<![CDATA[rss-Sports]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Sports]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[South Florida sports mogul Huizenga dead at 80]]>
Huizenga, who was 80, was the former owner of the Miami Dolphins and the founder of MLB's Miami Marlins and the NHL's Florida Panthers.

His daughter Pamela Huizenga Alexander confirmed the news but did not reveal additional details.

Huizenga made his fortune as the founder of Waste Management, Blockbuster and AutoNation. In 2017, Forbes listed his net worth at $2.8 billion.

Huizenga was born in Chicago, but moved to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. with his family when he was 15. He started his business empire with a small trash-hauling operation that would eventually become Waste Management.

In the early 1990s, he bought a 15 percent stake in the Dolphins.

But in 1994, as his Blockbuster video rental empire took off, he became the sole owner of the Dolphins and Joe Robbie Stadium (now Hard Rock Stadium). He sold 50 percent of the team and stadium to Stephen Ross in 2008, followed by another 45 percent the following year.

He was awarded expansion franchises in the NHL and MLB, with the Panthers and Marlins opening play in 1993, making Huizenga the first owner to have teams in three major sports.

He sold the Marlins in 1998 and the Panthers in 2001.]]>
3/24/2018 6:33:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bernat considers leaving Bayern Munich]]>
Bernat has already informed the German leaders of his plans to leave. The German leaders themselves would fully understand player’s reasons for doing so and would even give their approval to his departure.

The defender was signed in 2014 after the payment of €10 million transfer fees, but has never managed to establish himself as an indisputable holder on the left side of Bayern.

His lack of prominence in recent months has led him to make the decision just a year before his contract with the Bundesliga Champion concludes.

Bayern has given permission to the Spanish player; he is looking for a substitute for next season.

On the other hand, FC Cologne’s defender, Jonas Hector, is reportedly linked to a possible move to Bayern Munich as a substitution for Bernat. Hector has been a consistent performer for Cologne since 2012. Bayern considers paying his release clause and signing him next summer.
3/24/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ecclestone urges F1 to take breakaway threat seriously]]>
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has threatened his team could quit if F1's American owners follow through on plans for simpler engines and a redistribution of prize money after contracts expire in 2020.

Ecclestone, who moved aside in January 2017 after Liberty took over, suggested both Ferrari and Mercedes, who have swept the last four drivers' and constructors' championships, were on the same page.

"Talking to people like Sergio and (Mercedes boss) Toto (Wolff), they are not idiots," the 87-year-old told Autosport.

"They will weigh up whether it's better for everyone to leave and do their own series, or do we need the (governing body) FIA to look over things? So people will start to think what to do.

"The trouble now is that Sergio has come out and said, 'The next time I see you, I'm going to punch you in the face'. And when he sees the people, he's got to be sure that he's going to punch them in the face.

"Sergio is not the guy that makes threats as a joke and then runs."

Although fierce rivals on the track, Ferrari and champions Mercedes are closely aligned off it on financial matters and engines -- supplying six of the 10 teams in the series.

The threat of a rebel series has rumbled only days before Sunday's series-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said on Friday that Marchionne knew "very well what he is talking about".

"My only suggestion is please take him seriously," he told a news conference at Albert Park.


Wolff, who was sitting alongside Arrivabene, struck a more conciliatory tone but would not rule out Mercedes leaving Formula One after 2020.

"It is clear that the current governance, how the rules are being made is not functional, there is too much different opinions and agendas on the table and we need to sort it for 2021, for the best interests of the sport," he said.

"We have at least three more years together in this great sport, regulated by the FIA, owned by Liberty, run by competent men and we just need to give our input support into the best possible way so it's great and we're not devaluing it."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner quipped that Mercedes and Ferrari were "about the only two teams in Formula One that do agree" and said it was up to Liberty and the FIA to table a plan rather than hope for a consensus.

"My view on this is very simple, trying to get a consensus between teams that have got varying objectives, different set-ups, it's going to be impossible," he said.

"It's down to the commercial rights holder and the FIA to get together, come up with a set of regulations.

"Put it on the table and it's down to the teams whether they want to sign up to that or not."]]>
3/24/2018 5:08:00 AM
<![CDATA[UEFA to pay solidarity and bonus fees to Nations League teams]]>
The 12 strongest teams based on UEFA rankings -- divided into four groups of three in League A -- will each receive 1.5 million euros in solidarity fees while each group winner will be given an additional 1.5 million euros as a bonus.

The four group winners from League A will then compete for the UEFA Nations League trophy next June and stand to gain a further 4.5 million if they win the title -- taking the maximum amount they can earn to 7.5 million euros, UEFA added.

League B teams can earn a maximum of 2 million euros while League C teams can pocket a maximum of 1.5 million euros. League D teams, the lowest tier of the competition, can earn a maximum of 1 million euros in solidarity and bonus fees.

The four-tier tournament that UEFA has introduced to replace international friendlies will run alongside the traditional European championship qualifiers.

Group matches in all four divisions will be played between September and November this year.]]>
3/24/2018 4:06:00 AM
<![CDATA[Japan equalise with last kick to draw with Mali in World Cup warmup]]>
Nakajima was unmarked at the back post to finish, as Japan were rewarded for their relentless attacking after falling behind just before the interval.

Abdoulay Diaby, who is the top scorer for Belgian league leaders Club Bruges, netted a penalty in the 43rd minute to give Mali the halftime lead in front of a largely empty stadium at the home of Standard Liege.

The match, which Japan hoped would give them an indication of the style of play they can expect from Mali’s neighbours Senegal at the World Cup, kicked off at lunch time in Belgium to accommodate Japanese television.

Japan will continue their World Cup preparations at the same venue against Ukraine on Tuesday.

Japan play in Group H at the World Cup and face Senegal in Ekaterinburg on June 24. They play Poland and Colombia in their other two group fixtures. ]]>
3/24/2018 2:02:00 AM
<![CDATA[Less experienced Egypt loses to Ronaldo’s Portugal ]]>
Egypt manager Hector Cuper preferred to count on the same players that won Egypt the World Cup qualification, so he started the game with Mohamed El-Shennawy, Ahmed Fathi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Hassan known as Trezeguet, Abdallah El-Said, Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hassan, known as Koka.

Mohamed El-Shennawy was the new face in the Egyptian line-up, as he won a starting position in the game over Essam El-Hadary.

In the first half, the Pharaohs were solid at defense and kept the ball out of their area despite the Portuguese attempts to score.

In the second half, Egypt started to attack their opponent and Salah scored the first goal after 10 minutes from a strike after he received the ball from El-Said at the edge of the area.

The Egyptian defense broke all of Portugal’s attempts to score the equalizer in the remaining minutes and they were ready to celebrate the victory when Ronaldo decided to shine.

Ronaldo scored the equalizer for Portugal in the second minute of the four added minutes through a header to make the score 1-1.

Ronaldo scored again a minute later from a header to win the game 2-1 for his team.
3/24/2018 12:40:16 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt vs Portugal : as it happened ]]>
Live Updates:
Game Analysis: Egypt played a good game against the European champions led by Cristiano Ronaldo. They were solid at defense and were able to pass the ball and control the game. Portugal were dangerous and they made several chances, but they were cleared by the Egyptian defense. The more experienced Portugal scored twice through Ronaldo in the additional time, which served as an alert for the Egyptian players to concentrate until the end of the game.

FullTime Egypt 1-2 Portugal

- 94 Goal: (Video Assistant Referee)VAR grants Ronaldo his second goal from a header after he was ruled offside.

- 92 GOAL: Ronaldo scores the equalizer for Portugal to make the score 1-1.


- 55 GOAL: Salah opens the score for Egypt after he received the pass from El-Said.

First Half Analysis Egypt failed to create many chances on the Portuguese goalkeeper but they managed to keep the opponent's strikers away from their area. Good game from Egypt but Cuper needs to make changes on the attacking line.

Half Time Egypt 0-0 Portugal


Disallowed Goal Rolando scores but is ruled offsides

- 25' El-Said saves Ronaldo's shot before crossing the goal line

- 7' Egypt's Abdallah El-Said had a chance to open the score for the Pharaohs but Portugal's goalkeeper saved it.


- 1' Egypt 0-0 Portugal, the game kicks off


Portugal national team manager Fernando Santos' chosen line-up for the game consists of António Alberto known as Beto, Cédric Soares, Bruno Alves, Rolando, Raphaël Guerreiro, Rúben Neves, João Moutinho, Bernardo Silva, João Mário, André Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Egypt national team manager Hector Cuper's chosen line-up for the game consists of Mohamed El-Shenawy, Ahmed Fathi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed, Mahmoud Hassan known as Trezeguet, Abdallah El-Said, Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Hassan known as Koka.

Portugal and Egypt have announced their official line-ups for the game, which started at 9:45 p.m.

Zurich will be the capital of football for Egyptians tonight; Letzigrund Stadium is set to host the clash between Egypt and Portugal with all eyes on the two stars: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on the Egyptian side and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the 2016 European champion.

3/23/2018 9:54:42 PM
<![CDATA[Suarez bags 50th Uruguay goal in win over Czechs]]>
Edinson Cavani completed the win with an acrobatic effort before halftime as the impressive South Americans sounded a warning to World Cup group opponents Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Suarez showed typical cunning as he won the penalty in the 10th minute, tumbling over the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka as he chased a ball that was going away from the goal and posed no real danger to the Czech defence.

The 31-year-old, making his 96th appearance, fired the spot kick into the roof of the net.

With Suarez and Cavani proving a handful for the Czech defence, it was no surprise when the two-times world champions went further ahead in the 37th minute.

Nahitan Nandez headed the ball into the Czech area where Cavani, with his back to goal, produced a memorable scissors kick to fire past Pavlenka.]]>
3/23/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Cuper announces official line-up for Portugal match]]>
Cuper settled on giving the chance to Al-Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy over Zamalek’s Ahmed El-Shenawy and Al-Tawon’s Essam El-Hadary.

The coaching staff preferred to attack the Portuguese team with Ahmed Hassan Koka.

Here is the official line-up:

Goalkeeper: Ahmed El-Shennawy

Defenders: Ahmed Fathy, Ahmed Hegazy, Ali Gabr, Mohamed Abdel Shafy

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, Mohamed el-Nenny, Abdallah el-Said

Attackers: Trezeguet, Salah, Koka

Egyptian and Arab fans in the Swiss capital Zurich have begun to flock to Letzigrund Stadium, as it is set to host the clash between Egypt and Portugal.

Egypt starts its preparations for the 2018 World Cup with a game against Portugal on Friday night at 9:45 p.m. (CLT).

Letzigrund Stadium has 26,000 seats; the tickets ran out on Thursday night, as the Egyptian and Arab fans in Switzerland, alongside the European fans, are keen to watch the clash between Egypt’s Mohamed Salah and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cuper held more than one session with the players before Portugal’s friendly game. The sessions have witnessed the Pharaohs' plan in the match against Portugal in preparation for the World Cup, after watching more than one video of the opposing team.

Cuper will count on the same tactics that led Egypt to qualify to the World Cup despite facing 2016 EURO Champions, Portugal, and their biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Egyptian kick-off in the World Cup will be against Uruguay on June 15. This kick-off has been awaited by Egyptian fans for 28 years.

Egypt then plays against the host, Russia, on June 19 before facing Saudi Arabia on June 25 in the last game of Group A.
3/23/2018 7:22:45 PM
<![CDATA[Gundogan delighted with Man City form after injury nightmare]]>
The German international joined City in July 2016 but his debut was delayed after he suffered a dislocated kneecap earlier that year. Gundogan went on to make 16 appearances in the 2016-17 season before sustaining a serious knee ligament injury.

After being sidelined for eight months, the 27-year-old returned in September's league win over Watford and has featured 38 times for City across all competitions this season.

"I just think about now, about being part of the team, about training well and playing well, about doing what the manager and the staff want me to transport into the team," Gundogan told the Manchester City website http://www.mancity.com.

"I have my own impact and during the last months I was still on my way to my best. Now, I feel nearly or already there, and I am having fun and I'm happy."

Gundogan, who has 22 caps for Germany, will be eager to impress in the national team's friendlies against Spain on Friday and Brazil on Tuesday with the hope of booking a spot in the World Cup squad.

City are on the verge of winning their third league title in six years as they hold a 16-point advantage over second-placed Manchester United with eight games remaining and won their first trophy under Pep Guardiola with a League Cup triumph last month.

The Etihad outfit have also booked a Champions League quarter-final tie against Premier League rivals Liverpool, leaving Gundogan hopeful that City are well on their way to joining Europe's elite.

"It feels great. But this is just the beginning, I think," Gundogan added. "We are still on a road -- a good way, I think, with the way we play -- to come into that elite of clubs in Europe.

"I wouldn't say we are there. We need to compete with teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus... the biggest teams."

City travel to Everton in the league on March 31 and could possibly clinch the title in the subsequent home match against United. The Champions League ties against Liverpool fall either side of the Manchester derby. ]]>
3/23/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Rush tells record-chasing Salah that trophies mean more than goals]]>
Salah has scored 28 goals in the Premier League this season and 36 in all competitions, the most by a Liverpool player in a debut campaign for the club.

The Egypt international has been so prolific that Rush's 47-goal tally from 65 games in the 1983-84 season is within his reach.

In an interview with ESPN (http://es.pn/2DPcqCG), Rush, whose record season helped Joe Fagan's Liverpool capture the league title, European Cup and League Cup, said Salah's goals must have a similar effect to make his achievement even more memorable.

"Of course you want to hold on to your records, but being connected with Liverpool now, you don't mind them being broken because that means they're doing well," Rush said.

"Maybe a difference is that when I scored 47 goals, we won three trophies. That's what we've got to start doing now... it's great having individual trophies (but) I'm more pleased that we won three trophies than I did scoring 47 goals."

Liverpool are effectively out of the reckoning for the league title and are chasing second spot behind champions elect Manchester City. They have 63 points from 30 games to sit two points and one place behind second-placed Manchester United.

The club's hopes of silverware this season lie in the Champions League, where Juergen Klopp's men take on City in the first leg of the quarter-finals at Anfield on April 4.

The 56-year-old Rush, Liverpool's all-time top scorer with 346 goals, followed up his 1983-84 effort with 26, 33 and 40 goals in the seasons that followed and said Salah had to keep improving to maintain the same level of success.

"You know next season people will be looking out for you," Rush added. "People will be out there saying: 'If you stop Salah from playing, then you stop Liverpool from playing and winning'.

"You're always looking to improve each season because the opposition will be doing exactly the same. If you can't add one or two things to your makeup, then you're not going to do that." ]]>
3/23/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Argentina to be 'Messi's team' at the World Cup - Sampaoli]]>
Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi has led Barcelona to 30 domestic and European trophies during a stellar career but is yet to win a major trophy with the national team, apart from a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

Argentina finished runners-up to Germany at the 2014 World Cup and to Chile at the 2015 and 2016 Copa America tournaments, and Sampaoli believes that Messi can help the team go one step further and end their trophy drought in Russia.

"This is going to be his team," Sampaoli told a news conference on Thursday. "He is the best of all and is in a stage of maturity that can he can carry the team on his shoulders. This is going to be his team."

Messi, who is the all-time top goal-scorer for both club and country, initially announced his retirement from international football after the loss to Chile in 2016 but the 30-year-old has since reversed his decision.

Meanwhile, Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has been ruled out of Argentina's friendly against Italy at the Etihad Stadium on Friday due to a knee injury but could return for next week's trip to Spain.

"We've been talking to the doctors here at Manchester City and trying to evaluate his situation to see if he can play any part. It looks like he'll be sitting out the first one and we'll see about the second one," Sampaoli added.

The former Chile boss believes the friendlies against Italy, who failed to qualify for the World Cup finals, and Spain present an opportunity for Argentina to send out a warning to their opponents in Russia.

"Everyone gives us a leading role in the World Cup and my obligation is to increase that, to try to make the rivals fear us even more, today Argentina is very respected," he added.

Two-time winners Argentina open their World Cup campaign with a Group D encounter against Iceland on June 16, and will also face Croatia and Nigeria in the pool stage.]]>
3/23/2018 4:41:47 PM
<![CDATA[‘FIFA Day’ brings interesting friendly games this Friday]]>
Beside the expected game between the Egyptian national team and Portugal to be held in Switzerland’s Letzigrund Stadium at 9:45 p.m. (CLT), here are the matches that you should watch this evening:

Russia vs. Brazil

Russia hosts Brazil at Luzhniki stadium, at 6:00 p.m. (CLT), as both teams begin their preparations for the next World Cup.

Russia, the 2018 World Cup host, looks to this game as a real tester for their abilities in front of one of the tournament favorites, Brazil.

Germany vs. Spain

2014 World Cup’s title holder, Germany, meets Spain, champion of the 2010 World Cup, at ESPRIT arena in Dusseldorf, Germany at 9:45 p.m. (CLT) to measure how prepared these two sides are for the summer’s competition.

Germany drew in their last two matches against England and France, but are unbeaten in 21 matches overall.

Netherlands vs. England

England begins their preparations for the 2018 World Cup when they visit Holland, with their first game under their new coach Ronald Koeman’s helm.

The ‘Three lions,’ England, need to experiment their abilities and to settle on their preferred starting line-up for Russia.

The game is to be held at the Amsterdam Arena at 9:45 p.m. (CLT).

Italy vs. Argentina

Non-qualifier, Italy, will be a tough test for World Cup favorite, Argentina, as they meet at Etihad Stadium in Manchester, UK in a friendly game at 9:45 p.m. (CLT).

Argentinean men, captained by Messi, will be keen to test their toughness against Italy, which failed to qualify for the summer showpiece after losing their two-legged playoff tie to Sweden in November. It will be the first time in six decades that Italy will not be at the World Cup.

3/23/2018 4:08:45 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt starts World Cup preparations, faces Portugal in friendly match]]>
With 36 goals with the Reds in all competitions, Salah has been the protagonist of Liverpool this season; he has been topping the Premier League’s goal scorer ranks with 28 goals.

While Cristiano continues his consistent performance for the tenth year in a row, as he also scored 37 goals for Madrid this season in all the competition.

Cristiano will face Salah for the third time. Previously, Real Madrid met AS Roma in the 2015/2016 Champions league season in the 16th round where the White team defeated Roma 4-0 on aggregate.

Salah is reportedly linked to a possible move to Real Madrid next summer to form an amazing attack duo with Ronaldo.

Beyond the individual duel, the friendly game will allow us to ponder the power of the current European champion and first rival of Spain in the World Cup in Russia.

Also, the options to surprise in Egypt’s summer summit, which Hector Cúper, who has previously trained Mallorca, Valencia, Betis and Racing, has led Egypt to for the first time in 28 years. Egypt could not do it since the World Cup held in Italy in 1990.

Egypt Today presents its vision on how both teams would start this interesting match.

Portugal: Rui Patricio; Cédric, Alves, Fonte, Guerreiro; Moutinho, W. Carvalho, Joao Marco; Bernardo Silva, André Silva and Cristiano.

Egypt: Essam Hadary; Ahmed Fathi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy; Elneny, Tarek Hamed; Trezeguet, Abdallah El-Said, Salah; and Marwan Mohsen.

Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (Italy).
3/23/2018 3:58:49 PM
<![CDATA[Hornets C Howard suspended for 16th technical]]>
The league handed down a one-game ban without pay to Howard after he picked up his 16th technical foul of the season in the third quarter of Charlotte's win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. Howard will serve his suspension when the Hornets face the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended without pay for an additional game.

With his performance Wednesday, Howard became the first NBA player since 2010 to post a 30-30 game.

The 32-year-old is averaging 16.6 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in 72 contests.]]>
3/23/2018 2:03:25 PM
<![CDATA[Construction at World Cup stadium in Samara still behind schedule, says FIFA]]>
With less than three months remaining before the 45,000-seat venue is due to host a Group E match between Costa Rica and Serbia, the pitch has yet to be laid.

Construction work at the Samara Arena, one of 12 venues that will stage World Cup matches this year, has been hit by a number of setbacks in recent months, putting authorities under additional pressure to deliver a proper venue for the tournament.

"Over the course of this project, we have spoken about delays in Samara," FIFA Chief Competitions and Events Officer Colin Smith told reporters at the venue.

"Those delays are still evident now even though... a lot of progress has been made. There is a huge amount of work to be done."

Smith said the "full support and commitment" of Russian authorities and the venue's contractor were essential for the venue to be commissioned by the end of April as had been originally planned.

"We would expect further progress than this," Smith said. "But what's important to us is that the stadium is commissioned on time, then we have the use of the stadium and we can install all our temporary overlay and equipment that we need for the World Cup."

Alexei Sorokin, the CEO of the local organising committee, assured that the work on the venue would be completed by the end of April.

The stadium will host four group-stage matches, including Russia's showdown with Uruguay, a last-16 tie and a quarter-final.

Last August the venue's contractor said that the work on the venue was 30 days behind schedule.

Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov said last year that the authorities were monitoring the troubled stadium's construction and had set up a timetable to track progress and compensate for delays.

Russia will host the World Cup at 12 venues spread across 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi. ]]>
3/23/2018 1:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Juventus to face MLS All-Stars in August]]>
Juventus, who are seeking a seventh consecutive Serie A title and will face Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals, will play against a squad made up of the top MLS players on Aug. 1 in Atlanta.

"Our midseason showcase annually attracts the most prominent clubs in global soccer, and this year our All-Stars will face one of the sport’s most historically successful teams," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

The MLS All-Star Game has long featured a team made up of the North American league's best players against high-profile clubs from Europe, with European champions Real Madrid having played in last year's match in Chicago.

Previous All-Star Game opponents include Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

This year's summer showcase will be played inside Atlanta United's Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a shared home with the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons.

United, which began playing in the MLS in 2017, was announced as the host of the All-Star Game last October amid what Garber at the time called "one of the most compelling and impressive expansion team launches in the history of pro sports."

Atlanta were one of the biggest success stories of the 2017 campaign, having broken the league's match and season attendance records in their final regular-season game.

Juventus will become the second team from Italy's Serie A to appear in the MLS All-Star Game with AS Roma having played in the 2013 match in Kansas City.

"It will be a pleasure for us to play in this game and feel the energy of MLS, an ever-growing league attracting more and more passionate fans," Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri said in a statement.

"It will also be a great chance for the many Juventus supporters in North America to see their team and favorite players." ]]>
3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Iniesta opens the door for International retirement ]]>CAIRO – 22 March 2018: Spanish midfielder the Andres Iniesta revealed on Thursday that 2018 World Cup in Russia could be his last participation with the Spanish national team.

“The World Cup will possibly be my last appearance for the national team, I don't want to be around just because of who I was,” Iniesta told the press on Thursday during the national team’s preparations for the friendly game against Germany.

Iniesta, 34, is one of the key players of the Spanish golden generation that won two consecutive UEFA EURO titles in 2008 and 2012 beside achieving 2010 World Cup title after defeating The Netherlands 1-0 in the final, thanks to a late goal from Andres Iniesta himself.

The 34-year-old midfielder added, “I hope that my farewell from Spain’s duty can be in the manner which we all hope, with a final. We hope my final match will be a World Cup final."

The Spaniard started playing for Spain in 2006 and he wore the national team jersey in 123 games.

Iniesta also has been linked with leaving his childhood club, Barcelona, at the end of the season to play in China.
3/23/2018 12:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Bale scores a hat-trick, breaks Rush's record ]]>
Bale granted Welsh’s new manager, Ryan Giggs, a great victory at his debut as a manager with the Welsh team.

Bale scored three goals while Burnley’s striker Sam Vokes scored two goals and Liverpool’s youngster Harry Wilson scored his first goal on an international level.

China, led by the Italian historic coach, Marcello Lippi, failed to impress the Chinese fans and their players were totally dominated by the Welsh team.

Bale’s hat-trick made him Wales’ all-time top scorer with 29 goals; breaking former Welsh striker’s Ian Rush’s record, which consists of 28 goals for his country.

Bale also holds another record on an international level as he is the youngest Welsh player to score a goal with the national team when he scored a goal against Slovakia at Euro 2008’s qualification match with a free kick.
Wales qualified to the friendly cup’s final to meet the victorious team that emerged from the game between Uruguay and the Czech Republic.
3/23/2018 11:23:00 AM
<![CDATA[Aswan’s player Hamada el-Sayed is released on charges of joining ISIS]]>

Sayed has been detained over security concerns last September; he was arrested on September 21 on his way home to Aswan after his team’s training session. He was deported to Cairo to complete the investigation.

According to multiple reports, Sayed was detained due to links to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State.
Sayed played for several teams in the Egyptian league. He started his career at Suez Cement then moved to Arab Contractors before he settled in Aswan. He has more than 100 Egyptian league appearances.

Hamada featured in 24 games with Aswan last season but he failed, alongside his teammates, to avoid the relegation to the second division.

3/23/2018 10:33:00 AM
<![CDATA[Russia calms England’s fans before the World Cup ]]>
“First of all I'll be happy to welcome all the fans; they will be safe in Russia, we're confident and we will be happy to welcome everybody," Yakovenko said on Thursday.
Relations between UK and Russia have been affected by the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

British Prime Minister Theresa May had announced earlier that no ministers or members of the Royal Family will go to World Cup finals in Russia.

Yakovenko added, “All the necessary measures are being taken and British special authorities are in contact with the Russian special authorities to provide security for the fans and all British [individuals] who will be in Russia’s territory.”

England’s fans have been attacked by Russia’s fans at EURO 2016 in France before and after their game at the group stage that ended with a 1-1 draw.

England plays in Group G alongside Tunisia, Panama and Belgium.
3/23/2018 10:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Galaxy confirm Ibrahimovic signing, Swede says ready to win]]>
The advert, in which Ibrahimovic was pictured in the white Galaxy kit, carried a message from the 36-year-old saying "Dear Los Angeles, you're welcome".

He becomes the latest high-profile player to move to the MLS in the latter part of his career -- following the likes of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard.

Former England captain Beckham won the MLS Cup twice after joining Galaxy in 2007 and became an iconic figure for the growth of the game in a country hooked on more traditional American sports like NFL and baseball.

Ibrahimovic, while in the latter stages of a glittering career, could have a similar impact.

The Swede left United on Thursday when the Premier League club agreed to terminate his contract and said the move is about writing another chapter in a storied career in which he won league titles in Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and France.

"After being in Europe, winning 33 trophies, playing in the best teams in the world, playing with the best players in the world, I wanted to come to the U.S. and play my game there," Ibrahimovic said in an interview in the LA Times.

"I wanted people to enjoy my game there and to win. And I chose the Galaxy to do that."


Dan Beckerman, the president of entertainment giant AEG, the Galaxy's parent organisation, said Ibrahimovic would become one of the biggest stars in the Hollywood city.

"He's giving up a lot to come here," Beckerman told the LA Times. He's made it clear he's coming here to win championships. It's not about the money.

"L.A. is a place for stars, and he's going to be one of the brightest stars that's ever played in this market. In any sport."

Ibrahimovic, who scored 62 goals in 116 games for Sweden and played for some of Europe's biggest clubs including Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcelona and Paris St Germain, is reported to have accepted $3 million over two season to play for Galaxy, a huge wage cut from his United salary.

Ibrahimovic justified United's outlay when he scored 28 times in all competitions in his first season at Old Trafford.

But after a knee injury sustained nearly a year ago he has managed only seven appearances this season.

Despite that Ibrahimovic, who boasts nearly five million Twitter followers and owns a clothing brand, said he was ready for action.

"I am ready to go now," Ibrahimovic said. "First of all, I'm there to play football. I'm not there for something else. My first objective is to play football and do what I'm good at.

"I'm excited to come over and to get the experience with the Galaxy and to explore how the football is there. I want to be part of it and make it better."

Ibrahimovic's first action for Galaxy could even come against city rivals Los Angeles Football Club on March 31. ]]>
3/23/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Toure puts Ivory Coast international comeback on hold]]>
Toure, who turns 35 in May, was named last week in a 24-man squad for matches in France against Togo and Moldova, having eschewed international soccer since leading the Ivorians to the African Nations Cup title in early 2015.

The Manchester City midfielder made a surprise announcement in December of a return despite the Ivorians having failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia and had been expected to feature in the match against Togo this weekend.

The Ivorian Football Federation added that Olympique Lyonnais striker Maxwell Cornet, Jean Philippe Gbamin from Bundesliga club Mainz and Wilfried Zaha from Crystal Palace had all pulled out because of injury. ]]>
3/23/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sprint king Bolt to get his Dortmund trial on Friday]]>
The training session will be open to the public, with the world record holder in the 100 and 200 metres, who retired last year, a major crowd puller.

Dortmund, who share the same sponsor in Puma as Bolt, expect a large crowd to attend the session. However, they warned fans that there was only limited space.

The 31-year-old Bolt, an eight-times Olympic gold medallist and a big football fan, had announced his intention to train with Dortmund in January. He confirmed on Thursday he would be taking part.

"BVB, get ready for Friday," he said on Twitter.

Bolt is a Manchester United supporter and jokingly said after a charity match on Thursday that he hoped his Dortmund appearance would lead to a contract with the Premier League club.]]>
3/23/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ferreira criticizes Portugal’s decision to face Egypt]]>
“Egypt has nothing to do with Morocco, they are different, the Egyptians are much more aggressive, more generous; they support pain better, they are very obedient and a different type of African Arabs," Ferreira told Record on Thursday.

