<![CDATA[rss-Sports]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Sports]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Champs Wydad, Ahly reach CAF Champions League last eight]]>
A sizzling Anas el Asbahi shot on 56 minutes earned Wydad maximum points against Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa in a cagey Casablanca clash of few scoring opportunities.

Walid Azaro struck after 32 minutes as Ahly made it three away Champions League victories in a row over Esperance of Tunisia in Rades.

Elsewhere, Horoya of Guinea beat Port of Togo 2-1 in Conakry and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo fought back to force a 1-1 draw at Entente Setif of Algeria.

Wydad, who beat Ahly 2-1 on aggregate in the 2017 final, also clinched first place in Group C, which means they will face a group runner-up away and at home in the quarter-finals.

The defending champions barely tested Sundowns' Ugandan goalkeeper Denis Onyango until El Asbahi unleashed a thunderbolt from outside the box that flew into the corner of the net.

Sundowns were equally ineffective in attack until the closing stages when they forced a number of corners and Venezuelan Jose Ali Meza wasted a good chance by shooting weakly.

The South African side must now defeat second-place Horoya in Pretoria on August 28 to finish runners-up on the head-to-head rule having drawn 2-2 in Conakry during May.

Mandela Ocansey gave the Guinean outfit an early lead over Port, Ablamvi Djadja levelled soon after half-time and Bolaji Sakin netted the 58th-minute winner.

Ahly continued their Champions League dominance of Esperance in Tunisia thanks to Moroccan Azaro, whose goal continued a turnaround under recently hired coach Patrice Carteron.

When the Frenchman took charge, the 'Cairo Red Devils' were bottom of Group A with just one point following a shock loss in Uganda against Kampala Capital City Authority.

But back-to-back victories over Township Rollers of Botswana and the triumph at already-qualified Esperance have lifted Ahly to the top of the table.

If Ahly beat Kampala in Egypt this month, they are guaranteed to win the group while seeking a record-extending ninth Champions League (formerly African Cup of Champions Clubs) title.

A second successive away match in Algeria brought another draw for five-time champions Mazembe, who appear the strongest title contenders this season from outside north Africa.

Mohamed Islam Bakir put twice African title-holders Setif ahead just before the hour and Zambian Kabaso Chongo equalised 14 minutes from time.

Mazembe are sure to win Group B and 1976 African champions Mouloudia Alger are likely to join them in the September 3 quarter-finals draw.

Mouloudia, away to winless Difaa el Jadida of Morocco, are among eight clubs who will be in action Saturday.]]>
8/18/2018 5:02:16 PM
<![CDATA[Newcastle's Kenedy has last-minute penalty saved in stalemate]]>
With Newcastle down to 10 men after a straight red card for Isaac Hayden, Kenedy spurned a golden and unlikely chance to steal all three points, putting a seal on one of the most inauspicious individual displays seen in the Premier League.

The on-loan Chelsea winger, whose poor 96th minute spot kick was kept out by Neil Etheridge, should not even have been on the pitch after his wild kick out at Victor Camarasa went unseen by referee Craig Pawson in the first half.

Kenedy did not even complete a single pass during the first 45 minutes, the first time that indignity has befallen a Premier League outfield player since Blackburn Rovers' Nikola Kalinic against Birmingham City in March 2010.

Asked why the Brazilian took the penalty, awarded for a stoppage time handball by Sean Morrison, after his confidence-sapping afternoon, Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez said: "Kenedy was the designated penalty taker.

"First it was Matt Ritchie (who had been substituted) but then it was Kenedy.

"It was a poor penalty, he's not happy he missed a good chance. We win as a team and lose as a team, I am not concerned about the fact he missed a penalty, he has to take responsibility."

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock said he felt the penalty miss was "poetic justice" after his side had dominated most of the game and because Morrison's handball had actually occurred just outside the box.

"Sometimes you don't get what you deserve. The lad Kenedy shouldn't have been on the pitch. It was straight red, but I never saw it," he told Sky Sports.

"Regarding the penalty, Morrison's hand is outside the box and his body is inside."

A lowlight among many in a game which demonstrated only how difficult victories are going to be for both these mediocre outfits came in the 66th minute with a reckless studs up challenge from behind by Hayden on Josh Murphy.

The midfielder, who had only come on as a substitute at halftime, was shown a straight red but Kenedy's earlier petulant kick out had been even worse as was a later foul by Cardiff's loan signing Harry Arter.]]>
8/18/2018 4:59:50 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona's Valverde not prioritising Champions League]]>
Barca romped to the league title and lifted the Copa del Rey last season but their campaign was soured by crashing out of the Champions League to AS Roma at the quarter-final stage while Real Madrid wonn the trophy for a third consecutive year and now have 13 European Cups to Barca's five.

New Barca captain Messi declared on Wednesday that last season's Champions League failure was "a thorn in our sides", adding that his side "will do everything to make sure that beautiful trophy returns to this stadium".

Barca, however, have won the league title in each of the five seasons they lifted the Champions League trophy, which they last did in 2015, and Valverde believes the surest way of doing it again is to ensure his side are the best team in Spain.

"We prioritise everything," the coach told a news conference on Friday ahead of Barca's opening league game against Alaves.

"We always fight for the Champions League, we did last season and we always will, and we know the best way to win the Champions League is to win La Liga.

"That's how it has always been. If you focus on the league you're focused on being the best throughout the year, and that makes it easier to achieve your objectives."

Valverde said Barca have had a more relaxed pre-season than last year, when their preparations looked to have been thrown into turmoil by the unexpected sale of Neymar to Paris St Germain.

"If I go back a year ago I remember that we had some difficulties in August and at that moment everything seemed complicated but we ended up winning the league," he said.

"Now we have new challenges and new difficulties, because the hardest thing is to try and recharge our batteries to win again. I've said before that the most difficult thing is not winning, but winning again."

The coach was also asked about La Liga's announcement to play regular season games in the United States, potentially starting this campaign.

"At first glance the idea of playing a competitive game abroad sounds strange, but we did it with the Spanish Super Cup, and if someone had told us before it would be played in Morocco we would have thought it was strange too," he added.

"But football crosses the usual borders of sport. We'll see how it turns out."]]>
8/18/2018 3:18:58 PM
<![CDATA[Gervinho back in Italy as Serie A window closes]]>
Local media reported that last season’s runners-up Napoli were on the point of signing goalkeeper David Ospina from Arsenal, although the move was not confirmed by either side.

Other deadline day deals saw Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell join promoted Frosinone from Arsenal and midfielder Claudio Marchisio end his contract with champions Juventus, 25 years after first joining the Turin side as a seven-year-old.

The Serie A transfer window has traditionally closed at the start of the September but was moved forward after complaints last season that speculation was overshadowing the start of the season on the pitch.

Parma, who won three successive promotions as they bounced back from a bankruptcy in 2015 which left them in the fourth tier, confirmed in a statement that Gervinho had signed a three-year contract.

The 31-year-old former Lille and Arsenal player spent three seasons with AS Roma between 2013-16 before joining Hebei China Fortune where he spent two seasons.

Milan wound up a busy close season with their signings of Laxalt from Genoa and Castillejo from Villarreal, for 14 million euros ($16 million) and 25 million euros respectively, according to the specialist website Transfermarkt.

At the same time, Milan made permanent the moves of forwards Carlos Bacca to Villarreal and Gianluca Lapadula to Genoa respectively, bringing in a reported 18 million euros.

Milan had previously signed midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Chelsea on loan.

Two weeks ago, they loaned Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain and bought from defender Mattia Caldara from Juventus and sold Leonardo Bonucci to the Turin side.

The moves came amid uncertainty over Milan's finances.

Last month, Milan won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a one-year ban from next season's Europa League, imposed by European soccer body UEFA.

UEFA argued that AC Milan had fallen foul of its break-even requirements, adding the club had not provided sufficient evidence of its financial stability.

But CAS said the situation had improved since U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management took control of the indebted club from Chinese businessman Li Yonghong and promised to inject 50 million euros (44.6 million pounds) to help stabilise its finances.

Campbell, 26, was signed by Frosinone for an undisclosed sum after seven years at Arsenal during which loaned out six times -- to Lorient, Betis twice, Sporting, Olympiakos and Villareal.

Juventus said they had ended their contract with Marchisio by mutual consent. The 32-year-old, raised at the club, spent only one season away from the club, on loan to Empoli in 2007-08.

He won seven Serie A titles with Juve but struggled to recover from a cruciate knee injury in 2016.

Other late deals saw Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong join Udinese from Turkey's Bursaspor while Torino signed forward Simone Zaza on loan from Valencia. ]]>
8/18/2018 3:16:40 PM
<![CDATA[Interim coach rings in big changes for Argentina]]>
Martinez, who joined Inter Milan from Racing earlier this summer, and Simeone, the Spain-born striker who plays for Fiorentina, are included up front alongside Paolo Dybala, Angel Correa and Cristian Pavon.

Mauro Icardi, the Inter striker who was surprisingly left out of Argentina's World Cup squad, also returns, but there is no place for Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero or Angel Di Maria.

Lionel Messi was left out after requesting an unspecified time out from international duty.

Only nine of the 23 players who went to the Russia World Cup are included for the games against Guatemala in Los Angeles on Sept. 7 and Colombia in New Jersey four days later.

Franco Martinez, the Sevilla midfielder who played two friendlies for Italy in 2015, is among the new names in the 29-man squad, as is Gremio centre-half Walter Kannemann.

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni also gave call-ups to uncapped Stuttgart midfielder Santiago Ascacibar and Real Sociedad goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli.

Argentina disappointed in Russia, drawing with Iceland, losing to Croatia and then qualifying for the knock-out stages with a win over Nigeria.

However, they were dispatched by eventual winners France 4-3 in the last 16 and coach Jorge Sampaoli left soon after.

Goalkeepers: Franco Armani (River), Geronimo Rulli (Real Sociedad), Sergio Romero (Manchester United).

Defenders: Fabricio Bustos (Independiente), Gabriel Mercado (Sevilla), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Ramiro Funes Mori (Villarreal), Alan Franco (Independiente), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Leonel Di Plácido (Lanus), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica), Marcos Acuna (Sporting Lisbon).

Midfielders: Leandro Paredes (Zenit), Santiago Ascacibar (Stuttgart), Rodrigo Battaglia (Sporting Lisbon), Gonzalo Martinez (River), Giovani Lo Celso (PSG), Franco Cervi (Benfica), Maxi Meza (Independiente), Matias Vargas (Velez), Franco Vazquez (Sevilla), Exequiel Palacios (River).

Forwards: Angel Correa (Athletico Madrid), Lautaro Martinez (Internazionale), Mauro Icardi (Internazionale), Giovanni Simeone (Fiorentina), Cristian Pavon (Boca Juniors), Paulo Dybala (Juventus).]]>
8/18/2018 3:13:04 PM
<![CDATA[Everton's Mina to miss Southampton clash with foot injury]]>
Mina, 23, joined Everton from Barcelona on transfer deadline day and missed the Merseyside club's 2-2 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers on the opening weekend of the new season.

"I can tell you Mina is not available for the match. He is recovering from a small problem in his foot," Silva told a news conference.

Fellow new signing Richarlison, who struck twice against Wolves before going off with a cramp, has been cleared to play in the game at Goodison Park.

Midfielder Andre Gomes will not feature as he battles to shake off a hamstring injury while defender Kurt Zouma and playmaker Bernard are available to make their debuts.

"We've made new signings and I want there to be competition for each position. As a squad, it is the way I like to work. I like to have problems when making my decisions," Silva added.

Southampton began their campaign with a goalless draw against Burnley.]]>
8/18/2018 3:09:53 PM
<![CDATA[Man City's De Bruyne out for three months with knee injury]]>
"He will be a big miss," said City manager Pep Guardiola, after the news was broken by the club. "It is not easy to replace Kevin. We are going to try and do our best without him and try to be there by the time he returns."

De Bruyne, who came on as a substitute in City's 2-0 victory over Arsenal in their first league match of the season last weekend, suffered the injury in training this week.

"Manchester City can confirm Kevin De Bruyne has suffered a lateral collateral ligament lesion in his right knee," the club said in a statement https://www.mancity.com/news/first-team/first-team-news/2018/august/kevin-de-bruyne-injury-update-latest-manchester-city.
"No surgery is required and the midfielder is expected to be out for around three months."

Guardiola speculated that the extensive demands on players and the lack of a break over a demanding World Cup summer may have been a contributory factor to De Bruyne's injury.

De Bruyne, City's player of the season in 2017-18, scored eight goals and provided 16 assists as City won the league title with a record-breaking 100 points.
The 27-year-old Belgium international then helped his country progress to the World Cup semi-finals with an outstanding tournament in Russia.

De Bruyne, who missed 12 games in 2016 after injuring the same knee during a League Cup semi-final win over Everton, will not be available for City's group matches in the Champions League, nor key league fixtures against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and the Manchester derby against United on Oct. 7.


Speaking before City's league match against Huddersfield Town on Sunday, Guardiola said: "We are going to try to do our best, whether he is coming back at the start of December or end of November to be there (at the top of the table).

"My advice to him now would be to rest and take the holidays he didn't get after the World Cup...

"Of course, these injuries are never wanted but you accept it, it's part of the game and especially part of the amount of games and seasons (players have).

"They don't rest. It was a tough season last season and they come back with a short recovery and we're demanding from the first moment 'come on, let's go.' And, of course, human beings have a limit."

De Bruyne was involved as Belgium secured a third-place finish in Russia by beating England 2-0 on July 14, one month before the start of the new Premier League campaign.
8/18/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Juventus veteran Marchisio bids farewell to club after 25 years]]>
The 32-year-old, born and raised in Turin, made his professional debut in the second-tier Serie B in 2006 after Juventus were relegated following the Calciopoli corruption scandal.

Marchisio, capped 55 times by Italy, progressed through Juve's youth ranks and only played for one other club, spending a year on loan at Empoli in the 2007-08 season.
"Having had the opportunity to accompany him on this path, to discover a homegrown champion, day by day, was quite simply a privilege and an honour," Juve said in a statement.

Marchisio made a total of 389 appearances in all competitions, scoring 37 goals, and won seven Serie A titles as well as four Italian cups with the club.

"I love this shirt (Juventus) to the point that, after all, I am convinced that the good for the club comes first," the player said on his Instagram account.

Marchisio suffered a series of setbacks following a cruciate ligament injury in his left knee in 2016 which initially left him out of action for six months.

8/18/2018 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Hadergjonaj backs Huddersfield to take points from Man City match]]>
The West Yorkshire club suffered a narrow home defeat by City early last season but earned a surprising goalless draw against Pep Guardiola's dominant side in the reverse fixture in May.

Swiss international Hadergjonaj is confident Huddersfield can emulate that performance and recover from their opening 3-0 league defeat by Chelsea last weekend.

"We have shown last year that we can take points off every team," Hadergjonaj told the Huddersfield Daily Examiner. "Last year we got a 0-0 result against Manchester City away, so I don't see why we can't do that again in the new season.

"We have to keep going and look back at this game and take the positives out of it, and take them into next week's game against Manchester City."

Hadergjonaj also backed Huddersfield to avoid relegation for the second season in a row following the club's 16th-placed finish last term.

"We know that it will be hard, it's even harder in the second year, but I can't see why we can't do what we did last year and survive again," he added.

"The teams who have come up look strong and have bought a lot of players, but we are very confident that we can stay up again." ]]>
8/17/2018 11:05:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ozil resignation not in order, says Germany's Kroos]]>
The 29-year-old Ozil announced his international retirement in July after Germany crashed out of the World Cup group stage in Russia. He said he had faced "racism and disrespect" because of his Turkish roots.

"Basically Mesut is a deserved international and as a player he deserved a better departure," Kroos told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Thursday. "But the way he resigned was not in order."

Ozil was a key member of Germany's World Cup-winning side in 2014 and was voted by fans as the team's player of the year five times since 2011.

But the creative midfielder faced a barrage of criticism at home for having his photograph taken with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in May and for his performances at the World Cup in Russia.

In his resignation statement last month, Ozil also accused the German Football Association of failing to back him in the row over the photo.

German fans jeered him and Ilkay Gundogan, a team mate also of Turkish descent who posed with Erdogan as well, during World Cup warmup games in May.

"The parts in his statement that are rightly addressed are unfortunately overshadowed by the significantly higher amount of nonsense," Kroos said. "I think he knows very well that racism within the national team and the DFB does not exist."

Germany failed to qualify from the World Cup group stage in Russia, making their earliest exit from the tournament in 80 years and Ozil was one of the scapegoats for their unsuccessful title defence.

"In the eyes of (German FA President Reinhard) Grindel and his supporters I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," Ozil wrote in his statement.

The 28-year-old Kroos, who has won the last three Champions League titles with Real Madrid, said he had no plans to follow Ozil into international retirement after their World Cup flop.

"I will continue towards Euro 2020 and have set myself the goal of being far more successful there than in the recent past," Kroos said.

"I had a good talk with (national team coach) Joachim Loew. "We will find solutions together so that I can get a break here and there. For me that's the only way and I am thankful for Jogi's understanding." ]]>
8/17/2018 9:01:00 AM
<![CDATA[Five swimmers set to make a splash at the Asian Games]]>
- Sun Yang (China) -

The beefy Chinese has won three Olympic freestyle gold medals and is almost unstoppable when he's in the mood. Tough as nails, Sun bounced back from losing his Olympic 400m title in Rio two years ago with an emotional victory in the 200m free after being accused by rivals of being a "drug cheat". Few would bet against him scooping a fistful of gold in Jakarta.

- Kosuke Hagino (Japan) -

A man on a mission after American Chase Kalisz's recent rise, the Japanese is another who captured gold in Rio, winning the men's 400m individual medley and taking silver behind Michael Phelps in the 200m IM despite struggling with an elbow injury. Hagino will be favourite to do the medley double for the second successive Asian Games and restore dented confidence.

- Rikako Ikee (Japan) -

With her ultra-bright smile and tendency to sob tears of joy after winning races, Ikee is her country's new darling of the pool. The 18-year-old Tokyo Olympic hope melted hearts when she snatched Pan Pacific gold in the 100m butterfly earlier this month. Ikee will be buzzing after also taking silver in the 200m freestyle and is poised for a big week in Jakarta.

- Joseph Schooling (Singapore) -

After bursting onto the scene by winning gold in the 100m butterfly at the last Asian Games in 2014, Schooling stunned Phelps in the 100m fly at the Rio Olympics in the great American's final individual race before retiring. His form has dipped since but his bronze medal at last year's world championship will have acted as a wake-up call for Singapore's most famous athlete.

- Dmitriy Balandin (Kazakhstan) -

Following a breakout breaststroke treble at the 2014 Asian Games, Balandin became Kazakhstan's first-ever Olympic swimming champion when he won gold in the 200m two years ago. However, he has suffered a hefty Rio hangover and the 23-year-old Almaty native will need to rediscover his mojo to hold off Japanese pair Yasuhiro Koseki and Ippei Watanabe in Jakarta.

8/17/2018 8:06:00 AM
<![CDATA[What World Cup hangover? 'Iron Man' Paulinho ploughs on in China]]>
The international midfielder re-signed for Guangzhou Evergrande from Barcelona last month after Brazil's World Cup ended and was pressed immediately into action because, unlike in Europe, the Chinese season was midway through.

Combining games for Barcelona, Brazil and now Guangzhou, the 30-year-old best known in China as "Violent Bird" -- a nod to how his name is pronounced in Chinese and his style of play -- has racked up 69 games in the past year and had no off-season.

By comparison, fellow Brazilian international midfielder Renato Augusto at Chinese Super League (CSL) rivals Beijing Guoan has played less than 40 matches over the same period, according to the football data tracker transfermarkt.com.

Both featured at the World Cup in Russia, but Paulinho played through the winter and spring as Barcelona won the Spanish league and Copa del Rey, while Augusto and the CSL were on a break.

While many players in Europe were able to put their feet up after Russia, Paulinho jetted back to China on loan from Barcelona and made his second Guangzhou debut just 11 days after Brazil were knocked out of the World Cup by Belgium in the quarter-finals.

Little wonder that Paulinho enjoys the kind of adulation in China that he never had at Tottenham, where he had an unremarkable stint in 2013-2015, or at Barcelona.

- 'Violent Bird can still fly' -

After arriving back in China to a hero's welcome at the airport, Paulinho made light of the number of games he has played since August last year.

"I am actually in a very good physical condition and I believe that the coaching staff knows how to use me (sensibly)," he said.

He has gone on to play every minute of the six games that Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou have had in the past month, scoring five times and earning another nickname in Chinese media: "Iron Man."

Along with another new signing, his fellow Brazilian Talisca, who is on loan from Benfica, they have almost single-handedly helped rescue Guangzhou's season -- and kept Cannavaro in his job.

Paulinho again played all 90 minutes on Wednesday as the reigning seven-time CSL champions thrashed Henan Jianye 5-0 away to leave Guangzhou fourth in the table, six points off leaders Beijing Guoan but with a game in hand.

After bringing up a century of games for Guangzhou, one sports commentator wrote online: "Violent Bird -- 526 days, 100 matches -- can still fly."

Paulinho's gruelling schedule is a reflection of the problem that Chinese football faces in a World Cup year.

The CSL season runs from March to November, bringing it into direct conflict with the summer World Cup.

The CSL took a two-month break for the tournament and now is squeezing in games to make up for lost time.]]>
8/17/2018 7:21:00 AM
<![CDATA[Major Davis Cup shake-up eyed by divided tennis leaders]]>
The International Tennis Federation annual meeting in Orlando will see about 120 delegates decide the fate of the 118-year-old men's team competition with two-thirds majority support needed to approve the measure, which is backed by federation president David Haggerty.

Kosmos, a group led and founded by Barcelona football star Gerard Pique and backed by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani, has vowed $3 billion over 25 years to support the new event.

Haggerty vows more money, about $25 million, will go to national tennis associations to invest in grassroots level support.

"The money that we make will be put back to the nations for their development programs and the future of tennis," Haggerty said.

But opponents of the plan include Tennis Australia and Britain's Lawn Tennis Association (LTA).

"There are a lot of people, a lot of current and former players, who are frustrated by it and see this as a money grab," Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt said.

- 'Death' of Davis Cup? -

Added Aussie tennis legend John Newcombe: "Unfortunately their plan is a recipe for the death of the Davis Cup as we know it."

The LTA came out against the reforms Wednesday ahead of ITF delegate discussion on the plan.

"After consulting widely, regrettably, we do not feel we can support the proposals as they stand," said LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd.

An LTA statement cited concern over scheduling the event in November, stretching the schedule after the ATP season-finale into an already-thin off-season, risking top player attendance and fan support. The LTA also raised concerns over "the clarity of how the business case will work in practice" and the great division over the idea.

"The strength of the ITF in governing and developing tennis across the world will be reinforced by bringing tennis together behind a unified proposal and the LTA feels we have not yet reached that point," the LTA said.

The Davis Cup is played in February, July, September and November at home and away venues around the globe, the best-of-five match ties following Grand Slam events until the final round. Many top players have skipped it in recent years to ease their schedule load.

The proposal would create an 18-team one-week finals in November: 12 winners from 24-team home and away qualifying in February, the prior year's four semi-finalists and two wild-card nations. Six round-robin groups of three would send group winners and two runners-up into knockout round playoffs.

The finals would feature two singles matches and one doubles match in one day, and all would be best-of-three sets as opposed to the current best-of-five.

- 'Key' to 'bright future' -

Haggerty called the reform plan "key to ensuring that the ITF and its member nations will guarantee a bright future for the sport."

Another backer of the idea is US billionaire Larry Ellison, who says he will invest in a revamped Davis Cup and says his Indian Wells facility is a candidate to host the event in 2021 after plans to host it for two years in Europe.

But Alex De Minaur, a 19-year-old Australian, recalled a fifth-set Davis Cup tie-breaker loss before cheering home fans to third-ranked Alexander Zverev as "the best four hours I've ever spent on the court. It still gives me goosebumps thinking about it."

He doesn't want a format change that might deny him such a thrill.

"It would be the stupidest thing in the world to get rid of it," De Minaur said.

A wildcard is the revived ATP World Team Cup set for January 2020 with 24 teams, prize money and rankings points in Australia ahead of the Australian Open.

It would be staged just six weeks after the Davis Cup event, scheduling that ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode described as "insane."]]>
8/17/2018 6:19:00 AM
<![CDATA[Six new signings to watch in Serie A]]>
Champions Juventus top the spree with 235 million euros ($265 million) invested in new players -- more than double rivals AS Roma and Napoli -- as for the second straight year Serie A are the only one of the top five European leagues to keep pace with the big-spending English Premier League.

With the transfer window slamming shut in Italy at 19:00 GMT on Friday, Serie A teams have time to overtake the 1.037 billion euros spent last summer.

Here AFP Sport picks out six new signings to watch in the coming campaign.


Age: 33

Position: Forward

Previous club: Real Madrid (ESP)

-- Reigning seven-time Italian champions Juventus had the biggest scoop of the summer in five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who arrived from European champions Real Madrid in a shock 100 million euro ($117 million) deal. Massimiliano Allegri's side are counting on the evergreen Portuguese superstar to help win the Champions League. Ronaldo has been the bogey man in Europe for Juventus in recent years, scoring 10 in seven games against the Serie A side for Real Madrid as the Spaniards romped to three straight Champions League titles. Ronaldo has thwarted Juve's attempts to bag their first Champions League since 1996 in both of the last two seasons, earning a standing ovation from the Turin crowd for his superb overhead bicycle kick last season and scoring a brace in the 2017 final as Madrid thumped the Italians 4-1.



Age: 30

Position: Striker

On loan from: Juventus (ITA)

-- Argentine international striker Higuain scored 40 goals in two seasons at Juventus, but with the arrival of Ronaldo has opted to head for rivals AC Milan on a one-year loan deal worth a reported 18 million euros ($21 million) that gives the Serie A club the option to buy the striker next summer for a further 36 million euros. Higuain's arrival has revived enthusiasm around Milan after a troubled period marked by on-pitch embarrassment and financial woes. Last season they scored just 56 league goals as they finished sixth despite spending over 200 million euros ($233 million) on new players. This season they have spent a more modest 81 million euros so far.


AFP / Isabella Bonotto

Age: 31

Position: Centre-back

Previous club: AC Milan (ITA)

-- Italy international defender Bonucci went back to Turin, where he previously won six Serie A titles and played in both of their lost European finals, after just one underwhelming season at Milan. The 31-year-old admitted that he left Juve in a fit of pique after falling out with Allegri in 2017, but "missed home" and wanted to return after burying the hatchet with the coach.


Age: 26

Position: Forward

Previous club: Bologna (ITA)

-- The Italian international forward was one of Carlo Ancelotti's first signings as Napoli coach coming in for 23 million euros despite the Serie A runners-up trailing behind their rivals in the transfer market spending. A versatile player Verdi scored ten goals last season for Bologna who he joined after Carpi were relegated in 2016, having also previous played for Torino and his boyhood club AC Milan.


AFP / Frederic J. BROWN

Age: 29

Position: Midfielder

Previous club: Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

-- Argentinian attacking midfielder Pastore returned to Italy on a 24.7-million-euro ($28.8 million) deal. The 29-year-old previously played in Serie A with Palermo from 2009-11 and was named the league's young player of the season in 2010. The gifted playmaker was the first major signing PSG made in 2011 after being taken over by their Qatari owners. Pastore's move back to Italy comes with Paris Saint-Germain under pressure from UEFA to balance their books after signing Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in blockbuster deals last season, sparking an audit of their financial affairs.


Age: 30

Position: Midfielder

Previous club: Roma (ESP)

-- The controversial Belgium international, looking for a new challenge after being snubbed for the World Cup, links up again with former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, as Inter look to improve on a fourth-place in Serie A and compete in the Champions League for the first time since 2011-12. "I think I had my best season under Spalletti and I hope to do just as well here," said Nainggolan who arrives on a four-year contract worth 38 million euros. "I hope we can do well both in Serie A and the Champions League because Inter have a proud history. Hopefully we'll get back to those heights again now."

8/17/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lahm to be figurehead if Germany host Euro 2024]]>
Germany and Turkey are the only two candidates bidding to host the European championships in six years time with a decision by European football's governing body UEFA set to be made on September 27.

Lahm, 34, stepped down from international duty after leading Germany to the 2014 World Cup title and retired from all football in May 2017 after winning a joint record eighth Bundesliga title with Bayern Munich.

"From the beginning of my work as an ambassador for the European Championship 2024, it was my desire to take responsibility in the long term," said Lahm in a statement.

"The new role as head of the tournament offers me a very interesting opportunity to do just that.

"Together with the bidding team, I will do everything in the coming weeks to bring Euro 2024 to Germany."

Tensions are already high between the German Football Association (DFB) and their Turkish counterparts in the countdown to the decision.

The DFB and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) got into a war of words after Mesut Ozil, who has Turkish roots, resigned from Germany duty last month and accused DFB president Reinhard Grindel of racism.]]>
8/17/2018 4:13:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kehrer signs five-year deal to seal move to PSG]]>
The German club announced on Sunday that they had agreed to sell the 21-year-old to PSG for 37 million euros ($42.3 million).

Kehrer was part of the Germany team which won the under-21 European championships last month and played 27 Bundesliga matches last year for Schalke.

He becomes PSG's second signing of the summer after veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.]]>
8/17/2018 3:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Arsenal suffer Maitland-Niles blow]]>
The 20-year-old -- a member of the England side that won the U20 World Cup last year -- suffered the injury in a challenge with Kuyle Walker during Arsenal's opening Premier League clash against champions Manchester City, a 2-0 defeat last Sunday.

It is a blow both to the player and the club as big things had been expected of him at first team level this season in manager Unai Emery's first campaign in charge.

"Ainsley has sustained a small fracture to his left fibula and will be out for six to eight weeks," Arsenal said on the club's official website.

Better news for Emery if that he could be in a position to consider selecting left-back Nacho Monreal and Danny Welbeck for the daunting trip to London rivals Chelsea on Saturday as both are back in full training.

The longer-term injured defensive duo of Bosnian international Sead Kolasinac and club captain French veteran Laurent Koscielny are improving too.

The former is likely to return to training from his knee problem in October, while Koscielny is continuing his recovery from Achilles surgery which cost him his place in the World Cup finals squad and ultimately a winners medal.]]>
8/17/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Rooney nets two as DC United stays hot to beat Timbers]]>
Oniel Fisher and former Timbers forward Darren Mattocks also scored for D.C. (6-9-6, 24 points), which has three wins and a tie in its past four games.

Rooney, who tied the match 1-1 late in the first half, followed the go-ahead goal by Fisher in the 47th minute with a free kick over the wall in the 68th minute for a two-goal advantage.

Rooney has three goals in seven games for United after scoring 208 goals in the English Premier League for Manchester United and Everton.

Mattocks got his ninth goal in the first minute of stoppage time for the final score.

Samuel Armenteros gave Portland (10-5-7, 37 points) the lead in the 35th minute. The Timbers have lost two straight after a 10-0-5 streak.

Armenteros scored his eighth goal after a cutback pass to him in the middle of the box by Andy Polo, who was the recipient of a pass down the left flank by Sebastian Blanco.

Rooney made it 1-1 in the 43rd minute. He ran into open space for the through ball by Yamil Asad and put a left-footed shot past Jeff Attinella.

Fisher broke a 1-1 tie in the 47th minute as the Jamaican defender scored his first goal in 45 career games with D.C.

A midfield lay off by Rooney put Luciano Acosta free for a run to the box where he fed Fisher on the right channel. Fisher's shot hit the far post before bounding across the line.

Portland stays on the road with a match Saturday vs. Sporting Kansas City. D.C. United is home Sunday against the New England Revolution.]]>
8/16/2018 3:00:24 PM
<![CDATA[Ronaldo exit no excuse for Madrid - Casemiro]]>
"Of course we miss Cristiano, but that's in the past now," Casemiro told reporters after his side were overpowered by their city rivals in extra time in Tallinn in coach Julen Lopetegui's first match since succeeding Zinedine Zidane.

"We cannot talk about Cristiano to cover things up, because any team would miss Cristiano. We are upset about losing a trophy but this is just the start. We have total confidence in our coach and giving excuses is not what Real Madrid do."

