pieces and nearly caught Caballero out with a free-kick that crashed back off the post.

Moments later, Fernandes provided his first assist for the Red Devils with a corner which Maguire powered home.

Lampard had seen enough from Batshuayi and handed Olivier Giroud a rare appearance off the bench for the final quarter.

The French striker thought he had given Chelsea a lifeline with a near post header, but was ruled offside after a VAR review.]]>
2/18/2020 9:15:44 AM
<![CDATA[Neymar's PSG return "changes everything" for Dortmund clash - Tuchel]]>
Tuchel named the Brazilian superstar in his squad for their last-16 first leg tie in Germany despite the world's most expensive player missing the French club's last four games through injury.

He has been struggling with a rib problem, but should be fit to play at Signal Iduna Park.

"He's fine, he's going to train, and will play if nothing happens to him," said Tuchel in Monday's press conference.

"He has the quality, the confidence and the ability to do decisive things. His presence changes everything - it gives me and his team-mates a lot of confidence.

"If he's missing, he's missing - but we don't have another player of that quality."

Neymar missed last season's surprise last-16 loss to Manchester United with a foot injury, while he also sat out the second leg of the defeat at the same stage of the competition by Real Madrid in 2018.

He was rested, along with France forward Kylian Mbappe, for Saturday's remarkable 4-4 draw at Amiens in Ligue 1.

PSG are yet to reach the Champions League semi-finals since being bought by their Qatari owners nine years ago, with their run to the last four in 1994-95 still the closest they have come to lifting the European Cup.

- Electric atmosphere -

Tuchel is under extra pressure to deliver as PSG have exited at the last 16 stage in Europe for the last three seasons.

"It's clear that if you lose three times in a row in the last 16, the situation is not the same the fourth time," admitted Tuchel.

"After the defeat (to Manchester United last season), we were sad, I was mentally almost dead, but that's sport.

"I said to the players (at the time): 'It might be a bit harder next year, but that's what we play in the Champions League for'.

"Sometimes you lose, you have to accept it and use the defeats to grow."

Having coached Dortmund for two seasons before his dismissal in 2017, Tuchel knows to expect a passionate atmosphere.

"It's difficult to control your emotions in this stadium and I'm not sure it's possible for the 90 minutes," said PSG's German coach.

"It's necessary to remain calm, attentive and intelligent.

"Dortmund are very strong when they press and when they counter-attack."

The hosts are missing Germany forwards Marco Reus and Julian Brandt, but Dortmund have a deadly teenage duo in striker Erling Braut Haaland and England winger Jadon Sancho, both just 19.

Haaland has scored a phenomenal nine goals in his six games for Dortmund.

"Their forwards' statistics are incredible," said Tuchel.

"We will have to block their counter-attacks before they start.

"It's going to be a challenge."]]>
2/18/2020 9:13:57 AM
<![CDATA[El Khatib negotiates to let Al Ahly play at Cairo Stadium]]>
Al Ahly’s official website announced on Sunday that El Khatib is holding talks with Ashraf Sobhi, Minister of Youth and Sports, and Amr El Genainy, President of the Egyptian Football Association, in order for Al Ahly to play the first leg of the quarter finals in the CAF Champions League at Cairo Stadium.

Al Ahly is set to meet South African champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, on February 29 after qualifying second in the group stages of the Round of 16.

Al Ahly’s President wants to change the match’s venue from Al Salam Stadium to Cairo Stadium in order to increase the number of Al Ahly supporters as the match is considered to be of great importance.

Al Ahly will seek revenge in their upcoming match against Sundowns after being knocked out by the South African club last year in the same tournament with an aggregate result of 5-1 to the South Africans.
2/17/2020 10:29:00 AM
<![CDATA[Juventus back top as Lazio topple Inter Milan to go second]]>
Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado scored in either half as champions Juventus rediscovered their winning form at home.

Inter Milan drop from top spot to third, three points behind the champions, after falling to just their second defeat of the season.

Sparks flew at the Stadio Olimpico with Romelu Lukaku threating Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Straskosha early with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic rattling the bar.

But it was defender Ashley Young who broke through just before the break with his first Serie A goal for Inter Milan after his move from Manchester United.

The 34-year-old got his foot to tap-in off a rebound after Straskosha had cleared from former Lazio player Antonio Candreva.

A Stefan de Vrij foul on Ciro Immobile allowed the Serie A top scorer to slot in his 26th goal in 24 games this season, five minutes after the break.

Milinkovic-Savic snatched the winner after 69 minutes amid confusion in front of goal.

Inter's Lautaro Martinez had a goal ruled offside after 78 minutes as the northerners suffered their second defeat after losing to Juventus in October.

Simone Inzaghi's Lazio extended their unbeaten run to 19 games as they target their first Scudetto since 2000.

In Turin, Argentine forward Dybala curled in a perfect free kick six minutes before the break, shortly after Brescia's Florian Aye was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession.

Colombian Cuadrado tapped in the second from close range after a Blaise Matuidi cross with 15 minutes to go, as the champions bounced back from last weekend's shock defeat at Hellas Verona.

"We did what we had to do," said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri, whose side had lost two of their previous three games.

Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for Sunday's game in Turin, but veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini returned after a long injury layoff.

"Cristiano had to rest, he cannot play 75 games a year between the national team and club, we decided to let him recuperate," said Sarri.

Sarri said 35-year-old skipper Chiellini had been desperate to get onto the pitch, after nearly six months off with a cruciate knee injury.

"Chiellini put himself on the pitch by himself," said Sarri.

"He said it yesterday, he has made six months of sacrifices and wanted to play the last quarter of an hour, and I found myself next to him when he had already taken off his tracksuit."

The champions did not have it all their own way against lowly Brescia, who stay second-from-bottom, seven points from safety after extending their winless run to nine games.

Enrico Alfonso went off after just 10 minutes following a knock to the head, with substitute Brescia keeper Lorenzo Andrenacci pulling off some fine saves.

In Sardinia, Napoli got back to winning ways with a Dries Mertens' 65th-minute goal sealing a 1-0 success over Cagliari.

The Belgian completed a give-and-go with Elseid Hysaj with the ball curling in with a deflection off the post.

It was the 32-year-old's 120th goal for Napoli, one short of Marek Hamsik's all-time record, and five ahead of club legend Diego Maradona.

"Dries is a phenomenon, a champion who makes difficult things seem simple," said coach Gennaro Gattuso.

Gattuso's side overtake Calgiari, moving up to eighth, two points off the Europa League berths, as Cagliari drop to 11th place.

Hellas Verona missed the chance to close in on fifth-placed Roma, who fell 2-1 at Atalanta on Saturday, with a goalless draw at Udinese.

Verona, in sixth, occupy the final Europa League spot ahead of Parma on goal difference, but stay four points behind Roma.

Parma moved level on 35 points after winning at Sassuolo 1-0, with Ivorian Gervinho scoring the only goal after 25 minutes.

Fiorentina, in 13th, crushed struggling Sampdoria 5-1, with both teams playing the second half with ten men.