Portugal will face Egypt on Friday at a friendly game on March 23 at Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich, Switzerland.

Ferreira, 71, had managed Zamalek in 2015 and he led the club to win the Egyptian League after 11 years of absence. He also led Zamalek to defeat Al-Ahly at the Cup final to win the double.

Ferreira spoke about Egyptians’ passion for football, he said, “They are completely crazy about football, I know there will be a lot of people supporting Egypt against Portugal in Switzerland.”

Portugal plays in Group C at the World Cup alongside Morocco, Iran and their neighbors, Spain
3/23/2018 3:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ibrahimovic leaving Man Utd after club agrees to terminate contract]]>
"Manchester United confirms that it has agreed to the termination of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s contract with immediate effect," United said in a statement amid reports that the striker had signed for Los Angeles Galaxy.

"Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future," United said on their website. (www.manutd.com)

The 36-year-old, who is Sweden's record international goal-scorer with 62 strikes in 116 games, has been linked with a move to the U.S. for some time as he looks to script yet another chapter in his glittering club career.

He began his career with his hometown team Malmo in 1999 and played for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan and Paris St Germain before joining United on as a free agent at the start of last season in a reunion with former manager Jose Mourinho.

He scored 28 goals in all competitions in his first season for United before sustaining a serious knee injury in April while playing in the Europa League against Belgian side Anderlecht.

Despite the injury he was re-signed by United at the end of the season and returned to competitive action in November, making his last appearance for the club on Dec. 26 against Burnley before injury struck again.

Galaxy are expected to confirm his signing on Friday.]]>
3/23/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Gullit says plastic pitches destroying Dutch football]]>
Former Ballon D'or winner Ruud Gullit does not subscribe to that theory but fears the obsession with plastic pitches in the Netherlands poses a grave threat to their chances of a revival.

Plastic pitches are frowned upon in Europe's top leagues but six clubs in the Eredivisie -- Heracles Almelo, PEC Zwolle, Excelsior, ADO Den Haag, Roda JC and Sparta Rotterdam -- play on fully artificial surfaces.

Gullit believes it is time to rip them up before they do lasting damage to Dutch football.

"I've said all along we can't have these pitches but in Holland they were promoting it," the former Feyenoord, PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan and Chelsea midfielder told Reuters at the Esports Insider Super Forum at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.

"The people who were promoting it had an interest in it and are now on the board of the KNVB (Dutch soccer federation). Now we know it's ridiculous but to reverse it will be a difficult.

"We've gone backwards. It's destroyed our football. It's a different game, totally different. If (every league) played on plastic I would accept it but we have six in the Eredivisie and it's outrageous.

"Now we are finding that players don't want to come and play in Holland because of it and young players want to leave."

"All the youth teams should play on real grass. The crazy thing if you want good natural grass, Holland is the place to come. We have the best natural turf in the world!"


Gullit was assistant manager to Dick Advocaat last year when the Dutch failed to qualify for their second successive major finals having also missed Euro 2016.

The three-times World Cup runners-up and 1988 European champions will host England on Friday not in anticipation of a glorious summer but seeking signs of recovery under new manager Ronald Koeman.

"Don't forget we reached the final in South Africa (2010) and were third in Brazil (2014) so as a small country we can still be very proud," Gullit said.

"It goes in waves. England qualified and congratulations to them. I think Holland are lacking the (Robin) Van Persie's the (Wesley) Schneiders the (Arjen) Robbens coming through, those exceptional talents, but it will come back.

"One of the problems is the young talents can go to Premier League academies when if they stayed in Holland they would get first-team football. The captain of Ajax is 18."

While the Dutch are in a slump Gullit, who managed Chelsea and Newcastle United, believes England have the talent to go a long way in the World Cup, but says exhaustion will undermine their chances of making a big impression.

"I don't think they can win it," he said. "They will be exhausted. They play such a tough schedule in England.

"I think they have a better chance in Qatar in four years because it will be in November which is when English players are fittest and at their maximum. But in Russia it will be hard.

"The problem is that after a long, hard season it's so hard to re-boot and re-charge for the World Cup. It's a mental and physical thing. I think that's why you've not seen any of the big stars really producing at the World Cup since the 1990s.

"Nobody, not even Ronaldo or Messi, is at their best at the World Cup. You want it but your body says it needs some rest." ]]>
3/23/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Hector Cuper is ready to play against Portugal]]>
Cuper will count on the same tactics that led Egypt to qualify to the World Cup despite facing 2016 EURO Champions, Portugal and their biggest star, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cuper said he doesn’t prefer playing against Ronaldo in a man-to-man game, as in assigning one defender to block Ronaldo, but through the way the team played as a whole, with West Bromwich Albion’s defender Ahmed Hegazi taking charge of Ronaldo when he reaches the last quarter of the Pharaohs' area.

In his plan, Cuper focused on the necessity of approaching the Pharaohs in the game and not giving Portugal the opportunity to create spaces inside the field. He called for narrowing the area with the assistance of the midfielder Mohamed El Nenny who will be playing a role in helping the defense reduce Ronaldo's attacking opportunities.

Despite Cuper's comments, there are voices within the national team suggesting that a specific player be allowed to watch Ronaldo and the stronger candidate is Al-Ahly’s player Ahmed Fathy “Al-Joker”, who is good at playing in more than one position.

Cuper announced the players that will be joining the national team. He has chosen 17 professional players and 11 national players.

Goalkeepers: Essam el Hadary, Mohamed el- Shenawy, Ahmed el-Shenawy, Mohamed Awad

Defenders: Ahmed Hegazi, Ali Gabr, Saad Samir, Ahmed Fathy, Ayman Ashraf

Midfielders: Mohamed el Nenny, Omar Gaber, Ahmed el Mohamady, Shikabala, Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet, Mo’men Zakaria, Amr Warda, Hassam Ashour, Tarek Hamed, Ramadan Sobhi, Mohamed Abdel Shafy, Mahmoud Kahraba, Sam Morsi, Hussein el Shahat.

Forward: Mohamd Salah, Abdullah Said, Marwan Mohsen, Mohamed Magdy, Ahmed Hassan Koka

Egypt Today staff predicts that the national team’s squad list will be as follows:
Goalkeeper: Mohamed el Shenawy

Defenders: Ahmed Hegazi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Abdelshafy

Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, Mahmous Hassan Trezeguet, Ramadan Sobhi, Mohamed el Nenny

Forward: Mohamed Salah, Marwan Mohsin

Further notice, the national team will be playing with a new designed t-shirt for the first time on Friday.
3/22/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[HJK Helsinki signs Amr Gamal on loan from Al-Ahly]]>
Amr Gamal joined Bidvest Wits from Al-Ahly on a one-year loan in June 2017 searching for more playing time, but he failed to shine with the South African club, as he managed to score only five goals in 13 matches.

Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt has confirmed the departure of Egyptian striker Amr Gamal to join HJK Helsinki in Finland.

“Gamal has gone to Finland, it did not work out [with us], that’s football. It was disappointing because I thought he would do well for us but it did not work out due to various football reasons,” Hunt said.

Sayed Abdel-Hafiz, Al-Ahly’s director of football, stated that he wishes for Gamal all the best; since Gamal has always wanted to maintain his chances elsewhere of becoming the Egyptian national team’s main striker in the next World Cup by playing with international teams.

The 26-year-old striker joined Al-Ahly in 2013. He had previously played for Al-Ahly’s U-23 team for three seasons. He featured in 102 games, scored 30 goals and provided 10 assists.
3/22/2018 6:54:51 PM
<![CDATA[Kante feels "at home" with Chelsea]]>
Kante was instrumental to Leicester City's league triumph in the 2015/16 season before he moved to London and helped Chelsea do the same the following year.

"I am at home. It is my club, I am a Chelsea player," Kante, who has been linked with a move to Paris St Germain, was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.

"This is my second year at Chelsea. After what happened last season, it was a very good one for us because we got to celebrate winning the title.

"In the second season, I have got to play in the Champions League ... We will fight until the end to finish in the top four and to get in a Champions League position."

Chelsea, who face Southampton in the FA Cup semi-finals next month, are fifth in the league, five points behind Tottenham Hotspur with eight matches left to play.

"We also have the FA Cup to play for - it is a good competition. Last season we failed in the final," added Kante.

"It is the only trophy we can win this season, so we have to give everything to get to the final and win it."

The 26-year-old has been named in the France squad for friendlies against Colombia on Friday and Russia on March 27.]]>
3/22/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Sanchez witnesses his worst career days in Man United]]>
The 29-year-old asked to be excused from international duty as Sweden and Denmark are set to play friendly matches against Chile, but he finally joined the squad after he had a warm talk with his compatriot Manchester City’s goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo.

Sanchez talked to the Chilean press before the friendly games and discussed his situation with Manchester United.

“It was a bit rough for me because it’s the first time I’ve changed a team in January,” Sanchez told reporters in Stockholm on Saturday.

“It’s been very difficult; we were out of the World Cup, and I arrived at my club, which was at the time Arsenal, I got injured,” reflected the 29-year-old, who was close to joining Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the beginning of the season.

“At one stage the transfer broke down, I didn’t go to the other team and at the end I’m at a team that is one of the biggest in the world,” Sanchez added.

Chile, winner of the last two Copa Americas, was eliminated out of the World Cup after failing to qualify when the team lost 3-0 to Brazil.

The English newspaper, Daily Mail, claims that the Chilean winger is an isolated figure at Manchester United, according to a source at the club.

A club source said: "He looks like someone who doesn't want to be here."

"The whole thing doesn't seem right and he looks like a lost boy. It was the same with Di Maria," the source added.

3/22/2018 5:45:49 PM
<![CDATA[Spain's prosecutor seeks 5-year sentence for Xabi Alonso over tax fraud]]>
The prosecutor said in a statement Alonso is accused of defrauding the Spanish state of some 2 million euros between 2010 and 2012.

The prosecutor called for the same sentence to be applied to Alonso's financial advisor Ivan Zaldua Azcuenaga and the administrator of consultancy shell company, Ignasi Maestre Casanova.
3/22/2018 4:45:06 PM
<![CDATA[Man United apply to establish professional women's team]]>
United have been widely criticised for not having an adult women's team with many leading English clubs including Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool all running sides in Super League One.

“We are pleased to announce that the club intends to establish its first ever professional women’s team," United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said in a statement.

“The Manchester United women’s team must be built in the same image and with the same principles as the men’s first team and offer academy players a clear route to top level football within the club.”
3/22/2018 3:52:37 PM
<![CDATA[Griezmann to decide his future before the World Cup ]]>
“I want to travel to Russia without this concern; it is not about knowing where I'll play, but about having the peace of mind if I'm still in one place or another,” Griezmann told L’Equipe on Wednesday.

Griezmann, 27, has been linked with a move to Barcelona next summer; however, Atletico Madrid will offer the French striker a new contract to secure his services.

Griezmann added, “What bothers me the most is that everyone asks me about this issue."

Griezmann joined Atletico Madrid in 2014 from his childhood club, Real Sociedad, and since then he established himself as a key player at the club leading them to 2016 Champions League final when they lost to Real Madrid on penalties.

Griezmann revealed that he prefers to achieve a title for his team more than winning an individual award. He said, “I am part of a group and I prefer to win a collective title than an individual one. I want to win a World Cup or the Champions League, and then the Ballon d'Or will come, if it has to come.”

The World Cup draw put France in Group C alongside Denmark, Peru and Australia.
3/22/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Uruguay prepares in China for the World Cup ]]>
Uruguay will play two friendly games to prepare for their participation at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Uruguay will face the Czech Republic on Friday while Wales will face the host, China, on Thursday.

The winners will meet each other at the final on Monday while the losers will play for the third-place play off earlier on Monday.

Uruguay are the only national team in the friendly competition that qualified to the 2018 World Cup.

Uruguay travelled to China with their full squad led by their historic manager, Oscar Tabarez, and a group of football stars like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin.

Tabarez , who led the Uruguayan national team to the semifinals in 2010 World Cup in South Africa, will watch his players during the games to decide the final squad that will participate in the World Cup.

The World Cup draw put Uruguay in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the host nation, Russia.

Uruguay open their participation at the World Cup against Egypt on June 15 before meeting Saudi Arabia on June 20. Uruguay will end their group stage games against the host nation, Russia on June 25.
3/22/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Alonso advises Lewandowski to stay in Bayern ]]>
“He is definitely one of the best no.9s in the world; however, I think that he is best at Bayern,” Alonso told Marc on Wednesday.

Alonso shared Bayern Munich’s dressing room with Lewandowski between 2014 and 2017 before the Spaniard’s decision to retire.

Lewandowski has been linked with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid where Alonso had played between 2009 and 2014.

Alonso, 36, praised Real Madrid’s current manager, Zinedine Zidane, describing him as one of the most talented players in the history of the game.

“When I first played against Zinedine Zidane as a 20-year-old, I only thought 'Wow, what is that?' He managed to make difficult things look easy. I loved watching him play and hated playing against him," Alonso said.

Alonso faced Zidane when he was a youngster at Real Sociedad while Zidane was Real Madrid’s biggest star.
3/22/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Liverpool’s, Bayern Munich’s legends come together in charity match]]>
The Reds, Liverpool FC, chose their 21 players, according to LFC’s official website; “Robbie Fowler will [lead] the team and Ian Rush will take the position of player-manager.”

Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Daniel Agger, Dirk Kuyt, John Arne Riise and Luis Garcia will take part in the match. John Aldridge, 59, the oldest member of the Reds, will participate, while Jerzky Dudek and David James will be the goalkeepers.

Liverpool’s team: Jerzy Dudek, David James, Bjorn Tore Kvarme, Jason McAteer, Daniel Agger, Phil Babb, John Arne Riise, Steve McManaman, John Aldridge, Steven Gerrard, Ian Rush (player-manager), Robbie Fowler (captain), Luis Garcia, Michael Owen, Vladimir Smicer, Xabi Alonso, Patrik Berger, Dietmar Hamann, Dirk Kuyt, Gary McAllister, Jamie Carragher, according to Liverpool’s official website.

Bayern Munich’s team: Hans-Jörg Butt, Lothar Matthäus, Bixente Lizarazu, Sammy Kuffour, Ze Roberto, Giovane Elber, Luca Toni, Roy Makaay, and Xabi Alonso to name but a few, will be wearing Bayern Munich’s shirt, FC Bayern’s website announced.
Alonso will be playing for both Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

“It’s a special experience for everyone who gets to play in front of the impressive backdrop of Anfield, and our fans once again have the chance to see their former idols play,” Bayern’s chairman commented on Bayern Munich’s official website.

The charity match will help fund different projects for the Liverpool FC Foundation. The match will be shown live on Liverpool’s official Facebook page, LFCTV GO, and Sky Channel 429.
3/22/2018 12:45:46 AM
<![CDATA[We want to play again at FIFA Club World Cup: Ayoub ]]>
“We have one goal: to win the competition and return to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup. It is a tough mission, but we will do everything to win the Champions League title,” Ayoub told Al-Ahly’s official website after the draw.

The draw put Al-Ahly in Group A alongside Botswana’s Township Rollers F.C., Uganda’s Kampala City and Tunisia’s Espérance.

Ayoub commented on the draw, saying, “There is no easy group at this stage. We will play against strong teams that also want to win the title, but we will prepare well for these games.”

Al-Ahly has won a record eight CAF Champions League titles, but they failed to achieve the title since 2013 when they defeated South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the final.

Al-Ahly reached the 2017 CAF Champions League final but lost to Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.

Al-Ahly will open their group stage games at home against Espérance before facing Kampala City in Uganda.

Al-Ahly’s third game will be against Botswana’s Township Rollers at home and then they will play again against Township in Botswana.

Al-Ahly’s last two games in the group stage will be against Espérance in Tunisia and Kampala City at home.
3/22/2018 12:43:02 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly avoids tough group at CAF Champions League ]]>
The draw put Al-Ahly in Group A alongside Botswana’s Township Rollers F.C., Uganda’s Kampala City and Tunisia’s Espérance.

Al-Ahly qualified to the group stage after eliminating Gabon’s Mounana.

Al-Ahly defeated Mounana 4-0 in the first leg in Cairo. Marwan Mohsen opened the score for Al-Ahly before Walid Azarro’s goal rendered the score 2-0 in the first half.

In the second half, Abdallah El-Said added two goals to secure Al-Ahly’s victory.

Al-Ahly repeated their victory in the second leg in Gabon, winning the game 3-1 thanks to goals by Mido Gaber, Walid Azarro and Walid Soliman.

Al-Ahly will open their games in the group stage against Espérance at home before facing Kampala City in Uganda.

Al-Ahly’s third game will be against Botswana’s Township Rollers at home and then they will play again against Township in Botswana.

Al-Ahly’s last two games in the group stage will be against Espérance in Tunisia and Kampala City at home.

The title holders, Wydad Casablanca, play in Group C alongside South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, Mali’s Horoya and Togo’s AS Togo-Port.

2007 Champions League winners Etoile Du Sahel play in Group D alongside Swaziland’s Mbabane Swallows, Angola’s 1º de Agosto and Zambia’s ZESCO United.

2017 CAF Confederation Cup winners TP Mazembe play in Group B alongside Morocco’s Difaâ El Jadidiand two Algerian teams, MC Alger and ES Sétif.
3/21/2018 9:32:55 PM
<![CDATA[Neymar’s recovery going well: Brazil’s team doctor]]>
"I talk two to three times a day with the physiotherapists of Paris Saint-Germain," Lasmar, who performed Neymar’s surgery, said in an interview with French daily newspaper L'Equipe.

The doctor added, "Everything is going well at the moment. The therapists are working hard and in a very professional way in order to help Neymar return to the field as soon as possible. He will not miss the World Cup.”

Neymar, 26, was injured on February 25 in a match against Marseille and missed the match in which PSG lost to Real Madrid 2-1 at the Champions League’s quarter final second leg match held on March 6 in Paris. Madrid also won 3-1 in the first leg match with Neynar’s participation.

The Brazilian star underwent surgery on March 3, and Lasmar later estimated that "the player will be absent between 2.5-3 months."

The Brazilian national team is counting on Neymar’s pivotal role, as he is currently the team’s most important player for the World Cup scheduled from June 14 to July 15.
3/21/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Masry to face Mounana at CAF Confederation Cup ]]>
Egyptian fans have come to know Mounana in recent weeks when the club faced Al-Ahly at CAF Champions League first round.

Mounana lost the first game in Cairo 4-0. Marwan Mohsen opened the score for Al-Ahly before Walid Azarro’s goal rendered the score 2-0 at the first half.
In the second half, Abdallah El-Said added two goals to secure Al-Ahly’s victory.

Al-Ahly repeated their victory in the second leg in Gabon. Al-Ahly won the game 3-1 thanks to Mido Gaber, Walid Azarro and Walid Soliman goals.

Mounana’s loss at CAF Champions League’s first round sent them to CAF Confederation Cup’s round of 32.

“There are no easy teams at the competitions but we wanted to face Mounana after their loss to Al-Ahly,” Al-Masry’s vice president, Mohamed El Kholy, told press after the draw.

Al-Masry qualified to CAF Confederation Cup round of 32 after they eliminated Tanzania’s Simba as they ended the first leg in Tanzania with a 2-2 draw while the second leg ended with a goalless draw. Al-Masry qualified thanks to the away goals rule.
3/21/2018 8:47:35 PM
<![CDATA[Costa urges Griezmann to remain at Atletico]]>
Griezmann has been linked with a move away from the Spanish capital for the past 18 months and was on the verge of joining Premier League side Manchester United last year. He made a U-turn, however, when Atletico's transfer ban was upheld and instead signed a new deal through to 2022.

"He knows he's an important player for Atletico," Costa told a news conference.

"He's with us now and we want it to remain that way. I would love him to stay, but everyone needs to make their own decisions. For me that'd be him staying.

"I reckon he'll stay with us. He called me to see if I was going to join him at Atleti, he can't leave me on my own now."

Costa, who officially re-joined Atletico from Chelsea in January after an acrimonious falling out with manager Antonio Conte, did not play for the first half of the season.

His performances since coming back into the side, scoring six times in 14 appearances in all competitions, have earned him a recall to the Spain squad for the first time since June last year for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Argentina.

The 29-year-old said that he was in a good place now following a difficult period.

"I'm happy off the pitch. Before things didn't go well, but my team mates believed in me," he said. "Everyone's always treated me really well. I'm happy and with things like this I always will be."

The man who replaced Costa at Chelsea, Alvaro Morata, has come in for criticism of late after going 13 games without scoring and was omitted from Julen Lopetegui's latest Spain squad. He found an unlikely ally in Costa, though.

"I miss him because we get on well. My life's never been easy, and I improve with competition. Hopefully he's in the next squad. He's having a bad time at the moment, but I hope things change for him," the former Chelsea striker said. ]]>
3/21/2018 7:33:36 PM
<![CDATA[Germany needs major reforms to remain competitive-Bierhoff]]>
Along with the World Cup they won in 2014, the Germans were also successful at last year's Confederations Cup and are Under-21 European champions. However, Bierhoff said changes were needed to remain at the top.

"I am convinced good work is being done in German football, we are Confederations Cup winners, Under-21 European champions but we cannot only look at this generation," former Germany striker Bierhoff told reporters.

"We have to look at the development. You don't have to be an expert to see that we need to take the next big step. We need to take a big step united.

"We must be able to react quicker to things. We must give the coaches information, guidelines and pointers to react to certain things."

Bierhoff's comments come after Germany coach Joachim Loew said Bundesliga clubs were teaching players to play against the ball too much and not what to do when they have possession. He warned that could affect the country's future prospects as other nations had caught up.

Germany, four-time World Cup winners, overhauled the youth training system after disappointing results at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Around 80 million euros ($98 million) per year flowed into new and obligatory youth training centres of Bundesliga clubs as an exciting generation of players was forged.

The result has been Germany reaching the final or semi-final stage in the last six consecutive tournaments.

"There is a lot of working against the ball, a lot of systems, everyone knows them by heart but maybe we neglected the individual aspects a bit," Bierhoff said.

"It is important to invest in football and not just in transfers."

The Germans, who play Brazil four days after Friday's match with Spain, have been drawn in Group F at the World Cup in Russia starting in June, along with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden.]]>
3/21/2018 7:31:28 PM
<![CDATA[Kewell expects Salah to win Ballon d’Or ]]>
“Salah has had a phenomenal season. If he was to have a fantastic World Cup, gets a couple of goals and plays well, and then continues again next season, why not go for the Ballon d’Or?” Kewell told talkSPORT on Tuesday.

Salah has scored 36 goals for Liverpool this season in all competitions, including 28 goals in the Premier League, making him top goal scorer of the league this season.

Kewell added, “He has this amazing dribbling ability, and defenders are scared of it. He’s got the goals; I don’t see why he couldn’t win it.”

Salah led Liverpool in the Premier League match on Saturday to defeat Watford 5-0, scoring four goals and providing an assist to Roberto Firmino.

Kewell showed his admiration to Salah’s technique with the ball, saying, “That’s the key with Salah; he drives at people, he’s chopping, turning, dribbling and people just don’t know how to deal with him.”

Kewell, 39, wore the Liverpool jersey between 2003 and 2008, and he was part of Liverpool’s squad when the club won the 2005 UEFA Champions League title.

3/21/2018 2:55:30 PM
<![CDATA[My ambition has no end: Shahat]]>
“I am so happy to continue my journey with Al-Ain and I will do my best to make Al-Ain fans happy,” Shahat told Egypt Today on Tuesday.

Shahat has shined with the Emirati club since he joined them on a six-month loan from Misr el-Makasa in January.

Shahat added, “I have achieved my dream to play abroad, but my ambition has no end and I will try to improve to play in Europe.”

Since he joined the club, Shahat has become one of its key players, scoring seven goals in the league.

Shahat formed a massive attacking partnership with Marcus Berg and Omar Abdulrahman, known as Amouri.

He thanked Misr el-Makasa’s board for giving him the chance to join Al-Ain.

Shahat, who joined the national team’s camp in Switzerland, has been linked with a move to one of Egypt’s giants, Al-Ahly or Zamalek, but in the end he decided to continue his amazing journey with Al-Ain.
3/21/2018 2:13:08 PM
<![CDATA[Chelsea FC manager spends vacation in Sharm El Sheikh]]>
Conte, 48, used the break in club matches due to the FIFA international calendar to enjoy his time after his club suffered a series of upsets in recent weeks.

Chelsea were eliminated from the Champions League competition after losing to Barcelona in the round of 16.

The first leg in London ended in a 1-1 draw. Willian opened the score for Chelsea and Lionel Messi equalized for Barcelona.

Conte and his team were victims to Messi’s magic again in the second leg, as Messi led Barcelona to defeat Chelsea 3-0, scoring two goals and providing an assist to Ousmane Dembele.

Chelsea, the Premier League title holders, are suffering this season in the league and are under threat of not being able to reach the Champions League next season.

The team is fifth in the Premier League with 56 points, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Chelsea needs to finish the league in the top four to secure a place in the Champions League next season.
3/21/2018 1:01:50 PM
<![CDATA[ Icardi chose to represent Argentina over Spain and Italy]]>
“Italy called me for the Under-21 and I fought with Sampdoria (his previous team) because I did not want to go, I wanted Argentina. The Spaniards also tried, they called my father, but I always wanted Argentina, and I got it.” Icardi told press according to Marca.

Icradi, born in Rosario, Argentina left his homeland when he was 15 to join Barcelona where he spent two years before leaving to start his journey in Italian League.

Icardi spoke about his decision to leave Spain for Italy, saying “I decided to go to Italy because I was convinced I could do better than in Spain,”

The Argentinean striker left Barcelona at 17 to join Sampdoria where he played two years then he joined Inter Milan and became one of the key players in the club since he signed for them in 2013.

Icardi, 25 added “I was immediately given the chance to play at high levels and that was my goal."
3/21/2018 12:56:39 PM
<![CDATA[Ireland captain Best extends contract]]>
The 35-year-old hooker, who led Ireland to a grand slam victory in the Six Nations championship on Saturday, has played 111 times for his country, making him Ireland's third most-capped player.

Best took the captaincy in 2016 and led the team to their first ever victory over New Zealand as well as a first win over the Springboks on South African soil.

"I feel I can continue to make a contribution to both Ireland and Ulster Rugby and am delighted to have extended my IRFU contract to the next World Cup," Best said in a statement on the IRFU website.]]>
3/21/2018 5:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Fiorentina to rename training ground after Astori]]>
Astori, who played 289 Serie A matches over 10 seasons and won 14 caps for Italy, died of what authorities said was cardiac arrest in his hotel room ahead of a league game against Udinese.

"We've made this decision because that was his home," Fiorentina president Mario Cognigni told Italian media outlet Mediaset. "He went there every day for training and used to spend time there with his family too.

"We believe that honouring him in this way is the right thing to do so the training ground will now be called Centro Sportivo Davide Astori. We will do it as soon as possible."

The defender's death left Italian football in shock and thousands of fans turned out along with players and coaches at his funeral on March 8.]]>
3/21/2018 4:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly wins Egyptian Basketball Cup ]]>
Al-Ahly players achieved the title after a tough game against Sporting, the title holders.

Sporting ended the first half leading the game 37-36, but Al-Ahly players returned in the game in the second half to achieve the title.

Al-Ahly manager Tarek Khairy revealed his happiness after achieving the title, saying, “It was a difficult game and I want to thank all the players for their efforts during the whole competition.”

Al-Ahly ended Sporting’s dominance over the competition, as Sporting had won the last five titles, defeating Al-Ahly in the last two finals.

After the victory, Al-Ahly captain Tarek El Ghannam said, “We are doing everything we can to make the fans happy and to achieve their dreams. I want to thank the board and the fans for supporting us to achieve such an important title.”

On the other hand, Smouha defeated Zamalek to achieve the third place in the competition. ]]>
3/21/2018 4:12:46 AM
<![CDATA[Newcastle must change if they are to progress - Benitez]]>
The Spaniard took charge of Newcastle in 2016 and helped them earn promotion from the Championship (second tier) last season but the club's inconsistency in the Premier League leaves them four points above 18th-placed Southampton after 30 matches.

Newcastle's troubles have been blamed on poor transfer dealings with owner Mike Ashley being criticised for not providing adequate funds for Benitez's recruitment plans.

"We have to change things," Benitez told the Times. "I came here with the idea to compete and to create a strong team and a strong club, to compete every year. What we have to do if we stay up is improve...

"When I said I wanted to stay I could see the potential for this club to be in the top 10 or even higher, but it depends on consistency. You have to have a structure. Everybody has to be organised.

"... To compete and be capable of winning something, you need to have the plan and the process. Everything has to be... settled down, that's not the right phrase, but more clear."

A potential takeover also adds to the uncertainty surrounding the club.

Benitez is loved by Newcastle fans for guiding the team's meteoric rise and choosing to stay on as their boss but the Spaniard says that the support comes with its own burden.

"When you know the fans are against you, it's not the same passion," Benitez added. "When they support me in the way they're supporting me here, you feel this responsibility. I am really proud of that...

"Everybody expects me to be right every time. I'm not, but I try to do my best, to make sure I make less mistakes, to be sure this team will stay up.

"I sleep, but I feel this support and I feel this responsibility. Not just for the games and the performances, but every decision."

