Classic transfer: Liverpool sign £22.7m world class star

first_img4 It would become a familiar sight over the next three-and-a-half-years, as Suarez hit the ground running following his January arrival. His relationship with the Liverpool supporters was firmly established when he tore Manchester United apart in March 2011, and it remained strong throughout, despite all the ups and downs that followed.Before arriving in England, Suarez had established himself as one of the most exciting young talents in the game, scoring 111 goals in 159 appearances for Ajax, lifting the 2010 KNVB Cup and starring at the World Cup for Uruguay.But he had also established himself as a controversial figure, cheating Ghana out of an historic World Cup semi-final place with a last minute handball on the goalline. But sadly for Liverpool fans, their hero moved courted controversy yet again when he bit another opponent, this time at the 2014 World Cup.Another hefty ban was dished out, but Suarez wasn’t about to return to action for the Reds, as Barcelona beckoned.The Catalan giants coughed up a fee in the region of £75m in the summer of 2014, making Suarez the third most expensive player in football history behind Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, earning the Reds a large profit.In the wake of his World Cup disgrace, it may have seemed like a good move for Liverpool to cash in on their Jekyll and Hyde forward, but there is no denying the Uruguayan is one of the best players to grace English football in the Premier League era.Now Suarez is striving to earn the approval of a Catalan crowd spoilt down the years by Messi, Iniesta, Ronaldinho, Cruyff and more.Even fine players have found it hard at the Camp Nou – Zlatan Ibrahimovic lasted just a season, while Thierry Henry never truly recreated his Arsenal form.Whether Suarez will go down in history as a Barcelona great remains to be seen, but he certainly carved his name into Liverpool legend.See Suarez’s wonderful strike against Stoke City in the Carling Cup in October, 2011: 4 4 4 The Reds have boasted some top class forwards down the years, including all-time record goalscorer, Ian Rush, the legendary Kenny Dalglish and sharp shooting Robbie Fowler, but on 31 January 2011 Kopites had a new hero to cheer, when Uruguayan Luis Suarez was signed from Ajax for £22.7m He then arrived on Merseyside after serving a seven-match ban for biting an opponent in a Dutch league game; another sign of things to come.Upon signing for Liverpool, Suarez requested the number seven jersey, not realising that it had been worn by Liverpool legends such as Dalglish and Kevin Keegan, but unlike some players for whom it became a burden, the Uruguayan was a fitting heir to his illustrious predecessors. In his first half-season in English football, Suarez finished with four goals in 13 games, while his sublime skill instantly endeared him to Kopites, if not rival fans.After winning the Copa America in the summer of 2011 and being named Player of the Tournament, Suarez netted just 11 league goals in 2011/12 as a poor Reds side finished eighth in the Premier League, although he did lift the 2012 League Cup – his only major honour with Liverpool.The season was marred by the first controversial incident of Suarez’s time in England, when he was found guilty by an FA panel of racially abusing Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra and handed an eight-game suspension with a £40,000 fine.The following season, Suarez let his football do the talking as he scored 23 league goals – second only to Gareth Bale – and 30 in all competitions, picking up Liverpool’s player of the season award.But he was blighted by more controversy after biting Branislav Ivanovic during a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, and was subsequently banned for ten games.In the summer of 2013, it appeared Suarez was set for an Anfield exit, but the former Ajax man remained with the club and he lit up the Premier League as Liverpool came within a whisker of lifting their first league title in 24 years.Suarez finished the 2013/14 campaign with 31 league goals, becoming the first non-European player to win the PFA Player of the Year award and he was also named Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year and landed the European Golden Boot. Four years ago today, Luis Suarez marked his Liverpool debut with a goal. It was a sign of things to come from one of the best players ever to wear the red shirt.The Reds have boasted some top class forwards down the years, including all-time record goalscorer, Ian Rush, the legendary Kenny Dalglish and sharp shooting Robbie Fowler, but on 31 January 2011 Kopites had a new hero to cheer, when Luis Suarez was signed from Ajax for £22.7m.Signed on a Monday, Suarez was already scoring goals by Wednesday. Just 16 minutes into his debut against Stoke on 2 February, the Uruguayan was wheeling away in front of the Kop, having left the visiting defenders in his wake to announce his arrival with a goal.last_img read more

