<![CDATA[rss-Sports]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Sports]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Perfect February revives Madrid's season ]]>
Real Madrid revived their fans’ hopes to achieve a title this season after poor results in the first half of the season.

Real Madrid started February at the fourth position at the Spanish League after bad results in January that increased the gap with the league leaders, Barcelona.
Real Madrid were also eliminated from the Spanish Cup after losing to Leganes at the quarter finals.

Real Madrid lost two points in their first game in February after a 2-2 away draw to Levante. This draw made the fans doubt the club’s ability to defeat France’s Paris Saint Germain at the UEFA Champions League’s round of 16.

Real Madrid players responded a week later in front of their fans with a stunning 5-2 victory over Real Sociedad; that victory boosted Real Madrid’s fans’ much needed confidence four days before the match against the Parisian giants at the UEFA Champions League.

The master scene in February was the game between Real Madrid and PSG when Real Madrid players managed to turn the game from a 1-0 loss to a 3-1 win; Real Madrid will travel to Paris to play the second leg on March 6 with a two point aggregate.

Real Madrid continued to win two away consecutive games against Real Betis 5-3 and Leganes 3-1 to return to the third place at the League and reduce the gap with Barcelona to 14 points.

2/23/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ireland team to face Wales in the Six Nations]]>
15-Rob Kearney, 14-Keith Earls, 13-Chris Farrell, 12-Bundee Aki, 11-Jacob Stockdale, 10-Johnny Sexton, 9-Conor Murray; 8-CJ Stander, 7-Dan Leavy, 6-Peter O'Mahony, 5-Devin Toner, 4-James Ryan, 3-Andrew Porter, 2-Rory Best (captain), 1-Cian Healy.

Replacements: 16-Sean Cronin, 17-Jack McGrath, 18-John Ryan, 19-Quinn Roux, 20-Jack Conan, 21-Kieran Marmion, 22-Joey Carbery, 23-Fergus McFadden.]]>
2/22/2018 11:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sergi Roberto renews his contract with Barcelona ]]>
“I have always wanted to be here, I have been a Barca fan since I was little, I have been at Barca for 12 years and my objective is to stay as long as possible,” Roberto told the press after signing his new contract.

Roberto, 26, is a Barcelona academy product and he spent all his life as a footballer inside the Catalan club. He joined the club academy when he was 14 and since then he established himself as one of the most promising talents at the club’s academy.

“Sergi is an example for many players. We are grateful for his patience, his perseverance. He's had and will have a lot of offers, but we're thankful that he's decided to stay here,” Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, told the press after Roberto signed his contract.

Roberto joined the first team in 2010 under Pep Guardiola and he struggled five years to earn a position at the starting line-up but in 2015, Roberto became one of the starters at Barcelona squad.

Roberto has achieved 13 titles with Barcelona including two UEGA Champions League titles in 2011 and 2015 and four Spanish League titles.
2/22/2018 10:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Gremio win Recopa Sudamericana ]]>
The first leg in Argentina ended with a 1-1 draw. Luan Vieira opened the score for Gremio before his teammate Bruno Cortez scored an own goal to end the game at a stalemate.

In the second leg, Gremio needed to achieve a victory to win the title as the away goals rule would not be used if the second leg also ended with a draw.

Everton Soares had a chance to score for Gremio as he dribbled past Independiente’s goalkeeper, Martín Campaña but the defense stopped the ball before crossing the line to keep the draw.

Independiente were the better side after Everton’s chance, Leandro Fernández’s shot was saved by Gremio’s goalkeeper, Marcelo Grohe.

Luan missed a chance to open the score for Gremio before the half time to end the first half with a goalless draw.

In the second half, Gremio dominated the game and the substitute, Jael Ferreira missed two chances to score while the visitors failed to create chances to score to end the regular time 0-0 and the game went to extra time.

Gremio kept their dominance at the extra time and had many attempts through Jael and Luan but Campaña saved all their attempts to end the extra time with a draw and take the game to penalties.

Gremio scored all their penalties while Martín Benítez missed Independiente’s last penalty to crown Gremio Recopa Sudamericana champions.

This was Gremio’s second title after their first win in 1995 when they also defeated Independiente 4-1. ]]>
2/22/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Oeberg crowns Sweden fightback fit for a king]]>
In tough weather conditions, the 15km individual Olympic biathlon champion sliced through the pack, shooting accurately and skiing brilliantly to return to the podium at the Pyeongchang Games alongside her relay team mates.

"She's very good, quite simply, that's it, fantastic," the king said.

Having seen her claim an individual gold medal, Oeberg's team mates believed in her ability to turn the race around despite the windy and snowy conditions, but they were by no means sure she could pull it off.

"I had hope, when she exchanged it was just under a minute and I know Hanna is in super form. I couldn't let myself believe that it would go this well," Mona Brorsson told Reuters.

"I was in getting changed and I didn't have so much hope for the last leg, I didn't know where she was at the exchange, and there was a gap to the top and they had good racers on the last leg too," Anna Magnusson said.

"Then when Hanna left the last shoot in third place, I thought we're going to get a medal, she's not going to let this go. I felt safe in that," Magnusson added.

Lead-off racer Linn Persson had perhaps the worst weather conditions to contend with.

"It was tough, it was hard. Especially on the shooting range I felt the wind was blowing a lot," she said.

But Oeberg, who shot to stardom in her home country following her win in the individual race, never doubted that she could close the gap.

"I believed that it was possible. I saw the relay earlier and I saw that there was big swings earlier in the race. When I went out I thought I'd do all I could and if I can focus on the shooting range it could take us far," Oeberg told Reuters.

"Maybe I didn't believe that it would take us all the way to a medal, but when I went out after the last shoot, it was just a case of going for it" she added.

In doing so, she completed a comeback fit for a king.

"It looked so difficult, it looked very hard, but we were saying in this group that I was standing with that you can never give up," the king said after congratulating Sweden's medal winners. "There's always a chance in this sport." ]]>
2/22/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Stoke must turn performances into points, says Lambert]]>
Stoke are 19th in the league and without a victory since they overcame Huddersfield Town in Lambert's first game in charge last month.

They were close to recording a win last time out against Brighton and Hove Albion but Charlie Adam's late penalty was saved.

"I'm delighted with the effort they've shown in training and games," Lambert told reporters on Thursday.

"We've looked as though we can win games and we look as though we can really compete, which is really pleasing.

"We have to be ready (for a fight). As long as the players realise that, they will be fine. As long as they think they can win games and have the belief they can win games and the boys know what they're doing, then we'll be fine."

Lambert confirmed Peter Crouch (ankle) and Stephen Ireland (calf) will remain on the sidelines for Saturday's league trip to Leicester City, although Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi returns to the squad having recovered from a leg injury.

The manager could also hand a first-team debut to 18-year-old Tyrese Campbell, who has scored 12 goals in 15 appearances at Under-23 level this season, three of which came in a 4-1 win over Fulham last weekend.

"Age doesn't concern me, what concerns me most is a player's ability, so if he (Campbell) is good enough then I will throw him in - that is how I see it," he added.

"I needed a manager to throw me in when I was young and without the belief of a manager I would never have got my opportunity." ]]>
2/22/2018 6:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mido to coach PSG youth team ]]>
“There are negotiations going on, it might happen very soon,” Mido told Kingfut on Wednesday.

Mido, 34, has experienced French football when he played at Paris Saint Germain’s rivals, Marseille, in 2004. He wore the club’s jersey at 34 games scoring nine goals according to transfermarkt.com.

“I have rejected an offer to manage a Saudi Arabian club to focus on my negotiations with PSG,” Mido told “Everyday Football” program.
Mido has spent more than 10 years playing in Europe. He represented many big clubs in Europe like Ajax Amsterdam, AS Roma, Tottenham Hotspurs, Celta Vigo and Marseille.

Mido has started coaching in Egypt after his retirement in 2013 and he managed Zamalek, Ismaily and Wadi Degla.

If the deal is sealed, Mido will be the second Egyptian manager to work in Europe after Hany Ramzy who managed Belgium’s Lierse in 2013.
2/22/2018 5:52:09 PM
<![CDATA[American Lamoureux sisters spell double trouble for Canada]]>
In fact it was just double-trouble afflicting them in the form of identical twin sisters Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux.

The siblings from Grand Forks, North Dakota, accounted for two crucial goals in a sweet win for the Americans over their arch-rivals.

Coming into the game, both sisters were plenty tired of silver medals, of which they each have two from stinging defeats by the Canadians in Sochi and Vancouver.

Monique, whose married name is Lamoureux-Morando, was the Canadians' first big headache when she tied the game at 2-2 on a breakaway off a feed from Kelly Pannek with a little over six minutes remaining.

"It was towards the end of my shift and they were going for a change I think, and she (Pannek) turned and fired it, didn't even look and put it right on the money, and I went in on a breakaway and was able to put it in the back of the net," she said.

"I was going high glove, it didn't go high glove but it went in, so I don't care."

When the Canadians could not answer the game went to overtime and from there to a shootout.

The score was still deadlocked after the first five rounds of the shootout and then it was Jocelyne's turn.

"I was told when the fourth shooter was going that I was going to be sixth if it came down to that," said Jocelyne, whose married last name is Lamoureux-Davidson. "So I stopped watching after that to be honest."

"I just came in slow, took a few inside edges, glad I didn't blow an edge on that. I knew that was the move I was going to do. It worked against Russia. Going to my backhand I just brought back to my forehand, I knew when that went in that Maddie was going to stop the next one."

Indeed, goaltender Maddie Rooney did stop the next one.

"Our journey has certainly been unique, but it's always been the two of us," Monique said. "I can't imagine what it would be like not to have her next to me on the ice, and we've pushed each other and we wouldn't be where we are without the other."

"So to have your best friend with you through all the good times and the bad times and to win in the way we did makes it special."]]>
2/22/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Schulting wins gold in women's 1000 metres short track]]>
Italy's Arianna Fontana, who won the gold in women's 500 metres, took bronze in the final, which featured a dramatic wipeout by the two South Korean favourites, Shim Sukhee and Choi Minjeong.

As they rounded the second-to-last turn and were attempting a move up from their positions at the rear of the pack, they bumped into one another slid into the sidewall. Shim was assessed a penalty for impeding.

"At the end we got tangled, and I think then we fell down," Shim said. "I feel sorry for that and at that moment I was worried if Minjeong got hurt. She said she’s OK, but I still feel sorry for her."

Choi won the gold in women's 1,500 metres.

Schulting, who finished seventh in 1,500 metres, led from about the midway point after jockeying back and forth with Boutin in the early laps.

Fontana held on in third while the two Koreans were positioned at the back after they made an early attempt to move up on the inside, but it did not pan out.

"It feels great. I didn’t think it could be possible, you know the 1,000 metre is not my best race, but today I started good and I felt good," Fontana said.

For Boutin, the result was a step up from her two previous bronze finishes in the women's 500 and 1,500 metres.]]>
2/22/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Salah is one of the best players in the world, Totti]]>“The level he is playing at at the moment, he is one of the best players in the world and I think he can and will get even better,” Totti told The Mirror on Thursday.

Salah shared Roma’s dressing room with the club’s legend, Totti between August 2015 and June 2017 when Salah left Roma to join Liverpool while Totti announced his retirement after being a senior player for Roma for 25 years.

Totti added “I know him well; he is a good friend and wants to keep ­improving, to keep ­getting better as a player.”

Salah scored a goal to lead Liverpool to 5-0 victory over Porto in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg in Portugal.

Totti believes in Liverpool’s chances to win the Champions League because they have a player like Salah, he said, “there are more complete teams in the competition but when you have a player like him, you start to believe anything is possible. He is one of those players who can make the difference in the big games.”
2/22/2018 4:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona's Pique in the clear for derby celebration]]>
The Spanish football federation (RFEF) said on Thursday it had ended its investigation into the defender.

Pique said he had suffered abusive chants throughout the match on Feb. 4 and that "telling the crowd to be quiet was the least I could do".

His behaviour, however, was criticised by La Liga's president Javier Tebas, who said it provoked Espanyol's fans.

Following the incident, the Spanish top flight said from now on it would ask the federation to investigate overzealous celebrations from players.

The RFEF criticised Pique's behaviour, but said there was no case to answer.

"The player's words don't contribute to a model of prudence and don't help consolidate sport as a space exempt from social confrontation," said a statement from the Federation's Competition Committee.

Before the game Pique taunted Espanyol's credentials by saying they were from the municipality Cornella and not the city of Barcelona, prompting an angry response from the club and the town hall of Cornella.]]>
2/22/2018 3:23:18 PM
<![CDATA[Huddersfield's survival hinges on reaction to defeats - Wagner]]>
Huddersfield snapped a run of five league losses with a 4-1 victory over Bournemouth in their last game. They have 27 points to sit one spot above the drop zone and face six bottom-half sides in their next seven games.

"We know we have a chance to stay up and the most important thing will be how we deal with defeats, because we'll have some defeats in the next 11 games," Wagner said.

"There are fixtures that are more winnable than others and maybe our advantage is that we're so calm and so clear in our head," the German added.

"We know where we've come from and we can be focused on what we have to do, rather than contend with all the other talk that maybe other teams who are in our situation have to deal with."

Huddersfield's first top-flight season in 45 years began strongly but inconsistency has plagued the West Yorkshire club.

They also take on Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal in the coming weeks.

"I'm excited to see where this will end. It feels a little bit like the last few months of last season in the Championship when I was very proud of what the players had done."

Huddersfield travel to basement side West Bromwich Albion in the league on Saturday.]]>
2/22/2018 3:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek seeks 5th consecutive victory against Al Nasr]]>
Zamalek’s manager, Ihab Galal, will depend on a massive attacking line of Kasongo Kabongo, Mohamed Antar, Abdallah Gomaa and Emad Fathi.

Zamalek’s fans are putting all their hopes on the club’s top goal scorer in the league, Kasongo, to lead the team to achieve their fifth consecutive victory after defeating Tanta, Smouha, Wadi Degla and Petrojet.

Kasongo scored seven goals with the club including two goals against Petrojet last week.

“They do not have anything to lose as they are at the bottom of the table. We should give everything on the pitch to keep our amazing run,” Galal told the press on Wednesday.

On the other hand, Al Nasr hopes to recover from their 5-0 loss to Al-Ahly last week by securing a strong result against Zamalek. “We are facing difficult circumstances as many players are suffering from injuries and we were forced to give the chance to players from the youth team,” Al Nasr’s manager, Sayed Eid, told the press ahead of the game.

Zamalek are competing with Ismaily and Al-Masry to secure the second place in the League in order to qualify to the CAF Champions League next season.

Zamalek currently comes third at the Egyptian League table with 45 points; they are one point behind the second-placed, Ismaily, and 21 points behind the leaders, Al-Ahly.
2/22/2018 2:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[We will keep fighting in La Liga: Ramos ]]>CAIRO – 21 February 2018: Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos revealed on Wednesday that his team will fight until the end to achieve the league title after defeating Leganes 3-1 to reduce the gap with the leaders, Barcelona, to 14 points.

“We've turned things around and we're achieving our objectives little by little. We will keep fighting in La Liga and will try to cut the gap by as many points as possible,” Ramos told press after the game.

Real Madrid returned from a 1-0 loss after five minutes to win the game 3-1, with Ramos scoring the third goal through a penalty.

Ramos added, “These victories always help to boost morale. Despite the bad results, this is the path to follow and we will keep improving and trying to concede as few goals as possible.”

Ramos will miss Madrid’s upcoming game against Deportivo Alaves, as he is suspended for yellow card accumulation after getting a yellow card against Leganes.

Real Madrid are having an amazing week, as they achieved three consecutive victories. They defeated Paris Saint Germain 3-1 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday before defeating Real Betis 5-2 on Sunday night, followed by their 3-1 victory over Leganes on Wednesday. ]]>
2/22/2018 1:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mourinho promises 'big night' after Seville stalemate]]>
United's goalless draw away to the Spanish side in Wednesday's first leg means the three-times European champions are obliged to win the return game if they are to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2014.

"We now have one match to decide everything at Old Trafford. For sure, Old Trafford misses knockout Champions League. So I think Old Trafford needs a big Champions League night, and that's going to happen," Mourinho told reporters.

The club's last appearance in the Champions League knockout stage was when they faced down a two-goal deficit and beat Greek side Olympiakos 3-0 at Old Trafford in 2014.

They were beaten by Bayern Munich in the next round and have not been to the knockout phase in the competition since.

On Wednesday, Mourinho defended his side's cautious approach in the atmospheric Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, saying his team had controlled the game even though Sevilla created more chances.

"The only moment where we felt relieved was when they had a couple of chances and David (De Gea) made two great saves," added Mourinho.

"That gave this fantastic stadium the emotion they normally have for 90 minutes. Apart from that, the game was even."

The Spanish side have some concerns heading into the second leg. They have lost just once in all competitions at home in the last 15 months and gave a typically bold display in front of their boisterous supporters but could not take their chances.

Sevilla, however, have lost every away game to Spain's top four this season and during last year's Champions League campaign were eliminated by Leicester City when they lost the second leg away 2-0 after a 2-1 success at home.

Their coach Vincenzo Montella did not hide his disappointment they could not take an advantage into the return leg in Manchester on March 13.

"We created enough chances to score a goal or two so I'm a little sad but we have to be pleased with our performance," said the Italian.

Defender Gabriel Mercado added that they would be working on ways to break down De Gea at Old Trafford.

"De Gea is a very difficult goalkeeper to beat but we'll try to get past him in the return leg," added the defender. "They will take the initiative in the second leg but we usually want to play our part and we'll try to own the game.

"We're 90 minutes from doing something historic."]]>
2/22/2018 12:36:07 PM
<![CDATA[Plumlee set to rejoin Nuggets; Millsap close behind, too]]>
Paul Millsap, sidelined since having left wrist surgery in November, isn't certain of his return date, but Mason Plumlee, out since late January with a calf injury, expects to play Friday when the Nuggets return to action against the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

"It's just great to have those guys back," coach Michael Malone told the Denver Post. "We'll figure out who plays and when they play, but being healthy with 24 games to go (is) a good thing to be."

Millsap probably won't play this week, and his initial action likely will be as a sub, the Post reported.

"Hopefully (I can play) pretty soon," Millsap said. "It feels good now. We'll see how it feels in the morning or after (Thursday's) practice, and we'll go from there. My intention was to come right back after the All-Star break and get into it, but we have to be smart about it. This was my first practice today, full contact, and I have to be smart about my wrist and my body."

Millsap was an All-Star each of the past four seasons while playing for the Atlanta Hawks before signing with Denver as a free agent last July. Through 16 games for the Nuggets, he is averaging 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 steals.

Plumlee, in his second season with Denver, has played 50 games this season, making 26 starts. He is averaging 7.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.2 blocks.

Malone acknowledged that reintroducing Millsap and Plumlee to the rotation could involve a delicate balance with the Nuggets on a hot streak. Denver won six of its last seven games before the break, posting a minimum of 115 points in those six victories.

"It's a good thing. It's also a challenging thing," Malone said of the return of Millsap and Plumlee. "You look at our offensive numbers in the month of February -- I've never seen numbers like that. Now, unfortunately, our defensive numbers are just as bad as our offense is good. That's where you miss Mason and Paul. People don't understand the impact both of those guys have."]]>
2/22/2018 11:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt to face Belgium in June]]>
Egypt has a great record against Belgium, as they met twice before in friendly games and the Egyptian national team managed to achieve the victory in both of them.

The first one was in 1999 in Wembley Stadium in London and the game ended with a 1-0 victory for the Pharaohs thanks to a goal from Hazem Imam.

The second game was in 2005 in Cairo when Egypt defeated their visitors 4-0. Emad Motaeb scored two goals, while Ahmed Eid and Osama Hosny added the other two goals.

EFA are still working on reaching an agreement with other national teams to play friendly games before the World Cup.

Egypt will play against Portugal and Greece during FIFA International break in March.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the host nation, Russia. Egypt opens their participation against Uruguay on June 15.

2/22/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[CSKA beat Red Star 1-0 to reach Europa League last 16]]>
Livewire Dzagoev sealed the contest on the stroke of halftime with a simple close-range finish after a flowing move, with midfielder Konstantin Kuchaev teeing him up with a fine low cross from the left.

CSKA, who won the UEFA Cup in 2005, dominated on a freezing evening against 1991 European Cup winners Red Star and could have won by a bigger margin, but for some poor finishing and good saves by Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan.

Kuchaev shot just wide of the far post from 10 metres with Borjan stranded in the 35th minute and Brazilian Vitinho fired over the bar from long range in the 44th before Dzagoev broke the deadlock.

Kuchaev took a crossfield pass in his stride and curled in a perfect pass for Dzagoev, whose tap-in gave Borjan no chance.

Vitinho fired another fizzing shot over the bar and Borjan superbly kept out a Dzagoev header in the second half before Red Star nearly made the Russian side pay for their misses.

Aleksandar Pesic skewed his shot wide from five metres after a cross from the right in the 81st minute and strike partner El Fardou Ben Nabouhane volleyed wide of the far post in the 90th.

The other return legs will be played on Thursday, with Borussia Dortmund defending a 3-2 lead against Atalanta as they visit the Italian side while Celtic will carry a 1-0 advantage to Zenit St Petersburg.

RB Leipzig are at home to Napoli after winning the first leg in Italy 3-1 and Arsenal should have a simple task against Oestersunds following a 3-0 win in Sweden.]]>
2/21/2018 11:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool's Firmino cleared by FA over Holgate clash]]>
English soccer's governing body said the evidence was not sufficient to raise a charge against the Brazil forward after he clashed with Holgate during the third round tie.

Holgate pushed Firmino, 26, into the advertising hoardings in the 40th minute of the Merseyside derby and the Liverpool forward reacted by verbally abusing Everton's 21-year-old English defender.

An animated Holgate, who is mixed-race, then complained to referee Bobby Madley about Firmino's comments.

"Following a detailed investigation into an allegation of discriminatory conduct against Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino by Everton’s Mason Holgate, The FA can confirm that it will not be taking any disciplinary action against Firmino," the FA said in a statement.

The governing body also said they were completely satisfied that the allegation was made in good faith by Holgate and there was no suggestion of it being "intentionally false or malicious".

The FA said it took statements from 12 players and officials from both teams, the match referee and the fourth official. None of those interviewed heard the words alleged to have been said by Firmino, the FA added.

"As part of the investigation, The FA sought the assistance of a Brazilian/Portuguese linguistic specialist on the words alleged," the FA statement said.

"In addition to this, we also obtained multiple angles of video footage, including broadcast and unseen footage showing the incident, which was assessed by two independent Portuguese speaking lip-reading experts."

Liverpool won the game 2-1.]]>
2/21/2018 10:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ungainly but hugely effective Mueller back to his best]]>
There was nothing spectacular about either of Mueller's two goals in Bayern's 5-0 Champions League win over the Turkish champions, and the first was downright scrappy, but the 28-year-old has never been noted for his elegance.

"The first goal was typical Mueller," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who has been credited with Mueller's revival since returning for a fourth stint at the club in October.

"It's interesting how players prepare for these sort of games. Thomas takes it to another level, he knows that a special performance is needed in the Champions League.

"Had he not got injured, he would have a lot more goals. He is performing well and he motivates the others. He's important for our system and not just because of the goals. He's also important for the vertical game."

Mueller, joint top-scorer at the 2010 World Cup, does not conform to the footballer's stereotype.

He stumbles rather than glides past opponents, his ungroomed floppy hair has not changed in years, he has unusually skinny legs and he eschews tattoos. His wife is an amateur dressage rider rather than a model or actress.

A one-club player, Mueller's name rarely pops up for any of the plethora of awards on the football calendar, but he has an uncanny notion of space and is always in the right place.

In terms of titles, Mueller is one of the sport's most successful players with one World Cup, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, six Bundesliga and four German Cup titles to his name.

The last two seasons, however, have not been his best.

He failed to get on the scoresheet during Euro 2016 and scored a modest nine goals in all competitions last season - the first time in his career he has failed to reach double figures in a full campaign.

Then, in August, Ancelotti did the unthinkable and dropped him for a match at Werder Bremen.

Predictably, that sparked a huge debate and Mueller himself had a dig.

"I don't know exactly which qualities the coach wants to see," he said. "But mine seem not to be 100 percent in demand."

There was even talk of a transfer.

Ancelotti was fired in September, however, and replaced by Heynckes who has once again brought out the best in the enigmatic forward, as he did back in Bayern's treble winning season in 2012-13.

"He can score goals out of nothing - like the 1-0," said Heynckes. "With his speed and reactions, he's often in the right place and that makes him unique. That's the real Mueller." ]]>
2/21/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[El-Makkasa fails to reach CAF Champions League round of 32 ]]>El-Makkasa’s first participation at the competition ended, as the first leg in Senegal ended with 2-0 victory for the Senegalese team.

This game was el-Makkasa’s first game under their new manager, Talaat Youssef, the successor of Emad Soliman, who resigned after poor results.
The hosts failed to create many chances to score during the whole game and the visitors’ defense stopped all of el-Makkasa’s attempts to score.

El-Makkasa’s most dangerous attempt in the game came after an hour, but the Senegalese goalkeeper saved Mohamed Mosaad’s shot.

Mohamed Mosaad was tackled five minutes later inside the visitors’, box but the referee did not get him a penalty.

Al-Ahly became the only Egyptian team at the competition, and they will play against Gabon’s CF Mounana at round of 32.

The first game is scheduled on March 6 in Cairo, and the second leg will be played 10 days later in Gabon.
2/21/2018 9:38:34 PM
<![CDATA[Ozil, Ramsey to miss Arsenal's Europa tie against Ostersunds]]>
Wenger took close to a full-strength squad to Sweden for the first leg which his side won 3-0 last week and will look to give his younger players some game time on Thursday.

Ozil and Ramsey were involved in first team training on Wednesday but Wenger said the Germany playmaker had struggled with illness this week while the Wales international needs more time prove his fitness after returning from a groin injury.

"He (Ozil) was in bed Monday, Tuesday for sickness," Wenger told a news conference. "I would certainly have played him, but because he was sick he will have to work hard tomorrow and will not be involved.

"Ramsey's not in the squad tomorrow, he had a good training session. We will see how his evolution goes between now and (the League Cup final on) Sunday. I don't rule him out."

Wenger confirmed Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be given the responsibility of producing chances going forward in the absence of Ozil, and Danny Welbeck will start up front.

Goalkeeper David Ospina, who has been picked for the majority of Arsenal's matches in cup competitions this season, will keep his place ahead of first-choice Petr Cech.

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, and need to finish the season in top-four or win the Europa League to qualify for next season's Champions League.

When Wenger was asked whether he would prioritise the Europa League as Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho did last term, the Frenchman replied: "He did that much later, once they were in the semi-finals.

"We have to focus on the Premier League. It (Europa League) is one of the priorities we have. We are focused to do well. But ideally we want to come back to the Champions League through the Premier League."]]>
2/21/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek asks to play their African games in Suez ]]>
Zamalek decided earlier to play their home games at Cairo Stadium, Borg El Arab Stadium and Petro Sport Stadium.

Zamalek’s coaching staff was happy with the stadium’s condition, as the stadium hosted Zamalek’s 3-1 victory over Petrojet in the Egyptian League on Monday.

Zamalek asked the Egyptian Football Federation to inform the officials to allow 25,000 Zamalek fans to attend the club’s African games.

Zamalek will play against the winner between Ethiopia’s Welayta Dicha and Zanzibar’s Zimamoto. The first leg in Zanzibar ended with a 1-1 draw.

The Egyptian Football Federation revealed on Wednesday that the officials will allow 25,000 fans to attend games for all the Egyptian teams participating in African competitions.

Zamalek qualified to the CAF Confederation Cup after placing third in the league last season.
2/21/2018 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Further frustration for Cannavaro as Guangzhou held again]]>
Neither side could find the back of the net in a tense encounter. It means the Italian World Cup winner has yet to steer his team to a win since returning to the club ahead of the new Chinese Super League (CSL) season.

"We prepared very carefully for this game and the team showed outstanding spirit," said Cannavaro.

"What matters most is that we created so many opportunities, but we only have two points."

Guangzhou struggled with a lack of fluency and it was Cerezo who looked the more likely to take all three points with a strong finish inspired by substitute Yoichiro Kakitani.

But the seven-times CSL champions did enough to take a point which leaves them in third place in Group G, two points adrift of leaders Cerezo and one behind South Korea's Jeju United, who handed Buriram United a 2-0 defeat in Thailand.

Japan's Kashima Antlers impressed in their 2-1 win over Suwon Bluewings in which Dejan Damjanovic missed a penalty for the South Korean side. Mu Kanazaki claimed both of the goals to put the J League club top of Group H.

Sydney FC, meanwhile, rebounded from their disappointing opening day performance against Suwon to claim a 2-2 draw with Shanghai Shenhua, although Graham Arnold's side remain bottom of the group.

"It was a much better performance today compared to the first game," said Alex Brosque, who scored Sydney's second and also hit the crossbar in the first half.

"We played a lot better and we moved the ball around a lot more and we had more of the chances. On another night I think we get four or five but it was just that goal was missing."

Al Hilal sacked head coach Ramon Diaz after the Argentine's side lost 1-0 to Iran's Esteghlal in Group D.

Diaz led the Saudi Arabian team to the final of last year's tournament in November where they lost to Urawa Reds. However, Abdullah Al Hafith's own goal just after the restart gave the side from Tehran all three points to leave Al Hilal bottom.

Esteghlal are top of the group with four points, one more than Qatar's Al Rayyan and Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates, who shared a 1-1 draw.

Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice as Al Sadd of Qatar moved to the top of Group C with a perfect record as they downed last year's semi-finalists, Persepolis of Iran, 3-1. Uzbekistan's Nasaf Qarshi secured their first win of the campaign with a 1-0 victory over Al Wasl from the UAE.]]>
2/21/2018 7:47:49 PM
<![CDATA[Al Hilal sacks Diaz after losing to Iran's Esteghlal ]]>
Al Hilal, who lost last season’s AFC Champions League final, are suffering this season at the competition. They are at the bottom of their group after a draw against Al Ain and a loss to Esteghlal.

Diaz, 58, was appointed Al Hilal manager on October 15, 2016 and since then established his team as the best team in the country, as they achieved the 2017 league title after five years of absence and the 2017 King’s Cup title.
Diaz also led Al Hilal to the 2017 AFC Champions League final, when they lost the title to Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds.

Diaz’s sacking was a shock to Al Hilal fans, as it came five fixtures from the league end, where they are on top, four points ahead of the second-placed Al Ahly.

Diaz managed Al Hilal in 65 games; they won 52 games, ended 7 games with a draw and lost only six. The team kept an unbeaten run from December 26, 2016 until November 25, 2017.
2/21/2018 7:41:45 PM
<![CDATA[EBF organizes 3X3 Egypt’s International Championship]]>
The first stage of the championship will be held on March 2 and 3 at Smouha Sports Club in Alexandria, while the second stage will be held on 16 and 17 of the same month at Al Shams Club in Cairo. The third stage will be held on March 23 and 24 at Al Zohor club in Cairo as well.

A three-pointer and Slam Dunk contests will be held in the third stage only for those who wish to participate in a nominal subscription fee. The team plays in one of the first or second stages, and the top four teams will qualify to the third stage, according to the Egyptian Basketball Federation’s official website.

The 3X3 national team will take part in the Mediterranean Games in Spain from June 22 to July 1 this year, in addition to the participation of the youth teams for boys and girls also in the African Games for Youth in Algeria from July 19 to 28, 2018.
2/21/2018 4:57:19 PM
<![CDATA[Ospina likely to start for Arsenal in League Cup final, says Cech]]>
Ospina, 29, has played in all but one of Arsenal's League Cup matches this campaign and Cech, who has featured in all 27 of the club's Premier League games, expects his Colombian counterpart will continue in goal against City.

"At the start it was clear that it was going to be like that," Cech told British media when asked if Ospina would play in the final.

"I will be there with the team supporting but I don't expect to play. It is always hard to watch any game from the bench or even from the stand if you are not selected.

"As a player, you always want to be involved.