Newcastle host 15th-placed Huddersfield Town in the league on March 31.]]>
3/21/2018 3:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Door remains wide open for England squad hopefuls]]>
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, providing he is fit, and Manchester City right back Kyle Walker look safe bets to get the nod. However, after that pretty much every position is up for grabs.

It says much about the lack of 'world beaters' available to Southgate that so many players, many from unfashionable clubs, might still fancy their chances.

Friday's friendly away to the Netherlands and the home clash with Italy next Tuesday might shed more light on who will make the plane to Russia - or they might also pose more questions than they answer.

Southgate's biggest headache in the coming months might be deciding who he can trust in goal.

Joe Hart, who has 75 caps for England, was between the posts in nine of England's 10 qualification games, conceding only three goals. But erratic club form has seen him come under pressure from Stoke City's Jack Butland and Everton's Jordan Pickford, with Burnley's Nick Pope also in the frame.

Hart lost his place at West Ham United but returned against Burnley in the Premier League this month, only to make a howler in the 3-0 home defeat in which Pope excelled at the other end.

Butland and Pickford have many positive attributes but both made mistakes in Stoke's clash with Everton at the weekend and between them have conceded 101 league goals this season -- something that would not have gone unnoticed by Southgate.

Former England defender Martin Keown thinks it might be a case of better the devil you know.

"If they're not going to prove they're better than him, do you take that risk to play them," he told the BBC.


Not long ago, Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill appeared a shoe-in for England central defence, most likely alongside Manchester City's John Stones. Cahill, however, was omitted for the upcoming friendlies having lost his place in Chelsea's starting lineup.

With Stones also on the bench at City, Burnley's James Tarkowski, Leicester City's Harry Maguire and Swansea City's Alfie Mawson will try to stake their claims against the Netherlands and Italy.

Despite not qualifying for the World Cup, both opponents will provide stern tests for an England defence that, despite a miserly qualifying campaign, is fallible against high calibre attacks.

Tottenham's holding midfielder Eric Dier could also fit into Southgate's preferred 3-4-3 system as a defender and will be vying with Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson for the captain's armband in Amsterdam.

Spurs' Dele Alli is Southgate's preferred link man for Kane, but with his club team mate injured, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Adam Lallana can underline their credentials in the coming week, as can Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jesse Lingard.

Up front, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy look favourites to join Kane in Russia although Arsenal's Danny Welbeck could nudge his way back in with a strong finish to the season now he is back from injury.

Southgate may face some agonising before naming his 23-man squad for Russia, but that is a position Dutch manager Ronald Koeman and Italy's stand-in coach Luigi Di Biagio would love.

For the Netherlands and Italy, matches against England will mark the first steps in a rehabilitation in time for qualification for the 2020 European Championship. ]]>
3/21/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Bouchard passes first test in Miami qualifying]]>
Bouchard, a former Wimbledon finalist who has fallen outside the top 100 in the world rankings since reaching a career-high fifth in 2014, fired seven aces as she dispatched Kiick.

The 24-year-old Canadian, who last month won a slip-and-fall lawsuit against the U.S. Tennis Association over an incident at the 2015 U.S. Open that left her with a concussion, was playing her first match since a first-round loss at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

Yanina Wickmayer, who climbed to a career-high 12th in the rankings shortly after reaching the Miami Open quarter-finals in 2010, also advanced but needed nearly 2-1/2 hours to earn a 6-4 6-7(3) 6-4 win over Australia's Olivia Rogowska.

Andrea Petkovic, a former world number nine, booked her spot in the second round of qualifying when German compatriot Sabine Lisicki retired. Petkovic was leading 4-6 6-3 3-1.

Former French Open runner-up Sara Errani, who was ranked fifth in the world in 2013, fell at the first hurdle after being beaten 6-4 5-7 7-6(2) by Czech Tereza Martincova. ]]>
3/20/2018 11:50:01 PM
<![CDATA[England goalie hopeful Pope says it's every man for himself]]>
Pope has been called up by manager Gareth Southgate for the first time after grabbing his chance when Burnley's first-choice keeper Tom Heaton underwent shoulder surgery in September.

England's regular goalkeeper Joe Hart is struggling for form having been dropped by West Ham United and while Stoke City's Jack Butland and Everton's Jordan Pickford are ahead of him in the queue, Pope has gained plenty of admirers.

England face the Netherlands on Friday and Italy next Tuesday as Southgate runs the rule over the players hoping to seal their spot in the World Cup squad.

"I have got to prove myself at this level," Pope told a news conference on Tuesday. "I've come here to enjoy it and show what I am about. In football, you have to be hungry.

"There has got to be one number one. Come the World Cup there will be one goalkeeper who has that slot. There are eight games left of the Premier League season and it is every man for himself."

Pope, 25, has done things the hard way, struggling to get a game at Charlton Athletic who loaned him out to various lower and minor league clubs before he impressed enough to sign for Burnley in 2016.

"It's obviously a day I never thought I'd see come and, now it has, there's massive elation for me and everyone close to me," Pope said. "I've played in some cold, dark leagues.

"It's a level, this national team, that you think is too far away almost. I've been lower than a snake's belly.

"I feel as though I've put in the hard yards and proved myself at that level to try to get to this. It's no fluke to be called up to the England squad.

"In football things change very quickly. It's rarely set in stone. I hope it's me (being England's number one). It would be a massive honour."

Pope has kept more clean sheets and conceded fewer Premier League goals than the other three goalkeepers in Southgate's squad. In 27 Premier League appearances he has kept the ball out of his net 10 times. ]]>
3/20/2018 11:33:24 PM
<![CDATA[Shahat signs permanent contract with Al-Ain]]>
Shahat signed a three-year contract with Al-Ain after he shined with the Emirati club since joining them on a six-month loan in January.

“On the International Day of Happiness, we wanted to bring joy and happiness to Al-Ain fans by signing Shahat,” Al-Ain President Ghanem El Hagry said after signing the contract.

Since he joined the club, Shahat became one of the key players in the club, scoring seven goals in the league.

Shahat formed a massive attacking partnership with Marcus Berg and Omar Abdulrahman, known as Amouri.

Hagry added, “I want to thank Misr el-Makasa’s board for all their efforts to complete the deal.”

Shahat, who joined the national team camp in Switzerland, has been linked with a move to one of Egypt’s giants, Al-Ahly or Zamalek, but in the end he decided to continue his amazing journey with Al-Ain.
3/20/2018 10:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[National teams' World Cup kits revealed]]>
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The away kits for the title holders, Germany, were inspired by their away kits in the 1990 World Cup in Italy when they defeated Argentina in the final to achieve the title.

Lionel Messi displayed the away kits for the Argentina national team. Messi holds the Argentinean people’s dream of achieving the World Cup.


Adidas also revealed the away kits of the Russian national team, which plays in group A with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.


Colombia’s away kits were displayed by James Rodriguez, while the Mexican kits were displayed by Javier Hernández, known as Chicharito.



Adidas also revealed the away kits of Japan, Belgium, Sweden and Spain.





The Egyptian national team’s kits for the 2018 World Cup in Russia were also revealed by Adidas. This year’s tournament brings an end to 28 years of absence for the team, as they last played in the World Cup in 1990 in Italy.

30044 ]]>
3/20/2018 9:53:59 PM
<![CDATA[Wright expects Salah to leave Liverpool for Spain]]>
“Salah’s displays for Liverpool have been phenomenal. And ironically, it is his performances on Merseyside which could give them a huge problem before too long. Are you telling me when the rebuilding begins at Real Madrid, he won’t be at the top of their wanted list?” Wright told press on Tuesday, according to Metro.

Salah has been linked with a move to Real Madrid next season since he started shining with Liverpool.

Salah has scored 36 goals for Liverpool this season in all competitions, including 28 goals in the Premier League, making him the top goal scorer this season in that league.

Wright believes that Liverpool will do everything to keep Salah inside the club. He said, “And while it’s blindingly obvious Liverpool will put up the fight of their lives to keep him, it’s a battle they will find hard to win.”

Salah led Liverpool to defeat Watford 5-0 on Saturday in the Premier League, scoring four goals and providing an assist to Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool fans fear losing Mo Salah next summer after his amazing performance, like what happened with their former Brazilian star, Philippe Coutinho, who left the club to join Barcelona last January.
3/20/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Hell Hounds end Eagles’ three years unbeaten run]]>
The Hounds became the first team to defeat the Eagles, who had been unbeaten for the last three years.


Hounds’ American quarterback, Matthew Kershy, was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the game, throwing for 378 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for another 32 yards.


Hounds running back Ali Samer spoke to Egypt Today after the game, saying, “It was a great night for all the Hounds. This victory made us close to achieving the title.”


The Hounds dominated the game from the start and their players showed great passion in the game, leading them to victory.

Samer added, “I lost last season to the Eagles, but this time I was sure that we are ready to win. We gave everything on the field to achieve the victory.”

The Hounds are preparing to face the Warriors on Friday, March 30. The team hopes to continue their amazing run in the league.

In the ladies’ competitions, the Hounds defeated Gazira Thunders 40-28 to achieve their first victory in the league after four games.


Hounds’ Dina Hany was named MVP in the game after her great performance. ]]>
3/20/2018 8:32:08 PM
<![CDATA[El Gouna to host Egypt Rally in May]]>
Egypt Rally was launched in 2010 by Bosla and has since turned into an annual event hosted by El Gouna. Egypt Rally follows the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) guidelines for safety and regulations.

El Gouna Rally will witness the participation of the 4x4 Challenge, which was introduced for the first time in Egypt at Sahl Hashish Rally 2017.

The rally is supported by the Red Sea governorate, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Environment, and the Automobile and Touring Club of Egypt, according to Rally Egypt’s official Facebook page.
3/20/2018 5:42:37 PM
<![CDATA[EFA launches Pharaohs’ official plane]]>
The Pharaohs’ private plane is decorated with photos of the team’s stars; including Mohamed Salah, the Premier League current top scorer, honoring the remarkable role he played in helping the national team to qualify to the World Cup; Hector Cuper, the national team head coach; as well as Essam el-Hadary, Mohamed el-Nenny and Abdullah el-Saied.

The ceremony was attended by Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel Aziz, national team head coach Cuper, Minister of Civil Aviation Sherif Fathy, member of EFA and former national team player Hazem Emam, in addition to a number of public figures.

The first scheduled flight for the plane will be on Tuesday, as the Egyptian National team is travelling to Switzerland to face Portugal and Greece in two friendly matches, in preparation for the World Cup due to take place next June in Russia.]]>
3/20/2018 2:38:33 PM
<![CDATA[El-Gouna takes another step towards promotion]]>
El-Minya SC, which is placed second in Group A, also defeated Qenna 1-0 to keep their hopes of winning promotion to the top division.

El-Gouna will host Fayoum FC on Saturday, while El-Minya SC will travel to Aswan to face their local club, Aswan SC.

In Group B, Nogoom El-Mostakbal FC lost two precious points in the promotion race, as their game against Ethad el-Shorta ended with a 2-2 draw and increased the gap with the group leaders, Al-Terasanah to three points.

Both teams will meet each other on April 20 at Al-Terasanah’s stadium.

In Group C, the group leaders, Haras El-Hodoud SC, defeated Kom Hamada 2-0 on Monday and kept the gap with their successors, Kafr El-Sheikh, to eight points.
3/20/2018 6:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly faces Sporting in Egypt Basketball Cup]]>
Al-Ahly reached the final after defeating Smouha 61-59 on Sunday after a tough game.

Smouha led the first half of the game 29-26, but Al-Ahly players returned in the second half to achieve the victory and reach the final.

In the other semi-final, Sporting, the title holders, defeated Zamalek 61-59 to reach their sixth consecutive final.

Al-Ahly players enter the final seeking revenge, as they lost the 2016 and 2017 Egypt Basketball Cup titles to Sporting.

Al-Ahly will depend on veterans Tarek El-Ghannam, Mody El Garhy and Ibrahim El-Gamal to regain the title.

On the other hand, Sporting players hope to continue their dominance over the competition, as they have won the last five titles in the competition.

Zamalek and Al-Ittihad share the record in the competition, having won 12 titles each.
3/20/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Azarou misses Best Moroccan Player ceremony]]>
Azarou’s absence came after he was called to join the Moroccan national team’s camp in Italy. He travelled directly after Al-Ahly’s game against Gabonese team Mounana in the CAF African Champions League, which ended with Al-Ahly winning 3-1.

The Moroccan national team, known as the Atlantic Lions, called Walid Azarou to participate with the team in the two friendly matches against Serbia and Uzbekistan in preparations for the World Cup scheduled for next June in Russia.

The first game against Serbia will be played in the Italian city of Turin at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on March 23, while the second game against Uzbekistan will be played in Casablanca at Stade Mohammed V on March 27.]]>
3/20/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Pharaohs’ last training on Monday at Cairo Stadium]]>
The training session included only 11 players of the team’s squad list: Esam el-Hadary, Ahmed al-Shennawy, Mohamed Awaad, Abdullah al-Saeed, Mahmoud Abdel Razek “Shikabala”, Mahmoud Abdel Moneim “Kahraba”, Omar Gaber, Moamen Zakaria, Mahmoud Hassan Trezeguet, Tarek Hamed and Mohamed Abdel Shafi.

The team will leave Cairo on Thursday morning to head to Zurich for the friendly matches against Portugal and Greece, which are the first two matches for the Pharaohs in preparation for the World Cup.

In addition to the Al-Ahly players included on Cuper’s squad list, Enppi’s Mohamed Magdy “Afsha” will join the national team on Monday, March 26, while the rest of the international players will join the Pharaohs in Switzerland.

3/20/2018 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Brazil to use Tottenham's facilities ahead of World Cup]]>
The five-times World Cup winners will train in London for friendlies against Croatia on June 3, at an English venue yet to be decided, and Austria on June 10 in Vienna.

"In addition to the friendlies, a partnership has been made official with Tottenham FC, who will make their facilities available for training as from May 28," the CBF said in a statement.

"The selecao will have a gym, swimming pool and two official-size football pitches available to them as well as a recently built hotel inside the training centre."

Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before facing Costa Rica and Serbia in Group E.

They play friendlies against World Cup hosts Russia in Moscow on Friday and reigning champions Germany in Berlin four days later.]]>
3/20/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ivanovic replaced by Kolarov ahead of World Cup]]>
"Kolarov, the new captain, and (Nemanja) Matic, his deputy, have the power to follow in Ivanovic's footsteps," Krstajic told a news conference ahead of warm-up games with Morocco on Friday and Nigeria on March 27.

"We have made a decision which remains an internal matter but I want to make it clear there is no misunderstanding with Ivanovic who remains part of the team," said Krstajic.

The experienced Ivanovic, who has scored 12 goals in 100 internationals and is one of only three survivors from the 2010 World Cup, has captained Serbia since 2012 when he took over from ex-Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic.

During the qualifying campaign for the 2018 tournament, the 34-year-old former Chelsea player, now plying his trade with Russian side Zenit St Petersburg, was often criticised by fans and pundits, with many believing he has lost a yard of pace.

"Ivanovic has given a lot to Serbia and vice versa. But all players have to realise that they are starting the build-up to the World Cup with a clean slate and no one can take a spot in the 23-man squad for granted," added Krstajic.

Kolarov, 32, who plays for Italy's Champions League quarter-finalists Roma, has scored 10 goals in 72 games for Serbia.

The Balkan nation qualified for the 32-team World Cup after an eight-year absence from major tournaments, having made an early exit at the 2010 finals.

Ivanovic's demotion has come after the Serbian FA (FSS) sacked coach Slavoljub Muslin straight after he led the country to the World Cup and appointed the inexperienced Krstajic.

Muslin was criticised for what were perceived as unconvincing though productive performances in an unfamiliar 3-4-3 formation and for refusing to inject fresh blood into the team as he did not call upon several promising youngsters.

A former defender who played for Bundesliga clubs Werder Bremen and Schalke, Krstajic will make his competitive debut as a head coach at any level when Serbia take on Costa Rica in their Group E opener in Samara on June 17.

Brazil and Switzerland are in the same section and Manchester United midfielder Matic acknowledged that Serbia face an uphill task to reach the knockout stages.

"It's an extremely tough group," he said. "Brazil need no introduction or accolades and the other two teams are very strong as well. Right now we are focused solely on our opening game against Costa Rica."]]>
3/20/2018 1:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Door remains open for Balotelli, says Italy coach]]>
The 27-year-old has scored 22 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions for the French side this season.

"Numbers and goals are important for forwards but they have to be linked to a certain type of performance," Di Biagio told reporters at the team's training camp outside Florence.

"I have looked, judged and decided... I will continue to follow him and we will see what he does in the next few months."

Balotelli has not been picked by Italy since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Italy face Argentina in Manchester on Friday and England at Wembley four days later, their first matches since November when they failed to qualify for this year's World Cup in Russia.

Di Biagio, coach of the Under-21 side, has been temporarily promoted to replace Gian Piero Ventura, fired after they were beaten 1-0 on aggregate by Sweden in a two-leg World Cup playoff.

"Despite the great disappointment of November there is no other way but to look forwards. We can't change the past," said Di Biagio.

"We're not among the best national teams but we're not among the worst, either. If we can start again with a little bit of patience, we can rebuild a strong national team because we have young players who are still developing and improving."

Di Biagio has also included Gianluigi Buffon in the squad after persuading the 40-year-old goalkeeper to reconsider his decision to retire from international football.

"He is here to play, to help me and to give extra value on and off the field. He will play one or two matches. It's not a problem that in Italy there is a tendency to get romantic," said Di Biagio.

The former midfielder also spoke about the sudden death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, who won 14 caps for Italy. Astori died two weeks ago at the age of 31 and prosecutors said that a cardiac arrest was the most probable cause.

"Something is missing," Di Biagio said. "I didn't know Davide as well as some of the players but I knew him well enough to know who he was.

"There is something strange... but we must try to make things normal again, otherwise it can become devastating."]]>
3/20/2018 12:54:26 AM
<![CDATA[Henderson praises ‘superstar’ Salah ]]>
“Mo this season has been unbelievable; absolutely unbelievable. He is doing it every week, without fail. He’s a great lad in the dressing room and to have around the place. He is a big plus to have in the team,” Henderson told the club’s official website on Monday.

Salah scored four goals and provided an assist to lead Liverpool to defeat Watford 5-0. Salah’s four goals increased Salah’s Premier League tally to 28 goals, making him the Premier League’s top goal scorer.

It is a tradition in football that a player who scores three or more goals in one game takes the ball after the game, and that is what Salah did after the game, with his teammates signing the ball for him.

“Everyone signed the ball for him. I just kept it simple for him. I just said, ‘well done, superstar’,” Henderson added.

Salah’s performance with Liverpool this season has caused fans to compare him with Luis Suarez, who had an amazing three seasons with Liverpool between 2011 and 2014.

Henderson spoke about the difference between Salah and Suarez, saying, “They are both fantastic players in their own right and you can’t compare them. They are different players. I know they score a lot of goals and both work hard off the ball, but it is very difficult to make that comparison.”

Salah suprassed Suarez’s goals for Liverpool for one season, as Salah scored 36 goals in all competitions, while Suarez scored 31 goals in 2014.
3/19/2018 10:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[One trophy not good enough for Man United, says Matic]]>
United's 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday kept alive their only realistic chance of winning a trophy this season after their exit from the Champions League last week.

Rivals Manchester City are firm favourites to win the Premier League title this campaign as second-placed United lie 16 points behind their neighbours with eight matches left to be played.

"You have four competitions in the season - if you win one for me it is not enough, but you always have to do your best," Matic told British media.

"In the Premier League, when you are in the first four this is not perfect but is good to play for the Champions League next season.

"If you win the FA Cup I cannot say it is a successful season, but it's a good season."

Manager Jose Mourinho's team were also knocked out of the League Cup quarter-finals after a shock defeat by Championship (second tier) side Bristol City.

After the win over Brighton, Mourinho hailed Matic as "an island of personality, desire and control" while criticising others for a lacklustre showing.

"He (Mourinho) is special because he wants to win always. You can see when we lose a game he cannot accept that. Probably that's why he won more than 20 trophies in his life," Serbian Matic added.

"It is very difficult to work with him because he always wants more and more. Even if you win the league he wants to win again next season. He is like this and the players need to be ready for that."

After the conclusion of the international break, United host Swansea City in the league on March 31 before taking on Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-finals next month.]]>
3/19/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Real Sociedad sacks Eusebio Sacristan ]]>
“The club would like to thank Eusebio Sacristan for his hard work, professionalism and conduct as manager of the first team over these years. We wish him all the best in his future professional and personal endeavors,” Real Sociedad’s statement said.

Real Sociedad is placed 15th in the Spanish League, known as La Liga. They have picked up 33 points from nine victories and six draws, while they lost 14 games this season.

“Imanol Alguacil will be the man in charge of the team until the end of the season,” Real Sociedad’s statement added.

Alguacil is a former Real Sociedad player and the current manager of Real Sociedad’s B team.

Sacristan, 53, was appointed as manager of Real Sociedad in November 2015 to succeed David Moyes, who was sacked.

Sacristan led the club to achieve the sixth position in 2017 and reach the UEFA Europa League qualifications.
3/19/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Chiellini out of Italy friendlies with thigh injury]]>
The Azzurri play Argentina in Manchester on March 23 and England at Wembley four days later under the leadership of interim coach Luigi Di Biagio, who replaced Gian Piero Ventura in November after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.

The 33-year-old Chiellini, capped 96 times by Italy, picked up the injury in Juve's 0-0 draw at Spal on Saturday. The Turin club said the injury would be evaluated over the next two days.

Juve's next match is against AC Milan on March 31, followed by the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid on April 3.]]>
3/19/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Fathy dreams of achieving treble]]>
“We have achieved the League, and we have to focus on the Cup and the CAF Champions League to win both titles and achieve the triplet this season,” Fathy told Al-Ahly’s official website on Monday.

Al-Ahly has achieved the Egyptian League title six weeks before the end of the season and they will face El-Dakhleya in the round of 16 of the Egypt Cup.


Fathy, 34, spoke about the difficulties the team faced against Mounana in Gabon, saying, “It was a very difficult game and we did everything to achieve the victory despite the high temperature and humidity.”

Al-Ahly reached the CAF Champions League group stage after defeating Gabon’s Mounana 7-1 on aggregate. Al-Ahly won the first leg 4-0 in Cairo before achieving a 3-1 victory in Gabon that secured qualification.

Al-Ahly has a record eight CAF Champions League titles, but they have failed to achieve the title since 2013.

Asked about the national team’s participation in the World Cup in Russia, Fathy said, “The draw put us in a tough group, but we will do everything to reach as far as we can in the competition.”

Egypt plays in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the host nation, Russia. ]]>
3/19/2018 5:58:41 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo Festival City, Cairo Runners organize Egypt’s biggest marathon ]]>
The marathon started at CFCM’s Linking Plaza Parking and extended all the way to the Fifth Settlement’s streets. The event started at 6:00 a.m.

Cairo Runners managed to host five separate runs, including the first ever paralympic marathon in Egypt, a 42-km marathon for seasoned runners, a 21-km run for amateur runners, a 10-km run for casual runners and a 3-km run for families.

Cairo Runners at Cairo Festival City Mall, Feb 23, 2018 - Photo courtesy of Cairo Runners

Runners were joined by social media royalties Just a GoProer and Marwan Younis, as well as musician Hisham Kharma. After the marathon, attendees got to celebrate the awards ceremony with music by Egypt’s top band, Sharmoofers, while they enjoyed brunch at Festival Village.

Over 6,250 runners attended the marathon, along with their cheering fans of more than 4,000 family members and acquaintances. Proceeds from the event were donated to build a room in the 500500 National Cancer Institute, the biggest worldwide.

Cairo Runners at Cairo Festival City Mall, Feb 28, 2018 - Photo courtesy of Cairo Runners
3/19/2018 5:34:41 PM
<![CDATA[Hughes could be 'perfect fit' for Southampton, says Hojbjerg]]>
Hughes, who was named as Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino's replacement last week, took charge of his first game as Southampton beat Wigan Athletic 2-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

"I think I speak on everyone's behalf when it's been positive and he has given energy and good vibes, a new fresh start," Hojbjerg is quoted as saying by the Daily Echo.

"He worked a lot on intensity and the discipline and desire to take the extra meters, to do what we have to do as a team and an individual in our own position and the basics.

"Like we have said many times we have a really good team, some really good players, and maybe this is the perfect fit. Nothing is perfect in this world but this is a good start."

The former Stoke City boss has a tougher task on his hands in the league, where Southampton are two points adrift of safety in 18th position with eight games left to play but Hojbjerg is focusing on the positives.

"This is nice, a great feeling and also football. One week ago the world went down and today we are in the semi-final of the FA Cup," Hojbjerg added.

"This of course doesn't change the standing on the league but let's focus on this and smile about the semi-final.

"After defeat you always want to hit back even harder and I think we did that today."

Hughes will take charge of his first league game when Southampton travel to 17th-placed West Ham United on March 31 before their FA Cup semi-final tie against Chelsea next month.]]>
3/19/2018 2:56:33 PM
<![CDATA[Pochettino is on Bayern’s radar]]>The German club, Bayern Munich, recently joined the list of big clubs negotiating for the Argentinean coach.

According to Sky Sports, the German club would be following in detail the figure of Pochettino.

Regardless of Bayern Munich’s amazing results this season, as they are on the top of the Bundesliga table with 69 points and in the Champions League’s quarter final, it seems that the German club intends to hire a promising coach.

In this case, the veteran Jupp Heynckes would put an end to his status as interim coach while waiting for the Bavarian club to make public the name of his successor.

The good work done by Pochettino at the head of Tottenham has not gone unnoticed for an avid market of coaches. During the last months, clubs like Real Madrid or PSG, among others, have sounded like possible market options for the Argentinean coach.

Despite the fact that Pochettino has not positioned himself in a decisive way regarding his continuity in Tottenham, everything points to the fact that he will not move next season from the Premier league.

The 46-years-old coach was appointed as Tottenham’s coach on May 27, 2014 coming from the bench of the other Premier League team, Southampton.

Mauricio succeeded to add his tactical ways to Spurs which reflected on their records. He managed 198 premier league games; won 101, drew in 53 and lost only 44.
3/19/2018 10:07:00 AM
<![CDATA[Reports denied Neymar asking for €1 million per week ]]>
The PSG statement arrived a few hours before the 1-2 victory of PSG over Nice in the 31st round of the French league thanks to a late goal from Dani Alves.

Paris St. Germain club, owned by the Qatari Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is linked to some reports claiming that their winger, Neymar, demanded a higher salary after his meeting with Al-Khelaifi in Brazil.

According to The Times, Neymar, for which PSG paid €222 million, has asked for €54 million as an annual salary (€1 million per week) compared to his current €40 million annual salary.

The newspaper says that the Brazilian has put that as a condition for his staying, compared to the offers he received from great teams such as Real Madrid.

Neymar, his father and agent made that request to the president of the club, Al-Khelaifi, during his visit to Brazil this week, where Neymar is recovering from an injury that is keeping him away from the pitch at the moment.

L'Équipe, on the other hand, affirms that the club has denied this information.
3/19/2018 8:02:00 AM
<![CDATA[Zamalek waves ‘goodbye’ to CAF Confederation Cup]]>
Zamalek have been eliminated from the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday after losing the penalty shootout against Ethiopia's Welayta Dicha in the 32nd round despite a 2-1 lead after the first 90 minutes.

Zamalek lost 1-2 in the first leg in Ethiopia and this time hosted Welayta Dicha at Al-Salam stadium seeking only a (1-0) score to qualify to the next round.

The white team’s 2-1 lead over Welayta Dicha in the first 90 minutes wasn’t enough, putting the score at (3-3) on aggregate. The penalty shootout was needed to split the two teams, but Zamalek’s midfielders Ayman Hefny and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz missed their two shots, eliminating Zamalek from the African Championship.

Zamalek's journey in the African championship ended this year against an obscure team who managed to exploit Zamalek's mistakes, achieving a historic qualification to the next round.

The only tournament left that Zamalek can hope to win this year is the “Egypt Cup”, where Zamalek will face El-Intag Al-Harby in the quarter-finals.

Zamalek are battling for second place in the Egyptian league to participate in the CAF Champions League next season.
3/19/2018 5:33:29 AM
<![CDATA[Pedro's header puts Chelsea in semi-final]]>
Earlier the home team's England international Jamie Vardy had equalised Alvaro Morata's first goal of 2018.

With no replays from the quarter-finals onwards, 30 extra minutes were required, in which Pedro headed in a cross by former Leicester midfielder N'Golo Kante.

Manager Antonio Conte, knowing this is his last chance of a trophy this season, must hope the victory is an omen. The previous three times Chelsea have knocked Leicester out, in 1997, 2000 and 2012, they won the competition.

Morata finished well to open the scoring just before halftime after Riyad Mahrez lost possession and Willian instigated a swift counter-attack and played the striker in with a perfect through ball.

The home side equalised in the 76th minute with a scrambled goal by Vardy after a spell of pressure. Mahrez put in a low cross and although Vicente Iborra was twice denied by blocks, Vardy clipped home the loose ball.]]>
3/19/2018 3:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Messi scores again as Barca beat Athletic, Sevilla defeated by Leganes]]>
Alcacer took the place of suspended striker Luis Suarez in the starting line-up and scored a first goal in three months to put Barca ahead in the eighth minute, side-footing home a pass from Jordi Alba after Messi had cut in from the left.

