Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs have both released their matchday squads that will face off in a league match at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday November 18.

The Gunners hold the advantage in the head-to-head stats, with 80 victories compared to Tottenham’s 62, but Spurs are the team currently in the ascendancy with Mauricio Pochettino’s men three places above their rivals.

Arsenal, who have not won any of their last four meetings with Spurs, have won all five of their home league games this season – keeping three clean sheets during that run.

Arsenal starting XI: Cech; Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Lacazette, Alexis

Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Wilshere, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin.

Tottenham starting XI: Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Davies, Dembele; Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele; Kane

Subs: Vorm, Son, Llorente, Foyth, Aurier, Winks, Walker-Peters.

Comment

Regal Hotels Cup of Nations hosts Hong Kong have made known their squad that will tackle Kenya in the final round of the tournament slated for Saturday November 18 at 12pm EAT at the King’s Park Grounds.

The match is a must win for both sides, Hong Kong having lost to Russia in the opening round before recording a win over Chile while Kenya have lost both of their matches to Chile and Russia respectively.

Below is how Hong Kong will line up for Saturday’s game:

HONG KONG

1 Dan Barlow, 2 Dayne Jans 3 Dylan Rogers, 4 James Cunningham, 5 Kyle Sullivan, 6 Nick Hewson O, 7 Tony Fenin, 8 Thomas Lamboley, 9Jamie Hood, 10 Matt Rosslee, 11 Conor Hartley, 12 Lex Kaleca, 13 Tyler Spitz,14 Yiu Kam Shing , 15 Jack Neville

Replacements: 16 Ben Roberts, 17 Benjamin Higgins, 18 Callum SmithAdam, 19 Adrian Griffiths, 20 Kane Boucaut, 21 Max Denmark, 22Cado Lee, 23 Ally Maclay

 

Comment

Following a one-week FIFA international break, the Barclays Premier League resumes this weekend and a total of ten matches are on the cards.

After losing 3-1 to Manchester City in their last match, Arsenal have a difficult task in their quest to return back to winning ways when they host North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday November 18 in an early kick off from 14:30.

The match will then be followed by six games which all start at 17:00. Among them, Leicester City will be seeking to inflict a first loss to leaders Manchester City while

Liverpool hunt for their second successive victory when the tackle Southampton at home. The last match of Saturday will see Manchester United face Newcastle United at the Old Trafford.

Below are all weekend matches (All times are in EAT)

Saturday 18th November

Arsenal 14:30 Tottenham Hotspur

AFC Bournemouth 17:00 Huddersfield Town

Burnley 17:00 Swansea City

Crystal Palace 17:00 Everton

Leicester City 17:00 Manchester City

Liverpool 17:00 Southampton

West Bromwich Albion 17:00 Chelsea

Manchester United 19:30 Newcastle United

Sunday 19th November

Watford 18:00 West Ham United

Monday 20th November

Brighton & Hove Albion 20:00 Stoke City

Comment

After a one-week FIFA international break, the Spanish Laliga resumes this weekend with a total of ten games scheduled to be played from Friday November 17 to Monday November 20.

The highlight of the weekend will however be between defending champions Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid which is slated for Saturday at 21:45 EAT. Real, who started the season on the wrong footing, are eager to catch up with leaders Barcelona who have distanced them with eight points. Ls Blancos are third while Atletico trail them closely in fourth.

Below are all Laliga weekend fixtures (All times are in EAT)

Friday 17th November

Girona 22:00 Real Sociedad

Saturday 18th November

Getafe 14:00 Alavés

Leganés 17:15 Barcelona

Sevilla 19:30 Celta Vigo

Atlético 21:45 Real Madrid

Sunday 19th November

Malaga 13:00 Deportivo La Coruña

Espanyol 17:15 Valencia

Las Palmas 19:30 Levante

Athletic Bilbao 21:45 Villarreal

Monday 20th November

Eibar 22:00 Real Betis

Comment

The German Bundesliga makes a return following a one-week FIFA international break. Nine matches have been lined up for this weekend and will be played from Friday November 17 to Sunday November 19.

Below are all fixtures (All times are in EAT)

Friday 17th November
VfB Stuttgart 21:30 Borussia Dortmund

Saturday 18th November

Mainz 05 16:30 1. FC Köln

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 16:30 RB Leipzig

Bayern Munich 16:30 FC Augsburg

1899 Hoffenheim 16:30 Eintracht Frankfurt

VfL Wolfsburg 16:30 SC Freiburg

Hertha Berlin 19:30 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Sunday 19th November

FC Schalke 04 16:30 Hamburg SV

Werder Bremen 19:00 Hannover 96

Comment

A 30-man training squad for Namibia has been named to start preparations immediately in readiness for the upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships set to be held in Zambia from December 6-16.

The Young Brave Warriors have been selected from clubs across the country and beyond, with South Africa-based forward Leonard Tuhafeni, who plays for University of Pretoria, also called to the team.

Namibia have been drawn in Group C at the regional showpiece tournament along with Angola, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Only the top team in each pool advances to the semifinals, along with the best runner-up.

Namibia begin their campaign with a fixture against the Angolans on December 6 at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe.
Namibia have a solid history in the competition and were in many ways the surprise-package of the 2010 COSAFA Under-20 Championships, making it all the way to the final before losing out to Zambia.

Namibia training squad:

Goalkeepers: Calvin Spiegel (Chief Santos) Josef Philipus (Otjiwarongo FC) and Vipua Tjimune (African Stars).

Defenders: Lubeni Haukongo and Aprocius Petrus (Eleven Arrows), Stanley Ndjavera (Tura Magic), Eric Naobeb (Eastern Chiefs), Ronny Hangala (Oshikoto region), Romario Hawiseb (Unam), Paul Kotjipati (Otjozondjupa), Migeri Hubert (Life Fighters), Peter Nampolo (Khomas), Johannes Hollambach (Chief Santos).

Midfielders: Venovineja Tjikundi and George Hummel (Unam), Anthony Kham, Marciano January and Rivaldo Festus (Eleven Arrows), Augustinus Hobexab (Eastern Chiefs), Jimmy Ulrich (Khomas), Ronaldo Zaahl (Kaizen Football Academy).

Forwards: Godwin Awaseb, Eldery Morgan and Enzo Mungendje (Tura Magic), Leonard Tuhafeni (University of Pretoria), Daniel Kamanya (Omusati) and Isaskar Gurirab (Eleven Arrows).

Comment

Malawi coach Ronny Van Geneugden has named a total of 28 players as part an extended training squad that will hit training in preparation for the upcoming 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships to be held in Zambia from December 6 to December 16.

Malawi have been drawn in Group A at this year’s regional showpiece competition along with hosts Zambia, Swaziland and East African guest nation Uganda.

They will play the opening game of the competition against the Swazis on December 6 at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe. Malawi finished a credible fourth in the COSAFA Under-20 Championships tournament in Botswana in 2011 having not played in the previous two installments of the competition, and then did not appear again in 2013.


Malawi training squad:

Goalkeepers: Charles Thom (Dwangwa United FC), Christopher Mikuwa (Blantyre United FC), Hastings Banda (Fish Eagles FC), Patrick Njolomole (Silver Strikers FC)
Defenders: Nixon Nyasulu (NMC Big Bullets Reserve FC), Kondwani Mwaila (Silver Strikers FC), Ben Manyozo (Dwangwa United FC), Haji Wali (Silver Strikers FC), Timothy Silwimba (Mzuni FC), Precious Sambani (Be Forward Wanderers FC), Kelvin Kadzinje (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Sydney Chambulika (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Charles Petro (Premier Bet Wizards FC)

Midfielders and Strikers: Gregory Machipo (Blue Eagles FC), Chimwemwe Idana (NMC Big Bullets Reserve FC), Mike Mkwate (NMC Big Bullets FC), Frank Mulimanjara (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Misheck Botomani (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Patrick Phiri (Premier Bet Wizards FC), Peter Banda (Griffin Young Stars FC), Francisco Madinga (Be Forward Wanderers), Levison Maganizo (Silver Strikers FC), Abel Mwakilama (Chitipa United FC), Ronald Pangani (Silver Strikers FC), Maxwell Daud (Griffin Young Stars FC), Aziel Johnson (St Benedicts, USA), Ernest Petro (NMC Big Bullets), Clement Bindula (Masters Security Services Reserve)

Comment

Hosts and holders Zambia will have to contend with a tricky first round group at the 2017 COSAFA Under-20 Championships after the draw for the pool stage was conducted in Johannesburg on Thursday November 9, 2017

African champions Zambia will take on Swaziland, East African guest nation Uganda and Malawi, with just the top team assured of a place in the semifinals.

The Young Chipolopolo will meet the Ugandans in their tournament opener at the Arthur Davies Stadium in Kitwe on December 6.

The regional showpiece competition will get under way earlier in the day when Swaziland take on Malawi.

The Group of Death in this year’s tournament appears to be Group B as last year’s runners-up South Africa must contend with North African guests Egypt, Mozambique and Mauritius.

Group C will also be a tough one to call with Angola, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe vying for top spot.

The top teams in each pool advance to the semifinals along with the best-placed runner-up.

Matches will be played at the Arthur Davies and Nkana stadiums in Kitwe. Angola will also be in action on the opening day against Namibia.

The group stage will be completed on December 12, followed by a rest day, with the semifinals to be staged at the Arthur Davies Stadium on December 14.

The third-place play-off and the final will move to the Levy Mwanawasa in Ndola on December 16.


 2017 COSAFA UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIPS DRAW

Group A
 Zambia
 Swaziland
 Uganda
 Malawi

Group B
 South Africa
 Egypt
 Mozambique
 Mauritius

Group C
 Angola
 Lesotho
 Namibia
 Zimbabwe

Comment

Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Ruben Loftus-Cheek is suffering from a back spasm but said Crystal Palace could welcome Christian Benteke back from injury in time to face Everton this weekend.

Loftus-Cheek was forced off in the 35th minute of England's friendly against Brazil on Tuesday with a back injury, days after he put in a man of the match performance on his Three Lions debut against Germany at Wembley.

The 21-year-old midfielder subsequently missed training on Thursday as he recovered from his back injury by exercising in the pool, and will continue to be assessed to determine whether he can play any part in Palace's home clash with Everton on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Hodgson said: "We're assessing Ruben, that's the main thing. He didn't train today. But it's a back spasm - so there's a hope that will get better."

Hodgson, meanwhile, revealed that striker Benteke has returned to training and could play against the Toffees at Selhurst Park.

The Belgian has been sidelined with ligament damage since the 5-0 loss away to league leaders Manchester City on 23 September, but Hodgson said: "Christian Benteke trained in the week.

"I don't think it'll be a risk playing Christian [against Everton]."

Comment

Russia will be the lowest-ranked team in the draw for the World Cup they are hosting after Peru sealed the last qualifying spot.

FIFA uses its October rankings for the December 1 draw in Moscow, which means No. 65 Russia are two places below Saudi Arabia, who will be lowest-ranked nation in the pot of fourth-seeded teams.

Despite the rankings, Russia will be the top seed in Group A - the status FIFA gives all World Cup host nations

The No. 10-ranked Peru clinched the last place in the 32-team tournament when they beat No. 122 New Zealand in an intercontinental playoff late Wednesday in Lima.