"But obviously you are in a professional club where there are 25 top players and the manager always makes his choices for the game and you need to accept that."

Ospina has also been Arsenal's first-choice keeper in the Europa League and is likely to start in Thursday's second-leg of their last-32 tie against Ostersunds.

"Going to Wembley is special, the atmosphere and the occasion is special," Ospina told Arsenal's matchday programme.

"I'd like to play every week but I respect the manager's decision.

"You have to prepare as though you're going to play every game. It can be tough to play maybe a couple of games a month, especially when they are as big as this one.

"You just need to focus and be ready. I have a very good relationship with Petr, and that helps."]]>
2/21/2018 2:24:19 PM
<![CDATA[Ungainly but hugely effective Mueller back to his best]]>
There was nothing spectacular about either of Mueller's two goals in Bayern's 5-0 Champions League win over the Turkish champions, and the first was downright scrappy, but the 28-year-old has never been noted for his elegance.

"The first goal was typical Mueller," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who has been credited with Mueller's revival since returning for a fourth stint at the club in October.

"It's interesting how players prepare for these sort of games. Thomas takes it to another level, he knows that a special performance is needed in the Champions League.

"Had he not got injured, he would have a lot more goals. He is performing well and he motivates the others. He's important for our system and not just because of the goals. He's also important for the vertical game."

Mueller, joint top-scorer at the 2010 World Cup, does not conform to the footballer's stereotype.

He stumbles rather than glides past opponents, his ungroomed floppy hair has not changed in years, he has unusually skinny legs and he eschews tattoos. His wife is an amateur dressage rider rather than a model or actress.

A one-club player, Mueller's name rarely pops up for any of the plethora of awards on the football calendar, but he has an uncanny notion of space and is always in the right place.

In terms of titles, Mueller is one of the sport's most successful players with one World Cup, one Champions League, one Club World Cup, six Bundesliga and four German Cup titles to his name.

The last two seasons, however, have not been his best.

He failed to get on the scoresheet during Euro 2016 and scored a modest nine goals in all competitions last season - the first time in his career he has failed to reach double figures in a full campaign.

Then, in August, Ancelotti did the unthinkable and dropped him for a match at Werder Bremen.

Predictably, that sparked a huge debate and Mueller himself had a dig.

"I don't know exactly which qualities the coach wants to see," he said. "But mine seem not to be 100 percent in demand."

There was even talk of a transfer.

Ancelotti was fired in September, however, and replaced by Heynckes who has once again brought out the best in the enigmatic forward, as he did back in Bayern's treble winning season in 2012-13.

"He can score goals out of nothing - like the 1-0," said Heynckes. "With his speed and reactions, he's often in the right place and that makes him unique. That's the real Mueller."]]>
2/21/2018 1:59:44 PM
<![CDATA[Tottenham can fulfil Champions League dream, says Moura]]>
The north London outfit are unbeaten in Europe this season, finishing top of their group, and earned a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Italian champions Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 tie in Turin last week.

Brazilian midfielder Moura, who joined Spurs from Paris St Germain last month, urged his team mates to maintain their momentum.

"I am 25 years old but I think I gained a lot of experience with PSG and I think I can help Tottenham. I think we have a lot of quality and a great structure...," Moura told British media.

"The Champions League is the most difficult cup but I think we have the capacity to win it if we always think in positives and always work hard.

"We did a big game against Juventus away. It was a good result in Italy and I am sure we can do a good game with our fans and continue. It's always important to win. Every player wants to win trophies... and I think we can dream with the Champions League."

Tottenham are competing in the Champions League for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign, when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by 12-time winners Real Madrid.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino's side play Crystal Palace and Huddersfield Town in the league and host an FA Cup replay against Rochdale before the return leg of their Champions League tie against Juventus on March 7. ]]>
2/21/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Real's Modric, Marcelo risk missing PSG visit through injury]]>
Marcelo was one of Real's best performers in the 3-1 win at the Santiago Bernabeu last week and scored the final goal of the game to give them a two-goal cushion in the tie.

He was forced off, however, during his side's 5-3 win at Real Betis on Sunday with a hamstring injury.

Real released a statement on Tuesday confirming the player had injured his right hamstring and said Modric, who played against PSG but was an unused substitute against Betis, had the same injury.

As is customary at Real, the club did not reveal how long either player would be out of action although Spanish newspaper Marca said there was a possibility both players could return in time for the second leg at the Parc des Princes on March 6.

Real coach Zidane told a news conference ahead of his side's Liga game against Leganes on Wednesday that he was optimistic about Modric.


"He has sustained a hamstring problem which is why he didn't train and he is focusing on recovering as quickly as possible," Zidane said.

"I think it's a small problem and as always I have every faith in everyone that works here, the doctors and physios, that they will ensure he returns quickly."

Modric and Marcelo have been ruled out of Wednesday's game away to Leganes along with German midfielder Toni Kroos, who is nursing a knee injury sustained after the first leg against PSG.

Real are fourth in the Liga standings on 45 points, 17 behind leaders Barcelona, but victory over Leganes would lift them above Valencia and into third place.

Leganes, who are 13th, are in their second season in Spain's top flight and knocked Real out of the King's Cup in the quarter-finals last month, before eventually losing to Sevilla in the semis.
2/21/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[World Cup to visit Egypt in March]]>

The World Cup tour includes 91 cities and 51 countries on six continents to give millions around the world the chance to be prepared for the world's biggest sports tournament.

The trophy will be a guest of Egypt after Ivory Coast and will then leave for Napoli, Italy for a quick European tour before cutting thousands of miles to land in Argentina, according to Youm7.

Egyptian Minister of Sports and Youth Khaled Abdel Aziz commented on the World Cup visit, saying, "We are proud of the World Cup trophy visit to Egypt this year, especially after our national team had qualified for this year's tournament in Russia. The national team was able to ignite the enthusiasm of Egyptians to achieve a long-awaited dream of 28 years and look forward to seeing the team exert their utmost efforts during the World Cup. "

"Egypt has finally managed to qualify for the World Cup after a 28-year wait," said Karim Salah El Din, general manager of the World Cup sponsor. "When Egyptians unite, they make history, and 2018 will witness Egyptians standing side by side in the World Cup,” he added.

"Although it is not the first time that the trophy has visited Egypt, the qualification of the national team for the World Cup will give the visit a different flavor, as Egyptians will prepare to enjoy the game of football by watching the most important symbols of victory, which is the trophy,” Salah El Din said.

Egypt has qualified to the 2018 World Cup after 28 years of absence, having last participated in the 1990 edition, which was held in Italy. The Pharaohs managed to join the qualified teams to the 2018 World Cup from the fifth round of the African qualifiers, as the team led its group, which included Uganda, Ghana and Congo.
2/20/2018 5:46:49 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool's Salah credits manager Klopp for goal rush]]>
Salah has netted 30 goals in 36 matches across all competitions in his debut season at Liverpool, and is the league's second highest goalscorer with 22 goals to his name, one fewer than Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane.

"With the boss here, I play a little bit closer to the goal, more so than at any other club or more than any of my other coaches have asked me to," Salah told Liverpool's official matchday programme.

"So I am always in front of the goal to give me the opportunity to score. The manager is always telling me to stay close to the goal in training.

"I don't want to say too much because we still have a long way to go in the season and I don't want to give too much away. But yes, it's something we have worked on in the training sessions."

The 25-year-old's exploits have led Liverpool to third in the league standings and almost guaranteed of a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals after a 5-0 victory over Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie.

The Egyptian has also taken the second highest number of shots in the league with 103 and is eager to be more clinical.

"You cannot score 10 goals from 10 balls - that's impossible and I know that I have missed many chances too this season. But I am trying to improve," Salah added.

"I am always trying to see my weaknesses and then work on them and I am always trying to score in different ways.

"The coaches help me so much to do that and I also work hard alone after the training sessions."

Liverpool host West Ham United in the league on Saturday.]]>
2/20/2018 5:17:38 PM
<![CDATA[Preview: Chelsea vs Barcelona ]]>
This game is considered one of the classic games at the competition as the two teams played against each other five times at the knockout stages. Barcelona eliminated Chelsea three times in 2000, 2006 and 2009 while Chelsea were the winners twice in 2005 and 2012.

Barcelona travelled to London on Monday with their whole squad except Philippe Coutinho who is not allowed to participate with the club in this competition as he played at the group stage with Liverpool before joining Barcelona.

Chelsea depend on their winger, Eden Hazard, to break the Catalan defense while Barcelona will depend on Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to score goals that will grant them advantage in the second leg.

Messi featured in eight games against Chelsea where he failed to score any goal against the English team.

Chelsea’s expected line-up for the game consists of: Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Victor Moses, Marcos Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, Ngolo Kante, Eden Hazard, Pedro Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata.

Barcelona’s expected line-up for the game consists of: Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Paulinho Junior, Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

2/20/2018 3:23:06 PM
<![CDATA[Al- Masry to secure qualification in Zambia ]]>
Al-Masry travelled to Zambia with four goals as they defeated their opponent 4-0 in Port Said at the first leg thanks to Eslam Salah, Mohammed Koffi, Aristide Bancé and Eslam Issa's goals.

Al-Masry manager, Hossam Hassan, motivated his players to repeat their victory in the second leg and to do their best on the pitch to avoid any surprise from their opponent.

The head of Al-Masry’s delegation in Zambia revealed on Monday that they are trying to complete the deal with the Zambian side to broadcast the game to the Egyptian fans.

The winner of Al- Masry and Green Buffaloes' game will play against the winner of the match between Tanzania’s Simba and Gendarmerie Nationale FC from Djibouti. Simba won the first leg 4-0 in Tanzania.

Al-Masry are having a great season as they are placing fourth in the league with 42 points and they are competing with Zamalek and Ismaily to win the second position and qualify to the CAF Champions League next season.

2/20/2018 3:19:36 PM
<![CDATA[Iniesta expects heated atmosphere in Stamford Bridge ]]>
Iniesta prevented Chelsea from reaching the 2009 UEFA Champions League finals when he scored a late goal in front of Chelsea’s fans to end the game with a 1-1 draw in the second leg, while the first leg ended with a 0-0 draw.

Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets are the only players at Barcelona’s current squad who were playing for the team in 2009.

Iniesta is used to getting a huge applaud at all the stadiums in Spain even Real Madrid’s stadium, Santiago Bernabeu, as he led Spain to win their only World Cup title in 2010 when he scored their winning goal at the finals against Netherlands.

Iniesta, 34, will meet many familiar faces in Chelsea as the English club has many Spanish players like Cesc Fabregas, Pedro Rodriguez, Alvaro Morata, Marcus Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta who played alongside Iniesta in the Spanish National Team.

2/20/2018 3:18:33 PM
<![CDATA[Hamoudi shines in Al-Ahly’s victory over Al-Nasr ]]>
Sherif Ekrami returned to Al-Ahly’s starting line-up for the first time since Al-Ahly’s 1-0 victory over Al-Assiouty on December 6.

Walid Azarro opened the score for Al-Ahly 16 minutes into the game, after Hamoudi was tackled inside Al-Nasr’s area. Azarro doubled the score after 13 minutes when he met a cross from Hamoudi to make the score 2-0.

Two minutes before the half time, Mohamed Hany scored the third goal for Al-Ahly after he followed a free kick from Ali Maaloul, ending the first half 3-0.

Al-Ahly’s new signing, Salah Mohsen, scored his first goal with the club after 10 minutes in the second half when he met a cross from Hamoudi to make the score 4-0.

Al-Ahly manager Hossam el-Badry substituted Azarro for Marwan Mohsen, who featured in his first game with the club since his knee injury with Egypt’s national team in the 2017 African Cup of Nations.

Badry also substituted Amr El Solia for Hossam Ghaly, who returned from a short-term loan to Saudi Arabian club Al Nasr.

Badry’s third substitute, Karim Nedved, added the fifth goal for his team five minutes before the final whistle.

Both teams failed to score any goals in the remaining minutes, ending the game 5-0.

Al-Ahly reached 66 points to lead the Egyptian League 20 points clear.
2/20/2018 2:44:11 PM
<![CDATA[Salah reveals Klopp's impact on his goal-scoring rate ]]>
“With the boss here, I play a little bit closer to the goal, more so than at any other club or more than any of my other coaches have asked me to," Salah told Liverpool's official match-day program.

Salah has reached 30 goals with Liverpool in his first season with the club, including 22 goals in the Premier League.

During Salah’s last season in AS Roma, he managed to score 17 goals in the Italian League and UEFA Champions League.

Salah added, “I am always in front of the goal to give me the opportunity to score. The manager is always telling me to stay close to the goal in training.”

Asked about missing many chances this season with the team, Salah said, “I know that I have missed many chances too this season. But I am trying to improve. I am always trying to see my weaknesses and then work on them, and I am always trying to score in different ways.”

Salah led Liverpool to the third position in the Premier League table, behind Manchester City and Manchester United.
2/20/2018 7:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wolfsburg coach Schmidt resigns after five months]]>
The club, announcing the decision in a statement on its website, said it was surprised by Schmidt's decision but had accepted it reluctantly.

Schmidt, the fourth coach to leave the club since October 2016, was appointed in September. Wolfsburg drew 11 out of their 19 league matches under him with five defeats and three wins.

They also won two matches in the German Cup before losing to Schalke 04 in the quarter-finals.

"We cannot entirely understand his motives," said chairman Tim Schumacher.

Wolfsburg, who won their only Bundesliga title in 2009, are 14th in the table, two places and one point above Mainz who are in the relegation playoff spot and host the Wolves on Friday.

Sporting director Olaf Rebbe added: "Martin Schmidt wanted to leave the way open for a new coach so that VfL could make sure of retaining top flight status as soon as possible."

"We would like to have achieved that with him but we couldn't dissuade him from his decision," he added.

"I have to admit his decision has disappointed me because he was the coach we really wanted."

There was no immediate comment from Schmidt himself

It was the eighth coaching change of the Bundesliga season, with two at Wolfsburg and one each at Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen, Cologne, Borussia Dortmund, Hamburg SV and VfB Stuttgart.

Wolfsburg's hardcore fans staged a protest against the club management during Saturday's 2-1 defeat at home to runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, only entering the stadium after 19 minutes and 45 seconds of the first half - a reference to the year in which the club was founded.]]>
2/20/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Shiffrin to miss downhill after combined moved forward]]>
Shiffrin, the sport's dominant force this season, won gold in the giant slalom before finishing fourth in the slalom. She also withdrew from the super-G. "As much as I wanted to compete in the Olympic downhill, with the schedule change it’s important for me to focus my energy on preparing for the combined,” Shiffrin said in a statement issued by United States Snow and Skiboard.

"I’m looking forward to cheering on our girls racing in the downhill and to compete myself in Thursday’s combined," added Shiffrin, who was 16th fastest in downhill practice. Austria’s Stephanie Venier was quickest in Monday’s second practice session but race favourites Sofia Goggia of Italy and American Lindsey Vonn were close behind. The combined event was brought forward because of strong winds forecast for Friday.

The men's slalom, in which Austria's Marcel Hirscher could win his third gold medal of the Games, will take place as scheduled on Thursday at the Yongpyong mountain.

Three of the first four races on the Alpine schedule were postponed because of winds gusting up to 72 kilometres per hour which closed the gondola taking the competitors to the top of the mountain.]]>
2/19/2018 9:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek defeats Petrojet 3-1 ]]>
Zamalek received a penalty after 11 minutes, when Petrojet defender Sameh Abdel Fadil stopped the ball with his hands inside the box.
Mahmoud Abdel Aziz converted it to score his first goal with Zamalek since he joined the club from Smouha.

Zamalek players created many chances to double the score, and Kasongo Kabongo scored the second goal for his team after he received a cross from Abdallah Gomaa.

Three minutes later, Kasongo received another cross from Mohamed Antar to score Zamalek’s third goal in the game.

Both teams failed to score in the remaining minutes of the first half to end it 3-0 for Zamalek.

In the second half, Zamalek players failed to add their fourth goal, while Petrojet managed to score their only goal in the game minutes before the final whistle through Mohamed Shahin, ending the game 3-1 for Zamalek.

Kasongo reached his seventh goal in the league this season to be Zamalek’s top goal scorer in the competition.

Zamalek are at the third position with 45 points, one point behind the second-placed Ismaily.
2/19/2018 9:11:27 PM
<![CDATA[CAF suspends Motaeb for two matches ]]>
Al-Ahly lost the title after losing 1-0 to Wydad in Morocco after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Alexandria. Al-Ahly players criticized the game’s referee, Bakary Gassama, during the game, and Motaeb taunted him after the game.

Motaeb, 34, left Al-Ahly last January to join Saudi Arabia’s Al Taawoun on a six-month loan, but his suspension will continue if he played with Al-Ahly or another team in the African competitions.

Motaeb achieved four African Champions League titles with the club, in 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2013, but he was hoping to win his first African Champions League title as Al-Ahly captain.

Motaeb is having a difficult time, as he failed to score any goal with Al Taawoun since he joined the club.

2/19/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Rivaldo expects Barcelona to eliminate Chelsea ]]>
“I think it will be a difficult time, but Barcelona are favorites,” Rivaldo told Marca on Monday.

Barcelona will travel to London on Monday to play the first leg at Chelsea’s stadium, Stamford Bridge, before hosting them for the second leg two weeks later.

Rivaldo added, “You have to always respect English teams, but I think Barcelona are a better team than Chelsea and will qualify for the next round."

Rivaldo, 45, wore the Barcelona jersey between 1997 and 2002, achieving two Spanish League titles and a cup title before leaving to Milan.

One of Rivaldo’s greatest nights with Barcelona was against Chelsea in the 2000 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, when he and his teammates returned from a 3-1 loss in the first leg in London to a 5-1 victory in the second leg. Rivaldo scored two goals in the second leg.

“I remember that we lost 3-1 in England, but we came back here after going into extra-time in a difficult game,” Rivaldo said, recalling the game.

2/19/2018 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool's Ings inspired by tireless Firmino]]>
Ings, who has recovered from successive knee injuries, has fought his way back into the first team and marked his Champions League debut with an assist as Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners at Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie last Wednesday.

"From the moment I started training back with the lads, I tried to learn every day – especially from Bobby," Ings told the club's website. (www.liverpoolfc.com)

"He is a fantastic player with the way he plays and the amount of work he does for the team, not just on the ball but off the ball as well.

"They are the things I have to look at and learn from, and that's what I did over the months I was out.

"Being back training with them every day, you get used to the patterns the manager wants and the intensity he wants. I'm learning every day from all the lads here and trying to be the best player I can be."

Ings, who missed the majority of the last two seasons, is relishing the opportunity to get more time and helping Liverpool impose themselves in the league and in Europe.

"After that long period out and all the hard work I didn't want to give up. It's such a great club and a great team, it's all I wanted to be part of," Ings added.

"Going into the back end of the season now, I know that if I work hard enough I can get some more minutes and try to contribute to the team as much as I can.

"I'm looking forward to it."]]>
2/19/2018 8:13:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's goalkeeping coach praises Ismaily's Awwad ]]>
“Awwad is an amazing goalkeeper and he is very talented. He should keep improving to achieve his dreams,” Nagy told the Ismaily official website on Monday.

Awwad, 25 is an Ismaily academy product joining the club when he was 10. He got promoted through the club youth rankings until he joined the first team at age 20.

Awwad hopes to be a part of the national team squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Nagy added “Awaad is one of the main national team squad players. He was called for many camps before and he was on bench against Ghana at the World Cup qualifiers.”

Awwad competes with Essam el-Hadary, Ahmed el-Shenawy, Mohamed el-Shenawy and Sherif Ekrami to be one of the national team’s three goalkeepers for the World Cup.

The Egyptian national team manager, Hector Cuper witnessed Ismaily 2-0 loss to Enppi on Sunday night from Petro Sport stadium stands.
2/19/2018 7:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Football fans to return to stadiums]]>Al Ahly will play against the winner of the game between Burkina Faso's Rail Club du Kadiogo and Centre de Formation de Mounana of Gabon.
The security authorities decided to allow 25,000 spectators to attend the game on March 6, in addition to the availability of 5,000 invitations for the match, according to Youm7. Moreover, the security forces have agreed to the presence of spectators in the matches of the African competitions, according to an agreement with the Ministry of the Interior, which welcomes the presence of the fans in the stands.
In a related context, Tharwat Sweilam, executive director of the EFA, revealed that the security has approved the presence of 300 fans for each team in the second round matches of the current Egyptian Premier League as per the clubs' request.
Sweilam thanked the security forces led by Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar and Assistant Minister of Interior Adel Rashad for helping the clubs to restore the league's normal form and secure the presence of the spectators in the stands.
2/19/2018 5:09:25 PM
<![CDATA[Conte wants 'perfect game' from Chelsea against Barcelona]]>
The Premier League champions have recovered from a poor run of form, winning consecutive matches over West Bromwich Albion in the league and Hull City in the FA Cup, but Conte is not getting carried away.

"On one hand you know this team is one of the best in the world – maybe they are favourites to win this competition," Conte told British media.

"On the other hand we must be excited because we have a great opportunity to play a massive game against a really strong team and to show which is our level.

"... We have to try to have the perfect game, the perfect game to try to make the best decisions. For this type of team... they have fantastic characteristics with the ball. But they can have weaknesses without the ball and we have to try and exploit this."

Barcelona's star forward Lionel Messi has never scored in eight matches against Chelsea and Conte is eager for his team to maintain that record.

Chelsea last defeated the Spanish side in 2012 as the London outfit marched to their first Champions League title, and midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Barcelona in 2014, is confident that Conte's side can repeat the feat.

"They try to put the first pressure very, very high – (they) always work towards the ball," Fabregas said.

"If we can (get) past this first phase of their pressure, then we have the content to do that, and not put ourselves under too much pressure, then I think we can hurt them because they will leave a lot of spaces at the back.

"Hopefully we can give a good image of what we can do and do a good performance."

Chelsea next travel to second-placed Manchester United in the league on Sunday.

2/19/2018 3:20:50 PM
<![CDATA[Arsenal extends shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates until 2024]]>
The club said it was their "largest shirt sponsorship deal ever" and will run through to the end of 2023-24 season, extending their partnership with Emirates to at least 18 years.

British media reported that the deal was understood to be worth more than 200 million pounds ($280.4 million).

As part of the new contract, the Dubai-based airline will retain marketing rights to develop campaigns around the world and continue to have the naming rights to Arsenal's stadium until 2028.

"Our shirt partnership is the longest running in the Premier League and one of the longest relationships in world sport," Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said in a statement.

"This mutual commitment is testimony to the strength and depth of our unique relationship.

"Emirates are again demonstrating their great belief in our approach and ambition and their significantly increased investment will help us continue to compete for trophies and bring more success to the club and our fans around the world."

Emirates first signed its sponsorship agreement with Arsenal in 2004, providing the airline with naming rights to its then-brand new stadium until 2021 and a shirt deal that began in the 2006 season.
2/19/2018 3:18:19 PM
<![CDATA[Soccer-Arsenal extends shirt sponsorship deal with Emirates until 2024]]>
The club said it was their "largest shirt sponsorship deal ever" and will run through to the end of 2023-24 season, extending their partnership with Emirates to at least 18 years.

British media reported that the deal was understood to be worth more than 200 million pounds ($280.4 million).

As part of the new contract, the Dubai-based airline will retain marketing rights to develop campaigns around the world and continue to have the naming rights to Arsenal's stadium until 2028.

"Our shirt partnership is the longest running in the Premier League and one of the longest relationships in world sport," Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said in a statement.

"This mutual commitment is testimony to the strength and depth of our unique relationship.

"Emirates are again demonstrating their great belief in our approach and ambition and their significantly increased investment will help us continue to compete for trophies and bring more success to the club and our fans around the world."

Emirates first signed its sponsorship agreement with Arsenal in 2004, providing the airline with naming rights to its then-brand new stadium until 2021 and a shirt deal that began in the 2006 season.
2/19/2018 3:09:55 PM
<![CDATA[Soccer-Ten detained in match-fixing raids across Spain]]>
The investigation is led by a court in Zafra in the autonomous community of Extremadura, and the National Police's Specialised and Violent Crime unit. However, sources say that arrests have been carried out across the country.

"There's ten who have been detained and more are expected," a source who asked to remain anonymous told Reuters. "They were rigging matches for the Chinese betting market."

This is not the first operation of its kind in Spain. In April last year, a judge from Elda, Valencia, opened disciplinary proceedings against five people for match-fixing involving the local club. While in 2016, the Civil Guard detained 34 people linked to a match-fixing network operating in youth tennis.]]>
2/19/2018 3:03:53 PM
<![CDATA[Speed skating-Japan's Kodaira wins gold in women's 500m]]>
Defending champion Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea settled for silver, while Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic won the bronze medal.

Kodaira, the reigning world champion who has dominated the distance over the past seasons, shaved 0.34 seconds off the previous record set by Lee at the Sochi Games four years ago and is the first woman to finish the race in under 37 seconds at sea level.

The Japanese spoke to Lee after the race and the two skaters raised the Korean and Japanese flags together.

"Sports can make the world one together. It's simple," Kodaira told reporters, speaking through an interpreter. "She was under big pressure. She fought well. I told her, 'I respect you still and a lot'."

The 31-year-old came into the race with huge expectations of herself due to her sheer domination of the distance in recent seasons -- she has won in each of her last 15 World Cup appearances stretching back to 2016.

"I was the captain of the whole Japanese delegation this time. I know a lot of attention comes from the Japanese people. I knew that," she added. "All I had to do is skate as I am supposed to skate."

Lee, who won back-to-back titles in the shortest speed-skating distance at the last two Olympics, suffered a chronic knee injury last year and though Kodaira won the day, it was the Korean who drew the loudest cheers from the packed Oval.

"It doesn't matter, I still have two gold medals and I still have the world record," said Lee, who was in tears after her lap. "I was between nervous and excited before racing and when I finished everything, I was really happy.

"It was the first time my mother saw me competing in the Olympics, I think she cried too. I had a goal of coming in at 36.8 seconds, that didn't happen... well it's over, I still achieved everything I could as a skater."

Kodaira, who also won silver in the women's 1,000m on Wednesday, joins Tomomi Okazaki, who won bronze at the Nagano Games in 1998, as the only Japanese skaters to win a medal in the event.

She got off to a lightning quick start over the first 100 metres and flew around the track and although Lee started quicker than her rival, she could not maintain her momentum on the back straight.

The 28-year-old crowd favourite still managed to finish 0.01 seconds ahead of Erbanova for her first medal of the Games.

The race was the first speed-skating event at the Oval in which no Dutch skaters finished on the podium.

The United States endured another day of disappointment, with Brittany Bowe ending in fifth place, ahead of the highest-placed Dutch skater, Jorien ter Mors, who beat Kodaira to gold in the 1,000m.]]>
2/19/2018 11:07:00 AM
<![CDATA[Olympics-Biathlon-Fourcade becomes France's greatest Olympian after photo finish]]>
Sunday's win, in a photo finish after a furious sprint against Germany's Simon Schempp, makes him the only French athlete ever to win four Olympic golds, and prompted a celebratory tweet from French president Emmanuel Macron.

"@martinfkde makes us tremble and dream a second time by winning a new gold medal for France. A legend of the Olympic Winter Games and biathlon," Macron tweeted.

If it had not been for one last, desperate lunge in a sprint finish situation where Fourcade has often come out on the losing side, history, and with it Macron's tweet, may have remained unwritten.

"I closed my eyes for the sprint and I told myself, 'Don't regret anything'," Fourcade told reporters.

Four years ago Fourcade was locked in a similar battle on the final straight with Emil Hegle Svendsen, who took the bronze medal in this race, and came up just short, but in Sunday night's sprint he was not to be denied.

"I gave everything I had but I know that Simon is a really good sprinter and it's not my main quality, so I was thinking during the whole loop that to lose against the world champion of the mass start is not something bad," Fourcade said.

The 31-year-old now has four gold and two silver Olympic medals to go with a slew of world titles but this victory must surely rank as one of his sweetest.

"Today I'm so satisfied because I was second eight years ago in Vancouver in the mass start, I was second four years ago and today I finally win this competition, so I'm really proud," he said.

"But also I was in the place of Simon four years ago so I will stay really humble."

Known for his occasional triumphant gesture on the shooting range, Fourcade displayed plenty of humility in the media conference that followed the race.

"It's something really incredible. I grew up watching biathlon on TV and sport at the Olympics, so being the best French Olympian is something I'm really proud of but then you have to compare -- if I was Norwegian I wouldn't be the best Olympian ever," he said. ]]>
2/19/2018 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Frustrated Xavi: It’s unfair that Madrid ended the score 3-1 ]]>
Xavi had an interview with the French magazine So Foot, where he said that the result (3-1) was unfair and that he does not agree with Cristiano being better than Neymar in the match.

European title holders, Madrid, scored two late goals to decide the most-watched match this season against Paris St. Germain to end the tie 3-1 in the first leg; now the white team is waiting for the second-leg with cold blood.

"Madrid have something," Xavi told So Foot, "against them, you can never miss your chance, otherwise they will punish you, but the worst thing is that they hurt the opponent with nothing.”

"A counter-attack is enough for them to take things into their own hands. The game ends and you look at the score and say 'F***, 3-1, how did they do that?'” Xavi continued, according to Goal’s translation.

"You almost think it's an injustice that PSG lost by such a big margin because it was a game that should have ended 1-1, 2-2 or 2-1 for PSG," he added.

Xavi joined Al-Sadd from Barcelona on July 2015, he preferred to end his career in the Middle East alongside Qatari players.

"It's inexplicable, Real Madrid didn't play, but still won," Xavi continued. "I saw the broadcast on Spanish television with [former Madrid player and coach Jorge] Valdano and he said something very true,” he stated.

"In this match there were several phases, very different from each other, and there was a moment in which PSG dominated clearly.”

"Their [Madrid’s] philosophy is simply to win. That is what makes them so difficult to play against in the [Estadio Santiago] Bernabeu, for example. PSG played like Barca," the 38-years-old concluded.
2/18/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Cüneyt Çakir to rule ‘Chelsea-Barcelona’ clash]]>
In the semi-final round of Champions league, 2011/12 edition, at the Camp Nou, which Çakir also refereed, the match ended (2-2). In this match, Messi missed a penalty which was a crucial aspect that eliminated Barcelona [3-2 on aggregate] by adding this result to the 1-0 of the first leg.

In addition, the Turkish referee has encountered FC Barcelona on five other occasions, including the final of the 2015 Champions League against Juventus (3-1) in Berlin.

He also witnessed the undefeated matches for Barcelona, the duels against Rubin Kazan (1-1) in the 2010/11 season; against Benfica (0-2) in 2012/13; against Roma (6-1) in 2015/16; and before the Arsenal (0-2), in the first leg of the round of the 2014/15 season.

Çakir is widely known for his yellow and red cards in big matches but this hasn’t prevented him from taking the helm this season and the last season in the Champions League with matches such as: Napoli vs Madrid in Italy, Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid in Spain, Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea in Spain, Tottenham Hotspur vs Real Madrid in London and Paris St. Germain vs Bayern Munich in Germany.
2/18/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[3 possible substitutes for Zidane]]>
Zidane has revealed, in the press conference prior to Real Betis’ La Liga’s game, that he is considering resigning from Real Madrid’s coach position.

In Real Madrid, the difficulty of the achieved task by ‘Zizou’ in these 26 months is valued and it will be the Frenchman who will make the decision, since they are aware that he would be the first to set the bench free if he does not see himself in the mood to start another new project.

In the agenda of possible substitutes, are three : Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, Germany national team’s Joachim Löw and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Tottenham Hotspur Training - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - February 12, 2018 Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino during training Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

The Argentinean Pochettino, who already knows La Liga as he was Espanyol’s coach, has raised many integers. Many aspects like his management, philosophy and the way of dealing with players, have been liked by the Bernabeu’s fans, as was seen this season in the clash with Tottenham in the Champions League against Real Madrid.

"Pochettino is ruthless if you do not work and you are lazy," stated Tottenham’s striker Harry Kane.

On January 14, the Argentinean coach revealed his love to the White team on Onda Cero, a Spanish radio program: "Madrid will take me my coaching career wherever I want."