The Argentine scored for the sixth game in a row in all competitions and for the 25th time in this league campaign when he doubled Barca's lead in the 30th minute with a deadly strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Barca lead the standings on 75 points, 11 ahead of nearest challengers Atletico Madrid who were visiting Villarreal later on Sunday, with champions Real Madrid hosting Girona.

The Catalans were missing injured midfield linchpin Sergio Busquets as well as Suarez. However, they were rampant in the first half and could have taken a heavier lead into the break as Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho hit the woodwork twice and his compatriot Paulinho struck a post.

The unbeaten league leaders slowed down in the second half and Athletic came into the game for the first time but despite numerous forays into Barca's area they rarely got close to troubling goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Earlier on Sunday Sevilla suffered a hangover from their Champions League triumph over Manchester United as they lost 2-1 at mid-table Leganes in La Liga on Sunday, their sixth defeat in 12 league games under coach Vincenzo Montella.

Sevilla qualified for the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition for the first time by beating United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Tuesday but went behind to Leganes four minutes before halftime to a looping header from defender Unai Bustinza.

Montella made three changes from the side that had stunned Old Trafford, giving a starting berth to Wissam Ben Yedder after he scored twice after coming off the bench on Tuesday, but his side rarely got going against Leganes.

Forward Javier Eraso side-footed home a second goal for the home side in the 69th minute and things got worse for Sevilla when midfielder Pablo Sarabia was sent off in the 84th for picking up two yellow cards inside 11 minutes.

Miguel Layun pulled a goal back for Sevilla in the 90th minute.

Sevilla are fifth in the Liga standings on 45 points, 12 behind fourth-placed Real Madrid and one ahead of Villarreal in sixth. ]]>
3/19/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Don’t miss this boy’s reaction to Salah’s super hat-trick]]>
The Egyptian forward Salah has already established himself as a fan favorite since joining from Roma in the summer and it did not take long for him to earn himself his own chant from supporters.

One of the fans recorded a video of his little son singing Salah’s chant, who became very excited by Salah’s four goals against Watford. He posted the video on his account on Twitter before going viral.

In the tweet, Joe McDonald said that his son sings the song all day both at home and at school, and told his teachers to call him Mo Salah, not answering to his mum or dad unless they call him that.

No words can describe Salah’s performance with Liverpool this season as he topped the Premier League’s Golden Boot standing this season with 28 goals.

Salah scored his 101st goal in Europe since he joined FC Basel of Switzerland in 2012 from Al-Mokawlon in Egypt.

He has also become the first Egyptian to score a super hat-trick in the Premier League and the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick under Jurgen Klopp.

Salah is one goal away from Didier Drogba’s record of 29 goals in a single season when he became the highest scoring African player in the English Premier League.

Here are some reactions from players, fans and celebrities to Mohamed Salah’s first super hat-trick in his career.

Simon Mignolet, Liverpool’s goalkeeper:

Staff writer for @FB_WHISPERS covering European football and the Premier League. @NUJofficial member.

‘Footy Jokes’ account on Twtter showed Salah’s apologies to Watford’s goalkeeper after the match:

Amr Nsoo7y, a famous Egyptian football blogger and vlogger and a football analyst on YouTube, celebrates Salah’s fourth goal with his friends.

One of the funniest videos made mocking Salah’s pace in games.

3/18/2018 8:14:26 PM
<![CDATA[Southampton reach FA Cup semis as Wigan dream ends]]>
Hughes was appointed Southampton boss on Wednesday following the sacking of Argentine Mauricio Pellegrino and his side, 18th in the Premier League, struggled in the opening 45 minutes against League One promotion chasers Wigan.

Wigan, who had beaten three Premier League teams in the Cup including Manchester City in the previous round, could not convert their chances, however.

The home side went close in the 15th minute when Nathan Byrne's deflected shot drifted goalwards but Cheyenne Dunkley was unable to connect from close range.

Gary Roberts then hooked over the bar from a promising position and Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy had to punch away an inswinging Max Power corner that could have sneaked in the near post.

Yet it was a different story after the break as Southampton came out strongly and their superior quality began to show.

Hojbjerg forced a fine save out of Walton with a powerful header from a corner and then from the resulting corner came the 62nd minute opener.

Hojbjerg made a positive run from deep to convert Dusan Tadic's ball with a side-foot finish for his first goal for the club.

Southampton had a chance to wrap up the tie when they were given a penalty with 18 minutes remaining but Manolo Gabbiadini's spot kick, awarded after he had been brought down by Dan Burn, was brilliantly saved by Wigan keeper Christian Walton, diving to his left.

Southampton's second goal came in injury time when Cedric finished off a swift counter-attack, led by Nathan Redmond, with a calm finish into the far corner.

"It was an important day for the players today," said Hughes.

"I have been really impressed with the quality of the talent I have. They have lost a bit of confidence recently but they are good players. We stood up to Wigan. It was a statement of intent and a start. We have work to do in the Premier League, but we will enjoy this moment."

For Wigan, who had also beaten West Ham United and Bournemouth on their Cup run, the task is now to secure promotion back to the second-tier Championship but their manager Paul Cook was proud of their effort.

"You can't ask any more from your players. The first half we were excellent. We expected that response from Southampton and we wish them well in the semi-finals. We were playing some great players and in the end their quality came through," he said.

Southampton join Tottenham, Manchester United and the winner of Sunday's other tie between Leicester City and Chelsea in the semi-finals.]]>
3/18/2018 7:11:04 PM
<![CDATA[Sevilla slump to Leganes defeat after United heroics]]>
Sevilla qualified for the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition for the first time by beating United 2-1 at Old Trafford on Tuesday but went behind to Leganes four minutes before halftime to a looping header from defender Unai Bustinza.

Montella made three changes from the side that had stunned Old Trafford, giving a starting berth to Wissam Ben Yedder after he scored twice after coming off the bench on Tuesday, but his side rarely got going against Leganes.

Forward Javier Eraso side-footed home a second goal for the home side in the 69th minute and things got worse for Sevilla when midfielder Pablo Sarabia was sent off in the 84th for picking up two yellow cards inside 11 minutes.

Miguel Layun pulled a goal back for Sevilla in the 90th minute.

Sevilla are fifth in the Liga standings on 45 points, 12 behind fourth-placed Real Madrid and one ahead of Villarreal in sixth.

With the top four in Spain qualifying for the Champions League, Sevilla's best hope of getting into the competition next season may now rest on them beating Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals and going on to win the competition.

Villarreal host second-placed Atletico Madrid later on Sunday while Girona visit champions Real Madrid and runaway leaders Barcelona play at home to Athletic Bilbao.]]>
3/18/2018 5:14:32 PM
<![CDATA[Federer survives scare, to face Del Potro in Indian Wells final]]>
The victory kept Federer's hopes of winning a record sixth Indian Wells title alive but first he will have to get past the big-hitting Argentine, who got the better of the Swiss in the U.S. Open quarter-finals in September.

The partisan crowd erupted when Federer broke Coric at love to take the deciding set and end the unexpectedly competitive two hour twenty minute battle against the 21-year-old Croatian on a windy morning in the California desert.

An upset was on the cards when the speedy Coric used his ferocious backhand to take the first set off the Swiss, the first time defending champion Federer had dropped a set at Indian Wells in nine matches.

He then broke Federer to start the second set and silence the stunned crowd, which included Hall of Famers Rod Laver and Pete Sampras.

But despite playing below his usual standards, the 20-times grand slam champion was able to eek out victory by finding his serving rhythm and winning the biggest points of the match as nerves finally caught up with Coric.

"Those 10 minutes when he was up a set and a break were tough for me to accept," Federer said during an on-court interview.

"I had to move on with it and say that I was just happy to stay in the game. Maybe he's going to get a bit nervous and I think that's exactly what happened," he said.

"And I got a bit lucky too of course. It was a good match and a tough one for him."

The 36-year-old Federer improved to 17-0 for the year, his best ever start to a season.


Del Potro's one-sided win lacked the drama of the earlier match as Canadian Raonic put up little fight against the Argentine's powerful serve and punishing forehand in a contest that lasted just over an hour.

Del Potro won nearly 90 percent of his first service points and converted four of his five break point opportunities against Raonic, who never created a break point against the towering Argentine.

Victory was the 400th of the 29-year-old Del Potro's career, which has been interrupted by four wrist surgeries.

He considered retiring before slowly regaining his health and climbing the ATP rankings, where he now sits at number eight in the world.

"I'm healthy and that is the most important thing," Del Potro said. "I get on every court with a smile. I'm playing free of pain and am enjoying playing tennis again.

"I didn't expect to play at this level after all my surgeries but I'm here and I'm so happy."

Del Potro will look to win his first Indian Wells title after losing the 2013 final to Rafa Nadal but will have to defeat Federer, who holds an 18-6 lead in their career head-to-head meetings.

3/18/2018 1:53:07 PM
<![CDATA[Mourinho slams United's "lack of personality and desire"]]>
Mourinho had made little direct criticism of his team after Tuesday's poor display in the Champions League defeat by Sevilla or on Friday when he defended his work and questioned assumptions about United's heritage.

But this time his anger was firmly directed at the majority of his players.

"I didn't like the game. I think we deserved to win because I think the game was in control for the majority, we scored two and they didn't score, but we didn't play as I prepared the team to play," he told BT Sport.

Mourinho singled out midfielder Nemanja Matic, who created the first goal for Romelu Lukaku and added the second himself with a late header, as one of the few players he was satisfied with.

"Many, many times Matic was an island of personality and desire and control, surrounded, not by water but by a lack of personality, class and desire," said the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager.

Asked whether he had seen a positive reaction from his players after the Sevilla loss, he said: "I didn’t have the reaction from all of them. I had the reaction from some of them. And because some of them were mentally strong enough and with the football quality to play, was the reason why we won."

Mourinho showed particular anger that his demand in training for a quicker and more incisive transition game had not been carried out in practice.

"When I spend two days working on this and then I arrive here, attacking players hiding behind defenders, not wanting the ball between the lines, defenders playing just square passes and taking 10 to 12 passes to get from one line to another line I have to feel frustrated," he said.

"Because I think as a coach the biggest frustration is not the result because sometimes a bad result can happen," Mourinho added.

"We prepared the team to be more aggressive, to attack the last line much more and that connection between defenders in possession and attacking players didn’t work. I want more personality in the team," he said.

As well as Matic, Mourinho praised young midfielder Scott McTominay, although even those words were peppered with criticism of others.

"McTominay lost more passes today than in all the matches he played together but he was a Manchester United player. And for me a Manchester United player is a player that, when he plays bad, he gives to the team," he said.

"The perfect Manchester United player is the one that has quality and personality and is consistent on that. But when you play bad you must have that personality that a kid of 20 years old has - and some of the others didn't have."
3/18/2018 1:51:38 PM
<![CDATA[Nedved praises Dybala]]>
Nedved stressed that Madrid is accustomed to playing matches of this importance, although he explained that Juventus are better off round-of-the-round with respect to the single matches, in statements released by the Juventus VP.

"They will be two good matches and we know we will meet the strongest; namely the ones who have won the last two Champions League titles," Nedved said.

"They are good; they impressed me in Paris, but we will play at Juventus and we will give them a hard time. I do not think the team will suffer from what happened in Cardiff; now we start all over again,” he assured.

“It will be difficult, as we have two disqualified players, but we also start from zero to zero. Would we want to tackle them in a knockout match or over two legs? Psychologically they are more accustomed to the knockout, and at the Cardiff final, we saw that; while over two stanzas we have a few more chances,” he added.

The former Czech player also said that Real Madrid will give it "everything" to win the Champions League again, since it is out of the fight for the title in the Champions League.

“We are going through a good period. We wanted to get in these conditions at this point of the season. We are fine and we are firing on all cylinders. In this sense, the fact that they are already out of the league games will ensure that they can concentrate all their energy on the Champions League, but we are ready,” he continued.

He also expressed his satisfaction with the performance of Argentinean strikers Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, who are playing in "an important year".

“Dybala and Higuain? They are two important players; they are doing well for Juventus,” Nedved said.

Speaking of Dybala, he stated, “I reiterate that it is up to him to make the history of Juventus and, if he wants, that of world football. Lately I have seen him thriving, and he is training very well."
3/18/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Zabaleta calls for unity as West Ham prepare for tough finish]]>
West Ham are 16th in the table, just three points above the relegation zone, and have spent the last week training in Florida to prepare for a crucial run of games including meetings with Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United.

"Hopefully we can perform well enough to keep West Ham in the Premier League," Zabaleta, who arrived from Manchester City in the close season, told West Ham's website (www.whufc.com).

"We will try. We know we have to do better than we have done in the last three games.

"It's been a difficult season in terms of injuries and many things that sometimes have affected the team. To the fans all we can say is thanks for the great support... they are amazing," the 33-year-old Argentine added.

West Ham have lost four out of their last five league games, including the last three in a row.
3/18/2018 10:07:00 AM
<![CDATA[Yaya Toure set for surprise Ivory Coast return]]>
Toure has shunned internationals since leading the Ivorians to the African Nations Cup title in early 2015 but made a surprise announcement in December that he wanted to return despite the country failing to rech this year's World Cup.

Eric Bailly of Manchester United and Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, both just back from injury, were also named by caretaker coach Ibrahim Kamara in a 24-man squad to play Togo on March 24 and Moldova three days later, both in Beauvais.
3/18/2018 9:35:00 AM
<![CDATA[VAR officially to be used in 2018 World Cup]]>
The decision came during the latest meeting for the FIFA council held in Colombia last Friday, while FIFA had agreed in principle to start using VAR in the World Cup in a meeting held in Zurich in the beginning March, according to Super Kora.

VAR will be used in the most important football competition in the world for the first time in the 2018 World Cup, held in Russia from June 14 to July 15. It will help the referees make decisions in several situations in the games, such as knowing whether the ball entered the goal properly or not, checking the decision of penalty kicks, fining players with direct red cards, and removing the confusion of misjudgment on a particular player instead of another one.
3/18/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[First relegation looms ever closer as Hamburg lose again]]>
Hamburg, the only club to have played in the Bundesliga every season since the league's creation in 1963, are seven points away from the relegation playoff spot occupied by Mainz 05, with just seven games left.

They have won only four Bundesliga games all season.

Everything looked to be going well for the former European champions and their new coach Christian Titz when Douglas Santos put them ahead in the 25th minute.

But Hertha struck twice in the space of seven minutes in the second half, with goals from Valentino Lazaro and Salomon Kalou, to snatch the three points.

Eintracht Frankfurt boosted their chances of a top-four finish -- and Champions League action next season -- with a 3-0 victory over Mainz to climb to fourth on 45 points.

League leaders Bayern Munich could seal their sixth straight title on Sunday with a win at RB Leipzig but they need Schalke 04, in second, to drop points against VfL Wolfsburg later on Saturday and for third-placed Borussia Dortmund to draw or lose against Hanover 96 on Sunday.]]>
3/18/2018 5:06:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ancelotti sees Madrid, Barcelona as favorites]]>
Ancelotti also explained in an interview published on Saturday in the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that Real Madrid and Barcelona are at the same level of performance, although Barcelona is 15 points ahead of the White Club in the Spanish league.

Real Madrid’s former coach believes that playing in the quarter-finals with the two-leg matches system gives Juventus and Roma good chances.

"Of course, Champions League games are decided by the small details. A one-off game is enough for a refereeing error to make the difference. Madrid and Barcelona are favorites due to their experience and because they have Ronaldo and Messi," he said.

"Surely Juventus and Roma are not favorites, because they are measured [against] two powers of European football, but their options can be considered," he added.

Ancelotti, who was a European champion with Real Madrid in 2014, also assured that Juventus has more experience than Roma and that is why he sees that the “Bianconeri” has more options to pass to the next round.
3/18/2018 3:01:00 AM
<![CDATA[Salah’s first super hat-trick beats Watford 5-0]]>
He is the fourth Liverpool player to score four goals in a single Premier League game: Robbie Fowler (vs. Bolton & Middlesbrough), Michael Owen (vs. Nottingham Forest & West Brom), Luis Suarez (vs. Norwich) and Mohamed Salah (vs. Watford).

Salah became the first Egyptian to score a super hat-trick in the Premier League and the first player to score a hat-trick under Klopp management.

“The Egyptian King”, as most of Liverpool fans prefer to call him, tops the list of Premier League goal scorers with 28 goals.

Also, Mohamed Salah is now the outright top goal scorer in Europe's Top 5 Leagues this season with 28 goals scored.

The 25-year-old has now scored the most goals (37) in a debut season for Liverpool across all competitions. The second is Atletico Madrid’s Fernando Torres with 33 goals and the third is Barcelona’s Luis Suarez with 31 goals.

Salah is one goal away from Didier Drogba, who scored 29 goals in a single season to be the African player to score the most goals in the English Premier League.

Football fans on social media platforms reacted to Salah’s first goal in Watford and compared his style of play with Lionel Messi.

On the other hand, Liverpool’s striker Firmino is witnessing his best form, as he participated in 36 goals this season with Liverpool. He scored 23 goals and provided 13 assists in all the competitions.
3/17/2018 9:44:26 PM
<![CDATA[Gharib includes 27 players in Olympic team’s camp]]>
The list contained 27 players but the coaching staff will choose 24 players only to travel with the team to the Saudi Kingdom.

Gharib said that he preferred to choose 27 players in case an emergency occurs, because there will be several matches played in the upcoming period in the 30th week of the Egyptian Premier League and African matches. He will subsequently narrow down the players to have 24 only travel to Saudi Arabia.

Olympic team coach Shawki Gharib has revealed that the team will be gathered next Monday to lightly train in the gym.

The Egyptian mission is due to leave Cairo International Airport at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday for Saudi Arabia.

The 27 players list included:
From Al Ahly: Ahmed Yasser Rayan, Ahmed Hamdy, Akram Tawfek, Karim Walid, Ahmed Ramadan and Salah Mohsen.
From Zamalek: Ahmed Abo el-Fotoh, and Omar Salah.
From Ismaily: Walid Ateya.
From Talaea el-Gaish: Mohamed Esam el-Ghandour and Ahmed Hany Hussein.
From Petrojet: Mohamed Abdel Salam and Mahmoud Emad.
From Misr el-Maqassa: Osama Galal and Mohamed Ahmed Desouky.
From Moqawolon: Taher Mohamed Taher.
From Al Dakhleya: Nasser Mansy and Ahmed Moustafa el-Sayed.
From Wadi Degla: Ahmed Sayed and Mahmoud Mary.
From Al-Entag Al-Harby: Mohamed Hussein Farag.
From Al-Masry: Karim el-Iraqy.
From Smouha: Naser Maher.
From Al-Ragaa: Omar Wail.
From Al-Assyouty: Sherif Reda.
3/17/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly thrashes Mounana 3-1 in CAF Champions League]]>
Al-Ahly scored seven goals on aggregate, as they defeated the Gabonese team in the first leg 4-0 at Cairo Stadium.

Al-Ahly midfielder Mido Gaber took the lead in the seventh minute when he sent a superb shot from outside the box.

After the goal, Al-Ahly dominated the game and continued pressing Mounana’s backline to force them into making mistakes.

Walid Azzarou successfully took advantage of one of Mounana’s defense mistakes and scored the second goal in the 30th minute to make it 2-0.

Before the first half’s end, Masamba scored Mounana’s first goal through a free kick to make it 2-1.

In the second half, Al-Ahly calmed the game down and continued dominating the game.

In the 82nd minute, Al-Ahly midfielder Walid Soliman took the ball from Mounana’s defender and surpassed the goalkeeper to easily put the ball in the empty net.

Al-Ahly players will be back to Cairo on Sunday to continue their preparations for Tanta’s game on April 2.

Al-Ahly has been crowned the Egyptian League champions six weeks before the end of the season, making this the team’s 40th title in history.

Al-Ahly’s international players will travel to Switzerland with the Egyptian national team as Egypt is set to face Portugal and Greece on March 23 and 27, respectively.
3/17/2018 7:52:23 PM
<![CDATA[Osaka stuns Halep as rising stars reach Indian Wells final]]>
The Russian, also 20, continued her sparkling run of form earlier in the evening when she outlasted American veteran Venus Williams in a three-set slugfest lasting almost three hours.

Osaka's defeat of the top-seeded Halep stood out as the bigger of the two upsets, which played out under the lights on a chilly night in the California desert city of Indian Wells.

The Romanian had won all three of her previous meetings with the emerging Japanese player and looked poised to make a run to reclaim the title she won in 2015, but instead put in a puzzling performance full of uncharacteristic errors and little fight.

The match started as a cagey affair until it reached 3-3 in the opening set before Halep's game unraveled as she coughed up a litany of errors, paving the way for Osaka to reel off the next nine games without much resistance.

"It wasn't easy," Osaka said in a courtside interview. "I was really stressed out the entire time but I am really happy I could end it fast."

Halep offered few excuses for her baffling display but felt that the long wait to get on court had not helped her cause.

"I just didn't feel the ball at all. I was out of the game today. I played okay until 4-3 but then I just went out. I don't know why. I just lost my concentration," she said.

"She was better. She was more prepared and she was ready to play and ready to win the match. I was not."

Mar 16, 2018; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Simona Halep (ROU) during her semifinal against Naomi Osaka (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

While Osaka barely broke a sweat in her 64 minute victory, it was a different story for Kasatkina, who emerged the victor after a marathon 4-6 6-4 7-5 battle against Williams.

Kasatkina took advantage of a sub-par serving night from the more powerful Williams as the match progressed, forcing long rallies that ultimately wore her 37-year-old opponent down over the course of the contest.

The Russian, who fought back after being two points away from losing in the contest in the third set, dropped her racquet and put her hands on her head in shock after Williams sent a backhand into the net on match point.

"I'm a bit tired," Kasatkina said after the two hour and 50 minute encounter. "One more to go."

The win extends the Cinderella run for the tournament's 20th seed, who defeated grand slam champions Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber without dropping a set before going the distance to take down Williams.

Williams played an excellent all-around game, mixing bruising groundstrokes with frequent approaches to the net and moving well around the court.

However, she was unable to rely on her big serve at key moments and ended up getting broken seven times.

Kasatkina will have Saturday to recover before facing Osaka for the first time in their fledgling careers on Sunday.

Neither Kasatkina nor Osaka have much experience in big matches with the Japanese player's only career final coming in Tokyo in 2016 and her opponent's lone singles title coming in Charleston last year.

3/17/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Mortada shows El-Said’s contract with Zamalek]]>
Mortada's conference  1
FILE – Mortada Mansour press conference at Zamalek club

It has been confirmed that Abdallah El-Said was Zamalek’s “Signing of the Century”, but Al-Ahly interfered and renewed their player’s contract after his meeting on Monday, March 12 with Turki Al-Sheikh, Al-Ahly’s Saudi honorary president, who managed to persuade him to sign a two-year contract.

His contract renewal came after weeks of speculation, with Mansour claiming that the Egyptian international was on the verge of joining the White Castles.

Mansour held a press conference to clarify what happened. El-Said was reportedly linked to a possible move to Zamalek SC, but everything turned upside down when he renewed his contract with Al-Ahly on Tuesday, March 13.

The first contract for El-Said with Al-Ahly ends in June, so Zamalek wanted to sign him during the legal period, which is the last six months of his contract with Al-Ahly.

Mortada was outraged at Al-Ahly’s announcement and decided to reveal some facts concerning El-Said’s situation. He assured that El-Said signed a contract with Zamalek and he showed a picture of El-Said with Zamalek’s football committee members, Ahmed Mortada Mansour, Ismail Youssef and Amir Mortada Mansour.

Abdullah El Said
From left to right Ismail Youssef, Abdallah El-Said, Ahmed Mortada Mansour, Amir Mortada Mansour – Courtesy of Ahmed Mortada Mansour’s official Twitter account

Mortada showed the picture in front of Zamalek SC’s members and the committee of the Youth and Sports Ministry.

The case all started when Zamalek announced through its official website that Mansour was soon to reveal the “Signing of the Century” and included some hints, including that it was an African player who is set to play in the next World Cup with his national team. He also stated that the club paid LE 40 million ($2.3 million) to include the player in Zamalek’s squad next season.

Mortada's conference 2
FILE – Mortada Mansour press conference at Zamalek club

It has been confirmed that Abdallah El-Said was the “Signing of the Century”, but Al-Ahly interfered and renewed their player’s contract after his meeting with Turki Al-Sheikh.

“I have four copies of Abdallah’s contract, and he signed all of them. His release clause is $100 million and I will get them. I am the real lion; so you should pay Said’s release clause,” Mansour addressed Turki Al-Sheikh.

Mortada Mansour 1
FILE – Mortada Mansour press conference at Zamalek club

“El-Said signed his renewal contracts with Al-Ahly under duress,” Mortada said.

“Who said that Ahmed Fathy didn’t negotiate with Zamalek? Ask Sayed Marey [Ahmed Fathy’s agent], as we had several meetings together concerning Said’s and Fathy’s signing,” Mortada added.

Al Ahly right back, signed a new contract worth LE 14 million with Al Ahly; he will get LE 7 million for each season.

The player has agreed to renew with Al Ahly for two seasons, amid rumors that the player might leave the club due to disagreements over the terms of the new contract.

Mortada Mansour 2
FILE – Mortada Mansour press conference at Zamalek club

Zamalek’s president claimed that El-Khatib, Al-Ahly’s president, had a meeting with Zamalek goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy three days before the top match between Al-Ahly and Zamalek held on January 8.

At the end of the press conference, Mortada showed El-Said contracts with Zamalek as he promised to show it to the press on the right time.

El-Said's contract 1
FILE – El-Said's contract with Zamalek

El-Said's contract 2

El-Said's contract 3

Al-Ahly’s board responded to their fans’ outrage and decided to begin negotiations over the transfer of El-Said, whether for loan or permanent transfer from clubs abroad.

3/17/2018 6:19:12 PM
<![CDATA[Eriksen scores twice as Tottenham cruise into Cup quarters]]>
The Dane's exquisite left-foot strike put Spurs in front after 11 minutes in a one-sided tie at the Liberty Stadium.

Erik Lamela buried a right-foot shot past Swansea's Swedish keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt to make it 2-0 before the interval and Eriksen killed off the hosts just past the hour.

Swansea, playing in their first FA Cup quarter-final since 1964, were without cup-tied striker Andre Ayew and his bother Jordan, who was suspended, and offered little resistance as the visitors enjoyed a comfortable 90 minutes.

The home side's only chance came just after halftime when Tottenham's former Swansea keeper Michel Vorm made a fine double save to deny Martin Olsson and Tammy Abraham.

Eight-times FA Cup winners Tottenham are looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 1991, since when they have lost seven semi-finals, most recently to Chelsea last year.

Spurs will effectively enjoy home advantage in the semi-final because Wembley, which stages the semis, has been their temporary home this season while their new stadium is built.

Twelve-times winners Manchester United host Brighton & Hove Albion later on Saturday with Chelsea visiting Leicester City and third-tier Wigan Athletic hosting Southampton on Sunday.]]>
3/17/2018 4:39:47 PM
<![CDATA[Salah participates in 47.1% of Liverpool goals in PL]]>
PL tweeted that Mo Salah has participated in 32 of the 68 goals scored for his team in the current edition of the tournament, which is 47.1% of Liverpool’s total goals.

The Egyptian striker scored 24 goals, which made him lead the top scorers list of the PL, alongside Tottenham Hotspurs striker Harry Kane, who scored the same number of goals. Salah also made eight assists for his teammates.

Salah is now preparing for another challenge in his European career, as he will lead Liverpool in the Champions League quarter-finals against Manchester City, which leads the Premier League with 81 points, while Liverpool is fourth with 60 points.

Salah scoring the fourth goal for liverpool from a long shot against Manchester City

It is worth mentioning that Liverpool had destroyed Manchester City’s hopes of ending the Premier League season undefeated, as the only loss City faced came from Liverpool in the 23rd round of the tournament. That game ended 4-3, and Salah scored a splendid goal in that match with a long shot from midfield.

3/17/2018 4:35:14 PM
<![CDATA[AFC welcomes lifting of Iraq ban for competitive matches]]>
Iraq has largely been starved of international matches on home soil since its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, although the country held a handful of friendlies, including a Feb. 28 match against Saudi Arabia in Basra.

"This is a significant moment in shaping the future of football in Iraq," AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement.

"The AFC, and the Asian football family as a whole, have supported this structured return of competitive football to Iraq."

Earlier this month, two AFC Cup (the region's second tier knockout competition) matches involving Iraqi clubs were postponed until next month in the hope of playing them in the country should FIFA lift the ban.

"I was in Basra last month to see the friendly against Saudi Arabia and it was clear that the time had come to lift the restriction on competitive matches -- and I am delighted FIFA agree," Shaikh Salman added.

"I congratulate the Iraqi Football Association and all their stakeholders in working so hard to achieve this positive outcome for the game in their country.

"Football development in Iraq can only be benefited by the ability of Iraqi football lovers to see matches played on their own soil and to become involved in the game at every level."

Iraq will host a friendly tournament also featuring Qatar and Syria in Basra starting on Wednesday.