Peru's win pushed No. 38 Serbia down into the fourth-seeded pot as a dangerous outlier. Serbia are likely to be drawn in a tough group with Brazil or Argentina, the only top-seeded teams from outside Europe.

FIFA limits each of the four-team groups to a maximum of two European teams. No two teams from any other continental confederation can be drawn together.

Potentially tough draws could group Brazil, Spain, Egypt and Serbia, and Germany with England, Costa Rica and Nigeria.

FIFA has changed how it allocates teams in the draw and now uses rankings alone for all four pots. At previous World Cups, only pot 1 was for seeded teams, and the other three pots were decided by a geographical spread.

Russia will play the tournament opener on June 14. The 2018 World Cup final will be held on July 15. Both showpiece games are at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

World Cup draw seedings (FIFA ranking in October):

Pot 1: Russia (65), Germany (1), Brazil (2), Portugal (3), Argentina (4), Belgium (5), Poland (6), France (7).

Pot 2: Spain (8), Peru (10), Switzerland (11), England (12), Colombia (13), Mexico (16), Uruguay (17), Croatia (18).

Pot 3: Denmark (19), Iceland (21), Costa Rica (22), Sweden (25), Tunisia (28), Egypt (30), Senegal (32), Iran (34).

Pot 4: Serbia (38), Nigeria (41), Australia (43), Japan (44), Morocco (48), Panama (49), South Korea (62), Saudi Arabia (63).

Comment

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes that England have the right set of players to win next year’s World Cup, which will be held in Russia.

Speaking to Sky Sports,  the Portugese said,"I think England must have a chance because the players are really good," said the Manchester United boss. "There's a great generation of players at different ages and with different qualities.

"They have good experience at club level, playing in the Premier League and plenty of them play in the Champions League too.

"England have great potential to do something important," The Portuguese added

He however warned them not to be too complacent, as there are several other countries who are also strong competitors for the global showpiece.

"In South America there are a couple of important teams, in Europe the same three or four so I can't believe next summer we will have a huge surprise,’’ said the 54 year-old.

England continued preparations for the finals in 2018 with goalless draws against champions Germany and five-time winners Brazil at Wembley. Up next for them are friendlies against Netherlands and Italy scheduled for March 2018.

Comment

PERU secured the final place at next summer’s World Cup with victory over New Zealand in their inter-confederation playoff.

Peru won 2-0 with goals from Jefferson Farfan and Christian Ramos after a goalless draw in the first leg.

The Peruvians, who last went to the World Cup finals in 1982, celebrated with incredible scenes when the final whistle went and were guaranteed a day to recover after the government promised a national holiday.

"This is a dream come true and now it is time to celebrate," Christian Cueva, the gifted left winger who had a hand in creating both goals, told reporters as the players completed a boisterous lap of honour.

Peru got their noses in front on 27 minutes when Farfan hammered home a fierce rising shot from just inside the penalty area to complete a sweeping counter-attack.

The home side could have scored more but an early drive from Luis Advincula hit the woodwork and All Whites keeper Stefan Marinovic did well to stop a bending drive from Miguel Trauco and then get a hand to Farfan's shot from the rebound.

New Zealand brought on Chris Wood at halftime in search of a vital away goal and a series of long balls to the towering Burnley striker managed to put Peru on the back foot in the early stages of the second period.

However, the Kiwis could not make their temporary control of the contest count and Ramos doubled Peru's lead after 64 minutes when he seized on a loose ball from a corner kick and lashed it into the roof of the net from close range.
"Now we have to keep working and prepare for the finals."
The result extended Peru's unbeaten run to 10 games, their longest such streak in 75 years.

"Mission accomplished, thank you," Ricardo Gareca, Peru's Argentine coach said after the game. "We have managed something very important for the country. I am very emotional."

The South Americans are 10th in the latest FIFA rankings and will go into the second group of seeds when the draw for next year's tournament takes place in Moscow on Dec. 1.

 

Comment

Djibouti and Gabon will not take part in the 2020 edition of the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) following their suspension by the Confederation of African Football (CAF).

This is following the duo’s withdrawal from their respective qualifiers of this year’s tournament.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 59 of the regulations of the Total African Nations Championship, the Organising Committee at its meeting on Wednesday November 15 2017, in Rabat, decided to suspend the two from participating in next edition scheduled for 2020.

Few days prior to their qualifier against Equatorial Guinea, specifically 5 August 2017, the Gabon Football Federation sent a letter of withdrawal from the competition. On the other hand, the Djibouti Football Federation also communicated its withdrawal on 17 July 2017.

Article 59 states that: “Any association declaring forfeit after the start of the matches is liable to a fine of ten thousand (10,000) US dollars. It will also not be allowed to participate in the next edition of the CHAN”.

For withdrawing after playing in the first leg of the qualifiers against Ethiopia, there is a further sanction for Djibouti in accordance with Article 62 of the regulation which states that: “Any team that withdraws or refuses to play the return match after having played the first leg on its own territory must refund the association of the visiting team a minimum sum of ten thousand (10,000) US dollars in repair for the damage suffered by the host country”.

By that, the Organising Committee has sanctioned the Djibouti Football Federation to pay the sum of ten thousand (10,000) US dollars to the Ethiopia Football Federation.

Comment

England manager Gareth Southgate 'will not hesitate' to throw Dominic Solanke, Lewis Cook and Angus Gunn into action against Brazil.

The young trio have been drafted in for Tuesday's glamour friendly at Wembley and, after handing five players a senior bow in Friday's encouraging goalless draw against world champions Germany, Southgate is again open to giving youth a chance.

'It's a very easy squad to settle in to,' the Three Lions boss said at a press conference in London. 

'The senior players are very open, very welcoming. Most of the squad are young anyway so know each other from younger age groups.

'Those (three new) guys have fitted in off the field no problem which helps them to fit in on the field - and they're good players, so in training they look fine.

'We have to see how the game progresses but I won't have any hesitation in putting them on the pitch.

'Angus has worked with the under-21s with us, he's playing in the league. The other two - captain of the Under-20 World Cup winners (Cook) and Golden Boot winner in the Under-20s World Cup (Solanke). 

'They've got good pedigree, and we won't hesitate to put them on the pitch.'

 

 

Comment

Thiago Alcantara insists he is very happy at Bayern Munich but has refused to rule out returning to Barcelona in the future.

 The Spain international left Barcelona to join Bayern in 2013 and many believe the La Liga giants were wrong to let the 26-year-old leave.

 Thiago has established himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe since making the move to Germany, but has not ruled out returning to the Camp Nou one day.

 “Barcelona will always be my home, I have great affection not only for the club but for the city too,” Thiago told Catalunya Radio, via Football Espana.

 “I am really happy at Bayern so I cannot say if I will definitely return but football changes a lot in a short space of time and anything can happen.

 “Last season I renewed my contract with Bayern but there is a possibility that the club and me differ in the directions we wish to take.

 “As a footballer, you can only look at the current season as it is so long and afterwards you reflect upon it and where you want to go from there but right now, I am happy at Bayern.”

Barcelona’s decision to sell Thiago has proved a costly one as they have spent more than £80m on new central midfielders since then and are still no closer to finding a natural heir to Andres Iniesta.

 Since the start of last season, Thiago has completed at least 16 more interceptions than any other Bundesliga player (141).

Comment

Morocco and Tunisia are the latest African countries to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, taking different routes on their way to being eligible in the global showpiece set for Russia.

Morocco booked their place thanks to a 2-0 victory over Ivory Coast 2-0 in Abidjan on Saturday November 11.  The Atlas Lions went into the match needing only a draw, but two goals in the space of five minutes from Fenerbahce's Nabil Dirar and Juventus' Medhi Benatia handed them victory as well as top spot in Group C of qualifying.

Dirar put the visitors ahead on 25 minutes when his cross from the right dropped into the Ivory Coast net. Benatia swiftly doubled the lead on the half-hour after he stabbed home a loose corner.

The result assured the North African country of a World Cup spot for the first time since 1998.

On their part, Tunisia found it hard against neighbours Libya and had to setle for a barren draw, but that was enough to see them first over the finishing line.

The two join Nigeria and Egypt, won their groups last month.

 

Comment

Rwanda scooped the final spot of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) despite being held to a 0-0 draw by a visiting Ethiopia side on Sunday November 12 in Kigali.

Rwanda booked the spot in the continental tournament thanks to a 3-2 aggregate, having overcome Ethiopia in a dramatic first leg encounter played in Addis Ababa a fortnight ago.

They now join fifteen other countries who will know their finals draw this Friday in a ceremony to be held in Rabat.

The bi-annual tournament will be held from January 12 to February 4th in Morocco's four cities; Agadir, Casablanca, Marrakech and Tangier.

Morocco replaced Kenya as the hosts following the latter's unpreparedness.

 Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Zambia complete the line-up.

 

Comment

Gareth Southgate has been buoyed by the emergence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Harry Winks, just months after expressing his concern about England's dearth of midfield options.

The Three Lions kicked off their World Cup-preparation friendlies against reigning champions Germany on Friday, when an inexperienced side made light of injury troubles in an entertaining 0-0 draw.

Loftus-Cheek was one of five players to make his debut against the world's top-ranked side and produced a man-of-the match display, just as Winks did when making his bow in last month's 1-0 qualifying win in Lithuania.

The 21-year-old midfielders offer an exciting glimpse of the future and improve midfield options that Southgate was bemoaning just months ago.

Asked if the assured debuts of Loftus-Cheek and currently injured Winks made him feel more positive about his options, the England manager said: 'Yeah, and I think the slightly different system opens up different possibilities.

'In the position Ruben played (against Germany), you could play Dele (Alli) there, you could play (Adam) Lallana there, so that different sort of profile of midfield player with a deeper one behind.

'I think we need the stability of the three behind that at the moment, but also all of those guys at the back use the ball well.

'At times it was difficult for them to press us because of the composure we showed and the system we played, so I think it was a brilliant experience for our players.'

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil lie in wait at Wembley on Tuesday, giving England another chance to hone the three-man back line against elite opposition.

'In the qualification games tactically you have got very few questions to answer and you've got the same problem to solve,' Southgate said.

'I haven't liked us in a 4-2-3-1. Our positional discipline with the ball has not been good.

'(On Friday night) we had to be tactically right with and without the ball. That's the nature of top games.

'I think the players have taken those concepts on really well. They're a bright group, they get it.

'But also we're asking them to not just go and play, but to think about what they're doing all the time - where do they need to press, how do they press, not just blindly going and chasing around the field and playing with their hearts.

'We've got to be a team that are switched on because against the very best if you get the pressing wrong then they'll carve you apart. It's happened a couple of times (against Germany).

'I think that's one of the most pleasing things of working with this group over a period of time. They're responding to that.

'I think they experience some of that with their clubs as well and (against Germany) a very young team - I think in the end, by the time we made the changes, five debutants - really took those things on board well.'

Southgate knows 'we've still loads we can get better at' but believes their display against Germany offered encouragement to England fans, as did the new faces given a run-out.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford produced a string of fine saves on an impressive first senior appearance, but Joe Hart will be between the sticks when Brazil visit on Tuesday after Jack Butland's broken finger caused a re-think.

'It was just a straightforward goalkeeping drill, nothing out of the ordinary and just caught his finger awkwardly,' Southgate said, having confirmed England Under-21s goalkeeper Angus Gunn will join the seniors for the first time.