But Tottenham has extended his contract until 2021. The will of the coach would facilitate an operation; but the Spurs’ officials are a tough negotiator, as Madrid knows from their experiences with Modric and Bale. Convincing Daniel Levy, president of the London club, was very hard and both players had to make a transfer request to move to Madrid.

Germany coach Joachim Loew controls the ball during training - REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

Joachim Löw’s contract will expire this summer but he previously signed a new contract with Germany, the ‘Mannschaft’, until 2020.

Florentino has had his eye on him since the World Cup in Brazil, but his relationship with the German Federation is solid. Madrid, in any case, would have to wait at least until he finishes his role this summer in Russia.

Britain Soccer Football - Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League - Anfield - 11/2/17 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after the match Reuters / Phil Noble Livepic

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp is another option for Madrid as he succeeded to take Liverpool to a new level in the domestic competition. Since he joined Liverpool, he reached the Europa League’s final, developed the performance of many players like Coutinho, Salah, Mane and Firmino. But in Anfield, he also signed until 2022 with full powers.

2/18/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Olympics-Russian medallist at Games suspected of doping ]]>
Alexander Krushelnitsky, a bronze-medallist along with his wife in mixed-doubles curling, is suspected of having tested positive for meldonium, the source said. Meldonium increases blood flow which improves exercise capacity in athletes.

Krushelnitsky did not respond immediately to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Russian delegation at Pyeongchang said he had no immediate comment.

Russia has been accused of running a state-backed, systematic doping programme for years, an allegation Moscow denies. As a result, its athletes are competing at Pyeongchang as neutral "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR).

Russian sports officials are to meet anti-doping officers at Pyeongchang, the source said, adding that any violation would only be confirmed after analysis of a "B" sample.

Krushelnitsky and his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, won bronze in a game against Norway, which would take that medal if a doping violation were to be confirmed.

"I hope it's not true ... for the sport of curling," said Norwegian team skipper Thomas Ulsrud.

"If it's true I feel really sad for the Norwegian team who worked really hard and ended up in fourth place and just left for Norway and they aren't even here."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it had taken note of the case without going into details.

It said that if the case were to be confirmed, it would be considered by its OAR Implementation panel, the body in charge of monitoring the OAR team's behaviour at the Games.

"On the one hand it is extremely disappointing when prohibited substances might have been used, but on the other hand it shows the effectiveness of the anti-doping system at the Games which protects the rights of all the clean athletes," an IOC spokesperson said.

As neutral athletes, the Russians are unable to have their anthem played in medal ceremonies or use national symbols.

The IOC has said it may allow the Russians to march with the Russian flag and in national uniform at the Games closing ceremony on Feb. 25, provided they will have complied with its code of conduct on neutrality.

The code requires compliance with IOC anti-doping rules]]>
2/18/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Juve edge past Torino for ninth win in a row]]>
With title rivals Napoli playing at home to SPAL later, Juve's win in the Derby della Mole meant that they will spend at least two hours on top of the table.

Higuain appeared to twist his ankle and soldiered on for another 10 minutes before being replaced by Federico Bernadeschi, who set up the goal when he pulled the ball back for Alex Sandro to tap in just after the half hour.

Torino, who missed an early chance when Andrea Belotti failed to control Joel Obi's pass with the goal at his mercy, lost confidence after falling behind and never looked like turning around the game.

Juventus, who have won seven and drawn one of their last eight meetings with Torino, have 65 points from 25 games while Napoli were on 63 ahead of their game.]]>
2/18/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Banega is ready for Sevilla's clash against Manchester United]]>
Banega was injured in the final leg of the King’s Cup semi-finals against Leganes. The medical staff of the club announced that the midfielder would be out against Girona and Las Palmas and that his return would depend on his response to the treatment. But the Champions League’s clash against Manchester United is very important for Banega, so he decided to return.

Sevilla beat Las Palmas 2-1 in the 24th round of La Liga on Saturday thanks to Ben Yedder and Pablo Sarabia to settle in the fifth place in La Liga’s table with 39 points.

The 29-year-old, who was born in Rosario, Argentina, returned back to Sevilla last summer from Inter Milan, after he failed to show his abilities with the Italian giants.

Banega managed to play 34 games with Sevilla this season; he scored four goals and provided five assists with the Andalusian team.
2/18/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[When I want to change clubs, I'll do it: Hazard]]>
As he has repeated on other occasions, the Belgian star has said he is happy in London and has a contract with Chelsea, although he has not been completely forceful in this regard on other occasions, leaving the door open to a possible change in the future.

"It's football, and anything can happen; every year they talk about Real Madrid or PSG. When I want to change clubs, I'll do it, but right now I'm fine where I am,” Hazard said.

“The fans love me, my family enjoys living here [London]; We'll see," he concluded.

A few months ago, Hazard had to publicly scold his father for ensuring he did not renew with Chelsea and is waiting for Real Madrid.

Chelsea are now fourth in the table of the Premier League with 53 points. The Londoner team is expected to meet Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League on Tuesday February 20, then Manchester United on February 25.
2/18/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mitchell wins Slam Dunk Contest to highlight Saturday's All-Star festivities]]>
Mitchell scored a perfect 50 on the first of two final-round dunks to take a four-point lead on Nance, who scored a perfect 50 on his second dunk to put the pressure on Mitchell, who responded with a 48 to edge Nance, 98-96.

Feb 17, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dunks over children and American actor Kevin Hart in the slam dunk contest during the 2018 All Star Saturday Night at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

"I wanted this so badly," Mitchell said in his on-court interview after the win. "This is one of my favorite events of All-Star Weekend growing up. To be in it, then to win it is just amazing. It was a lot of fun."

Mitchell was a late addition to the contest after Magic forward Aaron Gordon had to withdraw because of a hip injury.

Dennis Smith Jr. of the Mavericks and Victor Oladipo of the Pacers were eliminated in the first round.

The Suns' Devin Booker won the Three-Point Contest by scoring a record 28 points of a possible 34 in the final round, defeating the Warriors' Klay Thompson, the 2016 champion who had 25 points, and the Clippers' Tobias Harris, who had 17. Booker made 20 of 25 3-pointers.

Defending champion Eric Gordon of the Rockets was eliminated in the first round, as were Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Paul George (Thunder) and Wayne Ellington (Heat).

The Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie defeated the Bulls' Lauri Markkanen to win the Skills Challenge, which paired players in a head-to-head series of skills contests in an obstacle-course-type format.

Feb 17, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dunks in the slam dunk contest in the 2018 All Star Saturday Night at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Pizzello/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Four guards competed in one bracket and four big men in the other, with the two winners meeting in the final. Dinwiddie bested the Nuggets' Jamal Murray in the final of the guards bracket, and Markkanen beat the 76ers' Joel Embiid in the bigs bracket final.

Defending champion Kristaps Porzingis was unable to participate after suffering a torn ACL earlier this month.

Other participants were Buddy Hield (Kings), Lou Williams (Clippers), Al Horford (Celtics) and Andre Drummond (Pistons).

2/18/2018 3:25:40 PM
<![CDATA[VAR in the firing line again as United beat Huddersfield]]>
United midfielder Juan Mata put the ball in the net on the stroke of halftime with his side already leading 1-0 but his effort was eventually ruled out following a lengthy stoppage.

The goal had initially been given after the linesman had kept his flag down, but after long-winded deliberations with the video assistant, referee Kevin Friend scrapped his original decision.

Replays suggested that if Mata was offside, it was only by the tiniest fraction and not a clear mistake by the officials.

Despite having the goal chalked off, Spaniard Mata said he was in favour of the VAR system, but Huddersfield manager David Wagner, whose team benefited from the decision, said it was "killing the emotion of the game".

"I think the line was very tight," Mata told the BBC after two goals from Romelu Lukaku sent United into the quarter-finals.

"I did what I had to do which was to score and celebrated. Then after I saw the referee speaking to someone and you look silly when the goal is denied.

"I’m up for VAR and I think it is good for football especially to make important decisions and make it a little bit fairer but it seems like today it was not a very clear the decision against us and me."

Wagner was less enthusiastic about VAR even though it kept Huddersfield in the match before Lukaku, who gave United a third-minute lead, sealed their victory with another clinical finish following a defence-splitting pass by Alexis Sanchez.

"Yes, the decision went in our favour but this VAR for me kills the emotion of the game," he said.

"This is why I don't like it but I am not the person who makes the decision."

With one eye on Wednesday's Champions League last 16 first leg away to Sevilla, United manager Jose Mourinho rested several starters and was happy after his makeshift side, also missing the ill Paul Pogba, cruised into the last eight.

"It was hard but we started really well," said the Portuguese coach, who denied reports earlier in the week that he was at loggerheads with the out-of-form Pogba.

"With that second goal in the second half I think we killed the game and from that moment we were in control.

"Good counter-attacks, twice attacking the space well. Twice cold in front of the keeper, good decisions, good shots, good goals, important goals from us."

United will host Brighton and Hove Albion in the quarter-final.]]>
2/18/2018 2:51:33 PM
<![CDATA[My goal rush is far from over, predicts Liverpool's Salah]]>
The 25-year-old took 36 games in all competitions to become just the 13th Liverpool player to notch up the landmark in a single season and the first to do so since Uruguay striker Luis Suarez four years ago.

"It is a great feeling to have scored 30 goals in a first season at a club like Liverpool," he told the club's website while attending Liverpool's training camp in Spain.

"It's something huge, so I am very happy about it - but I have to carry on and keep looking forward to score many more goals. I feel good, and that's the most important thing – and 100 percent, there is still more to come."

He has reached the 30-goal mark quicker than any other Liverpool player since George Allan 121 years ago and he has more than two months left to add to this season's total before heading off to the World Cup with Egypt.

Few expected such a prolific strike rate when Salah joined in a 36.9 million pounds ($51.8 million) deal from AS Roma last year.

But he is already being compared with the club's most celebrated goalscorers and, with 22 Premier League goals from 26 games, is second only to Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane in Europe's top five leagues this season.

Yet while Kane is an out-and-out striker, Salah is a winger, who has also created chances, particularly for Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in what has become one of Europe's deadliest strike forces.

Wednesday's 5-0 win over Porto established Liverpool as the Champions League's top scorers this season with 28. With such a first-leg advantage, they are seemingly certain of a place in the quarter-finals.

Although Salah was upstaged by three-goal Mane on the night, he said he is constantly working on improving his game.

"In my mind I am always trying to improve and I’m doing it every single day. Every day I look at myself and try to improve myself all the time," he said.

Liverpool next play West Ham United at Anfield on Feb. 24.]]>
2/18/2018 2:47:54 PM
<![CDATA[Bizarre own goal costs Inter dearly]]>
Veteran Macedonia striker Goran Pandev scored the second against his old club as Inter slipped below AS Roma, who earlier won 2-0 at Udinese after Cengiz Under scored his fourth goal in three games.

Inter ended an eight-match winless run in the league by beating Bologna 2-1 at San Siro last Sunday but if they thought it signalled a change in fortune, they were mistaken.

On the stroke of halftime, Ervin Zukanovic swung in a cross, which Milan Skriniar hooked away. But his clearance ricocheted off Andrea Ranocchia and flew into the net, leaving goalkeeper Samir Handanovic stranded.

Handanovic had previously had a let-off when he misjudged Pandev's cross and the ball bounced over him, hit the crossbar and fell back into his arms.

Inter, who led the table in early December, fell further behind just before the hour as Diego Laxalt's shot from the edge of the penalty area was intercepted by Pandev, who controlled it superbly with one touch and placed his shot past Handanovic.

"It wasn't an especially bad performance, we did what we had to but then we conceded the own goal and that created problems because when you're in a bad patch, it becomes difficult to react," said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti.

"In the second half, we tried to take control of the match we couldn't move the ball around well enough. As soon as something goes against us, we lose our cool."

Roma, who travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Wednesday, scored twice in the last 20 minutes at Udinese to clock up their third successive win.

Under set them on the way, the Turk scoring with a 20-metre shot which swerved away from Albano Bizarri, and Diego Perotti sealed the win after capitalising on a mistake in the last minute.

Roma have 50 points from 25 games although there is a 12-point gap between themselves and second-placed Juventus, who visit Torino on Sunday. Leaders Napoli, a further point ahead, host lowly SPAL.

Chievo ended a 10-match winless run by beating Cagliari 2-1 to move away from the drop zone.

Former Juventus and Sunderland forward Emanuele Giaccherini, on loan from Napoli, curled in a free kick for the Flying Donkeys in the 74th minute and Roberto Inglese finished off a counter-attack for the second two minutes later.

Leonardo Pavoletti reduced the arrears for the Sardinians.

Both teams have 25 points, eight clear of the relegation zone.]]>
2/18/2018 2:44:50 PM
<![CDATA[Batshuayi proves himself with Dortmund]]>
The 24-year-old admits that it was not easy to be a player for the London team: "Being on the bench, going out to play and scoring a goal and then returning to the bench is not easy for an attacker," he told The Independent.

Although his goal last season secured the Premier League title for Chelsea, the Belgian international only played a single full game with Chelsea that season. Throughout that campaign, Batshuayi played in 20 of the 38 league games, 19 of them coming from the bench.

With his good performances in the Bundesliga and with the World Cup just around the corner, Batshuayi seem like he could be the player Belgium needs.

We will see if in the summer Dortmund makes an effort to permanently sign him or if he finally comes back through the front door to Conte's team, to whom he sent a message after his double against Atalanta in the Europa League. "I do not know if Conte has seen my game, they are focusing on the Premier League (FA cup) and they have an important commitment next week in the Champions League, I hope they do well," he said after the game.
2/18/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lukaku wants to retire at Anderlecht]]>
"My dream was always to play for Anderlecht, before I finish my career, I will definitely come back, I can promise, I had a wonderful time there," admitted Lukaku as he walked through the training fields of his former club.

The top scorer of the Belgian team left Anderlecht in 2011 heading to Chelsea, where he did not enjoy the expected success. However, after three good seasons with Everton, he has made a name for himself in the Premier League as one of the best strikers today, with a record of 97 goals in 212 games.

In spite of arriving at Manchester United this summer for around €85 million, nostalgia could cause Lukaku to hang up his boots in his hometown of Anderlecht.
2/18/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[PSG come from behind to beat Strasbourg and extend Ligue 1 lead]]>
Strasbourg, one of only two teams to defeat PSG in the league this season, opened the scoring through Jean-Eudes Aholou.

The capital side levelled, however, through Julian Draxler before goals from Neymar and Angel Di Maria gave them a comfortable lead.

The visitors had briefly threatened a comeback when Stephane Bahoken reduced the arrears but PSG, who now have 68 points from 26 games, killed off the match with an Edinson Cavani double.

Second-placed Monaco are on 56 points after thrashing Dijon 4-0 at home on Friday.

Strasbourg went ahead on six minutes at the end of a sharp counter attack, after Neymar lost the ball in the visitors' half, only for Draxler to equalise four minutes later with a left-footed effort as PSG piled on the pressure.

Neymar dribbled through the defence in the 22nd minute before beating Alexandre Oukidja from close range.

PSG, who were beaten 3-1 at Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday, had it easier against Strasbourg and stretched their lead to 3-1 one minute later when Di Maria found the net from inside the box after dispossessing defender Pablo Martinez.

Bahoken pulled one back in the 67th minute with a fine shot from just outside the box but Cavani quickly dashed Strasbourg's hopes of a comeback.

The Uruguay striker chipped the ball past Oukidja to restore PSG's two-goal lead in the 73rd minute and added another six minutes later with a lob, his 23rd league goal of the season.]]>
2/17/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[West Brom knocked out of FA Cup after week of woe]]>
Defeat always seemed likely for West Brom, who are bottom of the Premier League and sacked their chairman and chief-executive on Tuesday.

They then had four senior players interviewed by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi from outside a fast-food restaurant in Barcelona.

Two of those involved in the incident, Jonny Evans and Gareth Barry, both started against Southampton after apologising for their part in the incident although Evans was stripped of the captaincy.

The Ulsterman could do nothing to stop Southampton taking the lead through Wesley Hoedt on 11 minutes, with Dusan Tadic adding the second after the interval.

Salomon Rondon quickly countered for West Brom but Southampton held on to record their second win at Albion in two weeks.

Brighton's Jurgen Locadia scored on his debut in the 3-1 win over Coventry City who, after knocking out Stoke City in the third round, failed in their attempt to make FA Cup history by becoming the first fourth-tier side to beat two top-flight teams in the same season.

There was never much chance of that with Brighton's record signing Locadia scoring with his first shot on target after 15 minutes and Leicester City loanee Leonardo Ulloa, who is in his second spell with the Seagulls, rounding off the win after Connor Goldson netted his first goal in almost two years. Jonson Clarke-Harris scored Coventry's consolation.

The last time Brighton were a top-flight team they reached the FA Cup final in 1983 and might fancy their chances of a repeat this season although manager Chris Hughton's decision to make nine changes in his starting lineup suggests the competition which he twice won as a player is not a priority.

At Hillsborough, both managers bemoaned the replay after second tier Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City shared a goalless draw, with Swansea's Carlos Carvalhal suggesting everyone would have been happy to play on to penalties.

"It's a score nobody wants. I also believe (that's the case) for Sheffield Wednesday - the same one more game. Maybe in the future we can think that if the managers and referee agree after the first game we can go to penalties and we can finish the game today," said Carvalhal who was given a warm reception on his return to the club he managed for two and a half years.

Swansea felt they had two strong shouts for a penalty while Swans keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt did well to save late on from Atdhe Nuhiu.

The replay is Swansea's third in succession as they continue to juggle cup commitments with a Premier League survival battle that has become more difficult after impressive defender Alfie Mawson injured himself before kickoff and was subsequently seen wearing a knee brace.]]>
2/17/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Guardiola came to my house when he was player: Wenger]]>
That's why he did not hesitate to praise Pep Guardiola and his team’s playing style. "He has a clear vision of the game and shows positive attitude and philosophy, and he respects even when he does not win, because of the influence he has in this game," he admitted.

Wenger also recalled his interactions with Guardiola during his playing days. "I talked to him a few times and once came to my house when he was a player, because he wanted to play for Arsenal" he revealed.

Wenger has been at Arsenal for more than 20 years and over that time Guardiola has gone from being captain of Barcelona to becoming one of the best managers in Europe and the whole world.

The former midfielder played most of his career at Barcelona, and then went through clubs like Brescia, Roma, Qatar Al-Ahly Doha and the Sinaloa Dorados of the Mexican league.
2/17/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Suarez and Alba strikes give Barca win at stubborn Eibar]]>
Suarez latched on to a pass from Lionel Messi to dribble round the home side's goalkeeper and slot into an empty net in the 16th minute, while Messi hit the woodwork later in the game as did Eibar's Fabian Orellana, who was sent off with 25 minutes remaining for a second booking.

Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar was also dismissed later for angry protests against referee Alejandro Hernandez Hernandez.

Barca finally made the most of their extra man when Alba sidefooted into the near corner with his weaker right foot in the 88th minute to give his side a first win in three games after surprise successive draws against Espanyol and Getafe.

The hard-fought win takes Barca on to 62 points for the season, 10 above nearest challengers Atletico Madrid, who play Athletic Bilbao at home on Sunday. Champions Real visit Real Betis the same day. ]]>
2/17/2018 7:25:50 PM
<![CDATA[Robben sets limit for his retirement]]>
The Dutch winger, the victim of injuries during a large part of his career, sets a limit to what his future may be in the Bavarian club, as well as analyzing the absence of Holland in the next World Cup. He said, "A break this summer will not come I think. I still have two more years left to continue playing at the highest level; it will also depend on what the club says, but I still have the strength to play in the elite until 2020."

Questioned about the possibility of leaving earlier to more suitable championships for a retirement, like the Chinese or the American leagues, Robben gave no clue as to whether he would accept those offers. "They are decisions that you have to meditate with family and friends while you have dinner in the kitchen; we'll see," he said, although always with the first option to continue at Bayern.

Robben, 34, has spent nine seasons at Bayern, with which he was European champion, and before spent two seasons at Madrid and three at Chelsea, after leaving Groningen and PSV from Holland.

He was world runner-up in South Africa 2010, as well as a key player for Netherlands in the World Cup in Brazil.
2/17/2018 5:49:09 PM
<![CDATA[It is tiring to be Madrid’s coach: Zidane]]>
Zidane, Real Madrid’s coach, has announced that he intends to rotate the team in the next five matches that Real Madrid must face in La Liga before playing the second leg against PSG in the 16th round in Paris.

Zidane, in a press conference prior to Sunday’s Real Betis game, has insisted that what interests him is "to have all the players ready to play" and "to minimize the mistakes we may have; if we succeed, we can beat any opponent."

Zidane admitted that he felt tired this season with Real Madrid’s coach position.

"It is very tiring, and more so at Real Madrid. Clearly you can reach a point when a change is needed and that goes for everyone and not just the coach. It is not the moment right now but it will happen. This profession is tiring and here more than anywhere else,” he said.

"For me, what is important is what I am doing right now, the day to day. I want to finish this season with things in play and that is all I am thinking about," he added.

The French coach talked about the last Champions League match against PSG.

"We won one game, but only one, and we know that we have a return leg, and before that five league games," said Zidane, while adding that the players can cope with the pressure.

"It is what it is and we are used to it. What we have done is in the past and we did it well, but now we have to think in the day to day, which is La Liga, and we have to be focused.

"We are preparing well. We have had little time to rest, but that's life. We have our minds on tomorrow's game," he concluded.
2/17/2018 5:09:07 PM
<![CDATA[Pogba ruled out of Huddersfield clash with illness]]>
United manager Jose Mourinho had said in his pre-match news conference that the French international would return to the side after a poor run of form in the past few weeks.

However, the club said on Saturday that their record signing would not play a part in the game at the John Smith's Stadium with midfielder Ethan Hamilton, an academy trainee, taking his place in the squad.

Pogba, 24, was substituted in the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Tottenham Hotspur and was on the bench against Huddersfield Town in the next game. He was hauled off again in the 1-0 defeat by Newcastle United last weekend.

British media reports have said that Pogba is unhappy with his role at the club but Mourinho shot down talk of friction with the player on Friday, stating that speculation of a rift was a "big lie".

Pogba has made nine assists and scored three goals in 17 league matches this season. He has five more starts in European and domestic cup competitions but has not hit top form in an injury-hit campaign.]]>
2/17/2018 2:47:22 PM
<![CDATA[Chelsea stroll past Hull into FA Cup quarter-finals]]>
Willian bagged two and Olivier Giroud scored his first goal for the club since joining from London rivals Arsenal, while Pedro was also on target for Antonio Conte's dominant side.

The night's other fifth round tie saw Leicester City also in action against Championship opposition but having to work far harder for a 1-0 home victory over Sheffield United.

Jamie Vardy struck the only goal after 66 minutes -- the fifth game in a row in all competitions he has been on target.

Leicester held on to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2012 when they were knocked out by eventual winners Chelsea -- the last time the west London club won the Cup.

There are four more ties on Saturday when 12-times winners Manchester United visit Huddersfield Town while another all-top-flight clash sees West Bromwich Albion at home to fellow strugglers Southampton.

Third-tier Rochdale host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday and on Monday runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City face third-tier Wigan Athletic in a repeat of the 2013 final surprisingly won by the Latics.


Willian needed only two minutes to give Chelsea the lead against Hull, curling the ball in with his left foot from the edge of the penalty area.

Cesc Fabregas sent Pedro away to make it 2-0 after 27 minutes and Willian then used his right foot to devastating effect to skim a low shot past keeper David Marshall.

French international Giroud clipped in a neat finish from Emerson's cut back to make the second half academic.

With an eye on Tuesday's Champions League last 16, first leg at home to Barcelona, Chelsea took their foot off the gas in the second half.

"It was great for us. The most important thing is that we are in the next round. Now we have to prepare for the game against Barcelona," Conte, who rested Eden Hazard, said.

"You hope to always have a game that you can dominate. Our start was impressive. We started with great focus and concentration, will to score and wanted to go to the next round. I'm really pleased with the commitment of my players."

After the Barca game, Chelsea face Manchester United and Manchester City in the league and Conte said the confidence was back after a sticky patch.

"Now we have the right confidence again. But in the next two weeks we have to play massive games and we must be strong --Barcelona, United and City. We are ready," he said.]]>
2/17/2018 2:42:16 PM
<![CDATA[Real Madrid interested in Pogba after the French reveals regrets]]>CAIRO – 17 February 2018:Real Madrid is interested in Paul Pogba, Manchester United's French midfielder.

Real Madrid is willing to make an offer for Paul Pogba this summer when the football market opens, according to the British newspaper 'The Sun' on Friday.

Paul Pogba has lost prominence at Manchester United with the arrival of Alexis Sánchez to the team.

Pogba's miserable expression after being substituted against Newcastle was impossible to misinterpret. He's not exactly loving life at United at the moment - and L'Equipe think they know why.

According to a report in the French newspaper, Pogba and Mourinho's relationship has become strained in recent weeks, with the outlet going as far as to say the player has “some regrets” over moving back to the Premier League side following a successful stint at Juventus.

Paul Pogba has been out of Mourinho’s starting lineup in recent games and his performances have been scrutinised, since, according to the Manchester United environment, "with the arrival of Alexis Sánchez, Paul Pogba seems another player.”

Given this situation, Real Madrid, as reported by the newspaper 'The Sun' wants to take advantage and is willing to make an offer for Paul Pogba in the next summer market.

However, Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho is not willing to let the French midfielder go. Paul Pogba has a five-year contract with Manchester United and, for the time being, he has only met two of them.

It is not the first time that Real Madrid has shown interest in Paul Pogba. Precisely, the Real Madrid team lost its contract when Pogba opted for the offer of Manchester United.
2/17/2018 10:18:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bayern snatch win with late penalty but Cologne foiled by VAR]]>
Bayern clocked up a 10th successive Bundesliga win despite falling behind to an early Daniel Didavi goal and missing a penalty when Arjen Robben's effort was saved by Koen Casteels just after halftime.

Sandro Wagner equalised for the Bavarians and then Robert Lewandowski converted their second penalty of the afternoon following a bizarre foul on Robben by teenager Gian-Luca Itter as Bayern went 21 points clear.

At the other end of the table, Cologne thought they had snatched an injury-time win over Hannover 96 when veteran Peruvian forward Claudio Pizarro scored.

But it was disallowed for offside after the referee consulted the video assistant (VAR) and the game ended 1-1, leaving Cologne three points adrift at the bottom. ]]>
2/17/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Jesus closing in on Man City return]]>
Jesus has been on the sidelines since suffering knee ligament damage against Crystal Palace on Dec. 31.

The 20-year-old was a key part of City's fluid attacking unit in the first half of the campaign, scoring eight goals in 18 league appearances.

"Gabriel Jesus will be in training today...It's good news," Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

"I don't know when he'll be ready to play – the first step was to make one or two weeks of training alone – but today will be his first training for the team."

The Spanish manager remains keen to name a strong starting lineup against third-tier Wigan as his players have five days to recover from a 4-0 victory over Basel in the Champions League.

"The Basel game was a winning game, we have six days or so and until next Sunday (the League Cup final against Arsenal) we have five or six days too," Guardiola added.

"They can recover. When the distance is two or three days after we have to take a look at the condition of the team."

Wigan famously beat City in the 2013 FA Cup final before knocking them out at the quarter-final stage a year later.

Guardiola said he was wary of his opponents, who have already knocked out two Premier League clubs - Bournemouth and West Ham United - in the competition so far.

"Of course I am concerned... Bournemouth for me are one of the teams I like to watch the most in the Premier League and they were able to beat them," he said.

"I think in the FA Cup every season there are a lot of surprises. Not just this season and last season but throughout history. We are going to prepare as good as possible for this game."]]>
2/16/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Four West Brom players investigated for training camp incident]]>
Following their 3-0 league defeat by champions Chelsea on Monday, West Brom left for a warm-weather training camp in Barcelona to prepare for Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round clash against Southampton.

"The club can confirm that four senior players were involved in an incident during this week's mid-winter training trip to Spain," the club said in a statement without elaborating.

"The club has instigated its own investigation into the incident and the players will be subject to the full rigours of our internal disciplinary procedures.

"Until such time as that investigation has been completed, the club will not be making any further comment."

Alan Pardew's relegation-threatened side are at the bottom of the league table with three wins, 11 draws and 13 losses in their 27 matches.

Earlier this week, West Brom sacked chairman John Williams and chief executive Martin Goodman after the club's poor results this season.]]>
2/16/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Football players’ attraction to China seems to continue]]>
The economic potential of a competition that is still light years away from media focus is constantly increasing, and the Chinese clubs satisfy the high players' needs.

The American Major League Soccer (MLS) is no longer the only option to achieve a last, big contract away from the Old Continent.

There was a time when the route seemed even fixed. David Beckham, Roy Keane and Thierry Henry opened the way to the MLS years ago.

After achieving great successes in Europe, they had to end up giving the last blows in the United States. America was not just a place hungry for quality soccer, since its choice should be understood also in terms of marketing.

If we considered the personal aspect, the quality of life in North America is a future investment at the family level. But now, with the explosion of the Chinese Super League, the American dream has a little less strength.

Also, players like Pep Guardiola, Xavi Hernandez, Raul Gonzalez and Fabio Cannavaro have looked to Qatar’s “petro-dollars” in the last decade.

Something to a lesser extent has also happened with Indian soccer. The short duration of the Superliga India – only three months – turns the passage through this country into a brief adventure.

Roberto Carlos or Marco Materazzi opted to be both players and coaches of their respective teams.

While the other adventures lose strength, the Chinese one grows more every day. It is that the economic investments of their clubs seem to have no ceiling – transfers of up to €60 million ($75 million) for Oscar from Chelsea and salaries at the level of those of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that exceed €20 million per year, as happened with Tévez.

Not even the new regulations, which require a 100% tax to be disbursed at each signing, seems to have slowed down the dynamics.

But money is not everything. Many of the players who leave for China do not adapt to their new life. The clubs have a majority of local footballers, which hinders the relationship of foreign players with their environment. At that point, the language is an important handicap. Thus, there are many who choose to return to Europe (or South America) when they have the opportunity. The case of Didier Drogba, who in 2012 did not endure even half a year in Shanghai Shenhua, serves as a clear example.
2/16/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Video – Al-Ahly defeats Al-Assiouty 1-0]]>CAIRO – 16 February 2018: Al-Ahly succeeded to achieve an easy 1-0 win over Al-Assiouty Sport thanks to their winger, Walid Soliman, in the 24th round of the Egyptian League.

Both teams met at Borg El Arab Stadium in a medium level game. Al-Ahly continued their leadership on the top of the table with 63 points, while Al-Assiouty remained in 12th place with 29 points.

The Red Devils performed very modestly and unlike previous confrontations. All the attacking keys, like Junior Ajayi, Walid Azzarou, Phakamani Mahlambi and Abdullah El Said, who got subbed due to injury, failed to make any clear chances. But Walid Soliman, Said’s substitute, secured the three points after scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot.

Soliman’s goal is the 500th goal in the Egyptian League this season and his 6th goal with Al-Ahly in the domestic competition this season.

Al-Ahly continued their amazing run, as this is the 11th consecutive victory this season.

Next, Al-Ahly faces Al-Nasr in the 25th round of the Egyptian League on Monday, while Al-Assiouty is set to meet El-Entag el-Harby on Tuesday.
2/16/2018 8:02:49 PM
<![CDATA[Skeleton-German Loelling sets the pace]]>
With a combined time of one minute 43.86 seconds, police officer Loelling held a slender lead of two hundredths of a second over Austria's Janine Flock at the Olympic Sliding Centre.

Riders braved an icy wind chill of minus 11 degrees Celsius which made some sleds more difficult to control on the hardened ice, particularly around the "dragon's tail" chicane.

After setting a track record in her first run, Yarnold failed to maintain the pace in the second and slipped to third with British team mate Laura Deas close behind in fourth. Sochi 2014 gold medallist Yarnold has reportedly been suffering from inner-ear problems affecting her balance.

British women have medalled at every skeleton competition since the sport was reintroduced to the Olympics in 2002.