The AFC Cup matches involving Al Zawraa and Bahraini side Manama Club and Air Force Club's home game against Malkiya of Bahrain could now be played in April, the AFC statement added.]]>
3/17/2018 2:29:54 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly starts African journeys against Mounana in Gabon]]>
The Red Devils are set to decide their qualification to the round of 16, as they thrashed the Central African team 4-0 on March 6 at Cairo Stadium.

Marwan Mohsen opened the score for Al-Ahly before Walid Azarro’s goal that made the score 2-0 in the first half. In the second half, Abdallah El-Said added two goals to secure Al-Ahly’s victory.

The Al-Ahly delegation, headed by Al-Ahly board member Tarek Kandil, left Cairo in the early hours of Wednesday with a list of 22 players. Hossam El-Badry’s chosen squad for the game consists of Mohamed El Shennawi, Ali Lotfi, Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Naguib, Sabry Rahil, Ahmed Fathi, Ayman Ashraf, Saad Samir, Ali Maaloul, Hisham Mohamed, Hossam Ashour, Mido Jaber, Islam Mohareb, Karim Nedved, Ahmed Hamdi, Ahmed Hamoudi, Amr El-Solia, Walid Soliman, Salah Mohsen, Walid Azarro, Junior Ajayi and Marwan Mohsen.

Al-Ahly will miss Abdallah El-Said, who suffered an injury during the training sessions.

Junior Ajayi and Walid Azzarou arrived to Gabon on Friday, as they first headed to their respective home countries, Nigeria and Morocco, to finish some personal issues.

Al-Ahly coach Hossam el-Badry said that the result of the first leg is deceiving despite winning with a clean four goals.

Mounana did not show their true level, he said, keen to explain this point clearly to the players during the lectures held with them over the past two days to alert them of the importance of the game and not to rely on the result of the first match.

Al-Ahly has been crowned the Egyptian League champions six weeks before the end of the season, making this the team’s 40th title in history.
3/17/2018 10:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Durant out at least two weeks after MRI on ribs]]>
Durant had been ruled out for Friday night's loss to the Sacramento Kings, but announced before the game that an MRI had shown his injury to be more serious than he thought.

"It hurts when I laugh," he said, per ESPN. "Right now, since it's so new, getting up and out of bed and getting up and out of my seat -- normal movements throughout the day, not even basketball movements, that irritates it just a bit. And then obviously on the court.

"Hopefully this feels better over the next week or so, and I'll be out there."

Durant said he suffered the injury last Sunday in a collision with Minnesota's Karl-Anthion Towns, then aggravated it against the Lakers a couple nights later.

"Late in the game, I was driving to the rim and I kind of rammed into Karl-Anthony Towns, and that's when I felt it," Durant said Friday. "That's when it happened, for sure, and they told me it got inflamed over the last couple days between games."

Durant is averaging 26.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists in his second season with the Warriors.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr weighed in the potential long-term impact of his latest star player to be sidelined with an injury.

"(My concern is) not too high because we're probably looking at a week or two and evaluate him, but it doesn't appear to be anything longer than that," Kerr said. "All these injuries seem to be temporary. A couple weeks, a week, two weeks -- whatever. We're in good shape. We've just got to survive this next slate of games and hopefully start getting guys back and get rolling again for the playoffs."

Klay Thompson (fractured thumb) and Steph Curry (sprained ankle) are also out for Golden State.

Curry and Thompson will have their injuries re-evaluated next week and both could potentially be back to oppose the Atlanta Hawks on March 23 in the opener of a four-game Warriors homestand.

Thompson is averaging 19.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, all slightly above his career averages.

Curry, 29, is averaging 26.3 points, 6.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game this season.
3/17/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Alonso and Costa receive Spain call-ups]]>
Valencia midfielder Dani Parejo was also selected in the Spain squad for the first time, having helped his club side's march towards a likely top-four finish and a return to the Champions League.

Villarreal holding midfielder Rodrigo 'Rodri' Hernandez also earned a first call-up, making the leap from the under-21s to the first team.

Atletico striker Costa returns to the national team for the first time since last June, having been left out by coach Julen Lopetegui when the combative forward was unable to play for the club because of its transfer ban.

Costa had completed a 57 million pound ($79.6 million) deal to rejoin Atletico from Chelsea in September, but the move was delayed by La Liga club’s ban on registering new players, which expired on Jan. 1.

Spain play Germany in Dusseldorf on March 23 and host Argentina on March 27 at Atletico's Wanda Metropolitano stadium.]]>
3/17/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Roma’s reactions on Barcelona draw in CL]]>

"It came out of the draw one of the best in the world, with the best player in the world, Lionel Messi," said Di Francesco.

"We have come so far playing with courage, determination and application. We will play with enthusiasm and awareness. Forza Roma,” he added.

The Champions League draw held in Nyon, Switzerland has also been commented on by the sports director of Rome, Spaniard Ramón Rodríguez Verdejo "Monchi", who asked the Italian team to take on Barcelona with the correct attitude.

"You cannot say that we were lucky, although when you enter the quarter-finals of the Champions League, there are no easy rivals," he told beIN SPORTS.

"Barcelona and [Manchester] City are the ones at the highest level of the sport. The favorite is Barca, but no one thinks Rome are dead."

Daniele De Rossi, Roma’s captain, has also shared his opinion about the draw.

"Maybe we have got the worst opponent for us, but only the best reach the quarter-finals. This is the tie. We must not talk about good or bad luck; we have to prepare it well, knowing that we are not very strong, but we are not the worst,” he said.

It is expected that the first leg will be held on April 3 or 4 and the second leg on April 10 or 11.
3/17/2018 7:18:00 AM
<![CDATA[Goetze, Reus not in German squad for Spain, Brazil internationals]]>
Loew said Reus needed time and match practice to get back to his best after missing much of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.

Reus, who missed both the last World Cup and Euro 2016 through injuries, only recently returned to action after having been sidelined for more than half a year.

"For Marco what is important for us is that he is led back to top level cautiously and without any pressure so that he can gain stability," Loew said in a statement.

"That requires for him to be without complaints and fully fit and that he plays over a longer period regularly. He must find his rhythm and get more confidence and sure of himself."

Reus was taken off at halftime in Dortmund's goalless draw against Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday with an adductor muscle injury.

But Loew, whose aim is the title defence in Russia, did not comment on Goetze's absence, with the player having been a consistent first choice for the coach even during a slump in form after his World Cup winning exploits.

In total, Loew called up 26 players for their matches against Spain next week in Dusseldorf and Brazil in Berlin on March 27.

Among them are strikers Sandro Wagner and Mario Gomez, with one of them likely to partner Timo Werner.

Competition for a spot in the preliminary World Cup squad to be named on May 15 is fierce, with more than three dozen players in contention.

"At the start of the World Cup year we want to have a large pool of player," Loew said. "For some positions we have a lot of choice, for others not. So we need players who are flexible and versatile. The door to the national team is not yet shut.

"There are several players who are still being monitored and have a chance if they are convincing in the coming weeks."

The deadline for teams to submit their final World Cup squad is June 4, with the tournament starting 10 days later.]]>
3/17/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Game to watch: Liverpool vs. Manchester City]]>

The Reds played the way Jurgen Klopp likes to play: pressing City’s back line – a strategy whose effectiveness was proven against City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, who was defeated by the German Klopp for the fifth time in their clashes together, mostly when Klopp coached Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola coached Bayern Munich, exceeding even Mourinho, who has beat Guardiola four times.

In fact, Liverpool is the only team that has been able to defeat Manchester City in Premier League this season.

The Citizens visited Anfield Stadium on January 14, 2018 and were defeated 4-3.

Klopp's first victory over Guardiola came in the 2013/2014 season, when they were both in Germany. The German manager won the Super Cup against Pep’s Bayern. He would also do so months later in the league match between his Dortmund and the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena, with a score of 0-3 in his favor.

In the following season, Klopp returned to take the German Super Cup. It was his last victory over the Spaniard in Germany. Despite everything, Guardiola took the Bundesliga in his three seasons with Bayern and also won four times against Klopp’s Dortmund.

Klopp reacted to the Champions League draw in a beautiful way.

Two years later they met again in the Premier League. Their first match came on December 31, 2016 at Anfield, and a goal by Wijnaldum beat City.

This season, Pep responded with an impressive 5-0 victory in his first match at Ettihad Stadium, but he lost in the last game in the second stage of the league.

Beyond this season, Anfield is a very hard stadium for Manchester City. City has not won any game at Anfield since 2003 when they defeated Liverpool 2-1. Since 1992, City has played a total of 21 times in the mythical stadium. They won one game, drew in five and lost 15.

It is expected that the first leg will be held on Wednesday April 4 at Anfield Stadium and the second leg on Tuesday April 10 at Ettihad Stadium.
3/16/2018 9:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly’s women grab their 9th African Volleyball title]]>

Al-Ahly achieved their ninth title when they thrashed the Tunisian side with three sets (25/9), (29/27) and (25/8). The Tunisian title holders, CF de Carthage, reached the final after defeating Kenya’s Prisons 3-1.

Al-Ahly’s players in the Final – FILE

The final was attended by Al-Ahly President Mahmoud Al-Khatib and members of the Board of Directors, as well as officials of the Egyptian and African Volleyball Federation.

Al-Ahly’s players in the Final – FILE

Al-Ahly reached the final after defeating Kenya’s Pipeline 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Al-Ahly had an amazing run in the competition, as they reached the final without losing a single game and only lost one set in the whole tournament, against Pipeline in the semi-finals.

3/16/2018 8:10:23 PM
<![CDATA[Arsenal and Atletico avoid each other in Europa last eight]]>
Bundesliga side RB Leipzig were drawn against Olympique Marseille and Lazio, Serie A's only survivors, will take on Salzburg, the surprise package among the last eight.

The Austrian champions are unbeaten in 12 matches in the competition this season and knocked out Borussia Dortmund in the previous round.

Unlike the Champions League, which is dominated by a handful of elite clubs, the less prestigious Europa League tends to be more unpredictable and Friday's draw featured teams from eight different countries.

Arsenal are now 12 points adrift of the Champions League places in the Premier League and their only realistic hope of returning to Europe's top club competition next season is as winners of the Europa League.

The London side, who knocked out AC Milan in the last round, are likely to be relieved to be facing the Russian side rather than Atletico, who won the competition in 2009 and 2012.

CSKA have lost their last five meetings with English clubs, including both games against Manchester United in the Champions League group stage this season.

Sporting, Portugal's only survivors in European competition this season, have a similarly poor recent record against La Liga teams, having also lost their last five outings against Spanish sides.

The tie between Leipzig, sixth in the Bundesliga, and Marseille, third in Ligue 1, is arguably the most evenly-balanced.

"Leipzig are a team who play well, an attacking team with very interesting ideas on the game," said Marseille director Andoni Zubizarreta.

"We'll play a similar game and try to put them in trouble. We're happy to be here as the last French side in Europe this season." ]]>
3/16/2018 6:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Filipe Luis likely to miss World Cup after breaking leg]]>
The left back had to be carried off on a stretcher after a challenge with striker Eder just over an hour into the 5-1 win against the Russian side.

"Filipe Luis underwent medical tests as soon as he arrived back in Madrid, confirming that he has broken his left leg," a Atletico said in a statement on Friday.

Atletico, who booked their place in the Europa League quarter-finals with an 8-1 aggregate victory against Lokomotiv, did not say how long the Brazilian is expected to be out of action, but the injury looks likely to rule him out of the World Cup finals in Russia.

The defender has been capped 31 times for his national team. His last appearance coming in Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Colombia on Sept. 5, having been ruled out of coach Tite's past two squads through injury.

The latest setback leaves Atletico, who are second in La Liga, with only 16 outfield players in their first team squad as they seek to close an eight-point gap on leaders Barcelona in the final stretch of the campaign. ]]>
3/16/2018 5:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Keane criticizes Pogba after Manchester United’s defeat]]>
Manchester United suffered a Champions League 2-1 defeat to Sevilla in the round of 16 which was enough to rule the ‘red devils’ out of the biggest club tournament in the world.

The Irishman attacked Manchester United players for their performance but pointed hard at Pogba: "Pogba is a big problem and if he can’t get in the starting 11 then you’re in trouble," Keane said on ITV.
"You expect big players to come on and change the game. He came on last night and did nothing. We saw with the first goal, his reaction to it was like a schoolboy.”

Pogba appeared as a substitute after he replaced Fellaini in the 60th minute. A substitution didn’t help Manchester United at all as Sevilla’s French attacker Wissam Ben Yedder scored a brace and put off the Old Trafford fans’ enthusiasm.

"He doesn’t smell danger. The reason you’re part of a team is that when your teammate makes a mistake, you cover for him and make up for it.”

"No-one is helping each other and they’re not playing like the great United teams where you have to dig a result out even on an off night. They’re playing as individuals and don’t seem capable of being able to do that.”
3/16/2018 3:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Juventus to face Real Madrid again, English pair drawn together]]>
The last eight also produced an all English pairing as Premier League leaders Manchester City were drawn against Liverpool, the only team to have beaten Pep Guardiola's side in the league this season.

In the other ties, Barcelona will face AS Roma, bringing back unhappy memories for the Italian side who lost 6-1 on their last visit to Nou Camp in November 2015, and Sevilla, who beat Manchester United in the last round, will take on Bayern Munich.

Juventus, who will host the first leg, were thumped 4-1 by Real in last season's final in Cardiff, although the Turin side came out on top when they last met over two legs, in the semi-finals in 2015.

Overall, the teams have faced each other 19 times with eight wins for Juve, nine for Real -- including the 1998 final -- and two draws.

Liverpool's tie against Manchester City will be the first meeting between English sides in the quarter-finals since 2010/11 when Chelsea faced Manchester United.

City have won only one of their last eight meetings with Liverpool in all competitions, if you exclude their penalty shootout triumph in the 2016 League Cup final.

Former Roma stalwart Francesco Totti said his former team, who are considered the outsiders alongside Sevilla, should not be worried about facing Barca.

"Football is beautiful because anything can happen, especially in these type of games," he said. "We've already come a long way, finishing ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in the group stage and knocking out Shakhtar Donetsk."

Bayern, the runaway Bundesliga leaders, promised they would not underestimate Sevilla.

"Sevilla are not an easy team. They eliminated Manchester United," said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic.

"It certainly is no easy draw, they did not come through to this stage by accident," added midfielder David Alaba.

The first legs will be played on April 3/4 with the return matches one week later.
3/16/2018 2:17:57 PM
<![CDATA[Spanish teams rule Europe six years a row]]>
With the qualification of Barcelona against Chelsea and before the historic Sevilla against Manchester United and the imposing Real Madrid against PSG, Spanish football returns to command in the main club competition in Europe, ahead of England, with two representatives, Liverpool and Manchester City, as five teams have qualified to the last 16 but three of them were ruled out (Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur), and Italy, with two teams, Juventus and AS Roma.

It is the sixth consecutive time that Spain has three teams in the quarter-final hype. Last season Barcelona, Atletico and Real Madrid, who lifted their 12th European Cup against Juventus, were among the top eight teams.
The same Spanish teams were in 2015-16, in which the championship went to real madrid defeating Atlético de Madrid.

The teams also met in the 2014/15 quarterfinals at Madrid, Atlético and Barça, although in that edition it was the set then of Luis Enrique who raised the trophy against Juventus; and also in 2013-14, again with Madrid crowned champion, against those of Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid’s coach.
In the 2012/13 season the draw for Madrid, Barça and Málaga featured. Malaga was defeated against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter final. Dortmund repeated the act against Real Madrid in the semi-final but they tasted the bitter taste of loss against Bayern Munich, which defeated Barcelona in the semi-final, in the final.

Last season there were five Spanish teams in the Champions League, although only Madrid, Barça, Sevilla and Atlético passed through the group stage, because Villarreal fell in the first round against Monaco.
3/16/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Ferdinand explains the difference between Messi & Ronaldo]]>The Englishman, who works as a commentator for BT Sport, believes that the Argentine is one of the two best players in the world along with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo: "I think he and Cristiano are the best players."

However, despite their similarities, Ferdinand finds an important difference between the functions of each one: “Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best players. But the difference between both of them is that Cristiano goes out there and his mindset is ‘give me the ball in the areas I can score a goal’.”

He sees his ex-partner of Manchester United as a striker, while believing that the Barcelona’s playmaker participates in a wider area of the field performing the tasks of an organizer: “[Cristiano’s} a goalscorer. He’s not bothered about being on the halfway line and getting into the rhythm of the game, he wants to be at the cutting, knife-edge of the game.”

“Messi, you sometimes see him in the defensive midfield position. Picking up the ball, playing one-twos. Just playing with the opposition, he’s biding his time. He’s involved in the rhythm of the game constantly and that’s the difference.”
3/16/2018 9:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Monchi satisfied with Roma qualifying to quarter-final]]>
"It is difficult to say who is the best, they are all difficult, Real Madrid is used to winning everything; but Manchester City is the strongest for me," he said in an interview with the club's official radio.

Monchi evaluated the possible rivals of Roma, as the draw for the quarterfinals of the Champions League will be held at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday.

Eight teams will be in the pot: Roma, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Manchester City, Liverpool, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Roma’s foxes qualified for the quarter finals for the first time since 2008 after eliminating Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday with a 1-0 result.
In his opinion, for the Italian team it must be "a pride" to be among the "top eight” that have accessed the quarter finals in the Champions League, even though "maybe everyone wants (in the draw) Rome"

"Everyone wants to play against Rome, well, keep calm," he said, adding that "the group is mentally strong about what can be found in the future."

Monchi has previously worked inside the Spanish club Sevilla, discovering many great players, such as Sergio Ramos and Jesus Navas. He also brought great names when they were young, having signed Dani Alves, Seydou Keita and Ivan Rakitic.
3/16/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Qatar World Cup provides 'limited window' to improve migrant workers' rights]]>
Since winning its World Cup bid, Qatar has committed itself to better treatment of migrant workers, whom campaigners say often live in squalid conditions and work 12 hours a day in sweltering heat.

"If it weren't for the World Cup, migrants' rights in Qatar would not be on people's radar," said Adam Sobel, director of 'The Workers Cup', a documentary which focuses on the lives of migrant workers playing their own soccer tournament in Qatar.

"But people care about the issue now, so we should use this limited window to improve their working conditions," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Wednesday.

Rights and labour groups have campaigned for years about the kafala system, which forces Qatar's 1.6 million mainly Asian workers to seek their employer's consent to change jobs or leave the country. They say that leaves workers open to exploitation.

Gulf labour rights researcher Mustafa Qadri said "kafala creates a power dynamic where if you're abused or exploited by your employer, you feel unable to say anything about it".

"Workers' visas are held as a dagger over their head," he said at a screening of 'The Workers Cup' at the Human Rights Watch film festival in London on Wednesday.

Young men are frequently lured by recruiters to World Cup construction sites under false pretences – only to find that the job on offer is completely different, said Qadri.

Kenneth, an aspiring footballer featured in the film, said he paid $1,500 to a fixer in Ghana who promised he would help him join a football club in Qatar, before realising life in the labour camp was like being "trapped in a box".

Last month Guy Ryder, the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO), said he envisaged that the kafala system would be replaced "this year".

The film launched at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. It will have its first public screening in Qatar next week.

Producer Rosie Garthwaite said people who saw it had expressed "shock at the huge human potential lying in labour camps that does nothing but dig and sweep".

In November the ILO closed a complaint by workers against Qatar after the government introduced legislation to protect them and pledged further reforms as well as technical cooperation with the U.N. agency.]]>
3/16/2018 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Portugal coach finding it tough to settle on World Cup squad]]>
A combination of loss of form for some key players, plus injuries for others, means that Santos is still weighing up his options with three months to go.

"At this stage two years ago, we were much closer to the final squad than we are now," he told reporters as he named his squad for the friendlies against Egypt and Netherlands later this month.

"I would say that I have completed about 70 percent of the final list."

There were no major surprises in the squad on Thursday with Cristiano Ronaldo, their most capped player and record scorer, heading the list.

Uncapped Benfica defender Ruben Dias was called up for the first time and Olympique Marseille defender Rolando was recalled after a four-year absence at the age of 32.

Santos commented on the situation of midfielder Andre Gomes, one of the out-of-form players, who has started only four league games for Barcelona this season, but who was included in the squad.

"Sometimes, the players put those things out of their mind when they are with the national side and the play like they have always played when they have been part of this group," he said.

"It's important that he joins so we can assess him psychologically."

The European champions face Egypt in Zurich on March 23 and the Netherlands in Geneva three days later.

Portugal meet Spain, Morocco and Iran in their first-round group at the World Cup.]]>
3/16/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[It was a spectacular reception: Pedro]]>
FC Barcelona kicked the English team Chelsea out of the UEFA Champions League from the 16th round as the ‘blaugrana’ humiliated the ‘blues’ 3-0 through Messi’s left foot brace and Ousmane Dembele’s first remarkable performance with the Spanish team.

Pedro, the ex-FC Barcelona player, was not part of the starting eleven for Chelsea chosen by Antonio Conte and when the Italian coach gave him the chance, to participate as a substitution of Hazard, with eight minutes remaining; the Camp Nou fans gave him a standing ovation.

The ovation was one of those that will go down in the history of the club. His team lost 3-0 and the elimination was already a reality, but Pedro could not but respond to returning with applause for the love received.

"When you've been out for a while, as in my case, you do not expect such a reception," began Pedro who lacked words to describe his feelings: "It's a spectacular reception that takes you to very beautiful moments, important goals you've marked and titles that you have conquered.”

Pedro thanked the Barça fans for their love through their instagram account:

3/16/2018 3:31:00 AM
<![CDATA[Torres strikes twice as Atletico thrash Lokomotiv]]>
The Spaniards had a 3-0 advantage from the first leg and Angel Correa promptly stretched their lead in the tie with an arrowed low finish into the far corner in the 16th minute after dribbling his way through the hosts' defence.

Polish full back Maciej Rybus levelled for Lokomotiv four minutes later with a stunning long-range strike but Atletico's passage to the last eight was rarely in doubt and Saul Niguez put them back in front early in the second half.

Torres converted from the penalty spot to score for the first time since Jan. 28 and struck again five minutes later before substitute Antoine Griezmann completed the rout with an outrageous chipped shot from just inside the area.]]>
3/16/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Chicago pulls out as potential host city for 2026 World Cup]]>
“FIFA could not provide a basic level of certainty on some major unknowns that put our city and taxpayers at risk,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office said in a statement.

“The uncertainty for taxpayers, coupled with FIFA’s inflexibility and unwillingness to negotiate, were clear indications that further pursuit of the bid wasn’t in Chicago’s best interests.”

British Columbia had expressed similar cost concerns for Vancouver.

Chicago's Soldier Field had been one of 32 potential venues on a list released last year by the joint bid committee. The stadium hosted the opening game and four other matches during the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

Soccer officials are expected to announce later on Thursday the final list of potential venues for the 2026 North American bid.

Morocco is the only challenger to the joint Canada, Mexico and U.S. bid to stage the tournament.

FIFA will vote to decide on the winning bid at its congress on June 13.]]>
3/15/2018 9:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Wilshere back for England as Southgate brings in three new faces]]>
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and central defender James Tarkowski were called up to the squad for the first time.

The pair only broke into Sean Dyche's side on a regular basis this season but have been instrumental in the Lancashire club's rise to seventh place in the Premier League table.

Swansea defender Alfie Mawson was also given his maiden call-up while uncapped Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook, who was named in the squad for November's friendly against Brazil but did not play, was included again.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart remained in the squad despite a difficult season for West Ham United where he has been left out of the side for several games.

Another surprising inclusion was Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck who has not been a regular starter for Arsene Wenger's side in their difficult campaign.

But there was no place for Chelsea defender Gary Cahill who has recently been left out of his club side.

Southgate said he was pleased Wilshere was fit again and appearing regularly for Arsenal.

"Jack's a player that has unquestionable talent. The key for me is that he is playing in the games that matter for Arsenal. He's getting closer to where we want him," he said.

"His technical ability in the middle of the park will be very useful," added Southgate, who said he was keen to look at new players.

The England manager said that although Cahill remained in contention for a World Cup spot if he can regain his place at Chelsea, he felt it was prudent to assess Tarkowski and Mawson.

"Tarkowski and Mawson are players you want to look at for now and beyond the summer. I want to see (Eric) Dier in a back three too," he said.

"It was a very difficult call because Cahill has played a lot of qualifiers and is a great guy."

Southgate said Pope's form merited a call-up to a competitive goalkeeping group.

"Clearly the number one jersey is up for grabs," said Southgate. "From our point of view he (Hart) he has been our number one through qualifying, he is an important member of the squad so we wanted to keep him involved."

Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is missing the two games due to an ankle injury.

Southgate's side will play the Netherlands on March 23 in Amsterdam before hosting Italy at Wembley Stadium on March 27.

England squad:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (West Ham United), Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Defenders: Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Man City), John Stones (Manchester City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Alfie Mawson (Swansea), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Danny Rose (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Forwards: Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)]]>
3/15/2018 7:34:32 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's para athletes win 3 medals on 2nd day of Dubai Grand Prix]]>

Athletes Mohamed Ramadan and El Sayed Saber won a silver and a bronze, respectively, in shot put while Ibrahim Abdel Wareth won a silver in discus throwing.

On the first day of the championship, Egypt's champions secured seven medals, bringing to ten the number of medals they won since the beginning of the championship.

Photos are from Egyptian Paralympic Committee official page



3/15/2018 5:37:18 PM
<![CDATA[VIDEO | Sisi lifts World Cup trophy at Army cultural seminar ]]>

The President lifted the World Cup trophy in the presence of the Minister of Youth and Sports, Khaled Abdel Aziz.

Photo 1
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi beside World Cup Trophy - screenshot from ON Live channel

On Thursday morning, the World Cup plane arrived at Cairo airport as part of the Cup promotion campaign “FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour” by Coca-Cola, which includes 91 cities and 51 countries on six continents under the supervision of the International Federation of Football (FIFA).

Photo 2
World Cup plane arrived at Cairo – FILE

The World Cup arrived at Cairo airport accompanied by French football star Christian Karembeu and his delegation amid intensive media presence, to complete the rest of the promotional ceremony of the event.

Photo 3
Christian Karembeu arrives at Cairo – File

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi wished that Egypt can perform well in the next tournament to bring joy to all the Egyptian people.

Egyptian national team coach Hector Cuper and goalkeeper Essam el-hadary alongside Hazem Emam, EFA member, attended the ceremony as a representatives of the Egyptian team.

Photo 4
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi with Hector Cuper, Hazem Emam and Essam El-Hadary - screenshot from ON Live channel

The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola is a rare opportunity for fans to see the original trophy up close and have their experience captured with a photograph. It’s an exciting and exclusive experience since the Trophy is otherwise only displayed at the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, during the FIFA World Cup Final Draw and at the final match of every FIFA World Cup.

The fans will be able to see the World Cup trophy at Cairo Festival City Mall.

3/15/2018 4:28:56 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly honors former legends and stars]]>
khatib will honor Al-Ahly’s former stars, who are over 75 years old, in all sports. Al-Ahly wants to make a new tradition of gathering all the seniors who served the club and contributed to its victories.

Also, khatib will hold a press conference after the ceremony to announce many construction projects in each of the three branches of the club.

Al-Ahly’s board of directors invited all the legends and stars in sports, media and press to attend this celebration. Khatib aims to establish strong relations between the different generations of the club.

Most of these approaches are very important to the club's fans; especially that khatib faced many criticisms in the past few days following the Ultras’ incident that took place in Al-Ahly’s game against Mounana in the 32nd round of CAF Champions league at the Cairo Stadium.

A number of Al-Ahly and Gabon's CF Mounana fans raised their chairs in the air and lit flares , causing a state of chaos; the game ended with Al-Ahly winning 4-0.

El-Ahly's Fans Celebrating after winning the African champions League 2005 CC Wikimedia

It is reported that Al-Ahly president, Khatib, handed a list of the fans names to the security forces, accusing them of committing the offence of rioting.

The Cairo Stadium faced huge damages during the riots, which are estimated at LE 650,000 ($36,913).

3/15/2018 4:11:54 PM
<![CDATA[River Plate beat Boca to win Argentine Supercup]]>
Gonzalo Martinez opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 17 minutes following a foul on Ignacio Fernandez and while Boca had several chances to equalize, Franco Armani simply refused to be beaten in the River goal.

River withstood the assault before their forwards took advantage with 20 minutes remaining when Ignacio Scocco finished off a fine move that once again involved Fernandez and Martinez.

The Supercup pits the winner of the Argentine Cup against the league champions but this was only the second time the country's biggest clubs have met in a domestic final as River avenged a 1976 top-flight title showdown defeat to Boca.]]>
3/15/2018 2:40:11 PM
<![CDATA[Dembele shows signs of justifying price tag against Chelsea]]>
Lionel Messi was the name on everyone's lips after capping another mesmeric Champions League display with two goals in the last-16 second leg win which set up a 4-1 aggregate victory, but Dembele was next in line for praise.

The 20-year-old struck his first goal in a Barca shirt since his 105 million euro ($129.80 million) move from Borussia Dortmund in August to put Barca 2-0 up, ruthlessly rifling home a pass from Messi.

He then pleasantly surprised supporters with a perfectly-timed tackle to foil Chelsea's Marcos Alonso in the second half.

"He's a very important player who covered a lot for us in defence. He demands a lot of himself in defence and denied them a clear goal," Barca defender Jordi Alba told reporters.