'We would have played Jack in the game against Brazil. We were always going to play Jordan (on Friday night), but we'll now play Joe on Tuesday.

 

 

Comment

Yacine Brahimi won and converted a harshly-awarded late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw for Algeria against already-qualified Nigeria Friday in a World Cup Africa zone Group B dead-rubber.

The Gabonese referee ruled that Abdullahi Shehu fouled Brahimi as he moved into the box in Constantine, but big-screen replays suggested otherwise.

Porto midfielder Brahimi was lucky to still be on the field after escaping with a yellow card for head-butting Shehu 12 minutes from time.

Nigeria went ahead on 62 minutes when John Ogu pounced on a weak clearance by Aissa Mandi and rifled the ball past Faouzi Chaouchi into the roof of the net.

A heated second half that threatened to get out of control at times gave the crowd some cheer after a woeful opening 45 minutes in which Algeria did not have a shot on target.

The final-round qualifier marked the start of a third spell as Algeria coach for 1987 African Footballer of the Year Rabah Madjer.

He would have been disappointed with some of the chances wasted by the "Desert Foxes" with Mandi and Islam Slimani missing second-half "sitters".

The stalemate meant Nigeria finished unbeaten and Algeria winless in the "group of death", which will be completed Saturday when second-place Zambia host Cameroon in Ndola. 

Nigeria finished with 14 points, Zambia have seven, Cameroon six, and Algeria just two from a bitterly disappointing campaign after reaching the

last-16 of the 2014 World Cup.

Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic quit soon after the extra-time loss to eventual champions Germany in Brazil, complaining of continuous media criticism.

Madjer is the fifth coach to be put in full-time charge since after Frenchman Christian Gourcoff, Serb Milovan Rajevac, Belgian Georges Leekens and Spaniard Lucas Alcaraz.

 

Algerian Nabil Neghiz had a short spell as caretaker coach of a team that has plummeted from first to 13th in the FIFA Africa rankings.

Comment

English Premier League pair Diafra Sakho and Sadio Mane played key roles as Senegal defeated South Africa 2-0 in Polokwane Friday to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

West Ham striker Sakho opened the scoring off a pass from Liverpool attacker Mane and both were involved in the move that led to a Thamsanqa Mkhize own-goal before half-time.

Victory gave Senegal an uncatchable five-point lead over Burkina Faso and Cape Verde in Group D with one round left.

The only previous World Cup appearance by Senegal was in 2002 when current coach Aliou Cisse captained a team that reached the quarter-finals in South Korea and Japan.

Bottom-of-the-table South Africa lie seven ponts behind Senegal ahead of a return match in Dakar next Tuesday, with Burkina Faso hosting Cape Verde at the same time.

South Africa defeated Senegal 2-1 in Polokwane last November, but FIFA ordered a replay because of "match manipulation" by Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey, who was banned for life. 

"It was not an easy game for us, but we took the chances that came our way," said Mane, who returned to Premier League action last Saturday after a hamstring injury.

"Our coach stressed before the match the importance of qualifying for the World Cup and we gave everything throughout the match.

"We are going to represent all of Africa in Russia next year and will do our best to make everyone proud."

Senegal are the third African qualifiers for the World Cup in Russia after Nigeria and Egypt, who secured places during the penultimate qualifying round last month.

The other two slots will be filled Saturday with north African countries Tunisia and Morocco needing draws to qualify.

Tunisia host out-of-contention Libya in Group A holding a three-point advantage over the Democratic Republic of Congo, who play Guinea in Kinshasa. 

Morocco are one point in front of the Ivory Coast ahead of a showdown in Abidjan with the visitors hoping to end a 20-year absence from the World Cup.

South Africa goalkeeper and captain Itumeleng Khune played with a protective white mask after fracturing a facial bone in a club match last weekend.

Senegal took the lead after 12 minutes when Sakho raced on to a Mane pass and side-footed the ball to the right of onrushing Khune.

Stung by falling behind so early, South Africa sought an equaliser and came close midway through the opening half at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye failed to grasp a fierce close-range Themba Zwane shot, but recovered to catch the rebound after the ball struck the onrushing Percy Tau.

South Africa came even closer soon after when Lebogang Manyama swept a low cross against the crossbar and Senegal hastily cleared the loose ball.

The Senegalese Teranga Lions doubled their lead after 38 minutes against the run of play with another goal involving Sakho and Mane.

Sakho broke clear and crossed to Mane, whose shot was blocked by Khune only for the clearance to hit Mkhize and trickled back into the net.

As half-time approached, Manyama went close again to scoring, this time from a free-kick that Ndiaye tipped over.

South Africa introduced midfielders Andile Jali and Siphiwe Tshabalala midway through the second half, but neither made an impact.

Comment

Patrice Evra was fired by Marseille on Friday after being suspended by UEFA for all remaining European games this season for kicking a fan of the French club.

The volatile defender was also fined 10,000 euros ($11,650) by UEFA.

The 36-year-old Evra got into a verbal argument with Marseille supporters before a Europa League match against Portuguese club Vitoria on Nov. 2. He then aimed a kick at the head of one of the Marseille fans before being ushered away by a teammate. The Frenchman was sent off before the game.

Shortly after UEFA banned Evra until June 30, 2018, from its club matches, Marseille said his contract was terminated with "immediate effect."

Evra committed an "irreparable" act by "responding to the disgraceful provocations of a handful of individuals," the club said on its website, adding the decision was taken by "mutual consent."

Marseille said it intended to punish fans for the type of misconduct they showed toward Evra, but did not specify whether it would punish those who insulted the former France defender.

Marseille is well-known for having a powerful fan base that can exert pressure on the club and players alike.

"There's a lot of sadness today. First of all for Patrice Evra, who has obviously understood all the consequences of his act and that he can no longer fulfill his passion (of playing) for Marseille," club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud said. "For Marseille fans, too, who are stigmatized by the irresponsible behavior from a handful of them."

Before last Sunday's home game against Caen, fans made it clear to Evra he was no longer welcome at the club, holding aloft two banners criticizing him at Stade Velodrome.

"This Game Is Over," read one banner in English, mocking Evra's regular posts on social media where he films himself talking about soccer and says "I love this game" as he breaks into laughter.

Marseille was also charged with invasion of the field by its fans, setting off fireworks, and acts of damage. It must pay Vitoria 25,000 euros ($29,000) within 30 days.

Evra, whose most successful spell as a player came at Manchester United and Juventus, lost his place at Marseille this season to Jordan Amavi. But Evra remained visible on Instagram videos, singing and having fun.

Evra has dropped out of contention for France: His 81st and last appearance was a year ago in a World Cup qualifier against Sweden.

Evra was captain of the 2010 World Cup squad but was blamed for being the orchestrator of a training-ground strike that shocked the nation. Evra received a five-game ban from the French Football Federation after returning from South Africa.

France coach Didier Deschamps was also his coach when Monaco reached the Champions League final in 2004, and picked Evra at last year's European Championship, where France lost in the final to Portugal.

"Decisions have been taken, I'm not here to judge them," Deschamps said. "He's in a very complicated situation, I wouldn't wish anyone to be in this situation."

 

Comment

Iran men's national football team, domestically known as Team Melli, has defeated Panama in a friendly fixture as part of preparations for the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup.

On Thursday evening, Team Melli put its abilities to the test before starting own campaign at the world championship of association football, and managed to beat Los Canaleros (The Canal Men) 2-1  at the end of a match staged in Graz, which is the second-largest city in Austria after the capital Vienna.

Iran started the match in a fairly dominant fashion, and took the lead in the 16th minute with a penalty from Ashkan Dejagah.

The Iranians were awarded the penalty after Panamanian defender Jan Carlos Vargas took a wild and sliding challenge on forward Karim Ansarifard.

Team Melli doubled its advantage three minutes later, when Saman Ghoddos finished off a swift break down the left.

In the 39th minute, Iranian defender Rouzbeh Cheshmi was harshly ruled to have fouled Panamanian midfielder Armando Cooper.

Gabriel Torres converted it, and pulled a goal back for Panama from the penalty spot to take the scores to 2-1 at full time.

On October 10, Russia held the Iran men’s national football team to a one-all draw in a FIFA World Cup warm-up match.

Team Melli defeated had defeated Togo’s Les Eperviers (The Sparrow Hawks) 2-0 in a fixture staged at Azadi Stadium in western Tehran five days earlier.

The Iran national football team defeated Uzbekistan 2-0 at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on June 12, and became the first Asian team - and the third squad after Brazil and hosts Russia - to secure its place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Sardar Azmoun opened the scoring for the host team in the 23rd minute.

Mehdi Taremi found the back of the net from inside the area in the 88th minute, and finished off the White Wolves.

This is the second time in a row that Team Melli has won the ticket for the FIFA World Cup finals under the tutelage of its 64-year-old Portuguese head coach Carlos Queiroz.

Comment

Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric opened the scores for his nation as Croatia cruised to a 4-1 win at home over Greece in the first leg of their World Cup play-off on Thursday November 9, 2017.

Croatia lined up a strong squad with Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic and Modric in midfield, with Ivan Perisic also starting. The hosts began the game taking control of the possession before breaking the deadlock in the 13th minute, skipper Modric slotting home from the spot to give his country an early lead.

Nikola Kalinic then doubled the lead with a neat finish six minutes later, but Greece responded later through captain Sokratis Papastathopoulos whose header pulled one back for the visitors.

Perisic however restored Croatia’s two-goal lead at break heading home the third to put his nation in driving seat in the play-off.

Andrej Kramaric then found the score sheet shortly after the break from close range to make the scores 4-1. The win ensured Croatia take a comfortable lead to the decisive away leg in Piraeus on Sunday.

A win or a draw would see them through. However, they can also proceed if they avoid a heavy defeat.

So far, no team has managed to qualify after losing the first leg of the play-off at home, while no team has come back from 4-1 defeat to qualify.

 

Comment

After being called up to the England squad for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, Burnley midfielder Jack Cork has conveyed his happiness in joining the senior national team.

The 28 year-old, who has played every minute of their Premier League campaign to date, was summoned following injuries to Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Jordan Henderson. 

"I'm really, really happy," he said.

"We've had a good start to the season and you're probably not going to get many better opportunities to be in the England squad, because we are doing so well.''

"Four or five of the lads in the Burnley squad probably could have got in at the same time as me, so I feel lucky that I've been given the chance."

Cork has represented England at every level from under-16 to under-21 and also represented Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics while playing for Southampton.

England host Germany at Wembley on Friday and then play Brazil at the same venue on 14 November.

 

England squad

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Joe Hart (West Ham - loan from Manchester City), Jordan Pickford (Everton).

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace - loan from Chelsea), Ashley Young (Manchester United), Jack Cork (Burnley).

Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Swansea - loan from Chelsea), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester).

 

Comment

Hours after being appointed as the new West Ham manager, David Moyes has stated that he has a point to prove at the club, who have of late been in bad form.

The 54-year-old Scotsman arrives with tremendous experience and pedigree, having managed in the Premier League for 14 seasons, with eight of the last nine ending in top eight finishes.

 The former Preston, Everton, Manchester United, Real Sociedad and Sunderland boss has been voted the League Managers’ Association Manager of the Year on three occasions, in 2003, 2005 and 2009, and won 10 Premier League Manager of the Month awards.