Germans Anna Fernstaedt and Tina Hermann finished fifth and sixth respectively ahead of the last two runs on Saturday.]]>
2/16/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly vs. Al-Assiouty challenge at Borg El Arab]]>
Al-Ahly enters the game topping the table of the Egyptian League with 60 points from 23 games played this season.

Al-Ahly thrashed Arab Contractors last round 5-2 on Monday night at Cairo Stadium, while Al-Assiouty stunned Al-Nasr 5-1. It would be an attacking game from both teams.

Al-Ahly hopes to continue their amazing performance and reach the 11th consecutive victory in the league this season.

On the other hand, Al-Assiouty is living in a bright era under the helm of their coach, Aly Maher, as he managed to be this season’s surprise with 7 wins, 8 draws and only 8 defeats, which led Beni Suef’s team to the 12th place in the table.

The official line-up for both teams is as follows:


GK: Mohamed el-Shennawy

DEF: Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Naguib, Ayman Ashraf, Sabry Raheel

MID: Hesham Mohamed, Amr el-Soleya, Phakamani Mahlambi, Abdullah el-Said,
Junior Ajayi

ATT: Walid Azzarou


GK: Ahmed Da`dor

DEF: Hamada Tolba, Islam Seyam, Mostafa Afroto, Ishaq Molim

MID: Mohanad Lashin, Mohamed Rizq, Mahmoud Salah, Gift Links

ATT: Benson Shilongo, Sherif Reda
2/16/2018 4:23:09 PM
<![CDATA[Napoli lose at home, Arsenal and Milan win away in Europa League]]>
Italian league leaders Napoli went ahead against Leipzig but slumped to a 3-1 defeat after a Timo Werner brace, Arsenal overcame Sweden's Ostersunds 3-0 helped by an own goal and Milan won by the same score against Bulgarian champions Ludogorets.

Batshuayi took his tally to five goals in three games since joining Dortmund on loan from Chelsea, with his double against Atalanta hauling the Germans side back from 2-1 down after Josip Ilicic scored twice in five minutes for the Italians.

Nice striker Mario Balotelli also scored two goals against Lokomotiv Moscow only to be upstaged by a Manuel Fernandes hat-trick as the visitors hit back to win 3-2.

Twice former winners Atletico Madrid recovered from an early fright to win 4-1 at FC Copenhagen as Saul Niguez, Kevin Gameiro, Antoine Griezmann and Vitolo shared the goals after Victor Fischer had put the Danish side in front.

FCSB, formerly Steaua Bucharest, beat Lazio 1-0 and Celtic overcame Zenit St Petersburg by the same score.

Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri has made it clear that his priority lies in Serie A and a disappointingly sparse crowd turned up for the visit of Leipzig.

Adam Ounas gave Napoli the lead early in the second half, the Algerian's first goal for the club, but the away side made the most of shoddy defending to turn the game around.

Werner levelled with an opportunist finish, then Bruma finished off a counter-attack and Werner added another in stoppage time as Napoli were again caught on the break.


Arsenal's Nacho Monreal and Mesut Ozil were on target at Ostersunds either side of a Sotirios Papagiannopoulos own goal.

Like the Londoners, Milan's best hope of Champions League football next season appears to be by winning the Europa League. Patrick Cutrone, a Ricardo Rodriguez penalty and Fabio Borini gave them an impressive win at Bulgarian champions Ludogorets.

Balotelli took his tally to 21 goals this term for Nice, where he is in his second season enjoying a new lease of life.

The maverick Italian slotted home after four minutes and converted a penalty in the 28th, sending Lokomotiv keeper Guilherme the wrong way after a Nemanja Pejcinovic handball.

Not to be outdone, Fernandes replied with a penalty before halftime and curled in a free kick to equalise in the 67th before completing his second Europa League hat-trick this term from Anton Miranchuk's cross.

Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz, 37, scored twice in a 3-1 win at Spartak Moscow, while their Basque rivals Real Socieded were held 2-2 at home by Salzburg.

Sporting's Bruno Fernandes, Gelson Martins and Seydou Doumbia scored in an eight-minute spell after halftime as they came from behind to win 3-1 on Astana's artificial pitch in Kazakhstan where Marin Tomasov gave the hosts an early lead.

The roof was closed for the match with temperatures hovering around minus 20 Celsius outside.]]>
2/16/2018 4:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Neymar's father hits out at son's critics after CL defeat]]>
Neymar was widely criticised as being ineffective during Real's 3-1 win over PSG in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Spain.

"In a war there are those who feed off victories and those who, like vultures, feed off the carcasses of the defeated," Neymar's father wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of his son.

Neymar Snr, who is also his son's agent, was nevertheless adamant that PSG can qualify for the quarter-finals with a win in second leg of the tie in Paris on March 6.

"My son has been battling since he was a child," he wrote, "always fighting fair, always avoiding the vultures, always rising again stronger.

"We lost a battle but as for the war, we'll see, because it will last as long as we're on the field."]]>
2/16/2018 3:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[McLeish takes charge of Scotland again]]>
McLeish, 59, has signed a contract until 2020 to replace Gordon Strachan, who left after failing to guide Scotland to this year's World Cup in Russia.

During his first spell in charge in 2007, McLeish led Scotland to seven victories in 10 matches before joining Birmingham City.

"It is a tremendous honour to be named Scotland national team head coach," McLeish said in a statement.

"I am incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to lead my country already and I am immensely proud to be in this position for a second time.

"With Hampden Park as one of the host venues for Euro 2020 we have an amazing opportunity to showcase our talents to the world from our own back yard."

Former Scotland defender McLeish, who was capped 77 times, has also managed Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Belgian side Genk and Egypt's Zamalek.

"During the recruitment process he received resounding endorsements from several influential figures in the game which helped establish him as an outstanding choice from a strong list of possible candidates," Scottish FA president Alan McRae said.

"Alex has demonstrated a desire and ability to get results with the national team and we believe that he is best placed to inspire our talented group of players to glory."

McLeish's first games at the helm will be friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary next month before Scotland face Peru in May and Mexico in June.

His competitive debut will come in the UEFA Nations League against Albania on Sept. 10.]]>
2/16/2018 2:14:32 PM
<![CDATA[Soccer-Swansea's Sanches could return in March, says Carvalhal]]>
Sanches, who joined Swansea on a season-long loan from Germany's Bayern Munich, sustained the injury in January's FA Cup draw with Notts County and Carvalhal has alleviated concerns of a long-term absence for the 27-year-old.

"He is progressing," Carvalhal told the club's website. (www.swanseacity.com) "In the beginning they said it could be long-term, but I believe he will come back next month.

"That's my feeling. I think he will be back sooner than we expect."

The Portugal international has failed to impose himself at the Welsh club as multiple injury setbacks have limited him to just 12 league appearances.

Captain Angel Rangel (groin) and striker Wilfried Bony (knee) are also sidelined for Swansea, who are 16th in the league, while midfielder Leon Britton faces a race to be fit for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday. ]]>
2/16/2018 11:49:50 AM
<![CDATA[REFILE-Soccer-Mkhitaryan backs Arsenal to win Europa League]]>
Mkhitaryan, who won the Europa League with Manchester United last season, provided two assists as Arsenal built a solid advantage ahead of the second leg on Thursday.

"Why not? We have to keep fighting, we have to win every game and then at the end, we'll see where we're at," Mkhitaryan told reporters when asked about Arsenal winning the competition.

The Armenian also said that the Premier League side could not afford to rest key players for the return leg against Ostersunds, ahead of the League Cup final against Manchester City on Feb. 25, despite being in prime position to seal a last 16 spot.

"We have to focus in every game. It doesn't matter if we have got a good result or not. We have to win in every game to get more confidence and to have better success," the 29-year-old said.

"It doesn't matter who we are going to play after the second leg, yes, we have a game in the cup final but we have to play with the same team, I think, and to win at home."

Arsenal host Ostersunds at the Emirates before playing City twice in quick succession, including a home league match against Pep Guardiola's side on Mar. 1.
2/16/2018 11:37:29 AM
<![CDATA[Olympics-Cross-country skiing-Swiss "Super Dario" takes 15km gold]]>
Norway's Simen Hegstad Krueger finished 18.3 seconds behind the Swiss, with Denis Spitsov, representing Olympic Athletes from Russia, in third another 4.7 seconds further back.

Known in his home country as "Super Dario", the 31-year-old burst into tears and was comforted by his coaches as it became clear that his third 15km gold was secured.

With the 14 seeded athletes choosing to start in the middle of the 119-strong field, Sweden's Calle Halvarsson put down a marker for the rest of the field with some good early split times, but he was soon swallowed up as the specialists over the distance got out on the course.

France's Maurice Manificat, who leads the World Cup distance race table, set off at a cracking pace and immediately took the lead at the first split, but by the second split Cologna had taken a lead he would not relinquish.

Manificat eventually finished in fifth, 27 seconds behind the Swiss.

Norway sent out another strong team in the hope of plundering more Olympic gold but only Krueger, who won the skiathlon event on Sunday, managed to make the podium.

Team mate Martin Johnsrud Sundby looked like he was in with a chance for bronze, but a strong late spurt by Spitsov gave the Russian third place.]]>
2/16/2018 11:26:58 AM
<![CDATA[Tennis-Federer closes in on world number one ranking]]>
The 36-year-old needs to reach the semi-finals to overtake Rafael Nadal at the top of the rankings and reclaim the world number one ranking for the first time since November 2012.

Evergreen Federer, the 20-times grand slam champion, faces local favourite Robin Haase in the last eight on Friday.

Kohlschreiber, 34, had not beaten Federer in 12 attempts but on his own service game proved a tough opponent for the Swiss, pushing him all the way to a first set tiebreak.

The German even had two set points but could not convert them as Federer rallied and placed a forehand perfectly beyond Kohlschreiber to take the lead in the match after 54 minutes.

The second set followed a similar pattern but with Kohlschreiber, ranked 36 in the world, more attuned to Federer's serve and improving his return rate.

He still had to save four break points without getting close himself to threatening the Australian Open champion's serve.

Kohlschreiber's resistance was finally breached in the 11th game as Federer overpowered his opponent and went on to comfortably serve out the set.

Federer would surpass American Andre Agassi as the oldest world number one if he wins his next match in Rotterdam and he would also set another record of the longest gap (five years and 106 days) between periods as number one.

He already holds the record for most weeks spent at number one, having topped the rankings for a combined 302 weeks. s]]>
2/16/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[We must be cautious against Chelsea: Pique ]]>
“The atmosphere is positive and good around the squad, but we also must be cautious and learn from the experiences of previous years,” Pique told press on Thursday.

Chelsea eliminated Barcelona from 2012 UEFA Champions League semi-finals in after defeating them 1-0 in London in the first leg and they ended the second leg in Barcelona with a 2-2 draw.
Chelsea’s victory over the main contenders, Barcelona led them to win the title by defeating Bayern Munich on Penalties in the final.

Pique added, “as long as you play for Barcelona you are the favourite to win any game and you have the chance to do it. We want to go there to try to win and take the first step towards getting through the tie."

Barcelona travels to face Chelsea on Tuesday February 20 in London before playing the second leg two weeks later in Barcelona.
2/16/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fans to attend African volleyball Clubs Championships for free]]>
“Each supporter will have to pay LE 5 to complete legal procedures required to prove his legal eligibility to attend games,” Al Ahly board member, Mohamed el-Garhy informed press on Thursday.

The officials will allow 950 fans to attend the games at Abdullah bin Faisal halls at Al Ahly.

Al Ahly are the title holders defeating Etoile Du Sahel 3-1 last year in front of their fans and they have won a record of 12 Men’s African Volleyball Championships.

“We are defending our title and we hope to achieve it in front of our fans. I trust my players’ ability to win the competition,” Al Ahly’s manager, Mohamed Mselhy told the club’s official website.

The 2018 men’s competition is scheduled to be played from March 25 to April 6 while Women’s competition Is scheduled between 4 to 16 March.
2/15/2018 11:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Jazz stomp Suns for 11th consecutive win]]>
Derrick Favors had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 17 rebounds for Utah. Mitchell and Joe Ingles (13 points) each dished out six assists as the Jazz won their second straight against Phoenix.

Gobert earned his 16th double-double of the season, while Favors notched his 14th double-double.

Devin Booker had 28 points and Josh Jackson added 22 points for the Suns. Phoenix's Elfrid Payton chipped in his ninth career triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists. The Suns lost their seventh consecutive game.

The Jazz started strong on offense in the first quarter, carving out a 16-6 lead behind a trio of 3-pointers from Ingles and Mitchell. Phoenix soon rallied and cut the deficit to 18-17 on a 3-pointer from Booker.

Jackson took over early in the second quarter, scoring four baskets. The rookie guard cut to the basket for a layup and then a dunk on back-to-back possessions to tie it at 36-36. Then O'Neale took his turn being dominant in the final minutes of the half. O'Neale scored four baskets over the final 3:44 -- capped by a step-back jumper to beat the buzzer -- that gave Utah a 50-41 halftime lead.

Phoenix rallied again in the third quarter and twice took a one-point lead on baskets from Alex Len, the second time going up 60-59. Mitchell answered with a go-ahead 3-pointer on the other end, and Utah eventually reclaimed a 70-62 lead on a step-back jumper from the rookie.

Phoenix pulled ahead one more time early in the fourth quarter, taking a 75-74 lead on back-to-back baskets from Marquese Chriss and Jackson. Jae Crowder got to the line on two straight possessions to fuel an 8-0 run that put Utah back in front 85-77.

The Suns cut it to 98-95 on a 3-pointer from Payton, but Crowder answered with back-to-back layups to give the Jazz a 102-95 lead with 1:58 left.]]>
2/15/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Klopp is happy with Liverpool's performance against Porto]]>
“For tonight, we did the right things and we scored fantastic goals at the right time, so we won the game,” Klopp told press after the game.

Sadio Mane opened the score for his team after 25 minutes, and then Mohamed Salah doubled the score four minutes later.

Liverpool scored another three goals during the second half, one goal by Roberto Firmino and two goals by Mane, to win the game 5-0.

Salah’s goal made him the 13th player in Liverpool’s history to score 30 goals in one season and he received applauds from his manager.

“Congratulations, but hopefully he [Salah] will not stop. He played a good season and I think each goal was kind of a winner, and that’s very important,” Klopp added.

Klopp also praised Sadio Mane’s performance after a tough period, saying, “He gave the right answer. I said to him after the last game, ‘finally you’re back,’ immediately after we talked on the pitch. He showed it again tonight; what a fantastic player he is.”

Liverpool will host Porto on March 6 to secure their qualification for the quarter finals for the first time since 2009.
2/15/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Conte eyes squad rotation to tackle tough fixtures ahead]]>
After the fifth round meeting with Championship side (second tier) Hull, Chelsea host Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 next week before back-to-back Premier League games against Manchester United and Manchester City.

"For sure, we have in front of us two weeks that will be tough. For this reason I think it is right to have a plan to take on the two tough weeks in the right way," Italian Conte told a news conference on Thursday.

"At the same time, as you know very well, we want to try to go through to the next round in the FA Cup."

Chelsea are fourth in the league and 19 points adrift of leaders City with 11 games left, but Conte said a good run was vital to maintain their advantage over Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal who are directly below them in the league.

"When you start a season, every competition is a priority... We want to try to fight for every competition. There are three priorities for us in the rest of the season," he added.

Midfielders Tiemoue Bakayoko and Ross Barkley as well as defender David Luiz will miss the match against Hull with injuries. Striker Olivier Giroud (calf) and defender Marcos Alonso (ankle) face a late test to be fit.

Hull come into the contest on the back of a 2-1 fourth round win over Arsenal's conquerors Nottingham Forest. ]]>
2/15/2018 7:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[No NHLers, no interest as Canada roll to easy win]]>
What would have been one of the hottest tickets at any of the five previous Olympics featuring a Canadian team loaded with National Hockey League stars playing in their tournament opener was treated with disinterest as the world's best players sat these Games out.

With the NHL deciding to end its Olympic involvement Canada was forced to assemble a roster of mostly anonymous journeymen and minor leaguers, the absence of marquee names having a bigger impact on attendance than on the ice as Canada rolled to a confidence-boosting win.

"You didn't really know what to expect it's been a long process we knew the Swiss would have a good and that they would play hard," Canada coach Willie Desjardins told reporters.

"It was good for us to get out and get a couple of goals early.

"I think it let everybody see on our team where we are at and what we can do. We've still got lots of tough hockey ahead of us."

Canada would usually be the main attraction packing the largest venue but on Thursday the gold medallists were relegated to the smaller arena used primarily for women's hockey while the host South Koreans took on the Czech Republic across town at the main arena.

Large swathes of empty seats and just 2,802 spectators added up to a flat atmosphere inside the arena that a day earlier had been rattling with excitement for a women's hockey game between a united Korean team and Japan.

The Canadian team that stepped on to the Kwandong Hockey Centre ice on Thursday could not have been more different than the one that claimed gold four years ago in Sochi.

That was a team of future Hockey Hall of Famers, NHL most valuable players and scoring champions like Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews.

The roster that opened defence of that gold was one cobbled together from NHL spare parts and castoffs. A team of mostly unknowns earning a pay cheque playing in remote hockey outposts.

"You try to just treat it like any other game as cliche as that sounds, if you start focusing on magnitude you kind of get lost in the forest," said Canada netminder Ben Scrivens, who plays in the Russian KHL for Salavat Yulaev Ufa. "You take one game at a time."

Fans or no fans Canada got their bid for a third consecutive gold off to an inspired start with Rene Bourque redirecting Chris Lee's shot from the blueline past Leonardo Genoni to open the scoring and Maxim Noreau adding a powerplay tally for a 2-0 first period lead.

Bourque found the back of the net again in the second which was followed 52 seconds later with another powerplay goal from Wojtek Wolski that pushed the lead out to 4-0.

Simon Moser's third period powerplay goal accounted for all the Swiss scoring and Wolski answered with an empty netter for Canada. ]]>
2/15/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek to open their first academy in Gulf ]]>
Zamalek has a huge fan base in the Gulf and the club decided to open this academy to connect the club with the fans there. Zamalek also has a plan to open other academies in more Gulf countries.

Ismail Youssef spoke before his trip to Kuwait about Zamalek’s victory over Wadi Degla on Wednesday in the Egyptian League, saying, “The team regained their personality on the pitch under the new manager, Ihab Galal. We have many talented players and I think they need to concentrate more to improve.”

Zamalek defeated Wadi Degal 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Kasongo Kabongo, who granted Zamalek the victory.

Zamalek trained on Thursday morning without their Syrian left back, Moayad El Aggan, who suffered a small knee injury.

Zamalek will play against Petrojet on Monday, February 19 against Petrojet.
2/15/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Esperance defeats Etoile du Sahel in Tunisian Derby]]>
Esperance surprised their opponents with the first goal only 17 minutes from the start through their Algerian midfielder, Youssef Blaili, who received a cross from Etoile’s box to make the score 1-0.

Etoile du Sahel dominated the game after the goal and they created many chances to score, but Esperance goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia saved all their attempts.

Etoile du Sahel managed to equalize the score 9 minutes before the half time thanks to a goal from Esperance defender Montassar Talbi in his own team’s net.

Seven minutes later, Alkhali Bangoura added the second goal for Etoile du Sahel, who ended the first half 2-1.

Etoile du Sahel tried to secure their victory by scoring in the first minutes of the second half, while Esperance players failed to create chances to score.

The last ten minutes of the game were full of drama, as Esperance got a penalty and Taha Yassine Khenissi converted it to make the score 2-2 three minutes before the final whistle.

The game stopped for ten minutes after a feud started between Esperance fans and the stadium’s security, but the game continued after the security controlled the situation.

Everyone was expecting the game to end with a draw, but Haythem Jouini received a ball in Etoile’s box and scored Esperance’s winning goal to end the game 3-2.

Esperance tops the league with 44 points after 18 games, winning 13 games and ending five games with a draw, while Etoile du Sahel are placed second with 33 points.

2/15/2018 6:05:43 PM
<![CDATA[Brighton's record signing Locadia set for debut against Coventry]]>
The 24-year-old Dutch forward has been recovering from a hamstring injury sustained before sealing his move from PSV Eindhoven last month for a reported fee of 14.1 million pounds ($19.8 million).

Locadia returned to training earlier this month and appeared in the squad for the first time as an unused substitute in Brighton's 1-1 draw at Stoke City in the Premier League last weekend.

"Jurgen will start against Coventry," Hughton told a news conference. "We brought him in to give us the options we need up front. We want him to settle in, provide competition up front and get some goals for us.

"Anyone coming into the team has to work hard but he's a player who has scored goals this season, hence why we brought him in.

"He's fully cleared from the injury but this will raise fitness levels and give him a chance to integrate into the team in a game as opposed in training."

Brighton, currently 14th in the league, have recorded just one victory in their last eight matches to stay two points clear of the relegation zone.

Hughton believes reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup has helped his squad stay positive during a difficult recent run of results.

"The cup run has helped the squad. When you're a player who's training well and needs opportunities it gives you a chance," he added.

"We're very conscious that Coventry will be fighting very hard at the weekend - but we've been given a good opportunity. We're delighted to still be in the competition."

Brighton host fourth-tier side Coventry, who are the lowest ranked team left in the competition.]]>
2/15/2018 5:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ghaly returns to Al Ahly against Al Assiuty ]]>It will be Ghaly’s first game after he ended his contract with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr and returned to Al-Ahly in January.

Al Ahly manager, Hossam el-Badry’s chosen squad for the game consists of Mohamed el-Shenawi, Ali Lotfi, Sherif Ekrami, Hisham Mohamed, Hossam Ashour, Abdullah el-Said, Junior Ajayi, Walid Azzaro, Salah Mohsen, Bassem Ali, Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Naguib, Ahmed Hamoudi, Ayman Ashraf, Islam Mohareb, Karim Nedved, Sabry Rahil, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Abdel Monem, Phakamani Mahlambi, Amr el-Solia and Hossam Ghaly.

Al Ahly director of football, Sayed Abdel Hafiz expects a tough game on Friday, “Al Assiuty have had a great run this season in the League and we had a tough game against them at the first half of the season so it will not be an easy game for us,” Abdel Hafiz told Al Ahly official website on Thursday.

Al Ahly defeated Al Assiuty 1-0 at the season’s first half thanks to a goal from Abdaalah el-Said.

Abdel Hafiz praised his team after winning 5-2 against Arab Contractors on Monday, saying “the players want to win every game to defend our League title and they have the experience to deal with different situations during the game.”

Al-Ahly tops the league table with 60 points, while Al Assiuty are placed 11th with 29 points.
2/15/2018 4:57:20 PM
<![CDATA[VfL Wolfsburg face fan protest against Bayern]]>
Wolfsburg, who only ensured their Bundesliga survival last season by winning a relegation playoff against second tier Eintracht Braunschweig, have fallen dangerously close to the danger zone again after winning one of their last eight league games.

Now only four points clear of Mainz 05 in the relegation playoff spot, they have also been knocked out of the German Cup after a 1-0 defeat to Schalke 04 earlier this month.

Bayern's visit could not have come at a worse time for Wolfsburg given that the Bavarians are 18 points clear at the top and have won 14 of 15 league games since Jupp Heynckes returned for his fourth stint as coach.

Wolfsburg were founded in 1945 and German media said that the North Curve of their stadium, which houses the hardcore fans, will remain empty until 19 minutes and 45 seconds of Saturday's game.

The fans then plan to continue their protest by turning their backs to the pitch, adding to the pressure on coach Martin Schmidt and sporting director Olaf Rebbe.

"We are aware of the difficult sporting situation and can understand the displeasure of the fans absolutely," said Wolfsburg chairman Tim Schumacher.

"We put our trust in the sporting leadership and now need peace and unity," he added. "VfL deliberately took a new direction before the season."

"It's a great challenge, but the team has the potential to win the points they need for a reasonable end to the season. We are all committed to the task but we need the full support of our fans."

Kicker magazine reported that Rebbe, who has already fired two coaches since he was appointed in January last year, was fighting alongside Schmidt to keep his job.

Schmidt was appointed in September to replace Andries Jonker and immediately made his mark by making his players brush their teeth after matches, saying that the acid reaction it caused when they were tired helped their "regeneration".

The 50-year-old Swiss's first seven league games all produced draws and when they beat Freiburg 3-1 in their eighth game, Wolfsburg appeared to have turned the corner.

But they have managed only two more wins since then, coupled with four defeats and another four draws. In all, they have drawn 12 of their 22 Bundesliga games.

Bayern won 6-0 on their visit to Wolfsburg last season and if, as expected, the Bavarians win again on Saturday, Wolfsburg's visit to Mainz the following weekend will turn into a relegation dogfight.

Schmidt recognised the seriousness of the situation after Sunday's 3-1 defeat to Werder Bremen. "It's not the 11th hour," he said. "It's a bit later than that."]]>
2/15/2018 3:48:11 PM
<![CDATA[Independiente draw 1-1 with Gremio in SuperCup first leg]]>
The battle between the winners of South America's two biggest cup competitions veered Gremio's way after 21 minutes when Luan took advantage of a poor pass out of defence to give the visitors the lead.

The Brazilians, winners of the 2017 Copa Libertadores, were given more help six minutes later when Independiente's Emmanuel Gigliotti was sent off for elbowing an opponent.

However, the home side, winners of the Copa Sudamericana, the continental equivalent of the Europa League, fought back to equalise when Bruno Cortes deflected a free kick past his own keeper after 33 minutes.

The second leg will take place next Wednesday in Porto Alegre.]]>
2/15/2018 1:55:44 PM
<![CDATA[Anderson back in Lazio squad after reported row with Inzaghi]]>
Inzaghi said the Brazilian, dropped following the 2-1 home defeat by Genoa on Feb. 5, would be included in the squad for the Europa League tie away to FCSB Bucharest on Thursday.

"He's understood that he was wrong, he is motivated and fully concentrated and that's what I want to see in him," Inzaghi told reporters.

Italian media said that Anderson and Inzaghi were involved in a row following the Genoa game where the 24-year-old played the last 20 minutes.

Anderson has had a frustrating season. He has struggled to get back into the team after missing the first three months of the season through injury and has started only one Serie A match.

"Thank you all for the affection, for the messages of support and for the advice," said Anderson on Instagram. ]]>
2/15/2018 1:52:46 PM
<![CDATA[Zidane strikes back to win tactical battle with PSG]]>
Zidane was expected to match PSG's 4-3-3 formation and field Gareth Bale in the last 16-first leg at the Bernabeu but instead opted to play Isco to give his team numerical superiority in midfield.

"We wanted to control the game and we did that," Zidane told reporters.

"We did that by playing four in middle against their midfield three, Isco had a great game and gave us greater possession and the game went as we had envisaged it."

Real made the stronger start although they fell behind to Adrien Rabiot's strike, which Cristiano Ronaldo cancelled out from the penalty spot.

Zidane looked to his bench to win the game and made ultra-attacking changes by throwing on Bale and wingers Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.

The injection of fresh legs startled the tired visitors and after Bale came close to scoring from the right-hand side Asensio made two darting runs down the left which led to Ronaldo putting Real ahead in the 83rd minute and Marcelo's late strike tightened their grip on the tie.

"Despite all the speculation, we showed that you can never presume Real Madrid are dead," Real captain Sergio Ramos said.

After sweeping to the Liga and Champions League double last season and becoming the first coach to successfully defend the trophy since the tournament changed format, Zidane has seen his reputation as a coach nose-dive as his side fell way behind Barcelona in the Liga and were eliminated from the King's Cup.

Their hopes for the season entirely rested on the blockbuster tie against PSG and with their supporters fully behind them in a competition they have won an astounding 12 times, Real delivered.

"The Champions League turns us on," said Zidane. "This club has won this competition 12 times for a reason."

Marca newspaper hailed Zidane's strategy.

"Zidane struck back and turned the tie on its head with a statement of authority from the tactical board," the paper said.

"It was a masterstroke which gave his team wings and came off perfectly."

The late goals gave Real a big advantage going into the second leg in Paris on March 6 and Ramos called on his side to produce a repeat performance to continue their quest for a third consecutive Champions League triumph.

"We were effective in a way we haven't been for much of the season and we played a complete game," he said.

"This is the example we need to follow in the second leg, we need to play as serious as we did and keep showing that desire to keep defending this title."]]>
2/15/2018 1:50:45 PM
<![CDATA[China's Dalian Wanda sells 17 pct stake in Spain's Atletico Madrid]]>
Wanda sold the stake to Quantum Pacific Group, after buying a 20 percent stake in Atletico in 2015 for 45 million euros ($56 million), when it became the first mainland Chinese company to invest in a premier European club.

The sale adds to deals worth about $16 billion that Wanda has announced since last year. In January, Wanda said its commercial property arm reached a deal to get a $5.4 billion investment from a group led by tech giant Tencent Holdings . ]]>
2/14/2018 11:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Hazard praises Giroud ]]>
“I think he's a great target man and he can score a lot of goals. He's a good point of reference. He has a lot of defenders around him, so we are free to play around him, myself, Pedro and Willian,” Hazard told Sky Sports.

Giroud joined Chelsea this January from their local rivals, Arsenal, and established himself as their first choice striker.

Chelsea, the reigning champions, are suffering this season in the league. They are placed fourth, 19 points behind the leaders, Manchester City.

Speaking about Chelsea’s ambition this season, Hazard said, “We need to be in the top four for the Champions League next season, and it would be good if we can take the FA Cup."

Chelsea reached the FA Cup round of 6 and they will play against Hull City on Friday night at home.

Hazard added, “We have a good team; we have good players. We have three months to play until the end of the season and we have to give everything to reach our targets. When you play for Chelsea, the target has to be to win trophies."

Hazard and his teammates are preparing to host Barcelona on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
2/14/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Jokic's triple-double leads Nuggets over Spurs]]>
San Antonio owned a 100-99 lead after Danny Lauvergne's hook shot with 8:36 to play, but the closing eight minutes at the Pepsi Center belonged to Nuggets.

Denver forged a 15-3 run over next four-plus minutes, as Gary Harris scored seven points down the stretch and Will Barton and Wilson Chandler added four points each.

Barton had 20 points for Denver while Chandler and Jamal Murray scored 17 each. Harris hit for 15 points, and Trey Lyles added 11. It was Denver's first win over the Spurs in three meetings this year, as the Nuggets to snap a five-game losing streak to San Antonio.

San Antonio, with leading scorer and rebounder LaMarcus Aldridge missing the game due to a sore knee, lost its third consecutive contest and fifth in the past six outings.

The Spurs got a career-high 26 points and 11 rebounds from Lauvergne, 17 points from Tony Parker, 12 each from Davis Bertans and Dejounte Murray, and 10 points from Pau Gasol.

The Spurs led 61-58 at halftime after a first half that featured 11 lead changes and three ties. San Antonio outshot Denver 64.9 percent to 46.8 percent before the break. The Spurs ended the night at 53.7 percent, the Nuggets at 49.5 percent.

Bertans poured in 12 points in the first half to lead San Antonio while Parker had 11 and Murray scored 10. The Spurs' reserves outscored Denver's bench players 26-9 in the first half, 66-25 for the game.

Denver was led at the half by Jokic's 15 points, with Barton hitting for 14 and Murray adding 10 points in the first 24 minutes of play.

The Tuesday game was the fourth of six contests in San Antonio's annual "Rodeo Road Trip," caused by a rodeo in their home arena, and the Spurs' final game before the All-Star break. The team returns to the floor on Feb. 23 back at Denver.

The Nuggets head to Milwaukee for a game on Thursday before getting eight days off for the All-Star break.]]>
2/14/2018 9:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Late Kasongo goal grants Zamalek victory]]>
Zamalek started the game with a massive attacking line of Emad Fathy, Ayman Hefny, Abdallah Gomaa and Kasongo Kabongo, who failed to break their opponent’s defense in the first half, while Wadi Degla players had two failed chances to score through Omar El Said, ending the first half 0-0.

Both teams’ performance improved in the second half, and Degla goalkeeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef saved two chances from Mahmoud Abdelaziz and Mahmoud Alaa in the first five minutes.