Real have not yet signed a replacement for the man who scored 451 goals and led them to four Champions League titles in the last five seasons.

The club received 105 million euros ($119.4 million) from Juve for Ronaldo in July, but the only new recruit at the Bernabeu has been goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea.

Casemiro, however, said the loss to Atletico did not mean his side had to go out and make urgent signings.

"One result doesn't mean we have a better or worse squad, those in charge of the club will decide whether or not we need more signings," added the Brazilian.]]>
8/16/2018 3:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[France top new-style FIFA rankings, Germany slump to 15th]]>
The rankings were the first to be issued since France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final on July 15 and also the first since FIFA replaced its much-criticised previous formula.

France were followed by Belgium, the team they beat 1-0 in the semi-finals, with Brazil dropping one place to third after their quarter-final exit against the Belgians. Surprise finalists Croatia leapt from 20th to fourth.

Quarter-finalists Uruguay climbed nine places to fifth while England's run to the semi-finals took them up to sixth place from a previous twelfth.

Argentina dropped to 11th after a chaotic campaign which included a 3-0 group stage defeat by Croatia on the way to a last 16 exit against France where they lost 4-3.

Hosts Russia, who began the tournament at a modest 71st place, leapt 21 spots after their surprise run to the quarter-finals.

FIFA said its new formula, approved by the FIFA Council before the World Cup, relied on adding or subtracting points, depending on the results of matches, rather than averaging points over a given period of time.

The global soccer governing body said the new system was developed over two years during which "a large number of different algorithms was tested and extensively discussed".

FIFA said the new system would no longer weight matches according to which region they were played in and this would provide "fair and equal opportunities for all teams across all confederations".

FIFA said the removal of an annual average point calculation, which was part of the previous formula, would have a number of benefits, including reducing the ability of teams to influence their ranking by avoiding friendlies. ]]>
8/16/2018 1:56:30 PM
<![CDATA[Everton's row with Watford increased Richarlison price - Brands]]>
Everton had targeted then Watford manager Silva to replace Ronald Koeman last November but were refused permission to approach him. Silva was eventually sacked by the Hornets in January and named Everton's new boss in May.

Without naming Everton, Watford criticised the Merseyside club for their interest in Silva, which they believed unsettled the manager and affected a squad that had began the season well and reached fourth in the table.

"We thought it would be a very difficult one because of the history of the clubs," Brands told British media of Everton's attempt to sign Richarlison.

Everton eventually paid a reported 40 million pounds ($50.88 million) for the 21-year-old Brazilian.

"We were both convinced about him (but) I think with the situation with Watford, we had to pay a little bit more. I think maybe the market value was a little bit lower but, at the end, we are happy with him."

Meanwhile, Everton's 20-year-old winger Nikola Vlasic has joined Russian side CSKA Moscow on a season-long loan.]]>
8/16/2018 1:08:55 PM
<![CDATA[Messi to miss Argentina friendlies in U.S.]]>BUENOS AIRES, Aug 15 (Reuters) - Argentina captain Lionel Messi has ruled himself out of two friendlies in the United States next month, a source at the Argentine Football Association (AFA) told Reuters on Wednesday.

The source, confirming widespread reports in Argentine media, said the Barcelona forward would miss the games against Guatemala and Colombia and possibly more.

"We don't know what will happen after but for now (Messi) has told the coaching staff that he will not be part of the next squad," the source said.

Reports said Messi was still disappointed over Argentina's poor showing in the World Cup, where they were eliminated at the last 16 stage by eventual winners France.

He will not go to Los Angeles for the Sept. 7 match against Guatemala or to New Jersey to face Colombia four days later.

Interim coach Lionel Scaloni is due to announce his squad for the games by next Monday.

It is not the first time Messi has decided to take time out from international duty.

He retired after Argentina lost the 2016 Copa America final, their third defeat in a major final on three years, but he changed his mind two months later.

Argentine officials hope the 31-year-old will do the same after a short break and are keen to encourage the five-times World Player of the Year to return.

"The doors of the national team are open to him," the source told Reuters.

Argentina will play four more friendlies in October and November. Their next tournament will be in 2019 when they go to neighbours and arch-rival Brazils for the Copa America.

The twice World Cup winners have not won a major title since lifting the Copa America in 1993]]>
8/16/2018 1:03:29 PM
<![CDATA[Atletico take sweet revenge on Real to lift Super Cup]]>
Diego Costa gave Europa League holders Atletico a dream start against Champions League winners Real by firing them ahead after 49 seconds, knocking down a long pass and smashing the ball into the net from a tight angle.

Real, playing their first competitive game since all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo left and Julen Lopetegui succeeded Zinedine Zidane as coach, pulled level when Karim Benzema nodded in a cross from Gareth Bale in the 27th minute.

Real, who beat Atletico in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals and dumped them out of the competition in 2015 and 2017, looked set to pour more pain on their neighbours when Juanfran handled and Sergio Ramos tucked the penalty away.

Diego Simeone's side, however, are renowned for their fighting spirit and despite being outplayed for sections of the second half they got back into the game with 12 minutes left through a thumping close-range finish from Costa.

Brazilian left back Marcelo had the chance to grab Real victory in stoppage-time but he slipped as he tried to meet a Bale cross and extra-time was needed to settle an enthralling contest between the fierce rivals.

Atletico were on the back foot for the start of the extra period but they were still able to press their opponents high up the pitch.

That led to Raphael Varane giving the ball away outside his area and Saul thumped home a stunning volley from Thomas Partey's cross in the 98th minute to restore their lead.

Fellow academy graduate Koke struck six minutes later, finishing off a smooth team move to secure Atletico's third Super Cup title.

"We always want to win whoever we are playing against but of course we really wanted to finally win a European final against Real Madrid," Atletico's Koke told reporters.

"It was a spectacular game and in the end when you play like a group it always pays off. This is a great start to a season which we hope will be very successful and very enjoyable."

Lopetegui said his side had played well although he congratulated Atletico for their ruthlessness.

"A final is typically won by the team who capitalises on circumstances and Atletico are experts in doing that and they deserved to win the game," Lopetegui said.

"The game didn't start well for us as we were caught out unexpectedly, then we turned it around and were well on top and we had chances to kill the game off but we couldn't do it." ]]>
8/16/2018 12:52:11 PM
<![CDATA[Man City's De Bruyne suffers knee injury in training]]>
The 27-year-old Belgium international had joined City squad last week after helping his country progress to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia.

He came off the bench on Sunday in City's 2-0 victory over Arsenal in their opening Premier League match.

"Kevin De Bruyne is undergoing tests on his right knee after sustaining an injury at training on Wednesday," the club said in a statement. "The extent of the problem is not yet known."

In 2016, De Bruyne missed 12 games after injuring his right knee during a League Cup semi-final victory over Everton.

De Bruyne scored eight goals and made 16 assists as City lifted the league title with record-breaking 100 points last season.]]>
8/16/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nigeria's Moses announces international retirement]]>
Chelsea wing-back Moses, who made 37 appearances for Nigeria, played every minute of the African nation's World Cup campaign in Russia where they were eliminated in the group stage.

"I have experienced some of the best moments of my life wearing the Super Eagles shirt and have memories with me that will last a lifetime," Moses said in a statement on Twitter.

"However, I feel that now is the right time to step away in order to be able to focus fully on my club career and young family, as well as to allow the next generation the opportunity to step up and to flourish."

Moses won the 2013 African Cup of Nations and helped Nigeria reach the last 16 at the 2014 World Cup.

He won the 2016-17 Premier League title with Chelsea but has not started a match under new manager Maurizio Sarri this season.]]>
8/16/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Northern soul: United Korea smash hosts in Asian hoops]]>
North Korean Ro Suk Yong, one of three Pyongyang-based players in the away team, top-scored with 22 points for the sharp-shooting visitors and fellow northerner Kim Hye Yon added 14 in a lop-sided Group X opener in Jakarta.

Around 100 Korean fans in white T-shirts bearing a blue unified Korean flag with the slogan "One dream, one Corea", serenaded the players and banged drums as they tried to drown out a wall of noise produced by cymbal-crashing locals.

"We haven't had a lot of time to work on our team chemistry but we speak the same language and we are all on the same page," Korean coach Lee Moon-kyu told AFP.

"North or South Korean, we all have the same desire to win."

There was a stark contrast between the South Korean players with their dyed hair and trendy bobs and the sensible haircuts of their northern cousins.

But the harmony demonstrated on the court suggested they will be medal challengers.

North and South Korea are also fielding united teams in canoeing and rowing at the Asian Games in the latest sign of thawing relations on the troubled peninsula.

The two countries are also set to march together at the opening and closing ceremonies after forming their first-ever unified Olympic team -- a joint women's ice hockey side -- for February's Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

The Asian Games formally open on Saturday and run until September 2.

- Olympic backlash -

The joint Korean hockey team's participation in Pyeongchang provoked a backlash in the South, with critics complaining that Seoul was depriving its own athletes of the chance to compete.

But ultimately the romance of the occasion, sound-tracked by North Korea's famed "army of beauties" cheerleaders, melted hearts and became one of the symbols of the Winter Olympics, despite the team failing to win a single game.

Ties between the neighbours have improved since the Winter Olympics, with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in subsequently meeting at an historic summit -- just months after a nervous period of missile launches and threats of nuclear war from Pyongyang.

After Wednesday's game the Korean players went over to bow to fans, some unfurling a banner with a photo of Kim and Moon holding hands at that April summit.

"We're not concerned with politics," insisted coach Lee. "It's about hunger and passion -- and we all have that."

Outside the venue, Korean fans gave the unified team the thumbs-up.

"Now days have become peaceful so maybe this event will help both Koreas to become one," Kang Hyun-lee said, proudly sporting his United Korea T-shirt.

"Maybe from here, in terms of politics, in terms of the economy, it will be bigger and bigger."]]>
8/16/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Facebook to broadcast Champions League in Latin America]]>
The deal will make Facebook "the exclusive free-to-air home for certain UEFA Champions League live matches across Spanish-speaking territories during the 2018-21 cycle," UEFA said in a statement.

The social network giant will show 32 matches per year, including the final, on UEFA's Champions League Facebook page.

The first match featured in the pact is Wednesday's UEFA Super Cup, which sees Real Madrid face rivals Atletico Madrid.

"We look forward to the launch of this new partnership that will ensure the large community of local football fans is reached in a highly innovative and accessible manner," UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said.

The head of Facebook's live sports programming, Peter Hutton, said the company was looking "forward to helping fans watch these live matches together," and would work "to deliver an innovative viewing experience."

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal is part of a growing effort by web-only platforms to grab a piece of increasingly sought-after sports programming.

On Tuesday, Spain's La Liga announced that its 2018-2019 season would be beamed for free in the Indian sub-continent in a landmark deal with Facebook.

And earlier this month, Facebook agreed a deal with UK broadcaster Eleven Sports to show one La Liga and one Serie A game per week on its platform.

Meanwhile, Amazon has secured the rights to show 20 Premier League matches a season for three years in the UK, starting from the 2019/20 season.

The e-commerce behemoth also has a multi-year pact with the NFL reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars to be the exclusive streamer of Thursday Night Football, a deal set to continue through the upcoming American football season which opens next month.

Major League Baseball also reached an agreement with Facebook in 2017 to stream 20 games per season.]]>
8/15/2018 7:20:44 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly signs Thuraya Mohamed ]]>
Al-Ahly won the battle against Zamalek to sign Thuraya and the player will represent Al-Ahly for the next two years.

“Thuraya is a great addition to our squad and she will help us in the new season competitions,” Alfy told El-Ahly official website.

Thuraya, 22, is a shooting club academy product. She has established herself as one of the promising talents since she was a kid after achieving the best player award at 2011 U-16 African Cup of nations.

Thuraya also led the national team to achieve 2017 Arab Cup in Egypt after defeating Tunisia at the final.

“We had extraordinary performances last season and we achieved four titles,” Alfy added.

Al-Ahly women’s basketball team achieved the Egyptian League, Egyptian Cup, Cairo League and the Super League. ]]>
8/15/2018 5:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona challenges Boca Juniors for Juan Gamper trophy ]]>
It will be the sixth appearance for the Argentinean team at the annual friendly game as they participated in the tournament five times before in 1967, 1977, 1984, 2003 and 2008 and they only achieved the title once in 2003 by penalty shootouts.

This game is Barcelona’s final preparation for the new season and Barca fans are expected to pack the stadium to watch their new signings.

Barcelona has signed five new players this summer to strengthen their squad. They signed Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich, Arthur Melo from Gremio, Clément Lenglet from Sevilla, Malcom Felipe from Bordeaux and Moussa Wagué from Eupen.

Barcelona has had a great start for the season by achieving Spanish Super Cup title after defeating Sevilla 2-1 on Sunday thanks to Gerrard Pique and Ousmane Dembele's goals.

Barcelona will open their campaign to defend their League title on Saturday at Camp Nou against Deportivo Alaves. ]]>
8/15/2018 3:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Willian enjoying Chelsea's 'Samba style' under Sarri]]>
The 30-year-old Brazil international assisted N'Golo Kante's opening goal as Chelsea recorded a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town in Sarri's first league match in charge last Saturday.

"Is it fun to play this way? I think so. We have a lot of players with quality up front, like Eden Hazard and Pedro. Players like that want to play football," Willian told ESPN.

"That's why he (Sarri) talked about 'fun' football. This is what we will try to do this season. Is this like Brazil's Samba style? Yes. This is what we do in Brazil and are trying to do here, playing with skill and movement."

The winger is confident that Sarri's tactics will help rectify Chelsea's recent poor record against Arsenal, where they had just one win in eight matches under previous manager Antonio Conte, when they meet in Saturday's league match.

"The manager tells us to play, to enjoy ourselves on the pitch, with responsibility. Now we have a different style, that's why we can create problems for Arsenal," Willian added.

"Of course, it will be a special game against Arsenal because it is a derby. It is always difficult against them."]]>
8/15/2018 1:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Nigeria and Ghana could face bans over interference - FIFA]]>
FIFA said the Nigerian federation (NFF) must be led by its elected president, voted in back in 2014, and its executive committee amid domestic challenges to the federation leadership. "The Bureau of the FIFA Council decided that if by Monday, 20 August 2018, at 12:00 (CET), the Nigeria Football Federation offices are not handed back to the legitimate NFF executive committee under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick... the NFF will be suspended with immediate effect," FIFA said in a statement.

"The suspension would be lifted only once the NFF, under President Amaju Melvin Pinnick and General Secretary Mohammed Sanusi, confirms that it has been given back effective control of the NFF and its offices."

FIFA said any ban would not affect the Nigerian team currently competing in the women's Under-20 World Cup in France as the tournament was already under way. Nigeria also took part in the men's World Cup in Russia in June.

Ghana will also be banned this month if an order to liquidate its FA is not withdrawn.

"The Bureau of the Council considers that the petition introduced by the Attorney General to the High Court of Justice to start the liquidation process of the GFA constitutes undue influence in the affairs of the GFA in contravention of art. 14 par. 1 i) and art. 19 par. 1 of the FIFA Statutes," FIFA said.

"Under these circumstances, the Bureau decided that if the petition to start the liquidation process of the GFA is not withdrawn by Monday, 27 August 2018 at 12:00 (CET), the GFA will be suspended with immediate effect. The suspension would be lifted only once the above-mentioned petition is withdrawn and FIFA is given written proof thereof."]]>
8/15/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[AC Milan sign Chelsea midfielder Bakayoko on loan]]>
The 23-year-old player has joined the Italian top-flight club for a reported loan fee of five million euros ($5.70 million), which will rise by 35 million euros if AC Milan decide to make his move permanent.

The Rennes youth product, capped once by France, moved to the English Premier League club last year from French side Monaco, which he joined in 2014.

Bakayoko made 29 league appearances last season, scoring two goals.]]>
8/15/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian stars to face world stars on October]]>
Mido tweeted on Monday that he will participate in that game alongside Hazem Emam, Hossam Hassan, Ibrahim Hassan, Hany Ramzy, Essam el-Hadary, Mohamed Barakat, Wael Gomaa, Ahmed Hassan, Abdel Zaher al-Sakka, Yasser Radwan, Mohamed Emara, Mohamed Shawky, and many other players. He also said that the Egyptian stars will face a team that includes Luis Figo, Francesco Totti, Dedier Drogba, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, among many other world stars.

This is an important step on the way of returning the spectators back to the stadiums in the Egyptian Premier League matches, and it also should affect tourism positively.
8/15/2018 2:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Monaco winger Keita Balde joins Inter Milan on loan]]>
The Milan-based club has paid a loan fee of 5 million euros ($5.70 million) for the 23-year-old and will have to pay between 30 and 34 million euros to make the move permanent, according to Italian media.

The Senegal international, capped 20 times, joined the French club a year ago from Lazio, the club at which he made his professional debut in 2013.

Balde Diao, both a Lazio and a Barcelona youth product, has made 23 appearances in Ligue 1 last year, scoring eight goals.]]>
8/15/2018 1:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[El-Khatib leads Al-Ahly delegation to Rades ]]>
Al-Ahly manager, Patrica Carteron, will announce the team squad after their last training session in Cairo on Tuesday night and the delegation will travel to Tunisia on Wednesday night.

Al-Ahly needs to achieve victory to secure their qualification to the quarter finals. Tunisia secured their spot from the last round.

Espérance leads the group table with 10 points, three points ahead of second placed, Al-Ahly, and seven points ahead of Township Rollers and Kampala City who share the bottom.

Al-Ahly won a record of eight CAF Champions League titles and they hope to achieve their ninth title and their first since 2013.

Al-Ahly captain, Hossam Ashour, will miss the game for suspension and Carteron hopes that Amr el-Solya will be fully recovered and ready for the game.

The game starts on Friday at 9 p.m. ]]>
8/14/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Bournemouth captain Francis keen to regain starting spot]]>
The 33-year-old defender has missed a total of 10 league games over the last two seasons for Bournemouth but said his omission against Cardiff was expected after he missed the team's 5-2 win over French side Olympique de Marseille in a friendly this month.

"It was tough but I had an inkling from the Marseille game that the manager may have done it," Francis told the Daily Echo.

"Nobody could argue because the lads were excellent in that game. I couldn't argue, but I had to show what I could do on Saturday.

"It's been a long time since I have come off the bench. I just want to help the team be in the right mindset and, hopefully, I can. If I get a chance, like on Saturday with 25 minutes, you have to try to change the game."

Bournemouth play West Ham United in their second Premier League clash of the season in London on Saturday.]]>
8/14/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Van Dijk praises Alisson's impact on Liverpool defence]]>
Brazil international Alisson made his competitive debut in Liverpool's 4-0 win over West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday and the 25-year-old impressed as he began his spell in English football with a clean sheet.

"We speak a lot. He's very vocal and that helps. It helps me and everyone in the backline. I think his presence is very good as well," Van Dijk told British media.

"He has a lot of qualities on the ball that help us playing. We've worked on it the whole pre-season and we'll keep building and practising. There's still a lot to do.

"West Ham was just one game. We can do a lot better in certain moments and it's just the start. We're trying to build something."

Liverpool's defensive solidity since Van Dijk's arrival in January has seen them keep clean sheets in their last six home league matches and the club have not conceded a league goal at Anfield since February.

The Merseyside team will be hoping to take that form on the road when they travel to Crystal Palace in their next league fixture on Monday. ]]>
8/14/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ronaldo discharged from Ibiza hospital after heavy flu]]>
The 41-year-old was admitted on Friday after reportedly suffering from pneumonia. Hospital sources told Spanish media that Ronaldo left on Tuesday.

Ronaldo assured fans on social media on Sunday that he was fine and would soon be ready to go home after suffering "a heavy bout of flu."

Ronaldo retired from football in 2011 following a hugely successful career which featured stints at PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Brazilian sides Corinthians and Cruzeiro as well as Real Madrid. He won the Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world in 1997 and 2002. ]]>
8/14/2018 5:03:37 PM
<![CDATA[EPL returns with Ronaldinho]]>
Monday games will be opened with Al-Dakhleya’s match against Al-Entag Al-Harby at 4 p.m. at the Police Academy Stadium. This game will be followed by three games played at 6:15 p.m. in three different cities, where Suez will host Al-Masry and Petrojet game, and Enppi will face Smouha at Petro Sport Stadium in Cairo, while El-Gouna Stadium will witness the clash between EL-Gouna and Haras Al-Hodod.

The last game of the day will be held at 9 p.m. between Talae Al-Gaish and Pyramids FC at Cairo Military Academy Stadium. Ronaldinho, one of the legends of the game, will analyze this much anticipated match that will be aired on local TV.

Pyramids FC announced earlier this morning on its official social media accounts that Ronaldinho will be among the analysts who are set to comment on the game on Pyramids TV Channel.

Ronaldinho is not the first legend to appear on Pyramids TV, as the channel previously hosted Roberto Carlos, John Terry, and Robbie Keane, Tottenham Hotspurs former star.]]>
8/14/2018 4:26:25 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool's Salah reported over allegedly using mobile while driving]]>
A spokesman for last season's Champions League finalists said they passed the video, which had circulated on social media, on to police after talking with Salah.

"The club, after discussion with the player, have made Merseyside Police aware of the footage and the circumstances surrounding its capture," said the spokesman cited on the BBC.

"We have spoken to the player also and will deal with any follow-up internally.

"Neither the club or player will be making any further comment on this matter."

Merseyside Police tweeted they had received the footage.

"We have been made aware of a video believed to show a footballer using a mobile phone whilst driving. This has been passed to the relevant department. Thanks for letting us know," they tweeted on their official account.

Salah, who had a remarkable first season with Liverpool scoring 44 goals in all competitions and opened his account for this campaign with a goal in their opening 4-0 thrashing of West Ham on Sunday, could if found guilty of using his mobile face a fine of up to £1000 ($1300, 1100 euro) and points on his licence.]]>
8/14/2018 1:17:50 PM
<![CDATA[Mandžukić announces international retirement ]]>
In Russia, Croatia reached the World Cup final for the first time in their history and lost it 4-2 to France with Mandžukić scoring the second goal.

“It is hard because it is an honour to wear the Croatian shirt and to represent my country. It is hard as I know how much joy all the gatherings, matches and victories bring,” Mandžukić stated after his decision.

Mario, who is the second highest goal scorer ever for Croatia, started his career with the national team when he was 21 and since then he established himself as a key player for Croatia.

Mandžukić, 32, represented Croatia at four major tournaments; 2012 UEFA EURO, 2014 World Cup, 2016 UEFA EURO and 2018 World Cup.

“Nobody is perfect. I missed chances, lost the ball and made bad passes. But, I always gave it my all and left my heart on the pitch. Thank you for recognizing that and being with me and the Croatian national team,” Mandžukić added.

Mandžukić will focus on his career with his club, Juventus. ]]>
8/14/2018 8:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Real face up to life without Ronaldo]]>
Real Madrid finished third in La Liga last season after a thoroughly disappointing campaign, 17 points behind arch-rivals and champions Barcelona, but Zidane papered over the cracks by guiding the team to a third European cup in a row.

The coach decided to walk away while he was on top and his surprise departure in May was followed by another, as Ronaldo joined Juventus.

Over the previous nine years Ronaldo was crowned the best footballer in the world five times, helping Real Madrid to four Champions Leagues, with 450 goals in 438 games for the club.

However, in that period Ronaldo only won La Liga in 2012 and 2017, often losing out to Lionel Messi's Barcelona.

While Barcelona have reinforced in the transfer window, Real have not replaced Ronaldo and have found it hard to secure their reported targets.

They have only added Real Sociedad defender Alvaro Odriozola and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who is expected to replace Keylor Navas in the team and they can also use young Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior, although he is primarily expected to feature for the B team.

Los Blancos need both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to step up a level to cover for Ronaldo's absence and Marco Asensio will also be given a more prominent role.

Lopetegui, sacked by Spain on the eve of the World Cup after Madrid announced he would take over from Zidane, was reportedly not one of the club's top choices for the role.

Other coaches turned Madrid down, conscious of the difficulty of following in Zidane's footsteps, but Lopetegui said taking over was the happiest day of his life.

"It's an exciting challenge reinventing the team without Ronaldo, making it competitive and capable of winning titles," said Lopetegui. "I have no doubt that it will happen with these players that we have."

Madrid president Florentino Perez has not proved patient at the best of times and if Lopetegui does not deliver on those words his time in the Spanish capital may be quickly curtailed.

An early test against crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid in the European Super Cup on Aug. 15 may set the tone for the Spanish coach. Win and the transition begins smoothly, lose and worries will surface.]]>
8/14/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Atletico ripe for fresh title bid after keeping Griezmann]]>
Atletico's biggest statement was convincing forward Antoine Griezmann to snub a widely expected move to last year's runaway champions Barcelona, while they also shook off interest in coveted goalkeeper Jan Oblak and defender Diego Godin.

They also smashed their own transfer record to sign Thomas Lemar for 65 million euros ($74 million) while replenishing their squad by signing midfielders Gelson Martins and Rodrigo, Colombia defender Santiago Arias and Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic.

The arrival of electric winger Lemar from AS Monaco hints at a more attacking approach for coach Diego Simeone, who has built his side's sustained success on a rock solid backline boasting the best defensive record in five of the last six seasons.

The prospect of Diego Costa and Griezmann continuing the highly profitable understanding they formed when Costa returned to the team in January also adds to the sense of excitement around Atletico, who finished second last season above Real and won the Europa League.

"We have a great squad, the club has done a great job to hold on to our most important players and in making some important signings," said defender Juanfran.

"Every year people demand even more from us, that's the reality and we will try and aspire to win everything with hard work and humility.

"I understand the excitement because of the great team we have built but I ask for calm. We are a very hard working team and little by little we'll see how the season develops."

Atletico may have lost important dressing room figures in captain Gabi Fernandez and Fernando Torres, although their departures pale in comparison to the upheaval at city rivals Real, who lost all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo and coach Zinedine Zidane.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have parted with one of their most iconic players in Andres Iniesta and have not made any eye-catching additions, giving Atletico one of their best chances to secure a second title since 2014.

Simeone's side will also have an added incentive in this season's Champions League as the competition's final will be held at their Wanda Metropolitano stadium, but face a gruelling start to the new campaign.

They meet Champions League holders Real in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday before beginning their league campaign away to Valencia, who finished fourth last season.]]>
8/14/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bayern's Alaba escapes ligament damage ]]>
Austria left back Alaba sustained the injury to his left knee in a collision with Frankfurt defender Danny Da Costa late in the match.

"The joint will be rested and handled daily by the medical team. The healing process will be looked at on a day-to-day basis to determine when Alaba will be able to return to training," Bayern said in a statement https://fcbayern.com/en/news/2018/08/knee-bone-bruise-for-alaba.

Bayern completed the match with 10 men as they had used up all three substitutions.

Last season's German champions were already up 4-0 thanks to Robert Lewandowski's hat-trick and a Kingsley Coman strike. They added a fifth through Thiago Alacantara.

Nico Kovac's side begin their Bundesliga campaign against Hoffenheim on Aug. 24.]]>
8/14/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Monaco winger Keita Balde joins Inter Milan on loan]]>
The Milan-based club has paid a loan fee of 5 million euros ($5.70 million) for the 23-year-old and will have to pay between 30 and 34 million euros to make the move permanent, according to Italian media.

The Senegal international, capped 20 times, joined the French club a year ago from Lazio, the club at which he made his professional debut in 2013.

Balde Diao, both a Lazio and a Barcelona youth product, has made 23 appearances in Ligue 1 last year, scoring eight goals.]]>
8/14/2018 12:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ekramy guards Al-Ahly nets in front of Al-Nejmeh]]>
The French coach, Carteron decided to start with Sherif Ekramy the team’s goalkeeper instead of Ahmed Al-Shenawy, and the starting formation came as follows:

• Sherif Ekramy
• Mohamed Hany
• Saad Samir
• Mohamed Naguib
• Ayman Ashraf
• Hossam Ashour
• Ahmed Fathy
• Walid Soliman
• Moamen Zakaria
• Ahmed Hamdy
• Marwan Mohsen

Al-Ahly was knocked out of the competition last season at semi-finals losing to Jordan’s Al-Faisaly 2-1.
8/13/2018 7:32:32 PM
<![CDATA[West Ham's Edimilson joins Fiorentina on loan]]>
British media reported Edimilson's move to the Serie A side was part of the deal in which Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez arrived at the London club last week.

Swiss international Edimilson joined West Ham from FC Sion in 2016 and has struggled to make an impact due to poor form and injuries, managing 48 appearances in all competitions.

Fiorentina reportedly paid an initial loan fee of around 900,000 pounds ($1.15 million) for the 22-year-old with the option to sign him permanently next season.

Fiorentina are looking to improve on last season's eighth-place finish in the Italian top flight.

Competition for places at West Ham has increased this season with new boss Manuel Pellegrini bringing in nine new players for about 100 million pounds.

West Ham, who have endured relegation battles in their previous two campaigns, began their Premier League season with a 4-0 defeat at Liverpool. They host Bournemouth on Saturday.

8/13/2018 2:49:28 PM
<![CDATA[Winning the Arab Club Champions Cup is our goal: Carteron]]>
The Reds are set to face Lebanon’s Nejmeh SC in the 32nd round on Monday night at Borg El Arab stadium at 08:00 p.m. (CLT).

“The coaching staff studied Lebanon’s Nejmeh well; we put the suitable formation for the match,” Carteron said to Al-Ahly’s official website.

“The team has a great ambition to win the Arab Cup, and there is great enthusiasm among all to start the championship in the best way,” Carteron added.

Cartieron pointed out that the current version of the tournament is very strong, and the coaching staff and the players are keen to compete for the title, pointing out that the team has the elements capable of achieving the title.

Carteron’s chosen squad for the game consists of Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed el-Shennawy, Ali Lotfi, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Hany, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Mohamed Naguib, Sabry Rahil, Hossam Ashour, Ahmed Hamoudi, Hesham Mohamed, Mido Gaber, Akram Tawfik, Ahmed Hamdy, Karim Nedved, Walid Soliman, Moamen Zakaria, Nasser Maher, Mohamed Sherif, Marwan Mohsen and Salah Mohsen.

Al-Ahly hopes to influence the Egyptian teams’ results at the competition after Zamalek and Al-Ittihad ended their games with a draw against Qadsia and Espérance respectively, while Ismaily will face Kuwait on Sunday night at Ismailia.

Al-Ahly was knocked out of the competition last season at semi-finals losing to Jordan’s Al-Faisaly 2-1.
8/13/2018 2:32:14 PM
<![CDATA[Great start for Premier League title holders]]>
Pep Guardiola, Manchester City’s coach, started the game with an attacking plan until his strategy bore fruit at the 14th minute when Raheem Sterling scored from a superb header.

Arsenal’s new head coach, Unai Emery, wanted to regain control of the game by substituting Ainsley Maitland-Niles with Stephan Lichtsteiner who joined the North London team from Juventus this summer, and then replaced Aaron Ramsey with Alexandre Lacazette in the second half to create more attacking solutions.

Emery’s efforts went in vain when Manchester City doubled the score at the 63rd minute by Portuguese Bernardo Silva from a stunning shot.
8/13/2018 2:04:28 PM
<![CDATA[Liverpool's Lovren out for up to three weeks with pelvic injury]]>
Lovren returned to Merseyside last week after helping Croatia to the World Cup final but has been unable to train with the first team.

"He is not fit. Let me say it like this, last year he already had a few problems with that but he could obviously play - and played really good," Klopp told reporters after Liverpool beat West Ham United 4-0 in their Premier League opener.

"Now in the World Cup, (playing) three times (for) 120 minutes it got a bit worse, but I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks.

"In that time he can probably for sure train already, but not the full programme, so that will then take time."

Lovren is likely to remain on the sidelines until after next month's international break, which means he will miss Liverpool's league matches against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City. ]]>
8/13/2018 1:41:50 PM
<![CDATA[Barca lift Spanish Super Cup after late penalty save]]>
King's Cup runners-up Sevilla took a surprise lead in the traditional curtain raiser to the season against Barcelona when Pablo Sarabia fired home in the ninth minute after Luis Muriel had powered his way through the Barca defence.

The video assistant referee (VAR) was used for the first time in Spanish soccer to award the goal, which had initially been ruled offside.