 “Yes, I think I do,” he said on the club’s official website. “I’ve managed five clubs since starting out nearly 20 years ago, starting at Preston and then going to Everton. My period at Manchester United is well documented and I then did something I have always wanted to do by experiencing management abroad, with Real Sociedad.

“It’s only been the last job where I feel it wasn’t a good move and I didn’t enjoy the experience. So I’m hungry to make sure I get things right now. I don’t know any manager who hasn’t gone through negative periods, especially in the game today. I hope it gives me great strength and understanding of what is required.

“The focus here is purely between now and the end of the season. The first thing is to win the next game and build from there, and I’m sure we will be in a much stronger position before long.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting the supporters and being in the stadium with them,” Moyes also said in an interview published on the club’s Twitter feed.

“I’m looking forward to seeing them get right behind the team, and my team also. We need the support, we need everybody with us. It’s a big job we have in hand now but I’m sure with everybody together we can get the right results between now and the end of the season.”

Moyes replaces Slaven Bilic, who was sacked by the club after the 4-1 defeat to Liverpool.

 

Comment

The political manoeuvrings behind the scenes at Chelsea have taken another twist after Michael Emenalo chose to end his 10-year association with the Premier League champions by tendering his resignation as the club’s technical director.

Emenalo, who joined the club as an opposition scout under Avram Grant before progressing up the hierarchy to become a member of the football club board, was one of Roman Abramovich’s most trusted lieutenants at Stamford Bridge, with his decision to quit a blow to the owner. The 52-year-old had attended the midweek defeat by Roma and Sunday’s victory over Manchester United, shaking hands with the players as they departed the turf at the end, but is understood to have made clear his decision to leave on Monday morning. Chelsea’s chairman, Bruce Buck, said Emenalo’s resignation had been accepted “with regret”.

Emenalo, a former Notts County and Nigeria defender, who earned 14 caps, had slapped Antonio Conte on the back near the mouth of the tunnel as he celebrated that win over United, albeit the technical director was not acknowledged by the Italian. Emenalo, who secured his Uefa Pro Licence this summer, had of late been broadly supportive of Conte, whom he had helped to appoint in the summer of 2016, despite pressure mounting on the head coach. However, the mooted power struggle behind the scenes, apparently born of differences of opinion over recruitment between Conte and the influential director Marina Granovskaia, had taken its toll.

The club endured a difficult summer transfer window, losing out in the pursuit of their former forward Romelu Lukaku, when he chose to join Manchester United from Everton. Other moves, for players such as Alex Sandro at Juventus, came to nothing while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain preferred to move to Liverpool and Ross Barkley opted to remain at Everton, with tension mounting between Conte, Granvoskaia and Emenalo.

The latter, whose duties included leading the club’s international and domestic scouting network, is believed to have been uncomfortable to be involved in a three-way power struggle. It has been suggested he may now pursue a similar role at Monaco. Vitesse Arnhem, who have a close relationship with Chelsea, also lost their technical director on Monday after Mo Allach opted to move to Maccabi Haifa with the head scout, Marc van Hintum, stepping in on a temporary basis.

“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but one I believe is right for both myself and my family, and the club,” Emenalo said. “I have had the privilege to work alongside some of the most talented people in the world of sport over the past 10 years, and I will depart incredibly proud of the achievements we have made. I wish Chelsea every success and look forward to following the club’s future triumphs from afar.”

Emenalo’s decade at Stamford Bridge coincided with the club claiming three Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Europa League and, in 2012, the Champions League while 10 managers have come and gone. The 52-year-old oversaw the technical programmes of the club’s academy and international youth network, helping to instigate a policy of loaning young players out to gain first-team football at home and abroad – they have 38 out on short-term deals – with two of their loanees, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham, having linked up with the full England squad on Monday.

Abramovich, who was not at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, did visit the club’s Cobham training ground the previous week after the 1-0 victory against Bournemouth to watch Conte put his players through their paces. He is likely to have spoken to Emenalo, whose office is opposite the head coach’s at the training complex.

Granovskaia said: “We are extremely grateful to Michael for his tireless work over the past 10 years. He has played an important role during the most successful period in the club’s history, helping make Chelsea the club it is today. We will now be reviewing our management structure, and Michael will be a part of that process as we look ahead.” Chelsea are expected to seek to appoint a replacement.''

Emenalo joined the club in October 2007 and worked as an opposition scout under Grant – for whom he had played at Maccabi Tel Aviv – and assistant first-team coach with Carlo Ancelotti, replacing the popular but sacked Ray Wilkins. He was promoted to the role of technical director in 2011 with a heavy input into recruitment. The champions have signed the likes of Eden Hazard, César Azpilicueta, Kevin De Bruyne and Lukaku in the period since, with the last two later sold having struggled to make an impact under José Mourinho.

Some of the less successful signings with which he was associated included Papy Djilobodji, a surprise signing from Nantes who failed to make a Premier League appearance before being shipped on at a profit to Sunderland. Emenalo preferred to remain out of the limelight, though he did conduct an interview on the club’s in-house television channel on the day Mourinho was sacked in December 2015 in which he claimed there had been “palpable discord between the players and the manager”.

Reacting to Emenalo’s departure Conte said: “I am very sorry to see Michael leave Chelsea, and I would like to thank him for all his help and support since I arrived at this club. I have enjoyed working with him very much, we celebrated a Premier League title together in May, and I wish him the very best for the future.”

 

Comment

Tottenham defender Serge Aurier has claimed he came close to securing a move to Barcelona in the summer.

The Ivory Coast right-back joined Spurs from PSG in the summer as a replacement for Kyle Walker but things could have been very different for the 24-year-old.

According to a report in Four Four Two, Tottenham were not Aurier’s first choice and he was in ‘very advanced negotiations’ to join the Catalan giants before they decided against the switch due to the player’s reputation.

“I think my reputation made four or five big European sides afraid,” Aurier told French news association Canal Plus.

“I was negotiating with Barcelona, very advanced negotiations. And Barcelona’s people were not sure if I came here things would be different.”

Barca, however, tell a different story and have denied that a meeting with the defender ever took place.

“We never sat down with the player or his representative, they wanted to sit down with us but we never did anything,” a Barcelona spokesperson said.

Aurier, who has had on and off field issues, has had a mixed life to start in north London but seems to have earned the trust of Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettinho, who has rotated the Ivory Coast star with Kieran Trippier so far this season.

“It was the right choice (to leave),’ Aurier added. “After a while, I did not feel comfortable with the media.

“For me, it was never going to end. After a while, I felt like a prisoner, with a camera on my back.

“By staying in France, I would have never washed this image.”

Comment

Telecommunication giants Airtel Uganda have renewed their sponsorship deal as the main sponsors of Uganda Cranes.

This comes shortly after the expiration of the initial pact that had been signed on October 23rd, 2013 to last for four years. The new four year, Ugshs 10 Billion deal is an improvement of the previous one which totaled  Uganda shillings 4 billion, of which 3.8 billion was channeled to the Uganda Cranes and the other 400 million for two domestic competitions; the Uganda Cup and the FUFA Big league.

In an unveiling ceremony held on Monday morning at the Kampala Serena hotel, new Airtel Uganda Managing Director VG Somasekhar stated that the company is committed to continue supporting  the development of Ugandan football right from the grassroots community level.

Other projects being sponsored by the telecommunication firm in the country include the famous Airtel Rising Stars (ARS) programme, Buganda Masaza cup, Kabaka birthday run and a couple of other sports.

 

 

 

Comment

Aduana Stars have been officially crowned Ghana League champions for the 2016/2017 season.

Formed in 1985, they beat regional rivals, Berekum Chelsea 2-1 in a coronation match on Sunday, 5 November 2017 at their favourite grounds, Nana Agyemang Badu II Park in Dormaa.

Aduana, promoted to the Ghanaian top flight in 2010, finished the league with 57 points, six more than second place West African Football Academy. Former African champions’ Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko finished third and fifth on 48 and 43 points respectively. This is the second time Aduana have won the Ghana Premier League, the first in their maiden season in the Ghanaian topflight in 2010, then under the guidance of coach Herbert Addo, who passed away few months ago.

For their prize, they received the glittering trophy as well as $30,000 prize-money.

The Dormaa-based club will also represent Ghana in next year’s Total CAF Champions League whilst FA Cup winners, Asante Kotoko play in the Total CAF Confederation Cup.

Comment

Visiting Rwanda came from behind to beat Ethiopia 3-2 in the Total African Nations Championship (CHAN) Morocco 2018 qualifier playoff first leg on Sunday, 5 November 2017 in Addis Ababa.

Comment

Slaven Bilic has been sacked as West Ham manager with the team in the Premier League relegation zone. Bilic's last game in charge was Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Liverpool at London Stadium.

Comment

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has given his thoughts on Antonio Conte's apparent handshake snub following Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday November 5, insisting that he would not chasing for the handshake.

Alvaro Morata's stunning second-half header sealed the win for Chelsea, which consequently ended the striker's six-game goal drought.

"You want me to go and chase him in the middle of the pitch? I was there,'' said Mourinho after the match.

"I shook hands with the people who were there. I think one of them was his brother, the assistant, so I feel that, by shaking the hands of his brother and the other assistants, I did my duty. I cannot go and run to chase him," he added.

On his part, When Conte downplayed the incident, saying that respect is more important on the pitch than outside. "It’s not important. It’s important to win the game. ‘You have to have the respect on the pitch not outside the pitch.''

 

 

 

Comment

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was left fuming at referee Michael Oliver's decisions as his side fell 3-1 to Manchester City on Sunday November 5 at the Etihad Stadium.

The Gunners went conceded the first goal in the 19th minute, Kevin de Bruyne slotting home a low finish from the right flank to take the hosts ahead. Oliver then awarded a penalty to City following Nacho Monreal's challenge on Raheem Sterling inside the box, which Sergio Aguero duly converted.

Substitute Alexander Lacazette pulled one back for the visitors before Gabriel Jesus added a third, which was contentious given that assist maker David Silva appeared to be in an offside position.

It is the last two goals that left Wenger agitated, saying that the level of officiating in the league drops every season.

"I feel they don’t work enough," Wenger said.

"The referees don’t work enough because the level drops every season at the moment. Overall it’s unacceptable what has happened."

“The physical level is very good,” Wenger added. “But the decisions… the third goal, at 2-1 we are in the game, he gives a clear offside goal and of course that kills the game for us. Last year we conceded two offside goals as well. Of course they are a top team but on top of that it makes life difficult for you.”

The 68 year-old however acknowledged the intensity of the match, stating that both sides had dangerous situations to change the game.

 “It was an intense game of quality on both sides. “I thought Manchester City were on a high but I felt we had plenty of dangerous situations and chances and I would say overall once again the referee made the decision today. 

“With the soft penalty and the offside goal, but we are used to it when you come here. Last year we had two offside goals against us. And once again,” he lamented.

 

Comment

Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points with another emphatic win.

Pep Guardiola's side made it nine straight wins in the league with a convincing triumph over Arsenal, which took them further away from nearest pursuers Manchester United.

Goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero – who was honoured for becoming City's all-time leading scorer in midweek – and sub Gabriel Jesus gave City victory.