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Ronaldo’s future casts cloud over Real’s historic treble

first_img“I am going to enjoy this moment and in the next few days I will give an answer to the fans, who have always been at my side,” Ronaldo told BeIN Sports Spain.“It was very nice to be at Real Madrid. In the next few days I will speak.”Ronaldo later admitted his immediate post-match comments had been ill-timed.“It wasn’t the perfect time. I don’t want to take away any credit from what Madrid have done. To win three consecutive Champions Leagues is a unique moment, he added.“Personal situations are not important at this moment.”Ronaldo’s comments appeared to target Real president Florentino Perez for a lack of support.However, Perez hinted he was tired of Ronaldo’s intimations he could leave.It isn’t the first time Ronaldo, who joined Real from Manchester United for a then-world record fee in 2009, has appeared close to the exit door at the Santiago Bernabeu.Over and out? Could Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid with his fifth European Cup © AFP / Sergei SUPINSKYIn 2012 he claimed to be “sad” in Madrid, and, even after securing a first European Cup and La Liga double for Madrid in 59 years last season, Ronaldo was also reportedly looking to leave.Then, it was for what he perceived as a lack of support from the club over an ongoing tax investigation into the management of his image rights from the Spanish authorities.Ronaldo himself said this week of speculation over who might arrive at Real: “They always speak about 50 players and in the end no one comes.”“Here the most important thing is the club, and the most important thing is that we are celebrating this Champions League,” Perez told Antena3.“I am not going to go into the personal situations of any player because, as he himself says, nothing ever happens.”Ronaldo still has three years to run on a lucrative five-year contract signed in 2016.“Cristiano likes to be wanted,” said Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.“He will not find a better place than here. He is our true star, whether he scores goals or not. I don’t know why he has said that, but we respect him.”Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who become the first ever manager to win three consecutive European Cups, said that Ronaldo must stay.“I’m not thinking about that. We are thinking about what we are doing now, about the game, about what we have achieved,” said the Frenchman. “Cristiano has to stay.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Cristiano Ronaldo claimed his fifth Champions League winner’s medal on Saturday © AFP / Paul ELLISKiev, Ukraine, May 27 – Cristiano Ronaldo cast a shadow over Real Madrid’s third consecutive Champions League triumph by suggesting he could have played his last game for the Spanish giants in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Liverpool in Kiev.Ronaldo, 33, has now won five European Cups in all, but failed to score in a fourth final as Gareth Bale was the hero for Real after coming off the bench to score twice.last_img read more

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Roger Federer crashes out of US Open

first_img0Shares0000Giant killer: Australia’s John Millman on his way to an upset victory over Roger Federer in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday. © AFP / EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZNEW YORK, United States, Sep 3 – Five-time champion Roger Federer crashed out of the US Open on Monday, stunned by 55th-ranked Australian John Millman who booked a quarter-final clash with Serbian star Novak Djokovic.Millman’s 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9/7), 7-6 (7/3) triumph scuppered a blockbuster last-four meeting between Federer and two-time US Open champion Djokovic, who had advanced with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Joao Sousa. But Federer suffered his earliest US Open exit since he fell in straight sets to Tommy Robredo in the fourth round in 2013.It was also 20-time major winner Federer’s first loss against a player outside the top 50 in 41 meetings at the US Open.“I’m probably in a little bit of disbelief,” Millman, 29, said after three hours and 35 minutes in the cauldron of Arthur Ashe Stadium.“I have so much respect for Roger and everything he’s done for the game. He’s been a hero of mine.”Federer had set points in both the second and third sets, but troubles with his serve infected his entire game and 77 unforced errors doomed the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the face of a determined attack from Millman.“It was very hot,” said Federer, whose shirt and shorts were wringing wet with sweat most of the night.“I felt I couldn’t get any air and I was sweating more and more and became more and more uncomfortable.