Gerard Pique levelled for Barca shortly before halftime by pouncing on the rebound after Lionel Messi's free kick had ricocheted off the post, while Sevilla's Franco Vazquez glanced a header off the crossbar in the second half in Tangier, Morocco.

The competition, which ditched its traditional two-legged format and was also played outside Spain for the first time, looked to be headed for extra-time until Dembele let fly from outside the area and his shot thumped in off the crossbar in the 78th minute.

"It was a really difficult game because we conceded very early and we had to fight back. A lot of players have only recently come back from breaks and that took its toll," Barca coach Ernesto Valverde told reporters.

"We grew as the game went on. It was an exciting game and they also had their chances. It's good to win because it gives you belief in what you are doing and it allows you to start the season on the front foot."

Sevilla had a golden late chance to force extra-time when former Barca player Aleix Vidal was fouled by Ter Stegen in the 89th minute, but substitute Wissam Ben Yedder struck his penalty softly along the ground and the towering German goalkeeper comfortably caught the ball.

"My team deserve a lot of credit for showing that we have soul spirit and courage after Dembele's great goal and not only did we win a penalty but we also swarmed all over their goal," said Sevilla coach Pablo Machin.

"It hurts a lot to lose a trophy like this but when your team competes until the end and shows spirit like they did tonight you can't ask for much more."

Barca's new captain Messi lifted his first piece of silverware since inheriting the armband from former midfielder Andres Iniesta, and the Argentine also overtook the Spaniard as Barca's most decorated player with 33 trophies to his name.]]>
8/13/2018 1:38:01 PM
<![CDATA[Arsenal need tactical work to bridge Man City divide, says Emery]]>
The north London club were outplayed in Emery's first Premier League game in charge, with goals from City forwards Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva underlining a gulf of quality between the two teams.

"We were improving during the 90 minutes like I think we need for next week and the next match," Emery, who took over from long-serving Arsene Wenger in May, told reporters.

"Manchester City was demanding our best performance, and today we (can see) we have to continue working, but I am happy with the players because they run, they fight.

"And also, we need to continue to work tactically with defensive options and to shorten the difference today between Manchester City and us."

Arsenal's energetic pressing in the midfield area had City on the back foot in the second half, but lapses in concentration in defence proved the hosts are very much a work in progress.

"This 90 minutes is how I want to do the process of improving our team," Emery added. "We finished it with the spirit I want. The team ran, they tried, they pushed."

Arsenal next visit London rivals Chelsea in the league on Saturday.]]>
8/13/2018 1:29:34 PM
<![CDATA[Gameiro switches from Atletico to Valencia]]>
"Valencia CF have reached an agreement with Atletico Madrid, which still needs to be formalised, for the transfer of Kevin Gameiro," said a statement from Valencia, who finished fourth in La Liga last season and will compete in the Champions League group stage.

Gameiro, 31, struck 27 goals and provided 11 assists in 83 games in all competitions for Atletico, having joined the Madrid side from Sevilla in 2016 for a reported 27 million euros ($30.81 million). His presence in the team faded after January, however, when Diego Costa was free to play after rejoining the club.

Gameiro lifted one trophy during his time at Atletico, the 2018 Europa League, although he was an unused substitute in the 3-0 win over Olympique de Marseille in the final.

Gameiro is the second striker Valencia have picked up in three days following the acquisition of Belgium international Michy Batshuayi on loan from Chelsea on Friday.]]>
8/13/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt faces Sweden at U-18 World Handball Championship ]]>
Egypt hopes to leave a memorable performance against Sweden after a disastrous run in the competition.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group B alongside Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Chile and the 2010 World Cup winners, Sweden.

Egypt lost their first four games to Chile, Croatia, Denmark and Hungary respectively to stay at the bottom of the group with no points.

Egypt qualified for the World Cup as champions of the 2017 African Women's Youth Handball Championship in Ivory Coast. Egyptian players hope to achieve good results in their second participation in the competition.

Egypt’s squad for the tournament includes Nada Mamdouh, Samira Refaat, Rana Rady, Yasmin Emad, Sohila Khaled, Aya Tarek, Farida Hany, Shahd Ahmed, Laila Haitham, Yara Abol Dahab, Alaa Eslam, Salma Abdel Razek, Sandy Kassem, Habiba Goda, Farah Shazly and Lara Osama.

Poland hosts the competition in Kielce between Aug. 7 and 19. ]]>
8/13/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil's Ronaldo expects to be out of hospital by Monday]]>
"Friends, I had a strong bout of flu in Ibiza and had to be taken to hospital on Friday but everything is ok," the 41-year-old said in a message on his official Twitter account.

"Tomorrow I will be allowed to leave hospital and I will return home. Thanks for all your support and your messages."

Local newspaper Diario de Ibiza reported that Ronaldo had been taken to hospital with pneumonia. The hospital where Ronaldo is recovering could not be reached by Reuters for comment.

Ronaldo, who was on holiday in Ibiza when he was taken ill, retired from football in 2011 following a hugely successful career which featured stints at PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Brazilian sides Corinthians and Cruzeiro as well as Real Madrid, where he is a club ambassador.

He won two La Liga titles with Real, the UEFA Cup with Inter and lifted the World Cup in 1994 and 2002 with Brazil, also reaching the tournament's final in 1998, and picked up the Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world in 1997 and 2002.]]>
8/13/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Salah on target as Liverpool start with easy win]]>
The Egyptian gave Juergen Klopp's side the lead after 19 minutes from Andy Robertson's precise low cross.

West Ham's new manager Manuel Pellegrini gave debuts to five of their 10 close-season signings, but his revamped team rarely threatened Liverpool's expensive new Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson.

Poor defending cost them a second goal just before the interval, to Sadio Mane, who added a third after 53 minutes from an offside position.

Substitute Daniel Sturridge made it four just seconds after coming on.

"We played as good as possible today and we extended a really good pre-season into the Premier League," Klopp told the BBC.

"It was better than I could have expected. The performance of all the boys and the midfield of James and Georginio Wijnaldum was outstanding.

"It's only the middle of August and then in September the games will come. The future of football will be rotation. We need to be ready and have that quality."

Pellegrini conceded that West Ham need to do better.

"We knew before the game that our start was very difficult," he said. "In our first few games we need to play some of the big teams.

"We need to improve in attack and continue working."

Salah's goal featured an important contribution from new signing Naby Keita, who cost 50 million pounds ($63.84m) from RB Leipzig.

Guinea's Keita was excellent throughout. Liverpool's other debutant, Alisson, was much less involved as the London side struggled to make chances.

Their best one followed a lucky bounce off the referee but Marko Arnautovic miscued his shot.

By the interval they had conceded again after leaving three attackers unmarked in front of goal. Mane was the one who knocked in James Milner's pull-back.

He scored Liverpool's third and Sturridge came off the bench in the final few minutes to score at the far post from a corner with his first touch.

The result continued West Ham's dreadful record at Anfield, which now extends to one win in 46 league games. Liverpool, meanwhile, have not conceded a goal in their last six home games in the league -- since West Ham scored against them in February.

Pellegrini gave debuts to Lukasz Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Fabian Balbuena, Felipe Anderson and Jack Wilshere, then introduced a sixth newcomer Andriy Yarmolenko as a substitute.

Anderson and Yarmolenko had their moments but overall the visitors were comprehensively outplayed.]]>
8/12/2018 7:45:42 PM
<![CDATA[Salah starts in Liverpool League opener ]]>
Liverpool, which reached the Champions League final last season, had a great summer according to the players they have signed, such as Brazilian goalkeeper Allison, Guinean midfielder Naby Keita, Brazilian midfielder Fabinho and Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri.

Liverpool has one of the strongest squads at the League and they are heading to the new season with high hopes to fulfill at the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, knows how important it is to have a good start but he also knows he will face a tough opponent, West Ham, especially with the changes they made in the summer.

Klopp’s chosen squad for the game consists of Allison, Alexander Arnold, Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Keita, James Milner, Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool fans set their hopes to win the League on the Egyptian player as he established himself since he joined the club as their main star.

The Egyptian winger had a sensational last season with his club, having scored 44 goals last season, including 32 goals in the league to be the Premier League top goal scorer. ]]>
8/12/2018 2:29:08 PM
<![CDATA[LeBron James to make Lakers home debut against Rockets]]>
The four-time league MVP James, who left the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to sign with the Lakers, and his new teammates travel to Portland on the 18th for their regular season debut contest.

The announcement comes two days after the league released their abbreviated schedule for its 73rd season.

On Wednesday, the league announced that for the 20th straight year, the Lakers will play on Christmas Day, travelling to face the defending champion Golden State Warriors.

James returns to Cleveland for his lone game against the Cavaliers on November 21. The Lakers will play on national television 35 times.

James, who signed a four-year, $153 million contract with the Lakers in July, faced the Warriors in each of the past four NBA finals as a member of Cavaliers.

The Lakers' longest road trip of the season is a five-game, 12-day stretch from February 1-12 when the Grammy Awards are held at Staples Center. They'll play 13 back-to-back sets.

In other key contests, Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard will make his return to San Antonio on January 3. The Spurs dealt Leonard to the Raptors in the offseason for DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan returns with his new team to Toronto on February 22.

The league will stage its earliest opening to a season since the 1980-81 campaign began on October 10.]]>
8/12/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly face Nejmeh without foreign players ]]>
Al-Ahly’s foreign players, Ali Maaloul, Walid Azzaro and Salif Coulibaly were ruled out of the game for technical reasons while Eslam Mohareb and Amr El Soleya will miss the game for injury.

Carteron’s chosen squad for the game consists of Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed el-Shennawy, Ali Lotfi, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Hany, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Mohamed Naguib, Sabry Rahil, Hossam Ashour, Ahmed Hamoudi, Hesham Mohamed, Mido Gaber, Akram Tawfik, Ahmed Hamdy, Karim Nedved, Walid Soliman, Moamen Zakaria, Nasser Maher, Mohamed Sherif, Marwan Mohsen and Salah Mohsen.

Al-Ahly hopes to influence the Egyptian teams’ results at the competition after Zamalek and Al-Ittihad ended their games with a draw against Qadsia and Espérance respectively, while Ismaily will face Kuwait on Sunday night at Ismailia.

Al-Ahly was knocked out of the competition last season at semi-finals losing to Jordan’s Al-Faisaly 2-1. ]]>
8/12/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Great expectations on Liverpool to end long wait for league title]]>
Often outgunned by the riches of fierce rivals Manchester United and the oil-backed wealth of Chelsea and Manchester City in recent times, this summer Liverpool were the Premier League's biggest spenders in a reported £170 million splurge ($219 million).

"We had to create a squad which is strong enough and wide enough to cope with the Premier League and to be as successful as possible," said Klopp on Friday.

The club's business was also done early to give Brazil's number one Alisson Becker and midfielders Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri time to bed in before their campaign kicks off at home to West Ham on Sunday.

Just as importantly, unlike Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho who were lured away from Anfield to Barcelona in recent years, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino signed new contracts as a statement of intent of what is to come for Klopp's Liverpool.

Despite not winning a trophy since the charismatic German coach took charge in 2015, the Reds are also building from position of strength.

A run to the Champions League final in May before losing out to Real Madrid showed both how far Liverpoo

Two monumental errors by Loris Karius forced the club to bite the bullet and spend big for a top class goalkeeper.

The 72.5 million euro ($84 million) fee paid for Alisson was a world record for a 'keeper, but just a few weeks on seems reasonable compared to the 80 million euros Chelsea splashed out for the far more inexperienced Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao.

Madrid also outclassed Liverpool in midfield in Kiev, as they have done to most sides in winning three straight Champions League titles thanks to the talent of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

But the additions of Fabinho and Keita significantly improve Liverpool's quality in that area of the field and crucially fit perfectly into Klopp's high pressing system.

Despite thrashing Manchester City 5-1 over two legs in the Champions League quarter-finals, Klopp's men finished 25 points adrift of the record-breaking Premier League champions last season.

"The champions are Manchester City; they didn't lose any player and they brought in (Riyad) Mahrez, so that doesn't make them weaker," warned Klopp, insisting Liverpool are still the underdogs.

"We are still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago. We are the ones who have to do more and fight more -– that must be our attitude."

But with such a tight turnaround with less than a month between the World Cup final and Premier League kick-off, Klopp's preparations have also been far less affected than other sides in England's top six.

Salah and Sadio Mane were able to join the club's pre-season tour in the United States are being knocked out in the group stages in Russia with Egypt and Senegal, while Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Keita, Fabinho and James Milner had the summer off.

"Liverpool have waited 28 years. Not just for the league title, but for a pre-season where so many pundits and supporters believe they can win it," wrote former Liverpool captain Jamie Carragher in The Telegraph.

Even the legendary Pele jumped on the Liverpool bandwagon on Friday in support of countrymen Alisson and Firmino.

"I think it's the year of Liverpool, Alisson and Firmino!" tweeted the Brazilian great.

Liverpool have spent nearly three years surpassing expectations under Klopp. Now the pressure is on to meet them.

8/12/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ronaldo set to begin Juve adventure in intimate alpine friendly]]>
Ronaldo, who signed for Juventus from European champions Real Madrid in a shock 100 million euro ($117 million) deal exactly a month ago, will wear the Juventus kit for the first time in the club's traditional pre-season friendly between Juve's first XI and a "B" team in Villar Perosa, a small town 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Turin.

Set in a valley at the foot of the Italian Alps, Villar Perosa (population: roughly 4,100) is the home of the family estate and summer retreat of the powerful Agnellis, who, apart from a brief period around the Second World War, have run Juventus since 1923 and established the traditional alpine curtain raiser.

Members of the industrial dynasty -- founders of Fiat car manufacturers and often called the "Italian Kennedys" -- have lived at "The Castle" in Villar Perosa since the 19th century, while deceased former club chairman Gianni Agnelli was town mayor between 1945 and 1980.

- Up close and personal -

Used to imposing arenas such as the Camp Nou, Old Trafford and the Bernabeu, current Ballon d'Or holder Ronaldo will take his first steps in black and white stripes at the town's compact ground, named after notoriously brutal Italy centre-back Gaetano Scirea.

There should be more fans at the match than the entire population of Villar Perosa, with the 5,000 tickets available long-since sold out and even more supporters desperate to try and catch a glimpse of their new idol.

Such is the enthusiasm for Ronaldo's debut, that special security measures have been drafted in the town for the match, including a complete ban on the sale of alcohol from Saturday.

Ronaldo's arrival had sparked rumours that the match would be moved to the Allianz Stadium such was the enthusiasm from fans after his signing, but the club decided to stick with the traditional bucolic setting.

That could mean Ronaldo gets even more up close and personal with Juve fans.

Established custom dictates that five minutes after half-time fans invade the pitch, bringing the game to a halt as fans charge after and greet their heroes.

- Superhuman? -

Ronaldo joined the team for training on Wednesday with Juventus two important players lighter after their return from the International Champions Cup in the United States.

The 33-year-old's arrival pushed striker Gonzalo Higuain to rivals AC Milan, and the Argentine was joined by the impressive Mattia Caldara, who has established himself as one of Serie A's best defenders since breaking through at Atalanta two years ago.

Caldara arrived at Juve in early July only to be swapped last week with Leonardo Bonucci, who returned to Turin after just one unconvincing season with Milan.

The decision to deprive themselves of a proven Serie A goalscorer and in particular to swap Caldara, 24, for 31-year-old Bonucci has left some question marks over Juventus despite Ronaldo's proven prowess.

His domestic form -- despite scoring 26 goals in La Liga -- was below the almost superhuman levels that had characterised his time in Spain as Madrid finished third behind local rivals Atletico and a whole 17 points behind champions Barcelona.

However Juve's closest recent challengers -- Napoli and Roma -- have sold important players this summer, and Napoli have to adapt to new coach Carlo Ancelotti following talismanic Maurizio Sarri's departure and subsequent move to Chelsea.

- Euro ambitions -

Juventus have signed Ronaldo not to cement their domestic dominance, after winning seven straight league titles, but to boost their international profile and bag their first Champions League triumph in over two decades.

Last season, Ronaldo was his usual dominant self in Europe as he smashed 15 goals to top the Champions League scoring charts and fired Real Madrid to continental glory for the third straight year.

Interest in Juve and in Italian football has spiked following Ronaldo's arrival. July visits to the club museum shot up 15 percent compared to last year, and were nearly a third more than in 2016, and the over 29,000 season tickets available to fans have been sold despite a deeply unpopular 30 percent price bump announced before Ronaldo's arrival.

ESPN have snatched the rights to broadcast Serie A in the United States from BeIN Sports (although the league has not said how much the network will pay) and World Cup Golden Ball winner Luka Modric is also pondering a move to join former teammate Ronaldo in Italy -- at Juve's arch rivals Inter Milan.]]>
8/12/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Indonesia set one week out from 2018 Asian Games]]>
Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra are set to host about 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries for the August 18 to September 2 Games, the world's biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics.

Indonesia started with less time than most host countries after it agreed to hold the Games when Vietnam pulled out.

However, officials say they are ready to take the Games in their stride.

"There are no problems for the preparation so far, even if we have problems we will solve them right there right then," chief organiser Erick Thohir told journalists Thursday.

Seventy percent of tickets have been sold for the opening ceremony in the capital Jakarta next Saturday, he added.

Despite worries about Jakarta's notorious traffic congestion, authorities say the implementation of an odd-even licence plate system is already bearing results.

"Traveling speed has improved by almost 60 percent, while travel time has improved 43 percent from 15.56 minutes per km to 8.86 minute per km," Jakarta's transportation agency chief, Andri Yansyah, told AFP.

Athletes and officials will travel on dedicated road lanes and schools will be closed to take the daily commute of millions of pupils out of the equation.

When Indonesia last hosted a major sports event, the 2011 SEA Games, two people died in a stadium stampede at the football final in Jakarta.

In a bid to safeguard the event, some 40,000 troops and police officers will be deployed in Jakarta and Palembang.

Indonesia suffered its deadliest terror attack in more than 10 years in May when suicide bombers killed 13 people in the nation's second-biggest city Surabaya.

Police say they have been rounding up terror suspects and petty criminals in a pre-Games crackdown.

- Haze headache -

Haze from forest fires in Sumatra remains another potential headache for events in Palembang.

But Indonesian meteorologists have been monitoring weather conditions closely and extinguishing hotspots.

"We have been conducting weather modification efforts since May, including cloud seeding and water bombing," Hary Tirto Djatmiko, spokesman for national meteorology, climatology and geophysics agency, told AFP.

The Games' preparation has not come without hiccups, however.

Indonesians have made a mockery of the Jakarta government's decision to cover a toxic river near the athletes' village with black nylon mesh over fears it will be an eyesore at the showpiece event.

Similarly, the city council was ridiculed for erecting Games' banners with spelling mistakes.

Some social media users have also questioned why city sanitation workers -- and not artists -- were chosen to paint Games' murals in parts of the city.

Palembang briefly made headlines last month when irate football fans ripped plastic seats from the stands after the home team lost and hurled them onto the pitch at a stadium scheduled to host the event.

Still, excitement is building ahead of the Games.

"The Asian Games atmosphere is quite obvious here in Palembang, we have murals everywhere and our LRT (light rail) is already running," Palembang resident Nicky Anggraini told AFP.

"I'm definitely going to watch the Games, I can't wait," she added.]]>
8/12/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nadal stays on track in Toronto with win over Cilic]]>
The world number one reached the semi-finals in Toronto and will next face Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat Robin Haase 6-3, 6-1.

Nadal last won a title at this level on cement in 2013.

"It was a very important match for me," Nadal said. "Being in semi-finals is great news at the start of the hard court season.

"And winning three good matches in the first Master 1000, it's so important for me.

"He played unstoppable in the first set. I resisted, I played with the right tactic. I tried to find my solutions - but it was so difficult."

Stefanos Tsitsipas saved two match points to beat defending champion Alexander Zverev in their quarter-final contest 3-6, 7-6 (13/11), 6-4.

The Greek teenager, who turns 20 on Sunday's final day, defeated his third straight top 10 opponent at the tournament after knocking out Dominic Thiem in the second round and 13-time major winner Novak Djokovic in the third.

Tsitsipas is the youngest player to post three top 10 wins at a single tournament since the 19-year-old Nadal at Monte Carlo in 2006.

Tsitsipas will next face Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, who beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-2.

"I'm confused now, is this real?" 27th-ranked Tsitsipas said after completing his prestige hat-trick of upsets.

Nadal got caught on the back foot in the first set against Cilic, who took the opener on his fourth chance.

Nadal struck back in the second with a concluding break to square the match before taking victory with a break in the final game on his third match point after more than two hours.

Tsitsipas rallied from a set and 5-2 down to turn the tables on Zverev, who had been bidding for a fourth Masters 1000 title.

Tsitsipas broke in the ninth game of the second on the way into a tiebreaker, where he calmly converted on his fifth set point after saving two match points for the second-seeded Zverev.

Tsitsipas then salvaged four break points for 2-1 in the third, he traded breaks with the German and saved another trio of break points for a 5-4 lead.

He completed the victory after nearly two and a half hours on Zverev's sixth double-fault.

"This shows that with dedication and work, dreams do come true," Tsitsipas said. "I can see that it's real -- it's happening.

"I don't know what happened (in the second set), I just broke him (for 4-5). All along I could feel the crowd support, I knew I was still in the match."

- Canadian rematch -

Anderson's sweep past reigning ATP World Tour Finals champion Dimitrov was a rematch of their 2014 quarter-final duel in Canada when Dimitrov claimed one of his six wins against the South African.

"It definitely was a great match today. I felt I played really well right from the beginning," Anderson said.

"Right from the first point till the last, I felt I was in a really good frame of mind, playing the kind of tennis that I knew I wanted to be playing and needed to be playing."

"Getting off the court pretty comfortably definitely is a really good feeling."

The big South African rolled into the semis in just 66 minutes, breaking four times while managing only a modest 11 aces.
8/12/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iniesta scores first goal for Japanese side Kobe]]>
The great Spanish midfielder, who moved to Japan following an illustrious career with boyhood club Barcelona, scored a sensational goal to open his account, assisted by former Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski.

The German slid the ball through to Iniesta in the penalty area and the 34-year-old displayed all his trademark intelligence to pirouette past an Iwata defender before rounding the goalkeeper to roll the ball into the net.

Iniesta’s goal opened the scoring in the 16th minute and a further goal from forward Kyogo Furuhashi secured the victory.

Kobe moved up to fourth place as they look to close the gap on J League leaders Hiroshima Sanfreece, who beat Nagasaki to maintain an eight-point lead over Tokyo FC in second.

Iniesta's former Spain team mate Fernando Torres failed to open his account for Sagan Tosu, although the struggling team did secure a 1-0 victory over Urawa Red Diamonds in their battle against relegation.]]>
8/12/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Chelsea's Sarri gets winning start at Huddersfield]]>
After enduring plenty of Huddersfield pressure, Chelsea went ahead in the 34th minute when Willian's cross from the left found N'Golo Kante whose mis-hit shot squirted past keeper Ben Hamer.

Chelsea doubled their advantage just before the interval when Marcos Alonso burst into the area and went down under challenge from Christopher Schindler and debutant Jorginho coolly converted the penalty.

A brilliantly constructed counter-attack produced Chelsea's third as substitute Eden Hazard broke from midfield and slipped a perfectly-timed pass to Pedro who beat Hamer with an expert finish.]]>
8/11/2018 6:33:50 PM
<![CDATA[Spurs begin season with entertaining win at Newcastle]]>
All three goals came in a frantic opening 20 minutes on Tyneside with Vertonghen and Alli heading goals for the north London team, who finished third last season, either side of Joselu's equaliser.

The only surprise was that, after Alli's 18th-minute winner, there was no further score with both goalkeepers, Martin Dubravka and Hugo Lloris, forced to make a string of impressive saves.

Newcastle's Venezuelan forward Salomon Rondon nearly enjoyed a dream debut after coming off the substitutes bench but his late effort was deflected on to the crossbar after a desperate block from Vertonghen.

"It's a very important (result), everyone knows the first game of a very long season is important," Alli told Sky Sports.

"Last season I scored against Newcastle away in the first game too, and now I just want to keep improving. The World Cup was a great experience but it's all about Tottenham and the Premier League now."

Tottenham became the first Premier League team to make no signings during a summer transfer window with manager Mauricio Pochettino urging disgruntled fans to be happy with the quality of the existing squad.

However, any concerns about a lack of fresh faces were quickly alleviated in an end-to-end opening at a sun-kissed St James' Park.

With the game eight minutes old, Vertonghen, fresh from Belgium's third-placed World Cup finish, gave the visitors the lead when his header against the underside of the crossbar was adjudged to have crossed the line by goalline technology.

However, Just 149 seconds later the hosts restored parity when Joselu converted a wicked delivery from the impressive Matt Ritchie to send the Newcastle faithful into raptures.

Their glee didn't last long, however, with Alli arriving at the back post to head in Serge Aurier's deep cross for what proved to be the winner.

Spurs, whose starting 11 contained many players who were involved in the latter stages of the World Cup, faded and were relieved to hold on for victory following Vertonghen's crucial 85th-minute block to deny Rondon.

Newcastle, who finished safely in mid-table last season, were unlucky to take nothing from the game but showed enough against one of the league's top sides to suggest they should be competitive again this season.]]>
8/11/2018 4:43:22 PM
<![CDATA[Proud Pogba happy to repay trust as Man Utd captain]]>
Mourinho surprisingly put Pogba straight into the starting line-up and handed him the armband even though the Frenchman had just returned to training on Monday after his exertions in lifting the World Cup less than a month ago.

Pogba responded with what Mourinho described as a "monster" performance and took responsibility from the penalty spot to open the scoring after just three minutes of the season.

"Of course it makes me proud, it makes me happy to wear this (armband) at a big club like Manchester United," said Pogba.

The man who cost United a then world record £89 million (105 million euros, $116 million) in 2016 was routinely dropped by Mourinho last season, and had been linked with a move away from Old Trafford in recent days with Barcelona's interest reportedly piqued by his frosty relationship with the Portuguese coach.

And Pogba seemed to call for more trust from Mourinho this season.

"Like I always say, I always give my best for the fans, for my team-mates, for the people that trust me," the midfielder said.

Mourinho has clashed with the club's hierarchy in recent weeks and showed his frustration at not adding to his squad before Thursday's transfer deadline.

"Football is changing, and managers should be called head coaches," said Mourinho after beating Leicester, who he flagged as a side that should not be underestimated as they "invest more than us."

Yet, despite Mourinho's earlier warning that United face a "difficult" season after failing to be back him in the transfer market, a winning start did brighten the mood around Old Trafford.

"It's three points, it's what we wanted," said Pogba.

"Of course the performance wasn't the best, but it's better to start like this and finish well than start very well and finish bad.

"We know the players, and myself as well, didn't have a lot of training and we played a game.

"We knew we were not going to be fit, 100 per cent, but the most important was to start well the Premier League."]]>
8/11/2018 2:29:14 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek starts Arab championship journey against Al Qadsia]]>
Today’s match is the third official one for Zamalek’s manager, Christian Gross, who earned his first victory against Ittihad Alexandria 5-1 in the Egyptian League's second round after the first round’s goalless draw against Petrojet.

Gross included the club’s new signing, Ferjani Sassi, in the list for the first time since he joined the club last summer.

Gross’ chosen squad for the game consisted of Emad el-Sayed, Omar Salah, Mahmoud Abdel Rahim known as Gennesh, Mohamed Abdel Ghani, Hamdi Nagguez, Bahaa Magdy, Mahmoud Hamdy, Ahmed Fattoh, Hazem Imam, Mahmoud Alaa, Ferjani Sassi, Mahmoud Abdel-Aati, Tarek Hamed, Mohamed Antar, Youssef Obama, Omar el-Said, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Mohamed Hassan, Abdallah Gomaa, Ibrahim Hassan, Mohamed Ibrahim, Ahmed Madbouli, Mahmoud Abdel-Monem known as Kahraba, Kabongo Kasongo and Hamid Ahaddad.

Al-Qadsia is one of the best teams in the Gulf and they achieved the Kuwaiti Premier League 17 times, as the most winning club in the league.

About 20,000 Zamalek fans are expected to travel to Alexandria to support their team against the Kuwaiti side.


This year’s edition of the Union of Arab Football Associations (UAFA) tournament will be played with the home and away matches system, as it won’t be in one place like last year, when it was hosted by Egypt.

Five Egyptian teams participate in the UAFA Club Championship: Al-Ahly, Zamalek, Ismaily, Al-Masry and Al-Ittihad of Alexandria. Saudi Arabia will be represented with four teams: Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ahli Saudi and Al-Ittihad Club.


The tournament will include 32 teams. Thirty teams were already chosen and the other two teams will be determined after a qualification round, which will be played with the knockout system.

The champion will win $6 million, while the runners-up will win $2.5 million.

8/11/2018 2:17:18 PM
<![CDATA[Fans choose Salah as UEFA Forward of the Season]]>

Salah topped the list which included Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi. He has been selected as UEFA Best Forward by 44% out of 281,305 voters. Ronaldo got 38% while Messi has been voted by only 18% of the voters.

The Egyptian winger had a sensational season with his club, Liverpool, having scored 44 goals last season, including 32 goals in the league to be the Premier League top goal scorer.

Salah also had a great campaign at the UEFA Champions League last season, having scored 10 goals for Liverpool at Champions League including five goals at knockout stages.

Salah goals led Liverpool to the Champions League final in Kiev where they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo won his nomination after leading Real Madrid to their third consecutive Champions League title, having scored 13 goals during Real’s campaign. He won the UEFA Champions League top goal scorer award.

Messi and his teammates in Barcelona were knocked out of the competition at the quarter finals by AS Roma. However, the Argentinean won his nomination for his sensational performances at the early stages of the competition.

The winner will be announced on August 30 at the UEFA ceremony in Monaco where the 2019 Champions League draw will be held.
8/11/2018 1:51:13 PM
<![CDATA[Klopp has great expectations Liverpool will deliver]]>
Liverpool spent a reported £176million ($225million, 196million euros) bringing in, among others, Brazilians goalkeeper Alisson and midfielder Fabinho and Klopp hopes to deliver Liverpool's first league title in the Premier League era, with the last of their 18 champions crowns coming in 1990.

In his pre-match press conference on Friday, ahead of Liverpool's season opener against West Ham on Sunday, Klopp said Liverpool spent so much to build a squad with the depth necessary to be genuine title contender.

"It was pretty normal there would be one season when we would spend more money," Klopp said. "We had to create a squad which is strong enough and wide enough to cope with the Premier League."

Klopp, who took over at Liverpool job in 2015 after guiding Borussia Dortmund to two Bundesliga titles, says he expects his players to fight to the last breath for the league title.

"We have to be in the championship mode," he said. "Let's go for it until we have no more air or oxygen, really go for it."

- 'We need more luck' -

Klopp, whose longtime number two Zeljko Buvac left abruptly towards the end of last term, fell back one of his favourite analogies saying Liverpool were Sylvester Stallone's fictional boxer Rocky Balboa rather than his Soviet opponent Ivan Drago.

"The champions are Manchester City, they did not lose any players and brought in Riyad Mahrez, that does not make them weaker, we saw the Chelsea game and saw and they were impressive," he said.

"We are still Rocky Balboa and not Ivan Drago, we are the ones who have to do more and fight more, that must be our attitude.

"We did not reach anything yet, we have been in finals and if we get there again we should try to win it.

"The league is exactly the same."

Klopp is yet to win any silverware at Liverpool despite reaching the finals of the 2016 League Cup and Europa League and last season's Champions League, believes Liverpool need some good fortune.

"We need more luck," he said.

"Somebody told me we were the unluckiest team.

"We have to be more consistent to be there and more clinical and aggressive in the right moments."

Klopp said the team needed to improve at both ends of the pitch if they are to make a genuine title challenge and not end up as last season -- finishing fourth 25 points adrift of City.

"We can improve our offensive and defensive play but it is nothing to do with City," he said.

"It is difficult to win every game, if we see how Wolves, Fulham or Everton act, they are all ambitious.