Sub Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for Arsenal in the 65 minute to make it 2-1 and give the visitors hope, but a goal from Jesus nine minutes later saw City seal the win.

Guardiola's side have now scored 38 goals in 11 games and are threatening to run away with the title, with the season less than a third of the way through.

Aguero, who went past former City striker Eric Brook on 178 goals in midweek, made it 179 with his side's second from the penalty spot, after Raheem Sterling was brought down.

Record-breaker Aguero was given a guard of honour made up of City legends before kick-off, to mark his historic achievement in becoming the club's all-time leading scorer.

 

Comment

Arsenal and Manchester City have both released their respective starting lineup that will face off in a Premier League match on Sunday November 5, 2017 at the Etihad Stadium.

For City, Gabriel Jesus starts on the bench on the bench with Sergio Aguero, who is a regular scorer against the Gunners leading the team upfront. Getting a rare start is midfield Fabian Delph.

Arsenal on the other side have rested Alexander Lacazette which means that Sanchez will be the main man upfront.

Below is the full team sheets:

Manchester City starting XI: Ederson, Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, Silva, De Bruyne, Sane, Sterling, Aguero.

Manchester City subs: Bravo, Danilo, Gundogan, Mangala, Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Toure.

Arsenal starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Monreal, Kolasinac, Ramsey, Coquelin, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez.

Arsenal subs: Macey, Debuchy, Elneny, Wilshere, Walcott, Lacazette, Giroud.

 

Comment

The German Bundesliga continues this weekend where all teams will be involved in the nine matches slated for between Friday November 3 and Sunday November 5.

The biggest match of the weekend will be the one pitting Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munchen, which will be played on Saturday from 19:30. A win of any kind for Dortmund will see them topple their rivals to settle at the top of the table standings. They are currently second with 20 points while Bayern sits at the helm with 23 points.

Below is a list of all weekend matches (All times are in EAT)  

FRIDAY 3RD NOVEMBER

Eintracht Frankfurt 22:30 Werder Bremen

SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER

Borussia Mönchengladbach 17:30 Mainz 05

FC Augsburg 17:30 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Hamburg SV 17:30 VfB Stuttgart

RB Leipzig 17:30 Hannover 96

SC Freiburg 17:30 FC Schalke 04

Borussia Dortmund 20:30 Bayern Munich

SUNDAY 5TH NOVEMBER

FC Köln 17:30 1899 Hoffenheim

VfL Wolfsburg 20:00 Hertha Berlin

Comment

The Spanish LaLiga enters its eleventh round this weekend, with ten matches scheduled to be played in different venues across Spain from Friday November 3 to Sunday November 5.

There will be only match on Friday where Real Betis invite Getafe from 22:00.

On Saturday, the early kick off will see second placed Valencia lock horns with Leganes from 14:00, before Deportivo clashes with Atletico while Espanyol visit Alaves. In the last match of the day, leaders Barcelona face a tricky test when they face Sevilla who are fifth on the log table.

Real Madrid have a chance to awaken their title defense on Sunday when they face Las Palmas at home from 22:45. Madrid are currently on an unused spell, having lost to Girona in the league and to Tottenham in the Champions League in a span of one week.

Below are all weekend LaLiga fixtures (All times are in EAT

FRIDAY 3RD NOVEMBER

Real Betis 23:00 Getafe

SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER

Valencia 43:00 Leganés

Deportivo La Coruña 18:15 Atlético Madrid

Alavés 20:30 Espanyol

Barcelona 22:45 Sevilla

SUNDAY 5TH NOVEMBER

Levante 14:00 Girona

Celta Vigo 18:15 Athletic Bilbao

Real Sociedad 20:30 Eibar

Villarreal 20:30 Malaga

Real Madrid 22:45 Las Palmas

Comment

The Barclays Premier League continues this weekend between Saturday November 4 and Sunday November 5, with a total of ten games scheduled to be played in those two days where all teams will be in action.

All eyes will be wide open on Sunday as Manchester City seek to preserve their unbeaten start when they host Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium from 17:15. City, who are top of the table, have won nine games and drawn one while Arsenal have six wins, one draw and three losses.

There will also be another mouth watering clash pitting defending champions Chelsea against Manchester United which will start at 18:30.

On Saturday, sixth placed Liverpool visit West Ham while Stoke City play host to Leicester City.

Below are all weekend fixtures (All times are in EAT)

SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER

Stoke City 15:30 Leicester City

Huddersfield Town 18:00 West Bromwich Albion

Newcastle United 18:00 AFC Bournemouth

Southampton 18:00 Burnley

Swansea City 18:00 Brighton & Hove Albion

West Ham United 20:30 Liverpool

SUNDAY 5TH NOVEMBER

Tottenham Hotspur 15:00 Crystal Palace

Manchester City 17:15 Arsenal

Chelsea 19:30 Manchester United

Everton 19:30 Watford

Comment

Juventus have been cleared of any wrongdoing over the transfer of Paul Pogba to Manchester United.

FIFA announced in May that they had requested information from both clubs on the then world-record transfer £89.3m (€105.2m) from the Serie A club in August 2016.

Football's world governing body then cleared United in June but opened proceedings against the Italian club after reports emerged that agent Mino Raiola made £41m from the transfer - an arrangement which would have breached third-party ownership rules.

However, FIFA has now confirmed no punishment will be handed down, with a spokesman telling Press Association Sport: "The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided to dismiss all charges against the club Juventus FC for the apparent infringements of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP) in the frame of the transfer of the player Paul Labile Pogba given that the evidence available was not sufficient to establish to the appropriate standard of proof, that article 18ter of the RSTP had been breached.

"The Disciplinary Committee nevertheless underlined the importance of always preserving the independence of clubs and players in recruitment and transfer-related matters in order to ensure the integrity of matches and competitions."

All international transfers must be authorised by FIFA, so Pogba's transfer was approved by FIFA last year using its International Transfer Matching System (TMS).

Comment

A hat-trick from Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster sent England into the Under-17 World Cup final with a 3-1 win over Brazil.

Steve Cooper's side weathered Kolkata's 29C heat and humidity, along with sustained pressure from their South American rivals, to book their place in Saturday's final.

Brewster took his chances clinically and was assisted by the impressive Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden as the Young Lions look to follow the U20s, who won their World Cup in June.

England will face either Mali or Spain, who play at 15:30 BST, in Saturday's final.

It took only 10 minutes for Brewster to get his first, latching onto an inch-perfect delivery from Chelsea's 16-year-old midfielder Callum Hudson-Odoi and finishing at the second attempt.

Flamengo defender Wesley capped a dominant response from Brazil with the equaliser after 21 minutes, and striker Brenner rolled a golden opportunity to put them ahead wide 15 minutes before the break.

But Brewster's second, taking him top of the tournament's goalscoring chart, sent England into half-time 2-1 up.

The 17-year-old completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes after a pin-point low cross from Foden and England kept their cool to withstand Brazil's late rally.

A hat-trick against the USA in the quarter-final followed by another in Wednesday's semi-final, made the 17-year-old the competition's top scorer.

His prolific form follows in the footsteps of Kelechi Iheanacho, now at Leicester City, who won player of the tournament at the 2013 U17s World Cup and narrowly missed out on the golden boot.

Iheanacho joined the Foxes from Manchester City for £25m this summer, but Liverpool will be unlikely to entertain the prospect of Brewster going anywhere - except Jurgen Klopp's first-team.

After being promoted from Liverpool's under-18s into the under-23s this season, the Londoner - who joined from Chelsea aged 15 - scored a hat-trick for the Reds' first team in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Accrington Stanley.

He also scored and made two assists for their under-23s against Leicester before earning his England call-up.

Klopp called the teenager a "natural striker" and few will disagree after his exploits in India.

Brewster will rightly grab the headlines with his second successive hat-trick, but it was Manchester City winger Foden who shone in the semi-final.

The 17-year-old already has an admirer in City boss Pep Guardiola, with the Spaniard calling Foden a "gift" after he impressed on the club's pre-season tour to the USA.

"It's a long time since I saw something like this," said Guardiola. "He's special."

Foden looked assured on the ball, completing a mature performance with skill and technique usually associated with England's South American opponents in the semi-final.

"His balance, his ability to go either right or left is absolutely brilliant to see in a young player," former England winger Trevor Sinclair told BBC Sport.

It was the Stockport-born wide man's low ball across the box that allowed Brewster to put the game beyond Brazil with his third, showing the sort of composure that has caught Guardiola's eye.

 

Comment

The FIFA Under-17 World Cup semifinal between Brazil and England was on Monday shifted from Guwahati to Kolkata due to poor pitch conditions in the North-Eastern city, a development which will cause inconvenience to the two teams.

The match, which was to be played at the Indira Gandhi stadium at the Assam capital, will be held as scheduled on 25 October but at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

"Following a thorough assessment of the pitch conditions at Guwahati's Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, which has been affected by severe rainfall over the past few days, FIFA has decided to move the venue of the semi-final between England and Brazil to Kolkata's Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, where the match will kick off at 17:00hrs," the FIFA said in a statement.

The change of venue will cause some inconvenience to the English and Brazillian teams as they had already landed in Guwahati. The two teams were also scheduled to have training sessions in Guwahati this evening.

The pitch at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium was severely affected during the quarterfinal match between Ghana and Mali on Saturday which was played under incessant rain. The Assam capital has been experiencing rain for the last four days, though it relented a bit on Monday.

Rain stopped after light showers in the morning but the ground has been significantly damaged. Ghana coach Samuel Fabian had said that the match should have been postponed and played on another date after his side lost to Mali 1-2.

"Despite the great efforts by all involved parties, including the authorities of Guwahati, to preserve the pitch, FIFA has taken this decision following consultations with both teams in order to safeguard the players' health and to ensure the best playing conditions," the FIFA added.

The second semi-final on 25 October, between Mali and Spain, will still kick off as planned at 2000 hrs at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Fans with a valid ticket for the semi-final originally planned to take place in Guwahati will be entitled for a refund.

All purchasable tickets for the rescheduled game in Kolkata will be priced at Rs 100 and made available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The original Guwahati ticket-holders would be required to carry online proof of purchase to the dedicated ticket counter for Guwahati customers, should they travel to Kolkata. These tickets have also been priced at Rs 100.

FIFA and the Local Organising Committee said it regretted that the match had to be shifted out of Guwahati.

"FIFA and the LOC regret that unforeseen circumstances have led to this decision, which will deprive football fans in Guwahati of this semi-final encounter. Both FIFA and the LOC would like to sincerely thank the city of Guwahati and the state government of Assam for their excellent cooperation throughout the competition.

 

Comment

Ronald Koeman has been sacked by Everton following a dismal run that has left the club third from bottom of the Premier League.

The Dutchman was hired on a £6m-a-year contract in June 2016 and led Everton to a seventh-placed finish in his only full season in charge. However, following an investment of almost £140m in players this summer, Everton’s form has nosedived.

Sunday’s 5-2 home defeat by Arsenal was Everton’s seventh loss in 11 matches in all competitions and signalled the end of the board’s patience in the former Southampton manager. Koeman was informed of the decision, taken by the major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, and the chairman, Bill Kenwright, on Monday morning. David Unsworth, the under-23s coach, is likely to take charge of the Carabao Cup tie at Chelsea on Wednesday.