2/17/2020 8:35:44 AM
<![CDATA[Pogba belongs to Man Utd, not Mino, insists Solskjaer]]>
Pogba's long-time representative has been at loggerheads with the United hierarchy in recent years and angered the Red Devils once more this week by casting fresh doubt on where Pogba will be next season.

Raiola revealed on Thursday that he has already had discussions with Juventus sporting director Pavel Nedved about a possible return to the Italian champions from where Pogba re-joined United for a £89m ($116 million) fee in the summer of 2016.

And Raiola also made it clear that if United fail to qualify for the Champions League, Pogba will want to move to satisfy his ambitions.

But Solskjaer still sees Pogba -- who has 18 months left on his contract -- as a key part of his future plans.

"I've not spoken to Mino that is for sure. And, no, I haven't sat down and told Paul to tell Mino what he should say. Paul is our player and not Mino's."

Pogba, 27 next month, has made only eight appearances for United in an injury-ravaged season.

He will be missing again when United take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday as he makes his way back from ankle surgery.

But Solskjaer insists Pogba is not dragging out his return and is desperate to help United achieve Champions League football, either via the Premier League or by winning the Europa League.

"As a player the last thing you want to be is injured and not be able to contribute to your team. Paul's a footballer and he wants to play football," added Solskjaer.

"As a player, I was injured for a long, long time myself so I know what it is like. It's a difficult period in your career but it is part and parcel of being a player. You are always running the risk of being injured.

"He knows that he has to work hard now to get back to his best because he has been out for so long. It's a challenge for him to get back to his best."

United have been offered a lifeline in their quest to return to the Champions League next season with Manchester City's potential two-season ban from European competition meaning fifth in the Premier League could be enough to qualify.

Solskjaer's men are languishing in ninth, but can move to within two points of fifth with a third victory over Chelsea this season.

As well as Pogba, Marcus Rashford will also be absent for another few weeks, placing a heavy burden on deadline-day loan signing Odion Ighalo to score the goals that can haul United up the table.

Ighalo has had a far from ideal start to his United career. The Nigerian joined up with the United squad for the first time on Sunday after a two-week precautionary quarantine following his arrival from Shanghai Shenua.

However, Solskjaer has dangled the carrot of a permanent move to Ighalo's boyhood club should be impress between now and the end of the season.

"It's a loan but when you are in the door here and if you impress it gives you a chance," said Solskjaer. "That is exactly the same for anyone who signs, if it is permanent or a loan.

"If you impress as a player and as a person, if you can help this group improve, of course there is a chance that we will look at extending things."]]>
2/17/2020 8:33:34 AM
<![CDATA[Klopp shocked by UEFA'S decision to ban Manchester City]]>
""It was a shock. Complete wow,” Klopp said in Liverpool’s post match press conference against Norwich, reporting from Goal.

Additionally, the German manager [Klopp] feels sorry for Manchester City’s squad and manager [Pep Guardiola] as he believes that they didn’t do anything wrong and that such matters are controlled by the board.

"I really feel for them, Pep and the players, but that is how it is. They can appeal so we will see what happens then. It is obviously serious. But the football they played was exceptional and will always be exceptional," Klopp added, reporting from Goal.

The UEFA imposed a two year ban on the Premier League champions [Manchester City] after stating that City failed to abide by the Financial Fair Play rules and regulations during the period of 2012 to 2016.

However, such ruling isn’t final as Manchester City has the opportunity to appeal on the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Manchester City is currently allowed to continue participating in this year’s Uefa Champions League, but won’t be allowed to participate in the upcoming two years.
2/17/2020 8:07:00 AM
<![CDATA[Klopp revels in 'insane' 25-point lead as Liverpool edge past Norwich]]>
The champions-elect were short of their fluent best in blustery conditions caused by Storm Dennis at Carrow Road but returned immediately to winning ways after their winter break.

They have now gone 43 top-flight matches unbeaten, just six behind Arsenal's record of 49 games in 2003-04 and are sprinting towards their first league title for 30 years.

Liverpool have earned 103 points from the past 105 available to them in the Premier League, winning 34 of their past 35 matches, and have one more point -- 76 -- than Manchester United accrued in winning the league in 1996/97.

Klopp said the wind and Norwich's organisation made it a tricky game but that his players remained calm.

"I could tell in all the players' faces that they weren't nervous, they were enjoying it, and if one team was going to score it was going to be us," he told Sky Sports.

"We protected against the counter-attack well too. It's really all about these wonderful football players.

"The gap is so insane, I don't really understand it. I'm not smart enough. I've not had that before. It's outstanding, it's so difficult. I go back into the changing room and we chat about the things and then I'm like 'oh, but congratulations. We won the game, another three points'."

The result leaves Daniel Farke's Norwich rooted to the bottom of the table, six points behind 19th-placed Watford. They look set for an immediate return to the Championship despite their battling performance.

Klopp brought back midfielder Naby Keita for his first start in a Premier League match since December and Mane was on the bench as Liverpool started full of confidence.

The visitors controlled possession in the early stages without creating many clear-cut openings but Norwich managed some brief spells of attractive passing football themselves.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino was particularly impressive, producing an exquisite piece of skill to control a long Jordan Henderson pass before the ball was stolen off his toes as he shaped to shoot.

But Farke's men kept Liverpool quiet and came close to snatching the lead themselves.

Lukas Rupp got in behind the Liverpool defence and controlled a long ball over the top. He opted to pass to his left to Teemu Pukki but Alisson Becker produced a superb save, clawing the ball away at the feet of the Finnish striker.

- Mane breaks deadlock -

Liverpool were quickly on top again in the second half but struggled to create clear chances until Keita tested Tim Krul from distance in the 58th minute.

The Anfield giants laid siege to the Norwich goal but frustration mounted as the home side somehow kept the score at 0-0.

Keita should have done better when he reacted quickly to a rebound off Krul but the goalkeeper dived to his right to deny the Guinea international.

Alexander Tettey almost caught Becker out on a rare Norwich foray into the Liverpool half, thundering a shot against the near post as the home crowd roared their team on.

Just when it seemed Norwich could become only the second team this season, after Manchester United, to deny Liverpool all three points, Mane broke the deadlock.

The second-half substitute controlled a long ball from Henderson with his right foot in the 78th minute before lashing home with his left.

Defending champions Manchester City, reeling from a two-season European ban for breaching fair play rules, are in second place in the table but have no chance of winning a third straight title.

European champions Liverpool can now turn their thoughts to the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.]]>
2/16/2020 12:37:52 PM
<![CDATA[Dortmund's 'Yellow Wall': the 'gigantic monster' lying in wait for PSG]]>
"It's just a fantastic feeling that I haven't had before," is how Dortmund's star striker Erling Braut Haaland described scoring in front of 'Die Gelbe Wand' (The Yellow Wall) at Signal Iduna Park.

The 19-year-old has bagged nine goals in six games since Dortmund snapped him up for 20 million euros ($22 million) from Salzburg.

Five of them have come in his three home appearances games, including one in the 4-0 thrashing of Frankfurt on Friday.