"He needed to score an important goal like that to give him confidence and it will serve him very well in every sense."

Dembele's dream move to Barca got off to a nightmare start when he ruptured his hamstring on his first Liga start against Getafe in September, forcing him on to the sidelines for nearly four months.

He sustained another muscle problem on his return to action in January.

His misfortune with injuries did not give him any protection from the notoriously unforgiving Spanish media, and some reports suggested he was isolated from the rest of the squad and questioned whether he had the mentality to succeed at Barca.

The signing of Philippe Coutinho in January provided more competition for places in Barca's already dazzling attack and eyebrows were raised when Dembele was an unused substitute away at Chelsea and a top-of-the-table clash with Atletico Madrid.

Yet the birth of Messi's third son on Saturday afforded the France forward an opportunity to start in Barca's last league outing against Malaga which he duly took with an impressive display in a 2-0 win, leading to another vote of confidence from coach Ernesto Valverde for the second leg against Chelsea.

"He did exactly what the game required of him," Valverde said.

"Our plan was to play with an open winger who could get forward a lot and also work for the defence. Once Chelsea went behind, their wingers forced him to work very hard but he did very well."

Chelsea coach Antonio Conte added: "We had spoken about him before because we followed him when he was at Dortmund. He has a fantastic future, Barca have made a great signing."]]>
3/15/2018 2:38:13 PM
<![CDATA[Carthage's route to the Women's African Volleyball final]]>
CF de Carthage is having a great run in the tournament, as they never lost a game during their route to the final.

Carthage opened their participation with a North African derby game against Algeria’s Chlef. They defeated Chlef 3-0 to start their unbeaten run.

They defeated Zimbabwe’s Harare, Botswana’s BDF 6 and Cameroon’s Bafia to reach the quarter-finals on top of their group.

Carthage faced Egypt’s El-Shams in the quarter-finals, which was a repeat of the last year’s final, which ended with Carthage’s victory.

El-Shams players wanted to take their revenge from the Tunisian players, but Carthage managed to win the game 3-1 and reach the semi-finals.

Carthage faced the five-time champions, Kenya’s Prisons, and defeated them 3-1 to reach the final.
The Tunisian club’s dream to defend their title will face a tough obstacle when they meet the hosts, Al-Ahly, in front of their fans at the final.

Both teams met each other in the final in 2016 in Carthage, and Al-Ahly players managed to win the game 3-2 and achieve the title.

Al-Ahly has a record eight titles in the competition, while their Tunisian opponents have achieved only one title.
3/15/2018 11:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[England's Hughes, Lawes out for three months due to injuries]]>
The forwards both sustained their injuries during last weekend's 22-16 defeat by France in the Six Nations, leading Don Armand to be called up into the 32-man training squad for Saturday's match against newly-crowned champions Ireland.

"Hughes is expected to be out for 12 weeks while Lawes will require 14 weeks of rehabilitation," the national governing body said in a statement.

England have lost consecutive matches in a single Six Nations campaign for the first time since 2009 and head coach Eddie Jones is expected to make significant changes against a dominant Ireland side at Twickenham to prevent a third defeat.

Captain Dylan Hartley is expected to return after sitting out the match against France due to a calf problem as Jones' team look to prevent Ireland from achieving their third grand slam.

Jones will name his team for the final Six Nations game on Thursday.]]>
3/15/2018 10:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly faces Carthage in Women’s African Volleyball final]]>
Al-Ahly reached the final after defeating Kenya’s Pipeline 3-1 on Tuesday night.

“I am so happy with the players’ performance against Pipeline and their comeback in the game after losing the first set,” Al-Ahly manager Hamdy El-Safy told the club’s official website on Tuesday.

Al-Ahly lost the first set 25-22, but they won three consecutive sets, 25-16, 25-19 and 25-8, to win the game and reach the final.

Safy added, “We will face a tough opponent in the final and we need our fans to support us against the title holders to achieve the title.”

Al-Ahly is having an amazing run in the competition, as they reached the final without losing a single game and they only lost one set in the whole tournament, against Pipeline in the semi-finals.

The title holders, CF de Carthage, reached the final after defeating Kenya’s Prisons 3-1.

Al-Ahly has a record eight titles in the competition, while their Tunisian opponents have achieved only one title.
3/15/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Barca midfielder Busquets out for three weeks with toe injury]]>
"Tests have confirmed that Sergio Busquets has a hairline fracture on the fifth toe of his right foot. He will be out for approximately three weeks," said a club statement on Thursday.

Busquets was taken off for Andre Gomes in the 61st minute of Barca's last-16 second leg against Chelsea, which the Catalans won 3-0 to go through to the quarter-finals of Europe's elite club competition for an 11th consecutive year.

He will miss Barca's Liga games at home to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday and away to Sevilla on March 31, as well as Spain's international friendlies against Germany and Argentina.

Busquets, 29, has played in all of Barca's Champions League games this season and only missed three of their league games.

Barca will learn their Champions League quarter-final opponents when the draw takes place on Friday. The first leg games are on April 3 and 4, with the return games on April 10 and 11.]]>
3/15/2018 6:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Time is not on Sampaoli's side, warns Crespo]]>
Crespo, 42, told Reuters that, with Sampaoli having only been in charge since June, he is still waiting to see whether they can adapt to the coach's whirlwind style.

"I have a lot of belief in Sampaoli but he doesn't have much time to impose his identity," said Crespo, Argentina's fourth highest scorer with 35 international goals.

"He's working very hard with videos, visiting players... but at the moment, we don't know what sort of identity the team will have and unfortunately, there's very little time."

With players such as Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala to call on, Argentina's squad is the envy of most others in terms of individual talent.

Yet the team has struggled in the last two years, lurching through the South American World Cup qualifiers and only making sure of qualification by winning 3-1 in Ecuador at the end of their 18-match campaign.

They employed three coaches during the competition with Sampaoli taking over for the last four matches after Edgardo Bauza was dismissed in the wake of a 2-0 defeat in Bolivia.

Argentina's first three qualifiers under Sampaoli all ended in draws -- away to Uruguay and at home to Venezuela and Peru -- before the win in Ecuador.

Since then, they have beaten Russia 1-0 in a friendly but then lost 4-2 to Nigeria in a match which cruelly exposed Argentina's defensive failings.

"It's all a bit of a mystery... we know the players and we know Sampaoli but we need them to be together and to see if the players can understand Sampaoli's ideas quickly," said Crespo. "That's what we are curious to find out."

Sampaoli made his name by leading Chile to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup and then winning the Copa America the following year, their first-ever major title, all with a high-tempo pressing game.

He achieved that by squeezing the most out of a relatively limit group of players. With Argentina, however, Sampaoli will almost certainly have to leave out some big names, providing a different test of his coaching abilities.

"Is it fair to leave out any of those (big names)? I would say no... but, on the other hand, can they all play together?" said Crespo. "That's difficult because you have to have a balance... so he is going to have to take difficult decisions, painful decisions."

Argentina finished as runners-up at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, losing the final to Germany. They have been drawn against Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria in this year's tournament.


The Europa League is often regarded as the poor relation to the Champions League but Crespo said he had fond memories of the tournament and its predecessor, the UEFA Cup.

"I remember watching the final when Napoli won with Diego Maradona (in 1989), and ever since then I dreamed of playing in Europe and winning the same competition," he said.

Crespo achieved his ambition with Parma 10 years later, scoring the first goal as they beat Olympique Marseille in the final.

"It's true that the Champions League has very big power in terms of sponsors, publicity... but you mustn't forget the UEFA Cup with its history," he said.

Crespo, however, said he was not convinced by the current format in which teams which are eliminated in the Champions League group stage drop down to the Europa League.

"I agree that the big names add prestige, but this also suggests that it is a second tier competition," he said. "It needs its own identity, its own value -- it should not to be the little brother of the Champions League.

"It doesn't deserve to be seen as the second choice." ]]>
3/15/2018 5:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Wenger hopes Wilshere stays at Arsenal]]>
“Jack will be free at the end of the season. We have made a proposal to him and I want him to stay and be linked with the club for the future. I hope he will do it," Wenger told press on Wednesday.

Wenger fears losing another key player after losing Alexis Sanchez in January to Manchester United.

Asked about Wilshere’s ability to join the English national team in the World Cup in Russia, Wenger said, “The vibes I get are positive; I believe he has a good chance to be in there.”

Wilshere, 26, has been a starting player at Arsenal since he returned from a one-year loan to Bournemouth.

Wenger added, “We have to leave that to Gareth Southgate(English national team manager). I have enough to do with my job."

Wilshere is expected to be part of Arsenal’s starting lineup on Thursday when they host AC Milan in the second leg of the Europa League round of 16. The first leg ended with a 2-0 victory for Arsenal. ]]>
3/14/2018 11:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Messi is the best player I have ever seen: Gago]]>
“He is the best I have seen in my life. He has an incredible personality; he understands the game perfectly. He has fought for 14 years to be the best without letting himself down, and that shows how he is,” Gago told Marca on Wednesday.

Gago, 31, shares the Argentinean national team dressing room with Messi since 2005 when they won the 2005 U-20 World Cup in Germany.

Gago also played against Lionel Messi between 2007 and 2011 when Gago played for Real Madrid.

Gago added, “we know he has the ability to win a match in no time at all. I always feel he can make us win at any time.”

Gago is recovering from a knee injury that he picked in a game against Peru at the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, and he hopes to be with Messi and the national team at the World Cup in Russia.

He added that “it would be something magical. Firstly, I have to play with Boca, and then I will think about it when the World Cup approaches.”]]>
3/14/2018 10:01:18 PM
<![CDATA[Sky Sports suspends Carragher until end of season]]>
“Following an internal review, Sky has suspended Jamie Carragher for the remainder of the football season,” Sky Sports said in a statement on Wednesday.

Carragher was filmed spitting on a Manchester United fan and his daughter as they mocked him after Manchester United defeated Liverpool 2-1 in the Premier League on Saturday.

Sky Sports’ statement added, “Jamie has taken full responsibility for what has happened and we will ensure he gets the help he needs to guarantee something like this never happens again.”

Sky Sports suspended Carragher directly after the incident, but his apologies to the family and to the public were welcomed.

Sky Sports finished their statement saying, “Before the start of the next season, we will sit down with Jamie to discuss whether he is ready to return to his role."

Carragher is a former international English player who spent his whole career at his childhood club, Liverpool, and he played a key role in Liverpool’s campaign to win the 2005 Champions League title.

Carragher retired in 2013 and since then started working as a pundit for Sky Sports.
3/14/2018 9:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Uruguay is toughest opponent in World Cup group: Cuper]]>
“We analyzed our opponents in the group. Uruguay is the strongest team in the group, and there are no big differences between us, Saudi Arabia and Russia,” Cuper told the “Every Day” program.

The World Cup draw put Egypt in Group A alongside Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and the host nation, Russia.

Cuper added, “We will go to the World Cup with high expectations. We will play against better teams, but we will do everything to reach as far as we can in the competition.”

Cuper led Egypt’s national team to the World Cup to end 28 years of absence, as Egypt last played in the World Cup in 1990 in Italy.

Cuper, 62, will experience managing a team at the World Cup for the first time in his history, as he worked his whole career with clubs and had only one spell with a national team, when he managed Georgia in 2009.
3/14/2018 8:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Salah ridicules Manchester United’s loss in Champions League]]>
Sevilla managed to defeat Manchester United 2-1 at United’s Old Trafford Stadium in the second-leg match of the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League. The first-leg match had ended with a 0-0 draw.

Mo Salah was severely mocked by United fans after the game between Manchester United and Liverpool, as United manager Jose Mourinho managed to freeze all Salah’s attacking skills by using Ashley Young as the mark man of Salah, which prevented him from scoring.

The Egyptian didn’t hesitate to take revenge with the same weapon, as he posted on a troll tweet about the Champions League draw.

The Daily Mail and Express newspapers said Liverpool fans were very impressed with Salah's tweet on the social networking site Twitter, in which he ridiculed Manchester United's bid farewell to the Champions League.
3/14/2018 6:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Everton's Iceland midfielder Sigurdsson out for up to eight weeks]]>
Sigurdsson was injured against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday raising doubts about his fitness for the finals in Russia starting in June but following a consultation with a specialist the prognosis is not as bad as first feared.

The 28-year-old, who has four league goals and three assists for Everton this season, is Iceland's main creative force and his absence from the tournament would have been a major blow.

"We'll continue to assess Gylfi's progress on a week-to-week basis and the medical team will work very closely with him... to get him back playing as quickly as possible," Everton manager Sam Allardyce said on the club website (www.evertonfc.com). ]]>
3/14/2018 5:30:00 PM
<![CDATA[Injured England striker Kane could return next month - Spurs]]>
When Kane hobbled away from Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium on Sunday having been substituted early in the 4-1 Premier League win, there were fears he had sustained serious damage.

However, the first update on his condition from Tottenham since the weekend offered a more optimistic scenario.

"Preliminary assessments have confirmed that (Kane) has damaged lateral ligaments in his right ankle," the club said in a statement on Twitter.

"The England striker sustained the injury following a challenge in our 4-1 win over Bournemouth on Sunday and is expected to return to first team training next month."

Kane has scored 39 goals for club and country this season and is expected to be England's main striker at the World Cup finals in Russia which start in June.

He will miss Tottenham's FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea City this weekend and England's friendly internationals against the Netherlands on March 23 and Italy on March 27.

England manager Gareth Southgate will select his squad for the two friendlies on Thursday.

Kane, who is almost certain to miss Tottenham's next Premier League game away at Chelsea on April 1, spent two spells on the sidelines last season, both because of right ankle problems.]]>
3/14/2018 4:52:22 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly arrives in Gabon for Mounana match]]>
The Al-Ahly delegation, headed by Al-Ahly board member Tarek Kandil, left Cairo in the early hours of Wednesday with a list of 22 players:

● Mohamed el-Shenawy
● Aly Lotfy

● Saad Samir
● Ayman Ashraf
● Ahmed Fathy
● Mohamed Naguib
● Mohamed Hany
● Sabry Rahil
● Ali Maaloul

● Hossam Ashour
● Amr Solaaya
● Hecham Mohamed
● Ahmed Hamdy
● Ahmed Hammoudi
● Karim Walid “Nedved”
● Islam Mohareb
● Mido Jaber

● Walid Solaiman
● Salah Mohsen
● Walid Azarou
● Junior Ajaye
● Marwan Mohsen

It is worth mentioning that Al-Ahly smashed Mounana in the first-leg match at Cairo International Stadium, with four goals and no reply from their opponents.

3/14/2018 4:47:14 PM
<![CDATA[Hughton to field strongest Brighton team at Man United in FA Cup]]>
Promoted Brighton are 11th in the league with 34 points and the FA Cup represents their best shot at silverware. Hughton has rested some of his regular starters in earlier rounds but said he would change his plans for the trip to United.

"It's one of the toughest games we could have and in any way that we are going to win it we've got to put in a performance that will give us a chance," Hughton told local daily The Argus.

"So if anything I will look to put out the strongest side that I can to get a result... I have decisions to make, but I'm also very conscious it's Manchester United at Old Trafford."

Midfielder Dale Stephens missed the 2-0 league defeat by Everton over the weekend with a minor knock in training but Hughton expects him to recover in time for Saturday's game.

Brighton come into the clash with Jose Mourinho's men after defeating Coventry City 3-1 in the fifth round while United defeated Huddersfield Town 2-0. ]]>
3/14/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Greek League says suspension of matches a "grave danger" to clubs]]>
Greece had indefinitely suspended matches after Savvides was filmed wearing a gun holster as he strode onto the pitch to protest about a PAOK disallowed goal against AEK Athens on Sunday.

The game was abandoned and later awarded to PAOK 1-0 following the controversial goal which had prompted the initial protests.

Savvides apologised for his actions in a club statement on Tuesday but the European Club Association (ECA) suspended the Greek side as a member with immediate effect.

"The suspension (of matches) does not bring anything," Superleague President Giorgos Stratos told reporters after meeting Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Georgios Vassiliadis.

"It creates a grave danger and we are possibly moving away from our aims and objectives."

Stratos said he had asked for the "quickest possible resumption" of matches but no date had been yet decided.

The 58-year-old Savvides, still sought by police for questioning over unauthorised entry to a soccer pitch, said he had no intention of causing harm to anyone.

"I want to apologise to PAOK fans, to Greek fans and to the global football community," he said in a club statement.

"I am sorry and I had no right to enter the pitch in such a way. I had no intention of clashing with anyone and I clearly did not threaten anyone."

Savvides was born in Georgia of Greek heritage. He has holdings in assets ranging from Thessaloniki port to tobacco and media companies, many of them in northern Greece.

The ECA, which represents European football clubs, suspended the Greeks indefinitely.

"ECA exists to protect the integrity and regularity of competitions and matches as well as the sporting values and principles on which European football is based," it said in a statement, condemning Savvides' action.

"The suspension remains valid until further notice and shall be reported to the ECA General Assembly in Rome on 27th March 2018."

Greek soccer has been plagued by pitch invasions and violence on and off the pitch for years and authorities have repeatedly promised to clean up the game.

However, attendances have dwindled and this season only four clubs in the 16-team top division have posted average attendances of more than 5,000 spectators per league game. ]]>
3/14/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[El-Badry announces Al-Ahly squad for Mounana's journey]]>
Al-Ahly have achieved a 4-0 victory over Mounana on March 6. Marwan Mohsen opened the score for Al-Ahly before Walid Azarro’s goal that made the score 2-0 at the first half.

In the second half, Abdallah El-Said added two goals to secure Al-Ahly’s victory.

Al-Ahly’s Ahmed Hamoudi was included in the list after the injury that forced him to miss the first game in Cairo.

El-Badry’s chosen squad for the game consists of Mohamed El Shenawi, Ali Lotfi, Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Naguib, Sabry Rahil, Ahmed Fathi, Ayman Ashraf, Saad Samir, Ali Maaloul, Hisham Mohamed, Hossam Ashour, Mido Jaber, Islam Mohareb, Karim Nedved, Ahmed Hamdi, Ahmed Hamoudi, Amr El-Solia, Walid Soliman, Salah Mohsen, Walid Azarro, Junior Ajayi and Marwan Mohsen.

Al-Ahly will miss Abdallah El-Said who suffered an injury during the training sessions.

Al-Ahly has been crowned the Egyptian League Champions six weeks before the end of the season. The club has achieved its 40th title in history and increased the gap with their successor, Zamalek who achieved 12 titles.
3/14/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Initial refusal to sell Van Dijk cost Pellegrino - Le Tissier]]>
Southampton dismissed Pellegrino on Monday after just one victory in 17 league games under the manager.

Saturday's 3-0 defeat by Newcastle United had left them a place and a point above the relegation zone and sealed the Argentine's fate.

Le Tissier suggested that the turmoil surrounding Dutchman Van Dijk's future amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester City had affected the team's performances early in the season.

Van Dijk eventually moved to Liverpool in January for 75 million pounds ($104.24 million), according to British media reports.

"I think that was probably something that, looking back with hindsight, the club would probably regret, trying to keep him in the summer," said Le Tissier, who scored 209 goals for Southampton during his 16 years at the club.

"They tried to do the right thing by the fans, in terms of not selling their best player every season, but sadly that did appear to backfire, and that situation probably didn't help the performances in the first half of the season."

Southampton have lost a large number of players to their domestic rivals in the past few years and club chairman Ralph Krueger said earlier in the season that they were keen to end the perception that they were a selling club.

"That's life, that's football, those decisions were made with the best intentions and it didn't turn out right," Le Tissier said. "It's now time to move on, appoint a new manager, and get out of the trouble we are in at the moment."

Welshman Mark Hughes was firming as the bookmakers' favourite to replace Mauricio Pellegrino as the south coast club's manager.

3/14/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Former Olympic doubles champion Flach dies, aged 54]]>
Flach won the 1987 and 1988 Wimbledon titles with long-time partner Robert Seguso and claimed a thrilling Olympic gold with Seguso in 1988 in Seoul against Spanish pairing Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez Vicario.

He also won two U.S. Open titles, with Seguso in 1985 and with Rick Leach in 1993.

Paul Annacone, the former coach to Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, was one of the first to react to the news.

"Sometimes we get sobering reminders of the fragility of life and what we have each day, today tennis lost a family member: more importantly children lost a father a wife lost a husband, siblings lost brother, thank you for your friendship memories will last 4ever #RIPKenFlach," the American said on Twitter.

Brad Gilbert, the former world number four and Davis Cup team mate of Flach, said: "So gutted hearing the passing last night of Ken Flach.

"Way to young Ken was 54 absolutely stunned."

Flach, who married his wife Christina in 2010, was ranked number one in doubles in 1985 and claimed 34 doubles titles, mainly with Seguso.

3/14/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Southampton sack Mauricio Pellegrino ]]>
“We would like to place on record our thanks to Mauricio, Carlos, Assistant Manager, and Xavier, Assistant First Team Coach, for their efforts during their time with Southampton, and wish them well for the future,” Southampton’s statement said.

Pellegrino, 46, was appointed the club’s manager in June 2017. However, he failed to impress in his first year managing at the Premier League.

“I feel so sorry to leave the club in this situation, but when you don’t get results I understand the decision the club has to take,” Pellegrino told the club’s official website on Tuesday.

According to Telegraph, former Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is a strong candidate to replace sacked Pellegrino.

The Argentinean manager added: “I wish everyone all the best for the rest of the season, I have enjoyed an amazing experience and I know that Southampton has everything required to move forward.”

Southampton are struggling this season in the League as they are placed 17th in the League’s standings after picking only 28 points. They are one point away from relegation.

Southampton have achieved only one victory in the last 17 fixtures at the Premier League when they defeated West Bromwich Albion 3-2 on February 3.
3/14/2018 6:20:00 AM
<![CDATA[Marouf Youssef seeks Egyptian nationality]]>CAIRO – 14 March 2018: Osama Farahat, agent of Zamalek’s Nigerian midfielder Marouf Youssef, said that the latter asked him to seriously seek and inquire about how to get Egyptian nationality during the coming period due to his desire to settle in Egypt and possibly participate with the national team in the next matches.

He did not participate in any match with Nigeria, where he had previously joined one of the camps after his brilliant performance with the White Castles, but he did not participate in any official match and therefore is entitled to play for any other team if he got its citizenship.

Youssef was called for the Nigerian national team for the first time in June 2017 for a game against South Africa on June 10, 2017, but he was benched the entire match.

Farahat said in a statement to Youm7 that Youssef insisted on obtaining Egyptian citizenship and dealing with it very seriously, even if it required the help of some important figures to do so, stressing that his thinking stems from his love for Egypt, where he has spent most of his life.

Youssef’s agent added that he would begin to inquire about the procedures for obtaining Egyptian citizenship in the coming days.

Marouf started his football career with Nigerian club Enyemba. In the 2010/2011 season, he joined Egyptian club Ittihad Al-Shorta, where he presented himself well to the Egyptian fans. A performance induced Zamalek President Mortada Mansour to sign the Nigerian midfielder in 2014.

Marouf has played 184 games with Egyptian clubs, scoring 13 goals and providing 16 assists.
3/14/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Juve coach warns against writing-off Napoli title hopes]]>
Juve went top for the first time since September after they beat Udinese on Sunday, while Napoli were left trailing by a point after being held by Inter. The Turin side will go four points ahead if they win their game in hand at home to Atalanta on Wednesday.

Napoli had led from mid-December until Sunday, at one point winning 10 league games in a row, but were still unable to shake off Allegri's dogged Juventus, who are chasing a seventh successive title.

"We have only been in front for a few days, we need to keep playing well and not let go of the bone," Allegri told reporters.

"Napoli are still there, they still have a good chance of winning the title, we still have to play them ... and we have some other difficult matches.

"Napoli will not let up, they can reach 100 points which at the moment is what is needed to win the title," he added. "They are definitely not out of the running."

Juve have 71 points with 11 matches to play, including Wednesday's, while Napoli have 70 points and 10 matches left. The two sides meet in a potentially decisive game in Turin on April 22.

Last year, Juventus won the title with 91 points, four clear of AS Roma.]]>
3/14/2018 5:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[No excuses for Champions League exit, says Man United's Matic]]>
Two late goals from French striker Wissam Ben Yedder helped the Spanish side prevail on Tuesday following a goalless draw between the teams in Spain last month.

United's performance against Sevilla was in stark contrast to their battling 2-1 Premier League win over arch-rivals Liverpool last weekend and Matic said Vincenzo Montella's side deserved to advance.

"There is no excuse," the Serb told United's website (www.manutd.com). "We had a big game ... against Liverpool and we came with high confidence to play this game, but Sevilla were better than us, so they deserved it."

United are 16 points behind league leaders Manchester City and the FA Cup represents their best chance of silverware this season. They face Brighton and Hove Albion in the quarter-finals on Saturday.

"We have to forget this, but see where we made mistakes and see where we can do better. Now we have to look to the next game, which is important for us, in the FA Cup," Matic added.

"We have to refocus on Brighton, because they are a good team and we have to win. We know that our supporters are sad because of this result, so we need to go back to winning ways."]]>
3/14/2018 3:05:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mariano is considering returning to Madrid]]>The striker had an interview with the Spanish radio ‘La Caden SER’ and gave the listeners some of his opinions.
The striker granted a few minutes to the listeners of the program of the Spanish radio la Cadena SER.

Mariano has a favorite to take the top European competition at the club level. How could it be otherwise, is his old team, where he played last year and achieved four titles with Real Madrid,: "I prefer Real Madrid, Manchester City, both in Premier and Champions is offering a very good level, but it will have to be seen when faced with a big club."

On the other hand, he stressed that his main objective is for Julen Lopetegui to count on him for the months of June and July to be in the next World Cup: "I came to France to be important and for me it would be a great experience to be in the squad of Spain; I hope."
However, he did not deny that there is tough competition for his position in Spain, which other players like Álvaro Morata or Diego Costa can play. "The other strikers have been doing very well and I'm starting now to prove myself," he said.

Finally, Mariano was asked about the possibility of returning to Real Madrid, which still owns a part of his rights, as recognized by the player himself. He does not rule out going back in the future, but at the moment he is happy there. "I have a five-year contract but going back to Madrid would be incredible, although at the time I decided it was best to leave the club," he said.

So far, his numbers in France have been spectacular, as he scored 18 goals (16 of which have been scored in Ligue 1) and had 6 assists.
3/14/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[United crash out after Sevilla's Ben Yedder strikes twice]]>
The Spaniards moved into the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time after Ben Yedder scored with a sharp turn and sweet shot past David De Gea in the 74th minute.

Four minutes later Ben Yedder doubled Sevilla's advantage with a header at the back post which the crossed the line after hitting the underside of the bar despite De Gea's efforts.

Romelu Lukaku pulled one back for Jose Mourinho's side in the 84th but there was to be no comeback for United, who drew 0-0 in the first leg, and the visitors could have added more.

Sevilla have never reached the Champions League quarter-finals but did make the European Cup quarter-finals in 1958. ]]>
3/14/2018 12:06:33 AM
<![CDATA[El-Said renews his contract with Al-Ahly ]]>
“Al-Ahly director of football Sayed Abdel-Hafiz has accompanied the player to the EFA headquarters to notarize the contract,” Al-Ahly said in a statement on Tuesday.

Said, 32, had been linked with leaving Al-Ahly to play for their local rivals, Zamalek, after the player and Al-Ahly failed to reach an agreement on financial issues.

“I hope to continue my career at Al-Ahly and achieve many titles and make the fans happy,” Said told the club’s official website after signing his contract.

Said’s story with Al-Ahly started in 2011 when he joined the club from his childhood club, Ismaily, and since then he has established himself as a key player on the team.

The attacking midfielder has achieved many titles with the club and he played a great role in Al-Ahly’s campaign to achieve the Egyptian League title this season, scoring 10 goals.

3/13/2018 7:54:55 PM
<![CDATA[Former EFA President, Samir Zaher dies aged 74 ]]>
Zaher, born in Damietta in 1943, started his football career with the city’s local club before joining Al-Ahly in 1964.

Zaher shined with Al-Ahly and joined the national team between 1965 and 1967. He also represented the national military team in 1970 until his retirement in 1973.

Zaher joined the EFA in 1992 as a board member and he became the EFA Vice President in 1994.

Zaher became the EFA president for two spells. The first one was between 1996 and 1999 and the national team managed to win the 1998 African Cup of nations.

Zaher’s second spell as EFA president between 2005 and 2012 was the most successful period in Egyptian football history as the national team won three consecutive African Cup of Nations in 2006, 2008 and 2010 and participated in the 2009 FIFA Confederation Cup in South Africa.
3/13/2018 7:00:35 PM
<![CDATA[Aboutrika to return to Egypt]]>

In September 2017, Aboutrika was added to a terror list for alleged links to Muslim Brotherhood members and for supporting ousted President Mohammed Morsi. The list subjects him to a travel ban and an asset freeze.

Aboutrika was accused in 2015 of funding the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group; therefore, the committee tasked with investigating and appropriating the assets of members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood decided in May 2015 to confiscate the assets of Ashab Tours, a tourism company co-founded in 2013 by Aboutrika.

Aboutrika is a Tersana academy product and he got promoted through the club rankings until he joined the first team in 1997. He played seven years for the club before joining Al-Ahly in 2004.