A club statement read: “Everton can confirm that Ronald Koeman has left the club. Bill Kenwright, the board of directors and Farhad Moshiri would all like to express their gratitude to Ronald for the service he has given over the past 16 months and for guiding the club to seventh place in last season’s Premier League campaign.”

Everton failed to adequately replace Romelu Lukaku after the striker was sold to Manchester United this summer but the problems have run deeper.

Some £55m was spent on the goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and defender Michael Keane, yet Koeman’s team conceded 18 goals in nine league games and only bottom-placed Crystal Palace have a worse goal difference.

The most notable other purchases were of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Davy Klaassen for a total of almost £70m, yet neither has had the anticipated impact.

Comment

Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe has been named the 2017 European Golden Boy.

Comment

Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s future at the club was put in major doubt as the Toffees slumped to an embarrassing 5-2 loss against Arsenal in the Premier League fixture at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Despite taking the lead via Wayne Rooney’s fine strike in the 12th minute, the hosts were unable to build on their excellent start and allowed Arsenal to come back into the match.

Gunners defender Nacho Monreal struck an deserved equaliser five minutes before half-time and the momentum was firmly with Arsene Wenger’s side at the interval.

Post the break, Arsenal always looked like the side more likely to score and took the lead via a rapid counter attack. Arsenal’s ‘big front-three’-Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez-started together for the first time and the trio combined beautifully to give the Gunners the lead early in the second-half.

Lacazette held up the ball well before releasing Sanchez on the left wing. The Chilean looked up and delivered a pin-point cross for Ozil to head home in the 54th minute. ??Everton tried to rally but their exuberance backfired as Idrissa Gueye was sent off for a late challenge on Granit Xhaka. The central midfielder had been cautioned in the first-half and was was rightly given his marching orders by referee Craig Pawson.

Gueye’s sending-off proved to be the turning point in the game as Everton wilted under sustained pressure from Arsenal.

Lacazette finished off a flowing counter in the 74th minute to notch his first away goal of the season before Aaron Ramsey added a fourth in the 90th minute.

Everton substitute Oumar Niasse would pull one back for the hosts in the 93rd minute but then Sanchez would register his first and Arsenal’s fifth two minutes later to ensure the Gunners register their first away win of the Premier League season.

Arsenal are now level with defending champions Chelsea with 16 points, but are fifth due to their inferior goal difference. They still trail leaders Manchester City by nine points but will take heart from their win at Goodison Park and hope their flagging season can be given a sorely-needed jolt by Sunday’s triumph.

For Everton, it’s quite grim as the Toffees now drop to 18th place and are in the relegation zone. For a club that spent quite heavily in the summer, it’s not the ideal return their owners would have wanted and it remains to be seen whether the management keeps their faith in Koeman in the coming days.

Comment

Everton and Arsenal FC have announced their starting lineups that will face off in Round 9 of the Barclay Premier League on Sunday October 22 at the Goodison Park.

Everton look like they're lining up win a 3-4-3, with Williams, Keane and Jagielka all starting at centre-backs. Schneiderlin misses out with injury, while Calvert-Lewin gets the nod over Niasse up front.

or Arsenal, Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette start together for the first time, while Ramsey is back in central midfield alongside Xhaka, who remains in the team despite his dereliction of duty against Watford last week.  

Below is how the teams will line up for Sunday's clash.

Arsenal Starting XI: Cech, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Alexis, Lacazette.

Reserves: Macey, Holding, Coquelin, Wilshere, Iwobi, Walcott, Giroud.

Everton Starting XI: Pickford, Kenny, Baines, Williams, Jagielka (c), Keane, Gana, Vlasic, Sigurdsson, Rooney, Calvert-Lewin.

Reserves: Joel, Mirallas, Martina, Niasse, Klassen, Davies, Lookman

 

Comment

They gave everything to see it out. They were quick to the ball, strong in the challenge and absolutely determined not to let there to be a dramatic late twist. And, finally, Huddersfield Town could soak in the euphoria of a win against Manchester United, their first since March 1952, and one of those rare occasions when their supporters must have felt like the blood in their veins had been converted to red wine.

Comment

Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to score twice as Chelsea fought back from behind to win a six-goal thriller against Watford.

Chelsea were on the back foot for much of this contest at Stamford Bridge but two goals from Batshuayi, either side of an 87th-minute header from Cesar Azpilicueta, snatched the champions a much-needed 4-2 victory.

For a while, Chelsea looked on course for a third straight Premier League loss when Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra's goals put Watford 2-1 up before Batshuayi and then Azpilicueta instigated the turnaround. Batshuayi added his second in stoppage time.

Chelsea also had the officials to thank after Pedro's opener, a superb long-range strike, came from a corner that should not have been given.

That will be of little significance to Antonio Conte, however, whose relief was palpable when he celebrated Azpilicueta's goal by diving in amongst the Chelsea fans. This was his team's first victory in four matches in all competitions.

They were certainly flattered by the scoreline as Watford dominated for large spells and Marco Silva will rue his side's wasteful finishing. Richarlison squandered two excellent chances, the second of which would have put his team two to the good.

Chelsea's victory means they leapfrog Watford in the table, who started the game above their opponents in fourth.

Any early Chelsea nerves were settled by an opening goal that began with a large slice of fortune and ended with a brilliant long-range strike.

Assistant referee Andrew Halliday awarded a corner when the ball clearly came off Hazard's foot last and Chelsea took it quickly, Hazard playing to the edge of the box where Pedro whipped his shot first time off the far post and into the corner.

The champions were temporarily buoyant and Cesc Fabregas should have doubled their advantage when played through one-on-one soon after but his chipped finish plopped into the grateful hands of Heurelho Gomes.

For large parts of the first period, however, Watford were the ones in control and it was no more than they deserved when Doucoure equalised just before the break.

Jose Holebas trundled over from the opposite side of the pitch to launch a long throw into the box and while David Luiz met the header, the ball dropped down for Doucoure to drill in his fourth league goal of the season.

Watford came out all guns blazing and could have scored three in the first 10 minutes. Richarlison missed two sitters, one at the back post, which he side-footed wide and then another with his head, skewing past the far post from five yards.

That should have made it 3-1 because in between Pereyra made no mistake as this time Richarlison turned provider, receiving from Deeney and squaring to his unmarked teammate to steer past Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea were on the ropes but Watford failed to land a knockout blow and later paid the price.

Batshuayi, on for the booked Alvaro Morata, made the difference as he darted across Miguel Britos and headed Pedro's cross into the far corner to pull his side level with 21 minutes left. Chelsea now looked the more likely to snatch a late winner and Batshuayi almost grabbed it, only to fire over on the turn after a quick free kick from Fabregas.

But it came moments later. Willian, also off the bench, crossed and Christian Kabasele flicked to the back post where Azpilicueta was waiting to nod in. There was still time for a fourth in stoppage time as Britos conceded possession and Batshuayi pounced to round off the victory.

 

Comment

Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has predicted that he will knock out his opponent Carlos Takam in their fight in 8 days from now on October 28 at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

Comment

The Everton fan who appeared to try and strike a Lyon player could land his club a Uefa sanction, while Ashley Williams may face punishment too following the ugly scenes in Thursday’s Europa League tie.

Williams instigated a fracas in front of the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End midway through the second half at Goodison Park when he barged into Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

A melee involving players from both sides ensued and moved to the advertising hoardings, where one Toffees fan, who was holding a child with one arm, pushed Lopes in the head before hitting out at him again.

While that was occurring, Williams seemed to raise his hand to Lucas Tousart’s face, yet the only initial outcome of the skirmish was a booking for Everton’s captain-for-the-night and Lyon’s match-winner Bertrand Traore.

Speaking after the Toffees’ 2-1 loss, Williams told BT Sport 2 of the scuffle: “It’s what happens, it’s football. It is what it is.

“It’s high emotions. We want to win the game, they want to win the game and stuff happens. That was just one of those times.”

Yet retrospective action could be forthcoming from Uefa, for both Williams and the club, a possibility ex-Premier League referee Graham Poll deems likely.

“Ashley Williams and Everton will surely face further sanction from Uefa once video evidence is studied,” he said in the Daily Mail.

“Williams totally lost the plot.

“There were numerous players from both teams involved in the melee behind the Lyon goal and even a fan from the Everton section at the Gwladys Street End became involved — first pushing then appearing to aim a punch at a Lyon player.

“The fact that a couple of Everton backroom staff had to enter the field to calm Williams down showed how out of control the captain was and, while their intervention helped, they should not enter the field of play.

“The Uefa delegate and referee’s observer will have met with the official after the game and discussed their findings before submitting individual reports. Unless the referee ill-advisedly says he saw everything, sanctions really must follow.”

It was the referee, Bas Nijhuis, who under-fire Toffees manager Ronald Koeman blamed for his players losing their cool during a defeat which leaves them facing Europa League elimination having taken just one point from three games.

“I think the irritation grows in the game for our players and in my opinion that was the problem by the referee,” Koeman argued.

“The referee was Dutch but he didn’t do anything against the theatre of some of the Lyon players. (Nabil) Fekir in the first half dived 10 times.

“I understand with my players, that comes out of frustration.”

It compounded another miserable night for Everton and Koeman, who is under mounting pressure with his team having won just two of their previous dozen fixtures.

“I think the performance was under the level in the first half — a lot of mistakes, a lot of doubts, players without any confidence,” he said.

 

Comment

The UEFA Champions League continues on Wednesday October 18 with a total of eight matches from four groups set to be played in venues across Europe.

Below is a list of all fixtures (All times are in EAT)

GROUP A

Benfica 21:45 Manchester United

CSKA Moscow 21:45 FC Basel

GROUP B

Bayern Munich 21:45 Celtic

RSC Anderlecht 21:45 Paris Saint Germain

GROUP C

FK Qarabag 21:00 Atlético Madrid

Chelsea 21:45 Roma

GROUP D

Barcelona 21:45 Olympiakos

Juventus 21:45 Sporting Lisbon

 

Comment

Hours after sacking manager Craig Shakespeare, Leicester City Vice Chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has sought to clarify on their decision to do so.

Shakespeare's sacking comes just four months  into a three-year contract that he had been given after following a successful spell in caretaker charge.

 “ Craig has been a great servant to Leicester City – during his spells as an Assistant Manager and since taking over as Manager in challenging circumstances in February,'' Srivaddhanaprabha was quoted by the Mirror.

“However, our early promise under Craig’s management has not been consistently evident in the months since and the Board feels that, regrettably, a change is necessary to keep the Club moving forward – consistent with the long-term expectations of our supporters, Board and owners.

“Craig is and will remain a very popular, respected figure at Leicester City and will be welcome back at King Power Stadium in future, both professionally and as a friend of the Club.”

Leicester are third from bottom, with six points from eight games, and Michael Appleton, Shakespeare’s assistant, has been asked to take charge of the team for Saturday’s game at Swansea

 

Comment

Manchester City attacker Kevin de Bruyne has come out to explain his argument on the pitch with teammate David Silva during their side's 2-1 win over Napoli.

As the two teams were heading towards the tunnel for the half-time break, De Bruyne attempted to speak with the fourth official before being pulled away by Fernandinho and Silva. The Belgium international then took it with Silva and was overheard angrily shouting ‘let me talk’ three times before he turned towards the tunnel in frustration.