Zamalek goalkeeper Ahmed El Shennawi saved two chances from Ahmed Salem Safy and Omar El Said three minutes later to keep the draw.

Zamalek midfielder Tarek Hamed had two strikes in the last minutes, but Abdel-Monsef saved them.

The master scene of the game came two minutes from the final whistle, when Kasongo Kabongo received a cross within the opponent’s box and converted it to the winning goal.

Zamalek reached the third place with 42 points, 18 points behind the leaders, Al-Ahly.
2/14/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA['Special' Mason always has place at Tottenham, says Pochettino]]>
Spurs' former midfielder Mason, who joined Hull City in 2016, suffered a fractured skull after a clash of heads with Chelsea's Gary Cahill in January last year and failed to recover sufficiently enough to return to the pitch.

Pochettino indicated that Mason, who made 70 appearances under the Argentine after rising through the ranks at Tottenham, could return to Spurs in some capacity and would be a success at whatever he decides.

"It is very sad news but he opens a door for his future with his family," Pochettino told reporters.

"Ryan has been at the training ground in recent days. We have been talking to him with (head of academy) John McDermott.

"He will be successful in whatever he does. He will always be a special player for me. Don't worry Ryan because you are going to be a successful person in football outside of the pitch, no doubt about that."

Cahill said he was heartbroken after learning Mason had been forced to retire.

"Devastated to hear today's news from Ryan," Cahill wrote on Twitter.

"Competing for a corner is something we've done thousands of times and to see those consequences for a top professional like Ryan is heartbreaking.

"Sending all my love to him and his family, and wishing him the best for the future."

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who himself suffered a skull fracture while playing for Chelsea in 2006, praised Mason for the way he dealt with his rehabilitation.

"Yesterday was a sad day for one incredible young man @RyanMason," Cech wrote on Twitter.

"Although his story didn't finish with ultimate happy ending, his determination, attitude and bravery he's shown during his recovery is something to be admired and an inspiration for others! All the best Ryan."]]>
2/14/2018 8:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Russians suffer Slovakia upset in Games opener]]>
Ceresnak capitalised on delay of a game penalty taken by Ivan Telegin, unleashing a slap shot from the point that beat goaltender Vasili Koshechkin to his left with just over 10 minutes to play.

Ceresnak, who plays in the Czech league, said his slap shot had been the most important goal of his career.

"This will help us win the next matches," the 25-year-old defenceman told reporters. "This is a tournament of big surprises."

The National Hockey League (NHL) decision not to release players for the Olympics in South Korea has made the Russians favourites to win gold.

Their team, composed of players from the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), widely considered the world's second best, has more depth than other participating countries.

But former NHL player Ilya Kovalchuk, who had four shots on goal, said the team were struggling with their powerplay.

"We started well, we scored two goals and we could have scored more, but their goalie played well," Kovalchuk told reporters.

The Russians drew first blood as Vladislav Gavrikov and Kirill Kaprizov found the back of the net in the opening four minutes to jump in front 2-0.

But after a lightning start, the OAR lost their composure as Slovakia hit back with a pair of goals on four shots, including a breakaway by Martin Bakos.

"We were the ones who gave away the game," Russian head coach Oleg Znarok told a news conference.

After a scoreless second period, Slovakia took advantage of sloppy play by from the Olympic Athletes from Russia in the third as Ceresnak collected the winner on a powerplay off a second delay of game penalty.

The Russians next face Slovenia, surprise 3-2 winners over the United States, on Friday while Slovakia play the Americans.]]>
2/14/2018 7:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Tottenham battle back to earn 2-2 draw at Juve]]>
When Argentina striker Higuain volleyed Juve in front after two minutes and fired home a penalty seven minutes later the hosts, runners-up in two of the last three season, appeared to have one foot already in the quarter-finals.

Tottenham were wobbling but responded to dominate for long periods and Kane halved the deficit in the 35th minute with his ninth goal in nine appearances in the competition.

The outstanding Christian Eriksen beat veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon with a free kick 20 minutes from fulltime to give Tottenham the advantage going into next month's second leg at Wembley Stadium where they have already beaten champions Real Madrid in the group phase.

Juve, who had conceded only once in their previous 16 games in all competitions, will rue Higuain's missed penalty on the stroke of halftime but could have few complaints after being shaken to the core by a vibrant Spurs side.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino even sounded disappointed his side had not gone on to end Juve's near five-year unbeaten run at home in European competition.

"The character we showed today was fantastic," he said. "Two down against a side who are so difficult to break down and in the end we deserved to win more than to draw.

"This showed the team is more mature. The first minutes were difficult but it was amazing how we reacted."


Tottenham arrived full of confidence after winning a group containing Real and Borussia Dortmund.

But they were caught cold as Juventus were awarded a free kick and Miralem Pjanic cleverly picked out Higuain who swivelled to volley right-footed past Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham had barely put two passes together when they fell further behind. Ben Davies was caught napping and his rash tackle sent Federico Bernardeschi flying to give the referee an easy decision to point to the spot.

Higuain duly converted despite Lloris guessing the right way and getting a touch on the ball.

From a position of control, however, Juve began to retreat and allow Tottenham's creative department of Eriksen, Mousa Dembele, Erik Lamela and Dele Alli to pull the strings.

Eriksen's sublime pass should have resulted in a goal for Kane but his header was superbly saved by Buffon, who also got down well to deflect another Kane shot wide.

Juve were dangerous on the counter-attack with Higuain almost scoring a third but Tottenham were back in the tie when Alli picked out Kane after 35 minutes and the England striker rounded Buffon before sliding home.

Tottenham had a huge let-off on the stroke of halftime when they were caught on the counter-attack and Douglas Costa enticed Serge Aurier into a desperate lunge to concede another penalty.

Higuain took the ball but rather than celebrate a first-half hat-trick his penalty rattled the crossbar.

Juventus played more like the away side in the second half with Tottenham again pressing, although the hosts went close with Lloris saving well from Bernardeschi and Mario Mandzukic then heading straight at the thankful French keeper.

There was barely a dull moment and when Tottenham were awarded a foul 25 metres from goal Eriksen drilled a low shot that deceived Buffon and nestled into the corner.]]>
2/14/2018 5:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Klopp expects tough clash in Porto ]]>
“They are very experienced. They’re very aggressive, very physical, and it will be a heated atmosphere as well, so there’s a lot we have to deal with,” Klopp told press ahead of the game.

Liverpool has won five Champions League titles before and is playing in the Champions League knockout stage after nine years of absence.

Their last participation in the knockout stages was in 2009, when they got eliminated by Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
Klopp spoke about the importance of playing in this stage, saying, “As a team, you grow with all games you play, difficult circumstances, strong opponents, showing good reactions after unlucky or deserved defeats; it all helps you grow.”

Klopp’s best achievement in the Champions League was reaching the final in 2013 as coach of Borussia Dortmund, losing the final to Bayern Munich 2-1.

Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah could be the 13th player in the club’s history to score 30 goals in only one season if he scores a goal against Porto.

2/14/2018 5:00:49 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek hosts Degla at the 24th round ]]>Zamalek’s coaching staff, headed by Ihab Galal, has announced the official formation for the game as follows:
• Ahmed El Shennawy
• Mahmoud Alaa
• Mohamed Abdel Ghany
• Maarouf Youssef
• Hamdi Naagguez
• Mahmoud Abdel Aziz
• Tarek Hamed
• Emad Fathy
• Ayman Hefny
• Abdallah Gomaa
• Kabongo Kasongo

Tarek Al Ashry, head coach of Wadi Degla, also announced the starting eleven of his team as follows:
• Mohamed Abdel Monsef
• Ahmed Salem Safy
• El Sayed Salem
• Patrick Malo
• Osama Azab
• Mohamed Anwar
• Mohamed Hasan
• Ahmed Eid Abdel Malek
• Omar El Saied
• Ahmed Saied
• Ibrahima Ndiaye

Zamalek enters the game with 39 points, occupying the fourth place of the standing table of the league, while Wadi Degla is 14th with 23 points. The last game between the two teams was on October 29, 2017 and ended by Zamalek's clean victory with three goals with no reply, scored by Maarouf Youssef, Mahmoud Alaa and Zamalek’s current top scorer, Mohamed Ashraf, who managed to score five goals for Zamalek this season.
2/14/2018 4:40:40 PM
<![CDATA[Ruthless City finish off Basel in 23 minutes]]>
Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero scored within nine minutes of each other in the last 16 first leg tie to almost certainly extend Basel's wait for a first quarter-final appearance in the competition.

Gundogan curled in the fourth from the edge of the area in the 53rd minute as the runaway English Premier League leaders clocked up another emphatic win in their remarkable season.

Basel did their best to make a game of it and created several openings but looked vulnerable every time City attacked.

City, who have lost in three of their previous four appearances at this stage of the competition, enjoyed the lion's share of the possession with 69 percent, although that was still unremarkable by their standards.

"It's an amazing result," said City coach Pep Guardiola. "The tie is 180 minutes but we are almost there. We defended quite well, we were clinical. It's not easy to keep the level but we did it."

Despite the scoreline, City had 12 shots to Basel's 11 and the Swiss could have taken an early lead.

Dimitri Oberlin got clear of City's defence and tried to poke the ball past Ederson as the Brazilian rushed out of his area but got no power on the ball allowing Kyle Walker to clear easily.

Oberlin also had a penalty appeal turned down as he went over under a challenge from Nicolas Otamendi.

Reality struck for Basel in the 14th minute when Gundogan beat Fabian Frei to Kevin de Bruyne's corner and headed in.

Four minutes later, Leo Lacroix failed to cut out Raheem Sterling's cross and the unmarked Silva lobbed his shot over Tomas Vaclik's attempted save, then Aguero scored the third from outside the area -- City's fourth shot on target of the game.

Ederson made his first real save in the 49th minute, palming away Mohamed Elyounoussi's long-range shot, but shortly afterwards, Aguero set up Gundogan who took one touch and placed a looping shot into the far corner.

A brilliant Vaclik save denied Gundogan a hat-trick late on but, even so, the second leg looks little more than a formality for Guardiola's side.]]>
2/14/2018 4:38:22 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly's Azarro targets CAF Champions League title ]]>
“I want to achieve all the domestic competitions with the club this season, but we focus on achieving the Champions League title after losing to Wydad Casablanca last year,” Azarro told Sada El-Balad on Wednesday.

Azarro joined Al-Ahly last summer and since then has established himself as the team’s first choice on the attacking line.

Azarro played a great role in the CAF Champions League campaign last season, scoring a hat-trick in the semi-finals against Etoile du Sahel to lead the club to the final.

Azarro added, “I do my best since I joined the club to be the top goal scorer in the Egyptian League.”

Azarro scored 14 goals in the league this season, becoming the league’s top goal scorer. His goals led Al-Ahly to top the league with 14 points cllear.

Morocco has reached the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and the draw put them in the group of death alongside Spain, Portugal and Iran. Azarro hopes to be among the national team squad at the World Cup.

Azarro added, “I am giving everything on the pitch to earn a place with the national team squad at the World Cup, but the national team has many players who play in Europe, so it will be difficult for me.”
2/14/2018 4:33:14 PM
<![CDATA[Arsenal's Lacazette ruled out for up to six weeks after knee surgery]]>
The procedure means that the 26-year-old will miss both legs of Arsenal's Europa League last-32 tie against Swedish side Ostersunds, as well as the League Cup final against Manchester City later this month.

"Lacazette had an arthroscopy on his left knee in London on Tuesday morning," Arsenal said in a statement on their website (www.arsenal.com).

"The minor procedure was a success and he will now undergo a period of rehabilitation. It is envisaged that he will return to the squad within four to six weeks."]]>
2/14/2018 4:00:33 PM
<![CDATA[Bayern Munich sign youth development partnership with FC Dallas]]>
Bayern said in a statement on Tuesday that the two clubs would exchange talent, collaborate on coaching and that players and coaches from the U.S. club would we welcomed at the Bavarians' academy in Munich.

"Our intention from the beginning has been to help support the growth of soccer in the U.S., supporting the existing development of players," said Bayern board member Joerg Wacker. "For us, FC Dallas is the ideal partner."

FC Dallas chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said he was thrilled to join Bayern "in this groundbreaking collaboration."

"One of our primary goals is to develop an academy and a club that can compete at the highest level on a global scale," he said. "This unprecedented partnership with one of the most successful clubs in the world marks a significant step toward that goal."]]>
2/14/2018 3:21:12 PM
<![CDATA[American Daly back to banish Sochi angst]]>
A 28-year-old in his second Olympics, Daly was just outside the medal positions heading into the fourth and final round in Sochi but his sled missed the groove at the start of his run and he zig-zagged wildly before regaining control.

There was no coming back from the horror start, however, and his anguish as he slid over the finish line with his head in his hands was one of the most devastating images of the Russian Games.

An emotionally gut-wrenching TV interview followed as the Smithtown, New York resident struggled to hold back tears and wished aloud for just "one more run".

Four years later Daly, will have four runs at the Pyeongchang Games and he has strapped himself in for another emotional roller-coaster.

"This is kind of a moment that I thought I would never truly have again," Daly told Reuters.

"And I thought it was a moment that was gone forever and to be able to come back again, it’s cliched, but it really is a dream come true.

"I’ve kind of got every emotion running through me now, anxiety, nerves, I feel like I can laugh or cry and run through the wall."

Daly thought he could get over the Sochi disappointment by putting away his sled, moving from New York to Washington DC and taking on the civilian life of a salary-man in marketing for a medical technology firm.

"I got a real job that didn't involve wearing spandex," he joked.

Life could have gone on in that uncomplicated way indefinitely but for a couple of serendipitous moments involving his former team mate and bronze medallist Matt Antoine and a night out with a woman.


Antoine had to cancel a trip to Germany due to a passport problem and the seed was planted over a catch-up.

Later, out on a first date, the girl asked my what my passion was," said Daly.

"And I didn’t have an answer. I realised I didn’t have a passion nearly as big as competing at an Olympic Games or skeleton."

Three days later, Daly emailed his federation and made his return to the ice track in January, 2017.

He will be back on the big stage for the preliminaries at the Olympic Sliding Centre on Thursday along with good friend Antoine, his room mate at the athletes' village.

Wisconsin man Antoine also nearly gave away skeleton for good as he battled depression following his Sochi medal, a condition the 32-year-old continues to manage.

Antoine was among the first to console Daly after his let-down in Sochi and his words struck a deep chord.

"This guy just won a bronze medal and his first thought was to give me a hug and say, 'I would have not have won this medal if it wasn’t for you. You and I would never be as good as we are if we didn’t have each other'," said Daly.

"That was one of the best things he ever said to me."

Daly, who won a team world championship in 2013, has no hesitation to say he is gunning for medals at Pyeongchang.

Four clean runs would do, of course, but he knows anything can happen.

"I think all the sliding athletes do it for that reason," he said. "Things can go wrong, but when they go right it is so sweet."]]>
2/14/2018 2:39:40 PM
<![CDATA[Al Ahly decides date for African campaign launch ]]>
Al Ahly will play against the winner between Gabon’s CF Mounana and Burkina’s Rail Club du Kadiogo. The latter won the first leg 1-0 in Burkina Faso and they will play the second leg on February 20 in Gabon.

Al Ahly who qualified to the competition as Egypt’s League champions hope to win the title after they lost the 2017 title to Wydad Casablanca in the final match.

Al Ahly has won a record of eight CAF Champions League titles but they failed to win the title since 2013.

Al Ahly fans are optimistic about their team's ability to win the title as it is doing well at the domestic competitions.

Al Ahly leads the Egyptian League with 14 points clear and they qualified to Egypt’s Cup round of 16.
2/14/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Curry, Warriors clobber Suns]]>
The Warriors' third consecutive win to close a four-game homestand came despite a second straight impressive performance by the Suns' Elfrid Payton, who led all scorers with 29 points.

Payton, acquired from the Orlando Magic for just a second-round pick last week, hit 11 of his 18 shots and also had eight rebounds and a team-high five assists in 31 minutes. However, the Suns lost for the sixth consecutive time on a night when they were formally eliminated from the Pacific Division title race.

Kevin Durant had 17 points and Klay Thompson 16 for the Warriors, who beat Phoenix for the 12th straight time, their longest active streak against any opponent.

It was the clubs' first meeting this season.

With Payton hitting his first seven shots and scoring 16 early points, the Suns led 26-25 in the first minute of the second quarter before the Warriors took control.

Nick Young, Patrick McCaw, Thompson and Curry all sank 3-pointers in a 37-point Warriors explosion in the second quarter that opened as much as a 17-point lead.

Curry's 22 points vaulted him and his dad, Dell, into a tie with Rick and Brent Barry for third place in career scoring among NBA father/son combinations. Both duos have 26,883 points.

Curry also had nine rebounds and a game-high seven assists in 30 minutes.

The Warriors played without Draymond Green, out due to a sprained left index finger. His replacement, Omri Casspi, recorded a 19-point, game-high 10-rebound double-double, and Young added 16 points.

Golden State shot 58.4 percent from the field in a matchup of the league's highest-scoring team and the most porous defensive squad.

The Warriors won for the 25th consecutive time this season when scoring 120 or more points.

TJ Warren had 14 points for the Suns, who played for the fourth straight time without leading scorer Devin Booker, sidelined due to a hip pointer.

Payton had 19 points, six rebounds and nine assists in his Suns debut Saturday against the Denver Nuggets.]]>
2/13/2018 10:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. skaters under pressure after slow start]]>
The Netherlands, in contrast, has struck gold in all four events so far at the Gangneung Oval, including a clean sweep of the podium in the women's 3,000 metres, and won eight of the 12 available medals.

At the Sochi Olympics four years ago, the U.S. did not win a single long-track speed skating medal, and the pressure to avoid a repeat in South Korea is already mounting.

U.S. skater Joey Mantia spoke of inconsistency after finishing eighth in the men's 1,500m on Tuesday as the Dutch took the top two places on the podium.

The two other Americans in the race, Brian Hansen and Shani Davis, finished 15th and 19th respectively.

"I've been probably the most inconsistent skater on the planet, as far as high highs and low lows," Mantia told reporters. "I always hope for the best when I go out for the race and it's there or it's not."

Mantia will also skate in the 1,000m and team pursuit, but his best bet of helping the U.S. end its medal drought is in the mass start, which will be the final race held at the Oval.

"I've got three more races," he said. "I'm going to turn it around."

Reigning women's world champion Heather Bergsma had a similarly poor outing on Monday, finishing eighth in the 1,500m, a race in which she was one of the favourites to medal.

Brittany Bowe's fifth-place in that race is the best finish so far, and she is hoping to win the country's first Olympic speed skating medal in eight years when she lines up for Wednesday's 1,000m.

However, Bowe finished behind gold medallist Ireen Wust in the 1,500m, as well as bronze medallist Marrit Leenstra, who are both from the Netherlands, while Japanese skater Miho Takagi took silver.

All three will race against her on Wednesday.

With world record holder Nao Kodaira also in the mix, the U.S. might well have a longer wait for that elusive first medal.

After their dismal performance in Sochi, the team overhauled it's approach, changing training programmes and equipment, including their aerodynamic skin suits, to avoid history repeating itself.

So far, things have not gone to plan.

Bowe revealed before the Games that the U.S. is targeting five speed skating medals in Korea. However, such is the display of Dutch strength in the early days at the Oval, that the first one needs to come soon. ]]>
2/13/2018 9:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Karius credits consistent game time for Liverpool resurgence]]>
Karius and Simon Mignolet have battled to be Liverpool's first-choice goalkeeper under manager Juergen Klopp but inconsistent performances by both shotstoppers have led the German boss to rotate them constantly.

Karius has started the club's last five league games, helping Liverpool notch three wins and keeping two clean sheets in the process.

"I am feeling good and getting consistent game time helps a lot," the 24-year-old is quoted as saying by The Telegraph. "In the last few games I have had more stuff to do and I have been able to make some saves, which gives you more confidence.

"... I have had a lot of experience but it definitely helps when you play regularly instead of coming in and out of the team."

Karius impressed in Sunday's 2-0 league win over Southampton with the help of Virgil van Dijk, who put in a commanding display in central defence on his return to his former club.

"Virgil has played quite a bit now and with him in front we are getting more used to each other," Karius added. "That's important for the team.

"He is a great player. Of course he has to adapt a bit because our style is so different. We defend high and he needs to get used to Dejan (Lovren) and Joel (Matip).

"Individually, Virgil is a top player. That's why Liverpool paid the price they did for him."

Liverpool travel to Porto in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Wednesday and Karius, who is likely to start the match, is keen for the Merseyside club to take control.

"Having the second game at home can be a real advantage for us," Karius said.

"But for it to be an advantage we need to put ourselves in a good position in the tie." ]]>
2/13/2018 7:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Madrid fans trust their team ability to eliminate PSG]]>
The reigning champions, Real Madrid, are expecting a difficult clash against the main contenders for the title with Neymar Jr Da Silva, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe leading their attacking line.

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However, Real Madrid fans believe in their team’s ability to overcome tough obstacle against the French side.

“It is our favorite competition and we have much experience at knockout games, we know how to win these matches,” a Real Madrid die-hard fan, Mohamed Sake, told Egypt Today.

Real Madrid have won a record 12 Champions League titles and became the first team in the history of the competition to win the title two times in a row, in 2016 and 2017.


Despite their last season’s success when they achieved five titles, Real Madrid suffered this season on the domestic level. They are 17 points behind the leaders, Barcelona, at the League and they were eliminated from the cup at the quarter-finals.

“For us, it is a win-or-die game to save our season. We have many defensive problems this season and it will be doubled against PSG as (Dani) Cravjal will miss the first leg. We should count on our attacking line, especially (Cristiano) Ronaldo used to shine in the difficult moments,” Sakr added.


Ronaldo is the Champions League all-time top goal scorer, with 114 goals including nine goals this season.

Omar Rakhawy believes that their manager, Zinedine Zidane, will be able to deal with the current situation. “Having three champions leagues behind Zidane’s back (two as a manager and one as an assistant manager) will have an impact, for sure, on the game and will move in to the next round,” he told Egypt Today,


Rakhawy is studying at Ottawa University in Canada and will watch the game with his Arab friends, the closest he could get to watching the experience back home with his friends.

Rakhawy believes that Real Madrid are lucky to play the first game at home. “Taking into account our recent form, playing the first leg in Santiago Bernabéu is the better option for us in order to have the fans behind us and pushing against a very confident PSG side,” he said.

Ahmad El-Neanaey followed Real Madrid since the 2006 season when Raul Gonzalez and Ruud van Nistelrooy shared the club attacking line, leading the team to win two consecutive League titles. Two strikers were behind Neanaey’s love for Madrid.

“PSG striker (Edinson) Cavani is the most dangerous player at their team. With our defensive problems, I think he will be able to create many chances to score,” El-Neanaey told Egypt Today.

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Ahmed believes that Real Madrid should count on their attacking line to break the Parisian defense; he said, “we should start the game with Ronaldo, (Karim) Benzema and (Gareth) Bale. Their defense is their weakest lines and they have the experience to cause them many troubles.”

Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema have a massive partnership that led Real Madrid to win three Champion League titles in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
“I count on Real Madrid’s strong personality to win this game against a less experienced side,” Ahmed added.

Defeating PSG could return Real Madrid stars to the right track, and they will soon be on their way to defend their precious title. ]]>
2/13/2018 7:49:11 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina want Messi to play less for Barca - president]]>
Tapia's pleas have largely gone unheeded by Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, who has started Messi in 33 of the team's total 39 games this season, only leaving him out of the matchday squad in three King's Cup games.

The coach did leave Messi out of the starting line-up for the first time in the league against Espanyol on Feb. 4 but threw the Argentine on as a substitute to help salvage a 1-1 draw.

"I hope all the players arrive in the level they are at the moment. Sergio Aguero is playing outstanding right now and Lionel Messi is always at the top of his game," Tapia told Argentine network TYC Sports.

"That's vital for the directors and the coaching staff. We have spoken to Messi about taking care of himself and about playing less for Barcelona."

Tapia also said Argentina are planning to play a friendly against Catalonia in June as part of their preparations for the World Cup in Russia, where they will hope to better their runners-up finish four years ago in Brazil.

A game against Catalonia could theoretically see Messi come up against Barca team mates Sergio Busquets, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique among others. However, such a fixture could prove controversial in Spain after increased tensions between the central government and the region over its independence drive.

"(Argentina coach) Jorge (Sampaoli) told me it would be good for us from a football point of view and it's important for us from a financial point of view, but we haven't closed the deal yet," added Tapia. ]]>
2/13/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly's Shennawy dreams of World Cup ]]>
Shennawy, 29, earned this call after a stunning performance with Al-Ahly since he established himself as the team’s starting goalkeeper over Sherif Ekramy.

“My dream is to represent the national team at the World Cup in Russia. I am giving everything on the pitch to achieve this dream,” Shennawy told press after he participated in Al-Ahly’s 5-2 victory over Arab Contractors on Monday.

Following criticism of Ekramy for his poor performance in the CAF Champions League, Al-Ahly manager Hossam el-Badry has counted on Shennawy as a starting goalkeeper.

الشو الاول الاهلي والمصري تصوير كريم عبد العزيز تحرير محمد عراقي‎ (6)

However, Shennawy revealed that he has a good relationship with Ekramy. He said, “Ekramy is like my brother and he always supports me. The good relationship between Al-Ahly’s goalkeepers is a key to our success.”

Shennawy earned Al-Ahly fans’ hearts when he saved a penalty during the Cairo Derby against Zamalek, leading his team to a 3-0 victory over their local rivals.

Shennawy is an Al-Ahly academy product and he joined the club in 2002 when he was 14, getting promoted through the club rankings until he left the club in 2009 to join el-Gaish, where he spent three years.

Shennawy then joined Petrojet in 2012 and established himself as their starting goalkeeper until he returned to Al-Ahly in July 2016.

2/13/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[West Brom sack chairman, chief executive after poor results]]>
The club, owned by Chinese investment group Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Ltd, added that Mark Jenkins would reprise his role as CEO, having recently been appointed as a director of the club's controlling company WBA Holdings.

"We would like to thank John and Martin for all their efforts since their appointments and wish them well for the future," a club spokesperson said.

"There is much to do but for now the focus must solely be on the remaining games of this season," said Jenkins, whose previous stint as CEO lasted 14 years.

West Brom are bottom of the league after 27 matches, with 20 points after three wins, 11 draws and 13 defeats. They have lost their last three league games.

The Midlands club made a bright start to the current season with victories in their first two games before going 20 games without a win. They sacked manager Tony Pulis and replaced him with Alan Pardew in November.

Williams was appointed chairman of West Brom in 2016 when Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai, controlling shareholder of Yunyi Guokai (Shanghai) Sports Development Ltd, completed his takeover of the club.]]>
2/13/2018 4:54:26 PM
<![CDATA[Figure skating-N.Korean pair eye points not prizes, coach says]]>
"The expectations I have for them are in terms of scores. I would like them to have a personal best for the competition," Bruno Marcotte, a Canadian coach who consults with the pair, told Reuters after a practice at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

"The focus in on the fact that every time they perform, their score keeps getting better. If they can score in the high 60s in their short programme or close to 70, that would be great. And the goal for the long programme is above 125."

The pair recorded their current personal best in the short programme, 65.25 points, at a competition where they won bronze last month in Taiwan. They also recorded their best total score, 184.98, at that competition.

They achieved their personal best in the long programme, 119.90 points, last year.

In late September, the skaters were the first North Koreans to qualify for the Games after they finished in the top six at a competition in Germany.

North Korea did not have any athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. They have sent 22 athletes to compete in Pyeongchang, including 12 ice hockey players in a combined North and South Korean women's team.

Ryom, 19, and Kim, 25, spent about two months in Montreal last summer to train with Marcotte.

Marcotte told Reuters last year that the pair had great potential but they needed more power and consistency to be a threat.

They will skate their short programme at the Pyeongchang Games on Wednesday, and their long programme a day later.

Marcotte said the skaters hadn't discussed their thoughts about taking part in the Olympics in South Korea with him.

North Korea's presence in Pyeongchang is viewed as a sign of easing tensions over its nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

North and South Korea remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Tensions escalated dramatically last year as the regime of Kim Jong Un stepped up its programme aimed at developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.
2/13/2018 4:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mason announces retirement following collision with Cahill ]]>
“I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch. Unfortunately, having taken expert medical advice, I now have no option but to retire due to the risks involved, given the nature of my injury,” Mason told press on Tuesday.


Mason, 26, suffered a fractured skull after a crash with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill during Chelsea’s game against Hull City in the Premier League last season, and he has not been allowed to play since the accident.

“Ryan would like to put on record his thanks to all at the club who have aided his recovery to this point, and he his is indebted to them for their support and compassion over the past 12 months," Hull City club said in a statement.

Mason is a Tottenham Hotspurs academy product, having joined the club when he was eight, and he got promoted through the club rankings until he joined the first team in 2008 at the age of 17.

Mason spent the next five years on loans to lower division clubs to gain experience, and he returned to Tottenham in 2014 and played two years with the club before leaving to Hull City in 2016.

Mason spoke about his days at Tottenham, saying, “I am so proud to have come through the ranks to play for my club – the club I love. To have had the honor of captaining the team fills me with immense pride.”

Mason played only one game with the England senior team against Italy in 2015.]]>
2/13/2018 3:24:53 PM
<![CDATA[Chechen leader: Egypt's National Team to be greatly received ]]>
Kadyrov said during his meeting with the Chechen Government that the arrival of Egypt's National Football Team in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, will have its significance for Chechnya as it will recognize its international success in promoting the sports field, Tass Russian News Agency reported.

“We have to ensure that the national team will be greatly received as perourtraditions of hospitality,” stressed Kadyrov.

Kadyrovhas given instructions to the organizing committee to prepare the airports and train stations to receive the team.

“We have a great experience in organizing international large- scale events, and I ascertain that no problems will occur. We ensureleavinga good impression about our country.”

The Egyptian National Team has chosen Groznyto be a World Cup base for Egypt, and they have selected “The Local” Hotel, which will be inaugurated in March 2018. The team will meet with Russian, Uruguay and Saudi national teams.

On February 9, 2018, FIFA approved Chechnya as a World Cup base for Egypt. But, FIFA was asked to reverse its decision on enlisting Grozny among FIFA’s authorized bases for the 32 finalists as no World Cup matches were played in the volatile North Caucasus region because it was criticized for human rights violations under leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

"FIFA's decision to use Grozny for a World Cup team camp is absolutely shocking and outrageous," Human Rights Watch Associate Director Jane Buchanan told The Associated Press. "FIFA should reverse their decision and move the training camp to another city."

The tournament that will be launching on June 8 will take place across 11 Russian cities.

2/13/2018 12:48:11 PM
<![CDATA[La Liga champions could be decided at Nou Camp]]>Barca’s setback revived La Liga's title race, as the second placed Atletico Madrid achieved two consecutive victories over Valencia and Malaga to decrease the gap with Barcelona to seven points.

Both teams will meet on March 4 at Nou Cam in La Liga which will be a decisive game for the shape of the competition.

Barcelona will play three games ahead of their clash against Atletico. They will start with an away game on Saturday February 17 against Eibar before hosting Girona on February 24. They will travel on March 1 to Canary Islands to meet Las Palmas.

On the other hand, Atletico Madrid will have a tougher campaign until their game with Barcelona as they will host Athletic Bilbao on Sunday February 18 before travelling to Andalusia to play against Sevilla. They will also host Leganes on Wednesday February 28.

Barcelona will have a busy schedule between their League games as they will play the Champions League round of 16's two games against Chelsea while Atletico Madrid will have an easier clash against FC Copenhagen at the Europa League.

Atletico Madrid fans hope to see Barcelona losing points in the next three games to reach Camp Nou game with more hope, while Barca fans hope that Bilbao, Sevilla and Leganes stop Atletico Madrid’s run at the league to be in a more comfortable position before March and focus on the Champions League competition.
2/13/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Champions League is back ]]>
The Champions League returns on Tuesday at 9:45 PM (Cairo Time) with two games. The first game will be played in Italy between Juventus and Tottenham Hotspurs, while the second game will be between Basel and Manchester City in Switzerland.