Aboutrika established himself as one of the best players in Al-Ahly’s history, as he led the club to win five CAF Champions League titles, seven Egyptian League titles and two Egyptian Cup titles.

The footballer was a member of Egypt’s national team during their golden era, and he won two African Cup of Nations titles in 2006 and 2008.

3/13/2018 7:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[EFA launches Egyptian national football team on Twitter]]>

Launching the Pharaohs’ Twitter account came before the press conference held Tuesday to announce the final squad list of the team travelling to Switzerland to face Portugal and Greece in friendly matches in preparation for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Pharaohs are scheduled to travel to Switzerland on a private plane on March 20. They will face Portugal on March 23 at 9:45 p.m. (CLT) and Greece on March 26 at 9 p.m.

The national team’s official Twitter account also announced the schedule of the World Cup preparations, as the team will face Kuwait on May 26, Colombia on June 1 and Belgium on June 6, before returning to Egypt on June 7. Then, the head coach will give the team a day to rest before the last training session scheduled for June 9 at Cairo International Stadium.

3/13/2018 6:34:03 PM
<![CDATA[Cuper announces final squad list for Portugal and Greece matches]]>
Cuper has already chosen 17 international players last week which included Mohamed Salah from Liverpool, Mohamed el Neny from Arsenal, Ramadan Sobhi from Stoke City, Ahmed Hegazi and Ali Gabr from West Bromwich Albion, Ahmed el Mohamady from Aston Villa, Sam Morsy from Wigan Athletic, Ahmed Hassan known as Koka from Sporting Braga, Mahmoud Hassan known as Trezeguet from Kasımpaşa, Amr Warda from Atromitos, Omar Gaber from Los Angeles, Essam el Hadary from Al Taawoun, Mahmoud Abdel Moneim known as Kahraba from Al Ittihad, Mohamed Abdel Shafy from Al Fath, Mahmoud Abdel Razek known as Shikabala from Al Raed, Moamen Zakaria from Saudi Arabian club, Al-Ahli, and Hussein el Sahahat from UAE’S Al-Ain.

The coaching staff put the last touches on the travelling squad list by adding 11 local players: Mohamed al-Shenawy, Ahmed Fathy, Ayman Ashraf, Abdullah al-Saied, Saad Samir, Hossam Ashour and Marwan Mohsen from Al-Ahly, while the list included only Tarek Hamed and Ahmed al-Shenawy from Zamalek, Mohamed Awaad from Ismaily and Mohamed Magdy “Afsha” from Enppi.
3/13/2018 6:28:02 PM
<![CDATA[PSG hit by injuries ahead of Angers clash]]>
Full back Thomas Meunier suffered a knock in training on Tuesday while centre back Marquinhos and midfielder Javier Pastore skipped the session to receive treatments on unspecified injuries.

"Meunier felt some pain. Pastore and Marquinhos are doubtful," coach Unai Emery told a news conference.

PSG are already without Brazilian forward Neymar, who is recovering from ankle surgery, and the suspended midfielder Lassana Diarra.

They lead the Ligue 1 standings with 77 points from 29 games, 14 points ahead of second-placed Monaco.]]>
3/13/2018 6:10:14 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly faces Pipeline in Women’s African Volleyball semi-finals]]>
Al-Ahly qualified to the semi-finals after defeating Nigeria’s Customs 3-0 on Monday night, while Kenya’s Pipeline won 3-2 over Cameroon’s Bafia.

“They are a very good team and they are one of the top contenders to win the title,” Al-Ahly manager Hamdi El Safy told the club’s official website on Tuesday.


Al-Ahly has a record eight titles in the competition, while their Kenyan opponents have achieved seven titles.

Safy added, “We have a great run in the tournament and we take the tournament step by step, and all the players are ready for the game.”

In the other semi-final, Kenya’s Prisons face the title holders, CF de Carthage.

CF de Carthage won 3-1 over Egypt’s El-Shams in the quarter-finals to repeat their victory over El-Shams in the 2017 Women's African Volleyball final.

Kenya’s Prisons defeated Rwanda’s Revenue 3-1.

“I expect Al-Ahly and CF de Carthage to reach the final, as they showed that they are the best teams in the tournament,” Munting, manager of Uganda’s Nkumba, told Al-Ahly’s official website on Tuesday.


Munting and his players lost 3-0 to Al-Ahly in the tournament’s opening game. ]]>
3/13/2018 5:44:14 PM
<![CDATA[Forced absence from Europa League frustrates Arsenal's Aubameyang]]>
Aubameyang, who joined Arsenal in January, played for former club Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League this season and UEFA's 'cup-tied' rule prevents him from representing his new team in Europe for the rest of the season.

"I am really frustrated because the rules are a bit... I don't know how to say in English but I am disappointed because I can't help my team," Aubameyang told British media.

"When I was in Dortmund, I was playing every three days but now I play once a week or have a long time between games. It is not easy... that's life. I have to deal with it."

Gabon international Aubameyang has scored three Premier League goals in five starts for the club, including in the 3-0 league win over Watford last Sunday.

"I didn't play a lot in January so it was difficult to find the rhythm. Now I'm feeling better. I work hard, I work a lot in the last weeks and I am happy because I feel better," he added.

The 28-year-old will watch from the stands as his team mates take on AC Milan in the second leg of their Europa League last 16 clash at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday. Arsenal beat AC Milan 2-0 in the first leg.

Striker Danny Welbeck, who is tasked with leading Arsenal's line in Europe in the absence of Aubameyang and the injured Alexandre Lacazette, said he was relishing the competition with his fellow forwards.

"It's competition and I embrace it," Welbeck said. "Ever since I was a kid, I've been playing for an academy with scouts all over the world that are looking for top players to come in.

"You have competition throughout your whole life and it only makes you better... gives you extra motivation."

Welbeck has struggled with hip and groin injuries this season and has not found the net since Arsenal's 4-2 FA Cup third round defeat by Nottingham Forest in January.

"My mindset's focused on looking forward, bettering myself, getting on the pitch, on the training pitch, doing what I can do to improve myself." ]]>
3/13/2018 2:59:25 PM
<![CDATA[Germany's Hrubesch takes over women's team on interim basis]]>
Hrubesch, a European champion and World Cup runner-up as a player with Germany, has been a successful youth coach leading the men's Under-21 team to the European title in 2009 and earning the silver medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

This is his first appointment in women's football as Germany, once a dominant force, have dropped down the pecking order.

He will be in charge for the upcoming crucial World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Slovenia in April.

"I have been following women's football for years and was at last year's Euro as well," Hrubesch said in a statement. "I am very happy to help out at this stage."

Germany did not make it past the quarter-finals at last year's Women's Euro, an event they had dominated for two decades.

They also finished last in this month's SheBelieves Cup in the United States having failed to win a match. Jones had taken over in 2016 from the hugely successful Silvia Neid. ]]>
3/13/2018 2:48:51 PM
<![CDATA[Superb Dzeko goal sends Roma into quarter-finals]]>
Having trailed 2-1 from the first leg, Roma looked bereft of ideas for much of the contest at the Stadio Olimpico before Dzeko broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute following a tepid first half devoid of goal-mouth action.

The Bosnian took a defence-splitting pass from midfielder Kevin Strootman into his stride and beat the offside trap before he steered the ball into the far corner with the outside of his foot past Shakhtar's advancing keeper Andriy Pyatov.

Dzeko curled a shot from the edge of the penalty area inches wide in the 62nd minute before Shakhtar centre back Ivan Ordets was shown a straight red card in the 79th for hauling down the Bosnian when he was through on goal.]]>
3/13/2018 11:55:00 AM
<![CDATA[Girona: Journey of La Liga’s underdogs towards glory ]]>
The small Catalan club is placed seventh in the Spanish League table, with 10 games remaining until the end of the season.

Girona’s manager, Pablo Machín, has started a revolution inside the club since he was appointed in 2014.

In his first season with the club, he led them to finish third in the second division league but failed to win a promotion to the top division after losing to Real Zaragoza in the play-off semi-finals. Girona won the first game in Zaragoza but lost the second leg at home 4-1.

Girona’s board trusted their manager after an amazing campaign and they renewed Machín’s contract for three years.

The following year, Girona finished fourth and they reached the play-off final against Osasuna but lost 3-1 on aggregate and failed to achieve their dream.

Girona finally won a promotion in their third attempt under Machín’s command. They finished second in the second division league table and won direct qualification to the Spanish League.

Girona has signed many experienced players before their first campaign in the top division, like Athletic Bilbao’s Gorka Iraizoz, as well as Bernardo Espinosa and Cristhian Stuani from Middlesbrough.

The new players harmonized with the previous players that won the promotion, like Cristian Portugués, Eloi Amagat, Álex Granell and Pere Pons.

Girona’s debut at the top flight was at home against one of the nation giants, Atletico Madrid, and the players responded well to the fans’ chants, ending the game with a 2-2 draw.

Stuani scored both goals to make a memorable debut for his new club, scoring their first ever two goals in the top division.

The draw against Atletico Madrid was good motivation for the players who kept the rhythm during the season, and they have achieved great results against the biggest Spanish clubs.

Girona’s biggest event during the season was hosting their neighbors, Barcelona, in the sixth fixture. Despite their 3-0 loss to Lionel Messi’s teammates, watching Barcelona playing at Estadi Montilivi made the night unforgettable.

Four weeks later, Girona hosted the title holders, Real Madrid, in a game overshadowed by the political crisis between Catalonia and the Spanish government.

Girona fans showed their respect to Real Madrid players off the pitch, but they humiliated them on the pitch and won the game 2-1 after an amazing performance by Machín’s boys.

Girona’s confidence increased after the victory over Real Madrid and they have achieved an away victory over their Catalan neighbors, Espanyol, 1-0.

The team has gained experience throughout their campaign and picked up 43 points from 12 victories and seven draws, while only losing nine games. They are only two points behind the fifth-placed Sevilla.

Girona fans hope the team keeps their run and is be able to finish in the top seven positions of the table to win their first qualification to European competitions.
3/13/2018 10:30:00 AM
<![CDATA[Griezmann "must play for his life" at Atleti - Gabi]]>
While accepting that the Frenchman would not remain at the team for much longer, Gabi said on Sunday: "All I ask of him is that as long as he is with us he keeps playing for his life."

Griezmann played a starring role in Atletico's 3-0 win at home to Celta Vigo on Sunday which reduced the gap behind Liga leaders Barcelona back to eight points.

He scored the opening goal with a marvellous piece of skill and top finish and then teed up Vitolo to slam in the second after the interval before Angel Correa sealed the 3-0 win.

Griezmann will be available to rival clubs for 100 million euros ($123.16 million) in June when his buy-out clause drops from 200 million.

Reports in the Spanish media suggest he has already agreed to join Barcelona, with one radio station claiming his partner has already began looking for homes in the Catalan city.

"I just ask Griezmann that as long as he is here he defends this shirt like it deserves to be defended," midfielder Gabi told reporters.

"I understand that not every player here has Atletico in their hearts and can change club and there's no need to criticise nor crucify them for that."

The striker, who struggled for form earlier in the season, has been booed by Atletico fans at certain points of the campaign for flirting with a move to Barca and for admitting interest in joining Manchester United last year.

Yet he was given a rousing reception from the Wanda Metropolitano after his exquisite opening goal against Celta, in which he controlled a knock down from Jose Gimenez then waltzed past a defender before striking into the top corner.

"Antoine is a special player for everyone, he's very much loved in the dressing room," Gabi said.

"He has a superior level of skill to the rest of the team and that's why he makes the difference. At the start of the season a lot was said about him, of the interest from Barcelona and other teams, which could have made him confused."

The striker only managed seven goals in 20 games in the first half of the season but has netted 14 times in 16 appearances in all competitions in 2018. His goal against Celta was his 16th in La Liga this season.

"I've always tried to be close to him because he is a very important player for us," added Gabi.

"All I ask of him is that as long as he is with us he keeps playing for his life as he is doing at the moment and tries to make the difference, because he's one of the few players in the team that can do that."]]>
3/13/2018 10:12:00 AM
<![CDATA[Carragher suspended by Sky after spitting at girl]]>
Carragher has apologised for the incident, which took place after Liverpool lost 2-1 to Manchester United on Saturday, calling it "a moment of madness".

The 40-year-old former England international was summoned for talks with Sky Sports who had earlier described his actions as "unacceptable".

"Sky takes this matter extremely seriously and strongly condemns Jamie's actions," Sky Sports said in a statement. "We've made that clear to him in person and suspended him from his duties. It falls well below the standards we expect of our people."

Danish broadcaster TV3 has also dropped Carragher from their coverage of Manchester United's Champions League tie against Sevilla on Tuesday.

"Jamie should have been to Old Trafford for us tomorrow night," TV3's head of sport Peter Norrelund told Danish media. "We have taken him off. It would have been like sending him into the lion's den.

"I've watched the video, and it does not look very nice,"

Carragher was driving home after summarising on Manchester United's win over Liverpool at Old Trafford when he apparently became involved in a conversation with the occupants of an adjacent car.

A video taken from the car, released on the website of several British newspapers, clearly shows Carragher spitting.

In the video the father of the girl can be heard shouting: "Unlucky Jamie lad. Two, one".

"Totally out of order and I've apologised personally to all the family this evening," Carragher said on Twitter.

"I was goaded 3/4 times along the motorway while being filmed and lost my rag. No excuses, apologies."

Carragher, who joined Sky Sports after retiring as a player in 2013, has become a popular pundit working regularly alongside former United defender Gary Neville.]]>
3/13/2018 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Dortmund's Batshuayi grabs last-gasp winner against Eintracht]]>
Dortmund thought they had done enough when Batshuayi, on loan from Chelsea, put them 2-1 ahead in the 77th but Danny Blum levelled in the first minute of stoppage time before Batshuayi grabbed his second goal just before the final whistle.

The result lifted Dortmund to 45 points, one behind second-placed Schalke 04, one ahead of fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen and three in front of Eintracht who have slipped to fifth. Bayern Munich lead the title race on 66 points.

Eintracht's Marco Russ had slid in for an own goal to put Dortmund ahead in the 12th minute as the hosts set a frantic early pace and put the visitors on the defensive.

Dortmund gradually eased off and allowed Eintracht to equalise through Luka Jovic's glancing header in the 75th.

But the visiting side's joy was short-lived as Belgium international Batshuayi, who came on after an hour, fired in from 15 metres, following fine early work from Christian Pulisic, to complete a quick break two minutes later.

Batshuayi, who joined Dortmund in the January transfer window, was relieved to net his first goal after five matches in all competitions without scoring.

He got a second deep into stoppage time to secure three points for Dortmund and cancel out Blum's late equaliser.

RB Leipzig, last season's runners-up, suffered a setback to their hopes of a top-four finish and Champions League qualification after being held to a 0-0 draw at VfB Stuttgart that left them in sixth place on 40 points. ]]>
3/13/2018 9:10:00 AM
<![CDATA[Revitalised Dembele can help Barcelona fill Neymar void]]>
Barcelona signed him in August from Borussia Dortmund for a then club record fee of 105 million euros ($129 million), plus a potential 40 million in add-ons, hoping he could replace Neymar after PSG had swooped for the Brazilian.

Two serious injuries limited Dembele's participation until recent weeks, and even after he started playing regularly he was making little impact in matches.

In Barcelona's 2-0 win over Malaga on Saturday, however, Dembele shone, setting up Philippe Coutinho with a brilliant turn and cross to draw praise from his team mates.

With Coutinho Cup-tied in the Champions League, Dembele could provide the flair Barcelona lost when Neymar departed, starting in Wednesday's last-16 second leg against Chelsea at the Nou Camp with the tie level at 1-1.

Reports in Spain have suggested Neymar wants a return to Barca, which players including Ivan Rakitic and Coutinho have welcomed.

"It would be great for us if he came back and of course we would open the door to that (possibility)," Coutinho said on Monday.

But coach Ernesto Valverde played down the speculation, describing it as a "fantasy".

"We don't know where it's come from or where it’s going to end," he said.

A Neymar return would upset the balance of the team which Valverde has found to keep Barcelona unbeaten in 28 La Liga games.

It would also block Dembele’s path, which seems ill-advised now the Frenchman is firing.

"He's a player who had problems and it's better to forget them now," Barcelona’s director of institutional relations Guillermo Amor said.

"He's getting into the group dynamic, he's young, daring, and in football today that's the hardest thing."]]>
3/13/2018 8:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Promising striker Lautaro Martinez given chance for Argentina debut]]>
Martinez, 20, has scored 12 goals in 14 appearances for Racing this year and was added to the squad as one of five home-based players.

Boca Juniors winger Cristian Pavon was also included, as was his 32-year old team mate, uncapped midfielder Pablo Perez as Sampaoli prepares to decide who he will pick for this year's World Cup in Russia.

Two other uncapped players, 21-year old right back Fabricio Bustos and midfielder Maximiliano Meza, both of Independiente, were also named in the squad to play Italy at the Etihad stadium in Manchester on March 23 and then face Spain in Madrid four days later.

Sampaoli had previously announced 22 overseas-based players, although Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero pulled out on Sunday due to a knee injury.

Beaten finalists in Brazil four years ago, Argentina kick off their World Cup campaign against Iceland on June 16 and then face Croatia and Nigeria. ]]>
3/13/2018 6:01:00 AM
<![CDATA[Castro trusts his team's ability to defeat Man United ]]>
“We will try to come up with a brace act in the mythical stadium of Old Trafford. We're close to achieving something important after 60 years of not being present in the quarter-finals,” Castro told the press on Monday.

Sevilla were the better team in the first leg against the English giants but they failed to score goals and ended the game with a goalless draw.

Sevilla’s best achievement at the UEFA Champions League was in the 1958 season when they reached the quarter finals but lost to Real Madrid 10-2 on aggregate.

Castro spoke about the club’s lack of goals at the recent games: “We're creating lots of chances, so the goals will come if we keep playing as we have been."

Sevilla landed in Manchester on Monday afternoon to prepare for the game that starts on Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. (Cairo local time).
3/13/2018 6:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mourinho hits back at De Boer over Rashford comments]]>
De Boer, who lasted only 77 days as Crystal Palace manager after losing his first four league games in charge with no goals scored, said in an interview on BT Sport that it was "a pity" Mourinho was Rashford's manager because he was not getting enough chances.

Rashford, 20, has been on the bench 15 times in the league this season but scored twice to secure a 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Saturday having been named in the starting line-up.

Mourinho did not hold back when asked about De Boer's comments during his news conference ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last 16, second leg tie against Sevilla.

"I read something, some quote from the worst manager in the history of the Premier League, Frank de Boer saying it's not good for Rashford to have a coach like me," Mourinho said.

"If he was coached by Frank he would be coached how to lose because he lost every game."

De Boer is not the only pundit to question Mourinho's conservative approach when it comes to Rashford who is vying for a starting place alongside the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez.

But the Portuguese disputes the idea that Rashford is being held back under his charge.

"If you go to his numbers and how many games he played with me. I would say he was in the top five with more matches for two seasons," Mourinho said.

"Marcus is having these experiences. I'm really happy too. He plays for United many matches, he starts some comes from the bench for others. Does he play every match from the start? No.

"Of course not. He's a player we trust. Not many were expecting him to start against Liverpool and he had a good match not just about scoring goals. I'm really happy with Marcus."

Rashford could retain his place when United take on Sevilla at Old Trafford with the tie poised at 0-0.]]>
3/13/2018 3:50:00 AM
<![CDATA[Man City defeat cannot define Stoke's season, says Lambert]]>
Manchester City midfielder David Silva scored both goals in a comfortable win to leave relegation-threatened Stoke facing a daunting task with eight games remaining in the season but Lambert said his team could not be written off just yet.

"This game is not going to define our season, not at all - there are positives to be taken from this game for sure," Lambert told the club's website (www.stokecityfc.com).

Struggling Stoke sit second from bottom in the league with 27 points after six victories, nine draws and 15 defeats. They host ninth-placed Everton on Saturday.

"We're still well in the mix, there are plenty of points to be played for and we'll be ready to go again on Saturday against Everton," he said.

Pep Guardiola's City, who prevailed 7-2 when the two teams met at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season, were unable to convert a number of chances on Monday.

"They never really managed to calve us open tonight, like they have with other teams, we made a couple of wrong decisions which helped them with their goals, but all in all I thought we were strong and resolute," Lambert added.]]>
3/13/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Three uncapped players named in Brazil squad]]>
Both men were given the chance to impress in what was a larger than usual 25-man squad, Tite's last before naming the 23 who will go to the World Cup in Russia.

"Willian Jose and Talisca bring different components," Tite told reporters. "Willian Jose has had two great seasons at Real Sociedad, really developing as a player.

"Talisca can finish from mid-distance, from balls in the air, he has a physical presence that can be an advantage against defences set up in lines of four or five."

The inclusion of Valencia goalkeeper Neto and 32-year-old Gremio captain Pedro Geromel were also unexpected.

Neto got his first call up in 2010 but has never played for the national side.

Geromel's only appearance for Brazil was in a friendly against Colombia in 2017 to raise money for the victims of the Chapecoense airline disaster.

Brazil play Russia in Moscow on March 23 and then face World Cup winners Germany in Berlin four days later.

The five-times world champions kick off their World Cup campaign against Switzerland on June 17 before facing Costa Rica and Serbia.

They have lost just once in the 17 matches since Tite took over, 1-0 to Argentina in a 2017 friendly in Australia, but the match against Germany in particular will be a big test and the first time they have faced the Europeans since they went down 7-1 in the World Cup semi-final four years ago.]]>
3/13/2018 2:10:00 AM
<![CDATA['Ashamed' Gomes opens up on hellish time at Barca]]>
The Portuguese playmaker, signed from Valencia in July 2016 for 35 million euros ($43 million), plus a potential 20 million in add-ons, has struggled since arriving at the Nou Camp scoring only three goals in 72 appearances in all competitions.

Although coach Ernesto Valverde and his predecessor Luis Enrique have defended Gomes, the 24-year-old is regularly criticised in the media and whistled by his own supporters.

"Maybe it's not the best word but (life at Barca) has become a bit of a hell, because I started to feel the pressure," Gomes told Panenka magazine in their March edition.

"The feeling that I have during games is bad. Thinking too much hurts me, because I think about the bad things. Although my team mates support me a lot, things don't go for me how they want them to go."

Gomes, who has started only four games in the league this season, admitted that even beyond the pitch his life has been affected by his form.

"On more than one occasion I have not wanted to leave the house. People look at you and I'm afraid to walk in the street out of shame," he said.

Gomes was jeered by Barcelona fans during the 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on March 4 after coming on as a substitute for the injured Andres Iniesta. Should the captain remain sidelined, Gomes could play in his stead on Wednesday in the Champions League last 16 second leg against Chelsea.]]>
3/12/2018 11:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Masry’s draw grants Al-Ahly 40th League title]]>
Al-Ahly had taken a step towards the title when they defeated Enppi 1-0 on Sunday night thanks to a goal from their defender, Ayman Ashraf.

Al-Ahly has achieved 75 points from 24 victories, while three games ended with a draw. They lost only one game, against Misr El-Mikassa.

“It was a tough season and I am very happy to win the title with six weeks remaining. I want to thank all the players and the coaching staff for all their efforts to achieve the league title.” Al-Ahly manager Hossam el-Badry told the club’s official website on Monday.

Al-Ahly has won a record of 40 Egyptian League titles and increased the gap with their successor, Zamalek, which has achieved 12 titles.

Al-Ahly will add a fourth star to their shirt, as they had a tradition of adding a star for every 10 League titles.

Al-Masry stayed in the fourth position of the Egyptian League table with 49 points, two points behind the third-placed Zamalek and four points behind the second-placed Ismaily.
3/12/2018 9:41:48 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Hilal’s crisis in AFC Champions League continues ]]>
Al-Rayyan opened the score by Abderazak Hamdallah through a penalty minutes before the half time, while Al-Rayyan’s Brazilian winger, Rodrigo Tabata, doubled the score for the Qatari club after 20 minutes from the second half start.

Al-Hilal’s only goal in the game came a minute before the final whistle by their captain, Yasser Al Qahtani, through a penalty.

Al-Hilal continued their disastrous run in the competition this year, as they only picked up two points after four games.

They opened their participation in the competition with a goalless draw against Al-Ain in Saudi Arabia before losing 1-0 to Iran’s Esteghlal Tehran.

Their third game ended with a 1-1 draw against Al-Rayyan at home before losing Monday’s game in Qatar to the same team.

Al-Hilal is the 2017 AFC Champions League runner-up after losing the final to Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds.

Esteghlal Tehran and Al-Ain share the top of the group with six points, while Al-Rayyan places third with four points. Al-Hilal stays at the group bottom with only two points.
3/12/2018 9:16:36 PM
<![CDATA[Mohamed el-Haragawy: Promising Egyptian handball talent in Europe]]>
Haragawy started playing handball in 2003 after being chosen in school to play handball. He then started to play with the Aviation club. Over the years, Hargawy’s talent was being sharpened until he managed to play with the Aviation club’s first team in 2010, winning the Egyptian Handball League title with them three times.


In 2015, he travelled with Aviation to Sweden to participate in a world championship for clubs. Aviation was the only African team there, and the rest were Europeans.

For his notable performance in that tournament, Danish officials from Randers HK contacted Haragawy about adding him to the team. At the age of 19, he managed to pass the trial and book his seat in the first team despite his young age. However, he faced problems with the travelling permissions, which made him return to Egypt to continue with Aviation.

haragawy young

Haragawy’s agent told him that there was a French team that needs a left-handed player to play in the right-wing position, so he went to France in the beginning of 2017 to participate with a second division team in its promotion tournament for a month, and then he returned another time to Aviation to continue the season with the team.

In the summer of 2017, Haragawy played for a Bosnian team and participated in the Balkan Handball Championship. He managed to score 54 goals, which made him win top scorer of the tournament. After that, he travelled to Macedonia to participate in a trial for the best handball team in the country, which went well on the sports level but didn’t on the personal level, as Haragawy said that they didn’t like the Africans on the team. That was in addition to the weak salary they offered, which made him decide to return to Egypt again to play for Al-Maadi club.


RTV Basel’s handball director watched a video of Mohamed’s talent on YouTube and contacted him during one of his visits to Egypt. He met Haragawy at his house and told him, “The team needs to be strengthened with more young talents next season and you may have a chance, but you will take it gradually.”

Haragawy was delivered an official offer to join RTV Basel in January 2018. His joining was postponed for nearly two months due to problems with his travelling permission, which is given by the army, but finally he travelled to Switzerland to join Basel at the end of February.

The Egyptian left wing is participating with the first team of RTV Basel in the most important games of the current season, which determine the final standings of the league, to book a seat among the teams that will participate in the European Champions League tournament next season.
3/12/2018 6:42:34 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly faces Customs at Women's African Volleyball quarter finals ]]>
Al-Ahly players hope to continue their amazing run in the competition after they managed to qualify to the quarter finals following their three victories at the Group Stage.

Al-Ahly opened their participation at the tournament by defeating Uganda’s Nkumba 3-0 before achieving a victory over Rwanda’s Revenue and Cameroon’s Nyong with the same result to top their group.

Al-Ahly’s opponents, Customs, have lost only one game in the group stage to Kenya’s Prisons and they have achieved three victories over Cameroon’s INJS, Burkina Faso’s DOUANES and Ivory Coast’s Asec.

Customs qualified to the quarter finals as the group’s runner-up behind Kenya’s Prisons.

“It will be a tough game and more difficult than group stage games. We are focusing on our goal to achieve the title,” Al-Ahly’s Farida El Askalany told the club’s official website before the game.


Egypt’s El-Shams will meet the title holders, CF de Carthage, at the quarter-finals. El-Shams players are keen to avenge themselves from the Tunisian team who defeated them in the 2017 final to achieve the title.

Kenya’s Prisons will play against Rwanda’s Revenue while Kenya’s Pipeline will meet Cameroon’s Bafia. ]]>
3/12/2018 4:48:26 PM
<![CDATA[The World Cup arrives in Cairo Thursday]]>
The visit aims to allow Egyptian football fans to watch the trophy, which is the greatest prize in the world of football tournaments, and also to celebrate Egypt’s qualifying to the World Cup after 28 years of absence.

Responsible sources at Cairo International Airport said in a special statement to Egypt Today that an important meeting will be held on Tuesday, in the presence of a number of officials from Cairo International Airport, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the sponsoring company of the event and the organizers of the visit, to finalize the ceremony settlements of hosting the World Cup.

The sources pointed out that the delegation which will be accompanying the World Cup is supposed to go to Al Ettihadya Palace as soon as it arrives in Egypt, to meet President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

The Cup will be coming from the Ivory Coast, and is scheduled to leave to Naples in Italy, at the outset of a quick European tour, before cutting thousands of miles to land in Argentina.

The World Cup tour includes 91 cities in 51 countries on six continents, with the aim of giving millions of football fans around the world the chance to prepare for the most important world tournament in the planet, which will be hosted by Russia next June.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour started from London in an official launch ceremony, the World Cup winners Sir Geoff Hurst of England and Andrea Pirlo of Italy attended the ceremony to celebrate and send the FIFA World Cup Original Trophy off on its worldwide journey.