 “We had a little discussion at the time, it happens,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong, after one minute then it’s over.

“I think at home I also get into some arguments with my wife, I think it’s normal.

“I think it’s necessary. But now everything is okay.

“It’s just what happens sometimes, you have a collision of words, there was nothing big about it.”

 

Comment

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has been talking about Harry Kane at his press conference on Monday.

The England forward has been linked with a big-money to the reigning Champions League winners and asked whether we would  see Kane at Real Madrid, the Frenchman replied: “I do not know what will happen in the future.

“He is a key player for Tottenham He is very good at everything, the best thing is that he always has the goal in his head.”

Zidane was speaking before Tuesday’s Champions League clash between the clubs. Spurs travel to the Bernabeu on Tuesday night with Kane looking to add to the 10 goals in 11 games he has plundered already this season.

Tottenham have always maintained that Kane is not for sale at any price, but Dario Gol last week claimed Madrid were prepared to offer a deal with €200m with as many as three Real players involved.

Karim Benzema and former Spurs stars Gareth Bale and Luka Modric were the players named who may be offered in exchange for Kane, but for now the England man remains focused on Tottenham.

Kane has shown no desire to leave Tottenham, but given he is yet to taste trophy success with the club, and given he’s at the top of Tottenham’s wages payment ceiling at £100,000 a week, the player may well be tempted if Real showed their colours.

Discussing whether he would ever play abroad, Kane recently said: “I would never say no or yes. You’d not rule out anything.

“It’s not something I definitely want to do, but you never rule anything out.

 

“I’m very happy here (at Tottenham), but we’ll see what happens.”

Comment

Germany booked their place in the quarter-finals of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 with a convincing 4-0 victory over Colombia in New Delhi on Monday. The win takes the European side into a last-eight match-up versus Brazil or Honduras in Kolkata on Sunday.

The Germans took the lead in fortuitous circumstances just seven minutes after the start. Colombia goalkeeper Kevin Mier was unable to collect a loose ball at the feet of Jann-Fiete Arp and the Germany captain took advantage by neatly finishing from a tight angle.

Though Colombia pressed forward, every German attack had more potency as the opening half wore on. John Yeboah had several chances to find the scoresheet, with his best opportunity cannoning off the crossbar on 34 minutes. The Europeans would not be denied, though, as Yann Bisseck rose to head home Sahverdi Cetin’s corner from the left to hand a two-goal lead to Germany at the break.

They then sealed their passage to the last eight with another two after the restart. Yeboah converted an Arp pass in the Colombia box on 49 minutes before the captain scored his second of the match to secure a four-goal victory. The only blemish was a yellow card to winger Dennis Jastrzembski that rules him out of Sunday’s quarter-final through suspension.

 

Comment

It was a historic moment in Lagos on Sunday when CAF President Ahmad and some CAF Executive Committee members graced the Nigeria FA Cup final on Sunday (15 October 2017) that saw Akwa United beat Niger Tornadoes 3-2 on penalties at the Agege Stadium.                                          

 After a scoreless encounter in regulation time, the match was decided via penalties which saw both sides lost three out of the initial five penalty kicks; and Gabriel Okechukwu turned Akwa United’s hero by striking the winner.

 The feat by Akwa United was an encore for the club after a similar success in 2015 in the country’s oldest domestic competition which climaxed the 71st edition.

 Apart from the mouthwatering 25 Million Naira ($70,323)prize money  and the glittering trophy  as winners, Akwa United also earned the ticket to represent Nigeria in next year’s Total CAF Confederation Cup.  

 It was the 11th time the competition was decided via penalties after it began in 1945 as Governor’s Cup. It was later known at various times as Challenge Cup and Federation Cup.

 Meanwhile,  the entourage of CAF President  Ahmad at the Agege Stadium popularly known as ‘Soccer Temple’ include First Vice President Kwesi Nyantakyi, Second Vice President Constant Omari Selemani and CAF Emergency Committee member, Souleiman Waberi.

 

TROPHY WINNERS SINCE 1990

    1990:Stationery Stores   0-0(5-4pens) Enugu Rangers

    1991: El-Kanemi Warriors          3-2     Kano Pillars F.C.

    1992: El-Kanemi             1-0     Stationery Stores

    1993: BCC Lions             1-0     Plateau United

    1994: BCC Lions             1-0     Julius Berger FC

    1995: Shooting Stars                2-0     Katsina United

    1996: Julius Berger                   1-0     Katsina United

    1997: BCC Lions             1-0     Katsina United

    1998: Wikki Tourists                  0-0     Plateau United

    1999: Plateau United                 1-0     Iwuanyanwu

    2000: Tornadoes           1-0     Rangers

    2001: Dolphins FC                     2-0     El-Kanemi

    2002: Julius Berger                   3-0     Yobe Stars

    2003: Lobi Stars             2-0     Sharks FC

    2004: Dolphins FC                     1-0     Enugu Rangers

    2005: Enyimba               1-1(6-5pens) Lobi Stars

    2006: Dolphins FC                     2-2 (5-3pens)Bendel Insurance

    2007: Dolphins FC                     1-1 (3-2pens) Enugu Rangers

    2008: Ocean Boys                     2-2 (7-6pens)Gombe United

   2009: Enyimba                1-0  Sharks FC

  2010: Kaduna United                 3-3(3-2pens) Enyimba

   2011: Heartland              1-0     Enyimba

   2012: Heartland              2-1     Lobi Stars

  2013 Enyimba                             2-2 (5-4pens) Warri Wolves    

  2014: Enyimba                           2-1     Dolphins FC

  2015: Akwa United                      2-1     Lobi Stars

  2016: FC IfeanyiUbah                 0-0(5-4pens) Nassarawa  United

  2017: Akwa United                      0-0(3-2pens) Niger Tornadoes

Comment

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his Watford counterpart Marco Silva have differed on the decision to award Watford a penalty in Saturday's match which the hosts won 2-1.

Arsenal were leading through Per Mertesacker's first-half goal and had chances to make the Premier League game safe.

Richarlison however went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin, with referee Neil Swarbrick pointing to the spot.

Captain Troy Deeney stepped up to convert the resulting spot-kick to bring the home team level, before Tom Cleverley's stoppage-time strike handed Watford all three points.

Speaking after the match, Wenger termed the penalty decision as `scandalous'.

"The decision on the penalty is a bit ridiculous and then we panicked a bit for their second goal and in the end we stand with a defeat,'' said Wenger.

He added, "It is a scandalous decision, but what can we do about it? Nothing. We can talk and talk and talk. At the end of the day they scored.''

On his part, Silvarefuted claims that Richarlison dived, saying that the player has suffered fmost from fouls. 

"I have seen the penalty now and I respect the decision of the referee," said Silva after the game. "It's important, I didn't see a dive or a simulation, said Silva

"Richarlison has suffered the most fouls in the Premier League this season, and people are starting to say he dives.

"He is not. He is fair, He wins fouls like the best players in the world win fouls."

 

Comment

Admitting that "we didn't get the job done," Bruce Arena on Friday resigned from his position as United States manager following the team's failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

The U.S. finished fifth in CONCACAF's Hexagonal table after losing 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago on the region's final matchday as both Honduras and Panama moved ahead of the Americans in the standings and left the team out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.

"It is the greatest privilege for any coach to manage their country's National Team, and as I leave that role today I am honored and grateful to have had that opportunity twice in my career," Arena, 66, said in a statement.

"When I took the job last November, I knew there was a great challenge ahead, probably more than most people could appreciate. Everyone involved in the program gave everything they had for the last 11 months, and in the end we came up short.

"No excuses. We didn't get the job done, and I accept responsibility. This certainly is a major setback for the senior Men's National Team program, and questions rightly should be asked about how we can improve. No doubt this process already has started and will continue so that U.S. Soccer can progress"Having said that, it also is important to recognize the tremendous growth and accomplishments we have achieved over the past two decades in all areas, including player development, coaching education and a stable domestic professional league. That work is ongoing, and despite the result in Trinidad the sport is on the right path. By working together, I am confident soccer in this country will continue to grow in the years and decades ahead. Obviously the biggest disappointment is for our fans.

"As a person involved in the sport for more than 40 years, to see how the level of support for soccer in the United States has grown is incredibly gratifying. I believe I speak for everyone involved in the game in thanking all of you for your passion and commitment, and I hope you maintain your steadfast support of U.S. Soccer.

"While this is a difficult moment, I maintain a fierce belief that we are heading in the right direction. I believe in the American player and the American coach, and with our combined efforts the future remains bright."I don't know what the future holds for me, but I can say this from the bottom of my heart: from the high of reaching the Quarterfinal of the 2002 World Cup to the low of a few days ago, I have appreciated every minute of being a part of this program.

Arena took over the reins of the national team for the second time in his career on Nov. 22, 2016, after U.S. Soccer parted ways with his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann.

The U.S. had lost its first two Hex qualifiers to start the campaign under Klinsmann -- at home to Mexico and away to Costa Rica -- before Arena was brought in to right the ship and ensure qualification for Russia 2018.

Needing just a single point to qualify on Tuesday, the U.S. was beaten in Trinidad -- while Honduras beat Mexico and Panama scored a last-gasp winner against Costa Rica -- and Arena accepted responsibility for the loss after the match, while saying that he and the team had failed.

The former LA Galaxy manager oversaw the team at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, leading the U.S. to its best-ever finish at the former before losing to Germany in the quarterfinals.

Arena departs with an all-time record of 81-32-35. After picking up the reins following the first two losses in the final round of qualifying, he collected a 10-2-6 record in 2017.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee remains the winningest coach in U.S. Soccer history.

With the victory in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Arena is the only head coach to claim the Gold Cup title on three occasions, previously guiding the USA to crowns in 2002 and 2005.

 

Comment

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has laughed off the suggestion it was once his dream to take charge of Manchester United.

The two arch-rivals go head-to-head at Anfield on Saturday and Klopp's former boss at Mainz Eckhard Krautzun this week claimed when he played under him the German's ambition had been to move to Old Trafford.

However, Klopp dismissed the idea that had things turned out differently he would be in the opposition dug-out on Saturday. 

'I heard about an interview with my former manager,' he said.

'I really like Eckhard Krautzun but when I think too far in the past I am not 100 per cent sure what is right or wrong but it is still funny. I am sure he thinks it was like this.

'How could I, as a very average player at Mainz, say to my manager, 'By the way, if I become a manager I would love to manage Manchester United'.

'Maybe people think I am a little bit crazy but I am not that crazy. I never thought about something like this.

'He (Eckhard) was a big admirer, and is still, of Sir Alex Ferguson. In our first meeting he was wearing a jumper of Manchester United when he came in as a new coach. Maybe he forgot.

'There are a few funny stories, unfortunately a few things are not exact but still funny.

'I had fun when I read it but not all of it is exactly like this.'

 

 

Comment

The International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) on Thursday announced the Volleyball Nations League, which is set to begin in 2018. The league will revolutionize volleyball competitions, making it one of the most important events in the history of the sport.The Volleyball Nations League is set to begin in 2018.

The Volleyball Nations League

The Volleyball Nations League is a joint project between the FIVB, IMG and 21 national federations which will present volleyball in a way that has never been experienced before, building on the innovative sports presentation on display at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In both the men’s and women’s leagues, 12 core teams and 4 challenger teams will battle to become Volleyball Nations League champion by playing in a round robin format. With a total of 130 matches throughout the league season, every team will play a minimum of 15 matches and each core nation will host at least one pool, bringing the action closer to fans around the world.