"If you are the opposition, it crushes you -- but if you have her at your back as a goalkeeper, it's a fantastic feeling," is how ex-Dortmund shot-stopper Roman Weidenfeller describes the experience of the imposing terrace.

For Bundesliga games, the south stand, which is 100 metres (328 feet) wide and 40 metres high, is packed with 25,000 fans, but capacity is reduced to 16,000 to meet UEFA regulations for Champions League games.

- 'Huge, roaring monster' -

Nevertheless, the noise will be deafening when the Dortmund team walk out for Tuesday's last 16, first leg tie.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, who coached Dortmund for two seasons until 2017, knows what to expect.

"We have a few boys used to the stadiums of this world and whom I trust to play their best, on this stage as well," the 46-year-old told German daily Welt on Sunday.

"I know very well what energy is waiting for us there."

'The Yellow Wall' already has an international reputation.

"Just look at the south stand in Dortmund," Johnny Rotten, lead singer of British punk band The Sex Pistols has said on the matter.

"They all stand, chant and make such a noise that the stand seems like the pharynx of some huge, roaring monster. It's fantastic."

Dortmund fan Max Kiwit, 27, told AFP why he is a regular on 'The Yellow Wall'.

"Because here, everyone can let go of their emotions. No one will complain if they get elbowed in the head" or if they get showered by beer when Dortmund score to send thousands of plastic cups flying, he said with a smile.

Season tickets for the south stand start at 219 euros ($237), but are often passed down from generation to generation.

The waiting list is often counted in years, as Max's girlfriend Sabrina Rupp discovered to her cost.

"Until I was 13, I had a season ticket," she admits regretfully.

"I gave it back, and that's the worst mistake you can make, because after that it's almost impossible to get it back."

'The Yellow Wall' is often described as the beating heart of Signal Iduna Park.

It's from there that designated fans lead the chants, yelling into megaphones while drummers beat out the rhythm.

The fans in the south stand sees themselves as the 12th man of the Dortmund team.

- Malaga mayhem -

On the run to the 2013 Champions League final, where Dortmund lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich at Wembley, the wall played a key role in the quarter-final at home to Malaga, when the hosts found themselves 2-1 down with 90 minutes on the clock.

With Dortmund seconds from elimination, the fans erupted, inspiring tired legs to one last push.

Pandemonium broke out when forward Marco Reus, then defender Felipe Santana grabbed goals in added time to seal a fairytale 3-2 win after a goalless first leg in Spain.

The delirious scenes at the final whistle are part of club folklore.

Former Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp explained what the PSG team can expect on Tuesday.

"You come out and the stadium explodes... you look to your left and it looks like 150,000 people are standing there going crazy," said Klopp, who led Dortmund to back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.

As the Malaga game demonstrated, PSG need to play until the final whistle as Dortmund can never be written off with their backs to 'The Yellow Wall'.]]>
2/16/2020 12:36:48 PM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly is in rest from training sessions]]>
The Egyptian Super Cup gathers Al-Ahly as the champion of the last version league, and Zamalek champions Egypt Cup.

The official page of Al-Ahly Club on "Twitter" announced that the first team of the Red Castle today is at rest in preparation for travelling to Abu Dhabi: "Good morning ... Today our team is at rest in preparation for travel to Abu Dhabi."


Mahmoud Al-Khatib, head of Al-Ahly Club, was keen to attend the training of his team, on Saturday, which was held on the Tetch Stadium.

This comes as Al-Ahly team continued the good results locally after they achieved the 15th consecutive victory and beat Al-Masry 3-0 during their match, last Friday evening, at the El-Max Stadium in Alexandria in the Egyptian League.

Al-Ahly's goals came through Ali Maaloul goal in the tenth minute from a penalty kick, Junior Ajayi in the 82nd minute and Kahraba in the first minute of stoppage time.

Al-Ahly raises their score to 45 points and maintains their impressive record.]]>
2/16/2020 12:21:51 PM
<![CDATA[Achieving titles against Al Ahly is the best: Ahmed Mortada Mansour]]>
An upcoming fiery summit, that brings together Al-Ahly and Zamalek in the Egyptian Super Cup, will take place next Thursday in the United Arab Emirates.

Ahmed Mortada said: "The best championship is the one that we win over Al-Ahly."

"Al-Ahly is a great team and you need to be in your maximum focus in order to beat them," he added in his comments on TEN channel.

"Zamalek is a great name, and the board of directors has provided everything possible, and we hope the fans will be happy again with another title."

He continued, saying: "I hope that the match will be enjoyable and good between the two teams, and that we will succeed in winning the title at the end."

Zamalek managed to win the African Super title over Tunisian Esperance 3-1 last Friday.

The Zamalek trilogy came through Youssef Ibrahim "Obama", and two goals Ashraf for Bencharki.

While the only goal of Esperance came by Abdul Raouf Bin Ghaith from the penalty spot.

The African Super title is the fourth in the history of Zamalek, and what a title on Valentine's Day.

Zamalek gave the most beautiful Valentine's Day gift to his fans. A gift no better for the white knight fans.]]>
2/16/2020 11:41:39 AM
<![CDATA[Sobhy returns to the training ground]]>
Sobhy missed Al-Ahly games since November 2019 as he suffered from a muscular injury.

Sobhy, who is one of the best players at Al-Ahly, returns to his team at the perfect time as the club is going through one of the most important stages of the season.

Al-Ahly will travel to Abu Dhabi to face arch-rivals, Zamalek, at the Egyptian Super Cup on 20 February and four days later at the domestic league before facing South African giants, Mamelodi Sundowns, at the CAF Champions League quarter-finals.

Al-Ahly players returned to the training ground on Saturday after achieving a 3-0 win over El Masry on Friday to achieve their 15th straight victory at the Egyptian League.

Al-Ahly are leading the league table with 45 points from 15 games and they are 13 points ahead of the second-placed, Arab Contractors, who gained 32 points from 17 games. ]]>
2/15/2020 5:37:57 PM
<![CDATA[Salah’s participation at Olympics is in Liverpool’s hands ]]>
“The men’s Olympic Football Tournament, as well as all FIFA competitions with age restrictions, are not included in the men’s international match calendar 2018-2024, and thus clubs are not under the obligation to release players for the competition," FIFA spokesperson told SunSport on Saturday.

Salah, who was among the U-23 team during 2012 Olympic Games in London, has to convince his club’s coaching staff if he has the desire to join Egypt’s U-23 team in Tokyo this summer.

Since Egypt secured their spot at the next Olympic Games as AFCON U-23 winners, the debate over Salah’s participation with the team started.

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, commented on the situation, saying “We are completely clear about what we want, but we need more information: how will it look, when will the preparation start, all that stuff. No decision yet, but we will see.”

Salah is one of the key players at Liverpool since he joined the club in 2017 summer and he led the club to win UEFA Champions League title last summer and they are close to win the long-awaited League title this season. ]]>
2/15/2020 4:48:03 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool face bottom-of-the-table Norwich City ]]>
The Reds aim to take another step towards achieving the long-awaited Premier League title but they are expecting a tough duel against one of the best bottom of the table sides ever.