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Tottenham Hotspurs have had an amazing run in the League in the last three weeks, achieving seven points of 9 after two victories over Manchester United and Arsenal while they ended their game against Liverpool with a draw.

On the other hand, the hosts, Juventus, never lost a point in the league since their goalless draw against Internazionale on December 9.


Juventus reached two finals in the last three years in hopes that their experience at European competitions would help them against the organized Tottenham.

At the second game, the Premier League leaders, Manchester City, will have a tough visit to Basel to play their local team.

Manchester City were eliminated last year at the same stage to Monaco, seeking to continue their domestic dominance at the European level.


Manchester City hope for a better fate than their neighbors, Manchester United, who lost 1-0 to Basel at the group stage.

The Champions League games will continue on Wednesday when Real Madrid will host Paris Saint Germain while Liverpool will travel to Portugal to meet Porto. ]]>
2/13/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly's experience stops Arab Contractors’ adventure]]>
Al-Ahly opened the score after seven minutes through Walid Azarro, who received an amazing cross from Bakamany Mahlambi that put him on a one-on-one situation with the goalkeeper to make the score 1-0.

Nine minutes later, Junior Ajayi doubled the score after a strike from the opponent’s area.

Everyone expected an easy game for Al-Ahly after the second goal, but Arab Contractors had another opinion.

Arab Contractors midfielder Mohamed Farouk made the score 2-1 by a header before the half time.

In the second half, Arab Contractors’ performance improved and they won a penalty after Ajayi tackled their striker, Taher Mohamed, inside the box, and Ahmed Ali converted it to make the score 2-2.

Al-Ahly’s manager substituted Hossam Ashour for Salah Mohsen, who added quality and pace to Al-Ahly’s attacking line, and Al-Ahly scored three goals in the last 15 minutes.

Ajayi added his second goal in the game and the third goal for Al-Ahly after he followed a ball inside Arab Contractors’ box.

Eslam Mohareb secured Al-Ahly’s victory, as he scored Al-Ahly’s fourth goal in the game after a wonderful play with Abdullah El Said.

Azarro then made the score 5-2 only seconds before the final whistle.

Al-Ahly reached 60 points, toping the league table, while Arab Contractors are placed 8th with 31 points. ]]>
2/13/2018 1:08:58 AM
<![CDATA[Russia World Cup to lift economy, drive inflation-c.bank]]>
President Vladimir Putin is hoping to use the World Cup, set to run from June 14 to July 15, to showcase Russia as a global superpower and reinvigorate areas of the country where the economy has stagnated with an influx of tourists and spending.

In emailed comments to Reuters, the central bank said spending on preparations for the tournament had already helped support the economy, which returned to growth last year after a two-year downturn.

"Concerning the second and third quarters of 2018, the short-term positive impact on the Russian economy will be the growth in jobs and increase in demand for consumer products and services," the bank said.

Analysts at Russia's Gaidar Institute said in January the World Cup, which will be hosted in 11 cities across the country, could add up to 0.2 percent to annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the second and third quarters.

But the central bank, which has fought to bring inflation down from double-digit levels to post-Soviet lows, also warned that the tournament could lead to an increase in consumer prices.

"A small, short-term increase in prices for some goods and services (food, entertainment, hotels) is possible, which will lead to profits for a few companies," the regulator said.

Russian authorities have already named and shamed hotels caught jacking up room prices ahead of the World Cup, with some increasing nightly rates by as much as 5,000 percent.

The central bank, however, still sees Russian inflation below its target of four percent in 2018 and has said it could fall to a record low near two percent in the second quarter.]]>
2/12/2018 11:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Messi cried after Champions League exit to Chelsea - Sanchez]]>
Barca ran into an early 2-0 lead in the second leg at the Nou Camp, having lost the first leg 1-0 in London, and their passage to a second consecutive final looked certain when John Terry was sent off for the visitors.

However, a chipped goal by Ramires put Chelsea ahead on away goals before Fernando Torres sealed Barca's elimination in stoppage time.

"You might cry during a game if you lose a final. That's all part of football. In the Barcelona dressing room after the Chelsea game, I saw Leo (Messi) cry. That's because players demand so much from themselves. People don't see that," Manchester United forward Sanchez told Sky Sports.

Barca and Chelsea renew their rivalry in the Champions League on Feb. 20, with the La Liga leaders visiting Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their last-16 tie. ]]>
2/12/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Kane faces toughest test of growing reputation]]>
The 24-year-old England forward is expected to lead the line for his side when they travel to Turin for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against a Juventus team boasting one of the most stubborn defences of recent years.

The Bianconeri have won six successive Serie A titles and reached the Champions League final in two of the past three seasons.

Although they lost centre half Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan last July, scoring against them is as difficult as ever with one goal conceded in their last 16 matches in all competitions.

Domestically, they have been breached 15 times in 24 Serie A games this season, a record bettered in Europe's top five leagues only by La Liga's Barcelona, with 11, and Atletico Madrid, with nine.

Veteran Italians Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli continue to be stalwarts in Juventus' back line and are complemented by Morocco international Mehdi Benatia, Brazil's Alex Sandro and Switzerland's Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Behind them, Wojciech Szczesny and the evergreen Gianluigi Buffon have been taking it in turns to rack up clean sheets between the goal posts.

However, there are reasons for Kane to be encouraged ahead of Tuesday's tie. Barzagli could miss the match with a calf injury and Juventus will be without Blaise Matuidi, the central midfielder who provides vital cover in front of the defence.

Kane can also look back to a friendly between Tottenham and Juventus at Wembley in August, when he scored the opening goal in a 2-0 win for Mauricio Pochettino's side.

He will no doubt be buoyed by scoring 14 goals in his last 11 games, including a last-gasp equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Feb. 4 and a winner in the 1-0 victory over north London rivals Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Kane is "one of the best in the world" and "scores against everybody" in the wake of his side's defeat.

Juventus will attempt to prove him wrong on Tuesday - the latter part at least.]]>
2/12/2018 7:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Marwa Hassan: From nowhere to winning marathon Gold medal]]>
Marwa, a young girl from Khor el-Mahmoudia, Aswan who helps her family by selling tissues on the city streets, put her name on the map after she achieved the Gold medal at Magdi Yacoub charity marathon.

“I woke up early on Friday to go to my work and I was wearing my Isdal and flip-flops. I witnessed many people in the street and I did not know why and when I asked them, then they informed me about the marathon,” Marwa recounted to Egypt Today.
Followed by her dreams and passion, Marwa asked the organizers to allow her to participate in the marathon, they told her that she was not wearing the uniform but she insisted so they allowed her to participate.

Marwa described her feelings ahead of the marathon, saying: “I stood at the starting line and I had a strange feeling as everyone beside me was wearing the marathon uniform with numbers on their shirts except me.”

Once Marwa started running, everyone was surprised by her performance. The 11-year-old kid who had never trained professionally like the other competitors was ahead of all of them.

Marwa during the race

“I took off my flipflops and started running. I was so tired as I did not have my breakfast, but I had a great desire to win,” Marwa added to Egypt Today.

The marathon sponsors awarded her the gold medal.

For her achievement, the Egyptian Olympic committee granted her running shoes and the national team jersey.

The military sports association announced that they will sponsor Marwa and registered her at the Egyptian Athletic Federation.

Marwa challenged poverty and lack of facilities to win the marathon. She dreams of winning many gold medals in the name of her nation. ]]>
2/12/2018 6:52:04 PM
<![CDATA[Kingsbury battles nerves to seal the deal]]>
But there was one important accolade missing.

Since claiming a silver medal in Sochi four years ago, the Canadian has been on a path seemingly destined for Olympic gold in Pyeongchang.

He is the all-time leader in moguls skiing victories and his streak of 13 consecutive World Cup wins is the most in history, but this Olympic gold was the medal he has craved since losing out to compatriot Alex Bilodeau in 2014.

Now, he has added an Olympic gold to his resume, with a spectacular final run in Monday’s final.

He made it look simple but Kingsbury admitted he had been worried.

“I was super nervous,” Kingsbury told reporters.

“I have never been nervous like that in my life. However, when I clip my skis on and get in my ski character then I feel good. I was a little bit nervous in my first run as it is the Olympic games and you don’t want to miss your first run. I was a bit stiff.”

Kingsbury said he had never felt pressure like it, with the whole moguls world expecting him to deliver on the biggest stage.

“There was a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I am so proud of the way I managed the pressure," he said. "There was so much pressure, it was crazy.

"All day I was thinking good stuff, negative stuff but then once I clipped my goggles on I was just focussed on just doing my job.”

As he crossed the finishing line, Kingsbury let out a huge scream that could be heard in the grandstand despite the howling wind and snow swirling around the moguls piste.

“You dream about that moment all your life,” said Kingsbury as his voice began to break.

“You land the bottom air and then you have eight bumps to ski and you see the finish line coming and you know you haven’t made any mistakes.”

“When I crossed the finish line then all the stress and the pressure and thinking about these games since Sochi, I was thinking about this as I crossed the finish line and then the nerves went away.”

Kingsbury’s victory ensured it was the third Olympics in a row that a Canadian man has topped the moguls podium.]]>
2/12/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[No discipline, no victory, says France captain Guirado]]>
France made a good start with wing Teddy Thomas scoring two splendid tries and led by six points at halftime, but were sanctioned numerous times after the break, Greig Laidlaw slotting home the six penalties he attempted for Scotland.

Les Bleus lost 15-13 to Ireland in last weekend's opener where they also paid dearly for their lack of discipline.

"It was worse this time," said Guirado.

"As long as we don't show more discipline, we won't win a match. But to be disciplined you have to be confident."

France have not won in their last eight outings.

"We must respect the rules otherwise we won't make it," added Guirado.

"We're always under tremendous pressure and after two defeats in a row the game against Italy will be more than welcome to bounce back."

France are fifth in the standings with two points with their next opponents Italy on zero after they also lost their first two games.

"The championship is not over yet but we must stop losing games like this," said Guirado.

"We gave away too many points," added flyhalf Lionel Beauxis.

Coach Jacques Brunel said: "Our lack of discipline cost us a lot. We conceded seven penalties in the second half, five of them in the last 20 minutes.

"We lost control of the ball and allowed our opponents to level and go ahead on the scoreboard."

Brunel, who was in charge of his second France game since being appointed in December, remained optimistic, however.

"What I want to remember is that we were able to compete with Scotland, who have been in great form in the past three years. We just lack a little something but I think we're close," he said.]]>
2/12/2018 4:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Man City titles can help De Bruyne win Ballon d'Or, says Guardiola]]>
De Bruyne has been vital to City's dominance this campaign with the 26-year-old notching a league-high 14 assists including three in Saturday's 5-1 rout of Leicester City.

"No doubt," Guardiola told reporters when asked if the Belgian could win the prestigious individual award. "He is not (just doing it in) one game. It's the whole season, every three days playing that way.

"But he knows and everyone knows, to be there you have to win titles - and titles and titles, especially one. But the way he's played it's difficult to find one (better) in Europe."

De Bruyne has scored 11 goals and provided 18 assists across all competitions for City this season, helping them establish a 16-point lead atop the league table, but the midfielder is not focused on individual honours.

"To be fair, when I am busy playing football I don't care (about that)," De Bruyne said.

"I do everything to win titles with the team. What happens after is an extra. I am very pleased with the way everything is going for me. I am playing this way because the team is playing this way...

"At the end, if you get an individual honour, it is beautiful."

City remain in contention to win the quadruple as they prepare for Tuesday's match against Basel in the Champions League knockout stages followed by an FA Cup fifth-round clash against Wigan Athletic and the League Cup final against Arsenal.
2/12/2018 4:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Matuidi's absence leaves hole in Juve midfield]]>
No other player in the Turin side quite matches the Frenchman's combination of expert tackling, commitment, boundless energy, tactical awareness and eye for goal.

The 30-year-old's signing from Paris St Germain in August was initially given a lukewarm reception by Juventus fans hoping for a more glamorous addition to the squad but he quickly won them over.

He is the closest thing to Arturo Vidal since the Chilean, hugely popular with the Juventus supporters, left for Bayern two years earlier.

Matuidi has been a key player in the tactical switch which has revived Juve's season, plugging the defensive holes which had threatened to undermine their bid for a seventh successive Serie A title.

After a 3-2 defeat at Sampdoria in November, when Matuidi started on the bench, coach Massimiliano Allegri decided that his team strengthening defensively and changed the 4-2-3-1 formation for a 4-3-3.

Apart from Friday's 2-0 win at Fiorentina, Matuidi has started in every Serie A game since then and Juve have notched 10 wins and a draw in 11 outings, conceding only one goal in the process.

But Matuidi has been ruled out of Tuesday's Champions League round of 16 first leg tie at home to Tottenhan Hotspur after suffering a thigh injury in the 7-0 win over Sassuolo on Feb 4, leaving coach Allegri to mull other options.

Claudio Marchisio stepped into the rule in Friday's win over Fiorentina, completing a three-man field alongside Miralem Pjanic and Sami Khedira, although, after a series of injuries, he seemed to run out of gas in the second half.

Another option for Allegri is 20-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur, who has started five Serie A games since he was signed from Boca Juniors in July and offers physical strength even if he lacks Matuidi's all-round ability.

Stefano Sturaro is another possible choice.

Allegri also has to find a replacement for playmaker Paulo Dybala who is not expected to have recovered from a hamstring injury, although that role is widely expected to go to Brazilian Douglas Costa.

Alternatively he could switch back to the 4-4-2 with Costa and Federico Bernardeschi on the wings and Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandzukic at the two forwards.

Allegri is a pragmatic coach and another change cannot be ruled out.

"This is a different Juventus to previous seasons," he said recently.

"We started out with one tactical system, now we use another and I think we’ll change again going forward, because we could use more players with certain characteristics."

"There’s no secret to our success -- we simply have lads with good values and who want to win," he added.]]>
2/12/2018 3:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Pellegrino backs Southampton to regain form amid relegation woes]]>
Southampton have won just five of their 27 league games this season and are 18th in the league, one point behind Huddersfield Town a place above.

They have recorded just one win in their last 14 matches but Pellegrino was hopeful his side can avoid the drop.

"We are in one situation, but we have to keep going, keep fighting," Pellegrino told Sky Sports after the game.

"We understand the emotion of the fans, everything in the Premier League is tight and everything changes.

"I am convinced we have got good pace to try to win the next game. It will be long until the end, we have to be there, recover our mentality and in football everything can change in two or three weeks."]]>
2/12/2018 2:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Preview: Al Ahly to host Arab Contractors at Cairo Stadium ]]>Al Ahly players hope to repeat their victory over their opponents as they defeated them 3-0 on Thursday night in their postponed game.

Ayman Ashraf and Walid Soliman will return to the team after they missed the last game for injury while Ali Maaloul and Saad Samir will not participate in the game as they are not fully recovered.

“We will do our best to achieve good results against Al Ahly but it is not fair to play two games against Al Ahly in just four days. Al Ahly players are in their best form while my team misses many players due to injury,” Arab Contractors manager Mohamed Ouda told Egypt Today ahead of the game.

Arab Contractors board motivated their players, promising them with double bonus to return to the right track as they failed to achieve any victory in the last four games.

Al Ahly’s expected line up for the game consists of Mohamed el-Shenawy, Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Naguib, Ayman Ashraf, Sabry Raheel, Hesham Mohamed, Amr el-Soleya, Bakamany Mahlambi, Abdallah el-Said, Junior Ajayi and Walid Azzarou.

Arab Contractors expected line up for the game consists of Mahmoud Abol Soud, Hassan el Shamy, Mohamed Samir, Khaled Abdel-Razek, Ahmed Aly, Mohamed Farouk, Ramy Adel, Torric Jebrin, William, Ahmed Aly Kamel and Taher Mohamed.

Al Ahly leads the Egyptian League table with 57 points while Arab Contractors are placing 8th with 31 points.

2/12/2018 2:37:10 PM
<![CDATA[Henry expects Salah, Firmino partnership to further develop ]]>
“They enjoy being on the pitch together. Obviously, Salah has just arrived, so it's still early between those two; but you can see a great partnership developing there," Henry told Skysports on Sunday.

Both players led Liverpool to a 2-0 victory over Southampton on Sunday. Salah provided an assist to Firmino to open the score for Liverpool after six minutes from the start.

Three minutes before the half time, Salah passed the ball to Firmino who returned the ball back to Salah with a wonderful flick that put Salah in a one on one situation with the goalkeeper and helped him to double the score for his team.

Henry was impressed with the connection between the two players in the second goal, he said “Salah knows that Firmino is going to drop and he can run in behind, when he gives him the ball, he usually knows that he will receive the ball back. They're hot at the moment.”

Firmino’s assist helped Salah to score his 22nd goal in the Premier League this season and he stands one goal behind the Premier League top goal scorer, Harry Kane.

Liverpool reached the third place at the Premier League table and they are two points behind the second placed, Manchester United.

2/12/2018 2:17:37 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool's Salah is the idol of his Egyptian village]]>
Salah, who hails from their village, has been one of the sensations of the Premier League since joining Liverpool -- his goal in the victory against Southampton on Sunday was his 29th of the season.

Further enhancing his status as a national hero, Salah played a key role in leading Egypt to the World Cup finals in Russia later this year.

On Wednesday his talent will be on show in the Champions League as Liverpool tackle Porto.

Mohamed Abdel-Gawad, 12, gazes in admiration at the three-storey house where Salah was born and raised, which overlooks a narrow dirt road like most of the houses in the village, about 120 kilometres (75 miles) northwest of Cairo.

"I hope to be like Mohamed Salah when I grow up," Abdel-Gawad told AFP.

"Mohamed Salah has become a professional player because of his ethics and humbleness."

In Nagrig as well as in Basyoun, the closest town, the youth centres were renamed after the Egyptian star.

Fully aware that his success has become an inspiration for children in Egypt and Africa more widely, Salah addressed them in his acceptance speech when he won the African player of the year accolade in January, telling them: "Never stop dreaming, never stop believing."

While the house of the player's father, Salah Ghali, resembles others in the village, it was quieter: no-one was looking out of an open window, and no clothes hung from the house.

The village has been the focus of huge media interest as Salah has risen to stardom, but family members at his house in Nagrig refused to talk to reporters "out of respect for his wishes".

- Gruelling daily journey -

Salah's journey, figuratively as well as literally, was anything but easy.

"His talent clearly showed from the beginning," said Ghamri Abdel-Hameed el-Saadani, who was the juniors coach at the Nagrig Youth Centre, where Salah started training at the age of eight.

Still, Salah's success is not just due to his talent, "it's also a product of a will of steel, effort, and determination", said Saadani.

The mayor of the village, Maher Shateyya, a family friend, bursts with pride when he talks about Nagrig's most famous son.

"Mohamed was only 14 when he joined the Arab Contractors club in Cairo, and he had to spend nearly 10 hours a day in transport to make it to and from practice," said Shateyya of Salah's "journey of torment".

Nagrig to Basyoun, then to Tanta city, the capital of Al-Gharbiya province, then a bus to downtown Cairo, and a final ride to the Nasr City neighbourhood where the club is located.

Salah grew up in a sporty family, with his father and two uncles having played football at the youth club in Nagrig.

"When his father noticed his son's talent, he strived to enrol him at a big club," said Shateyya.

"In the beginning, Salah played with the team in Basyoun town, then he moved to Tanta city before he was taken by the Arab Contractors team."

Starting in the under-15s, Salah spent five years there before his talent earned him a moving abroad and Swiss club Basel.

Salah "imposed himself, and his ability to penetrate the other team's defences shone", Arab Contractors coach Said el-Shishini told AFP.

He recalled the dribbling ability that characterises Salah's goalscoring exploits for Liverpool: "He would take the ball from the middle of the pitch straight into the penalty area."

From Basel, Salah moved to Chelsea but failed to break into the first team. He went to Italy where eye-catching performances for Roma caught Liverpool's attention and he signed last year in a deal that could eventually be worth 44 million pounds (49.5 million euros, $60.8 million).

- Summer return -

Salah was raised in a traditional family where both his parents had government jobs at the village. In addition to his government role, Salah's father also traded in Jasmine flowers, Nagrig's main harvest exported for perfume production.

In Nagrig, as far as the eye can see, the fields are filled with jasmine, which flowers in the spring.

Salah married Magi, a fellow Nagrig resident, when he was 20, and she has given birth to a girl they named Makka, the Saudi Arabian city that is home to Islam's holiest site.

The Liverpool winger still spends his annual leave with his wife and daughter in Nagrig, where he has never forgotten his roots.

He has donated money to an intensive care unit at Basyoun Central Hospital and to a religious centre in Nagrig that is yet to be built, said Saadani.

Salah also founded a charity in Nagrig that provides up to 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,800) a month for people in need.

"He is very modest... eight-year-old Mohamed is the same Mohamed (as he is now), Africa's top player."]]>
2/12/2018 11:09:05 AM
<![CDATA[Maradona speaks about Argentina, Higuain and Tevez]]>
In an interview with El Popular newspaper, Maradona spoke freely about issues regarding Argentinean football.

Asked about his relationship with Sampaoli, Maradona said, "I do not want to talk about him, first because he betrayed me, and, second, because I want him to do well."

Speaking about Argentina’s chances in the World Cup, he said, "we have no midfield deserving of the name. Lucas Biglia, with all the respect in the world that he deserves from me, how could it be imagined he'd be wearing the national team’s shirt?”

"Today, except for Messi, people have lost respect for the Argentinian team. Nobody is afraid of us. Look at the last game with Nigeria. We almost conceded eight goals. You know what happened in my time in a game like that. But Sampaoli is lucky. If the baby (Messi) is on fire, he will cover for all the mistakes. We have a 60 percent chance of being champions [at the World Cup]. Why? Because the others can make up the choir, but they can never replace him as the singer. He's the only singer. It hurts me a lot, but the reality is that it's going badly for us, and I can't see a way out. The title would be: 'After Messi, what next?’”

He turned to show his praise to Higuain over Icardi. "It's embarrassing to rely on Icardi. Pipa [Higuain] is 10 times better than Icardi," he said. "That guy (Sampaoli) doesn't know anything. The only thing he knows is what he's going to eat at his friend's house. Pipa has to have a new chance," he added.

Maradona wanted to see Carlos Tévez in the World Cup. "Of course, it's not a debate," he said when asked if Tevez should be included in the squad. "We don't have anything else. We're scraping the barrel to get a number nine," he concluded.
2/12/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[There is a stupid way and an ¬intelligent way: Conte ]]>
"You still have a coach not because of what he does in a season, but because you trust him," Conte said to blame the president.

Antonio Conte is living his worst days this season at Chelsea, despite winning the Premier League title last year.

Chelsea faces West Bromwich Albion after two embarrassing losses in the last two rounds, which put the Italian in a desperate situation with the English press. Luis Enrique would reportedly be Chelsea’s next coach, even for the Champions League match against Barcelona.

“In my opinion, you continue to work with a manager or coach not because of what he achieves in one season, but because you trust in him,” Conte said ahead of Chelsea’s game against West Brom.

“It doesn’t mean you have to win something, because that’s not simple – especially in England. In my vision, you can win, but still the club might not be happy to stay with you – and for this reason, its right to send the coach away. I think there are two ways. There is a stupid way and an ¬intelligent way… At the same time, you can trust in a coach and his work and continue with him even if you don’t win, and try and build something important.”
2/12/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bernabeu’s crowd whistled at Benzema]]>
Despite the win, Benzema has not been able to convince the Bernabéu fans. During the game, he smashed the ball against the post when had several options to score by other means.

In the last minute, Lyon-born Benzema missed a goal opportunity after a great pass from Gareth Bale. This move did not go unnoticed by the ‘Merengue’ fans, who accosted the French forward with whistling.

Next Wednesday, in the same stadium and with the same fans, the Frenchman, will have one of the last opportunities to convince all the ‘Merengue’ fans of his worth.

"I don’t know why it is, but the fans can do what they want. Karim had chances, but for him the important thing is the next game and that his luck will change. He ran a lot... but the fans can do what they want," said Zidane, Real Madrid’s coach, after the match.

2/11/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona stumble in dull draw with Getafe]]>
Philippe Coutinho came close with a long range effort which was tipped wide by Vicente Guaita, with the Getafe goalkeeper also blocking a Yerry Mina header and a late effort from Luis Suarez.

Barca talisman Lionel Messi was below his best and off-target with various set-pieces, while Ousmane Dembele returned from injury but could not help from the bench.

After second-placed Atletico Madrid won at Malaga on Saturday, Barca's draw means Diego Simeone's side have eaten into their lead by two points. ]]>
2/11/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool canter to 2-0 victory at Southampton]]>
Roberto Firmino fired Liverpool ahead after seven minutes after being set up by Mohamed Salah and Salah struck shortly before halftime as the visitors eased to the three points.

Liverpool, who featured three former Southampton players in their starting lineup and also brought on former Saints Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren late on, could have added more in the second half as the hosts offered precious little.

Liverpool have 54 points to United's 56 with Tottenham Hotspur on 52 and champions Chelsea, who play bottom club West Bromwich Albion on Monday, on 50 as the battle for Champions League spots hots up.

Southampton are third from bottom, a point behind 17th-placed Huddersfield Town who won earlier on Sunday.]]>
2/11/2018 8:47:56 PM
<![CDATA[Ritchie earns Newcastle shock victory over Man Utd]]>
Newcastle had fallen into the bottom three before kickoff after Huddersfield Town's earlier win over Bournemouth, but they responded with a vibrant display capped by Ritchie's 65th minute effort.

Ritchie was released into space by Dwight Gayle's flick and he buried a low shot past David de Gea.

Gayle was also unlucky not to be awarded a first-half penalty but Man United were guilty of wasteful finishing with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez the chief culprits.

The visitors almost grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser but debutant goalkeeper Martin Dubravka made a marvellous low save after the ball deflected off one of his own players from close range.

Newcastle's first win over United for five years lifted them from 18th to 13th while Jose Mourinho's second-placed side are now 16 points behind local rivals Manchester City and looking over their shoulders at the teams behind them.

Mourinho has never won a fixture at St James' Park in seven visits, drawing three and losing four.]]>
2/11/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sarah Essam wins Goal of The Month with Stoke City Ladies FC]]>

Sarah got 57% of the votes, according to the Stoke City Ladies FC official account on Twitter.

Stoke City was placed 4th in the standings, with 25 points. They face Cardiff City on Sunday.

For the first time in the history, a female Egyptian football player is joining the FA Women’s Premier League.

Eighteen-year-old Sarah Essam joined the Stoke City Ladies football club to be the first Egyptian woman to play in the UK as a professional football player.

“Achieving a dream is never an easy road. You have to put in effort, work hard, break boundaries and give all your love and heart to the game,” says Essam.

She played for Egypt’s national team during the African Cup qualifiers at the age of 16 and signed for Stoke City at age 18.

The former Wadi Degla player prefers to play as an attack-forward or a playmaker. She participated in the U17s World Cup qualification and made more than 20 appearances with the Egyptian national team.
2/11/2018 6:45:05 PM
<![CDATA[Serie A tit-for-tat continues as Napoli go back on top]]>
AC Milan's revival under Gennaro Gattuso showed no signs of stopping as they won 4-0 at SPAL, extending their unbeaten run to eight matches in all competitions, while Crotone and Atalanta splashed their way to a 1-1 draw.

Napoli, who have 63 points from 24 games, moved one ahead of champions Juventus who briefly went top after beating Fiorentina 2-0 on Friday and have also won their last eight league games.

The pattern was the same as the previous two weekends when Juventus played first, won and went top only to be pulled back by their rivals.

Juventus will also play first for the next four rounds of matches, a situation which has drawn complaints from Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri.

Third-placed Lazio dropped 16 points behind the leading pair after failing to capitalise on a flying start when defender Stefan de Vrij got between the Napoli defence to nudge Ciro Immobile's cross past Pepe Reina in the third minute.

The visitors looked dangerous until Jose Callejon sprung the offside trap to latch on to Jorginho's inspired through ball and fire past Thomas Strakosha to level two minutes before halftime.

Sarri was sent off for dissent shortly afterwards but his side ran riot in the second half.

Lazio defender Wallace put through his own goal before Mario Rui scored with a shot which deflected off Piotr Zielinski two minutes later and Dries Mertens added the fourth to repeat the scoreline in their previous meeting of the season.

Patrick Cutrone, a Milan product who was preferred in the starting line-up to 38 million euro signing Andre Silva, put Milan ahead with a close-range goal in the second minute after SPAL goalkeeper Alex Meret parried Alessio Romagnoli's header.

The 20-year-old struck again in the 65th minute from another rebound before midfielder Lucas Biglia and substitute Fabio Borini completed the scoring, leaving Milan seventh on 38 points and behind Sampdoria on goal difference.

"There is always something that needs improving, for example we suffered too much after the first goal," said Gattuso, who took over in November for his first Serie A coaching role after Vincenzo Montella was sacked.

Atalanta are a further point behind Milan after snatching a point in atrocious conditions on a rain-sodden pitch.

Rolando Mandragora put Crotone ahead with 10 minutes left but Argentine defender Jose Luis Palomino equalised two minutes from time with his first Serie A goal since joining Atalanta from Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad last year.]]>
2/11/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Neymar on target as PSG extend Ligue 1 lead]]>
The Brazil forward struck in the 68th minute to put PSG on 65 points from 25 games with arch-rivals and second-placed AS Monaco on 53 after Stevan Jovetic inspired them to a 4-0 win at Angers.

Olympique de Marseille are third on 52 after a 2-2 draw at St Etienne on Friday.

Toulouse, who are 15th on 26 points and only one point above safety, held firm in the first half thanks to a spirited performance by keeper Alban Lafont.

But like most of PSG's opponents this season, they eventually cracked even if coach Unai Emery had rested top striker Edinson Cavani ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last-16 clash at Real Madrid.

Neymar collected Angel Di Maria's cross and found the back of the net as his curled shot was slightly deflected by Toulouse captain Issa Diop.

He came close to doubling the tally 10 minutes later but his right-foot effort crashed on to the post.

Neymar hit the woodwork again in the 80th when his shot struck Lafont's crossbar as PSG finished strongly.

In Angers, Monaco cantered to a routine win with a Ludovic Butelle own goal and two strikes by Jovetic. Defender Andrea Raggi completed the rout 19 minutes from time. ]]>
2/11/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ronaldo hits hat-trick as Real and Atletico win]]>
Atletico Madrid saw off Malaga 1-0 in a tight game to provisionally close the gap on leaders Barcelona to six points.

Real's big victory over Sociedad took them third above Valencia but they trail Barcelona by 16 points as they turn their attention to the defence of their Champions League title against PSG at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Zinedine Zidane rested Casemiro and Gareth Bale with one eye on that, but the Welsh winger's replacement Lucas Vazquez took full advantage when he headed home Ronaldo's cross after 49 seconds.

Karim Benzema struck the post with a low effort as he failed to break his scoring drought, the French striker is now without a league goal since November, as Real pressed to add to their advantage.

They did just that after 27 minutes when a brilliant turn by Asensio unlocked Sociedad's defence and Marcelo crossed for Ronaldo to slam home from close range.

Toni Kroos curled home the third from outside the area and Ronaldo headed home Luka Modric's corner in a four-minute spell before the interval.

The Portuguese forward completed his treble after Geronimo Rulli beat away substitute Bale's long-range effort. Jon Bautista and Asier Illaramendi netted consolation goals for Real Sociedad.

"Today from the first minute the team came out to play football, to keep the ball, to press the opponent and steal it high up, and there was a big difference," Real captain Sergio Ramos said.

"Then in front of goal we were more accurate (than in recent games). I'd be lying to you if I said that we weren't thinking about PSG.

"Against them we play for our season, (here) we could have continued to press but we couldn't keep up that rhythm for 90 minutes. We knew how to rest ourselves.

"The objective was to gain confidence and that is what we did today."

In Malaga, second-placed Atletico went ahead almost instantly when Antoine Griezmann capitalised on Saul Niguez's deflected strike falling at his feet close to goal.