“John dealt with it better,” Federer added. “He’s from Brisbane, one of the most humid places in the world!”Millman said he was feeling the nerves of his first Grand Slam fourth round match as he surrendered the first set with a single break of serve.“I felt like a bit of a deer in the headlights to begin with,” said Millman, whose career has been slowed by a string of injuries and three surgeries.“The feet weren’t moving. Roger had it on a string, he was manipulating me around the court.”Although Federer broke first on the way to a 5-3 lead in the second, Millman won the last four games, breaking Federer twice as Federer wasted two set points in the 10th game.Survivor: Novak Djokovic cools off during his win over Joao Sousa in the fourth round of the US Open on Monday. © AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARYFederer upped his game in a tight third set, and had the first chance to claim the set at 6-5 in the tiebreaker. He netted a service return, and Millman converted his second set point to seize a two sets to one lead.When the Swiss great broke for a 4-2 lead in the fourth the Ashe fans were on their feet.But he gave the break back in the next game after slamming an overhead into the bottom of the net on game point.They went to the tiebreaker, where two of Federer’s 10 double faults, followed by a backhand into the net and a wayward forehand gave Millman a 6-1 lead.Federer, looking all of his 37 years, clawed his way through two match points before slapping yet another forehand wide as Millman celebrated.“Today he was definitely not at his best,” Millman said. “But I’ll take it.”And he’ll face another hero in Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals, trying to become the first Australian man to win a Grand Slam since Lleyton Hewitt won Wimbledon in 2002.“Last time I played him I got three games at Queens,” Millman said. “Let’s hope I get a few more.”– Try to survive –Djokovic, who ended a 54-week title drought with his 13th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, said he was relieved to get past 68th-ranked Sousa in straight sets, the searing afternoon heat seeming more of a problem than his Portuguese opponent.“You can’t do anything but try to be tough and survive, find a way to win,” Djokovic said.Kei Nishikori, runner-up in 2014, was also pleased to get through in three sets in blazing sunshine on Louis Armstrong Stadium.After racing through the first two sets against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber he dropped his serve while serving for the match at 5-4 in the third, but managed to prevail 6-3, 6-2, 7-5.Nishikori will fight for a semi-final berth against Croatian Marin Cilic, who beat him in the 2014 final.Seventh-seeded Cilic, who needed eight match points in a five-set marathon against Australian teenager Alex de Minaur spilled into Sunday morning survived some tense moments to get past 10th-ranked Belgian David Goffin 7-6 (8/6), 6-2, 6-4.Goffin served for the first set at 5-4 before Cilic went on to win the tiebreaker, sealing it on his third match point.“I was thinking one match point, second match point — I hope it’s not going to the eighth one,” Cilic said,0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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A day in the life of ‘The Lion’ Victor Wanyama

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama at his house in Barnet, North London. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 19 – It is 6:30am and the alarm at Victor Wanyama’s room blazes off in anger, as if to warn him of the impending long day that awaits him.The smooth, cold and spine-tingling spring wind whistles across his leafy neighborhood preparing him for an impending tough workout day at his club’s training base in Enfield. The Tottenham Hotspur midfield powerhouse has just resumed training with the first team after a short spell on the sidelines following a knock on the side of his knee that kept him out for two matches.With the injuries piling on the squad and teammate Moussa Dembele set to miss action till the turn of the new year, Wanyama knows he has to up his fitness because his club needs him now more than ever.“It is tough here and the demands are so high. You cannot afford to sleep and constantly, you must prove to be better. Especially being a foreign player, you must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are better than the locals,” Wanyama said as we begin our early morning chat at his residence in Barnet, North London.Wanyama’s lifestyle is one donned in simplicity.Harambee Stars and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama enjoys breakfast at his house in Barnet, North London. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluHe wakes up, fixes his own breakfast, then sets off to his club’s training base in Enfield.And you would think his breakfast should be a buffet of assorted exotic food and drinks. But no. You are wrong. His early morning meal is a simple cup of green tea sweetened with honey, accompanied by groundnuts and sometimes a piece of bread or biscuits.