Liverpool are having one of their best seasons at the league so far and they are unbeaten with 13 games away from the finish line and they only dropped two points with an away 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

Klopp comments on Liverpool fans’ dream to be the league champions after 30 years of struggling, saying “We know at the end of the season a team will be crowned, it was always like this, and this year we have a good chance it will be us. That’s nice, really nice.”

On the other hand, Norwich City, led by German manager Daniel Farke, produced beautiful football since the beginning of the season but they are struggling to get good results and found themselves at the bottom of the table with only 18 points after 25 games.

The game starts on 7:30 pm. ]]>
2/15/2020 4:29:28 PM
<![CDATA[Bincharki's double secures CAF Super Cup title for Zamalek ]]>
Two minutes were all what the White Knights needed to open the score through Youssef Obama's wonderful header.

Zamalek were the better side during the first half and they had many clear chances to double the score but Mostafa Mohamed and Ashraf Bincharki failed to find the target.

The Tunisian side equalised the score at the opening minutes of the second half by the club's Algerian striker, Abdelraouf Benguit.

After Benguit's goal, Zamalek players dominated the game and Bincharki granted them the lead again from an amazing individual effort as he dribbled two Tunisian defenders and put the ball in the back of the net.

Bincharki continued his heroic performance as he added the third goal minutes before the final whistle to confirm his team's victory.

Zamalek won their 4th CAF Super Cup title and Egyptian clubs' 10th title at the competition while Esperance suffered their fourth loss at CAF Super Cup and their second in a row. ]]>
2/14/2020 8:48:11 PM
<![CDATA[Salah wins Liverpool Player of the Month award for January]]>
Salah scored three goals and provided three assists to his teammates to help Liverpool get 15 points out of the team’s five games during the month.

“Thank you. I am happy to win this award and as I’ve said before many times, the important thing is to win the games and I think we did well that month, so hopefully we’ll keep [going] like that.” Salah told Liverpool official website after receiving the award.

Salah won the Player of the Month award for the second time this season after he received the award in August.

Salah and his teammates eye keeping their Premier League’s winning streak alive when they face Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Salah added “I think we had a good break and everyone is fresh and everyone is excited to go again, so hopefully we will be ready for the game.” ]]>
2/14/2020 12:23:55 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek eye fourth CAF Super Cup title ]]>
Three-time Super Cup winners, Zamalek, aim to achieve their fourth title in the competition’s history and their first title since 2003 when they defeated Wydad Casablanca 3-1 to clinch the title at home.

Upon arriving, Zamalek players were well-received by their passionate fans who are expected to pack the stadium to cheer for the White Knights.

“'Big teams who look for titles don't fear anyone. Esperance is a great team, and they are African champions in the last two years, but Zamalek also is a great club and we fear no one.” Zamalek manager, Patrice Carteron, said.

The Tunisian giants have played four CAF Super Cup finals but they only won the title once in 1995 while they lost the title on three occasions, including last year’s edition to Raja Casablanca.

“We know this Cup has been absent from our grasp for a long time. The Tunisian fans always support us in every game even when are playing outside our country. We love our fans supporting us in large numbers, this is a great honor for us.” Esperance assistant coach Mejdi Traoui said during the pre-final press conference.

The game starts on 18:00 (C.L.T). ]]>
2/14/2020 12:02:54 PM
<![CDATA[Chaabani expects an interesting clash at CAF Super Cup ]]>
“We are not thinking of our CAF Champions League encounter now, all what’s in our minds is the Super Cup game. Zamalek is a great team; they are five times African champions. But we are the last two seasons’ champions and a great team as well. It’s going to be an interesting duel.” Chaabani told CAF official website.

Zamalek, CAF Confederation Cup winners, will face the Tunisian giants who achieved the last two titles of CAF Champions League on 14 February at Al-Gharrafa Stadium.

The two teams will face each other again two weeks later in Cairo at the CAF Champions League quarter-finals first leg before playing the second leg in Tunisia a week later.

Chaabani added “I warned my players that this is not going to be an easy game. We have to take the lessons from what happened last year when we lost to Raja.”

Esperance’s last CAF Super Cup title was in 1995 during their first participation at the competition but they lost the final on three occasions in 1999, 2012 and 2018. ]]>
2/13/2020 2:12:57 PM
<![CDATA[Chelsea close in on Hakim Ziyech signing]]>
According to Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf, Ajax and Chelsea reached a verbal agreement over the transfer of the Dutch-born Moroccan winger Ziyech.

Additionally, British news organization Sky Sports, believe that Chelsea were in talks over the transfer of the player during the previous transfer window; however, both clubs didn’t reach a final agreement.

The Moroccan international Ziyech plays as a winger but is also capable of playing the number 10 role with Ajax and the Moroccan national team.

Ziyech established himself as one of the promising talents in Europe after he led his team to UEFA Champions League semi-finals after knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus respectively.

The 26-year-old Ziyech scored 48 goals and contributed with 82 assists in a total of 159 games with Ajax, according to transfermarkt. ]]>
2/13/2020 1:44:55 PM
<![CDATA[Ahmed Raouf announces his retirement]]>
Raouf announced his retirement on Tuesday live in El Match TV Program after playing for 12 years in Egypt’s top flight.

The 2010 African Cup of Nations winner played with Al Ahly during the 2014 season where he contributed in winning the Egyptian League title and the CAF Confederation Cup.

Raouf played a massive role in the team’s victory of the Confederation Cup as he scored a late goal against Difaâ Hassani El Jadidi to help his team winning the tie and advance to the quarter-finals.

Raouf made his debut with Egyptian football club El Qanah before transferring to various clubs like: Enppi SC, Al-Ittihad from Tripoli, El Ahly, El Masry, Smouha, Wadi Degla, Petrojet and Entag El Harby.

The 37-year-old scored 74 goals and made 19 assists throughout his club career. While he managed to play 12 games and score 1 goal with the Egyptian National team, according to transfermarkt. ]]>
2/13/2020 1:16:37 PM
<![CDATA[Szczesny signs Juventus contract extension]]>
The Polish international joined Juve in 2017 from Arsenal as back-up to club legend Gianluigi Buffon.

The 29-year-old took over as number one after Buffon's departure to Paris Saint-Germain and has held on to the role despite the veteran Italian's return to Turin this season.

"This renewal is a demonstration of the club's trust in me," Szczesny told Juventus TV.

"I'm very happy and I'll try to give my best. I'll be here for another four years and I want more titles, I want to win everything.

"You have to sweat, run and sacrifice yourself to achieve this goal that is mine but also that of the club."

Szczesny joined the club following a two-year loan spell at Roma and has played 84 matches, winning two Serie A titles, one Coppa Italia and an Italian Super Cup.

Juve's reign as eight-time Serie A champions is under threat this season as they sit in second place in Serie A behind leaders Inter Milan on goal difference.

Third-placed Lazio trail the pair by a point.