Jan Oblak saved a Roberto Rosales free kick in the second half as Atletico kept their opponents at bay to earn a narrow victory in typical fashion.

Malaga, rooted to the bottom of the table, have picked up two points in their last eight games.

"We started very strongly, taking advantage of our opponent being off balance and we could score a goal which put us ahead," Atletico coach Diego Simeone told reporters.

"It was an intense game, we were always putting the work in. We take with us a very important victory.

"The team is rejuvenated, it still has enormous hope, that's clear to see. Everyone has played a lot of minutes, that's why we are where we are, because the team worked well."

Alaves continued their good form under Abelardo, winning 2-1 at fifth-place Villarreal to climb to 16th and seven points above the relegation zone while Eibar moved sixth thanks to a 1-0 win at Leganes as Ivan Ramis scored deep into stoppage-time. ]]>
2/11/2018 4:32:47 PM
<![CDATA[Nice claim Balotelli suffered racist abuse at Dijon]]>
"Mario Balotelli got a yellow card... after being annoyed by racist insults from the crowd," Nice said on their official Twitter account.

The alleged incident happened in the second half as Balotelli was talking to referee Baptiste Reynet, pointing his fingers at the crowd.

"I told Mario that I hadn't heard racist insults but he told me that he had," Reynet told French sports daily L'Equipe on Sunday.

"It would have come from two or three spectators."

Dijon coach Olivier Dall'Oglio told L'Equipe: "It is the first time we're hearing this at Gaston Gerard (stadium). There have never been racism problems here.

"If it happened, it is totally inappropriate. But I didn't hear anything."]]>
2/11/2018 4:29:11 PM
<![CDATA[Speed skating-Kramer's turns thoughts to elusive 10,000m gold]]>
The 31-year-old became the first male speed skater to get a third consecutive gold medal in the same event at the Olympics when he outlasted the competition to win the 5,000 metres on Sunday but his thoughts have already turned to the one that got away.

Eight years ago, at the Vancouver Games, Kramer made a mistake that cost him a gold medal in the 10,000m, and victory in the longest Olympic speed skating distance has continued to elude him on the world's biggest stage.

Despite crossing the finish line first in Vancouver, Kramer was disqualified for choosing the wrong lane. He had to settle for silver at the Sochi Games four years ago after finishing behind team mate Jorrit Bergsma.

"I think it's not a secret that it's really important to me," he said after his 5,000m gold. "It's really, really difficult. I've won a lot at the Olympics but I've lost a lot as well."

Kramer has won the 10,000m on five occasions at the world single distance championships and broken the world record three times.

He is determined to do his best in Thursday's race here, where he will come up against defending Olympic champion Bergsma and current world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada, who finished with silver in the 5,000m on Sunday.

"I'm looking forward already to the next distance," Kramer said. "For sure it's nice to have three gold medals in a row in the 5,000m.

"It's nice to be here, it's nice to make history but now I'm really going to try and recover as soon as possible from this and I'm looking forward to the next competition."

Kramer will go down in the history books as one of the greatest-ever Winter Olympians but his appetite for success is undiminished and, along with the 10,000m, he will also race in the team pursuit and mass start in South Korea.

"I think my secret is that I'm really enjoying the sport and I really love what I'm doing," he said.

"We work really hard and, don't understand me wrong, it's pretty tough sometimes, but in the end I really love what I'm doing and I think that's a big secret to keep motivated every day."]]>
2/11/2018 4:26:05 PM
<![CDATA[I joined Manchester to win everything: Alexis]]>
Alexis hit the ground running in Manchester with a goal in one his first games. He analyzed his recent arrival at the Red Devils in an interview for Sky Sports: "I think that Manchester United, since I was young - and I'm not just saying this because I'm here, I'm an honest guy and I never lie - I think it's the biggest club in England. That's what I think.”

Despite his departure, Alexis fondly remembered Arsenal: "There are lots of big clubs, and having played for Arsenal, they are also one of them. It's a huge club and I was there.”
"But coming here, looking at the badge, I think United have to win everything because it's such a big club. The club crest says it all."

Finally, the Chilean explained the reasons for his transfer: "I came here to win [things]. I left Arsenal because I wanted to develop and learn as a player, and get to experience a new club.”
"Manchester United are a huge club on the global stage. I came here to win everything. Otherwise I wouldn't have come here."

United’s only hopes for silverware this season are in the FA Cup (still to start for the Red Devils) and the Champions League as the only titles they have a chance of winning.

For the Champions League, their first hurdle will be Sevilla in the round of 16. In the Carabao Cup, Manchester United was eliminated by Bristol in the quarterfinals and in league they are 13 points behind their neighbor and the leader Manchester City.
2/11/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Valencia suffer three injuries against Barcelona ]]>
This was indicated by Valencia on its official site, which reported the injury suffered by the player in the 68th minute of the King’s Cup match between Valencia and Barcelona.

Garay had to be removed on a stretcher, left Mestalla with crutches, and, according to the same sources, the injury can be extended in time.

The Argentinean central is expected to be out at least six weeks, but that could easily become two months. His absence is even more serious because it coincides with that of his teammate Jeyson Murillo, who Marcelino García announced would still have two weeks until he reappears, following more than two months of injury and two operations.

Therefore, in the next matches, the coach will only have Gabriel Paulista and Rubén Vezo.

The clash against Barcelona also took its toll on Rodrigo and Coquelin, both with muscle overloads. The two are doubtful for the clash against Levante on Sunday, and it seems unlikely that Marcelino will force them.
2/11/2018 9:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Gattuso's Milan continue revival with 4-0 win at SPAL]]>
Striker Patrick Cutrone scored two of their goals and midfielder Lucas Biglia was on target for the first time since his move from Lazio in the close season.

Cutrone, a Milan product who was preferred in the starting line-up to 38 million euro signing Andre Silva, put Milan ahead with a close-range goal in the second minute after SPAL goalkeeper Alex Meret parried Alessio Romagnoli's header.

Milan survived a tricky patch before the 20-year-old struck again in the 65th minute from another rebound after Meret saved Suso's curling shot.

This time, there was an element of fortune as Cutrone's first effort struck the post but ricocheted straight back at him and into the net.

Bigla took advantage of a mix-up in the SPAL defence to add the third and substitute Fabio Borini completed the scoring in the last minute, leaving Milan seventh on 38 points.

"There is always something that needs improving, for example we suffered too much after the first goal," said Gattuso, who took over in November for his first Serie A coaching role after Vincenzo Montella was sacked.

"Now we have to look forward and forget this win. We have to keep on working, thinking about the next game."]]>
2/10/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptians wait to shine in MLS]]>
Some have already played their first friendly matches, as the champions, Toronto FC, fell to Mexico's Club America.

Three Egyptian players are competing with their teams in the MLS this season: Omar Gaber, Aly Ghazal and Amro Tarek.

Omar Gaber
Basel's Omar Gaber holds a ball during training with his team, Basel, 28-6-2017, Photo Courtesy of Gaber’s official Twitter account

Omar Gaber joined Los Angeles FC last November, coming from FC Basel of Switzerland.

Gaber hopes to earn more minutes with his American club to be able to fight for a starting place in the Egyptian squad during the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Gaber will play under the command of his former coach at the national team, Bob Bradley, who is managing Los Angeles.

Los Angeles will play in MLS for the first time in their history next season. Bradley hopes to have experienced players alongside him in his difficult mission with the club.

Aly Ghazal
Aly Ghazal – Courtesy of Ghazal Official Facebook page

Another Egyptian player who will feature in the MLS this season is Aly Ghazal.

Ghazal signed a one-year deal with Canadian team Vancouver Whitecaps last August to have a new challenge in the North American continent.

Ali Ghazal, 25 years old, played four years in Portugal with Nacional da Madeira, where he had his best spell in his career.

Vancouver plays in MLS Western Conference. Their best achievement was in 2015 when they won Canadian Championship, and they also played in the 2016 CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals.

Amro Tarek
Amro Tarek – Courtesy of Ghazal Official Instagram page

The third player is Amro Tarek, who recently joined Orlando City SC on a one-year loan coming from Wadi Degla FC.

The 25-year-old played for Real Betis in 2016 before he was loaned to Columbus Crew, a club in MLS, where he made only one appearance. Having some familiarity with MLS should help Tarek get acclimated to his new team.

Tarek played two seasons for Egyptian Premier League team El-Gouna FC from 2013 to 2015, making 47 appearances across all competitions. He began his career in 2010-11 with FC Magdeburg II in Germany before moving to SC Freiburg II and VfL Wolfsburg II.

Tarek, who was born in Los Angeles but moved to Egypt as a child, made his senior international debut for Egypt on March 28, 2017 in a 3-0 friendly win over Togo.

He will participate in the Eastern Conference of the MLS, while the other two Egyptians compete in the Western Conference.

MLS clubs
Major League Soccer’s clubs participating this season – Courtesy of MLS website

It is also time to see the new additions in action. Among those who have raised more excitement this year are Dutch player Gregory Van de Wiel in Toronto; Chilean player Felipe Gutiérrez, who arrives at Sporting Kansas City; Serbian player Aleksandar Katai, signed by Chicago Fire; and Argentinean player Ezequiel Barco, who will play for Atlanta United.

Barco, 18, is one of the great sensations of the competition, since he leads a group of young South American promises, most offensive features, who will debut this year in the MLS.

The Argentinean midfielder played for Atlético de Madrid, but he finally accepted the offer of Atlanta, which is coached by former Barcelona coach Tata Martino.

From Uruguay arrives promising striker Diego Rossi (19 years old) to Los Angeles FC, where he will also play under Catalan coach Pol Calvet.

Meanwhile, New York City FC has bet on young Paraguayan Jesus Medina (20), who must face his compatriot Josue Colman (19), who recently joined Orlando City.]]>
2/10/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Video - Antar’s first goal gives Zamalek three points against Smouha]]>
Zamalek’s victory provisionally closed the gap on third-placed Al-Masry to two points, with one game less than Port Said’s team.

The White Castle’s new signing, Mohamed Antar, brought joy to Zamalek’s fans, as they were waiting to see his performance, and he did not let them down, scoring his first goal with the White team.

Ihab Galal’s third win in seven matches and the second consecutive victory, after Tanta’s victory, removed the criticism of Zamalek’s fans – at least for now.

Zamalek succeeded to overcome Smouha’s hype, as this is the first win since 2014. Five matches have been played since then, with three ending with a draw and two in defeat for the White team.

The match came at a quiet pace most of the time before Mohamed Antar's first goal, with some serious opportunities from both teams.

Zamalek plays against Wadi Degla FC on Wednesday, while Smouha faces el-Gaish in the same round.
2/10/2018 8:07:31 PM
<![CDATA[Late Ki strike gives Swansea crucial win over Burnley]]>
Swansea enjoyed more than two-thirds of possession but both teams struggled to create clear-cut opportunities in the first half.

It changed after the interval when visitors Burnley threatened to score with a stinging half-volley from winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson but he was denied with a stunning fingertip save by Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal introduced January signing Andre Ayew to boost to the attacking line and was rewarded with a string of chances before Ki's drilled effort from the edge of the area clinched victory with less than 10 minutes left.

The victory moved Swansea up to 15th in the table, two points clear of the bottom three, and extended their unbeaten run to five matches.]]>
2/10/2018 7:16:32 PM
<![CDATA[Kane heads Tottenham to derby victory over Arsenal]]>
Both teams struggled to get going in the first half, but the contest burst into life straight after the interval, with Kane heading in his seventh goal in seven matches against Arsenal to break the deadlock in the 49th minute.

Arsenal almost snatched a point at the death, but substitute Alexandre Lacazette fired wide, and in truth, the margin of victory should have been greater, as Spurs wasted several chances to double their advantage in front of a crowd of 83,222.

None the less, the hosts hung on for the victory that enables them to leapfrog both Liverpool and Chelsea -- who do not play until Sunday and Monday respectively -- into third place, seven points clear of sixth-placed Arsenal, who have now beaten Spurs just once in eight league games.]]>
2/10/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ederson Moraes shines in Premier League]]>
The label of being the second most expensive goalkeeper in the history of football hasn’t prevented him from shining in the Premier League.

Shy off the field and relentless on it, he won the praise of his coach, Pep Guardiola, on Friday in the press conference prior to the clash with Leicester City.


Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City vs West Bromwich Albion - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - January 31, 2018 Manchester City's Ederson celebrates after their second goal REUTERS/Phil Noble

A week ago, Moraes won Burnley coach Sean Dyche’s praise after they played against City.

"He's the quietest goalkeeper I've seen in my life. It's like playing with Ronald Koeman as goalkeeper," Dyche said.

Ederson gave a great performance against Burnley, despite conceding a goal in the 1-1 draw last week, but he saved his team from an unexpected defeat.

The goalkeeper completed a total of 49 passes, making him the Premier League goalkeeper to make the most successful passes in a single match.

Now, there is no one left to question the €40 million ($49 million) paid by Manchester City to bring him from Benfica.

"For me, he is already one of the best goalkeepers in the world," Guardiola said.

Ederson has played 26 league games, and, in 11 of them, he has not conceded a goal. He averages about two saves per game, 26 passes made and an average of 85% success in them.

"He is very young and came here from Portugal. In these cases you never know what will happen – whether he will adapt well or not. We knew his ability to pass, but he also read the game very well and where to give the ball," Guardiola told the press.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Burnley vs Manchester City - Turf Moor, Burnley, Britain - February 3, 2018 Manchester City's Ederson makes a save from Burnley's Aaron Lennon Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

After his signing for Manchester City, he has begun to go to the call of his national team, Brazil, where he is for now the substitute of Allisson, Roma’s goalkeeper.

"The most important thing is that he is very calm. He fits the position, and he's quiet. He makes an extraordinary save and remains calm," said Guardiola.

The level of the Brazilian has made him worthy of winning a place among the best goalkeepers of the Premier League, along with De Gea or Courtois.

He has everything to end up becoming a dominant goalkeeper, and Pep is clear, having said, "He has to improve, but will be one of the 'top' of the coming years; no doubt."

2/10/2018 3:28:56 PM
<![CDATA[Former FIFA vice-president Chung's ban cut to 15 months]]>
CAS said on Saturday that it had found "mitigating factors" to reduce the ban, which it said had been imposed for "improper lobbying", and also annul a fine of 50,000 Swiss francs ($53,197.15).

Although CAS said that Chung was guilty of ethics violations, it said it was to "a far lesser degree than found by the FIFA instances".

Chung, a billionaire scion of South Korea’s Hyundai industrial conglomerate who served as FIFA vice president from 1994 to 2011, has denied all wrongdoing.

His ban in October 2015 came amid the worst graft scandal in FIFA's history when dozens of soccer officials were indicted in the United States.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter and European soccer chief Michel Platini were also embroiled when they were banned by the global soccer body's own ethics committee. Both denied wrongdoing.

Chung was initially banned for six years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs, torpedoing his plans to stand for the FIFA presidential election in February 2016.

FIFA’s Appeals Committee subsequently reduced the ban to five years and cut the fine in half and the CAS decision means he is free to return to football immediately.

CAS said that Chung's "misconduct related to his lobbying activities was not minor considering his high and influential positions at FIFA".

It said he was both honorary president of a federation bidding to stage the World Cup and a member of the FIFA executive committee which was responsible for choosing the hosts.

However, CAS said that it was "common for FIFA Executive Committee members to promote the bids presented by their national football associations".

It also took into account Chung's "lack of any prior record of unethical behaviour, his public stance against corruption within FIFA, and the meritorious services he provided to FIFA and football over the years".

Russia was awarded the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 tournament in a single, secret vote in Zurich in 2010 amid persistent allegations of illegitimate attempts to influence the 22 voting FIFA executive committee members.

A report by FIFA's ethics committee made public last year made no suggestion that Russia or Qatar should lose the right to stage the tournaments, despite detailing numerous attempts to influence voting officials.]]>
2/10/2018 3:21:51 PM
<![CDATA[Line-up update: Zamalek faces Smouha in the Egyptian league]]>
Zamalek is currently in 4th place with 36 points. In total, the white team succeeded to grab ten victories in the league while both losing and drawing six times respectively.

Smouha places 5th with 35 points. The side have only achieved ten victories in the league, they have been defeated five times and drawn seven games.

Smouha’s biggest victory over Zamalek was on October 20, 2017 at Petro Sport stadium when Smouha players’ Mohamed Hamdi Zaki, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz and Patrick Malo scored three goals together to thrash Zamalek in the 6th round of the Egyptian league this season.

Zamalek’s biggest win over Smouha was on May 15, 2011 at Cairo Stadium in the 21st round of the Egyptian league’s 2010/2011 season.

Zamalek stunned Smouha 3-0 thanks to former Zamalek players Ahmed Gaafar and Hussein Yasser el-Mohammady and current Saudi club Al-Raed's player Mahmoud Abdel Razek known as Shikabala.

Zamalek’s top scorer this season is Mohamed Ashraf Rouka with five goals while Smouha’s top scorer is Mohamed Hamdi Zaki with seven goals.

Zamalek's coach Ihab Galal announced his team's line-up and it is as follows:

GK: Ahmed El Shennawy

DEF: Mahmoud Hamdy 'El Wensh', Mahmoud Alaa, Mohamed Abdel Ghany, Marouf Youssef

MID: Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Mohamed Antar, Emad Fathy, Abdullah Gomaa

ATT: Nana Buku]]>
2/10/2018 2:34:32 PM
<![CDATA[Juve win after Fiorentina have penalty revoked by VAR]]>
Federico Bernardeschi scored against his old club and Gianluigi Buffon made his 500th league appearance for the Turin side but it was all overshadowed by the latest episode involving VAR.

Fiorentina were awarded a first-half penalty for handball by Giorgio Chiellini and Jordan Veretout waited for nearly three minutes to take the spot kick before the referee indicated he would review the incident using the VAR system.

Amid angry Fiorentina protests, he then awarded a free kick to Juventus for offside against a Fiorentina player in the build up to Chiellini's handball although replays showed that the ball was played to him by Juventus defender Alex Sandro.

"It took a lifetime to decide," said Fiorentina coach Stefano Pioli. "I don't accept the referee's choice. Alex Sandro touched the ball twice and it can't have been involuntary. It wasn't offside."

Pioli also complained that the referee did not view the pictures himself but relied on information passed to him by the video assistant.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said: "We've been on the wrong end of these decisions and there's nothing you can do. It was a long wait."

Shortly afterwards, Fiorentina were denied again when Gil Dias broke down the right and saw his shot rebound off the inside of the post.

Juve, who host Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday, made the most of their reprieves and went ahead in the 56th minute when Bernardeschi's free kick found a gap in the defensive wall to put them in front.

Forward Gonzalo Higuain wrapped up the points with four minutes left when Chiellini's pass sent him galloping clear of the Fiorentina defence and he confidently placed his shot wide of Marco Sportiello.

With Napoli not playing until Saturday, the win took Juventus top of Serie A with 62 points, two ahead of their rivals who host Lazio.

Serie A is one of a number of competitions around the world which is trialling VAR and its use has proved highly contentious.

Critics say it takes too long to make decisions and that referees are still making mistakes even after reviewing incidents on pitchside screens.

Football's law-making body IFAB is expected to decide on March 3 whether to approve the use of VAR on a permanent basis and FIFA is hoping to use it at the World Cup in Russia.]]>
2/10/2018 1:23:58 PM
<![CDATA[Former Ireland midfielder Miller dies aged 36]]>
Miller, who won 21 caps for Ireland between 2004 and 2009, started his career at Celtic in Scotland before moving to Manchester United.

Celtic were among a number of Miller's former clubs to pay tribute to the midfielder.

"Everyone at #CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time," Celtic said on Twitter.

Miller ended his career in the United States in 2016, having also played for Sunderland in the Premier League and Hibernian in Scotland.]]>
2/10/2018 1:21:57 PM
<![CDATA[Spain meet Portugal at Futsal Euro Final ]]>
Spain qualified to the final after beating Kazakhstan 3-1 on penalties in the semi-final. The regular time and extra time ended with a 5-5 draw.

On the other hand, Portugal defeated Russia 3-2 to reach their second final in the history of the competition.

Spain are the most successful nation in the history of the competition; this year they have reached the final for the 9th time. They won seven titles and lost only one final in 1999 to Russia.

Portugal hopes to be the fourth European nation to win the title after Spain who won seven titles, Italy who won two titles and Russia who achieved one title.

Portugal depend on their winger, Ricardo Filipe, known as Ricardinho, who has scored six goals in the competition so far and is the tournament’s top goal scorer.

Slovenia is hosting the competition, which runs from January 30 to February 10.

2/10/2018 9:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[North London derby preview ]]>
The fans will experience watching a north London derby at Wembley for the first time since 1993 when Arsenal defeated Tottenham 1-0 at FA Cup final thanks to a late goal by Tony Adams.

Tottenham started using Wembley as their home stadium this season as their old stadium, White Hart Lane, was completely demolished at the end of July 2017.

Arsenal fans depend on their new signings, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who played a great role in their victory over Everton. Mkhitaryan provided three assists while Aubameyang scored in his debut with the club.

“It is a big game because we are behind in the table and we have to catch up. I must say that personally, it’s more important mathematically for us to come back as quickly as possible, rather than it being emotionally-charged,” Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger told press ahead of the game.

On the other hand, the hosts will depend on the harmony between their attacking line players, Christian Eriksen, Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Harry Kane who tops the Premier League goal scorer list with 22 goals.

“It will be an amazing game and we are so excited because we know what it means to play the derby. All the derbies are tough games but the most important thing is to arrive in a good condition, to be ready, to challenge them, to fight and try to win,” Tottenham manager, Mauricio Pochettino told spurs TV ahead of the game.

Arsenal are in sixth place in the league with 45 points and they are four points behind the fifth placed, Tottenham Hotspurs.
2/10/2018 8:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Northern Ireland manager O'Neill extends deal until 2024]]>
The 48-year-old is set to guide Northern Ireland in the next two European Championship qualification campaigns and their quest to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

He committed his long-term future to Northern Ireland after he turned down the opportunity replace Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager last month.

"I am extremely proud to manage my country and I am pleased to be extending my time in charge of the senior team," O'Neill said in a statement.

"In recent months I have been approached about taking other opportunities in football. However, no other challenge attracted me as much as taking Northern Ireland back to a major tournament.

"I would like to thank the Irish FA for the belief that they have shown in me by granting this contract extension and for the fans for their ongoing support of me and of the Northern Ireland senior men's international team."

O'Neill led Northern Ireland to the last-16 at Euro 2016 but his team fell short of making it to this year's World Cup in Russia, losing a two-legged playoff against Switzerland last November.

As part of his new contract, O'Neill will also take up the role of chief football officer and will take overall responsibility for the development of the game in Northern Ireland. ]]>
2/9/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[We have to trust in our work: Conte ]]>“We have to trust in our work and trust in our football to get three points. We have to try to stop this bad run and try to get three points against West Brom," Conte told press on Friday.
Chelsea lost two consecutive games in the Premier League by a three-goal margin. They lost 3-0 to Bournemouth before losing 4-1 to Watford.

Conte revealed that he is totally committed to the club, he said, “my commitment and the commitment of my players is totally for this club and we are trying to do our best.”

Conte has been linked with leaving Chelsea over a disagreement with the club board after the lack of signings.

Conte added, “I'm not thinking for only one moment of the possibility of going away from this club.”

Chelsea hosts West Brom on Monday night at Stamford Bridge.
2/9/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mourinho defends "professional" Pogba]]>
Mourinho substituted United's record signing in last month's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur after angrily gesturing at him from the touchline and dropped the Frenchman to the bench in favour of academy graduate Scott McTominay for last weekend's win over Huddersfield Town.

That led to suggestions United were struggling to make best use of the Frenchman, with former Scotland midfielder Graeme Souness saying the 24 year-old lacked the concentration to operate in central midfield.

"I had a few laughing over the past week because I heard and watched, read a few things, and I'm not English but I think I understand English enough when you want to say box to box," Mourinho a news conference on Friday.

"But with some comments from some important people in football I got a little confused.

"There is no confusion between me and Paul though. It's difficult to play a midfielder with more potential than Paul. I don't see a problem."

Pogba was first out to train at Carrington on Friday and appears likely to be recalled for the visit to Newcastle United on Sunday.

"Paul had a very professional behaviour," Mourinho said. "The week was not different to what Paul is every week. He works well, he's a good professional. He likes to train. I've never had a single problem with him."

Mourinho has not won in six Premier League games at St James' Park across two stints as Chelsea manager, recording three draws and three defeats.

"I lost and I drew a few times, I hope the result is different but I know the characteristics of the game will not be difficult," Mourinho said.

"They have a good team and I think they had a good transfer window, with Kenedy and (Islam) Slimani, two players I know very well, who can really improve the team.

"(Rafa) Benitez knows how to get points so I think it is going to be difficult."

United are second in the table, 13 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Mourinho indicated full back Luke Shaw is set to sign a new long-term contract after the 22-year-old worked his way back into the first-team plans.

"He has been free of minor injuries for a few months which sometimes stops the evolution and I'm really happy," Mourinho said.

"The natural consequence of it is that he will have his contract and he will be a United player for years."]]>
2/9/2018 8:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[CAF President praises Salah during his tour in Cairo]]>
“I congratulated Salah after winning CAF Player of the Year. He is a great player and I respect what he has achieved at the Premier League,” Ahmad told press on Friday.

Salah won the African Player of the Year award in January, becoming the second Egyptian player to achieve the award after Mahmoud El-Khatib did in 1983.

Salah is Liverpool’s top goal scorer in the Premier League with 21 goals. He is one goal behind the Premier League’s top goal scorer, Harry Kane.

Ahmed added, “Egyptians should keep supporting him to maintain his performance and achieve all his goals, including the Ballon D’Or award.”

Ahmed held a meeting at the UCSA headquarters in Cairo with Egyptian Football Federation President Hany Abo Rida and UCSA President Ahmed Nasser about the 2019 African Games that will take place in Lusaka, Zambia.

2/9/2018 7:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Leicester's Mahrez returns to training]]>
The Algerian boarded the team coach en route to Manchester despite manager Claude Puel saying on Thursday that the Algerian would definitely miss the game against the Premier League leaders.

British media reported that Mahrez was "depressed" after Leicester rejected Manchester City's deadline day bid to sign him.

The 26 year-old, who has two-and-a-half years remaining on his 100,000 pound ($138,000) a week contract, missed two games and six training sessions in apparent protest and had not been seen at the club since last month.

But after Puel appealed for his player "to get his head right and come back with us and work hard", Mahrez arrived at Leicester's training-ground on Friday morning.

He trained with his team mates, apparently with no problems despite media reports that some resented the way he had attempted to force a move away from Leicester.

It was unclear if Mahrez was granted permission to be away from the club - or whether he has been fined for going missing - but he appears to have been reintegrated in the way Puel hoped.

"Riyad is a magnificent player. He loves football, he loves his relationship with his team-mates, he enjoys his football. I think he needs to come back, to play and touch the ball," Puel said on Thursday. "It is important he comes back."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, whose bid instigated the standoff last month, said on Friday he "hopes" Mahrez faces City on Saturday.

"I hope he comes back soon to play football. We enjoy watching him."

There was no confirmation from Leicester whether Mahrez will be included in the 18-man match-day squad. ]]>
2/9/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Hassan optimistic to play in Port Said again]]>
“Returning to play in Port Said will be an additional motivation for us. Our fans will support us and will lead us to get the result we're aiming for. I'm positive we will reach the next round," Hassan said on CAF's official website on Friday.

El-Masry will return to play in Port Said for the first time since Port Sid stadium massacre on February 2012 when 72 Al-Ahly fans were killed during a game between Al- Ahly and El- Masry at the Egyptian League.

El–Masry will host Zambia’s Green Buffaloes on Saturday February 10 in the first leg of the preliminary round before playing the second leg in Zambia on February 20.

Hassan added, ”we have to put our domestic campaign aside and shift our attention to the CAF Confederation Cup, we are ready and poised to grab a positive result to make the return leg in Zambia a mere formality.”

El–Masry hopes to repeat their biggest achievement on continental level. They managed to qualify for the semi-final of the CAF Cup in 1999 and CAF Cup in 2002.
2/9/2018 6:02:29 PM
<![CDATA[Korean figure skater Kim Yuna lights Olympic cauldron]]>
Kim, who won gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and silver in Sochi four years later, performed a short skating routine before receiving the torch and sending flames shooting up to the cauldron.

The Pyeongchang Games run from Feb. 9 to 25.]]>
2/9/2018 4:18:35 PM
<![CDATA[Rakitic wants a neutral stadium for the Cup Final ]]>
Rakitic revealed his happiness to reach the final after the game; saying “I'm very happy to be able to play in another final and we had a great game."

Barcelona reached their fifth consecutive final to be the first Spanish club in the history to make such an achievement.

Barcelona’s opponents in the final are Sevilla who defeated Leganes 2-0 on Wednesday. This final will be a repeat to 2016 final when Barcelona defeated the Andalusians 2-0.

The final is scheduled for April 21 but the Spanish federation have not yet chosen the stadium to host the match. Sevilla’s president suggested Sevilla as the location, an idea the Catalans were not fond of.

Rakitic revealed his opinion on the Sevilla president’s suggestion; saying “I am aware of what the Sevilla president said and I invite him to Barcelona if he wants. The best thing would be to find a neutral site that suits everyone."

Rakitic represented Sevilla between 2011 and 2014 and he was named the club’s captain during his last year with Sevilla. ]]>
2/9/2018 2:38:05 PM
<![CDATA[Numero Uno for team Japan as Olympic ice stars tumble]]>
Hanyu is skipping the team competition to gives his body every chance of being at its best in Pyeongchang after suffering a serious ankle injury in the run-up to the defence of his Sochi 2014 crown next week.

Uno, runner-up to the Japanese ice idol at last year's world championships, produced a near blemish-free short program to put Japan top of the pile, outscoring his rivals by almost 15 points.

"It is my first time coming to the Olympics but I wasn't as anxious as I thought." said the 21-year-old from Nagoya.

With Israel a surprise second after the first leg Canada had work to do in third with Sochi 2014 double silver medallist Patrick Chan hitting the ice twice.

The 27-year-old tumbled on his opening quad toe loop and again on a triple axel.

"I am the type of skater that takes time, since I've gotten older, to warm up and to get up to the quads and get comfortable in competition," he said.

"This is a long two weeks and I am not going to look back too much and it's a good opportunity to get the early jitters out."

The three-time former world champion was in good company, as American gold medal hope Nathan Chen also slipped up.

The 18-year-old from Salt Lake City had both hands on the floor after missing a quad toeloop, bringing gasps from the crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

That left the Americans in fourth, Chen's total over 22 points adrift.

Chen was kicking himself for his error-strewn showing.

"Definitely not a representation of who I am and what I can do. Definitely need to work harder for the next couple of days," he said.

The man they call the quad king added: "I definitely let the rest of the team down, so I feel bad in that regard. But I think that it was a good opportunity for me to put myself out there and make silly mistakes.

"In the individual I'll be more ready."

In the pairs short program Canadian duo Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford took second behind European champions Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov to take the overall lead.

American couple Alexa and Chris Knierim produced a season's best in fourth to lift the USA up into the silver medal position with Japan ceding ground in third.

The team event continues on Sunday and concludes Monday.]]>
2/9/2018 12:23:16 PM
<![CDATA[Warriors stop rot with win over Mavs, Celtics triumph in overtime]]>
The Warriors had lost their last two games and three of their previous four.They trailed Dallas by as many as 12 points, but took control in the second half to improve their league-leading record to 42-13.

Durant drained a three-pointer to cap an 8-2 run late in the third quarter that gave Golden State a 93-85 lead.

They turned it into a rout in the fourth, pushing the advantage to as many as 21 points.

There were some sloppy moments to be sure, as the Warriors coughed up 20 turnovers.

There was also another technical foul for Draymond Green, who was fined $50,000 earlier Thursday for "inappropriate and offensive" remarks to a referee over a non-call after he took an elbow to the face in Golden State's embarrassing 125-105 loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

With a league-leading 14 technicals this season, Green is two away from an automatic suspension.Durant is second in technicals and head coach Steve Kerr fourth among coaches -- numbers that prompted Kerr to say before the game it's an area that needs attention.