“You really have to watch what you eat because you must take care of your body. That’s your tool. That’s your asset. I don’t take sugar or too much juice. This green tea is good enough for me. Milk is a once in a while thing. I could go for months without it,” Wanyama explains.After his quick fix of breakfast, the Harambee Stars captain sets off for training where he will have another platter of breakfast with teammates before the day’s activities kick off.In his array of travel options are just two vehicles. Unlike some of the stars in the English Premier League, going extra is not anything of Wanyama’s portion.“You know, there’s life after football. You cannot spend all your money on flashy cars and a flashy lifestyle forgetting that football is a very short career. You have to think of tomorrow. Just ensure you live comfortably and get what you need,” the midfielder further states.The sessions at Enfield are rigorous. He explains they start off with a gym session for warm-up before heading to the field for tactical and physical training.Tottenham’s Victor Wanyama during training at the club’s Enfield Training Ground.“I think we are the fittest team in the Premier League. Our training is no joke,” Wanyama jokes as he gets back to the house at about 2pm. He does not worry much about lunch as the club also provides an after-training meal for the players.No sooner does he get back to his house than he slumps to rest, clearly exhausted from the training session. His first order of business before shutting his eyes for a quick nap is treating his healing knee, wrapping a pack of ice around it for about 20 minutes.He was unfortunate to pick up a knock on his other knee playing against West Ham, just after recovering from injury to his other knee. But thankfully he is okay and has been drafted into the team that travels to Crystal Palace, a game they later won 1-0.He reflects on the period in which he nursed injury, including missing a huge part of pre-season and says it was the most trying time of his career.Wanyama was sidelined for four months last season and the development is another blow for the White Hart Lane club’s engine room.“It is not easy when you are injured because you always want to be out there doing what you love. I can say that was the most trying part of my career and sometimes you feel very lonely. Being out for over three months is so tough,” Wanyama says.He adds; “But now, I am, happy to be back. My injury is completely healed and I am enjoying my football again. Now it is just a matter of building fitness and getting back to the top. It is not easy but I am ready to work for it.”Wanyama made it to the starting team at Palace and clocked his third 90-minute appearance of the season, and only his first in the league. The other two were in the Emirates Cup.Though coming through harsh weather conditions in West London, he was pleased to have played an entire match and the team coming out victorious.Selhurst Park is also a ground close to his heart as this was where he scored his first ever Spurs goal.“That was a very tough match. The cold and the rain especially! Unforgiving. But I am happy to have played a full league match. It has been so long and I feel great,” Wanyama said as he got back from the short trip to Selhurst Park.Harambee Stars and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama prepares his recovery gear at his house in Barnet, North London. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluWhile some of his teammates might decide to go out and celebrate the win, Wanyama is chilled in his house. He only craved to watch some bit of boxing, homeboy Tony Bellew taking on Oleksander Usyk, a bout that the former lost.“I am chilled out most of the time. If I am not in training I am just here watching series (though I don’t enjoy them most of the time haha), reading or playing Play Station with my friends. I enjoy watching football documentaries,” says the soft spoken Wanyama.Music is his biggest companion. Whether he is resting, taking breakfast or driving in his car. With the Siri app on his iPhone, he blazes music all the time even as he sifts through a bucket of groundnuts.His favorite music has to be Bongo!The midfielder, revered for his role at Spurs especially for the season they came close to clinching the title is quite a reserved person and has a close knit circle of friends who keep him company when he is not at the club working his legs out.Harambee Stars and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama chats with one of his friends as he enjoys breakfast at his house in Barnet, North London. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“I love my friends because they are always here for me and we enjoy a good laugh. We play PS together (And I beat them all the time), eat together and it is really great,” he notes.Wanyama has spent close to eight years in the United Kingdom, three of them at Celtic in Scotland, a further three with Southampton and he is now on his third with Spurs.He reflects on his journey, one he says has been a result of pure hard work.“At some point I didn’t think I would make it as a footballer, but my elder brother Mariga (MacDonald) always encouraged me. I went once to Europe and didn’t make it but then, I got my big breakthrough when I moved to Beerschot,” says the soft-spoken combative midfielder.“In Kenya I played for Country Bus in the beginning and we used to be given 50 shillings for Lunch. I also played for City Stars like two games then AFC Leopards as well but at one time my father was very angry when he discovered I had played for them without a contract,” Wanyama jokes, bursting out in laughter.Victor Wanyama’s family in London to celebrate Christmas. PHOTO/courtesy“But it’s been a long journey, and the results have been worth it.” He adds.Across the Hallways and rooms in his house, photos of his best days are adorned all over including the famous header he scored against Barcelona while at Celtic in a Champions League tie, the first time he skippered Southampton and a few others of him celebrating goals in a Spurs shirt.“I can say I am happy with how things have turned out in my career and I am thankful. My family has been there for me and they are the reason I am here today,” added Wanyama who went on to pay homage to the advice given especially by elder brother Mariga.On whether or not he will leave Spurs when his current spell expires, the midfielder does not give much out.“At the moment, I am a Spurs player and enjoying my football here. We will decide that when the time comes,” he says.Wanyama’s current target is to help his Spurs side finish the season strongly and perhaps fight for the EPL title and in July, turn his attention to the African Cup of Nations where Kenya are only waiting on word from CAF before confirming their place.Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama urges the crowd on when Kenya played Ethiopia in a 2019 African Cup of Nations Qualifier at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on October 14, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy Olobulu“We are focused on the Cup of Nations as a team because we know it will be a huge stage for the players. It has been a long time since we played and we want to go there not just to participate but compete as well,” the midfielder who scored one of the three goals in the 3-0 win over Ethiopia last month said.He hopes the Cup of Nations will open doors for more Kenyan players to make boss moves abroad.His advice for upcoming players?“Discipline is everything. You can work hard but without discipline, you cannot succeed. The two go hand in hand. Opportunities always come but people don’t make use of them because they don’t want to work,” he says.“Self belief is always key. Above all you have to believe in yourself and your ability,” adds the midfielder.0Shares0000(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Baraza angles Sofapaka hammer at K’Ogalo

first_img0Shares0000Sofapaka FC head coach John Baraza all smiles during a training session at the club’s base in Eastleigh on February 15, 2019NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 15 – Five wins in six matches and 2009 Kenyan Premier League champions Sofapaka have created the belief that a second title cannot be yonder than the 2018-19 campaign. Emphatic victory against table topping Mathare United last Tuesday hoisted John Baraza’s men to third in the standings with a two-point deficit from the leaders and another victory against holders Gor Mahia on Sunday will all but surely put them firmly in the race. Baraza who has engineered a turnaround for the side since taking charge says his side is focused on harvesting all three from Gor and believes they are in the right mentality to do so.“It is very important to win because Gor just like Mathare, Tusker and Bandari are firm title contenders, same to us. We have to make sure we get points out of them and this will improve our position on the table,” Baraza told Capital Sport.Sofapaka’s Titus Achesa (right) leads teammates in celebrating his goal against mathare United during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Kasarani Stadium on February 12, 2019. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYATuesday’s four-star performance against Mathare has further fueled Batoto ba Mungu’s belief that they can go the full length and compete for the table.