Juve play AC Milan in the Italian Cup semi-final first leg on Thursday, and are through to the Champions League last 16 where they will play Lyon later this month.]]>
2/12/2020 9:02:23 AM
<![CDATA[Barca's Dembele out of Euro 2020 after hamstring surgery]]>
Dembele's absence also means he will be sidelined for the rest of this season for Barca, who will be without another attacker after losing Luis Suarez to a long-term knee injury last month.

"The first team player Ousmane Dembele has successfully undergone surgery ... for a ruptured tendon in his proximal hamstring in his right thigh. The Frenchman will be out for around six months," the La Liga champions said in a statement.

The 22-year-old has suffered a number of hamstring problems since joining from Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 in a deal worth up to 147 million euros ($160.5 million).

Dembele has made only nine appearances this season.

He was close to recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in November before suffering a relapse in training last week.

The former Rennes attacker also missed the majority of his opening year at Barcelona with a similar problem which kept the forward out for four months.

Dembele's latest disappointment is a blow to France's hopes of following up 2018's World Cup triumph by winning the Euros this summer, while Barca coach Quique Setien spoke earlier this month of his excitement at the prospect of the youngster's return.

His long layoff could prompt Barcelona to buy a replacement up front, if the club are allowed to make an emergency signing by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Barcelona can apply for permission from the RFEF but any new arrival would have to be playing in La Liga or out of contract, and would not be allowed to feature in the Champions League.

Real Sociedad forward Willian Jose, Getafe's Angel and Lucas Perez from Alaves are all reported targets.]]>
2/12/2020 9:00:57 AM
<![CDATA[Zamalek performs first training session in Qatar]]>
The Zamalek team performed their first time training in the Qatar University stadium.

Zamalek coach Patrice Carteron held a session with his assistants, General Coach Sami El-Shishiny, Assistant Coach Amir Abdel-Aziz and goalkeeper coach Amr Abdel Salam before the start of the training session to develop a special training program in preparation for the match.

In another session, before the training, Carteron asked them to win the match and bring the cup to Egypt.

Zamalek players wore heavy sports clothes in the training session due to the cold weather in Doha.

Karim Bambo underwent a rehabilitation program under the supervision of Amr El Matrawy, the team’s rehabilitation and treatment specialist, due to a back muscle strain. Bambo performed light exercises by running around the field.

Carteron divided Zamalek players into 3 groups and conducted a training session for them to play the ball from one touch.

Mortada Mansour, the president of the white club, was keen to check on the Zamalek delegation in Doha, and demanded the players to focus on training and adhere to the instructions of the coaching staff and provide a strong match worthy of the white castle.

The Zamalek delegation arrived in Doha on Tuesday, amid a large reception from the white masses.

Ismail Youssef, a member of the Board of Directors, heads the Zamalek delegation and is accompanied by Hani Zada, Alaa Makled and Hamada Anwar.]]>
2/12/2020 8:58:12 AM
<![CDATA[Shawki Ghareeb denies calling Salah for the Olympics in Tokyo]]>
Shawky Gharib said to ON Sport channel: "There has been no communication between the Olympic team and Mohamed Salah in this regard."

"It is entirely up to Amr Al-Ganaini, head of the Egyptian Football Association Committee, and he is in contact with Salah," he added.

"Honestly, this is very difficult, and if Salah agrees to participate with the national team in the Olympics, he will have to make a great effort to persuade Liverpool to do so."

"If the Olympic team's participation rates remain low for the remainder of the league competition, I will have to choose 3 players over the age to participate in the Olympic Games," he said.

Egyptian Olympic national team won the U-23 AFCON and qualify to Tokyo Olympics 2020 last November.]]>
2/12/2020 8:53:21 AM
<![CDATA[James, Durant, Curry in US basketball Olympic pool]]>
A statement from USA Basketball named three-time Olympic champion James and Los Angeles Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis in the player group, which will eventually be whittled down to a 12-man roster.

"This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 US Olympic men's basketball team in Tokyo," said USA Basketball men's team managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a statement.

"Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we'll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible," he added.

The US team, which will be chasing a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal following wins in 2008, 2012 and 2016, will be coached by San Antonio Spurs boss Gregg Popovich.

The list of contenders revealed that USA Basketball is keeping the door open for several players recovering from long-term injuries.

Golden State Warriors star Curry, who has hardly played this season after undergoing surgery on his left hand, has long spoken of his determination to play in the Tokyo Olympics.

Curry, who is hoping to return for the Warriors next month, withdrew from the 2016 Olympics after knee and ankle problems.

Curry's Golden State team-mate Klay Thompson, who has not played at all this season after undergoing knee surgery in July 2019, is also named in the 44-man player pool. Thompson was a member of the US team which won gold in Rio four years ago.

Durant meanwhile, who has yet to play a game for the Brooklyn Nets after signing for the club last July, is also named in the squad list. Durant, who is recovering from a ruptured Achilles, was a star of the US gold medal-winning teams at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.]]>
2/11/2020 9:36:38 AM
<![CDATA[Ronaldo, Ibrahimovic set for Italian Cup clash]]>
Both Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic scored at the weekend in defeats as Juventus fell 2-1 at Hellas Verona, while AC Milan threw away a two-goal lead in a 4-2 defeat by city rivals Inter.

"It wasn't the result we wanted," said the 35-year-old Ronaldo despite becoming the first Juventus player to score in 10 successive league games, just one game short of the Serie A record.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season.

Ibrahimovic, 38, has scored three goals since returning to Milan last month.

The Swede headed in the second goal on Sunday after setting up the first, but Inter hit back with four second-half strikes.

"I showed that I can still make a difference, even at 38," he said.

But Inter striker Romelu Lukaku will be looking to upstage the two other former Manchester United players against Napoli in the other last-four first leg on Wednesday.

Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli, despite their current slump, ousted holders Lazio in the quarter-finals.

"There's a new king in town," a jubilant Lukaku wrote on Twitter after scoring the fourth goal for Inter in Sunday's derby.

"We run this town."

The Belgian was replying to Ibrahimovic's pre-derby post saying that "lions don't compare themselves to humans".Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri has reason to be worried by his side's away form, with the defending Serie A champions having lost their last two games on the road.

"I hope that someone will help me, it's something we have to resolve," Sarri said after the loss to Verona.

"Right now we have a difference in performance between home and away."

Juventus are bidding to reclaim the trophy which they held for four seasons until losing to eventual runners-up Atalanta in the quarters last year.

Antonio Conte's Inter are the only one of the four semi-finalists to win in Serie A at the weekend, with Napoli crashing to a 3-2 defeat by lowly Lecce.

Inter's victory lifted them ahead of Juventus on goal difference at the top of the table, as they target their first Scudetto since 2010.

The second-leg ties will take place on March 4 and 5.


Semi-finals, first leg


Inter Milan v Napoli (1945GMT)


AC Milan v Juventus (1945GMT)]]>
2/11/2020 9:35:15 AM
<![CDATA[Zamalek heads to Qatar to face Esperance]]>
Zamalek, CAF Confederation Champion, and CAF Champions League winner Esperance will face the Champions League next Friday in a fiery confrontation in the African Super.