"We all need to do a much better job of staying poised," Kerr said.

And, largely, they did.

Klay Thompson added 18 points, Green contributed 12 points with 10 rebounds, six assists, two blocked shots and two steals, and David West scored 10 as the Warriors put themselves a game up on the Houston Rockets atop the Western Conference.

- Celtics in overtime -

The Boston Celtics maintained a one-game advantage over Toronto atop the East with a 110-104 overtime victory over the Wizards in Washington.

Kyrie Irving scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as the Celtics bounced back from a loss to the Raptors on Tuesday.

Trailing at halftime, they emerged from a tight third quarter with a five-point lead and stretched it to as many as 10 in the fourth.

But they needed three clutch free throws from Irving, who was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all the foul shots to knot the score at 98-98 with 9.8 seconds left in regulation.

It went to overtime when Bradley Beal's tough jump shot contested by Irving at the buzzer missed.

Jaylen Brown scored five of his 18 points for Boston in overtime, when the Celtics out-scored the Wizards 12-6 to finally put the game away.

His three-pointer with 1:43 remaining put the Celtics up 108-103, and the Wizards wouldn't get the deficit below four points from there.

"The shot clock was going down so I took my time and shot a shot that I've been practicing," Brown said of the step-back three. "I've been working on it a lot, and it showed itself in the game."

The Portland Trail Blazers won in overtime, too, stretching their home winning streak to nine games with a 109-103 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets.

It was close in Orlando, where Evan Fournier's 22 points led the Magic in a 100-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

The Magic were also boosted by 18 points and nine assists from point guard D.J. Augustin -- newly arrived from Phoenix in a trade-deadline deal.

The Los Angeles Lakers, still awaiting the arrival of their trade-deadline acquisitions from Cleveland Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye, defeated the under-manned Oklahoma City Thunder 106-81.

It was their second win in five days over the Thunder -- who were without injured Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 20 points, leading five Lakers in double figures. Paul George scored 29 points for Oklahoma City.

Lakers coach Luke Walton was pleased to see his young team dig in against the Thunder on a day when many were unsettled by the departure of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. in the deal with Cleveland.

Walton noted that it was the first time some of the Lakers had teammates shipped out suddenly.

"It was pretty quiet in the film room," he said. "I didn't know how long it would take, but the energy before the game was already better."]]>
2/9/2018 11:56:16 AM
<![CDATA[Beauxis makes France return after six years]]>
The 32-year-old Beauxis was only added to Brunel's squad due to a knee ligament injury to teenage fly-half Matthieu Jalibert in last weekend's 15-13 defeat to Ireland.

The Lyon half-back's last appearance for France was in March 2012 against Wales.

He is one of three changes to the starting line-up, all injury induced, while powerful No.8 Louis Picamoles is one of three new faces on the replacements bench.

Marco Tauliegne comes in for Kevin Gourdon, who has an ankle injury, at No.8 with fit-again Geoffrey Doumayrou coming in for Henry Chavancy, who hasn't taken part in contact training this week due to an eye socket injury, in the centres.

Scrum-half Baptise Serin is in on the bench in place of Antoine Dupont, whose season is over following a knee ligament injury suffered during a nine-minute cameo against Ireland, while Eddy Ben Arous replaces Dany Priso as substitute loosehead prop.

Geoffrey Palis; Teddy Thomas, Remi Lamerat, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Virimi Vakatawa; Lionel Beauxis, Maxime Machenaud; Marco Tauleigne, Yacouba Camara, Wenceslas Lauret; Sebastien Vahaamahina, Arthur Iturria; Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Jefferson Poirot

Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Eddy Ben Arous, Cedate Gomes Sa, Paul Gabrillagues, Louis Picamoles, Baptiste Serin, Anthony Belleau, Benjamin Fall]]>
2/9/2018 11:52:26 AM
<![CDATA[Ski star Vonn vows to win for late grandfather]]>
"It's really hard for me not to cry," Vonn said when asked about Don Kildow, who died in November at the age of 88.

"I just want so badly to do well for him. I miss him so much, he's been such a big part of my life.

"I really hoped he'd have been alive to see me, but I know he's watching and I know he's going to help me, and I'm going to win for him."

Don Kildow built the first ski hill around Milton, Wisconsin, and taught his own children to ski before going on to inspire his grandchildren.

"You taught me to be tough, to be kind, and above all, to ski fast," Vonn said in an Instagram post shortly after his death, one of many social media postings hailing the influence of her grandfather, who was ironically stationed not far from the Jeongseon Alpine Centre when he served with the US army during the Korean War.

Vonn confirmed she felt "really good", but added: "It's not really about me or my career, it's about my grandfather.

"I'm just going to lay it all out there. I'm going to give it everything I have and whatever happens will happen.

"I'm not going to be nervous, I know he's looking out for me and that gives me some peace of mind."

- 'Downhill suits me' -

Vonn won Olympic gold in the downhill and super-G bronze at the 2010 Games, but missed the 2014 Olympics through injury.

This time around she confirmed she will compete in the downhill, super-G and the combined.

"I'm coming in on a hot streak," the 33-year-old said. "I love the track here, the downhill is really well suited for me.

"But I've decided not to do the giant slalom because my knee's not in place to do that.

"I don't think I can contend for a medal so there's no point."

Vonn, a four-time overall World Cup champion, has notched up 81 World Cup victories said she has Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 race wins in her sights.

"I'm definitely going to ski another season after this," she said.

"I'm going to continue skiing until I get to 86. I think next year I can get beyond that. As long as my knee is holding up and I'm still able to win then I will keep skiing, but it really depends on my knee, that's the determing factor on my retirement."

Having spent the best part of three years in rehabilitation since 2012, Vonn left no one in any doubt about her focus.

"My entire summer has been focused on the Olympics. It's what I think about the first thing when I wake up and it's what I think about when I go to sleep."]]>
2/9/2018 11:42:36 AM
<![CDATA[U.S. Olympic swimmer accuses ex-coach of sexual abuse when she was 16]]>
Ariana Kukors, who represented the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games, said Sean Hutchison, then a coach for USA Swimming’s national team, began “grooming” her for a sexual relationship when she was 13.

“I’ve realized that stories like my own are too important to go unwritten,” Kukors, 28, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Hutchison said in a statement to the New York Times the accusations were not true. According to the Times, the statement said Hutchison and Kukors were involved in a “committed relationship.”

“At no time did I ever abuse Ariana Kukors or do anything with her that was not consensual,” the statement said. “I absolutely deny having any sexual or romantic relationship with her before she was old enough to legally make those decisions for herself. Prior to that time, I did nothing to ‘groom’ her.”

It was not possible to contact Hutchison independently.

His swimming club, the King Aquatic Club in Washington state, said in a statement the news “broke our collective hearts.” Hutchison remained a club executive but had no “direct interaction with our swimmers for a very long time,” it said.

Kukors said she first met Hutchison through the club. It described her as “part of the King Aquatic family.”

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have searched Hutchison’s Seattle home, a department spokeswoman said, describing it as an investigation into “alleged online child exploitation,” without giving further details.

Athletes have denounced U.S. Olympic officials in recent weeks as reacting too slowly to reports of sexual abuse. The criticism grew from the emotionally charged sentencing hearings for Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse last year.

Kukors echoed this complaint.

“Much like the USOC knew about Larry Nassar years before his arrest and did nothing, USA Swimming had notice in 2010 that Sean Hutchison was involved in an inappropriate coach-athlete relationship with Ariana and took no actions to protect her or other swimmers,” her lawyer Robert Allard said in a statement.

USA Swimming said in a statement it investigated in 2010 a report that Hutchison and Kukors had a sexual relationship in breach of the organization’s code of conduct. Both denied a relationship at the time and the case was closed.

The governing body said it first learned of the allegations of sexual abuse while Kukors was a minor when she went public this week. The group supported Kukors and was helping the investigation.

“We stand by her, and all other victims, in their quest to break their silence and confront their horrific experiences,” the statement said.]]>
2/9/2018 11:12:06 AM
<![CDATA[Guardiola excludes Mahrez from his wishing list]]>
The Spanish coach is considering excluding the name of the Algerian footballer from his future plans for next season, according to the English newspaper “Mirror”.

Leicester City dismissed an offer by Manchester City of more than €74 million ($92.5 million) in the past winter market.

The decision of the club did not please Mahrez at all, as he tried by all means to sign the proposal.

The Algerian has already missed two official games (Everton and Swansea), and he also does not participate in the training sessions with his teammates.

Mahrez's attitude is an unexpected problem for Leicester’s coach Claude Puel. The coach does not find a way to solve the conflict between the player and the club and ends up losing his most important player in the squad, which resulted in his team’s defeat in both games.

Despite the characteristics of Riyad who fits perfectly into the philosophy of the Catalan coach, the strike action by the Algerian makes Guardiola question whether the player is the right choice for the team.

Pep, according to “Mirror”, had already instructed the leaders of his club to exclude Mahrez off the list of future events. Pep wants committed players inside and outside the field, but especially committed to the club.
2/8/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Palace winger Zaha ruled out for a month with knee injury]]>
Zaha sustained the injury in last weekend's 1-1 Premier League draw against Newcastle United but the 25-year-old still played the full 90 minutes.

"It's amazing Wilf was able to play so much of the game with the injury," Hodgson told reporters ahead of Palace's league trip to Everton on Saturday.

"He's a very quick healer and we'll be working to get him back as soon as possible.

"If he recovered in a week or two it would be a fantastic effort, but it's more realistic we'd have to wait a month for him. He'll be pushing the medical staff to come back as soon as possible."

Palace, 14th in the league table and three points clear of the relegation zone, have been plagued by injuries in recent months.

Winger Bakary Sako was ruled out for the rest of the season with a fractured ankle and the loss of Zaha left Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend and new signing Alexander Sorloth as Hodgson's attacking options.

"Quite frankly I can't remember a time when I've had this many players injured at a club," Hodgson added.

"These things happen. We certainly haven't been too lucky of late with injury, but the players have kept battling on and will try to get results."]]>
2/8/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Fans to attend matches starting from Egyptian Cup quarter final]]>
“We sent a letter to the EFA [Egyptian Football Association] to assure the confirmation of both Youth & Sports ministry and Interior ministry concerning the fans’ attendance to football matches,” Mr. Abd el-Aziz stated to Al-Hadaf Radio station.

“However, some clubs objected the lack of equal opportunities, so the return of the fans was disrupted,” He added.

Fans in Egypt were banned from attending matches six years ago, February 2012, because of the Port-Said disaster where 72 victims were killed during the Al Ahly vs. Al Masry league match.

“I assure you that the matches of the Egyptian Cup from the quarter-finals to the final of the tournament will be attended by the fans, because matches are held from one stage and in neutral stadiums,” he said.

"We tried to get the fans back and take advantage of Egypt's qualification for the World Cup, but some of the actions in the UAFA Club Arab Championship last August have worried us, so we preferred to postpone the return of the fans in the league for next season," he concluded.

The EFA announced that fans can attend Al Ahly’s match against Al Dakhleya in the Cup’s 16th round.

Al Assiouty Sport will play the winner from the Al Ahly – Al Dakhleya clash in the quarter-final.
2/8/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Champions League costs put brake on Man Utd profit]]>
United, whose leading players include Paul Pogba and David de Gea, are currently second in the 20-team English Premier League and play Sevilla in the last 16 of the Champions League later this month.

"Our solid business model has allowed us to invest in the future of the club with the extension of Jose Mourinho's contract as manager and the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez," Executive Vice Chairman Ed Woodward said.

Manager Mourinho last month extended his contract until 2020, while Sanchez moved from Arsenal.

Woodward would not be drawn on the likely outcome of the new auction for domestic rights to broadcast Premier League matches, for which bids are due to be submitted on Friday.

Sky and BT currently shares the rights in a three-year deal worth 5.14 billion pounds ($7.2 billion).

United's adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation slipped 1.7 percent to 67.8 million pounds for the three months to the end of December.

Revenue increased 3.8 percent to 163.9 million pounds in the period -- the second quarter of its 2017-18 financial year.

However, salary expenses for the quarter came in 9.4 percent higher at 69.9 million pounds as players got more after a return to the Champions League.

The club, listed on the New York Stock Exchange, played down the significance of a 48.8 million pound non-cash accounting charge in the period after U.S. tax reforms took effect.

"There will be no impact on our financial competitiveness nor our ability to meet Financial Fair Play regulations from the charge," Chief Financial Officer Cliff Baty told analysts on a conference call.

Controlled by the American Glazer family, United have won the English league title a record 20 times.

However, local rivals Manchester City currently lead the Premier League with a handsome 13 point advantage over United.

Last season, United won the League Cup, as well as Europe's second-tier Europa League competition, securing a slot in the cash-rich Champions League for the current season.

Baty said financial forecasts for the year were based on reaching the last eight of the Champions League.

"If we do better than the quarter-finals that will impact our guidance," Baty said.]]>
2/8/2018 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Reus ready for comeback after latest nightmare]]>
The 28-year-old, a player who can unbalance the tightest games with a moment of inspiration, has been out of action for eight months after tearing a knee ligament in their Cup final win over Eintracht Frankfurt last May.

Reus has been sorely missed in a campaign which has seen Dortmund fire one coach and drop 19 points behind runaway leaders Bayern Munich, a team they would usually hope to be challenging for the title.

"He can significantly change the course of a game thanks to his quality," said Dortmund coach Peter Stoeger as he suggested that Reus could return for Saturday's visit of Hamburg SV.

"Marco has trained normally throughout the week, we know he would like to play and he knows we would like to have him with us," he said, adding that the final decision would lie with Reus himself.

"He knows his body better than anyone and it's up to him to give the signal."

With his ability to run at defenders at speed, Reus has the uncanny knack of being able to turn games almost single-handedly.

Twenty-five of his 56 Bundesliga goals for Dortmund have been the first of the match and, last season, the team managed 17 shots per game on goal when Reus was playing, compared to 14 when he was not.

Reus joined Dortmund in 2012 but has been plagued by injuries which have been especially damaging to his Germany career.

He missed the 2014 World Cup after suffering an ankle injury in a warm-up friendly against Armenia the week before the start of the tournament while a groin injury ruled him out of Euro 2016.

His knee injury then sidelined him for the Confederations Cup last year. In the last seven years, he has had 14 layoffs of 10 days or more.

He now has four months to show Germany coach Joachim Loew that he will be fit and in form for the World Cup in Russia.

Dortmund have already expressed confidence in his recovery by saying that they want to offer him a significant contract extension.

"Our goal remains that Marco Reus stays here in the long-term," sporting director Michael Zorc told Bild newspaper on Tuesday.

"It would be negligent on our part not to want such a player in our ranks, especially when he comes from Dortmund and has a strong identification with the club."

Stoeger, however, warned against expecting too much of the player.

"We shouldn't expect marvels from him," said the Austrian coach. "I don't want him to carry the burden of thinking he has to decide every match for us."]]>
2/8/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Yara Shalaby teams up with Moataz Atef in rally racing]]>
BANG BANG racing team was established in 2016 by top drivers in Egypt’s speed tests. The team is ranked as one of the best competing teams in the Motorsport.

This collaboration is sponsored by KAPCI Coatings, the leader in car refinishing for more than 33 years. They offer high quality products on the market, together with services, training and support.

Yara Shalaby teams up with Moataz Atef in Rally racing – Courtesy of Yara Shalaby’s official account on Twitter

Yara Shalaby, 33, has become the first professional female rally driver in the country, winning several races out of 25. She is overcoming stereotypes by proving her talent as a skilled and successful racer in Egypt.

“With every race, I force people to respect what I do and who I am,” she told Egypt Today in a previous interview.

Entering the world of rally racing four years ago, Shalaby has already made a mark in the field; she won the first position in the amateur category of the 2014 Pharaohs International Cross Country Rally, and the second overall position. She has also won the second position in the amateur categories of the 2013 El-Remaly Desert Challenge and the 2014 El-Gouna Rally Cup.

She is now Egypt’s ambassador to the Women in Motorsports organization.

2/8/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly’s line-up against Arab Contractors revealed]]>
The game was postponed in the sixth week of the league due to Al-Ahly’s participation in the CAF Champions League.

Here is the official line-up:

GK: Mohamed el-Shenawy

DEF: Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Naguib, Mohamed Hany,Sabry Raheel

MID: Hesham Mohamed, Amr el-Soleya, Bakamany Mahlambi, Abdullah el-Said,
Junior Ajayi

ATT: Walid Azzarou

Badry did not recall club captain Hossam Ghaly, who just returned to the club from Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr.

Al-Ahly will miss Walid Soliman, Saad Samir, Ali Maaloul, Ayman Ashraf, Marwan Mohsen, Ramy Rabia and Ahmed Hamoudi due to injury.

Al-Ahly tops the league with 54 points and they are 9 points ahead of the second-placed Ismaily.
2/8/2018 6:32:22 PM
<![CDATA[Suarez unrepentant about being a difficult opponent]]>
"I'm a difficult opponent but any fan would like to have a player like me," Suarez said in an interview with Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia.

"And if you ask any opponent who has had to fight against me constantly if they would like someone like me as a team mate they would close their eyes and say 'yes'."

The Uruguayan's bullish behaviour has come under the spotlight ahead of Barca's King's Cup semi-final second leg with Valencia on Thursday.

Opposing coach Marcelino warned his players not to be provoked by Suarez, but the former Liverpool striker, who calls on-pitch rivalries "the essence of the game", is unrepentant.

"Here you have to take advantage of the small details. I can argue with a defender and I'll have a better chance of getting him sent off if I know he has been booked, and I know he will do the same to me," he said.

"It's not that I'm old school, I'm just of the theory that if an opponent insults me, tells me I'm bad, says anything he likes or insults my sister, I will never go and cry to the media about it. I put up with everything, it doesn't bother me or hurt me, it's part of the game."

Suarez had a turbulent start to the season as he battled back to fitness ahead of schedule from a knee injury.

He has experienced a dramatic transformation, however, since taking a two-week break in November, scoring 16 goals in his last 17 games to help Barca go nine points clear at the top of La Liga.

"I was very worried, and not just about the goals because I've been through spells like that before. I knew my knee was bad and I was worried it would affect me psychologically too," Suarez said. "My attitude was not the same as before and nor was my intensity. But since November I've felt spectacular."]]>
2/8/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[PSG and Man City's financial muscle good for the game -Emery]]>
La Liga president Javier Tebas has threatened to denounce the two teams, backed by the royal families of Qatar and Abu Dhabi respectively, to the European Union for their financing methods, comparing PSG's record-smashing 222 million euro ($272 million) signing of Neymar Jr. to "peeing off the diving board".

PSG also beat Barca and Madrid to the signature of French teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, who joined the Paris club last year and will become the second most expensive player behind Neymar when he completes his move from AS Monaco in June for 180 million euros.

"Madrid and Barcelona wanted Kylian, but PSG have the muscle to keep him at a French club and I think the transfer happened for sporting reasons and not financial ones, and that's something new in this new European order," Emery told Spanish newspaper Marca in an interview published on Thursday.

"The (traditional) clubs see their kingdom under threat (from PSG) and (Manchester) City, who are a team with new-found financial capacity. I think this is good for football, that there are these new teams. Everyone should be grateful."

PSG have an 11-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and play faltering European and Spanish champions Real Madrid in a blockbuster Champions League encounter next week.

Emery thanked the club's owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi for allowing them to follow Barca and Real's example in breaking the bank to sign players who are among the world's best.

"I always remember this with Real Madrid, the signing of Zinedine Zidane, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez. And Barca did it, too, paying Rivaldo's release clause, and we are now seeing this financial capacity in France," Emery added.

"I think that's good for this country, which should be grateful to the investment from Qatar for making sure the best players come here." ($1 = 0.8172 euros)]]>
2/8/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Marathon, biggest sports event held by Cairo Runners]]>
Cairo Runners is an Egyptian organization that arranges marathons and running competitions throughout Egypt. According to their official website, they “exist to spice things up and break the season’s running routine! Events such as relay races, amazing races and heritage runs are always a fun way to mix exercise with teamwork and challenges. They also give us the opportunity to explore our city from a new perspective.”

Cairo Runners is one of the leading organizations in the field. They are known for organizing early races on Friday mornings at different locations throughout Egypt. Founded by Ibrahim Safwat, Cairo Runners is the first street running initiative in Cairo.

Cairo Runners 2
People participating in an event of Cairo runner’s event - Cairo Runners’ official Facebook page

Cairo Runners detailed all the events on their Facebook page, saying:

Races & Runs:
- 42 kilometer Full Marathon
- 21 kilometer Half Marathon
- 10 kilometer Run
- 3 kilometer Family Fun Run
- *NEW* 3 kilometer Para Race for the specially talented

The events are hosted at Cairo Festival City Mall, New Cairo. The race courses will be inside New Cairo.

Date/ Time:

The five races/runs will start consecutively starting 6:15 AM on Friday, February 23, 2018.

Important Dates:

- Early Bird registration (with special rates) started from December 21, 2017, until January 3, 2018.
- Regular Registration started on January 1, 2018, until the February 13, 2018
- Changing ticket type or participant info: until February 13, 2018
- Picking up Race Kits: starting from February 16, 2018
- Cairo Marathon: February 23, 2018!

Cairo Runners 1
Cairo marathon’s event card – Cairo Runners’ official Facebook page

Registration steps:

1. Online registration: You must register online via http://www.cairorunners.com/registration
2. Payment of fees:
- Online payment: You can pay via card during your online registration.
- Cash payment: If you want to pay by cash, you will have to pass by one of our on-ground registration spots at Alef Bookstores* BEFORE registering online, and you will receive a voucher to use during your online registration.
3. Pick up your running kit: Starting from February 16, you will be able to pick up your running kit from the Cairo Festival City Mall.

Fees and on-ground payment locations:

Early Bird fees, regular fees, and on-ground payment locations (Cairo-Alexandria-Ismailia) can be found on our website: http://www.cairorunners.com/registration

The fees will include Race Number, Race T-shirt, Timers, Goodie bag including sponsors giveaways, and entrance to the after party.

2/8/2018 3:04:42 PM
<![CDATA[Wenger delays keeper decision for Spurs game]]>
Cech suffered a calf injury in Saturday's 5-1 win over Everton and was substituted by Ospina after 71 minutes.

But he has recovered well and is in line for a recall.

"Cech or Ospina, I will make that decision tomorrow," said Wenger. "Petr Cech has not practised but I will not take any risk if he is not 100 percent fit."

Wenger also hopes to have Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck available for the game.

The game is the first time Wenger has taken Arsenal to play Spurs at Wembley, a ground where the Gunners traditionally thrive, winning the FA Cup final in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

"We feel we have a good level of performance at Wembley, but it will all come down to the day," said Wenger.

"What Wembley gives you is a good pitch to allow you to play the way you want to play."

Arsenal go into the game in sixth place, four points behind Spurs and five off a Champions League qualifying spot.

"I know the importance of this game and it is a chance to close in on a Champions League spot. We are behind in the table and have to catch up," said Wenger, who will face Spurs for the 52nd time in his 22 years as Arsenal manager.

"There is always huge passion. I worked with Pat Rice for many years and he quickly got me on that territory.

"It is always a game more charged emotionally for everyone but this season for us it is a very important game in terms of the table.

"The players know how important it is and you have to find a balance between being rational and emotional."]]>
2/8/2018 1:50:41 PM
<![CDATA[Valencia urges United to stay in hunt for Premier League title]]>
United are second on 56 points with 12 games remaining but Valencia said the club can not lose hope yet, pointing to how their cross-town rivals overcame an eight-point deficit in the final six games to pip them to the title in the 2011-12 season.

"We lost a title when we were eight points ahead and there were only a few games left. Now, we have a lot more games to play and we need to keep fighting," Valencia told the club's website (www.manutd.com). "We need to keep going.

"The important thing is to get the three points, playing at home, playing well, and we will carry on with this mentality until the end of the season."

United bounced back from a 2-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last Wednesday to beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 on Saturday.

"We have showed that we have the quality and conditions to fight until the end of the season," Valencia added.

United travel to 16th-placed Newcastle United on Sunday]]>
2/8/2018 1:47:54 PM
<![CDATA[Sevilla outlast Leganes to reach Cup final]]>
Argentine midfielder Joaquin Correa struck the opening goal by slotting a loose ball into an empty net from close range in the 15th minute after Colombian forward Luis Muriel had burst into the area.

Sevilla coach Vincenzo Montella risked his reputation by playing a weakened team on Saturday against Eibar and his side were thrashed 5-1, but his gamble paid off as his side outlasted Leganes and Franco Vazquez smashed into the net from a tight angle in the 89th minute.

"We knew how to stick together when we were down and how to be a team and thanks to this we're in the final. This will give us an important boost for the remainder of the season," Montella told reporters.

Leganes produced a huge shock by knocking out Real Madrid in the previous round and kept fighting but they struggled to create decent openings, managing only one shot at goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who had conceded an embarrassing own goal in the first leg.

"We are very proud of all the players as they gave everything and tried but we had an opponent in front of us who were better than us," Leganes coach Asier Garitano said.

"When you give everything you can't ask for anything else, we're going to see how we react to all of this and focus on our objective of remaining in the top flight next year."

Triple holders Barcelona visit Valencia on Thursday in the other semi-final with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

The winners will play Sevilla in the final on April 21. ]]>
2/8/2018 1:38:55 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly squad for Arab Contractors game revealed ]]>
The game was postponed from the sixth week of the league due to Al-Ahly’s participation in the CAF Champions League.

Al-Ahly’s chosen squad for the game consists of: Mohamed El Shenawi, Ali Lotfi, Sherif Ekrami, Hisham Mohamed, Hossam Ashour, Abdullah El-Said, Junior Ajayi,Walid Azzaro, Salah Mohsen, Bassem Ali, Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Naguib, Ahmed Yasser Rayan, Mido Jaber, Islam Mohareb, Karim Nedved, Sabry Rahil, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Abdel Monem, Phakamani Mahlambi and Amr El Solia.

Badry did not recall club captain Hossam Ghaly, who has just returned to the club from his spell with Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr.

Al-Ahly will miss: Walid Soliman, Saad Samir, Ali Maaloul, Ayman Ashraf, Marwan Mohsen, Ramy Rabia and Ahmed Hamoudi due to injury.

Al-Ahly tops the league with 54 points, and they are 9 points ahead of the second-placed Ismaily.

2/7/2018 10:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[I have loved Liverpool since I was young: Salah]]>CAIRO – 7 February 2018: Liverpool’s Egyptian winger, Mohamed Salah, revealed that he has supported Liverpool since he was a kid and wearing their jersey was his childhood dream.

“I have loved the club since I was young and knew this was a team I wanted to play for. I knew the history this club has and, as soon as I got the chance, I had to make it happen,” Salah told FourFourTwo magazine.

Salah joined Liverpool last summer from Italy’s Roma for £35 million ($48.5 million) and since then has established himself as a key player on their attacking line.

Salah is the club’s top goal scorer in the league with 21 goals, and he is only one goal behind the league top goal scorer, Harry Kane.

Salah added, “I'm happy scoring goals for the club I supported as a kid – that's all that matters."

Salah revealed the reason behind leaving Roma to join Liverpool, saying, “I was comfortable at Roma; I had two great seasons there and I was very happy, but I've always been the sort of guy who takes a chance to put myself under pressure."

Salah was a key player during his time at Roma and he had a great role with the club in his last season, scoring 15 goals in 31 league appearances, according to BBC.

2/7/2018 9:42:06 PM
<![CDATA[Mercedes team up with Hilfiger after Boss departure]]>
The multi-year deal to be the official apparel partner comes after Hugo Boss switched to the all-electric Formula E championship.

Mercedes said Hilfiger, owned by PVH Corp, would also have its branding on the 2018 car due to be unveiled at Silverstone later this month by Hamilton and Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas.

"It is always exciting to embark on a new partnership, particularly when it touches such a key area of our team's image," said team boss Toto Wolff in a statement.

Hilfiger previously sponsored Ferrari, when seven times champion Michael Schumacher was driving for that team, and now-defunct Lotus.

The season starts in Australia on March 25.]]>
2/7/2018 9:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Marcelino expects tough clash against Barcelona]]>
“We expect a long and tough game; we play against the clear favorite of the competition with a difficult result,” Marcelino told press on Wednesday.

Barcelona managed to win the first leg 1-0 thanks to a goal from Luis Saurez 20 minutes before the final whistle.

Marcelino trusts his team’s ability to defeat Barcelona. He said, “The players are convinced and we are going to leave everything on the pitch. We are going to put Barcelona in great trouble."

Valencia have never qualified to the Spanish Cup final since 2008, when they defeated Getafe 3-1 to achieve their seventh title.

Marcelino spoke about Lionel Messi’s impact on the Barcelona team, saying, “Valencia and other teams face a Barcelona with Messi or a Barcelona without Messi; they have fewer resources without Messi, it's obvious.”

Barcelona hopes to set a new record by reaching the Spanish Cup final five times in a row.

2/7/2018 9:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[England 2018 World Cup kits revealed ]]>
The home kit is white shirts with blue shorts while the away kit is red shirts with white shorts. England’s national team kits are sponsored by Nike.

The kits’ design is inspired by England’s kit at the 1966 World Cup when the English team won their only World Cup title.


Nike Football Apparel Senior Design Director Pete Hoppins said, “that classic identity, with a modern edge added, is imperative to the whole collection."

“We're delighted with the 2018 England Collection and it only adds to the excitement around our national teams following an unprecedented 2017,” Mark Bullingham, FA group commercial and marketing director, told press.

The 2018 World Cup draw put England alongside Panama, Belgium and Tunisia at Group G. England will start their participation against Tunisia before facing Panama five days later and they will end their group stage games against Belgium.
2/7/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Evra joins West Ham ]]>
“I'm really happy to be a Hammer, to be back in the Premier League. It's amazing to be back and I am thankful to West Ham for giving me the opportunity to do my job,” Evra told the club’s official website after signing his new contract.

Evra, 36, played in the Premier League between 2006 and 2014, wearing the Manchester United jersey. He also shared the dressing room with current West Ham coach David Moyes when they both worked together in 2014 in Manchester.

Evra was a free agent after he was sacked by his former club, Marseille, for kicking a fan, and he was banned by the UEFA from European tournaments until June 2018, but he is eligible to play in the domestic competitions.

Evra spoke about his happiness after he completed the deal with West Ham, saying, “When I wake up and know I am going to work hard, to have fun with my teammates and give my best on the pitch, I want to say a massive thanks to West Ham, to the chairman, to the manager, to all my teammates who have given me a nice welcome.”

Evra has achieved five Premier League titles, five FA Community shields and three League Cup titles during his time in England with Manchester United.

2/7/2018 5:56:25 PM
<![CDATA[Lineker sees Messi as best in history]]>
“Messi is from another world. He does four or five things in a game that I have never done in my career; he's the best of all time. Barcelona play with 13 players, because they have Messi," Lineker told Mundo Deportivo.

Lineker faced Diego Maradona in the 1986 World Cup quarter-finals when Maradona scored twice, leading Argentina to eliminate Lineker and his teammates from the World Cup.

Lineker spoke about the comparison between Messi and Maradona, saying, “I never thought that I'd see someone better than Maradona; they say that Maradona won a World Cup and Messi hasn't, but Leo has four Champions League titles and Maradona has none.”

Lineker represented Barcelona between 1986 and 1989, and he believes that Barcelona are the best team in the world.

gary-lineker-at-barcelona-when-leicesters-favourite-son-went-overseas-body-image-1485371958 (1)

“Barcelona have been the best since Ronaldinho, Xavi, Iniesta and, above all, Messi,” Lineker added.


Lineker revealed that he is still following Barcelona despite leaving the club 29 years ago. He said, “I love Barcelona; I see all of their games. I am a fan of Barcelona and my four children are too.”

Lineker scored 42 goals in 103 La Liga games with Barcelona, including a famous hat trick against Real Madrid in 1987.

2/7/2018 5:53:52 PM