By pushing the boundaries of technology, innovation and digital broadcasting, spectators at home will witness new and diverse angles, showcasing the world class athleticism of each nation’s best players.

For the very first time, the FIVB, in collaboration with IMG, will take complete control of content production, maximising quality and promoting a compelling, on-court narrative, which is easy for fans to engage with and understand.

The FIVB will ensure in-stadium interaction by implementing a new concept called active engagement, where fans are involved in every rally. When there is a fantastic sporting moment, spectators celebrate it by imitating match situations like the Monster Block, which has already been embraced by fans across the globe.

Speaking at the FIVB’s 70th anniversary celebrations in Paris, where the Volleyball Nations League announcement took place, FIVB President Dr Ary S. Graça said:

“This is a pivotal moment in the future of our sport. The Volleyball Nations League is the most important competition in the FIVB’s history and will revolutionise how volleyball is presented; making it more fan-centric and placing our fans, both inside and outside the stadium, at the very heart of the action.

“The FIVB has enjoyed great success over the last 70 years; volleyball has grown to become one of the most popular and widely practised sports in the world. But, we must always look forward and find ways to evolve and innovate as we aim to become the world’s number one family sport. The Volleyball Nations League will help us to achieve our vision and set the standard for athlete and viewer experience.”

Ioris Francini, co-President of WME|IMG, said: “This is a very exciting development for the FIVB and we are delighted to play a pivotal role in the Volleyball Nations League. This unique initiative and format heralds a new era for the sport and will produce an even better experience for all concerned, from the teams and players to fans and viewers watching on various media platforms.

“Our role in producing live matches, along with distributing the media and digital rights, cements our long-standing relationship with the FIVB, which dates back to 2009. Volleyball has a very bright future.”

In the men’s event, Brazil, Italy, the USA, China, Serbia, France, Argentina, Iran, Poland, Germany, Japan and Russia make up the core teams, while Australia, South Korea, Canada and Bulgaria are the four designated challenger teams.

For the women’s competition, Brazil, Italy, the USA, China, Serbia, the Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, Japan and Russia comprise the 12 core nations. Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Poland and Belgium have also been selected as challenger teams.

The aim of the Volleyball Nations League is to raise the level of the sporting action for fans and provide a world class platform for athletes to compete and grow. Launching a men’s and women’s competition under the same name and format promotes equality in volleyball, while also making it simpler and more engaging to follow.

As well as the Volleyball Nations League, there will also be a secondary, Challenger League, incorporating promotion and relegation to guarantee that volleyball remains the most competitive and engaging, multi-gender sport in the world.

More information on the logo, sponsors and venues will be unveiled in the near future.

Comment

The Spanish Laliga resumes after a one week FIFA International break and a total of ten matches programmed to be played from Friday October 13 to Monday October 16.

On Saturday, defending champions Real Madrid will be seeking to rise further in the table standings when they visit Getafe at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez Stadium. Real are currently 5th with 14 points from half the number of matches. 

The last match of Saturday will see Barcelona face their first real test yet when they face Atlético Madrid from 21:45 EAT. Barcelona currently top the table with 21 points, having not lost or drawn in their first seven fixtures.

Below are all weekend's matches (All times are in EAT)

 

FRIDAY 13TH OCTOBER

Espanyol 20:00 Levante

SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER

Athletic Bilbao 14:00 Sevilla

Getafe 17:15 Real Madrid

Alavés 19:30 Real Sociedad

Atlético Madrid 21:45 Barcelona

SUNDAY 15TH OCTOBER

Eibar 13:00 Deportivo La Coruña

Girona 17:15 Villarreal

Malaga 19:30 Leganés

Real Betis 21:45 Valencia

MONDAY 16TH OCTOBER

Las Palmas 22:00 Celta Vigo

 

Comment

After a one week FIFA international break, the Barclays Premier League resumes this weekend with ten matches scheduled for this weekend between Saturday October 14 and Monday October 16.

The early kickoff on Saturday will see a renewed rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield. United are currently joint top in the table standings with Manchester City at 19 points and have not lost a single match while Liverpool are 7th with 12 points.

Leader Manchester City host Stoke City while Arasenal take a trip to Watford later that day.

On Sunday, only two fixtures will be undertaken with Everton locking horns with Brighton while Southampton entertain Newcastle United.

Leicester City will then host West Brom in Monday Night Football. Below are all weekend fixture (times are in EAT)

 

SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER

Liverpool 14:30 Manchester United

Burnley 17:00 West Ham United

Crystal Palace 17:00 Chelsea

Manchester City 17:00 Stoke City

Swansea City 17:00 Huddersfield Town

Tottenham Hotspur 17:00 AFC Bournemouth

Watford 19:30 Arsenal

SUNDAY 15TH OCTOBER

Brighton & Hove Albion 15:30 Everton

Southampton 18:00 Newcastle United

MONDAY 16TH OCTOBER

Leicester City 22:00 West Bromwich Albion

 

Comment

Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane has been named Premier League Player of the Month for September.

Comment

Pep Guardiola has been named Premier League Manager of the Month for September after guiding Manchester City to the top of the table.

Guardiola's men currently top the standings on goal difference, just above local rivals Manchester United, having made an impressive start to the season.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has his side playing some scintillating football and they won all four of their Premier League matches in September, scoring 17 goals in the process.

They began the month with a 5-0 win at home to Liverpool and followed that with a 6-0 win at Watford and a 5-0 dismissal of Crystal Palace back at the Etihad.

And City capped one of the most impressive months in Premier League history with a 1-0 victory at reigning champions Chelsea on 30 September.

That outstanding set of results were good enough for Guardiola to get the Manager of the Month nod ahead of fellow nominees Jose Mourinho (Manchester United), Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham) and Arsene Wenger (Arsenal).

It was the second time Guardiola has won the award since he took charge of City in the summer of 2016.

 

Comment

The International Association of Athletics Federations has confirmed the disciplines for an exciting  2018 IAAF World Indoor Tour.

Comment

Former professional footballer George Tawlon Manneh Oppong Ousman Weah is on the verge of being elected as President of Liberia. Weah is closely contesting with Joseph Boakai who is also the incumbent Vice President.

Awards

Regarded as one of the greatest African players of all-time and as one of the best forwards of his generation, he was named FIFA World Player of the Year and won the Ballon d'Or in 1995, becoming the first African player to win these awards. He was also named the African Footballer of the Year in 1989, 1994 and 1995 before being named as the named African Player of the Century in 1996.

Footballing career

Weah started his footballing career in Liberia and was signed by Arsène Wenger for Monacoin 1988. He then moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 1992 where he won Ligue 1 in 1994 and became the top scorer of the 1994–95 UEFA Champions League. In 1995, he signed for AC MIlan where he played for four seasons, lifting the Italian Serie A twice. 

He also had spells in England towards the end of his career with Chelsea and Manchester City before returning to France to play for Marseille in 2001 and subsequently ending his career with Al-Jazira in 2003.

The 51-year old also represented Liberia on international level where he participated in the African Cup of Nations on two occasions.

Politics

Weah first vied for Presidency in 2005 but lost to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in the second round of voting. He then unsuccessfully ran for vice president on Winston Tubman's ticket six years later. The former footballer turned politician was elected to Senate in 2014 before being vying for Liberia's Presidency in the 2017 elections.

If declared winner,Weah will succeed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, in a contest that completes the country’s first democratic transition of power in more than 70 years.

 

 

Comment

Watford summer loan signing Andre Carrillo has no plans to at the club permanently beyond next summer.

The Peruvian joined from Benfica a few months ago and has featured five times so far for the Hornets.

Carillo, 26, was out of favour with the Portuguese giants and was linked with a move to number of clubs this summer but chose to work under Marco Silva.

There had been suggestions the winger was keen on making his stay permanent, but he has reportedly poured cold water on those suggestions.

"I had to go out for more minutes but I have the best memories of Benfica, to which I will return next season with more experience," Carrillo said.

"I hope to have a good season at Watford and demonstrate my potential to merit a new opportunity at Benfica, the club that bet on me after leaving Sporting Lisbon. I am very grateful for that."

 

 

 

Comment

With the English Premier League resuming this weekend, several clubs will be sweating over their players' fitness levels after with eleven players already having suffered different injuries while on international duty.

Comment

With the draw for next summer’s World Cup taking place on December 1 in Moscow, a total of 15 countries have already booked their place at Russia 2018.

Here’s your one-stop list of nations that have qualified for next summer’s tournament, with plenty still to be decided over the next few days and in November ....

 

1. Russia - The hosts qualified when they won the chance to host the competition back in Dec 2010.

2. Brazil - CONMEBOL round robin winners, qualified way back on March 28, 2017

3. Iran - AFC third round group A winners

4. Japan - AFC third round group B winners

5. South Korea - runners up to Iran in Group A

6. Saudi Arabia - runners up in Group B

7. Mexico - North and central America and Caribbean round 5 winners

8. Belgium - Uefa group H winners (first European team) who qualified on Sept 3

9. Germany - Sealed their place as Group C winners after beating Northern Ireland 3-1 in Belfast

10. England - Gareth Southgate's side beat Slovenia at Wembley to secure their spot in Russia as winners of Group F

11. Spain- Booked their place following a 3-0 Win over Albania.

12. Poland - Poland became to fourth European team to qualify having dropped points in just two games in Group E

13. Costa Rica - Reached their fourth World Cup finals with a game remaining from their CONCACAF qualification group  

14. Nigeria - Became the first side from Africa to reach Russia and have now missed just one tournament – Germany 2006 – since first qualifying 1994

15. Egypt - Mohamed Salah scored twice to send the north Africans into their first finals since 1990

 

Comment

Neymar, Paulo Dybala and N'Golo Kante have been named by France Football among the first five nominees in the 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon d'Or award.

Neymar, who has started life in Paris Saint-Germain brightly with eight goals in eight appearances, was named alongside Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and Chelsea's  N'Golo Kante. Madrid left-back Marcelo has also been include, together with Paulo Dybala of Juventus who has so far netted ytwelve times in ten appearances this season.

The remaining 25 names on the shortlist will be revealed in stages until 7:30 p.m. CEST on Monday. Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo is favorite to retain the award he won last year, having guided his club to a record twelfth time as the top scorer with twelve goals in the competition. He is expected to face competition fro0m Lionel Messi who finished up as La Liga's top scorer with 37 goals.

Ballon d'Or 2017 nominees: Neymar (PSG), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), N'Golo Kante (Real Madrid), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea).

 

Comment

Bayern Munich are set to appoint their former gaffer Jupp Heynckes - who retired from coaching back in 2013 - as their new interim manager, as per the reports from Guardian.

Comment

Ahead of their crunch tie against Zambia this weekend, Nigeria’s Franco-German trainer Gernot Rohr has stated that his side will not repeat Algeria’s mistake of underrating the opponents.

Comment

Egypt head coach Hector Cuper has summoned to camp 25 players for his side's crucial game against Congo this weekend, as the Pharaohs eye their first FIFA World Cup appearance in 28 years.

Comment

Latest Sports News

APO - Sports News