"It is difficult for us and the other teams too."]]>
8/11/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Spain taxman knocks 2 million euros off Ronaldo tax settlement: report]]>
Spain's taxman and Ronaldo's advisors made the deal to settle claims the 33-year-old, who has since moved to Italy's Juventus, hid income generated from image rights while he was playing for Real Madrid.

The agreement also includes a two-year jail sentence which he won't serve. Sentences of up to two years are generally not enforced in Spain for first-time offenders in non-violent crimes.

According to El Mundo, who had access to documents of the settlement, tax authorities realised he paid two million euros too much last year for image rights he sold in 2014.

That means he only has to pay 16.7 million euros, the report said.

It added that Ronaldo has already paid 13.4 million euros.

Spain's finance ministry would not comment on the report.

The newspaper said the tax agreement also means that the court near Madrid investigating the case had dropped charges against Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes.

The court was not immediately available for comment.

Had the case gone further, without the player offering a settlement, Ronaldo could have faced a reported fine of 28 millions euros and a three-and-a-half-year jail term, according to the Spanish tax office union Gestha.

Ronaldo's big rival, Barcelona's Argentinian star Lionel Messi, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.

The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros equivalent to 400 euros a day of the original term.]]>
8/11/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[NBA star Curry shoots 71 in Web.com event]]>
The Golden State Warriors star, who is making his second appearance in the tournament in as many years, was tied for 106th place in the 154 player field.

He is well back of leaders Adam Long, Seth Reeves and Samuel Del Val at the Stonebrae course in Hayward, California. Last year, Curry shot 74-74 to tie for 148th and miss the cut by 11 shots.

Curry, who started on the 10th tee, made his fourth bogey at the par-three second hole. He two-putted for birdie on the third and celebrated with caddie Jonnie West, who also works for the Warriors.

"It took me six holes last year to get my first one (birdie) and it took me 12 holes this year," said Curry, who had three birdies on his final seven holes. "I had to wait a little bit. It was a nice relief to see a putt go in."]]>
8/11/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Aussie Campbell slays Rio demons with Tokyo super swim]]>
The former world champion, who famously flopped in the 2016 Olympic final as the red-hot favourite, clocked a lifetime best of 52.03 seconds with a blistering performance to take gold from American Simone Manuel and Canada's Taylor Ruck in Tokyo.

Manuel, who followed her gold medal in Rio by winning the world title last year, took silver in 52.66 and teenage sensation Taylor Ruck the bronze (52.72) a day after storming to victory in the 200m.

"I'm proud of myself -- it shows I can stand up and perform when it counts," said a defiant Campbell, who took a year off from swimming after slumping to sixth in that Olympic final.

"Moments like that reignite your love for the sport," she added. "I've come to peace with whatever the outcome is going to be. I know win or lose I can live with whatever the outcome is.

"Moments like that make all the sacrifices that you make on a daily basis worthwhile."

Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers completed an Aussie double in swimming's blue riband event as he upset new American superstar Caeleb Dressel in the men's 100m freestyle.

Chalmers, who suffered his own Olympic hangover after Rio, produced a dazzling second 50m to capture gold in 48.00 seconds as world champion Dressel shared the silver with Australian Jack Cartwright in 48.22.

- 'Learning experience' -

Dressel put a philosophical spin on his defeat just a year after becoming the second swimmer to win seven gold medals at a single world championships after Michael Phelps in 2007.

"That was pretty far off my best," shrugged the American, who also struggled in the recent national championships. "It's been a little bit of a hectic year but I wouldn't say it was a wake-up call."

"There's nothing really shocking about it," he insisted. "It's a learning experience, simple as that."

Canada's Kylie Masse added a Pan Pacific gold to her world and Commonwealth titles by winning the women's 100m backstroke with a strong finish.

Masse touched first in 58.61 with Australian Emily Seebohm taking silver in 58.72. American Kathleen Baker, the world record holder, took bronze in 58.83.

Elsewhere, Japan's Daiya Seto delighted the home crowd two years before the Tokyo Olympics by capturing gold in the men's 200m butterfly, clocking 1:54.34.

"I could hardly raise my arms at the end," said Seto after defending his title.

"But I could hear the fans cheering and just knew I had to win."

American Ryan Murphy blazed to gold in the men's 100m backstroke, the Olympic champion winning in 51.94, just nine-hundredths outside his own world record.

Australia pipped the United States to gold in the women's 4x200m free, clocking a championship best of 7:44.12.

But the Americans hit back to win the men's 4x200m free in 7:04.36 after a superb anchor leg from Townley Haas.]]>
8/11/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA['I'm not Santa Claus' says Fulham's Jokanovic]]>
"I'm not Santa Claus -- there are no presents," Jokanovic told a press conference on Friday on the eve of their opener with fellow London side Crystal Palace.

"The players need to fight for their places," the 49-year-old said.

"We've made a great investment in the transfer market and I'm hoping we'll see an immediate benefit."

Fulham's American owner Shahid Khan -- who has tabled a £600million pound bid to buy Wembley Stadium -- sanctioned spending big with the likes of highly-rated Ivory Coast midfielder Jean-Michael Seri as the London club return to the Premier League after a four year hiatus.

However, Jokanovic -- a former defensive midfielder who was capped 64 times -- sought to lower expectations of how competitive Fulham will be.

"We arrived last in the Premier League (through the play-offs), so our principal target has to be to stay up," said Jokanovic, who in his previous job in England guided Watford to promotion to the Premier League but then left.

"I prefer walking step by step. It's better for us to think in this way and we will see at the end of the season what our level is.

"It's important to show ambition and desire to stay up -- that's our first target.

"We're building a team to be competitive at this level."]]>
8/11/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Guardiola fumes over Luiz permit rejection]]>
Guardiola had planned on using the 20-year-old, signed from Vasco da Gama for £10.7 million ($13.6million, 11.9million euros) last summer, in his first team squad this season, providing cover for ageing compatriot Fernandinho.

Luiz appeared destined for an important role after City missed out on yet another Brazilian-born player, Italy international Jorginho, who opted to sign for Chelsea instead in July.

But City learned this week their work permit applications had been denied by the Football Association (FA) -- who would support any such request to the Home Office -- with Guardiola particularly upset by the timing of the decision.

"He (Luiz) is not allowed," said Guardiola, who made a point of giving Luiz game time on their recent tour of the United States.

"We are going to try to help him to go on loan again and try to get the work permit.

"It's so difficult for me to understand.

"One guy who doesn't see the player or any training sessions every day has to judge if he has the ability and quality to play.

"I accept the rules but I don't understand because anybody in the world can work wherever he wants.

"The manager from Brazil and myself know more than the guys who decide he is not able to play."

- 'Thank you Jurgen' -

Guardiola, whose biggest investment in the close season transfer market was in Algerian international Riyad Mahrez paying £60million to Leicester City, said he would have preferred greater warning than being told on the day the transfer window came down.

"They didn't know him, not one game, not one training session, to know if he can play or not," he said.

"I would have preferred it if it wasn't announced yesterday.

"If they decide the rules are the rules, let me know 15 days ago and maybe we can decide what we can do but one day before and you decide he can't play because, I don't know, he is not tall enough, doesn't play enough, games in the past or something like that? Okay."

Guardiola, who will have England striker Raheem Sterling and Belgian star Kevin De Bruyne available for Sunday's opener with Arsenal after they returned from their post World Cup holidays, refused to fall into the trap laid by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp earlier on Friday saying City are the clear favourites for the title.

Klopp has spent the most of any manager in the Premier League in the close season and may have been trying to shift some of the huge weight of expectations on his and his team's shoulders.

"Thank you Jurgen," joked Guardiola.

"But for nine years I've lived with it, no problem.

"Every season except the first when I arrived, when I had people in Barcelona who didn't know I was a manager, since then we've been the favourites but thank you Jurgen, you are so kind!"]]>
8/11/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Messi assumes Barcelona captaincy]]>
Messi will lead Barca out in the Spanish SuperCup on Sunday against Sevilla in the Moroccan port of Tangier.

The club confirmed: "The No.10 (Messi) who filled the role of second captain since 2015 will this season be the team's captain, a title that has shone over this past decade on the arms of other club legends like Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta."

Five time Ballon d'Or winner Messi returns to club football in Spain after scoring just once in Argentina's chaotic and disappointing World Cup campaign.]]>
8/11/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Batshuayi joins Valencia on loan from Chelsea]]>
Batshuayi joined Chelsea in 2016 from Olympique de Marseille for a reported 33 million pounds ($42 million) and only struck five league goals in his first campaign, although he scored in a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion which clinched the 2016/2017 Premier League title.

He struck 10 goals in all competitions in his second season with Chelsea but in January was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund, where he scored seven times in 10 Bundesliga appearances.

Valencia finished fourth in La Liga last season to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in three years, allowing Batshuayi to play in Europe's elite competition while Chelsea will be in the Europa League.

Batshuayi made three appearances at the 2018 World Cup. While celebrating Belgium's winning goal against England, he ended up being smacked hard in the face by the ball.]]>
8/10/2018 7:04:12 PM
<![CDATA[Sarri rules out Chelsea exit for Hazard]]>
Chelsea broke the world record fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for 80 million euros ($91.55 million), before securing a season-long loan deal for midfielder Kovacic from Real Madrid.

Spanish media have reported Hazard as a transfer target for Real Madrid throughout the close season.

When asked about the prospect of a foreign team making a move for Chelsea players, Sarri said: "It's impossible because, here, the market is closed. We cannot change important players now.

"Hazard is with us. I think, definitely. Not a problem. I have spoken with him three or four times for everything. He never said something about the market, so I think he's very happy to stay here."

Arrizabalaga has the daunting task of replacing World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois, who established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League after arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2011.

Sarri conceded Arrizabalaga will need time to adapt to the English game but praised Chelsea for acquiring "one of the most important" young goalkeepers in Europe.

"I'm very happy for both because Courtois' situation was clear," Sarri said.

"He wanted to go to Madrid so we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world. But we bought a young goalkeeper, one of the most important among the young goalkeepers in Europe, so I'm really happy.

"(Also) for Kovacic, because he has the right characteristics for us. He is a very technical player who can play between the lines of the opponent. I'm very happy and now I think the squad is complete."

Chelsea will kick off their league campaign against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday.]]>
8/10/2018 5:47:25 PM
<![CDATA[Hodgson extends Palace stay until 2020]]>
Croydon-born Hodgson, 71, took over at Palace in September last year after Frank de Boer was sacked following four defeats in his first four league matches.

The former England boss went on to lift the club well clear of relegation before ending the season in 11th place.

"I am delighted to have extended my contract with Crystal Palace," Hodgson said in a statement on Friday.

"It is a club that has been close to my heart since I was a youngster growing up in the borough of Croydon, and having stood on the terraces in the 1950s, it is a wonderful thing to be managing my boyhood club all these years later.

"We can be proud of our achievements last season in turning things around despite a poor start, but this year we want to ensure we don't endure the same struggles."

Ahead of Palace's league opener against newcomers Fulham, Hodgson said his club has been successful in plugging gaps in the squad despite operating with a limited budget.

Cheikhou Kouyate arrived from West Ham United, goalkeeper Vicente Guaita and German midfielder Max Meyer joined on a free transfer, while forward Jordan Ayew arrived on loan from Swansea City on deadline day.

"Everyone at the club has worked hard. This time we've been very successful," Hodgson told reporters.

"Don't forget we've spent a lot in the previous ones. We've looked at our situation and examined what we've got and what we needed to do."

Hodgson confirmed Meyer will have to wait for his Premier League debut as he is still in the early stages building his fitness levels for the new campaign.

"He's (Meyer) a naturally fit player but he's had no pre-season," he said.

"We want to bring his match fitness level up to a better level. Hopefully we can organise a match next week to play. I can't put a timescale on when he'll be fit to play." ]]>
8/10/2018 5:27:30 PM
<![CDATA[More than 1.5 million Fantasy players captain Salah]]>
The Fantasy Football Premier League season became the talk of Premier League fans in the past years and they are waiting for the start of the English Premier League on Aug. 10.

Premier League’s 2018/2019 season starts on Friday witha big game between Manchester United and Leicester City at 09:00 p.m. (CLT).

Salah has been chosen by more than 1.5 million Fantasy players depending on what he has achieved in the past season, leading the top scorers list by 32 goals.

Liverpool faces West Ham on Sunday’s afternoon, 02:30 p.m. (CLT) and Arsenal hosts the title holders, Manchester City.

Salah’s record also against West Ham is brilliant as he scored three goals and provided one assist. Salah is the most expensive player in the Fantasy game as he costs €13 million followed by Tottenham’s Harry Kane who costs €12.5 million.

Egypt Today decided to do a brief summary about what the Fantasy Football League is and how one can play it.


Fantasy Football League is a website that gives the one playing it a budget of €100 million ($118M), with which he needs to buy 15 players he thinks will gain the most points. The key here is to have 11 strong players in the starting lineup and four average players that sit on the bench.

The way the points are calculated varies in every position. The goalkeeper receives six points if he keeps a clean sheet. Additional points are added when he saves a penalty or multiple chances or if he somehow manages to make an assist or score a goal. On the other hand, the defender is given six points if he keeps a clean sheet and another six points if he manages to score a goal or make an assist. The midfielder gets a surplus of points if he makes more than one assist and scores a goal or two. Lastly, the striker will be given six points if he scores a goal and 12 points if he scores a double.

When picking the players, one should keep in mind that the performance of the players needs to be consistent. Right backs and left backs are picked the most in defense because they make many assists, and usually, if they play in a top team, they tend to keep a lot of clean sheets. One should avoid picking quality defensive midfielders, because most likely they don’t score goals or make assists, and as a result they will not receive points. The key when picking the player is finding one who has a good price and is constantly scoring or has a lot of clean sheets.


Fantasy Football League has three chips that can be used in an attempt to gain more points. The first chip is called the “bench boost”, which allows one to gain the points of both the players in the starting lineup and the players on the bench. Also, there is another option called the “free hit”, which is used when a lot of players won’t play in the next fixture. So the free hit allows unlimited transfers to be made in order to change the whole squad for only one week. Then, in the following week, the old squad is returned. The last chip is called the “triple captain”. This means that the captain’s points will be tripled during the week. For example, if one’s captain is Liverpool’s midfielder Salah, and he receives nine points during this fixture, his points will be tripled and Salah will receive 27 points.

Finally, each player has the chance to change only one player before the start of the game week. The player has unlimited changes in the first week. After the end of the first week, he can only make one transfer; if he makes more than one transfer, he will lose four points on each transfer in the following game week.

8/10/2018 4:49:30 PM
<![CDATA[FIFA ban former African Player of Year Bwalya]]>
The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's Ethics Committee said on Friday that they had banned Bwalya, a member of the executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), for two years from "all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level."

FIFA said in a statement they had been investigating the 54-year-old Bwalya since February 2017 "focused principally on benefits that Mr Bwalya had received from Mr Bin Hammam."

"The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Bwalya guilty of having violated art. 16 (Confidentiality) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. A fine in the amount of CHF 100,000 ($100,573.2) was also imposed on Mr Bwalya."

Bwalya, was voted African Player of the Year in 1988 and later went on to be coach of the Zambia national team and president of the Zambian Football Association. He was not immediately reachable for comment.

Bin Hammam was banned for life from football by FIFA in 2011 for his part in a cash-for-votes scandal. The Qatari has denied any wrongdoing.]]>
8/10/2018 4:44:50 PM
<![CDATA[Theo Hernandez joins Sociedad from Real Madrid on loan]]>
"Real Sociedad have reached an agreement with Real Madrid for the loan of one season of Theo Hernandez. An agreement has also been reached with the player, who passed a medical examination this morning," said a statement from Sociedad, who finished 12th in Spain's top flight last season.

The younger brother of France World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez, Theo, 20, became the first player in 17 years to cross the divide from Atletico to city rivals Real Madrid last year following an impressive spell on loan at Alaves.

He made 23 appearances in all competitions last season for Madrid following his 30-million-euro ($34.4 million) move. However, he rarely hit the form he frequently displayed at Alaves and was always behind influential left back Marcelo in the pecking order for the biggest games.]]>
8/10/2018 3:15:57 PM
<![CDATA[Southampton sign striker Ings on loan]]>
The 26-year-old Ings played only 14 games in three years at Liverpool after suffering a number of injury problems.

“There was significant competition for Danny, with a lot of clubs keen to complete a deal for him, so we’re clearly delighted that he chose to join us," Southampton manager Mark Hughes told the club website.

“We have admired him for some time now, not only for his ability, but also his character and personality, which we feel will be an ideal fit in our dressing room.

“He’s obviously a local boy, who gives us another excellent option up front."

Ings started his career with Bournemouth before joining Burnley in 2011 and he played one match for England in 2015.

"He didn't get to play as much as he would have liked at Liverpool, but he has been injury-free for some time now and has a real point to prove," Hughes said.]]>
8/10/2018 2:57:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to face Denmark at U-18 World Handball Championship]]>
Denmark, the national team that has achieved the title twice in 2006 and 2012, has had a stunning campaign at the tournament.

Denmark defeated Croatia at their opening game in the tournament 28-21 before defeating Sweden 32-23 and they are one of the main contenders for the title.

Egypt failed to achieve any victory at the tournament as they lost the opening game to Chile on Tuesday before losing the second game on Wednesday night to Croatia.

Egypt qualified for the World Cup as champions of the 2017 African Women's Youth Handball Championship in Ivory Coast. Egyptian players hope to achieve good results in their second participation in the competition.

Egypt’s squad for the tournament includes Nada Mamdouh, Samira Refaat, Rana Rady, Yasmin Emad, Sohila Khaled, Aya Tarek, Farida Hany, Shahd Ahmed, Laila Haitham, Yara Abol Dahab, Alaa Eslam, Salma Abdel Razek, Sandy Kassem, Habiba Goda, Farah Shazly and Lara Osama.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group B alongside Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Chile and the 2010 World Cup winners, Sweden.

Poland hosts the competition in Kielce between Aug. 7 and 19. ]]>
8/10/2018 11:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Elmohmaady extends Ismaily contract until 2023 ]]>
The player was linked with a move to Zamalek, where he played for six months on loan in 2016, but in the end he decided to stay at his childhood club.

Elmohmaady, born in Ismailia, joined their academy when he was seven and he stayed there for two years and then he moved to Cairo where he played six years for Enppi.

Ismaily resigned their defender when he was 15 and since then he established himself as one of the promising talents at the club.

The 21-year-old defender earned his debut at the first team when he was 19 against Haras El Hodoud SC at the League and since then established himself as one of the key players at the club.

The defender participated at Ismaily’s goalless draw against Petrojet at the second fixture of the League but he missed their opening game against Al-Ahly that ended with a 1-1 draw.

The player prepares with his teammates to face Kuwait at the Arab Club Champions Cup round of 32 first leg on Sunday night. ]]>
8/10/2018 6:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Calderon arrives on Friday to start his job as Noggom manager ]]>
The club appointed the Spanish manager as their new head coach on August 3 following the departure of Diaa el-Sayed days before the league kicked off.

Nogoom FC participates in the Egyptian Premier League for the first time in their history.

Alaa Hassab-Allah, Nogoom caretaker manager, led the team in the first two fixtures of the league.

The club started their run at the league with a goalless draw against Tala’a El-Gaish and they ended the second game against Smouha with the same result.

As a player, Calderon represented his hometown club, Cadiz, RCD Mallorca and Lleida at the Spanish League’s top division.

Calderon started his managerial career in 2002 with Scottish club, Raith Rovers, before he returned to Spain where he managed many big clubs like Cadiz, Albacete, Huesca, Tenerife and Fuenlabrada.

Calderon’s first game as Nogoom FC manager will be on Aug. 15 against the Arab Contractors. ]]>
8/10/2018 4:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Navas staying put at Madrid despite Courtois competition]]>
"Tell everyone loud and clear, I have as much enthusiasm for leaving Madrid as I do for dying," Navas told reporters after Real's 2-1 victory over AS Roma in a friendly at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey on Wednesday.

The Costa Rica international joined Real in 2014 and has helped them win a remarkable three consecutive Champions League crowns between 2016 and 2018 as well as lifting the La Liga title in 2017.

The keeper's long term future has often been in doubt, however. He was on the verge of joining Manchester United in 2015 when Real's pursuit of David de Gea fell through on transfer deadline day, while the club also failed to sign Spain goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga last January from Athletic Bilbao.

Navas's status as Real's number one is now seriously threatened by the arrival of Courtois, who was awarded the Golden Glove for being the best goalkeeper at the 2018 World Cup and signed from Chelsea on Wednesday for a reported 35 million euros ($40.59 million).]]>
8/10/2018 2:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Everton sign Barca's Mina and Gomes plus Shakhtar's Bernard]]>
Minutes before the English transfer deadline closed on Thursday, Everton also announced the signing of Brazil playmaker Bernard on a free transfer from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The 23-year-old Mina, who was impressive in defence at this year's World Cup in Russia where he also scored three goals, will rejuvenate an ageing Everton back line while offering a threat from set-pieces at the other end of the pitch.

The fee could rise by 1.5 million euros and Barcelona have inserted a buy-back clause in the player's contract.

Everton's season-long loan deal for Portugal's Gomes will see them pay 2.25 million euros and the player's wages. The 25-year-old has played 29 times for his country.

Bernard, also 25, has signed a four-year deal with the Merseyside club after his contract at Shakhtar ran out in June.

Capped 14 times by his country, Bernard can play on either wing or as an attacking midfielder.

The Brazilian said new Everton boss Marco Silva convinced him to join the Toffees.

"The manager made me feel confident about playing here. He is a very good coach and he has achieved really good things at other clubs," he said in a statement.

"Everton is a club with a great structure and a lot of tradition, historically the fourth most successful club in England. When I found out about this opportunity and what the manager wanted out of me I was happy."]]>
8/9/2018 11:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Spanish goalkeeper Rico joins Fulham on loan from Sevilla]]>
The 24-year-old academy graduate has made 170 appearances for Sevilla during his career, and has also been capped once by the national team.

Rico was an integral part of the Sevilla squad for four seasons and won the Europa League twice before losing his position as first choice keeper last season.

"Sergio joins a very talented cast of goalkeepers under contract at FFC, and he answers our mandate of making our squad the strongest and deepest it can be as we face top Premier League opposition," Fulham's director of football operations Tony Khan said in a statement.

Rico could feature in the Slavisa Jokanovic's squad when they host Crystal Palace in their opening league match on Saturday.

Fulham also confirmed the signing of left-back Joe Bryan from Bristol City on a four-year contract, with an option to extend by a further year. ]]>
8/9/2018 9:50:00 PM
<![CDATA[Atletico boost strike force by signing Kalinic from AC Milan]]>
"The Croatian, 30, has become a new Atletico player after signing a three-year contract. Kalinic is a powerful striker who is very good in the air and who has a wealth of experience in European football."

Kalinic struck six goals in 20 starts in Serie A last season and is likely to be Atletico's third choice striker behind Costa and Griezmann.

The move is likely to lead to French striker Kevin Gameiro searching for a new club, with the Spanish media reporting this week that Valencia and Borussia Dortmund have made bids to sign him.

Kalinic, who has also played in England, Ukraine and his native Croatia as well as for Italian side Fiorentina, has been capped 41 times for Croatia and was named in the squad for the 2018 World Cup.

The striker was sent home by coach Zlatko Dalic, however, who said he had refused to come on as a substitute in the team’s opening game against Nigeria, meaning he missed out on the side's run to a first ever World Cup final. ]]>
8/9/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[West Ham's Hernandez dreaming of top six finish]]>
The London club have brought in Manuel Pellegrini as manager and spent nearly 100 million pounds ($128.87 million) to bolster the squad in the transfer window.

"Top six, top four is the aim, as high as we can. I'm a dreamer," Hernandez told the club website http://bit.ly/2nmfkZN ahead of Sunday's trip to Liverpool. "I am always aiming as high as I can and if we can put West Ham in the Champions League why not?"

The Mexico international scored just eight goals in 28 league appearances last season but is looking forward to working with Pellegrini.

"He told me I was going to be an important player and would play an important role in this team, so he gave me a lot of confidence," he added.]]>
8/9/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Pliskova, Kerber upset in Montreal]]>
The ninth-seeded Czech failed to record a single ace in the second-round battle but committed eight double faults and was broken seven times by the defensive-minded Bertens.

Bertens will next meet eighth-seed Petra Kvitova, who advanced past Estonian Anett Kontaveit 6-3 6-4 in their second-round battle on Tuesday.

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber came crashing back to earth after she beat Serena Williams in the grasscourt final last month, falling 6-4 6-1 to Alize Cornet of France.

The fourth-seeded German committed 32 errors to help Cornet reach the third round, where she will face Australia's Ashleigh Barty, who defeated Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck 7-6(7) 6-2 in her second-round match.

Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu was forced to retire from her second-round match against fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina with the score 6-3 6-7(5) 4-3 after she suffered a right ankle injury.

The 30-year-old slipped on the baseline while running down a shot and immediately collapsed in tears. She eventually left the court in a wheelchair, waving to the crowd as it rose to give her a standing ovation.

The unseeded Maria Sharapova made quick work of fellow Russian Daria Kasatkina during their first meeting with a convincing 6-0 6-2 win and will face sixth seed Caroline Garcia of France in the third round on Thursday.

Third-seeded Sloane Stephens thrashed 21-year-old Francoise Abanda, dispatching the Canadian 6-0 6-2 in 80 minutes.

The 25-year-old American is looking to sharpen her game ahead of her U.S. Open title defense after disappointing results at Wimbledon and the Citi Open last month, where she was eliminated in the first and second rounds.

Rain forced two late matches to be halted, with top seed Simona Halep trailing Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 4-3, and British number one Johanna Konta leading Victoria Azarenka 6-3 3-0. Both second-round matches will resume on Thursday.]]>
8/9/2018 7:24:55 PM
<![CDATA[Wolves sign Belgium midfielder Dendoncker from Anderlecht]]>
The 23-year-old has joined on a season-long loan, which the Wolves say will become permanent at the end of the season.

Having made his professional debut in 2013, Dendoncker has played 190 games for Anderlecht and helped the club win the domextic title last year.

Dendoncker made his Belgium debut in 2015 and featured against England in the group stage at the World Cup in Russia.

He becomes Wolves' sixth signing since they won promotion from the Championship in May, following Adama Traore, Rui Patricio, Jonny Castro Otto, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez.

Dendoncker could make his debut for Nuno Espirito Santo's side when they host Everton in their league opener on Saturday.]]>
8/9/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Salah nominated for UEFA forward of the season ]]>

Salah has been shortlisted for the award alongside Argentinean Winger, Lionel Messi, and Portuguese striker, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Egyptian winger had a sensational season with his club, Liverpool, having scored 44 goals last season, including 32 goals in the league to be the Premier League top goal scorer.

Salah also had a great campaign at the UEFA Champions League last season, having scored 10 goals for Liverpool at Champions League including five goals at knockout stages.
Salah goals led Liverpool to the Champions League final in Kiev where they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo won his nomination after leading Real Madrid to their third consecutive Champions League title, having scored 13 goals during Real’s campaign. He won the UEFA Champions League top goal scorer award.

Messi and his teammates in Barcelona were knocked out of the competition at the quarter finals by AS Roma. However, the Argentinean won his nomination for his sensational performances at the early stages of the competition.

The winner will be announced on August 30 at the UEFA ceremony in Monaco where the 2019 Champions League draw will be held. ]]>
8/9/2018 4:59:48 PM
<![CDATA[Nadal routs Paire to reach third round in Toronto]]>
World number one Nadal, who kicked off the evening session a little over an hour after its original start time, had some issues with his serve later in the match but still needed only 74 minutes to secure his spot in the third round.

Nadal came out firing a dazzling array of shots that had Paire racing around the blue hard court from the outset and even desperately launching his racquet on one occasion in a failed attempt at a return that gave the Spaniard a 5-2 lead.

Nadal was made to work harder in the second where the players exchanged breaks over six consecutive games before the world number one finally held in the ninth to seal the match when Paire sent a service return wide.

"Of course I was not at 100 percent today," Nadal, 32, told reporters. "It's true that with my serve in the second set I had some troubles but my return was working well ... it was more about the mistakes from the baseline in my opinion."

Nadal will face Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16 after the Swiss rallied to beat Hungarian Marton Fucsovics 1-6 7-6(2) 7-6(10).

In earlier action, a solid-serving Novak Djokovic kept his bid for a fifth Rogers Cup title alive with a 6-3 6-4 win over Canadian wildcard Peter Polansky.

The ninth-seeded Serb, competing in his first tournament since his Wimbledon triumph last month, won a dominant 83 percent of his first service points and wrapped up the day's opening match minutes before the first of several rain delays.

"I thought I served well in the moments when I really need it and I was looking for the first serve," said Djokovic.

"I thought I found pretty good accuracy and angles with the first serve, and also my second serve worked pretty well. Overall my game was so-and-so. In the moments when I probably needed to step it up, I did."

Next up for Djokovic in the round of 16 is Greek teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas, who upset Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem 6-3 7-6(6).

A win for Djokovic would set up a potential quarter-final clash with German second seed Alexander Zverev, who advanced to the third round after a 6-4 6-4 win over Bradley Klahn.

Also advancing to the third round were Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson, fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov, sixth seed Marin Cilic, eighth seed John Isner, Dutchman Robin Haase and Russian Karen Khachanov, who upset Spanish 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busto 6-4 7-6(3). ]]>
8/9/2018 4:58:18 PM
<![CDATA[Gross announces squad for Arab Cup opener ]]>
Gross included the club’s new signing, Ferjani Sassi, in the list for the first time since he joined the club last summer.

Gross’ chosen squad for the game consisted of Emad el-Sayed, Omar Salah, Mahmoud Abdel Rahim known as Gennesh, Mohamed Abdel Ghani, Hamdi Nagguez, Bahaa Magdy, Mahmoud Hamdy, Ahmed Fattoh, Hazem Imam, Mahmoud Alaa, Ferjani Sassi, Mahmoud Abdel-Aati, Tarek Hamed, Mohamed Antar, Youssef Obama, Omar el-Said, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Mohamed Hassan, Abdallah Gomaa, Ibrahim Hassan, Mohamed Ibrahim, Ahmed Madbouli, Mahmoud Abdel-Monem known as Kahraba, Kabongo Kasongo and Hamid Ahaddad.

Al-Qadsia is one of the best teams in the Gulf and they achieved the Kuwaiti Premier League 17 times, as the most winning club in the league.

Al-Qadsia finished the League last season second behind Kuwait SC who faces Ismaily on Sunday night in Ismailia.

Al-Qadsia’s best player is their veteran striker, Bader Al Motawaa, who won second best Asian player in 2006 and he is the most capped player for Kuwait.

About 20,000 Zamalek fans are expected to travel to Alexandria to support their team against the Kuwaiti side.

8/9/2018 3:46:38 PM
<![CDATA[Scholes expects a tough season for Man United]]>
“I don't see them challenging for the league this year. You don't really know the team, you don't really know the players, and you don't know how they're going to perform from one week to the next,” Scholes told the press on Monday.

Manchester United has not been able to achieve the Premier League title since 2013 when their legend, Sir Alex Ferguson, was the team manager.

Scholes added: “When you look at Manchester City, possibly Liverpool, I don't think Manchester United has the quality of those two teams at the minute.”

Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho’s attitude during the pre-season was disappointing for the club’s fans as the manager criticized the board after their failure to sign the players he wanted.

Scholes commented on Mourinho’s attitude saying: “He is in a difficult position now I think, but he needs to try to find a way to get out of it and he needs to get off to a good start this season.”

Manchester United will open their campaign at the League on Friday night at home against Leicester City. ]]>
8/9/2018 2:02:01 PM
<![CDATA[Eslam Salah suffers season-ending injury ]]>
Salah tangled with Al-Ahly’s Mido Gaber during the second half but he decided to continue the game despite his injury. However, he was forced to leave the pitch as he could not handle the pain.

Al-Masry will miss their captain for the next six months.

Al-Ahly defeated Al-Masry 2-0 on Tuesday night at Borg El Arab stadium thanks to two goals from Salif Coulibaly and Walid Azarro.

Al-Ahly players reconciled their fans after a frustrating start at the opening game of the season against Ismaily that ended with a 1-1 draw.

Al-Masry are preparing for the game against Petrojet on Tuesday at the third fixture of the League.