African Super tickets were released online at the beginning of February, before the Qatari federation announced that they were completely depleted.

Zamalek delegation is preparing to leave Egypt on Tuesday heading to Qatar in preparation for the Tunisian Esperance match.

The Zamalek delegation will fly on February 11th, first to Jordan, before heading to Qatar.

It is expected that the Zamalek delegation will arrive in Qatar on Tuesday 11th of this month.]]>
2/11/2020 9:29:03 AM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly's train is unstoppable, 14th victory in the league ]]>
Al-Ahly's three goals came through Junior Ajayi, Amr Al-Sulaya and Muhammad Magdi "Afsha" on the 33, 69 and 85 minutes respectively.

Throughout their journey of the Egyptian league, Al-Ahly did not know the taste of defeat against Al Gaish.

In the past 25 confrontations before Monday's meeting, Al-Ahly defeated Al Gaish 20 times, equaled 5 times.

Al-Ahly continued their leadership alone at the top of the league with the full score of 42 points, while the balance of Al Gaish at the 15th point was frozen in the 14th position.

Al Ahly is testing their strength in the upcoming period by facing Al Masry, in the Egyptian League, Zamalek, in the Egyptian Super Cup, and Sundowns in the CAF Champions league's quarter final.
2/11/2020 9:18:44 AM
<![CDATA[Inter top Serie A following stunning comeback win over AC Milan]]>
Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up Ante Rebic’s opener before scoring with a header, as Milan held a deserved 2-0 lead at the break.

But a Marcelo Brozovic volley and Matias Vecino strike in the space of two minutes saw Inter draw level at the start of the second half, before Stefan De Vrij’s header put them in front in the 70th minute.

Ibrahimovic hit the post with a late header as Milan pressed for an equaliser, but Antonio Conte’s side sealed the win in stoppage time through a Romelu Lukaku header.

Inter move into first place on goal difference, after catching Juventus on 54 points following their 2-1 defeat by Hellas Verona on Saturday, while Milan are 10th with 32 points.

Conte admitted Inter can dare to dream of the title ahead of a week that will test his team’s credentials.

Inter host Napoli in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg on Wednesday, before travelling to third-placed Lazio on Sunday, who are one point behind them in the standings.

“It’s still very early to talk about something we can only dream of for now,” the Inter coach told Sky Italia.

“We can have a dream. It’s a very intense period for us coming up and after that we’ll have a better idea of our potential and our real capabilities.

“We must face important matches, starting from Wednesday’s with Napoli, then Lazio, who have really strengthened over the years.

“We can’t achieve everything from one day to the next, but we are building. These guys proved they have great strength and guts today.”

Milan started strongly, coming close when Hakan Calhanoglu smashed a low shot off the post from outside the box. They took a deserved lead five minutes before the break when Ibrahimovic headed a lofted pass into the path of Rebic for a tap-in.

Ibrahimovic then netted during the first half stoppage time, heading in at the back post after Franck Kessie directed a corner into his path, making the Swede the oldest player to score in the famous fixture at the age of 38 years and 129 days.

However, Inter completed a stunning comeback in the space of just two minutes at the start of the second half.

Brozovic showed superb technique to guide in a volley from the edge of the area on the 51st minute, before Alexis Sanchez sprung the offside trap and pulled a pass back for Vecino to fire home the equaliser.

Conte’s side completed the turnaround when De Vrij stooped to guide home a header from a corner, and substitute Christian Eriksen was inches away from scoring his first goal for the club when his long-range freekick came back off the crossbar.

Ibrahimovic powered a header off the post from point-blank range in the final minute of regulation time, before Lukaku made sure of the three points by heading in his 17th league goal of the season in stoppage time.

“We stopped playing, the team stopped believing, we stopped pressing, didn’t pass it around enough,” said Ibrahimovic.

“From the equaliser onwards, everything collapsed.”

Inter have now won four consecutive Milan derbies in Serie A for the first time since 1983]]>
2/10/2020 9:04:45 AM
<![CDATA[Messi leads thrilling Barca at Betis]]>
Clement Lenglet headed home the decisive goal in the 72nd minute from a Messi free kick, earning second-placed Barca a first away win in the league in four matches and cutting the deficit behind leaders Real Madrid back to three points.

French defender Lenglet was then sent off for two bookings, moments after Betis’ Nabil Fekir had been dismissed for earning two yellow cards in the space of a minute.

Barca coach Quique Setien was making his first appearance back at Betis since being sacked by the Seville club last May and desperately needed a victory after Real had beaten Osasuna 4-1 earlier in the day.

But the visitors got off to a terrible start when Sergio Canales gave Betis the lead in the sixth minute from the penalty spot after a VAR review showed Lenglet had handled the ball.

Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong promptly equalised with the help of a lofted pass from Messi but Barca soon found themselves on the back foot again when Betis restored their lead with a strike from World Cup-winning forward Fekir in the 26th minute.

Messi proved pivotal in the Catalans levelling right before halftime, delivering a free kick into the path of Sergio Busquets who converted from close range.

The Argentine was also able to pick out Lenglet for the winning strike, setting up a goal for the fifth time in three games.

The topsy-turvy encounter was a fitting end to a dramatic week for Barca in which Ousmane Dembele sustained a serious injury, Messi lashed out at sporting director Eric Abidal and the team lost 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao to exit the Copa del Rey.

“This is a hugely significant win for us because Betis are a great team and were being roared on by their fans at home,” Barca coach Setien told a news conference.

“This is a very important victory because it keeps us near the top of the table and it will give us a huge psychological boost.”

Barca, who hired Setien last month after sacking Ernesto Valverde, had not won away from home in the league since beating Atletico Madrid on Dec. 1 and were smarting from a recent defeat at Valencia as well as the last-gasp loss in the Cup to Bilbao.

“It was so important for us to win after losing in the Cup in the last minute but we just had to keep playing in the same way and that’s what we did,” added Barca’s Sergi Roberto.

“It was vital that we found our form and started winning away from home again so we go home feeling happy.”

2/10/2020 9:02:04 AM
<![CDATA[Rabeaa appears in Al Ahly's list for facing Al Gaish]]>
Al-Ahly faces Al Gaish on Monday at 7:30 pm in the 17th round of the Egyptian League.

Rabiaa was not on Al-Ahly's list in front of Pyramids, to re-appear in front of Talaea Al Gaish.

Al-Ahly's list witnessed the continued presence of Ahmed Al-Sheikh and Geraldo, while Hossam Ashour and Mahmoud Waheed left the list.

The following is the full list of Al-Ahly:

Goalkeepers: Mohamed El Shennawy - Sherif Ekramy.

Defenders: Mahmoud Metwally - Ayman Ashraf - Yasser Ibrahim - Ali Maaloul - Ahmed Fathi - Muhammad Hani - Rami Rabia.

Midfielders: Amr Al-Sulaya - Alio Diang - Hussein Al-Shahat - Ahmed Al-Sheikh - Walid Suleiman - Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim "Kahraba" - Geraldo - Mohamed Magdi "Afsha".