“Mathare is a top team and getting a win over them was important for our motivation as a team. If we keep winning against such teams then, we are heading somewhere,” he noted.The youthful tactician who won the league with the club as a player in 2009 took charge with results being hard to come by and the side willowing in the bottom half of the table with only one win in seven games.However, he has brought back belief to the side and he attributes this to giving the players more freedom to express themselves.One of the players who has hugely flourished under Baraza is defender Faina Jacoms whose prowess in the defensive pairing with Burundian international Mousa Omar has been phenomenal.Faina arrived with former head coach Melis Medo from Mount Kenya United but was on the fringes for most of the games, only starting twice and playing at right back.Sofapaka FC defender Faina Jacobs contends for the ball with teammate Umaru Kassumba during a training session at the club’s base in Eastleigh on February 15, 2019However, when Baraza took charge, he swung him into central defense and has flourished with the side conceding only three goals in six games, two of them coming off set pieces.“He is a player that I knew from long ago because when I was playing and he was at Muhoroni, he was a tough defender to take on. When I took over, I knew immediately where to place him and the results have been evident. He has been one of our best players,” Baraza added.Sofapaka has only won thrice against Gor Mahia in 20 league meetings. Last season, the first leg ended 3-3 in a dramatic game in Machakos. Gor were leading 2-0 before Sofapaka fought back to lead 3-2, but then conceded a late equalizer.The second leg was a one-way swing for Gor ho comfortably won 3-0. The last time Sofapaka beat Gor is in June 2017 when they won 2-0.Baraza’s men will hope to capitalize on Gor Mahia’s fatigue as they will have only two days to rest after playing a tough game away in Angola in the CAF Confederations Cup.AFC Leopards head coach Cassa Mbungo greets forward Brian Marita during his first match in charge against Mount Kenya United at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on February 7, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMeanwhile, under pressure AFC Leopards will be out to leave the doldrums of relegation when they take on a struggling Ulinzi Stars in Machakos on Sunday.Ingwe are second from bottom in the standings, only one point off the bottom having lost all their last four games. New boss Cassa Mbungo will have his work cut out as he looks to lift Ingwe off the bottom.Ulinzi on their side are struggling as well, the military side failing to win any of their last five games with four draws and a loss.KPL weekend matches:Saturday: Kariobangi Sharks v Bandari (Kasarani), Nzoia Sugar v Chemelil Sugar (Sudi, Bungoma), Tusker FC v Kakamega Homeboyz (Ruaraka).Sunday: KCB v Sony Sugar, AFC Leopards v Ulinzi Stars (Machakos), Zoo Kericho v Mathare United (Kericho), Western Stima v Mount Kenya United (Kisumu), Vihiga United v Posta Rangers (Kakamega).0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Barcelona draw blank as Champions League stalemate gives Lyon hope

first_img0Shares0000Lionel Messi and Barcelona were frustrated in a 0-0 draw in Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie© AFP FRANCK FIFELYON, France, Feb 20 – Barcelona will hope to make home advantage count in the return after Lionel Messi and his team-mates drew a blank in Lyon on Tuesday, the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie ending in a goalless stalemate.The Spanish side had most of the chances at the Groupama Stadium, with Luis Suarez firing just wide in the second half, but it was Lyon who came the closest when Martin Terrier hit the bar early on. Ernesto Valverde’s side once again left frustrated on the road at the business end of the competition, and have now gone six away matches without winning in the Champions League knockout rounds, scoring just a single goal in that time. It is a run that goes back three years.Desperate to end Real Madrid’s recent European dominance, Barca must now finish the job when the teams meet again at the Camp Nou on March 13, but Lyon remain very much in the tie.Barcelona’s form needs to improve between now and then, though — the Catalans have drawn four of their last five matches in all, and have scored just once, from a penalty, in their last three outings.With Arthur missing due to injury, Valverde opted to play Sergi Roberto in midfield here, leaving the out-of-form Philippe Coutinho on the bench alongside Arturo Vidal.That may have been an acknowledgement that the visitors were wary of Lyon’s flying left-back Ferland Mendy, who has been linked with Barca in some quarters.The visitors were certainly right to be wary of a Lyon side whose best performances this season have come against the big boys — four points from a possible six against Manchester City in the group stage and a recent win at home to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.