Al-Masry gained three points from two games at the League as they achieved a 1-0 victory over Al-Gouna at the opening game of the league. ]]>
8/9/2018 2:00:26 PM
<![CDATA[Video: Standing ovation for Karius at his Anfield return ]]>
Karius played the last 20 minutes of Liverpool’s friendly game against Torino which ended with 3-1 victory for the hosts.

Karius, who was the starting goalkeeper for Liverpool last season, had a poor performance at UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid.

He had two silly mistakes that cost his team two goals at the game which ended 3-1 for Real Madrid.

The goalkeeper was happy with Liverpool fans’ reception, posting on his Instagram account: “Thank you Anfield for this reception!”

Thank you Anfield for this reception! ❤️👏🏻 #YNWA #LK1

A post shared by LORIS KARIUS (@lorisk21) on

Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, was happy with fans’ reception to his goalkeeper; he said, “It was a really big gesture. I loved it, to be honest. We showed tonight a really nice face and I liked it. It helps not only Loris; it helps Alisson as well, that you can see this is a very special place.”

Liverpool signed Brazilian goalkeeper, Allison, from Roma this summer and he is expected to take Karius’ position as Liverpool starting goalkeeper. =]]>
8/9/2018 1:53:34 PM
<![CDATA[Henderson in contention for opener, says Klopp]]>
Henderson, who helped England to a fourth-placed finish at the World Cup, impressed his manager with his fitness levels and played 20 minutes in Tuesday's 3-1 pre-season win over Torino.

"We have to see how he reacts. But it is Hendo, so to be honest in the first session it looked like he trained for the whole three weeks," Klopp told the club website https://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/310902-jurgen-klopp-reaction-liverpool-torino-quotes.

"He's experienced enough not to bring himself in difficult situations where he has to run two or three miles in two minutes.

"I have no clue what we will do at the weekend."]]>
8/9/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt loses to Croatia at U-18 World Handball Championship]]>
The European team were the better side from the start and they ended the first half 15-11.

The Egyptian team tried to return in the game in the second half but Croatia increased the gap to win the game 31-24.

Egypt failed to achieve any victory in the tournament as they lost the opening game to Chile.

Egypt qualified for the World Cup as champions of the 2017 African Women's Youth Handball Championship in Ivory Coast.

Egypt’s squad for the tournament includes Nada Mamdouh, Samira Refaat, Rana Rady, Yasmin Emad, Sohila Khaled, Aya Tarek, Farida Hany, Shahd Ahmed, Laila Haitham, Yara Abol Dahab, Alaa Eslam, Salma Abdel Razek, Sandy Kassem, Habiba Goda, Farah Shazly and Lara Osama.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group B alongside Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Chile and the 2010 World Cup winners, Sweden.

Poland hosts the competition in Kielce between August 7 and 19. ]]>
8/9/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wolves complete signing of winger Traore]]>
Wolves did not provide financial details but British media reports said the deal to bring the player to Molineux was worth a club record 18 million pounds ($23.2 million).

Traore, 22, spent the last two seasons at the Riverside Stadium. He scored five goals and provided 10 assists in the previous campaign in the second-tier Championship to be voted Middlesbrough's player of the season.

A product of the Barcelona youth system, Traore left the Spanish club in 2015 for a stint with Aston Villa. He then moved to Middlesbrough after a season.

Traore is Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo's fifth recruit of the transfer window and follows goalkeeper Rui Patricio, defender Jonny Castro Otto, midfielder Joao Moutinho and forward Raul Jimenez into the club.

Wolves host Everton in their opening league game on Aug. 11.]]>
8/9/2018 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Van Rouwendaal wins 5km title in Loch Lomond]]>
Hungary's Kristof Rasovszky took the equivalent men's title in a closely fought battle with his main rivals in the waters of Loch Lomond.

Van Rouwendaal, who won her 2016 Olympic gold over 10km, covered the shorter course in 56 minutes and 01.0 seconds after dominating the race.

The 24-year-old finished 16.8 seconds clear of Germany's Leonie Beck (56:17.8), while Italy's Rachele Bruni won bronze in 56:49.7.

Rasovszky was pushed hard by the pacesetting French duo of Axel Reymond and Logan Fontaine before overcoming them in the final stages.

After a thrilling battle over the last 100 metres, the 21-year-old Rasovszky came first in 52:38.9, less than three seconds faster than Reymond (52:41.7) and Fontaine (52:44.4).

"When the two French guys went to the front, I tried to chase after them and save some energy, enough so that I could try to beat them before the finish because they are so fast," said a delighted Rasovszky.

Reymond, the world champion at 25km, surprised himself by winning silver in this relative sprint for him while his compatriot and race favourite Marc-Antoine Olivier, the world 5km champion, could only finish seventh.]]>
8/8/2018 8:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Kepa pays 80m euro release fee ahead of record Chelsea move]]>
The 23-year-old is expected to sign for the Premier League side on Wednesday, with current goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois poised to move to Real Madrid.

"La Liga has confirmed to us that Kepa Arrizabalaga has fulfilled the requirements for the unilateral termination of his contract with Athletic Club," said Bilbao in a statement.

"(He has ended) the relationship that linked him to us since the 2004-05 season and the amount of compensation established in the contract has been deposited."

At 80 million euros, Arrizabalaga will become the most expensive goalkeeper in football history, ahead of Liverpool's Alisson Becker, who moved from AS Roma for 75 million euros earlier in the transfer window.

After being strongly linked to Real Madrid, Arrizabalaga signed a new deal with Bilbao in January which raised his release fee to 80 million.

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri praised Arrizabalaga on Tuesday night.

"I saw (Kepa) one year ago, my first impression was that he is a very good goalkeeper, very young but very good," said the Italian coach after his team drew 0-0 with Olympique Lyonnais in a friendly.]]>
8/8/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Coulibaly’s early goal helped us: Youssef ]]>
“It is always tough to play against Al-Masry but the early goal from Coulibaly helped us control the game and achieve the victory,” Youssef told the press after the game.

Al-Ahly defeated Al-Masry 2-0 on Tuesday night at Borg El Arab stadium thanks to two goals from Coulibaly and Walid Azarro.

Al-Ahly players reconciled their fans after a frustrating start at the opening game of the season against Ismaily that ended with a 1-1 draw.

Al-Ahly winger, Mido Gaber, had a great night against Al-Masry and dominated the left flank; the player revealed after the victory that he is doing everything to establish himself at the starting line-up.

“I am happy with the manager’s trust and I train very hard to be ready to help the team during the games,” Gaber said.

Al-Ahly players are preparing for their first game at the Arab Club Champions Cup round of 32 first leg against Lebanon’s Nejmeh on Monday. ]]>
8/8/2018 5:56:30 PM
<![CDATA[Van Rouwendaal wins 5km title in Loch Lomond]]>
Hungary's Kristof Rasovszky took the equivalent men's title in a closely fought battle with his main rivals in the waters of Loch Lomond.

Van Rouwendaal, who won her 2016 Olympic gold over 10km, covered the shorter course in 56 minutes and 01.0 seconds after dominating the race.

The 24-year-old finished 16.8 seconds clear of Germany's Leonie Beck (56:17.8), while Italy's Rachele Bruni won bronze in 56:49.7.

Rasovszky was pushed hard by the pacesetting French duo of Axel Reymond and Logan Fontaine before overcoming them in the final stages.

After a thrilling battle over the last 100 metres, the 21-year-old Rasovszky came first in 52:38.9, less than three seconds faster than Reymond (52:41.7) and Fontaine (52:44.4).

"When the two French guys went to the front, I tried to chase after them and save some energy, enough so that I could try to beat them before the finish because they are so fast," said a delighted Rasovszky.

Reymond, the world champion at 25km, surprised himself by winning silver in this relative sprint for him while his compatriot and race favourite Marc-Antoine Olivier, the world 5km champion, could only finish seventh.]]>
8/8/2018 4:33:10 PM
<![CDATA[Hometown favourite Bouchard falls in Montreal]]>
Mertens, the 14th seed, won five break points to dispatch Bouchard, who has fallen to 129th in the world after reaching a career-high of fifth in 2014 -- the year she reached the Wimbledon final.

Home hopes now rest on 21-year-old Francoise Abanda, who defeated qualifier Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-3 6-2.

British number one Johanna Konta fired eight aces en route to a 6-7(6) 6-1 6-2 upset win over 11th-seeded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko.

Konta, who handed Serena Williams the worst loss of her career at the Silicon Valley Classic last month, will face former world number one Victoria Azarenka in the second round on Wednesday.

Azarenka was in complete control as she strolled to a 6-0 6-1 win over Kristina Mladenovic of France in a match that lasted less than an hour.

Daria Kasatkina, seeded 12th, beat rising Greek talent Maria Sakkari 6-4 4-6 6-1 to set up her first career meeting against fellow Russian Maria Sharapova in the second round on Wednesday.

Other players to advance from the first round on Tuesday included Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro and Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who will face top-seeded Simona Halep on Wednesday.

Sixth seed Caroline Garcia of France and eighth-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova advanced to the third round with wins over Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova and Estonian Anett Kontaveit. ]]>
8/8/2018 4:10:56 PM
<![CDATA[Carlos to analyze Egyptian League games on Pyramids TV ]]>

Pyramids TV won the Egyptian League broadcasting rights which will be covered by a group of Egypt’s best football pundits.

The channel also hosted former English defender, John Terry, who analyzed Al-Ahly clash against Ismaily that ended with a 1-1 draw.

Pyramids TV pundit, Ahmed Hossam known as Mido, previously revealed that former Newcastle United striker, Alan Shearer; former Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba, and former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, will be hosted for the analysis of the Egyptian League matches.

Pyramids FC started their campaign at the League with a victory over Enppi thanks to a late goal by Mohamed Magdi Afsha.

On the other hand, El-Entag El-Harby SC, led by Mokhtar Mokhtar, achieved a stunning 2-1 victory over newly promoted, Haras El-Hodood at their opening game of the League.

Air Defense Stadium will host the game that starts at 4:30 p.m. (C.L.T). ]]>
8/8/2018 3:34:54 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt loses to Chile at U-18 World Handball Championship]]>
The Latin American side dominated the game from the start and they were leading 10-6 by half time. Chile’s dominance continued at the second half and they increased the gap in the score to win the game 23-12.

Farida Hany was the best player from the Egyptian team, having scored four goals.

Egyptian players hope to bounce back against Croatia when they meet on Wednesday night.

Egypt qualified for the World Cup as champions of the 2017 African Women's Youth Handball Championship in Ivory Coast. Egyptian players hope to achieve good results in their second participation in the competition.

Egypt’s squad for the tournament includes Nada Mamdouh, Samira Refaat, Rana Rady, Yasmin Emad, Sohila Khaled, Aya Tarek, Farida Hany, Shahd Ahmed, Laila Haitham, Yara Abol Dahab, Alaa Eslam, Salma Abdel Razek, Sandy Kassem, Habiba Goda, Farah Shazly and Lara Osama.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group B alongside Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Chile and the 2010 World Cup winners, Sweden.

Poland hosts the competition in Kielce between Aug. 7 and 19. ]]>
8/8/2018 3:13:46 PM
<![CDATA[Redouane Jiyed to officiate Ismaily, Kuwait clash ]]>
Redouane Achik and Hesham Ayet will be the assistant referees for the game.

Jiyed, 39, is one of the experienced referees at the African continent and he was selected to officiate at the 2017 African Cup of Nations where he took charge of the Senegal-against-Zimbabwe game at the group stage.

The Kuwaiti team arrived on Wednesday to Ismailia and they will train behind closed doors to prepare for the game.

This game will bring back good memories for Ismaily manager, Kheïreddine Madoui, and Kuwait SC Tunisian midfielder, Hamza Lahmar, who worked together during last season at Tunisian club, Etoile Du Sahel.

Madoui will count on the experience of Ismaily’s vetern players, Hosni Abd Raboh, Essam El-Hadary and Mahmoud Metwally to achieve a comfortable victory before the second leg in Kuwait.

On the other hand, UAFA Referees Committee has selected Egyptian referee, Mahmoud El Banna, to officiate UAE’s Al Jazira game against Saudi Arabian club Al Nasr on Monday night in UAE. ]]>
8/8/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mohamady scores, refuses to celebrate against Hull City ]]>
Hull City opened the score after seven minutes by Evandro Goebel but the visitors needed just seven minutes to equalize the score by Tommy Elphick’s header.

Mohamady’s moment came 20 minutes before the final whistle when he received the ball outside the box and his shot found the target to make the score 2-1.

The Egyptian refused to celebrate in front of his former club fans as he wore Hull City’s jersey between 2012 and 2017.

Alan Hutton secured Villa’s victory when he scored the third goal minutes before the final whistle.

“We showed character to get back into it and in the second half we improved. I was pleased with the second half. We upped the tempo and moved the ball quicker,” Aston Villa manager, Steve Bruce, told press after the game.

Aston Villa, who lost last season’s play-offs game to Fulham, hopes to return to the Premier League this season after three years of absence.

Aston Villa hosts Wigan Athletic on Saturday at their first home game of the season. ]]>
8/8/2018 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[City's Walker backs decision to cut holidays short]]>
Walker and fellow City defender John Stones were part of the England squad that finished fourth at the World Cup and returned to full training last week. Both players started City's 2-0 win over Chelsea in the Community Shield on Sunday.

"To not be a part of this would have been stupid, for me to not want to come back," Walker told reporters.

"Come Christmas I might be saying to you that I'm absolutely knackered, but that is just football.

"The gaffer gave me the option, he said you can either come back on Aug. 6 after this, or you can come back and to play," Walker added. ]]>
8/8/2018 5:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ittihad’s focus shifts to Espérance’s clash ]]>
“We forgot what happened against Zamalek at the league and we are focusing on the game against Espérance,” Al-Ittihad assistant coach, Mohamed Nour, told press on Tuesday.

Al-Ittihad reached the Arab Club Champions Cup's round of 32 after they topped their group at the qualifiers.

“It will be a tough game against the title holders. We watched their game against Kampala City at the CAF Champions League and it is clear that their midfield is their strength point," Nour added.

Espérance won the 2017 Arab Club Champions Cup title defeating Jordan’s Al-Faisaly 3-2 at the final.

Al-Ittihad fans will support their team at the first leg against the Tunisian club in Alexandria Stadium on Thursday.

The second leg is scheduled for September 2 at Stade Olympique de Radès in Tunisia. ]]>
8/8/2018 4:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kroenke wins full control of Arsenal after Usmanov agrees to sell]]>
Coming at a crucial time for Arsenal as they start life without manager Arsene Wenger for the first time in 22 years, the deal cements the position of the U.S. sports boss among an elite band of super-rich soccer club owners in England.

Fans worry however that Kroenke, relying on a loan for the bulk of the funding, will not spend enough to compete for players with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City or Paris St Germain, backed by money from Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar respectively.

The deal ends a standoff between the two tycoons, who had both battled for control, but it has angered the small group of well-connected independent shareholders who see themselves as guardians of the 132-year-old club.

"The Arsenal Supporters' Trust is wholly against this takeover," one fans' group said. "Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person."

Kroenke, who largely avoids the media spotlight, owns a string of U.S. sports clubs including the U.S. Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Los Angeles Rams American Football team and the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer.


Initially viewed with suspicion by the Arsenal board, the 71-year-old started building his stake in 2007 as he slowly bought out the families who had run the club for generations.

He said on Tuesday he had now received an acceptance from Usmanov to buy his 30 percent stake, adding to the 67 percent he already owns. He will now buy out the remaining independent shareholders at 29,000 pounds for each of its rarely traded shares - more than the average salary for a British worker.

"We appreciate Mr Usmanov's dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents," he said.

Usmanov, ranked by Forbes as Russia's 10th richest man with a fortune of $12.5 billion, owns stakes in some of Russia's biggest companies including phone operator Megafon, iron ore producer Metalloinvest and Internet group Mail.ru.

"​I have decided to sell my shares in Arsenal Football Club which could be the best football club in the world," Usmanov said in a brief statement.

To buy him and the other investors out, Kroenke will pay 602 million pounds, using 45 million pounds of his own money and a 557 million pound loan from Deutsche Bank.


In a world where clubs are owned by billionaires who do not always turn up to watch them play, the independent shareholders formed a rare bridge between the club's board and its fans.

Arsenal's annual meeting was always a feisty affair. At the last game of last season, when Wenger stood down, some fans hired a plane with a banner saying "Kroenke - You're next".

David Kershaw, an independent shareholder, fan and CEO of advertising group M&C Saatchi, said he was concerned that the deal would not lead to a better performance on the pitch.

"I think it's very sad that we're in danger of losing any transparency into how our club is run," he told Reuters.

His comments were echoed by Patrick Barnes, a shareholder who has been going to Arsenal since the 1970s to watch the likes of Liam Brady, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

"I'm disappointed it's come to this, it was a strong way to connect to the club when you owned a piece of it," he said.

Kroenke now competes against the billionaire owners of other clubs such as Chelsea's Roman Abramovich, Manchester United's Glazer family and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahayan, who owns last season's runaway winners, Manchester City.

Arsenal fans have long complained that the club has not ploughed enough money into the team. Americans have had a mixed fortune as Premier League owners, with the Glazer family rarely popular at Manchester United, even when the club won the league.

Arsenal finished the 2017/18 season in sixth place behind the two Manchester clubs, fierce local rivals Tottenham Hostpur, Liverpool and Chelsea. That marked the second season running it had missed out on the lucrative European Champions League.

Founded by workers at the Royal Arsenal armaments factory, the Arsenal team have claimed the League 13 times, including three under Wenger, and are FA Cup winners a record 13 times.

New manager Unai Emery, who joined from Paris St Germain, will be given a baptism of fire this weekend when Arsenal kick off their new season against Manchester City. ]]>
8/8/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Willian defends Sarri’s philosophy after Community Shield loss]]>
Willian participated in the second half of Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City at Community Shield game on Sunday.

“The beginning is always a little more difficult to adapt to a new style of play, which changes everything,” Willian told skysports on Monday.

Willian has been linked with a move to Barcelona but Chelsea rejected Barca’s bid and the Brazilian seems happy to stay in Chelsea and work under Sarri’s command.

“I've always made it very clear that I've always been very happy playing for Chelsea. I never said that I want to leave the club. I've had a very good conversation with the manager, so I hope we can enjoy a lot of victories," Willian added.

Chelsea will open their Premier League season on Saturday against Huddersfield Town at Kirklees Stadium.

Chelsea players hope for better results this season after they failed last season to secure a place at the UEFA Champions League as they finished the league fifth. ]]>
8/7/2018 10:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mourinho hopes World Cup players can feature in opener]]>
Several United players, including Sweden's Victor Lindelof and England pair Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones, returned to training just last week and have had little time to get ready for the new campaign.

Mourinho told MUTV he expected Rashford to get better as the week progressed.

"Lindelof the same, Jones the same and let's see if one of the others is ready to give us a help, 20-25 minutes. Any help that can come from them, is welcome," he added.

Mourinho suggested Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku could also play a part against Leicester. ]]>
8/7/2018 9:40:00 PM
<![CDATA[Ghanaian match officials banned in CAF clean-up]]>
Referee David Laryea was banned for life and six other officials received 10-year suspensions.

Eleven officials were sanctioned last month in an unprecedented clean-up by African soccer’s governing body, which has long been plagued by bribery allegations.

Kenyan linesman Marwa Range, who had been due to officiate at this year's World Cup, was filmed receiving a $600 bribe during this year's African Nations Championship in Morocco and was given a life ban.

Range, a reserve official at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, had earlier been removed from the list of referees for this year's tournament in Russia.

CAF also suspended a further 14 officials from eight different countries, including four Ghanaians.]]>
8/7/2018 9:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Getting into Champions League not enough for Spurs: Pochettino]]>
The London club finished third last season to secure their place in Europe's elite club competition for a third season running.

"Of course it is a massive success for the club to be in the Champions League for the third year in a row. But maybe that is not enough, maybe we need to change certain things. For me, it is not enough," Pochettino told British media.

Spurs, who are preparing to move into their new 850 million pounds ($1.1 billion) stadium for the new season, have yet to sign any players in the current transfer window.

"If some people believe the manager of Tottenham does not want trophies they are not right in their minds. I am here to win," said the Argentine.

"Can we win something this season? In football, all can happen. It will be tough because our opponents are at a level where every year they improve ... we are competing in the same race but with a different car."]]>
8/7/2018 7:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian girls face Chile at U-18 World Handball Championship]]>
Egypt qualified for the World Cup as champions of the 2017 African Women's Youth Handball Championship in Ivory Coast. Egyptian players hope to achieve good results in their second participation in the competition.

Egypt’s squad for the tournament includes Nada Mamdouh, Samira Refaat, Rana Rady, Yasmin Emad, Sohila Khaled, Aya Tarek, Farida Hany, Shahd Ahmed, Laila Haitham, Yara Abol Dahab, Alaa Eslam, Salma Abdel Razek, Sandy Kassem, Habiba Goda, Farah Shazly and Lara Osama.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group B alongside Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Chile and the 2010 World Cup winners, Sweden.

Egypt will face Croatia on Wednesday, Denmark on Friday, and Hungary on Saturday. Egypt will end their group stage games on Monday against Sweden.

Denmark has had a perfect start at the tournament defeating Croatia 28-21.

Poland hosts the competition in Kielce between August 7 and 19.
8/7/2018 5:25:30 PM
<![CDATA[Preview: Al-Ahly vs Al-Masry ]]>
Al-Ahly started their run to defend their title with a 1-1 draw against Ismaily. Al-Ahly were 1-0 down util the last seconds of the game when Mohamed Sherif equalized the score to grant Al-Ahly their first point.

On the other hand, Al-Masry had a better start as they achieved their first victory over El-Gouna thanks to Mohamed Koffi’s goal.

Hossam Hassan, Al-Ahly former striker and Al-Masry's current manager, faced Al-Ahly in 20 games. Hassan achieved four victories, lost 10 games and six games ended with a draw.

Al-Ahly French manager, Patrice Carteron, will miss Eslam Mohareb’s services for injury but Walid Soliman, Ahmed Fathy and Mido Gaber are ready for the game after missing the first fixture for injury.

“It is a tough game against a world class manager. All teams hope to achieve good results against Al-Ahly but we will do everything to win the game,” Carteron told press ahead of the game.

Carteron faced Hassan once in 2016 when the French was leading Wadi Degla and the game ended with a goalless draw.

The game starts on 8 p.m.]]>
8/7/2018 4:43:35 PM
<![CDATA[Manchester City goalkeeper Hart signs for Burnley]]>7 August 2018: Former England goalkeeper Joe Hart has signed for Burnley from Manchester City, with City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak hailing his enormous contribution to the success of the Premier League champions.

The 31-year-old, who failed to make the England squad for the World Cup, has signed a two-year contract with Burnley for an undisclosed fee, the club said on Tuesday.

The arrival of Hart strengthens Burnley's impressive goalkeeping ranks following a dislocated shoulder sustained by Nick Pope at Aberdeen that will keep him on the sidelines for a time.

Hart will be competing with Tom Heaton and Anders Lindegaard for a starting spot under manager Sean Dyche, with a Europa League qualifier looming against Istanbul Basaksehir on Thursday and a Premier League match with Southampton on Sunday.

Both Pope and Heaton are also England internationals.

Hart was at City for 12 years but Pep Guardiola made clear he would no longer be number one when we took over in 2016.

"Joe Hart's contribution to Manchester City cannot be overstated," Al Mubarak said in a statement on Manchester City's website.

"His 12 years at the club has seen him produce some remarkable performances and heart-stopping saves that will live in the memory for a long time to come.

"His passion for and commitment to this club, evidenced by a remarkable tally of 348 appearances, means he will rightly be regarded as a City legend in perpetuity."

Hart joined City in 2006 from Shrewsbury for a fee of just £600,000 ($778,000) after catching the eye of then-goalkeeping coach Tim Flowers.

The goalkeeper, who won the first of his 75 England caps in 2008, was a pivotal member of the City sides that won Premier League titles in 2012 and 2014.]]>
8/7/2018 2:18:45 PM
<![CDATA[Vidal signs for Barcelona ]]>
“He is a player with proven experience at high-level teams, and he has good experience in Europe, and he will bring us a lot, with intensity, style and quality,” Barcelona Vice President Jordi Mestre told the press during the presentation.

Vidal has been linked with a move to Inter-Milan and Premier League clubs, Manchester United and Chelsea, but once Barcelona offered him a contract, he rejected all the offers to join Barcelona.

Vidal revealed his happiness after signing his contract, stating, “I am very happy, happy, eager to start training with my teammates, to wear this big shirt and be able to do important things.”

Vidal is the third Chilean player to wear the Barcelona jersey after his teammates at the national team, Alexis Sanchez and Claudio Bravo.

Vidal added, “During the three-year contract, I hope we can win everything we play for.”

Barcelona fans hope to see their new signing on Sunday at Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangier, Morocco, when Barcelona face Sevilla at the Spanish Super Cup.
8/7/2018 11:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s handball girls team heads to Poland for World Cup ]]>
Egypt qualified for the World Cup as champions of 2017 African Women's Youth Handball Championship in Ivory Coast. Egyptian players hope to achieve good results in their second participation at the competition.

Egypt’s squad for the tournament includes Nada Mamdouh, Samira Refaat, Rana Rady, Yasmin Emad, Sohila Khaled, Aya Tarek, Farida Hany, Shahd Ahmed, Laila Haitham, Yara Abo El Dahab, Alaa Eslam, Salma Abdel Razek, Sandy Kassem, Habiba Goda, Farah Shazly and Lara Osama.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group B alongside Denmark, Hungary, Croatia, Chile and 2010 World Cup winners, Sweden.

Egypt starts their run at the competition against Chile on Tuesday at Legionów Hall, Kielce.

Egypt will face Croatia on Wednesday, Denmark on Friday, Hungary on Saturday and will end their group stage games on Monday against Sweden.

Poland will host the competition in Kielce between August 7 and 19.
8/7/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Berbatov excludes Salah from Golden Boot race]]>
Berbatov believes that the Golden Boot winner will be Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane.

“I think the top Premier League goal scorer will be Harry Kane. He should be aiming for 30 or more goals again,” Berbatov told the press on Monday.

The Egyptian winger won the Golden Boot last season after scoring 32 goals for his club, Liverpool, while Kane scored only 30 goals.

Berbatov added, “He had a tremendous World Cup campaign. His confidence will boom with his achievements over the summer; coming off that, he’ll have the knowledge on how to break down the teams with solid defenses.”

Kane won 2018 World Cup golden boot after scoring six goals for his nation, England, who achieved the fourth position in the competition.

Harry Kane won 2016 and 2017 Premier League top goal scorer, but he failed to win the award last year.

The English striker will find tough competition from Salah, Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku.

8/7/2018 10:21:23 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly announces squad for Al-Masry clash ]]>
Al-Ahly players had a frustrating start at the league, as they ended their opening game against Ismaily with a 1-1 draw.

Al-Ahly veteran midfielders Ahmed Fathy and Walid Soliman were included in the list after missing the Ismaily game due to an injury.

Carteron’s chosen squad for the game consists of Sherif Ekramy, Mohamed el-Shennawy, Ali Lotfi, Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Hany, Ali Maaloul, Saad Samir, Ayman Ashraf, Salif Coulibaly, Amr Elsolia, Hossam Ashour, Hesham Mohamed, Mido Gaber, Walid Soliman, Moamen Zakaria, Nasser Maher, Mohamed Sherif, Walid Azarro, Marwan Mohsen and Salah Mohsen.

Al-Ahly midfielder Eslam Mohareb was ruled out of the game after suffering a muscle injury.

On the other hand, Al-Masry is searching for their second victory at the League after a difficult 1-0 win at the opening game against El Gouna.

The game starts on Tuesday at 8:00 P.M. at Borg El-Arab Stadium.

8/7/2018 10:14:55 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's El Hadadry retires from national team]]>
My huge dream came true with participation in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Now, it is time to retire from international football, El Hadary said in an online statement Monday.

El-Hadary left Russia as a record holder; at 45 years 161 days he became the Oldest player in a FIFA World Cup, beating the previous record by more than two years.]]>
8/6/2018 11:29:10 PM
<![CDATA[Klopp admits Liverpool's defensive concerns ahead of league opener]]>Joel Matip (hip) and Ragnar Klavan (hamstring) both missed Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing of Italian side Napoli due to injuries and are doubtful for Liverpool’s final pre-season match against Torino on Tuesday.

“Joel, we’ll have to see. Klavan, shouldn’t be too serious, but if Tuesday is too early I don’t know yet,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.

“Maybe we will do some magic things with the formation on Tuesday. I don’t know how we will do it.”

Croatia international Dejan Lovren will rejoin the squad on Monday after an extended break following the World Cup but is a doubt for the next two games.

“Dejan didn’t train so far. He probably won’t play Tuesday and Sunday will be very difficult as well,” Klopp added. “The first two league games at least are in the ‘pre-season’ (for the World Cup players).”

Liverpool finished fourth last season and reached the final of the Champions League where they were beaten by Real Madrid.

“The league will be difficult,” Klopp said. “It is not about judging our situation and thinking ‘wow, really good’.

“We need to be ready each week, not only for a few games. That is our challenge.”

8/6/2018 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Belgium midfielder Witsel agrees to join Dortmund]]>Witsel, 29, a central defensive midfielder who impressed for Belgium during the World Cup in Russia, will be given a four-year contract by Dortmund.
“We’re very happy that he has chosen Borussia Dortmund,” the club’s sporting director Michael Zorc said in a statement, adding that Dortmund would pay the release clause in Witsel’s Tianjin contract without revealing any financial details.

“Axel is a player with a great deal of international experience who has all the skills to shape BVB’s central midfield: tactical understanding, tackling power, speed, and creativity,” Zorc added.

Witsel began his career at Standard Liege and played for Portuguese side Benfica and Russia’s Zenit St Petersburg before joining Tianjin in January last year.

“I’m totally happy and also proud to be allowed to play for BVB soon. After our first conversation, I did not have to think twice, because for me Borussia Dortmund is one of the best clubs on the continent,” Witsel said.
8/6/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Thomas takes second in rankings, McIlroy returns to top five]]>
The 25-year-old will start the defence of his USPGA Championship title on Thursday in red-hot form after his fifth tournament win in the last 12 months.

Dustin Johnson remains world number one, though, after a thrilling charge on Sunday ultimately saw him finish tied for third in Akron.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy moved back into the top five for the first time since September 2017, despite falling out of contention at Firestone with a disappointing final round.

World top 20

1. Dustin Johnson (USA) 10.77 average pts

2. Justin Thomas (USA) 9.49 (+1)

3. Justin Rose (ENG) 8.83 (-1)

4. Brooks Koepka (USA) 7.87

5. Rory McIlroy (NIR) 7.37 (+2)

6. Francesco Molinari (ITA) 7.27

7. Jon Rahm (ESP) 7.24 (-2)

8. Jordan Spieth (USA) 6.99

9. Rickie Fowler (USA) 6.62

10. Jason Day (AUS) 6.39

11. Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 6.12

12. Patrick Reed (USA) 5.46

13. Alex Noren (SWE) 5.42

14. Bubba Watson (USA) 5.23

15. Paul Casey (ENG) 5.19

16. Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 4.69

17. Henrik Stenson (SWE) 4.63

18. Marc Leishman (AUS) 4.52 (+1)

19. Xander Schauffele (USA) 4.45 (-1)

20. Webb Simpson (USA) 4.29


21. Phil Mickelson (USA) 4.23

23. Sergio Garcia (ESP) 4.13 (-1)

51. Tiger Woods (USA) 2.42 (-1)

8/6/2018 5:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Celtic could face Malmo or Vidi FC in Champions League playoff round]]>The Scottish champions must first beat Greek side AEK Athens over two legs of the third qualifying round starting on Wednesday.
The first leg of the playoffs will be held on Aug. 21-22 with the return legs on Aug. 28-29. Six places are up for grabs in the group stage of Europe’s premier club competition.

Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven meet Qarabag or BATE Borisov while former European champions Benfica of Portugal or Turkey’s Fenerbahce play PAOK or Spartak Moscow.

The six teams beaten in the playoffs will drop into the group stages of the second-tier Europa League.