The attack: Marwan Mohsen - Junior Ajay - Aliyu Badji.

Al Ahly is testing their strength in the upcoming period by facing Al Masry, in the Egyptian League, Zamalek, in the Egyptian Super Cup, and Sundowns in the CAF Champions league's quarter final.
2/10/2020 8:58:53 AM
<![CDATA[Zamalek defeats Ismaily in Ismailia for the first time since 2006]]>
The White Knight defeated Al-Ismaili 2-0 in the 17th round of the Egyptian League.

Al-Ismaili first took the lead through Baher Al-Muhammadi from the penalty spot in the first half, before Zamalek turned the table to their favor with the goals of Youssef Ibrahim "Obama" and Mahmoud Alaa in the second half.

Before Sunday's confrontation, Zamalek had not been able to overthrow Ismaili at their home 14 years ago, specifically on September 26, 2006 when they won by the goal of Magdi Atwa.

Zamalek, led by Portuguese Manuel Kagoda, defeated Ismaili, coached by Mark Futah in the seventh round of the 2006-2007 season.

Zamalek raised their score to the 31st point in the third position, while Al-Ismaili balance stuck at 21st point in the ninth place after the second loss in a row.

Zamalek is now preparing to turn their sights on Qatar in order to face the Tunisian Esperance for the African Super.

An expected fiery confrontation that combines the White Knight with the Blood & Gold for the African Super Championship on the 14th of February.]]>
2/10/2020 8:52:54 AM
<![CDATA[Abidal believes Neymar would boost the Catalan giants]]>
In an interview with the Spanish sports newspaper Mundo Deportivo published on Saturday, Abidal shared the same opinion with that of Quique Setien, FC Barcelona’s manager, that Neymar would boost the performance of the Cataln giants.

"I totally agree. Setien would be proud to be able to coach a player like Neymar and the others here who are of such a high level," said Abidal, according to Goal.

However, Abidal believes that Neymar’s return to FC Barcelona won’t be an easy decision since it would be affecting the minutes that Ansu Fati, FC Barcelona youngster, will be getting in the future.

"That's why planning is not so easy. We may wish to have all the best players, but we can't make a mistake in the development of players,” added Abidal, reporting from Goal.

The Brazilian winger witnessed some of his best years at Barcelona from 2013 to 2017 winning several domestic titles as well as winning UEFA Champions League title in 2015 before joining PSG with a record fee of 222 million Euros.

Also, It is worth mentioning that the Brazilian International [Neymar] managed to score 241 goals and provide 150 assists in 396 games played with Santos FC, FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, according to transfermarkt.
2/9/2020 3:10:26 PM
<![CDATA[Audit report finds 'possible abuse of power' in CAF finances]]>
On Monday, the sport’s world governing body FIFA said it was ending its six-month intervention in African soccer’s ruling organisation, saying the mission to speed up the reform of football on the continent was “successfully completed”.

FIFA made a series of recommendations including changes to improve “good governance, financial management and internal procedures”.

The move came after a review of CAF’s finances by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), which was highly critical of how the African organisation’s finances had been managed.

A copy of the 55-page report has been seen by Reuters and outlines a series of concerns about CAF’s book-keeping.

“The accounting records of CAF are unreliable and not trustworthy,” said the PWC report.

“Based upon the procedures performed and documents reviewed, several red flags, potential elements of mismanagement and possible abuse of power were found in key areas of finance and operations of CAF.

“Given the serious nature of certain findings and red flags identified from the preliminary due-diligence, we cannot rule out the possibility of potential irregularities.”

Neither CAF nor FIFA immediately responded to requests for comment.

The report expressed particular concern about the amount of transactions which were carried out in cash and without the necessary supporting documentation.

“Large numbers of payments were made in cash, typically involving CAF issuing a “cheque to cash”, which is then spent by a CAF Staff,” it said.

“The use of cash for businesses expenses in this manner results in little or no audit trail to verify if the cash has been spent legitimately or not. These disbursements are often high value round sum amounts. (e.g. USD 215,000 spent in cash during General Assembly meeting in Ethiopia in March 2017).”

FIFA effectively took over the running of African football after the corruption scandals which consumed CAF last year, including allegations against the African soccer body’s president Ahmad Ahmad which he has denied.

FIFA confirmed at the time that Ahmad, a former cabinet minister in his native Madagascar, was being investigated by its ethics committee although he was not suspended.

Ahmad was also briefly detained and questioned by French authorities in June as part of a corruption investigation.

Fatma Samoura, FIFA’s secretary general, had been made “general delegate for Africa” as part of the intervention but her mandate has now ended.

PWC examined 40 payments from FIFA development funds totalling $10 million and found that 14 payments totalling $4.6 million (47%) had “no or insufficient supporting documentation to determine the beneficiary, purpose, and benefit for CAF”.

It said 21 payments totalling $3.6 million were considered “unusual or deemed higher risk” and that only five payments totalling $1.6 million had “sufficient documentation and appeared to be aligned to the described purpose.”

The joint FIFA-CAF task force looking into the running of the Cairo-based African body highlighted several areas that needed investigation.

In a recommendation document seen by Reuters, the task force said CAF needed to examine the lack of documentation for expenses, look in detail at the broadcast rights deals struck with France-based sports marketing company Lagardere and carry out due diligence into the use of FIFA funds for development programmes.

The task force also recommended CAF investigate possible “misappropriation of funds” linked to the Centre of Excellence in Mbankomo, Cameroon and conduct an inquiry into “hacking/email spoofs” which it said resulted in “attempted and/or executed fraudulent bank transfers” in order to “clarify the circumstances around the incidents to rule out insider involvement”.]]>
2/9/2020 1:53:00 PM
<![CDATA[Atletico get timely victory, Getafe make top-four statement]]>
Argentinian forward Angel Correa scored Atletico’s only goal in the sixth minute at the Wanda Metropolitano, netting for the fifth time in nine matches.

Atletico had goalkeeper Jan Oblak to thank for preserving the three points with a superb save from Roberto Soldado’s crafty second-half backheel.

Diego Simeone’s side could be overtaken on Sunday by Sevilla, who visit Celta Vigo, but the coach welcomed the return to form for a side who must face holders Liverpool in the last 16 of the Champions League later this month.

“We needed to win. Our stadium’s support was extraordinary, we needed that energy,” Simeone said.

Getafe took another step towards Champions League qualification as Jorge Molina scored twice in a sensational 3-0 win over fellow top-four contenders Valencia.

The 37-year-old Molina capped a storming performance with two goals in the second half before Jaime Mata added a third with three minutes left, after Valencia’s Alessandro Florenzi had been sent off.

Getafe stay third, three points ahead of Atletico and Sevilla.

Up next for Jose Bordalas’ side is a trip to Barcelona next weekend but on this evidence, it will be the stumbling Catalans feeling nervous ahead of that game.

Getafe face La Liga’s defending champions on the back of four consecutive victories, in which they have scored nine goals and conceded none.