– Thunderous strike –The French club were without their World Cup-winning captain Nabil Fekir due to suspension though, and it was the 21-year-old Terrier who was surprisingly handed a start in his place.Terrier is an unassuming talent, but he delivered the most exciting moment of the first half for the crowd of almost 58,000 with a thunderous strike from 20 yards out in the ninth minute that was tipped onto the bar by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.The same player later shot well over at the end of a fantastic move from the home side, while Houssem Aouar had earlier been denied by the goalkeeper, but it was Barcelona who enjoyed the longer spells of possession.The Catalans looked more assured on the ball, at least until they reached the Lyon penalty area.Ousmane Dembele — one of two Frenchmen in the away line-up — came closest for them in the first half, but their best chances came after he had been replaced by Coutinho midway through the second period.Suarez came within inches of breaking the deadlock 20 minutes from the end, firing narrowly wide with a first-time shot from Jordi Alba’s cutback.Coutinho then had a powerful shot beaten away by Anthony Lopes, with the Lyon goalkeeper also frustrating Messi and Sergio Busquets as Barcelona dominated but departed without a potentially precious away goal.At least they extended their unbeaten record against Lyon to seven matches, but there is still hope for the French club ahead of the return.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Seven reasons why Chelsea FC are so hated by football fans

first_img 7 7 Number 7. Those bloody flags! Read below for an explanation, then click the arrows above, right, to see six more reasons why rival fans hate Chelsea – If you’re not a Chelsea supporter, you’ll surely recognise these seven reasons why the Blues are often less than loved. Starting with number seven, those flags! English football supporters have always prided themselves on spontaneous acts of support, so any club to trying to generate atmosphere and spectacle ‘artificially’ is always going to draw scorn. File alongside ‘singing sections’. 7 3. Diego Costa is a dirty player – The heir to Didier Drogba not only as the focal point of Mourinho’s Chelsea attack, but also as an infuriating wind up merchant. But while Drogba enraged thanks to his penchant for falling over far too easily, Costa also indulges in a casual thuggery that too often distracts from his obvious ability. Yes, he’s a good footballer, but Costa’s also a bit of a nob. 7 7 4. Their celebrity fans – Can any club rival Chelsea for annoying celebrity supporters? Check out true Blue Tory George Osborne, above, lapping up the 2012 Champions League win. And he’s probably not the most odious Conservative to back the Blues, considering David Mellor switched allegiance from Fulham to support Chelsea. Away from politicians, former Vicarage Road regular Tim Lovejoy has become the plastic flag bearer of the Premier League era Chelsea fan, while Marmite man himself, Jeremy Clarkson, is Chelsea too. But they all pale by comparison with the fact that Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe has previously admitted to being a Chelsea fan. 6. Success has been bought – Winning attracts jealousy, and since Roman Abramovich started pumping his immense wealth into Chelsea, the Blues have been serial winners, which was never going to sit well with their rivals. In 98 years before Abramovich took over, Chelsea had won eight major trophies. In 12 years since, they’ve won another 12, thanks mostly to his spending. The Blues were on the brink of bankruptcy prior to Abramovich arriving, but he turned them into champions with money that – let’s face it – was accrued by controversial means following the collapse of the Soviet Union. While millions of ordinary Russians struggled to make ends meet, Roman was cleaning up by getting his hands on vast Russian resources at a knockdown price. Buying Chelsea was, as Simon Jordan once suggested, a “big life insurance policy” for Abramovich, as he sought to stay on the right side of Putin. What a lovely business! 5. Jose Mourinho’s gamesmanship – In terms of silverware, Jose Mourinho is one of the most successful managers in football history, so you have to respect his record. But that doesn’t mean his methods are admirable. Mourinho seems to prize winning above anything else, which is a nice way of saying his tactics on and off the pitch are often aggravating. While his teams will always be more functional than fantastic, the self-appointed ‘Special One’ employs all sorts of diversions to niggle at referees and the opposition. Chelsea’s last 16 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was the apotheosis of Mourinho’s approach; reducing a game involving world class talents to a farce of foul play. As Jamie Carragher put it, Mourinho’s teams “will always be respected, but never loved”. Chelsea’s Champions League exit against the 10 men of Paris Saint-Germain drew plenty of Schadenfreude from rival fans, but why is it that the West