Crvena Zvezda/Spartak Trnava v Red Bull Salzburg/Shkendija

Qarabag/BATE Borisov v PSV Eindhoven

Young Boys v FC Astana/Dinamo Zagreb

Malmo/Vidi FC v Celtic/AEK Athens

Benfica/Fenerbahce v PAOK/Spartak Moscow

Standard Liege/Ajax v Slavia Prague/Dynamo Kiev

8/6/2018 4:28:44 PM
<![CDATA[Hall hopes Women's British Open win will boost European tour]]>
The 22-year-old English player claimed her first major by two strokes at Royal Lytham and St Annes on Sunday, seeing off the challenge of Thailand's Pornanong Phatlum.

"I couldn't believe so many young girls and boys were watching me, wanting a picture or an autograph," she said.

"Hopefully I can encourage a lot of young girls out there to take up the game. I want to be a good role model for young girls in Britain."

Hall, who took home a cheque for $490,000, is keen to see the wider benefits of her moment in the spotlight.

"I hope it will bring more sponsorship to the Ladies European Tour," she said. "It's definitely growing and I try to support them when I can. I'm still a member and it's my home.

"I had to miss roughly three majors because I couldn't afford to get there, which was frustrating as I'd qualified. As an amateur it's hard but I knew if I played well that could get me to these places."

Before the tournament started, British veteran Laura Davies called for more financial backing for European women's golf, saying players are short of tournaments to hone their skills.

Hall earned glowing praise for the steely determination she displayed during her final round and admitted she worked hard to keep her emotions in check.

"I do get very excited and it's because I want it so much," she said. "I promised myself if I got in this position I wouldn't get too carried away, focus on every shot and take one shot at a time.

"To go down 18 and manage to close it out fairly easily is a relief for me. Golf is a very mental sport, more than people even think. So it was kind of a battle yesterday.

"It's my fourth year on tour as a professional and loads of people were asking when was it (a tournament win) going to come.

"I knew if I stayed patient and kept working hard I could win and it would come along."

8/6/2018 3:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Man City's fast start a pleasant surprise for Gundogan]]>6 August 2018: Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the English champions settled back into their stride by beating Chelsea 2-0 to win the Community Shield in an ominous performance for the rest of the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola's men begin their title defence at Arsenal on Sunday, looking to back-up a record-breaking campaign that saw them amass 100 points to win the league by a 19-point margin from Manchester United.

"I was curious the way we would start the game and how it would go," German international Gundogan told the club's website.

"I wouldn't say that it was necessary to give us confidence, but the first weeks when the season starts, the important games start, you never really know what to expect. You don't really know 100 percent on which level you are.

"It was a great test for us, a last test before the Premier League season. At the end we feel ready right now and we can't wait for the season to start."

Guardiola could even afford the luxury of leaving Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling out of his matchday squad at Wembley after their World Cup exertions.

However, Sergio Aguero showed no hangover from Argentina's early exit in Russia by scoring twice to take his tally for the club to 201.

"We feel very lucky to have Sergio in our team, a striker like him," added Gundogan.

"On top of that even Gabriel (Jesus) with his ability and his quality. We have two great strikers and feel very, very happy."

8/6/2018 2:05:08 PM
<![CDATA[Dovizioso wins duel of Ducatis in Brno]]>
Dovizioso had the Spaniard 0.178sec behind him at the line with defending world champion and series leader Marc Marquez (Honda) third at 0.368.

Italian veteran Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) finished fourth at nearly three seconds behind after enjoying a strong start from second in the grid behind Dovizioso.

Dovizioso, 32, started on pole position for the first time since 2016.

By the end of a thrilling race held in sweltering temperatures, Dovizioso handed Ducati their first win in Brno since Australian Casey Stoner in 2007.

Notably missing from the top five finishers during the past five editions in Brno, Dovizioso capitalised on his strong start to stay at the head of the pack for most of his near 42-minute spell on the circuit.

At first put under pressure by Rossi before the Italian veteran dropped off the pace, Dovizioso kept his composure during the crucial, final laps where he held firm to keep challenges by Lorenzo and Marquez at bay.

"I really didn't expect to be so fast today," said Dovizioso, who also claimed victory in the season-opener at Qatar.

"I'm very happy for the whole team."

Marquez's third place means he remains top of the standings on 181 points and a 49-point lead on Rossi and 68 on Dovizioso.

"It's good," said Marquez. "I need to finish all the races now, this is the key."

He added: "I was happy with my speed, I could follow Dovey ... but the problem is fighting against the Ducati guys. They have such a strong acceleration."

Portugal's Miguel Oliveira, on a KTM, claimed his second win of the season to take command of the Moto 2 series lead.

Oliveira started from fourth on the grid but after a thrilling duel with Luca Marini (Kalex), who started on pole, the Portuguese got his nose over the finish line to beat the Italian by just 0.070secs.

Another Italian, Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex), was third at 0.525.

In the Moto 3 category, Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio, riding a Honda, held off Spaniard Aron Canet to claim his maiden professional win.

Di Giannantonio, 19, started fifth "but pushed his bike all the way" on his way to beating teammate Canet by 0.112sec.

Czech racer Jakub Kornfeil (KTM), who had started on pole, finished third.

Italian Marco Bezzecchi (KTM), who finished sixth, now leads the standings after 10 races with a three-point lead on Spain's Jorge Martin, who pulled out on Friday due to a fracture in his left hand.]]>
8/6/2018 8:02:00 AM
<![CDATA[Melania Trump praises LeBron James after president's insult]]>
In an interview on Tuesday -- also broadcast late Friday -- Los Angeles Lakers player and philanthropist James told CNN he believed Trump "is kind of trying to divide us."

"He's kind of used sport to... divide us and that's something I can't relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white. You know?" said James, who on Monday opened an elementary school for at-risk youth in his native Akron, Ohio.

For the rest of the week, Trump was uncharacteristically silent -- until Friday night, when he finally shot back.

"Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, (CNN presenter) Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do," the president tweeted.

His comment sparked huge reaction from James' supporters -- but the most surprising came from First Lady Melania Trump, whose communications director issued a statement that appeared to break ranks with the president.

Stephanie Grisham was quoted by CNN as saying James appeared to be "working to do good things on behalf of our next generation."

"Just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today," she said.

Grisham added the first lady "would be open to visiting" James' new school.

Meanwhile, Don Lemon, the presenter who had interviewed James, also got Melania Trump involved.

"Who's the real dummy? A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages? #BeBest", Lemon tweeted, using the hashtag of her youth wellbeing awareness campaign, which advocates against cyberbullying.

- Sports stars rally -

Elsewhere, Trump's former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton backed James as a "great family man" and "incredible ballplayer" who "gives back to his community, and isn't afraid to speak his mind."

"He's a world class athlete and a class act. We need more like him in this world," she tweeted.

James also drew solidarity from his fellow sports personalities.

"Keep doing you @KingJames!" Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry tweeted in a succinct message of support.

"We got your back @KingJames Someone sure sound like they wish they was you," tweeted linebacker Bobby Wagner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

Even NBA icon Michael Jordan -- known for his reluctance to comment on political and societal matters in his prime -- weighed in, after Trump closed his tweet saying "I like Mike!"

"I support LJ," Jordan, now the owner of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, said in a statement released through his publicist. "He's doing an amazing job for his community."

But James himself steered clear of the matter on social media, on Saturday tweeting only a picture of students at his new school with the message: "Let's get it kids!! Love you guys."

This weekend's controversy was just the latest in a long-running feud between James and the president.

In June, Trump said that neither the Cleveland Cavaliers -- James' previous team -- nor the Golden State Warriors would be invited to the White House following the NBA Finals.

He was responding to remarks by then-Cavs star James as well as Curry, who both said they would not attend a White House reception.

Last year, Trump also withdrew an invitation to the NBA champions Warriors after Curry and several teammates indicated misgivings about attending a White House event.

James described Trump as a "bum" following the furor.]]>
8/6/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sanctions-hit Philippines to send Asian Games team after all]]>
The Gilas announced their withdrawal from the Asiad basketball tournament on July 27 after basketball's governing body FIBA suspended 10 of their players and two coaches over the July 2 Manila melee, which saw players and fans exchanging punches and flying kicks.

However a special aide to President Rodrigo Duterte announced Sunday that the national federation and the country's professional basketball league had since agreed to field a team, a decision confirmed to AFP by the Gilas team manager.

"We are not obligated to win. We are obligated to keep trying and do the best we can do everyday," the aide, Christopher Go, said in a statement announcing the team's participation.

"This is Filipino Pride. And nothing unites Filipinos of every social class more than what happens on the basketball court," Go added.

Gilas team manager Butch Antonio confirmed the announcement to AFP.

The federation had earlier said it was withdrawing from the Asian Games in order to "regroup" after the FIBA suspensions, a decision which shocked many in a country where basketball is the most popular sport.

Indonesia will host athletes from 45 Asian countries from August 18 to September 2 in the world's biggest multi-sport event behind the Olympics.

The July 2 brawl left the Australian team fearing for their safety and prompted them to seek embassy help to fast-track their departure from the Philippines.

As well as player suspensions, Switzerland-based FIBA hit the Philippines with a fine of 250,000 Swiss Francs ($250,000) and imposed another 10,000 Francs fine on head coach Vincent Reyes, who was accused of urging his players to fight.

Three Australian players were suspended and their federation was also fined.

The Philippine basketball federation plans to appeal the sanctions.]]>
8/6/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Swimming-Peaty breaks own world 100 metres breaststroke record]]>
The 23-year-old Englishman knocked 0.13 seconds off his own record set at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 -- the fourth time he has set a new mark in the discipline in which he has been unbeaten for four years.

"It's incredible. I wasn't targeting the record at all," said Olympic champion Peaty after winning his ninth European long course title.

"When I entered the pool, I felt the passion and the flow. When I touched the wall, I didn't see the time properly and needed some moments to realise but once I got it, it was an amazing feeling."

Peaty had threatened to come close to his mark, though, after two brilliant swims in the heats and semi-final on Friday and though he touched at halfway in the final in a swift 26.65 seconds, it still looked as if the record might be just out of reach.

Even after touching the wall, he could hardly believe what he had achieved, shouting "no way!" The victory was so dominant that the silver medallist, Peaty's British team mate James Wilby, was 1.54 seconds adrift.

It felt particularly sweet for Peaty as the championships venue, the Tollcross International Swimming Centre, was where his remarkable career took off when he won Commonwealth Games gold in 2014.

"It started in this pool. Oh my God, I cannot believe that," he said, having bounced back from his first setback for four years when he lost the 50 metres breaststroke final at this year's Commonwealth Games in Australia.

"Sometimes, you've got to have a bad race to realise how much you love the sport. I was just too tense, I just wasn't me (at the Commonwealths)."

In all, this was Peaty's 17th major championship title and he has the chance to add three more at these Championships.]]>
8/6/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Defender Gibson costs Burnley joint club record fee]]>
The 25-year-old -- capped at all age levels by England up to Under-21 -- signed a four year contract after he stayed loyal to Middlesbrough when they were relegated after just one season in the Premier League a year ago.

However, Gibson -- nephew of Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson -- has been persuaded to move with the attraction of a potential Europa League group campaign if Burnley come through the qualifying rounds and 'Boro having failed to regain their Premier League status.

"Burnley Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of defender Ben Gibson from Middlesbrough," read a statement from the club on their website.

"Gibson has agreed a four-year-deal at Turf Moor after Burnley paid a joint club record fee for the centre-back."

Gibson's transfer fee matches that paid by Burnley to another second tier outfit Leeds United for New Zealand international striker Chris Wood last year.

He is the club's first signing of the close season, the transfer window closes next Thursday.

Former England first choice goalkeeper Joe Hart had been due to undergo a medical on Friday with a view to moving from Manchester City, where he has been out of favour since Pep Guardiola took over two years ago and has been sent on loan firstly to Italian side Torino and then last term to West Ham.

Burnley face Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir in a Europa League qualifier on Thursday, before their Premier League opener against Southampton on Sunday.]]>
8/6/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Aguero hits 200th City goal as Guardiola's side stroll past Chelsea]]>
The game between title winners and cup holders is the traditional curtain-raiser but on this evidence the gap between the two teams, which last season stood at 30 points in the Premier League, is as wide as ever despite the arrival of Maurizio Sarri as Blues manager and new signing Jorginho.

Aguero struck his first on 13 minutes after Phil Foden, filling in admirably for Kevin De Bruyne, burst forward to find the Argentine, who wrong-footed Antonio Rudiger with a low shot to become the first City player to reach a double century of goals.

Chelsea, who were without Eden Hazard, took 25 minutes to even register a shot and seldom threatened and it was no surprise when Aguero added a second from a Bernardo Silva pass after spurning an even clearer chance moments earlier.

City cut Chelsea apart to become the first Premier League champions to win the trophy since Manchester United in 2013.]]>
8/5/2018 6:25:08 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt beat Czech in World University Handball Championship]]>
Having beaten the Czech team, Egypt now comes fifth in the tournament.

The Egyptian team had an equal score with Croatia during their first match, which ended 33-33.

Egypt was defeated by Portugal 30-28 during its second match, but was able to beat Lithuania in a third encounter 29-22.

It also won a match versus Poland with 33-23.]]>
8/5/2018 5:36:32 PM
<![CDATA[Modric discusses his departure with Perez this week: La Gazzetta dello Sport]]>
This is stated on Sunday by the Italian newspaper "La Gazzetta dello Sport", which ensures that the doubts about the future of Modric could be resolved next week.

According to the newspaper, the white club would not be willing to let Modric go so easily, although if the Croatian player asks Florentino to leave Real Madrid, that would not put obstacles in his way.

In the meantime, the "Nerazzurri" are waiting for Modric's situation with the white team to resolve before they sit down to negotiate terms with the player's agents.

"A player of that level would be important for any team, imagine for ours," said Inter’s coach, Luciano Spalletti, according to the same Italian newspaper.

Modric has a contract with Real Madrid until 2020 and his release clause is €750 million.
Croatia's captain led his team to their first World Cup final surpassing the Croatian achievement in the 1998 World Cup when they finished third.

Modric was named the best player in the tournament.
8/5/2018 4:14:01 PM
<![CDATA[Asensio scores twice as Real Madrid topples Juventus 3-1]]>
Asensio entered the game at the start of the second half and scored less than two minutes in before adding another in the 56th minute.

It was the first defeat of the pre-season and the final match of the International Champions Cup campaign for Italy's Juventus. The Serie A champions now open up their title defense at Chievo on August 18.

They were without new signing Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not make his debut against his former team. The Portuguese superstar skipped the club's US tour because he was recovering from his World Cup performance.

Gareth Bale also scored for the European champions as the Welshman served notice that he is going to produce despite the loss of Ronaldo.

Bale hit a stunning shot from 20 yards out in the 39th minute to level the score at 1-1 in the front of the crowd of 60,000 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

Bale finished with 16 La Liga goals last season and is in his fifth campaign with Real Madrid.

Asensio subbed in after half-time and wasted no time getting on the board. He finished off a drive by side-footing a shot home in the 47th minute on a rush with Vinicius Jr., who also entered the game at half-time.

Asensio scored just nine minutes later to make it 3-1 for Real Madrid on another unselfish pass, this time from Lucas Vazquez. Asensio's shot deflected off the right arm of Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and trickled into the net.

Juventus' lone score came in the 12th minute on an own goal by Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal.

Carvajal was trying to corral Joao Cancelo's left side cross when he deflected the ball into his own net.

It was the first pre-season defeat for Juventus, who were without many of their key attackers for their US tour, including Douglas Costa, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic.

In earlier matches, Juventus beat Bayern Munich, Benfica and the Major League Soccer All-Stars.]]>
8/5/2018 3:54:19 PM
<![CDATA[African champions Cameroon appoint Seedorf as coach - reports]]>
The duo's appointment was announced by Cameroon's Minister of Sport and Physical Education, Pierre Ismael Bidoung Mkpatt, at a news conference on Saturday and comes after talks with former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson failed to reach an agreement.

Seedorf takes over from the Belgian Hugo Broos, who led the side to a surprise victory at the 2017 African Nations Cup finals but was axed in November after failing to win a place at the World Cup in Russia.

Alexandre Belinga had been acting as caretaker coach since.

Cameroon will defend their Nations Cup title on home soil in June next year, a first major finals test for the new management team.

Seedorf, 42, will take on his first national team job having had limited experience in coaching following brief spells with AC Milan, Chinese side Shenzhen and Deportivo La Coruna.

He led those teams in a total of 52 games, but is revered for an illustrious playing career, most notably at Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid and AC Milan, winning the Champions League with each club.

He was also capped 87 times by the Netherlands between 1994 and 2008.

Former striker Kluivert's playing career also included Ajax, where he was a Champions League winner with Seedorf, Milan and most notably Barcelona where he spent six seasons.

He was assistant coach to Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal between 2012 and 2014, and was later briefly in charge of Dutch Caribbean nation Curacao.

The Cameroon Football Federation have made no official announcement on the vacant head coach role, but coaches in Africa are regularly appointed by governments.]]>
8/5/2018 3:39:09 PM
<![CDATA[Esports-Saudi gamer wins FIFA eWorld Cup final and $250,000]]>
The 18-year-old gamer, who competes as 'MSDossary', also collected an invitation to the world soccer body's Best FIFA Football awards in September and a gleaming new trophy.

"I'm really proud that I made my country proud," said the Saudi after winning each leg 2-0 on PlayStation and Xbox consoles while a frustrated Pinna failed to find a way through on goal.

The two men faced each other on a central stage at London's O2 Arena, separated only by their screens.

"This is my second event in the UK and second win so I think this is my second home. I hope every year I am the champion again," said the teenager, who had a cousin sitting with him as coach.

Regarded as one of the best defensive players, Aldossary also won the FUT Spring Cup in Manchester on his way to the 32-player finals.

He had one glaring missed opportunity in the first leg when one-on-one with the goalkeeper but a brace from former Brazilian World Cup star Ronaldo on the PlayStation side and then goals from Thierry Henry and Ruud Gullit in the Xbox leg settled matters.

Pinna also had former Dutch international Gullit in his virtual side, prompting the curious commentary line: "Gullit on Gullit, and he's lost out."

"It was difficult for me, especially on the Xbox side," said 20-year-old Pinna, who recently signed for PSV Eindhoven's esports side. "On the Playstation side I didn't score my chances and he did well.

"He didn't let me play my game style because of his pressure. His defence is amazing."

The Grand Final, live-streamed around the world on Twitch, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and FIFA's own platform, was the culmination of a virtual championship that started out with a global pool of 20 million entrants.

Last year's winner, 21-year-old Spencer Ealing from England who plays under the nickname 'Gorilla', went out in the knockout stages to Malta's Kurt 'Kurt0411' Fenech.]]>
8/5/2018 2:39:12 PM
<![CDATA[Belgian wins inaugural France to China solar bike race]]>
Raf van Hulle's journey took him through Germany, Ukraine, Russia, then Kazakhstan before riding into China, cycling an average of 270 kilometres daily.

He struggled through 3,000 kilometres of slopes amid scorching heat in the Gobi desert, which saw him pedalling unassisted in temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) to avoid overheating his bicycle's battery.

"I am very happy to have won, but also not to have damaged my bike, which is quite expensive," van Hulle told AFP.

The bicycle, which has a solar panel in the front and another on a trailer behind, is used for his daily commute, added the architect, who arrived in Guangzhou on Friday.

The race started in mid-June with 39 participants -- they were given 100 days to get from Lyon to Guangzhou without a fixed route -- with about 30 competitors remaining.

French organisers Sun Trip started such races in 2013 to promote renewable energy. Previous editions saw participants racing from Lyon to Kazakhstan and Turkey.

"This performance of solar (energy) applied to mobility and cycling is a success for the development of renewable energy," Sun Trip founder Florian Bailly told AFP.

This edition of the race picked China because of its position as the world's largest emitter of greenhouses gases, but also as the first country to invest in solar energy, Bailly added.

With the support of the French and Chinese governments, he believes the race could become a regular affair.]]>
8/5/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Trump hits back at LeBron James over racial division comments]]>
"Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, (CNN presenter) Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn't easy to do," the president tweeted of the Los Angeles Lakers player.

In an interview on Tuesday -- also broadcast late Friday -- James told CNN he believed Trump "is kind of trying to divide us."

"He's kind of used sport to... divide us and that's something I can't relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white. You know?" said James, who on Monday opened an elementary school for at-risk youth in his native Akron, Ohio.

Trump's comment sparked huge reaction on Twitter from James' backers.

"We got your back @KingJames Someone sure sound like they wish they was you.", tweeted linebacker Bobby Wagner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

James, who ranks seventh in career National Basketball Association scoring, also told CNN Tuesday he would "never sit across" from Trump, whom he accuses of emboldening racists.

"I think (racism's) always been there. But I think the president in charge now has given people -- they don't care now, they throw it to your face," he said.

That echoed comments he made in January that Trump had "given people and racism... an opportunity to be out and outspoken without fear."

Indeed, this week's exchange is just the latest in a long-running feud between James and the president.

In June, Trump said that neither the Cleveland Cavaliers -- James' previous team -- nor the Golden State Warriors would be invited to the White House following the NBA Finals.

He was responding to remarks by then-Cavs star James and Warriors ace Stephen Curry, who both said they would not attend a White House reception.

Last year, Trump also withdrew an invitation to the NBA champions Warriors after Curry and several teammates indicated misgivings about attending a White House event.

James described Trump as a "bum" following the furor.]]>
8/5/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Man City and Chelsea lock horns in Community Shield]]>

The glorified friendly between the league champions and the FA Cup winners has been a notoriously poor predictor of success in recent years -- no winner has gone on to be crowned champions in the same season since Manchester United in 2010-11.

The game, likely to be played in sizzling summer temperatures in London, is set to feature various youngsters and fringe players as World Cup stars ease their way back into club action.

But whatever the line-ups, there are plenty of talking points and the game will be closely watched for clues as domestic football reclaims centre stage just three weeks after the World Cup final in Russia.

Can Manchester City pick up where they left off last season or will they have a serious challenger?

Will new manager Maurizio Sarri be able to revive FA Cup winners Chelsea, who finished fifth last season after winning the title the previous year under Antonio Conte?

One question for City fans is how manager Pep Guardiola will deploy Riyad Mahrez -- the only significant addition to their already-impressive list of forward options during the summer transfer window.

The manager has confirmed his record £60 million ($78 million) signing is in contention to start the match after he was forced off during last weekend's final match of the US pre-season tour against Bayern Munich.

"Mahrez is good. He had a little bit of pain but he trained day before yesterday -- I think so (he can play on Sunday),” said Guardiola, who twice outwitted Sarri in the Champions League last season when the Italian was managing Napoli.

Most of the players who were on duty at the World Cup have now returned to training but Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne are still on their post-Russia breaks.

The City manager also revealed how much he was looking forward to locking horns with Sarri, who replaced Conte last month.

"I am happy that he is here in the Premier League," Guardiola said. "I will learn a lot to see his team every weekend. I saw three games -- he gets it, the team in a short time plays like he wants.

"I think it will be a good game, always Chelsea is a big rival. Antonio was, Maurizio will be too. The style of play will be perfect for English football."

Guardiola admitted the match comes at a tricky time without his full complement of players but said City were prepared and would target their fifth Community Shield win. Both sides have four victories apiece in the fixture.

- Courtois speculation -

For Chelsea, Cesc Fabregas is a doubt with a minor knee injury.

And France World Cup winners N'Golo Kante and Olivier Giroud, Belgium trio Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Michy Batshuayi, plus England's Gary Cahill, are yet to return following the World Cup.

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri speaks to the press ahead of the Community Shield match against Manchester City

Sarri suggested a similar side to the one that featured in pre-season would play at Wembley, meaning 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi could be included.

The 59-year-old is eager to do well but he acknowledges the size of the task against the Premier League champions.

Sarri, who has not won a trophy in his career, said: "The match for us is very difficult for one reason: they have worked all together for two years. We started two and a half weeks ago.

"I want to win, because it's very important to have immediately a trophy. But in this moment of the season it's very important, the performance."

There has been speculation in the past few weeks over a number of Chelsea's most high-profile players, with goalkeeper Courtois and midfielders Willian and Hazard all linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge.

Sarri said he was confident that Brazil playmaker Willian would remain at the club but was less sure over the future of Courtois.

City face Arsenal away on August 12 in a high-profile start to their Premier League title defence while Chelsea have an away trip to Huddersfield the previous day.

8/5/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sakkari ousts Venus Williams to reach San Jose semis]]>
The 23-year-old Sakkari saved two set points in the second set en route to a 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) victory over the former world number one, punching her ticket to the semi-finals where she will face another unseeded player, Danielle Collins.

World No.49 Sakkari needed one hour and 43 minutes to dispatch Williams as she has rolled through her first three matches at this event without dropping a set.

Sakkari converted six of her eight break points in the match, and hammered 21 winners, three more than the 38-year-old Williams.

"I was ready for the match, compared to the last times I played against her. I was ready for a battle and ready to play against Venus Williams," said Sakkari.

Williams, who has won this event twice in 2000 and 2002, made a whopping 43 unforced errors.

Venus' defeat follows the shocking upset three days ago of her sister Serena, who suffered the most lopsided loss of her career, 6-1, 6-0 to Johanna Konta in round one.

Between the two of them, the Williams sisters committed 68 unforced errors in their elimination games.

American Collins moved into the semi-finals after her opponent, former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka, retired midway through the second set due to a back injury.

Sakkari's mother Angeliki Kanellopoulou was also a top 50 ranked WTA player back in the late 1980s.

Fourth-seeded Elise Mertens ended the giant-killing run of Konta to set up the other semi-final clash with fifth-seeded Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Belgium's Mertens emerged from a tight match with a 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory over Konta.

Mertens broke Konta at love when she served for the opening set, and saved two set points before forcing the tiebreaker.

After dropping her serve in the opening game of the second, Mertens won four games in a row and wouldn't trail again.

"I just played point-by-point, because anything can happen," Mertens said. "I believed in myself because it was just one break and I was really happy that I took the first set."

Mertens reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January, but she and Romania's Buzarnescu will both be battling to reach a first premier level final.

Buzarnescu, who beat Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic 6-1, 7-5, fell to Mertens in the final in Hobart in January.]]>
8/5/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Chelsea's Courtois wants Madrid move for family reasons, says agent]]>
The Belgian is due to return to Chelsea training over the next few days after helping his country finish third at the World Cup and being voted the best goalkeeper in Russia.

The 26-year-old former Atletico Madrid number one has a year remaining on his Chelsea contract, but agent Christophe Henrotay said Courtois wants a move to the Spanish capital to be close to his two children.

"I have been reading everywhere that Chelsea are saying it is up to Thibaut, but he has made it clear to the club that the best option for him is to move to Madrid," Henrotay told the Sun newspaper.

"For him this is a big decision because he wants to be near his family, and there is an offer in place for Chelsea to accept."

Courtois has a three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son from a previous relationship.

"It is understandable people might be upset because he wants to leave the club, we accept that," Henrotay added.

"But this is a human decision based on someone wanting to be close to his children -- and that is a reasonable thing too."

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on Friday expressed uncertainty over the future of his goalkeeper.

"At the moment Courtois is the goalkeeper of the club, of Chelsea," he said. "I don't know in the future. It depends on the club. It depends especially on him, I think.

"But, I hope that Courtois will be our goalkeeper. It's very important for us to keep the top players."

8/5/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Debut win for Tuchel as PSG claim French Super Cup]]>
Angel Di Maria scored twice as Tuchel, who was appointed to replace Unai Emery ahead of the new season, steered PSG to a record-equalling eighth Super Cup win and handed Neymar a cameo appearance at the end of the second half.

The Brazilian was not given a place in the starting line-up having just returned to training this week following the World Cup in Russia, while neither Kylian Mbappe nor Edinson Cavani travelled to China with the rest of the squad.

New arrival Gianluigi Buffon did start between the posts for his new team after signing in the close season from Juventus, but had little to do in a game dominated by France's domestic treble winners against last season's Ligue 1 runners-up.

Di Maria had been a lively presence throughout the first half and the Argentine opened the scoring 12 minutes before the break when he capitalised on a foul on Adrien Rabiot to stroke his curling free kick over the wall and beyond Diego Benaglio.

Seven minutes later Christopher Nkunku stabbed home PSG's second from close range as his side took a two-goal cushion into halftime.

Midway through the second half, Timothy Weah put the result beyond doubt when he slipped the ball through Benaglio's legs from eight yards to make the most of Stanley N'Soki's darting run and cutback from the touchline.

Neymar was introduced in the 76th minute for Marco Verratti and received a rapturous welcome from the crowd, but it was Di Maria who put the seal on the win in stoppage time when he slotted into the bottom corner.]]>
8/4/2018 4:31:43 PM
<![CDATA[All what you need to know about Egyptian League's first round]]>
The first round started on Tuesday, 31st of July, and the 18 teams scored only 14 goals. The games witnessed poor performance and managers claimed the good is yet to come.

Misr Al Makasah vs Smouha

Egypt Today presents the scores, the first round main events and the upcoming matches:


Ittihad Alexandria 1 – 1 Arab Contractors

Petrojet 0 – 0 Zamalek SC

Al Dakhleya 1 – 1 Wadi Degla

Al Intag el-Harby 2 – 1 Haras El Hedoud

Negoum FC 0 – 0 Talaea El Geish

El Gouna 0 – 1 Al Masry

Al Ahly 1 – 1 Ismaily

Misr Al Makasah 1 – 2 Smouha

Enppi 0 – 1 Pyramids

Pyramids FC players celebrate the first victory


- Ittihad Alexandria’s Emanuel Banaheny scored the first goal

- Arab Contractors’ defender, Mohamed Samir, got the first Red card

- In Petrojet and Zamalek match, the power cut off which led to a 105 minute game.


- Zamalek’s president, Mortada Mansour, fined his players by EGP 100,000 each.

- Al-Ahly’s last minute goals saved them to snatch a point from brave Ismaily.

- Egyptian League’s new comers, El Gouna, Haras El Hedoud and Negoum FC, failed to win in their first match

- Pyramids FC appears for the first time. Despite their poor performance but Mohamed Magdy Afsha scored the winner against his old club; he didn’t celebrate though.

Smouha leads the Egyptian league table followed by Al Intag el-Harby in the second place.

Al Intag El Harby team

The second round is set to start on Saturday with the following matches:


Zamalek SC – Ittihad Alexandria at (08:00 p.m.)


Haras El Hedoud – Al Dakhliya at (04:30 p.m.)

Ismaily – Petrojet at (06:45 p.m.)

Wadi Degla – El Gouna at (09:00 p.m.)


Al Masry – Al Ahly at (08:00 p.m.)


Pyramids – Al Intag El Harby at (04:30 p.m.)

Al Mokawlon – Misr El Makasah at (06:45 p.m.)

Smouha –Negoum FC at (06:45 p.m.)

Talaea El Geish – Enppi at (09:00 p.m.)

8/4/2018 3:30:37 PM
<![CDATA[Lampard gets perfect start as Derby snatch late win]]>
Derby's Tom Lawrence headed the winner in the 94th minute after teenager Mason Mount scored on the hour with a low drive to cancel out Jon Dadi Bodvarsson's powerful header that had put the hosts in front after 53 minutes at the Madejski Stadium.

The win meant Lampard, who signed a three-year deal in May having ended his playing career with New York City, got the better of counterpart Paul Clement in the opposition dugout, having worked as a player at Chelsea with the ex-Blues coach.

Lampard will be aiming for at least a playoff spot but is under no illusions as to how tough it will be to win promotion.

The 40-year-old, who was capped 106 times by England between 1999 and 2014, won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and one Champions League crown with Chelsea but knows he has a lot to learn this season from his unfamiliar place on the bench.

It is 10 years since former English champions Derby were in the Premier League and the pressure for a return is high.

Derby came sixth last season under Gary Rowett, now in charge at Stoke City, before losing in the playoff semi-finals to Fulham, while Reading sacked the former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam in March and finished 20th under Clement.]]>
8/4/2018 3:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Basketball legendary continues, El-Ghannam renews his contract with Al-Ahly]]>
El-Ghannam signed the new contract after he reached an agreement with Sports’ general director, Raouf Abdel Kader, and first team’s manager, Tarek Khairy.