3/12/2018 4:33:16 PM
<![CDATA[Greece orders 'indefinite' interruption of soccer championship after armed pitch invasion]]>
"We have decided to interrupt the championship... It won't start again unless there is a clear framework, agreed by all, to move forward with conditions and rules," Greek Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Georgios Vassiliadis said.

Photographs and footage showed PAOK boss Ivan Savvides, one of Greece's richest men, joining others in a pitch invasion with a holster on his waist containing what appeared to be a revolver when he tried to protest a goal initially disallowed in the closing minutes of the home clash against Athens side AEK.

The goal, initially ruled offside, was later allowed.]]>
3/12/2018 2:23:05 PM
<![CDATA[Fathy renews contract with Al Ahly for 2 seasons]]>
Abdel Hafez stated in special remarks to Egypt Today that the session, held with the player on March 6, didn’t take a long time as the player showed great enthusiasm for staying at the club, adding that all the terms related to the new contract were accepted by Fathi who immediately signed the contract to assure his loyalty to the red club.

"Ahmed Fathy is one of the most important players of Al Ahly, and keeping him is among the team’s priorities," Abdel Hafez said. Al Ahly football director referred also that Hossam al-Badry, Al Ahly’s head coach, recommended that basic pillars of the team should be preserved to strengthen the team’s squad list for the upcoming period.

Al Ahly right back, signed a new contract worth LE 14 million with Al Ahly; he will get LE 7 million for each season.
3/12/2018 1:57:28 PM
<![CDATA[I would open the door right now for Neymar: Rakitic]]>
Rakitic was questioned about his former teammate and current Paris St. Germain player, Neymar.

"He has not told me anything; but, if it's up to me, I would open the door right now," he said. "Not only because of the relationship I have with him, but because of the type of player he is. I would always put Ney on my team," he added.

Neymar left Barcelona last summer to join PSG for a historic €222 million fee.

Barcelona faces Chelsea on Wednesday at Camp Nou in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League. The first leg ended 1-1, when Messi scored his first goal against the “Blues” in his ninth match against them.

"There is no need to talk much about Chelsea; it’s a matter of days before facing them again. Chelsea will be very difficult, and the fans know we have to be together. We want to make history together, but they can hurt us at any time," he said.
3/12/2018 9:40:00 AM
<![CDATA[Griezmann, Vitolo on target as Atletico beat Celta]]>
France forward Antoine Griezmann broke the deadlock a minute before halftime to move on to 16 league goals for the season and draw level with Celta forward Iago Aspas as the fourth top scorer in the top flight.

Griezmann then set up the second goal in the 54th with a pin-point through ball to the feet of Spain international Vitolo, who scored his first Liga goal for Atletico since his move from Sevilla.

Angel Correa then replaced Vitolo from the bench and rounded off the scoring in the 63rd minute with a powerful run into the area before firing into the bottom corner. The effort left coach Diego Simeone exuberantly punching the air in celebration.

Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak returned to the team after a groin injury kept him out of the Europa League last-16 first leg win over Lokomotiv Moscow on Thursday. However, the Slovenian did not seem to be fully fit and was unable to take goal kicks.

Atletico are second in the standings on 64 points after 28 games while leaders Barcelona have 72 after winning 2-0 at Malaga on Saturday and third-placed Real Madrid have 57.]]>
3/12/2018 4:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Madrid showed us who are the champions: Mbappe]]>
Real Madrid knocked PSG out of the 2017/2018 UEFA Champions League in the 16th round as they won 5-2 on aggregate. The white team defeated PSG 3-1 at Bernabeu stadium before they assured their qualification to the next round by defeating PSG again 2-1 in Parc des Princes stadium.

"Mentally, we wanted to face the game against Madrid as best as possible," he said per Marca.

"Nobody can say that we didn't try, but this is football and although we have great players, Madrid showed us the difference between having great players and champions."

PSG invested a lot last summer as they bought Neymar for €222 million from Barcelona in a historic signing. Also they got Mbappe from Monaco in an initial loan, confirming that they have to pay €180 million next summer.

All of Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s, PSG Qatari president, heavy investment didn’t find its way as he promised achieving the UEFA Champions League’s title this season.

It seems that the Qatari businessman has to make real changes in his team, starting with the Spanish coach, Unai Emery, who was offended by Parisian fans. Mbappe defended his coach.

"It's not Unai Emery who lost, it's PSG so it's up to all of us to be whistled," he added. "We are the ones on the pitch.”

"It is important to get back on track because we are still in three competitions.”
3/12/2018 2:04:00 AM
<![CDATA[Spurs rally to beat Bournemouth but Kane suffers injury]]>
The loss of England international Kane, Tottenham's top scorer, who went off with an ankle injury on the half-hour, took some of the gloss off a hard-won comeback victory with the visitors slightly flattered by two late goals.

A high-octane Bournemouth start led to Junior Stanislas hitting the bar and then scoring after six minutes but Alli, who had not found the net in 15 games, ended his worst barren spell by equalising from a position usually occupied by Kane.

Alli also played a major part in Spurs' second goal, crossing for Son to score with a scuffed shot before the South Korean netted his seventh goal in four games from a late breakaway.

Full back Serge Aurier made it 4-1 late on after Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic failed to clear his lines.]]>
3/12/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[New Egyptian tournament to be developed; President Cup]]>
Ismail Selim, PCA member, revealed, through Al-Hadaf radio program, that: “PCA developed the ‘President Cup’ tournament to increase the 18 clubs’ income.”

“We are now managing the tournament’s system and schedules to avoid interference between it and other Egyptian tournaments. It may be held between the two Egyptian seasons,” Former Zamalek board member added.

“PCA insists on the fans’ attendance to the matches; any tournament without fans is meaningless,” Selim concluded.

EFA organizes three football Egyptian tournaments throughout the season; Egyptian Premier League, Egypt Cup and Egyptian Super Cup.

Egyptian premier league
Egyptian Premier League Trophy

The Egyptian Premier League is an Egyptian professional league that includes 18 clubs who are competing in the season, which lasts from August to May.

Egypt Cup
Egypt Cup trophy

Egypt Cup is the main and the oldest Egyptian tournament; it was launched in 1921. All the clubs in all the divisions participate in the Egypt Cup; it is a knock-out staged tournament.

The Egyptian Super Cup started in 2001/2002 season. It is a one-match tournament held between both winners of the Egyptian Premier League and Egypt Cup.

3/11/2018 7:11:22 PM
<![CDATA[Arsenal beat Watford 3-0 for first clean sheet in 12 league matches]]>
The win leaves Arsenal 10 points off Champions League qualification in sixth place in the standings, while Watford stay in 10th.

"It was a convincing win. It gets us out of that negative spiral that we were in," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told reporters.

Prior to their midweek 2-0 away win over AC Milan in the Europa League, the Gunners had lost four games in a row in all competitions, including back-to-back 3-0 drubbings by runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City.

"In one week we got from hell to heaven," Wenger said.

Arsenal's German defender Shkodran Mustafi opened the scoring in the eighth minute, heading home from a Mesut Ozil free kick for his third goal of the season and the home side's 1,000th of the Premier League era.

Watford pressed Arsenal back into their own area as the first half came to a close, but they were unable to equalise.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the lead just short of the hour mark, running onto a pass from former Borussia Dortmund team mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan and rounding the keeper to slot the ball home.

A minute later Watford won a penalty when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was deemed to have brought down Roberto Pereyra in the area.

But Petr Cech got his fingertips to Troy Deeney's spot kick, nudging the ball onto the post and back out, to roars of approval from the home crowd. The save helped the Czech stopper achieve his 200th clean sheet in the Premier League.

Aubameyang then turned assistant for Mkhitaryan in the 77th minute, passing the ball across the front of the goal for the Armenian to smash the ball home from close range.

"I'm disappointed because I can't believe today we don't score a goal. We conceded an early goal and then everything changed," Watford manager Javi Gracia said at a post-match news conference.

"In the second half we created more chances, but after their second goal it was very difficult for us."]]>
3/11/2018 7:02:31 PM
<![CDATA[Dybala double sends Juventus top of Serie A]]>
Dybala curled home a superb free kick from the edge of the area in the 20th minute to put Juventus ahead, and he was pulled down for a penalty later in the first half only for fellow Argentinian Gonzalo Higuain to miss the spot kick.

Dybala added his second four minutes after halftime, Higuain expertly holding up the ball before playing it into the path of the 24-year-old, who slotted it home right-footed.

The win put Juventus on 71 points, two ahead of Napoli with both sides having played 27 games.

Napoli, though, will regain the lead if they can beat Inter Milan in Sunday's late kickoff at the San Siro.

The sudden death last week of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori cast a pall over Sunday's proceedings in Serie A.

Many of last weekend's matches were postponed following his passing and this week's games began with both silence and applause as the 31-year-old Italian international was remembered.

In the day's early kickoff, Vitor Hugo scored the only goal as Fiorentina beat Benevento 1-0 at the Artemio Franchi stadium in a game filled with emotional tributes to Astori, who was buried on Thursday.

Lazio's Ciro Immobile scored both goals, including a superb backheel deep into stoppage time, to give his side a share of the spoils as they drew 2-2 away to Cagliari.

The brace puts Serie A top scorer Immobile on 24 goals from 24 games this season, six ahead of Inter's Mauro Icardi who has 18 in 22.

Having started the day second from bottom, Crotone hammered Sampdoria 4-1 at home to climb out of the relegation zone, with Marcello Trotta scoring twice and missing a penalty in an eventful outing for the home side.

Newcomers SPAL slipped into the bottom three following a 1-1 draw with fellow strugglers Sassuolo while Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon netted the winner seven minutes from time to give Atalanta a 1-0 victory at Bologna.]]>
3/11/2018 6:53:56 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Ahly may decide Egyptian League title against Enppi]]>CAIRO – 11 March 2018: Al-Ahly enters the 29th round of the Egyptian League with “High Hopes” as they will face Enppi at Petro Sport stadium at 07:00 p.m. (CLT).

The red devils may be crowned as Egyptian League winners this round if Al-Masry stumble against Al-Entag El-Harby this round.

Al-Ahly needs only four points to decide the 40th Egyptian League title six rounds before its end. They top the table with 72 points from 27 matches so far this season. Ismaily places second with 53 points above Zamalek, 3rd placed, with 51 points.

Al-Masry places fourth in the league’s table with 48 points having played 25 matches.
Al-Ahly visits Enppi with a fresh mind as they defeated Mounana, the Gabonese club, 4-0 in the first leg of CAF Champions League round of 32.

On the other hand, Enppi’s manager Khaled Metwalli depends on the experience of his defense’s represented by the Egyptian international defenders Rami Sabri and Salah Soliman.

Al-Ahly’s expected line-up is:

GK: Mohamed el-Shenawy
DEF: Ayman Ashraf, Saad Samir, Ahmed Fathy, Ali Maaloul
MID: Hossam Ashour, Amr el-Soleya, Baka, Walid Soliman
ATT: Walid Azzaro, Marwan Mohsen
3/11/2018 5:59:33 PM
<![CDATA[Barca agree pre-contract deal with Brazilian Arthur]]>
The Catalans can choose to activate the deal for the 21-year-old playmaker in July 2018 if they wish to follow through with the signing.

“In the event that the club finally exercises the option signed, the price of the transfer is set at 30 million euros plus 9 million euros in variable amounts,” Barcelona said in a statement.

Arthur, who is known for his passing ability, shone in the Libertadores Cup as he helped Gremio to lift the South American trophy for the third time in November.]]>
3/11/2018 4:55:29 PM
<![CDATA[Fiorentina honour Astori with 1-0 win over Benevento]]>
The funeral for Astori, who was said by authorities in Udine to have died of a cardiac arrest ahead of last Sunday's scheduled game against Udinese, was held in the city on Thursday amid a huge outpouring of grief from fans, players and coaches.

Before kickoff, the players warmed up in shirts bearing the 31-year-old's number 13, and the teams and officials gathered in the centre circle for a minute's silence which was only broken by the whirr of photographers' cameras.

As tears flowed down the cheeks of fans in the stands, balloons in violet and white were released into the air, and in the 13th minute the ball was put out of play as Fiorentina fans raised flags and engaged in a minute of applause.

Brazilian Hugo celebrated the 25th-minute goal, his first for Fiorentina, by holding up a t-shirt bearing an image of fellow defender Astori before standing in front of it and saluting.

Fiorentina could have added a second in stoppage time at the end of the second half as Milan Badelj hammered a shot from distance off the post, and Marco Benassi somehow blazed the rebound over the bar.

Despite some good chances, Benevento struggled again in front of goal and the result leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table with just 10 points from their 27 games, 11 behind Crotone in 19th spot.

The win moves Fiorentina up into ninth on 38 points ahead of the rest of Sunday's games, which includes the clash between leaders Napoli and fourth-placed Inter Milan at the San Siro in the late kickoff.]]>
3/11/2018 4:47:51 PM
<![CDATA[Coutinho, Valverde heap praise on improved Dembele]]>
The Frenchman has flattered to deceive on the whole since signing for Barca from Borussia Dortmund for an eye-watering 105 million euros ($129 million) last August despite only having under two seasons under his belt as a professional.

The forward has received criticism from the Spanish media, who have questioned whether he has the mentality to succeed at Barca, but he responded with a brilliant display against Malaga after Messi missed the trip to attend the birth of his son.

Dembele was a constant threat to Malaga down the right-hand side and he set up Philippe Coutinho's sumptuous second goal, toying with a defender before laying the ball on for the Brazilian to score with a backheel.

"Dembele is a brilliant player and today he demonstrated that," Coutinho told reporters. "The move was perfect."

The 20-year-old was Barca's record signing when he arrived and was tasked with filling the shoes of the recently departed Neymar.

He had to contend with four months on the sidelines after rupturing his hamstring in his first Liga start against Getafe in September and had another injury setback in January which forced him out for another four weeks.

Dembele returned to the side in February but the arrival of Coutinho, who eclipsed him as the team's most expensive signing, meant more competition for places and the youngster was an unused substitute in the Champions League last-16 first leg at Chelsea and the title showdown against Atletico Madrid.

"Today things went his way more than in other games but the good thing about him is that he always wants to take on opponents," Barca coach Valverde said.

"He tries to dribble and he also gives us an extra edge such as with the second goal today due to his ability to cut inside and give assists."

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic said Dembele had the backing of the squad and that they had never doubted his quality.

"He didn't need a game like this as we all know he is a magnificent player," the Croatian said.

"We know he's just come back from an important injury, especially for the type of player he is. We keep on giving him support, we like him a lot."]]>
3/11/2018 1:54:10 PM
<![CDATA[Neymar doesn’t want to return to Paris]]>CAIRO – 11 March 2018: Right after the elimination of Paris Saint Germain from the Champions League against Real Madrid on March 6, Brazilian striker Neymar went to his father to announce that he did not intend to put on the shirt of the Parisian club again and to ask him to start negotiations with Real Madrid to move there next season.

According to the newspaper ABC, the Brazilian international has made the decision not to play more with PSG. "I do not want to go back to PSG; it's irreversible," he told his family and friends.

Neymar’s father is mandated to take advantage of the three months he will remain recovering from the surgery he underwent last weekend on the right foot and to negotiate with the president of PSG, Nasser Al- Khelaïfi, and with Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid’s president. It won’t be easy at all.

Neymar is even willing to give up his salary at PSG immediately to facilitate the operation. The striker feels mistreated by the fans, has not connected with much of the staff of PSG and has realized that he was wrong betting on the Parisian club last summer.

"If I come to a minor league and they whistle at me, I do not want to continue another minute," Neymar told his family.

Real Madrid is aware of the intentions of the Brazilian and, according to this information, is willing to put on the table €250 million to reach a maximum of €300 million at the end of the negotiations.

Of course, Florentino Pérez intends to include in the operation some player to facilitate the agreement. Welshman Gareth Bale or Frenchman Karim Benzema would be the two possible candidates.
3/11/2018 7:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Mahrez majestic as Leicester come back to beat West Brom 4-1]]>
The home side got off to a superb start when striker Salomon Rondon stole the ball in front of his marker to stab home a deft volley in the eighth minute.

The advantage lasted just 13 minutes as Jamie Vardy put Leicester back on level terms with an even better volley, latching on to a superb long pass from Mahrez to fire home his 14th Premier League goal of the season.

Mahrez then latched on to substitute Kelechi Iheanacho's pass to dink the ball home and give Leicester the lead just after the hour mark.

Iheanacho's 76th-minute header made it 3-1, prompting many of the home fans to head towards the exits.

Vicente Iborra's stoppage-time header rounded off another dismal day for struggling West Brom.

West Brom stayed rooted to the bottom, eight points from safety, while Leicester are eighth on 40 points.]]>
3/11/2018 3:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Chaos reigns as West Ham lose 3-0 at home to Burnley]]>
West Ham, dangerously close to the relegation zone, dominated the first half but everything turned sour at the London Stadium after the break.

Ashley Barnes fired Burnley ahead in the 66th minute, prompting furious home fans to run on to the pitch.

If that was not bad enough Chris Wood doubled Burnley's lead minutes later and this time there were scuffles in the stands and one fan ran on and took the corner flag.

Wood made it 3-0 as chaos broke out in the stadium, with West Ham's owners David Gold and David Sullivan being asked to leave the directors' box for their own safety.

Defeat left West Ham in 16th place, three points above the relegation zone.]]>
3/11/2018 2:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[El-Shorbagy claims Canary Wharf Classic title]]>
El-Shorbagy decided the 89-minute game with a score of 3-2 (11-8, 7-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-3).

Mohamed El-Shorbagy against Tarek Momen – Courtesy of SquashPics.com

No Egyptian has ever achieved this title before. In this edition there were four Egyptian players in the semi-final, whereas Egyptians had previously lost two finals.

World Champion El-Shorbagy, who returned to the summit of the World Rankings earlier this month, has been in stunning form this season and was appearing in his eighth PSA World Tour final of the season, while his meeting with Momen was a repeat of November’s Qatar Classic, which also went El-Shorbagy’s way.

The champions of Egypt are preparing to compete in the international championship of El-Gouna that will be held from April 20 until 27.

3/11/2018 1:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Messi welcomes his third son, Ciro]]>

In the photo, Messi accompanies the picture with the following message: "Welcome Ciro! Thank God everything went perfect. Mom and he are very well. We are super happy!!!"

Barcelona issued Saturday morning a brief statement in which reported at the last minute excluding Messi from the match against Malaga at La Rosaleda.

Barcelona faces Malaga in the 28th round of La Liga at 9:45 p.m. (CLT). Barcelona tops the table of La Liga with 69 points, ahead of the second-placed Atletico Madrid (61 points) and the third-placed Real Madrid (57 points).

The statement reported a change in the list of called-up players due to personal reasons of the Argentine striker, without clarifying the reason.

Barcelona’s new defender, Yerry Mina, the only footballer who stayed out of it by technical decision, takes his place.
3/10/2018 8:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Martens gets most votes to be named in FIFPro women's World XI]]>
Martens, 25, the player of the tournament as the Dutch team won their first international title in the European championship last year, received 1,251 votes from 4,100 female top-flight players across 45 countries.

Wolfsburg striker Pernille Harder and Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan, who finished behind Martens in the Player of the Year awards last year, were also in the team announced on International Women's Day.

"I am a little surprised that I received most votes of all players," said Barcelona winger Martens.

"Last year was very special. We achieved something beautiful with the Dutch national team. It says a lot that six Dutch players made the list of 55 most voted players."

Marozsan was one of four Lyon players in the list alongside England's Lucy Bronze, and France's Wendie Renard and Camille Abily. Germany's Wolfsburg and U.S. side Orlando Pride had two representatives.

"It is special being voted in the world's best XI by other players," said Marozsan. "My transfer to Lyon from Frankfurt helped me improve on a number of points... those little things make me realise I have advanced to a higher level."

Five players kept their spot in the XI from last year, including Sweden's Nilla Fischer, Germany's Marozsan, Brazil's Marta and America's Alex Morgan. France's Renard is the only player to feature in all three World XI teams so far.

Full XI:

Goalkeeper: Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden, Chelsea FC)

Defenders: Lucy Bronze (England, Olympique Lyon); Nilla Fischer (Sweden, Wolfsburg); Wendie Renard (France, Olympique Lyon); Irene Parades (Spain, Paris St Germain)

Midfielders: Camille Abily (France, Olympique Lyon); Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany, Olympique Lyon); Marta (Brazil, Orlando Pride)

Forwards: Pernille Harder (Denmark, Wolfsburg); Lieke Martens (Netherlands, Barcelona); Alex Morgan (United States, Orlando Pride)]]>
3/10/2018 7:38:31 PM
<![CDATA[Irrepressible Ronaldo strikes twice as Real beat Eibar]]>
Ronaldo scored for the seventh successive game in all competitions by blasting into the net in the 34th minute after chesting down a long ball by Luka Modric, but eighth-placed Eibar pegged the champions back when Ivan Ramis outjumped Sergio Ramos to head home from a corner in the 50th.

Ronaldo was denied by an inspired save by Eibar's Marko Dmitrovic, who clawed away the Portuguese's header following a cross from Gareth Bale.

The irrepressible striker had the final say, however, meeting a cross from Dani Carvajal in the area and powering the ball beyond the Serbian goalkeeper in the 84th minute, scoring a 13th goal in his last seven games in all competitions.

Real are third in the Liga standings on 57 points, 12 behind runaway leaders Barcelona, who visit basement club Malaga later on Sunday. Atletico host Celta Vigo on Sunday.]]>
3/10/2018 6:10:00 PM
<![CDATA[Zamalek would be divided like Iraq if I am not here: Mansour]]>
Mortada featured in an official video published on Zamalek’s official website. He stressed that the club is in a real crisis that has not been witnessed throughout its history.

Zamalek’s successive boards in the past years have indebted the club, and its financial committee is negotiating with other authorities that have arrears to unfreeze all the club’s accounts.

Zamalek will pay LE 40 million ($2.27 million) of the LE 160 million that they owe the bank; the remaining balance will be scheduled over installments. Zamalek’s financial committee also reached an agreement with the Social Insurance Authority to pay LE 10 million of the LE 28 million owed.

"I was saddened because the financial committee gave LE 50 million for taxes and insurance, although I had agreed in advance to schedule the dues by LE 4 million every month; Zamalek would be divided and split like Iraq If I am not here," Mortada said.

On the other hand, Zamalek’s official website announced that Mortada will reveal the “Signing of the Century” on Saturday night through Sada El-Balad channel.

Mortada has previously pointed out that Zamalek reached an agreement to sign a top African player who will play with his national team in the next World Cup. He also stated that the club paid LE 40 million to include the player in Zamalek’s squad next season.
3/10/2018 6:04:03 PM
<![CDATA[Fiorentina coach pays emotional tribute to Astori]]>
Pioli, whose side host Benevento in Serie A on Sunday, said he would miss Astori every day and that he wanted to hug each of the thousands of fans who turned out for the 31-year-old's funeral on Thursday.

"I had the privilege and the good fortune to get to know him closely in these months, he was a special person and special captain," said Pioli in the pre-match press conference.

"He always found the right time and the right way to say things to me and his team mates. He was generous, positive, ready to help and altruistic," added Pioli, his voice trembling at times.

"I miss him every day I go onto the training field and I will miss him every time we play a match."

Thanking the fans who turned out on Thursday, Pioli said: "Our fans have a huge heart. I would like to have hugged each and every one of them to console them and let them console us, so together we could find the strength to go on.

"I would like to thank the whole world of football. The fact that there was such a heartfelt participation, moving and full of solidarity (on Thursday), is down to Davide and everything he transmitted.

"It shows that there are still values and principles in the world, even if the opposite often seems to be the case. It is up to us to follow his example and carry it forward."]]>
3/10/2018 5:16:28 PM
<![CDATA[Rashford double gives United victory over Liverpool]]>
United survived a frantic final 10 minutes after a bizarre own goal from defender Eric Bailly had given Liverpool a route back into the game but Juergen Klopp’s attack, so effective through this season, were unable to carve any clear openings.

Any fears that United manager Jose Mourinho would ‘park the bus’, as he did in the goalless reverse fixture, were eased by the team selection which led to an attacking formation despite the absence of French midfielder Paul Pogba. He was ruled out after picking up an injury in training on Friday.

Rashford had not started in 2018 and had only made five substitute appearances but he was to be the central figure in this encounter, which had all the adrenalin, aggression and endeavour associated with one of English football’s mostly hotly contested rivalries.

For all the pre-match discussion of tactics, it was a blood and thunder clash. A move of old-school simplicity gave United the breakthrough.

A long ball from goalkeeper David De Gea was headed on by target-man Romelu Lukaku into the path of Rashford. He then outdid Trent Alexander-Arnold, cut inside on to his right foot and confidently buried the ball in the far corner to open the scoring in the 14th minute.

Lukaku was bullying his marker Dejan Lovren, winning headers and brushing off challenges from the Croatian. It was from another battle between the pair, won by the United striker, that allowed Jose Mourinho’s side to double their advantage.

The Belgian’s ball towards Juan Mata was blocked and fell to Rashford inside the box. He again made no mistake with a confident strike past Loris Karius.

Liverpool’s only real chance of the opening 45 minutes came from a corner but Virgil van Dijk, who had lost his marker, was unable to find the target from a promising close-range position at the near post.

After a quiet start to the second half, the visitor’s got themselves back into the game though in the 66th minute when Bailly, who had returned to the side after over three months out with injury, made a complete hash of a Sadio Mane cross from the left, his mis-struck clearance flying past De Gea and into his own goal.

There was booing from sections of the United support as Mourinho, with 20 minutes to go, took off Rashford and shored up his midfield with the introduction of Marouane Fellaini.

His combative presence was to be needed though in a frantic and physical finale, with nerves setting in among the home support. But for all Liverpool’s intense pressure, they were unable to find a way through a disciplined United defence.]]>
3/10/2018 5:12:50 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt refuses to postpone Colombia friendly]]>
The national team’s decision came to prevent any interruption that could happen regarding the team’s final training camp before the World Cup, as the team will travel to Brussels directly after the Colombia game to face the Belgian team in a friendly match on June 6.

The Pharaohs are now preparing for two friendly matches held in Switzerland, against Portugal and Greece, on March 23 and 27, respectively, ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Ehab Lehita, director of the Egyptian national team, revealed earlier that June 10 will be the date that the Egyptian national team will fly to Russia to participate in the most important tournament in the world – the World Cup. Egypt will start its journey in the World Cup facing Uruguay on June 15, followed by Russia on June 19 and finally Saudi Arabia on June 25.
3/10/2018 3:23:21 PM
<![CDATA[David Luiz awaits Conte’s departure]]>
The Brazilian international has been out for weeks because of a knee injury, but he has also lost the trust of Antonio Conte.

Although the Italian coach says his relationship with him is still good, he opted for Andreas Christensen after David Luiz's performance was questioned in the two Champions League games against Roma.

Hence, the central defender, accustomed to being a starter and who maintains his hopes of being part of the Brazil team in the 2018 World Cup, is upset with his situation, explained Goal.com.

The fact that the continuity of Antonio Conte is in doubt due to Chelsea's bad performance in the Premier League has left David Luiz rethinking his future, after he has already missed nine rounds of the Premier League due to new discomfort in his knee since February 5.

He aims to finish the season in the best way to go to the World Cup, but also has the backing of those responsible for the club that see in him as a basic piece of the team.

On the other hand, Antonio Conte is still questioned, and being eliminated by Barca in the Champions League could seal his departure at the end of the season despite having a contract until 2019. On the other hand, the Italian coach is one of the candidates to lead Paris Saint Germain.
3/10/2018 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Will Salah prove that Mourinho was wrong to let him go?]]>
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah is considered the best player this season in both teams and he will havea lot of eyes on him this match.

Salah didn’t fear the game’s hype.

“Before the game you have to prepare yourself for the game, and you see the weakness of the players or the goalkeeper, and you have to try many times to break that and to score and to do something different,” Salah told Sky Sports during an interview with Jamie Carragher.

“But we know we play against Manchester [United] and De Gea. He is a great goalkeeper and this is the only team I did not score against in the top six this season, so I will try,” he added.

Mohamed Salah – Press courtesy image Mohamed Salah official Twitter account

Salah succeeded inscoring 7 goals against all his Premier League’s opponents; Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham. But it seems that Salah is not satisfied yet.

“I try to look for a goal in any game I play. I thought already about that and I'm very excited to play in that game because this is the only team in the top six I didn't score against; only Manchester United,” Salah concluded.

The Egyptian has 24 goals in 28 Premier League matches and will try to put his numbers up against Mourinho, who already had him under his orders between January 2014 and the same month in 2015. They were complicated months because the winger was never in the Portuguese coach’s plans.

3/10/2018 9:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Kovacic left the door open for a possible return to Italy]]>Inter, where he played two and a half seasons before transferring to Real Madrid, sent a scout last Tuesday to the Parc des Princes to follow the Croatian, AC Milan are also interested.

Croatian publication Premium Sport asked him about a possible return to Italy: "I do not know, it's hard to talk about a return to Milan at the moment, I loved Italy and Milan, you never know,"

Kovacic also spoke about the match against Paris St. Germain: "We played a great game, this team changes in the Champions League, we made a great effort and we are happy, Cristiano Ronaldo, he's incredible, you give him a chance and he gets it".

On his situation at the white team, he commented: "It's hard to stay on the bench, but I'm ready for all the games, I played and won today."
3/10/2018 7:00:00 AM