London club attract so much dislike?The number one reason is surely success, but is there more to it than that?Check out the slideshow above and let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below.DO YOU LOVE CHELSEA? CHECK OUT 15 SIGNS YOU’RE A CHELSEA FAN (BLUES WILL ENJOY THIS PAGE MUCH MORE!) 2. All those players on loan – The loan system is out of control and Chelsea personify this more than any other Premier League club. The Blues have sent 30 PLAYERS on loan this season. That is utterly ridiculous and sums up the imbalance in resources that means clubs outside the elite can only dream of challenging the likes of Chelsea for the title. Yet still John Terry remains the last youth product to become a regular in the first team. The true purpose of Chelsea’s talent stockpile appears to be a clever way of getting round Financial Fair Play (selling players, who’ve shown their capability during loan spells, for a profit), while potentially thwarting their rivals’ ambitions (loan players can’t play against Chelsea, but can help to beat their rivals, as Patrick Bamford proved for Middlesbrough against Man City – see picture above). 7 7 1. John Terry – Fill this one in yourself.last_img read more

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Premier League round-up: Bournemouth beat West Ham in seven-goal thriller

first_imgCallum Wilson netted a fine hat-trick to lead Bournemouth to their first ever Premier League win, with the Cherries edging a seven-goal thriller against a ten-man West Ham.Eddie Howe’s side dominated the first-half at Upton Park and looked to be cruising to a historic three points when striker Wilson netted twice inside 30 minutes.But the hosts came roaring back after the break, with Mark Noble’s 48th minute penalty and Cheikhou Kouyate’s close-range finish in the 53rd minute pulling the Hammers level.Bournemouth, though, showed fight which will stand them in good stead this season, and they soon reclaimed the lead as Marc Pugh fired in before Wilson completed his hat-trick from the spot.Carl Jenkinson was the guilty man, the on-loan Arsenal defender conceding the penalty and earning a red card for a clumsy last-man challenge on Max Gradel, and while Modibo Maiga reduced the deficit again just three minutes later, battling Bournemouth managed to hold on to secure a 4-3 victory.Meanwhile, Sunderland halted their nightmare start to the season as Jermain Defoe’s second-half strike rescued a 1-1 draw with Swansea at the Stadium of Light.Despite the Black Cats dominating the opening exchanges, it was Swansea who broke the deadlock against the run of play, Bafetimbi Gomis netting his third goal in three games on the stroke of half-time.Sunderland fans have been raging at their side after beginning the campaign with dismal back-to-back defeats, but there were signs of fight as they pressed for the equaliser and it deservedly came on the hour mark when Defoe, played in from Jeremain Lens’ perfect through ball, coolly slotted home.Both sides had chances to snatch victory on, but Sunderland were ultimately indebted to Costel Pantilimon for their first point of the season, the goalkeeper saving fierce strikes Jonjo Shelvey and Gylfi Sigurdsson before showing lightning reflexes to claw away a late Gomis header.On-fire Leicester City continued their brilliant start to the season with a 1-1 home draw with an average-looking Tottenham, which sees the Foxes climb back to the top of the Premier League table.Supporters were forced to sit through a tame encounter at the King Power Stadium. The sides created few clear-cut chances, with Spurs taking the lead in the 81st minute through youngster Dele Alli’s first Spurs goal.But the hosts mustered an immediate response as Riyad Mahrez scored his fourth goal of the season; the Frenchman curling the ball home past Huge Lloris on 82 minutes to claim a deserved point.Elsewhere, Bakary Sako scored a late winner on his Crystal Palace debut to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Selhurst Park.In another tight encounter, Palace had a goal disallowed before finally breaking the deadlock on 71 minutes through Scott Dann’s towering header from a well-worked corner.Villa were level just six minutes later courtesy of Pape Souare’s unfortunate own goal, but the tide turned late on as a mistake from the visitors proved costly. Jordan Amavi gifted possession to Dann in a dangerous position, and he duly passed to Sako who put away his shot with aplomb to secure victory.Finally, Norwich City came from behind to seal a hard-fought 1-1 draw at home to Stoke.Mame Biram Diouf headed in debutant Xherdan Shaqiri’s free-kick to put Stoke in front in the 13th minute, but Canaries defender Russell Martin shot through the legs of Stoke keeper Jack Butland to level the scores before half-time. 1 Bournemouth’s hat-trick hero Callum Wilson celebrates last_img read more

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