They bullied Valencia from start to finish, faster to the ball and hungrier in the tackles with all three goals coming from Getafe’s players reacting quicker than their opponents.

“It was all shit, in defence and in attack,” said Valencia’s Gabriel Paulista. “We have to change today’s attitude. They have been more like men.”

After Barca, they will play Ajax in the Europa League.

Valencia, meanwhile, have won only four out of nine games since the turn of the year, with their own Champions League last 16 tie against Atalanta fast approaching.

Getafe had to wait until 13 minutes into the second for Molina’s opener. He slid the ball to Mata and then beat two Valencia defenders to the rebound from Jaume Domenech’s save.

Dani Parejo was at fault for the second as he gave the ball away in midfield and one pass set Molina free. He had three defenders to beat but somehow bundled through, a final pirouette making space for a smart finish.

Florenzi was sent off with 12 minutes left for a frustrated spear tackle from behind on Marc Cucurella before Mata made it three.

Villarreal were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid as well-travelled French forward Hartem Ben Arfa made his debut as a second-half substitute. - AFP

2/9/2020 1:51:43 PM
<![CDATA[Goals and assists from Everton's dynamic duo sink Palace]]>
The scintillating form has been in large part sparked by Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who Ancelotti has paired up front and who both scored — and provided each other with an assist — in Saturday’s 3-1 home win over Crystal Palace.

The Brazilian, set free by Calvert-Lewin’s flick on the halfway line, forced his way into the area and fired home after 51 minutes before returning the favour by setting up his strike partner’s late goal with a header off the bar into his path.

Calvert-Lewin’s 11 goals this season are the best by an English striker at Everton since Andy Johnson in 2006-07 and are clearly a product of the confidence he feels since Ancelotti and his assistant Duncan Ferguson took charge.

“I am enjoying playing with Richi (Richarlison), since Dunc (Ferguson) came in we have been a partnership - we work together, complement each other,” said Calvert-Lewin.

“It wasn’t the best performance from me but I got the goal, should have had another. We get on off the pitch as well.

“We knew how important it was today, back-to-back wins puts us in good stead going into the (winter) break. It’s good we won, it wasn’t the prettiest game but we dug in and won our individual battles.”

Everton are now seventh, five points off fourth-placed Chelsea whose inconsistency has raised questions about whether they can hang on to a Champions League qualification spot.

The only Everton player who let the pitch dissatisfied was goalkeeper Jordon Pickford who allowed Christian Benteke’s strike to go under his body for the equaliser.

England’s No. 1 described his error as “disgusting”.

“I was disappointed with myself. My studs got caught but I hold my hands up for that. I reset and I never let anything affect me. It shows my character,” Pickford said.

The goal was a personal milestone for Benteke, who had not scored for 1,476 minutes.

“This was the hardest moment of my career so far in England,” he said. “It hasn’t been easy but every week is another chance and today I took it. We didn’t win and we are in a really bad mood.”]]>
2/9/2020 1:48:11 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt loses AFCON Futsal Final ]]>
Morocco repeated their victory over the Pharaohs as the Lions of Atlas defeated Egypt in 2016 to win the title in South Africa.

However, Egypt and Morocco secured their spots at FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania alongside Angola who defeated Libya to win the bronze medal.

Egypt have had an amazing run at the competition as they secured the top spot at the group with three straight victories over Guinea, Angola and Mozambique.

At the semi-final, Egypt defeated Libya 5_1 to win qualification for the World Cup for the seventh time.

Egypt's best achievement at the tournament came in 2016 in Colombia when Egypt were knocked out of the competition at the quarter-finals.]]>
2/8/2020 2:56:46 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly want to face Mamelodi Sundowns at Cairo Stadium ]]>
Al-Ahly used to play CAF Champions League games at Al Salam Stadium with an all-seated capacity of 30,000 but the club board want to play at Cairo Stadium to receive support from 50,000 Al-Ahly passionate fans who will cheer for the club at this big game.

Al-Ahly, who finished the group stage as runners-up, will face South African giants, Mamelodi Sundowns, in a repeat of their clash at the same round last season, which witnessed a humiliating elimination for Al-Ahly. 

The Red Devils suffered a 5-0 loss at the first leg in South Africa and they could not bounce back at the second leg in Egypt which ended with a 1-0 win for Al-Ahly. 

The Red Devils have won a record 8 CAF Champions League titles and they aim to achieve the long-awaited title as the club last won the title in 2013.]]>
2/8/2020 1:56:45 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina qualify for Tokyo 2020 football tournament ]]>
Argentina opened the score at the first five minutes of the second half through Agustin Urzi and three minutes later Patricio Perez doubled the score for La Albicelestes.

Edwuin Cetre scored a goal for Colombia from the penalty spot after 70 minutes but Los Cafeteros failed to equalize the score at the remaining minutes.

Argentina won the tournament after achieving their second win at the final stage while Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia will battle for the other ticket.

The 10 South American teams took part in the early stage of the qualifiers, which see the teams divided into two groups.

Argentina and Colombia secured the top two spots of Group A while Brazil and Uruguay secured the top two spots at Group B to advance to the final stage.

Colombia and Uruguay, with one point each, will meet at Estadio Alfonso López in Colombia while Argentina will face Brazil, who gained two points from two draws, at the last final stage game. ]]>
2/7/2020 6:31:58 PM
<![CDATA[Guardiola urges Messi to stay at Barcelona ]]>
“He is a player for Barcelona, he will stay there, that is my wish. I am not going to talk about players for another club. I think he’s going to finish his career there, it’s my wish.” Guardiola said on Friday.

Abidal criticized Barcelona players’ for not working hard under former coach Ernesto Valverde and the Argentinean star hit back at him on Instagram.

This war brought to the surface concerns about the possibility of Messi’s departure away from the Catalan club who failed to win the UEFA Champions League title since 2015 and were knocked out of the last two editions with dramatic scenarios.

Guardiola was Barcelona’s manager during the Golden era of the Catalan team between 2009 and 2012, during which the club dominated the domestic football in Spain and won two UEFA Champions League titles. ]]>
2/7/2020 4:56:14 PM
<![CDATA[Trezeguet dreams of winning EFL Cup title ]]>
Trezeguet’s goal against Leicester won the club’s Goal of The Month award for January.

On 1 March, Aston Villa fans will pack Wembley stands to support their players who aim to achieve the club’s sixth title at the competition.

“Playing against Manchester City is very difficult and exhausting. You feel that you’re up against 22 players on the pitch. Of course, winning the cup with Aston Villa is a huge dream.” The Egyptian winger said.

The Egyptian winger joined the Villans last summer from Turkish side, Kasımpaşa, and since then he established himself as a key player for the team and earned a place in his fans’ hearts.

Trezeguet praised the massive support from Aston Villa fans, saying “They support us at the game if we win, lose or draw. They are always with us. I always want to make them happy and I hope we do lots of times between now and the end of the season."

Aston Villa players’ focus is on the two league games against Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton on 16 and 22 February respectively before shifting their focus to the Cup Final. ]]>
2/7/2020 3:25:32 PM