Tarek has announced his retirement after spending 20 years in the Red castle previously in 2017 due to personal issues before returning back to the club later.


El Ghannam played his whole career with Ahly, but left the club in 2013 to play for El Gezira Sports Club for three years, returning to Ahly in 2016.

Tarek has won five Egyptian League titles and eight Egyptian Cups. The 38-year-old also won the 2016 African Champions League in Cairo.

El-Ghannam thanked Al-Ahly's board of directors and the Sports Activity Department for their confidence in him, stressing his readiness and willingness to contribute with the team in all tournaments in the coming season.

8/4/2018 2:55:12 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek vs Ittihad Alexandria, who will get the first victory?]]>CAIRO – 04 August 2018: Zamalek SC enters the Egyptian League’s second round aiming to snatch the first victory as they face Ittihad Alexandria at Petro Sport stadium at 08:00 p.m.

The white club’s fans fear another stumble as they failed to get more than one point in the league’s debut against Petrojet; the game ended 0-0.

Ittihad Alexandria’s first game wasn’t better than the white side as they ended it with a 1-1 draw against Arab Contractors.

Christian Gross and Mohamed Omar, Zamalek and Ittihad managers, search for the first victory depending on both teams’ matches history; there were no draws since 2011. But the White castle’s sons have a bright record as they won 9 out of the last 10 games; the last victory for Ittihad was on April 2018.

Gross will make several changes in the line-up after the poor performance against Petrojet which let Zamalek’s president, Mortada Mansour, to fine Zamalek players EGP 100,000 each.]]>
8/4/2018 2:36:09 PM
<![CDATA[Barcelona agree deal to sign Vidal from Bayern]]>
The 31-year-old, who has played 100 games for Chile and scored 24 goals, will sign a three-year deal after having a medical in the next few days, Barca said in a statement.

Bayern added: "Arturo Vidal is leaving Bayern Munich with immediate effect to join Spanish Liga champions Barcelona. The clubs reached agreement on the transfer late on Friday evening."

No transfer fee was given but Spanish media reports said Barca will pay 18 million euros ($21 million), rising to 21 million euros, for the former Bayer Leverkusen and Juventus player.

Vidal, who joined Bayern in 2015 from the Turin club, scored 22 goals in 124 appearances in Munich and won the German title three times, the German Cup and two domestic Supercups.

"Thank you to FC Bayern and all the fans," Vidal said. "I'd like to thank the club for giving me the chance to take on another new challenge with Barcelona.“

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge added: "...I wish to thank Arturo with all my heart for three fantastic years.

"Arturo made a significant contribution to the great successes we enjoyed in this time. He always led from the front in important matches, and we could always rely on him."

Vidal also enjoyed success at Juventus where he won four Serie A titles, the Italian Cup and two domestic Supercups after joining the Turin club from Leverkusen in 2011.

He played for Juve against Barca in the 2015 Champions League final where he was on the losing side in a 3-1 defeat.]]>
8/4/2018 2:16:29 PM
<![CDATA[Sarri says no problem with Willian, confident he will stay]]>
Willian arrived back late from his close season break and only joined his team mates at the club's training ground on Wednesday, four days before Chelsea face Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium.

"I spoke yesterday with him about him being late, not his future," Sarri told a news conference on Friday.

"It was a very positive conversation and I am very happy about it. There is no Willian problem."

Asked if he expects the 29-year-old to be part of his midfield this season, Sarri said: "Yes I do. Very confident."

The Italian was less sure about the future of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who is also on the radar of Real Madrid.

"Courtois is the goalkeeper of the club, I don't know in the future, it depends on the club, and especially on him I think. I hope Courtois will be our goalkeeper," he said.

The Wembley clash with last season's runaway Premier League winners will give Sarri a taste of what to expect over the next nine months. It will also be his first experience of England's iconic stadium.

"I am looking forward to playing in Wembley, it is my first time. The match will be very difficult for us," he said.

"I want to win, because it is very important to have a trophy immediately. At this point of the season it is important the performance, we have to improve up close."

Sarri conceded the game is probably a bit early for his squad, many of whom are not yet up to match speed.

"Of course the players have not got the top level now, a lot of trainings and travels and matches," the Italian said.

"We are not at the top level now but we have to try to have a good performance and result." ]]>
8/4/2018 9:27:00 AM
<![CDATA[Neuer denies Ozil's claims of racism within Germany set-up]]>
Ozil quit international football last month amid the furore over his meeting and photo opportunity in May with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which raised questions about Ozil's loyalty to Germany.

Having been booed by German fans in pre-World Cup friendlies, Ozil quit the national team following Germany's shock early exit from the finals in Russia and with his parting shot he accused DFB president Reinhard Grindel of racism.

However, Bayern Munich star Neuer denies any claims of racism within the national team.

"We've always tried to integrate all the players and we've also done everything for our teammates to make them feel good going into games," said Neuer at Bayern's pre-season training camp in southern Bavaria.

The world-class goalkeeper admitted Ozil's comments have taken a toll on those who still play for Germany.

"There has been a lot of back and forth with much written and said about it. Of course, it was very stressful for those who read about it," added Neuer.

Only a few Germany stars have spoken out about the scandal and head coach Joachim Loew has yet to comment.

After 23 goals and 40 assists in 92 internationals for Germany, Ozil, who was born in Gelsenkirchen to Turkish parents, quit the national team in an explosive three-part statement a fortnight ago.

"In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose," wrote the Arsenal midfielder, whose comments sparked a racism storm in Germany and triggered fierce debate about integration.

Ozil was singled out by some corners of the German media as a reason for Germany's poor World Cup performances, but Grindel, who has refused calls to resign, later refuted his claims of racism within the DFB.

- 'Need for change' -

Neuer said he understood Ozil's reasons to quit, "it is the decision of each player. You have to look for the reasons for yourself and, in his case, he found them.

"Of course we accept this decision."

Following the Ozil furore and Germany's woeful World Cup displays in the group stages, Neuer has called for a fresh start, especially for their next game against new world champions France in Munich on September 6.

"It is the task of those in charge at the DFB to re-structure the team and to give it a new face," said Neuer with Loew already promising an over-haul of the national squad.

"We need to have new players, who are really proud to play for the national team and want to give everything to play for their country.

"I think that there is a lot going on within the national team and the DFB.

"We will have to wait and see how things shape up.

"The fact is that some things need to be changed.

"We also have big goals in the national team and of course we want to show a different face again."]]>
8/4/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Tiger seeks 15th major, Spieth a Career Slam at 100th PGA]]>
The American trio is expected to contend in the year's final major showdown over a 7,316-yard, par-70 Bellerive layout in the last PGA Championship to be played in August. The event moves to May next year.

Woods, a 14-time major champion who hasn't won a major title since the 2008 US Open, underwent spinal fusion surgery in April 2017 after years of back pain and began a comeback last December, rising from 1,200th in the world to 50th.

The former world number one shared second in March at the PGA Valspar Championship, switched to a mallet putter in June and shared fourth at the PGA National and last month led briefly in the final round of the British Open before settling for a share of sixth at Carnoustie behind Italian winner Francesco Molinari.

"I certainly can win again," Woods said. "I feel like I'm starting to hit the ball a little more crisp. And since I've switched putters, I've started to make some putts. When you make putts here and there, it changes everything."

Woods, 42, has won 79 career US PGA titles but hasn't won any event since the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

"I've had an opportunity to win a couple times this year," Woods said. "My game has gotten better and good enough where I feel like I can win again out here."

Woods has won four PGA Championships, one shy of the record five won by Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen, but missed the cut in 2015 in his most recent appearance. He last won the PGA title at Southern Hills in 2007.

Third-ranked defending champion Justin Thomas, trying to become the first back-to-back PGA Championship winner since Woods in 2006 and 2007, wants to see Woods win if he's not in the hunt.

"I'm always pulling for Tiger if I'm not playing, or if he has a chance to win and I don't," Thomas said. "I said this at the beginning of the year I think he's going to win if he stays healthy. And it would be really cool for the game, if and when he does.

"But at the same time, I'm trying to make sure that he doesn't do that, for many reasons."

- Spieth accepts challenge -

Spieth was third at the Masters and shared ninth in his British Open title defense last month.

But the 25-year-old Texan who took the 2015 Masters and US Open titles hasn't won since claiming his third major crown last year at Royal Birkdale.

World number eight Spieth could become only the sixth player to complete the career Slam -- winning the Masters, US and British Opens and the PGA -- to join a list that includes Nicklaus, Woods, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and South African Gary Player.

"When you have an opportunity to do that, certainly it weighs on you a little bit," Spieth said. "All I can do is embrace the challenge."

Spieth could have become the youngest player to complete a Career Slam by winning last year's PGA but shared 28th at Quail Hollow.

- DJ tough to beat at best -

Johnson, coming off a victory in last week's Canadian Open, is an oddsmakers favorite to win the Wanamaker Trophy despite missing the British Open cut.

"I felt like I was hitting it fine," Johnson said. "It was the worst I've ever scored and the only thing I could come up with was I really wasn't focused on the shots and what I was trying to do."

But Johnson, whose lone major win came at the 2016 US Open, feels he can beat anyone anywhere when playing his best.

"If I'm playing my best, yeah, it's going to be very tough (to lose)," Johnson said.

Bellerive is hosting its third major tournament, having been the site of Player's 1965 US Open triumph to complete his career Grand Slam and Zimbabwean Nick Price's 1992 PGA Championship title, the first of his three major crowns.]]>
8/4/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Lysenko suspended, out of Euro champs, after missed dope test]]>
Lysenko, the world indoor champion, was one of 74 athletes vetted by an anti-doping panel and allowed to compete under a neutral flag despite the ongoing ban on Russian athletes in the wake of a major doping and corruption scandal in 2015.

But the 21-year-old Lysenko was stripped of his status as an Authorised Neutral Athlete (ANA) after failing to "provide whereabouts information as required under the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules and Regulations and to make himself available for out-of-competition testing by the AIU", according to a statement by the IAAF.

"Mr Lysenko is accordingly not eligible to compete at the 2018 European Athletics Championships to be held in Berlin next week (7-12 August 2018)."

Speaking to the RusAF official site, Lysenko said: "I'm terribly upset, but I can only blame myself for it, nobody else.

"I had a too perfunctory attitude to the ADAMS (whereabouts) system. It's just my carelessness."

He added: "Of course it's not the end of my career. I'll keep on training and will wait for a fair decision on my case."

The IAAF in May stripped ANA status from five race-walkers, including world 20km silver medallist Sergei Shirobokov, for having trained under Viktor Chegin.

More than 20 athletes who trained under Chegin have been sanctioned for doping-related offences between 2005 and 2015. The racewalking coach has been banned for life from all sports-related activities.

The championships are held in Berlin on August 6-12.]]>
8/4/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Elite gamers battle for glory at FIFA eWorld Cup]]>
A total of 32 players -- 16 PlayStation and 16 Xbox stars – are competing at the 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final at London's O2 Arena for a top prize of $250,000.

More than 20 million players entered the competition dreaming of glory-- with 128 players making it through to the Global Series Playoffs in Amsterdam at the end of May and the beginning of June.

The fresh-faced finalists in London, with their eye on World Cup glory on Saturday, come from as far afield as Argentina, New Zealand and Malta.

English-born Harry "Honey Badger" Blackmore, who moved to New Zealand with his parents six years ago, relishes the chance to play in the O2.

"I watched many boxing fights here and backstage there are posters of those who appeared here like Anthony Joshua and rapper Jay-Z," the 23-year-old told AFP.

"Maybe one day they will say Robbie Williams and Harry Blackmore performed at the O2 and my mum will be very proud," he added, laughing.

The engaging Blackmore, who stands out with his shock of red hair and jokes he is "getting old", says he keeps fit by playing semi-professional football but also looks after himself because he is aware he is potentially appearing in front of millions of viewers.

He has already seen his profile soar ahead of the tournament -- appearing on the national morning news in New Zealand -- in a sign of the increasing profile of eSports.

"It is going to get bigger and bigger," said Blackmore, who started playing the game aged six. "The prize pots are going up and it is becoming a more viable career where you can make not just a living but a very comfortable living.

"I am very privileged to be in this position."

The 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final in London features 32 players

For football's world governing body FIFA, the move to London's O2 this year underlines the growing profile of the game.

"The 02 is a bit of a statement," said Jean-Francois Pathy, FIFA's director of marketing services.

"It is a growing tournament, the biggest tournament using the FIFA franchise and we want the 02 or the equivalent in future years to be a sell-out."

- 'Ronaldo work ethic' -

Stars such as Blackmore will help to sell tickets but Pathy says in order for the game to grow, the players have to sell themselves and become stars in their own right.

"The profile of players has to develop and get them to become more recognisable," he said. "They have to have a clearer profile and personalities. That is part of developing the game and the franchise."

The road to becoming a part of the sports family -- "the normalisation and professionalisation" stage as Pathy puts it -- also includes drug testing and monitoring of betting patterns, while the players are increasingly taking on coaches.

Blackmore has no problem with the introduction of dope-testing -- there was a draw on stage after the first round of matches to select who would be tested.

"Principally it is to look for drugs that slow down your heart like beta blockers," said Blackmore.

"It is a good measure as everyone should be on a level playing field."

Those performing at the O2 do not just treat the stars in their teams as tools for winning but adopt them as role models.

"Cristiano Ronaldo, his work ethic is insane, definitely someone you want to look up to," 19-year-old American Alexander "Alekzandur" Garcia Betancourt said.

Betancourt, who got into the game through his father and is attached to MLS franchise Sporting Kansas City, says it is an honour to be the sole American competing in London.

"It would be awesome being 19 and winning $250,000 but I don't want my head going into the clouds," he said.
8/4/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Weeping Murray wins marathon, rips ATP event for 3:00 am finish]]>
Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, in his first hardcourt event after an 11-month layoff for a right hip injury, outlasted Romania's 93rd-ranked Marius Copil 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

The 31-year-old Scotsman won his third three-set victory in four days, having been on the court for eight hours 11 minutes in all, and he started at midnight thanks to a fourth day of rain delays.

"I don't think I should be put in a position like that," Murray said. "(My body) doesn't feel great right now.

"I've had a few long matches. Finishing matches at three in the morning isn't good for anyone involved in the event, players, TV, fans, anyone.

"When you're expected to come back and perform the next day, I think that's unreasonable."

And the sheer lateness of the hour wasn't good for players.

"That's something the tour needs to look at," Murray said.

The British star said he was unlikely to finish post-match conditioning and get to sleep before 5:30 am, ahead of a scheduled Friday quarter-final against 19-year-old Australian Alex De Minaur.

"Not playing, potentially, is possible. I don't know how players are expected to recover from that," Murray said.

"It's like playing two matches in a day. I'm not sure how well I'll recover from that."

After the final point, Murray went to his chair, buried his face in a towel and wept, sobbing at times, and kept his head down and face covered as he exited the court.

"Not a whole lot, really, the emotions coming out at the end of an extremely long day and a long match," Murray said of what made him so emotional.

Former world number one Murray, now ranked 832, denied Copil on all four break chances in the first set and took a 5-0 tie-breaker lead only to drop the next seven points and squander the set, yelling at himself several times before netting a backhand to end the misery.

Murray broke to open and close the second set, then traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games on the way to a final tie-breaker.

Murray hit a forehand long to fall level 3-3, then slammed his racquet to the court, recovered it and hit three winners to reach match point, winning when Copil netted a backhand.

If his body can take it, Murray plays for a semi-final spot in Friday's last match against 72nd-ranked De Minaur, who pulled two upsets Thursday after rain, dumping US 11th seed Steve Johnson 6-4, 7-5 and South Korean eighth seed Chung Hyeon 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

- Alex wins Zverev battle -

Third-ranked defending champion Alexander Zverev took bragging rights in his sibling rivalry, beating 15th-seeded older brother Mischa 6-3, 7-5 in their first ATP meeting.

"We had a great time," Alex said. "I was happy and enjoying the moment. I hope we meet again someday in a final."

Mischa was nearly in tears at the start at a family dream come true.

"When we came back to the benches I had to fight back my tears," he said. "It was a big day, big match. It was very emotional for me. It was just a great day."

Next up for Alex will be Japanese seventh seed Kei Nishikori, who dispatched Canadian ninth seed Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

"There will be a lot of points from the baseline," Nishikori said. "I've got to work the point, play more aggressively and move the ball around."

- Low-energy Isner falls -

US second seed John Isner was ousted by 152nd-ranked compatriot Noah Rubin 6-4, 7-6 (8/6).

Ninth-ranked Isner, fatigued after a first-ever Grand Slam semi-final at Wimbledon and an Atlanta title run, blamed his low-energy outing on his workload.

"Noah played with more energy. He was just tougher than I was. He was hungry," Isner said.

"This could very well be a good loss. I need a little rest. There are some big tournaments coming up. I want to be full of energy for those."

Japanese third seed Naomi Osaka, nagged by a right leg injury, lost to Poland's Magda Linette 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the companion WTA event.

"It definitely bothers me a bit out there on the court, but it isn't anything serious," Osaka said. "We're going to prep and get healthy."]]>
8/4/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Iraq withdrawal prompts partial redraw for Asian Games]]>
The redraw was the second time the group phase of the competition had to be amended after organisers had not included the UAE and Palestine in the original selection when it was conducted in early July.

Iraq's decision on Thursday not to compete threw up further complications for organisers, leaving only three teams in their group while two other groups - featuring the late additions from the UAE and Palestine - contained five nations.

The football tournament at the Asian Games features teams comprising players aged 23 years of age and under, with coaches permitted to select three overage players.

The competition begins on Aug. 10, with the final to be played on Sept. 1.

Asian Games Football Draw

Group A: Indonesia, Hong Kong, Laos, Chinese Taipei, Palestine

Group B: Thailand, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Qatar

Group C: United Arab Emirates, China, East Timor, Syria

Group D: Japan, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nepal

Group E: South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Bahrain

Group F: North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Myanmar ]]>
8/3/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mahrez ready as Guardiola eyes winning start to new season]]>
Mahrez, who joined the Premier League champions on a five-year contract last month, was forced off the pitch after a tough challenge by Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards in their final pre-season clash in the United States.

"Mahrez is good. He had a little bit of pain but he trained day before yesterday. I think so (he can play on Sunday)," Guardiola told a news conference.

Spaniard Guardiola, who guided City to the Premier League and League Cup double last season, will not have the services of forward Raheem Sterling and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, with both players still not ready following the World Cup in Russia.

"Kevin and Sterling are not here but they will be back after the game on Sunday," Guardiola added. "From Monday we will be back all together and think about what we have to do to keep last season's level."

City are looking to become the first team since their illustrious neighbours Manchester United to defend the top flight title. United achieved that feat a decade ago.

Standing in City's way in their quest to begin the season with a trophy are FA Cup champions Chelsea, who have replaced manager Antonio Conte with compatriot and former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri.

"I am happy that he (Sarri) is here in the Premier League," Guardiola said. "I will learn a lot to see his team every weekend. I saw three games. He gets it, the team in a short time plays like he wants.

"I think it will be a good game, always Chelsea is a big rival. Antonio was, Maurizio will be too. The style of play will be perfect for English football."

City begin their league campaign with a trip to Arsenal on Aug. 12 while Chelsea travel to Huddersfield Town the previous day.]]>
8/3/2018 3:45:20 PM
<![CDATA[First game for the newly shape club, Pyramids FC vs Enppi]]>
Pyramids FC, previously known by Al-Assiouty Sport, look to send a message at, Petrosport stadium, to everyone in the Egyptian league that they are a real contender this season.

Al-Assiouty Sport club was officially sold to a Saudi investor who changed its name to Pyramdis FC. Many reports claim that Turki Al al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's General Sports Authority, is the owner of Pyramids FC.

Pyramids FC signed 19 new players this season and the list came as follows:

Four Brazilian players: Rodriguinho from Corinthians, Keno from Palmeiras, Carlos Eduardo from Goias, Lucas Ribamar from Atletico Parananense.

13 Egyptian players: Ahmed El-Shenawy, Aly Gabr and Ahmed Tawfik (Zamalek), Mohamed Magdy Afsha (Enppi), Mohamed Hamdy and Ahmed Ayman Mansour (Al-Masry), Mohamed Farouk and Abdel Aziz El Shaer (Al Mokawlon), Al-Mahdy Soliman, Ragab Bakar and Abdullah Bakry (Smouha), Omar Gaber (US Los Angeles), Nasser Mansy (Al Dakhleya).

Two Arab players: Syria’s Omar El Meydani (Emirati Hatta), Palestine’s Danny Shahin (Netherlands’ Ruda).

8 players remain with the club: Ahmed Daodour, Ahmed Afify, Islam Siyam, Sherif Dabo, Mohamed Rizq, Hamada Tolba, Mohanad Lashin and Nabil Dunga.
8/3/2018 3:40:12 PM
<![CDATA[Big deal in Italy, Higuain and Caldara to AC Milan, Bonucci back to Juventus]]>
AC Milan paid €16 million to Juventus for Higuain and they can fully buy him next year by paying another €36 million.

Bonucci and Caldara signed long contracts with their clubs until 2023.

Bonucci started playing for Juventus in 2010 where he won the Scudetto (Serie A title) for six times, Coppa d’italia for three times, Italian Super cup for three times, and helped the ‘bianconeri’ to reach the UEFA Champions league final for two times. Last year, he joined AC Milan when he presented a transfer-request as he reportedly had some problems with Juventus’ manager, Allegri. This summer, he regretted the past summer move and asked for a return to Juventus to play alongside the new comer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Higuain joined Juventus in 2016 summer coming from Napoli in a record €90 million deal. He played 105 matches with Juventus; scored 55 goals and provided 12 assists.

8/3/2018 3:09:36 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina name under-17 boss as interim coach]]>
Scaloni, a former right back who also helped as assistant coach with the national side, replaces Jorge Sampaoli, who stood down last month after a disappointing World Cup in which Argentina were eliminated by France 4-3 in the round of 16.

"The AFA informs that after a meeting of the Executive Committee, Lionel Scaloni will coach the future friendlies along with his assistants Pablo Aimar and Martin Tocalli," the Argentine Football Association (AFA) said in a one-line statement.

The association's president Claudio Tapia told reporters they were going to take their time to appoint a permanent coach.

Argentina have had three different men in charge since Alejandro Sabella resigned in 2014 after taking the team to the final of the World Cup, where they lost to Germany in extra time.

Since then Gerardo Martino, Edgardo Bauza, and Sampaoli have all had spells at the helm but none have won any silverware and Argentina's trophy drought now extends back to 1993, the last time they won the Copa America.

The two-time World Champions meet Guatemala in Los Angeles on Sept 7 and then face Colombia in New Jersey four days later. ]]>
8/3/2018 2:34:49 PM
<![CDATA[Chelsea's Pedro signs one-year contract extension]]>
The 31-year-old, a World Cup and European Championships winner with Spain, joined Chelsea in 2015 and has since made 131 appearances across all competitions, winning the league title in 2017 and the FA Cup last term.

"It's important for me to continue with Chelsea, I am comfortable here and want to win new titles and trophies. I want to help the team, score goals, and I repeat, I am really happy," Pedro told the club's website https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/2018/8/3/pedro-extends.

The Spaniard previously played for La Liga club Barcelona, where he made more than 300 appearances and collected around 20 titles, including three Champions League triumphs.

Chelsea play league champions Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday, six days before travelling to Huddersfield Town for their opening league fixture on Aug. 11.]]>
8/3/2018 2:30:56 PM
<![CDATA[Striker Jesus extends Man City stay until 2023]]>
The 21-year-old Brazil international has scored 24 goals in 53 matches across all competitions since joining City in January 2017 and helped the club win the league title and League Cup under manager Pep Guardiola last season.

"I can say that it was the best decision I've made in my life to come to Manchester City because whilst I'm here I'm improving as a professional and as a person," Jesus told City's website https://www.mancity.com/news/first-team/first-team-news/2018/august/gabriel-jesus-man-city-contract-extension.

"Pep had an important role in my signing, but also the club. City is a huge club and it is getting bigger and bigger so I just want to say thanks for everything."

Jesus, who represented Brazil at this year's World Cup, returned to training with City earlier this week ahead of their Community Shield clash against FA Cup winners Chelsea on Sunday. ]]>
8/3/2018 2:25:44 PM
<![CDATA[Algeria name Belmadi as new coach]]>
The former Manchester City midfielder will travel to Algiers to sign a contract replacing Rabah Madjer, who resigned in June, the Algerian Football Federation said.

French-born Belmadi, 42, played for Algeria between 2000 and 2004, including a quarter-final place at the 2004 African Nations Cup finals.

His club career started at Paris St Germain and included stints at Olympique Marseille, Celta Vigo in Spain, Manchester City and Southampton.

His previous coaching experience has been restricted to Qatar where he has managed the national side as well as several clubs.

Belmadi is the seventh coach of Algeria since they reached the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, reflecting a turbulent last four years for the side.

His first assignment will be away against the Gambia next month as Algeria resume their bid to qualify for next year’s Nations Cup finals. ]]>
8/3/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian national team’s ex-manager Cuper signs for Uzbekistan ]]>
The Argentinean had three fantastic years with the Egyptian national team leading them to the 2017 African Cup of Nations’ final when they lost 2-1 to Cameroon.

Cuper’s best achievement was leading the team to the 2018 World Cup in Russia for the first time since 1990 in Italy. However, he was sacked after Egypt’s disastrous run at the World Cup losing their three group stage games.

Egypt started their participation against Uruguay where they lost 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Uruguayan defender José Giménez.

Egypt also lost the second game 3-1 to the host nation, Russia, with Mohamed Salah scoring Egypt’s only goal at the game.

Egypt lost 2-1 at the Arab derby against Saudi Arabia despite leading the score by a goal from Mohamed Salah.

Cuper will lead the team at the 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE. Uzbekistan plays in Group E alongside Turkmenistan, Oman and Japan.

Uzbekistan’s team never appeared at the World Cup before and they hope that Cuper can lead them to reach the tournament in 2022. ]]>
8/3/2018 4:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Nasri doping ban increased to 18-months after appeal]]>
The Frenchman was handed the original suspension in February after UEFA found the 31-year-old "guilty of using a prohibited method in accordance with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list".

The former France international's lawyer had said Nasri was sanctioned for receiving an intravenous drip treatment at a clinic in Los Angeles in 2016, when he was on loan at Sevilla from City.

"The player Samir Nasri is suspended for eighteen (18) months. This suspension will start running on 1 July 2017," UEFA said in a statement on their website. https://www.uefa.com/insideuefa/disciplinary/index.html

"The player Samir Nasri is allowed to return to training, with any football club starting from 1 November 2018."

UEFA said Nasri's amended suspension was a result of negotiations between the player, WADA, the French Anti-Doping Agency and UEFA's Ethics and Disciplinary inspector, who originally believed a two-year suspension was warranted.]]>
8/3/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Antonio Calderon appointed as Nogoom FC manager ]]>
Nogoom FC participates at the Egyptian Premier League for the first time in their history. The club started their run at the league with a goalless draw against Tala’a El-Gaish on Wednesday.

Calderon will start his mission with the club on Aug. 9 and the caretaker manager, Alaa Hassab Allah, will lead the club at their second game against Smouha on Wednesday.

“We faced many difficulties at the pre-season especially after the departure of the manager, Diaa el Sayed,” the club’s chairman, Mohamed Altawila, told radio program “Estad El-Hadaf”.

As a player, Calderon represented his hometown club, Cadiz, RCD Mallorca and Lleida at the Spanish League’s top division.

Calderon started his managerial career in 2002 with Scottish club, Raith Rovers, before his decision to return to Spain where he managed many big clubs like Cadiz, Albacete, Huesca, Tenerife and Fuenlabrada.

Calderon’s first game as Nogoom FC manager will be on Aug. 15 against the Arab Contractors. ]]>
8/3/2018 2:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Paire fined $16,500 for Washington meltdown]]>
Paire, known for his volatile temperament, smashed three rackets and kicked a courtside bench and was booed off the court after appearing to give up on match point down.

The 29-year-old initially lost his cool when dropping serve to trail 5-2 in the final set of his 6-3 3-6 6-2 defeat.

After falling, he smashed his racket over and over into the court, then took another one from his bag and destroyed that. Another frame bit the dust at the end of the contest.

Paire was sanctioned for "audible obscenity, unsportsmanlike conduct and a lack of giving best effort".

"Yes, yes it's true I got upset yesterday," he wrote on Instagram.

The ATP fine was more than double the appearance money he made at the tournament. ]]>
8/2/2018 9:20:00 PM
<![CDATA[Terry hosted by Pyramids TV as Egyptian League pundit ]]>
Pyramids TV will begin broadcasting at 8 p.m., one hour before the game between Al-Ahly and Ismaily.

Pyramids TV won the Egyptian League broadcasting rights which will be covered by a group of Egypt’s best football pundits.

Mido also revealed that former Newcastle United striker, Alan Shearer; former Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba, and former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, will be hosted for the analysis of the Egyptian League matches.

Al-Ahly will host Ismaily at the Egyptian Premier League opening game of the season at Al-Salam Stadium in Cairo.

Al-Ahly French manager, Patrice Carteron, will experience the Egyptian League for the first time as he was appointed manager last June.

Carteron will have a tactical battle with Ismaily new manager, Kheïreddine Madoui.

The game starts on Thursday at 9 p.m. (CLT). ]]>
8/2/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Higuain undergoes medical at Milan, Bonucci at Juve]]>
Milan said that Higuain, who has spent two seasons at Juventus, had also arrived for his medical.

"Look who's in Milan ready for medicals..." the club said on Twitter in a post accompanied by a photograph of Higuain in a Milan training shirt.

Several dozen fans waited outside the clinic where Higuain was pictured arriving at 0930 local time (0730 GMT).

Juventus said on their website (www.juventus.com) that Bonucci, who spent seven seasons at the club before joining Milan a year ago in a 40-million euro move, had arrived in Turin for his medical.

Higuain moved to Juventus in 2016 for 90 million euros ($105 million) after scoring a record 36 Serie A goals in the previous season for Napoli and his sudden departure infuriated that team's supporters.

The 30-year-old has won Serie A and Coppa Italia titles in each of his two seasons with Juventus and scored 55 goals in 105 appearances in all competitions, including 40 goals in 73 outings in Serie A.

Critics, however, say he has failed to make an impact on the big occasion.

He had a subdued World Cup where he started one game, appeared as a substitute in two more and failed to score a goal. He was left on the bench for the second round match against France as Argentina lost 4-3 and were knocked out.

Bonucci's return to Juve would reunite him with Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, who together formed the so-called 'BBC' defence, which proved to be one of Europe's most formidable rearguards.

Barzagli, 37, extended his contract for another season in June.

Juventus, who signed World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo last month, have won the last seven Serie A titles and their main ambition is now to win the Champions League, after finishing runners-up in 2015 and 2017.

Seven-times European champions AC Milan have had a series of disappointing seasons since they won their last Serie A title in 2011.

Juventus defender Mattia Caldara, who spent last season on loan at Atalanta, is also expected to move to Milan as part of the deal.]]>
8/2/2018 5:35:56 PM
<![CDATA[Newcastle complete signing of Japan forward Muto]]>
Newcastle said last week that they had reached an agreement with the Bundesliga club for the transfer. Muto's move was completed on Thursday after he was granted a work permit.

"I'm honoured to be a player for such a big club," Muto, the first Japanese player to join Newcastle, said.

British media reports said Muto's transfer fee was around 9.5 million pounds ($12.40 million).

"I hope to achieve good results, that's what I'm here to do. I would like to perform well and leave my name in Newcastle's history," Muto added.

Muto, 26, is Newcastle's fourth permanent signing of the close season following goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, midfielder Ki Sung-yueng and defender Fabian Schar.

Newcastle begin their league campaign by hosting Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park on Aug. 11.]]>
8/2/2018 5:34:17 PM
<![CDATA[I have big dreams for Egypt: Aguirre ]]>
Aguirre was one of the main contenders for the position alongside Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodžić, Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto, and the Spanish Quique Sánchez Flores.

“I have big dreams for the national team. I will do everything to make Egypt the best team in Africa,” Aguirre told press on Thursday.

Aguirre, 59, is one of the most experienced managers on club and international levels; he led his nation, Mexico, to win CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2009.

The Mexican manager will succeed Argentinean Hector Cuper in the position after the latter’s failure to impress at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where the national team lost their three group stage games to Uruguay, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Aguiree added: “I have so much respect for Cuper, but I have a different way; I prefer attacking football. I will work with this group of players to make Egyptian fans happy and proud.”

Aguirre’s first official game will be on Sept. 3 against Swaziland at home during the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers. ]]>
8/2/2018 4:56:05 PM
<![CDATA[Salah makes a kid's dream come true ]]>
Salah is now a role model for the youth and it became a dream for many of them to meet the Egyptian star.

Ammar Halabi, a Syrian refugee kid who has muscular dystrophy, had a dream to meet the Egyptian winger. His dream got one step closer when Salah went with Liverpool for their pre-season tour in USA where Ammar and his family currently live.

“The doctor called me and I told her Ammar wanted to meet Mohamed Salah. The doctor told us it would be tough but she’d try,” Ammar’s mother, Radwa Said, narrated.

Once the Egyptian star was contacted by Make-A-Wish Foundation, whose mission is to fulfill the dreams of children with serious illnesses, he decided to meet Ammar.

Radwa added: “When they called to tell us it was happening and he was going to meet Salah, Ammar was so happy, really excited. His happiness didn’t compare to anything.”

Salah met Ammar and gave him a signed shirt and posed for pictures with Ammar and his family.

Ammar spoke after he met his idol, saying: "Everybody loves Salah and I want to be like him. He is a great person."]]>
8/2/2018 2:35:55 PM
<![CDATA[Valverde praises Rafinha ]]>
The Brazilian was one of the key players at the first two games against Tottenham Hostpurs and Roma, scoring a goal at the latter.

“I think Rafinha has done very well in both games and in practice, he has a great attitude towards the game and in my case, this is the first time I've worked with him properly,” Valverde told the press after Barcelona’s 2-4 loss to Roma.

The midfielder suffered a serious injury on April 2017 and he was sidelined until January when he was sent on a six month loan to Inter Milan.

Rafinha, born in Brazil, joined Barcelona’s academy when he was 13 and he spent most of his career inside the Catalan club.

He joined the first team in 2011 and he went on a one-year loan to Celta Vigo in 2013 before returning to Barcelona to play under Luis Enrique’s command.

Rafinha established himself a regular player in the last three seasons with Barcelona. He won the 2015 UEFA Champions League title, two Spanish League titles and three Spanish Cup titles.

Rafinha won Olympic Gold Medal with Brazil in 2016 Rio Olympic games. ]]>
8/2/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Napoli owner takes over troubled Bari]]>
Bari, who last played in Serie A in 2010-11, finished seventh in Serie B last season and qualified for the promotion playoffs.

But they were refused a licence last month for next season and forced to restart in Serie D, the highest of the amateur leagues.

On Tuesday, the city's mayor Antonio Decaro offered the ownership of the club to De Laurentiis ahead of 10 other candidates.

"This club has a very long history of 110 years. We must rise quickly and try to return to Serie A," De Laurentiis told a news conference on Wednesday.

"One thing is certain. We cannot mix Naples and Bari, two different cities, each with its own history and its own fans that must be respected... Bari will not just be an appendix to Napoli."

De Laurentiis said his son Luigi would be responsible for the club.

"I have finally convinced him after several days of phone calls and discussions, because he was never interested in football up to now," he said.

He added: "We must try to change the rules that do not allow the same owner to have two teams in Serie A -- it seems to be impossible now but in the future it should become normal."

It is common for Italian clubs to be relegated and re-founded following financial crisis.

De Laurentiis himself bought Napoli in 2004 after they were demoted to Serie C after going bankrupt.

Fiorentina have also been re-founded as were Parma, who were relegated to Serie D in 2015 after going bankrupt and will return to the top flight this season after three successive promotions.]]>
8/2/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Serena suffers career's worst loss to Konta]]>
After a routine hold to start the match, Williams lost the next 12 games in a one-sided affair that lasted less than an hour, stunning the partisan crowd of 3,000 at San Jose State University.

Those expecting to see Williams continue to battle back after a difficult child birth last year were left disappointed as the 36-year-old committed 25 unforced errors to Konta's nine and managed to put just 41 percent of her first serves into play.

"I think she played well in the second set and I think I wasn't sharp at all in the first set and she got confident and she clearly ran away with it," the American said after the loss.

Williams, who lost the Wimbledon final earlier this month to German Angelique Kerber, had never lost a match before where she did not win at least two games since turning pro in 1995.

As poorly as Williams played, the 27-year-old Konta was sharp, firing six aces and smacking 17 winners to Williams' nine while controlling the tempo of the match.

"She obviously wasn't playing at her best level, nowhere near it, and I really just tried to play the match on my terms," said Konta, who won the tournament two years ago.

"I tried to put aside the incredible champion she is and just play the player of the day," she said.

"I felt I did better than her on the day but it's still a humbling experience to be out here with her."

With the loss Williams falls to 11-4 since returning to the tour and will look to bounce back when she competes in the Cincinnati Open next month, another hard court tune-up ahead of this year's U.S. Open.

Konta will face American teenager Sofia Kenin in the second round. ]]>
8/2/2018 5:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mansour fines Zamalek players after Petrojet draw ]]>
Zamalek players failed to achieve their first victory under the command of their new manager Christian Gross.

“Our performance was very good against Petrojet but I decided to fine the players after they missed more than 10 clear chances to score and achieve victory,” Mansour told the press after the game.

Zamalek were the better side in the game with Mahmoud Abdel-Monem known as Kahraba and Ayman Hefny leading Zamalek’s attacks.

Zamalek missed their veteran midfielder, Tarek Hamed, for cards accumulation from last season and Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz was the only defensive midfielder at Zamalek’s starting line-up.
Petrojet had two clear chances to score through their Ethiopian striker Shimelis Bekele.

“At his first game, Gross had great influence on the team’s performance and I believe everything will be better in the next games,” Mansour added.

Zamalek’s players hope to reconcile their fans after a disastrous run at the League last season as they finished the competition in fourth position.

Zamalek will face Al Ittihad Alexandria on Saturday at the second fixture of the League. ]]>
8/2/2018 4:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[BREAKING: Aguirre confirmed as Egypt next national team manager ]]>
“We agreed on all the contract details with Aguirre and he will be presented on Thursday afternoon as the new national team manager at a press conference where we will unveil all the details,” Egyptian Football Association President, Hany Abo Rida, told Filgoal on Wednesday.

Aguirre was one of the main contenders for the position alongside Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodžić, Colombian Jorge Luis Pinto, and the Spanish Quique Sánchez Flores.

“I am so happy; it is a great step for me to be Egypt manager. I followed their run at the World Cup in Russia and I know them well and the players especially Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny,” Aguirre told the press after he reached an agreement with Egypt’s football governing body.

Aguirre, 59, is one of the most experienced managers on club and international levels; he led his nation, Mexico, to win CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2009.

The Egyptian Football Association decided to put an end to the era of national team manager Hector Cuper after the poor performance of the team at the World Cup.

Egypt had a disastrous run at the competition, losing their three games at the group stage.

Egypt started their participation against Uruguay where they lost 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Uruguayan defender, José Giménez.

Egypt also lost the second game 3-1 to the host nation, Russia, with Mohamed Salah scoring Egypt’s only goal at the game.

Egypt lost 2-1 at the Arab derby against Saudi Arabia despite leading the score by a goal from Mohamed Salah. ]]>
8/1/2018 6:32:34 PM
<![CDATA[Lukaku to return early to help depleted Man United, Mourinho]]>
Mourinho called for the club's World Cup participants to shorten their rest days after last month's tournament to help United, who have also been hindered by injuries, avoid a poor start to the league season.

England duo Phil Jones and Marcus Rashford were already set to return early and United will now be boosted by Lukaku's decision as they prepare to host Leicester City in their first league game on Aug. 10.

"We will have (Victor) Lindelof who started training two days ago," Mourinho said after United's 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the pre-season International Champions Cup (ICC) on Wednesday.

"Marcus Rashford, Jones and Lukaku, because they gave to the group and to the team three days of their holidays, so they are coming back three days early to try to be available for the team."

The Portuguese boss praised his senior players for the intensity they showed in United's pre-season tour but insisted the fixtures did not reveal anything new strategically.

"I didn't learn anything (tactically). I know what (Ander) Herrera is, I know what (Juan) Mata is, I know what (Alexis) Sanchez is, I know what they are... I know the kids need time to grow up," Mourinho said.

"The boys tried everything, they gave everything, they know we have to try to fight for the best result but tactically it means nothing."

United have won two of their five pre-season fixtures so far and will be keen to make a quick start in their quest to win silverware this season.

Mourinho was unsure, however, if Anthony Martial would return in time to play Sunday's final friendly against Bayern Munich after the Frenchman left the team's pre-season tour early to attend the birth of his daughter.]]>
8/1/2018 6:06:44 PM
<![CDATA[Madoui announces squad for Al-Ahly clash ]]>
The Algerian manager hopes for a good result against Ismaily’s fiercest rivals and title holders, Al-Ahly.

Egypt national team captain, Essam el-Hadary, who rejoined Ismaily last summer, was included in the list beside another five new signings.

Ismaily will miss Emad Hamdi and Baher el-Mohamady for cards accumulation from last season. However, Madoui believes that his team is ready for the game despite their absence.

“We played many pre-season games without Emad and Mohamady to be ready to face Al-Ahly without them. Al-Ahly is a big team with fantastic players but we are ready to stop their danger,” Madoui told press before the game.

Madoui’s squad for the game consists of: Essam el-Hadary, Mohamed Magdi, Mohamed Fawzi, Ahmed Ayman, Mohamed Hashem, Tarek Taha, Alaa Abdel Azim, Mahmoud Metwaly, Richard Baffour, Hosny Abd Rabo, Mohamed Sadek, Nader Ramadan, Wagih Abdel Hakim, Mohamed el-Darf, Lassaad Jaziri, Mohamed el-Shamy, Shokry Naguib, Abdel Rahman Magdi, Christopher Mendouga and Karim Bambo.

The game starts on Thursday at 9 p.m. (CLT).
8/1/2018 3:01:39 PM
<![CDATA[Everton sign defender Digne from Barcelona]]>
The 25-year-old France international joins Everton after two seasons in Barcelona, where he made 46 appearances across all competitions, as the Nou Camp outfit won the La Liga last term and retained the Spanish Cup.

"I want to show my best football here and discover the best league in the world. Everybody loves the Premier League. I am loving the fact I am coming here," Digne told Everton's website http://www.evertonfc.com/news/2018/08/01/lucas-digne.

"I am not afraid, I am excited. For me, it is a new challenge to discover a country, a league, people and a great club such as Everton. It is fabulous."

Digne, who missed out on France's World Cup squad this year, previously played for French top-flight side Paris St Germain, winning two Ligue 1 titles, and also completed a loan spell at Italy's AS Roma.

Everton manager Marco Silva praised Digne's attributes and welcomed the competition with Leighton Baines at left-back.

"He is a high-quality player, aggressive, with good technical ability and... he has demonstrated his clear quality in Barcelona," Silva said.

"Lucas is a player who will add competitiveness in a position where we only had Leighton Baines last season and he is accustomed to winning. This is his mentality having captured titles in his career and having these on his resume."

Everton travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in their opening league match on Aug. 11. ]]>
8/1/2018 2:21:43 PM
<![CDATA[Ismaily’s clash brings back bad memories to Carteron ]]>
Al-Ahly French manager, Patrice Carteron, will experience the Egyptian League for the first time as he was appointed manager last June.

Carteron will have a tactical battle with Ismaily new manager, Kheïreddine Madoui.

Both managers know each other well as they met at the 2014 CAF Champions League semi-finals when Carteron was coaching Congo’s Mazembe, while Madoui was the manager of his hometown club, ES Setif.

The Algerian team was searching for their second Champions League title and the first since 1988, while the Congolese team was the favorite team after an amazing run at the competition.

The first game in Algeria ended with a 2-1 victory for the hosts thanks to a last minute goal by their striker, Abdel Malek Ziaya.

It was not a comfortable victory for the Algerian team who knew they are awaiting a tough mission in Congo.

The first leg hero, Ziaya, surprised Mazembe fans when he opened the score at the second leg after 9 minutes to improve his team’s chances to reach the final.

The Congolese team response was amazing as they scored three goals by Daniel Nii Adjei, Salif Coulibaly and Jonathan Bolingi to make the score 3-1 which means that Mazembe will be at the final.

However, Setif’s striker, Sofiane Younès had another opinion when he scored the second goal 15 minutes before the final whistle to secure their qualification to the final.

Setif went on to achieve the title at the end defeating Vita Club at the final, while Carteron and his Congolese players had to wait till the next season when they achieved the title defeating another Algerian side, USM Alger, at the final. ]]>
8/1/2018 2:16:22 PM
<![CDATA[Iraq withdraw from Asian Games football tournament]]>
The Iraq Olympic Committee have pulled the team from the event, according to a source in Baghdad, and the decision will leave officials needing to address an imbalance in the opening phase of the tournament.

Last week the Asian Football Confederation conducted a redraw of the competition's group stage to add Palestine and the United Arab Emirates after the pair had been left off the original entry list.

That meant two of the six groups swelled from four teams to five, but Iraq's withdrawal now means one group - containing China, Timor Leste and Syria - will feature just three countries.

The Olympic Council of Asia, the organisers of the Asian Games, have yet to respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

A source at the Iraq Football Association had initially denied reports the team would be removed from the competition and that the squad's preparations were being finalised following the completion of a training camp in the northern city of Erbil.

Earlier this week, football officials were reported to have been fired over their involvement in the selection of overage players for the nation's under-16 team after they were stopped at passport control on their way to participate in a regional tournament.

The withdrawal of Iraq's footballers follows a decision by the Philippines not to send the nation's basketball team to Jakarta in the aftermath of their on-court brawl with Australia during a recent World Cup qualifier.

The football tournament at the Asian Games begins on August 10 and features teams made up of players 23 years of age and under. Coaches are permitted to select three overage players.

The final will be played on Sept. 1. ]]>
8/1/2018 1:25:57 PM
<![CDATA[Managers to be shown yellow, red cards for misconduct - FA]]>
Cards will be issued in the FA Cup, English Football League, EFL Cup, EFL Trophy and National League. Managers and coaches in the Premier League, however, will not be issued cards, but given verbal warnings instead.

The decision comes after a review of the technical area code of conduct by the stakeholders of the English game.

"Stage one warnings" will be issued to occupants of the technical area for inappropriate language and gestures towards match officials, the FA said.

Other forms of "irresponsible behaviour" that could result in a yellow card or warning include kicking or throwing water bottles, coats or other objects in a show of dissent as well as sarcastic clapping.

An automatic one game suspension will be triggered when an individual reaches four warnings.

Eight warnings carry a two-game ban and 12 warnings will result in a three-game ban.

The FA will hand misconduct charges to individuals accumulating 16 warnings, with a regulatory commission determining subsequent sanctions. ]]>
8/1/2018 9:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Levski to unveil Slovenian Stojanovic as new coach]]>
Stojanovic, who led Domzale to the Slovenian league title in 2007 and 2008 and Red Star Belgrade to the Serbian league title in 2014, will be presented at Levski's Georgi Asparuhov Stadium on Tuesday.

Sources close to the Sofia-based side told Reuters last week that much-travelled Stojanovic, who also worked in Belgium, China and Latvia and worked as the United Arab Emirates' assistant coach, agreed to join Levski on a one-year contract with an option to extend for a further year.

Levski had forgettable campaigns in recent years but Stojanovic said he was looking for change in fortunes.

"Yes, I know that Levski haven't won a trophy since 2009," Stojanovic told local media. "Step by step, we will try to build a team to break this bad series. I'm optimistic.

"I can't speak anymore because there's a press conference on Tuesday."

The Slovenian will replace Italian Delio Rossi, who was released following an early European exit this month.

The Blues, as Levski are known in the Black Sea state, were knocked out by Liechtenstein's FC Vaduz in the Europa League's first qualifying round on away goals after the sides drew 3-3 on aggregate on Tuesday. ]]>
7/31/2018 3:41:00 PM
<![CDATA[Coulibaly reveals reasons behind quick adaptation ]]>
“Al-Ahly is a big team and helps every player to shine. I feel comfortable inside the club despite joining the club a few weeks earlier,” Coulibaly told press on Monday.

Coulibaly established himself as Al-Ahly’s starting defender and he led the club to return to the right track at the CAF Champions League.
The defender had a fantastic debut with the team in their 3-0 victory at home over Botswana’s Township Rollers and he scored the winning goal at his second game in Botswana.

“The players and the coaching staff praised me after my first goal which was amazing,” Coulibaly added.

Al-Ahly plays in Group A alongside Botswana’s Township Rollers F.C., Uganda’s Kampala City and Tunisia’s Espérance.

Al-Ahly is in the second position with seven points, three points behind group leaders, Espérance.

Coulibaly continued: “We are able to achieve the Champions League title this season with this group of players. I achieved the title in 2015 with my former club, Mazembe, and I hope to do it again this season.” ]]>
7/31/2018 2:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mahrez cleared to resume training after knock]]>
Mahrez, who joined the Premier League champions on a five-year contract earlier this month, was substituted after a tough tackle by Bayern defender Chris Richards in the first half of their final pre-season clash.

However, City allayed fears that the Algerian international, who returned to Manchester with his foot in a protective boot, would miss the start of the new season. City take on FA Cup winners Chelsea for the Community Shield on Sunday.

"A scan today has revealed no significant damage, and he (Mahrez) could be available for selection for this weekend's Community Shield against Chelsea," City said on their website https://www.mancity.com/news/first-team/first-team-news/2018/july/riyad-mahrez-injury-update.

Pep Guardiola's team then take on Arsenal in their opening league clash on Aug. 12.]]>
7/31/2018 11:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Gross announces Zamalek squad for the League opener ]]>
Zamalek’s new signings, Emad el-Sayed, Mohamed Hassan, Ibrahim Hassan, Bahaa Magdy and Hamid Ahaddad were included in the list.

Mahmoud Abdel-Monem known as Kahraba and Mostafa Fathy, who returned from their loans in Saudi Arabia, were also included in the list.

Zamalek will miss Tarek Hamed and Mahmoud Alaa for cards accumulation from last season, while Mohamed Abdel-Salam will miss the game for injury.

Gross’ chosen squad for the game consisted of Emad el-Sayed, Omar Salah, Mahmoud Abdel Rahim known as Gennesh, Mohamed Abdel Ghani, Hamdi Nagguez, Bahaa Magdy, Mahmoud Hamdy, Ahmed Fattoh, Hazem Imam, Mohamed Ahmed, Mahmoud Abdel-Aati, Mohamed Antar, Youssef Obama, Omar el-Said, Ayman Hefny, Mahmoud Abdel Aziz, Mohamed Hassan, Abdallah Gomaa, Ibrahim Hassan, Mahmoud Abdel-Monem known as Kahraba, Mostafa Fathy, Kabongo Kasongo and Hamid Ahaddad.

Zamalek players hope to reconcile their fans after a disastrous run at the League last season as they finished the competition at fourth position.

The game will start on Tuesday at 9 p.m. (CLT).]]>
7/31/2018 8:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Actor Nomura to orchestrate Tokyo 2020 ceremonies]]>
Following a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting in Fukushima Prefecture, Nomura was named as the chief executive creative director overseeing all four ceremonies.

Nomura is best known in Japan for his performances as an actor featuring in kyogen, a traditional form of comedic theatre. The 52-year-old won the prize for the best actor at the prestigious Blue Ribbon Awards in 2001.

"He is the person who is to carry out the image and the message of Tokyo 2020," said Tokyo 2020 Honorary President Fujio Mitarai.

"That person has the role of implementing our spirit and vision of the Tokyo 2020 Games at all four ceremonies.

"Mansai Nomura is a renowned figure, both domestically and internationally and he is knowledgeable in both traditional Japanese art and modern theatrical art."

The board meeting was held at the recently re-opened J-Village complex in Fukushima Prefecture. The facility, which previously played host to the Argentine soccer team during the 2002 World Cup, was used as a base for rescue teams working in the wake of the 2011 earthquake.

The earthquake killed approximately 18,000 people and also severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant rendering much of the area near the J-Village a no-go zone.

The re-opening of the J-Village last week is a symbol of the reconstruction that Tokyo 2020 hopes to encourage in the region.

"We wanted a source of hope for the nation and now our dreams are coming true and we are seeing a gradual revival of the disaster-hit areas," said Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori.

"We are able to show to the world what we have been able to accomplish so far and where we are headed in terms of the reconstruction efforts since the disaster."

The Games torch relay will start in Miyagi Prefecture, also damaged by the earthquake, before passing through nearby Fukushima and Iwate Prefectures in a symbolic tour.

During the meeting Mori, a former Japan prime minister, also proposed to introduce daylight saving time in Japan before the Olympics.

Japan currently does not switch its timezone during the summer months, when the sun rises very early bringing with it the heat and humidity which was behind the recent record-breaking heatwave in the country.

Mori believes switching to daylight saving time before the Olympics would reduce temperatures for morning events such as the marathon and he had spoken to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the issue.

"Japan happens to be the only country amongst the major developed nations that do not implement daylight saving time so we do need some kind of an occasion or opportunity to get started on this," said Mori.

"Before we run out of time, the government needs to take this issue seriously to consider daylight savings time."]]>
7/31/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Luiz praises Sarri’s philosophy ]]>
Chelsea signed Sarri who is known for his attacking style which seems perfect for the Brazilian defender.

“I love Sarri's philosophy. We play high, with a lot of possession in a technical way. He's trying to help us every single day to learn his philosophy quickly,” Brazilian defender told skysports on Monday.

Luiz was diminished last season under Chelsea former manager, Antonio Conte.

He played only 10 games despite his big role at their League campaign in 2016 when Chelsea won the league.

Luiz added:” A new philosophy always takes time. But, it also depends on us. If we're dedicated every day and doing things every single day in training, we're trying to learn quickly."

Asked about Chelsea’s intention to sign new defenders, he said: “It is good to have fantastic players, more than just 11. You have many players that can play in the starting 11, so it is a positive challenge for everybody." ]]>
7/30/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Isner joins elite club of Americans with fifth Atlanta title]]>
Top seed Isner became the fifth American man to win the same event at least five times after Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.

But Isner acknowledged he had been fortunate to prevail over Harrison, the eighth seed, who took the first set and was clearly the better player early in the second.

Isner appeared to be wilting in the heat but Harrison could not hammer home his advantage, as his opponent squirmed out of trouble by saving four break points.

Isner then pounced to take advantage of his lone break point chance in the second set, and the dye was cast.

A revitalised Isner never looked back in the third set as Harrison's frustration finally boiled over and he smashed his racket against the court.

"I realise I was fortunate today," said Isner, at home in the state where he went to university.

"I've been on the other end where you have four or five chances to put your stamp on the match and you don't get it, and I just had one chance, and played a good point and was able to win the second set.

"That's how our sport goes sometimes."

It was the 14th career title for Isner, who lost a marathon semi-final 26-24 in the fifth set against Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon a fortnight ago. ]]>
7/30/2018 3:48:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt to name new national team manager on Wednesday ]]>
“We are searching for a manager to work with the national team till 2022. We will name the new manager on Wednesday after discussions with the committee responsible for negotiations,” federation President, Hany Abo Rida, told press.

The four candidates for the position are Vahid Halilhodžić, Jorge Luis Pinto, Quique Sánchez Flores and Javier Aguirre.

Mexican manager, Javier Aguirre’s agent is set to arrive in Cairo on Monday to negotiate with the Egyptian Football Association. The Mexican is one of the main contenders to be the next national team manager.

“We should consider the financial side of the federation beside the manager’s personality, experiences and tactics,” Abo Rida added.

The Egyptian Football Association decided to put an end to national team manager, Cuper’s era after the poor performance of the team at the World Cup.

Egypt had a disastrous run at the competition, losing their three games at the group stage.

Egypt started their participation against Uruguay where they lost 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Uruguayan defender, José Giménez.

Egypt also lost the second game 3-1 to the host nation, Russia, with Mohamed Salah scoring Egypt’s only goal at the game.

Egypt lost 2-1 at the Arab derby against Saudi Arabia despite leading the score by a goal from Mohamed Salah. ]]>
7/30/2018 2:25:48 PM
<![CDATA[Garcia overpowers Easter to unify lightweight titles]]>
The 30-year-old Garcia retained his WBC title and grabbed Easter's IBF belt with a unanimous decision victory at Staples Center arena in downtown Los Angeles.

"It is a great accomplishment. Now we are back," said Garcia. "I prepared for the best. He gave a great fight but I was in control most of the fight and did what I had to do to win."

Garcia seized control of the fight early, flooring American Easter in the third round with a left hook to the chin. It was just the second time in his career that Easter was knocked down.

"We wanted to land that right hand. It was a perfect punch around the chin," he said.

Easter recovered from the knockdown but failed to mount a sustained attack outside of using his jab, and was almost knocked down again in the ninth round.

Garcia is now 5-0 with two knockouts since returning from a 30-month exile from the sport due a battle with promoter Top Rank.

The three judges scored it 118-109, 117-110 and 116-111 as Garcia improved to 39-0 overall after this fight, which marks a return to the lightweight division. He won a junior welterweight belt in February but had to vacate it to face Easter.

Garcia immediately threw down the gauntlet to Errol Spence saying in the ring that for his next fight he wants to move up to the welterweight division to fight for Spence's IBF belt.

"He is the most feared man and I want to challenge him," said Garcia.

The 27-year-old Easter suffered the first loss of his career to drop to 21-1, with 14 KOs. He was making his fourth title defense of the vacant belt he won in 2016.

The lanky Easter, who had a 20 centimeter (eight inch) reach advantage, stuck to his game plan and hung in there to the final bell.]]>
7/30/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Striker Pizarro back at Bremen to see out career]]>
Pizarro, who turns 40 in October, has received a "performance-related contract" and will provide back up cover for the forward line.

"I'm delighted to have the chance to join the team again, and to finish my career at the club I started in Europe with," the Peruvian national said in a statement issued by the club.

"I'm looking forward to sharing my experience, but I don't want to hide that I'm coming back to score goals as well. I'm convinced that we'll have a strong season together."

Pizarro had been playing at FC Cologne over the last season, but has kept contact with Bremen.

"He will have a good influence in the dressing room with his positive energy, conviction and hunger for success," said Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt.

"If he's fit and healthy I'm sure he can help us in crucial moments this season. Claudio is a legend and he will get his moments this season."

Pizarro first wore Bremen's green and white jersey in 1999 and subsequently returned to the club in 2008, 2009 and 2015.

The striker, who had also played for Bayern Munich, has been in 446 Bundesliga games and is the top-scoring foreigner in the German top league with 192 goals.]]>
7/30/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Meet Tim Weah, the president's son with big football boots to fill]]>
Weah wasn't even born during his father's playing career, which included the 1995 Ballon d'Or and one of the greatest goals in history, for AC Milan -- which he now watches on YouTube.

He admits his father is on a "pedestal", but he hasn't let the pressure affect a burgeoning career for Paris Saint-Germain and the United States, co-host of the World Cup in 2026, when he will be 26.

After standing out at junior level, American-born Weah netted his first senior international goal in May, and got off the mark for PSG -- where his father starred in the 1990s -- this month against Bayern Munich.

"When I'm out there, it's just me and the ball and my teammates and that's all I really care about," he said, after catching the eye in Saturday's 5-1 pre-season defeat to Arsenal in Singapore.

"The name on my back, I don't really see it, it's the fans that are seeing it. So no pressure, I just try to play my game."

- 'Complete banger' -

Early indications are good for the centre-forward, who is strong and skillful, fast, astute, and has an eye for goal -- and his father's knack for the spectacular.

While he hasn't dribbled from his own penalty box to score, as his father famously did against Verona in 1996, Weah did hit a screamer during his hat-trick against Paraguay at last year's Under-17 World Cup, a goal he accurately describes as a "complete banger".

On Saturday, Weah twice came close to scoring for a youthful PSG side, and earned the penalty that brought their only goal when he drew a foul from Sead Kolasinac.

But he says he is happy to bide his time and wait for opportunities at star-studded PSG, where he can learn from the fearsome strike force of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

"With this type of player, I just learn maturity, just be comfortable on the ball and be yourself out there, because no one can take that from you," Weah said.

"I watch these players all the time. At the World Cup I was watching them and I took some stuff from their games as far as being confident, being skillful (is concerned)."

Beyond his own development, there is another goal in sight for Weah, a proud American who wants to use the skills he learns in Paris to bring his country success.

"Being from America, I play with a lot of heart, that's one thing that we Americans have and that's what I try to do and give out there on the pitch every day," he said.

As his career surges, Weah said he is getting "great advice" from both his father and his mother. But he stresses that any achievements on the pitch are all his own.

"I still watch his videos, I try to take something from it but the game that you guys see out there is all me," he said.

"That's all the stuff that I've worked on over the years. I'm almost there but I've got to keep pushing, I've got to keep working hard and we'll see where this season takes me."]]>
7/30/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Whyte keeps world title dream alive with gritty win over Parker]]>
Whyte, who has been defeated just once in his professional career in 2015 by present champion Anthony Joshua, withstood a late rally from Parker to win with the judges scoring it 113-112, 115-110, 114-111.

The 30-year-old Jamaica-born Whyte, who was shot and stabbed in his youth, will hope to move on to a bout with either Joshua or American Deontay Wilder.

Parker, suffering his second successive defeat -- he lost to Joshua in March and with it his WBO belt -- faces a tough battle to get back into the world title mix.

"I want to fight Joshua in a rematch (in April)," said Whyte, who is nicknamed 'The Body Snatcher'.

"We would be ready. I might be out again in October.

"I'm still so inexperienced and have so much to learn. There is still another 40 percent to come. It was a great fight, I love this man (Parker), we showed respect it was really good."

Parker was gracious in defeat.

"I gave it my best, the better man won," the 26-year-old told Sky. "It has been an amazing journey, but it is just the beginning."

Parker went down in the second round and received a count, although it appeared it was due to a clash of heads rather than a punch from Whyte.

The Briton started to work his way into the bout from the fourth round, even if he swung some wild punches that met fresh air, as Parker tired.

By the sixth Whyte was landing more effectively and Parker looked spent.

Parker's corner tried to rally their man telling him before he went out for the eighth that Whyte was exhausted and had achieved nothing in the preceding round.

Whyte quickly disabused Parker of that notion as he put him on the canvas with a left hook.

Parker needed a knockout to win and out of the blue he raised his game in the 11th and penultimate round landing several punches to the extent Whyte for the first time looked troubled.

Parker threw caution to the wind in the final round and put Whyte down with less than 30 seconds to go, the Briton clambering to his feet and just holding on.

- 'I'm bad' -

There was a classic heavyweight encounter in the bout preceding the main event between unpredictable Briton Dereck Chisora and Cameroon-born Frenchman Carlos Takam, two fighters who have had their chance at world title glory.

Chisora remarkably got the win he desperately required after three losses in his last six bouts -- including against Whyte.

Having looked outclassed early on, he came up with a cracking punch to put Takam down in the eighth. Although the 37-year-old got back up, Chisora sent him back to the canvas with his next punch.

The referee brought the curtain down in all likelihood on the loser's hopes of another tilt at the world title but 34-year-old Zimbabwe-born Chisora said he could dream again.

"It was tough but this fight was very emotional for me. I want to dedicate it to my daughter and missus. Takam is a true tough African boy," said Chisora.

"In the later rounds I thought it's time to send it home. He didn't hurt me -- I'm English nobody can hurt us.

"I'm bad. There's no two ways about it but when I step in the arena I want to fight for the fans."

Further down an impressive undercard Rio Olympic bronze medallist Joshua Buatsi eased to his seventh win since turning professional, making light work of Latvia's Andrejs Pokumeiko, knocking him out in the first round of their light heavyweight bout.

The 25-year-old's promoter Eddie Hearn predicts great things for Buatsi, who is managed by Joshua.

"You are watching the best prospect in world boxing," said Hearn.

"In world level he is going to be special."]]>
7/30/2018 3:00:00 AM