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【fabulous free slots casino free coins】Gopi Chand donates Rs. 50,000 to ailing former coach

文章来源:刘允乐   发布时间:2022-07-02 16:49:50  【字号:     】  

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire found guilty of assault******Football

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire found guilty of assault

APATHENS, GreeceAugust 26, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 06:44 ISTAPATHENS, GreeceAugust 26, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 06:44 IST

He was withdrawn from the England squad after conviction

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England's Harry Maguire | File

England's Harry Maguire | File

He was withdrawn from the England squad after conviction

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was found guilty of assault at a trial on Tuesday and handed a 21-month suspended sentence following his arrest after a brawl last week on the island of Mykonos, court officials in Greece said.

Two other defendants — including Maguire’s brother Joe — were also found guilty on similar charges and handed 13-month sentences. The sentences for all three defendants were suspended for three years.

Maguire issued a statement saying he will appeal. "I remain strong and confident regarding our innocence in this matter,” Maguire said. “If anything, myself, family, and friends are the victims.”

Maguire, who is the world’s mosfabulous free slots casino free coinst expensive defender, was not present at the trial on the nearby island of Syros. He was found guilty of assault, swearing in public, and attempting to bribe a police officer.

United also issued a statement supporting the player.

In this Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 file photo, England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece.

In this Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 file photo, England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece.

"It should be noted that the prosecution confirmed the charges and provided their evidence late on the day before the trial, giving the defense team minimal time to digest them and prepare,” United said. “A request for the case to be adjourned was subsequently denied. On this basis, along with the substantial body of evidence refuting the charges, Harry Maguire’s legal team will now appeal the verdict, to allow a full and fair hearing at a later date.”

Yannis Paradeisis, a lawyer assisting with the prosecution and representing four police officers who were allegedly assaulted in the brawl, told that he was disappointed by Maguire’s behavior.

"He is a role model to young people and a sportsman. That is not the way to behave,” he said. “The officers I was representing were just doing their job. We have not heard an apology from Mr. Maguire or the other two defendants. We all understand that someone can go on holiday and get in some kind of trouble, but it is not right to behave this way. The whole thing could have ended with an apology.

Withrawn from squad

Harry Maguire was withdrawn from the England squad Tuesday by coach Gareth Southgate following his conviction, hours after being selected for two upcoming matches.

Southgate had included the Manchester United captain in his team after backing the defender’s version of events and receiving an apology for being detained after a brawl last week while on vacation on the island of Mykonos.

But Southgate made the about-turn after the defender was handed the sentence.

"In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark,” Southgate said. “As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”

Maguire has made 26 appearances for England, which plays Iceland on Sept. 5 and Denmark three days later in the UEFA Nations League. Southgate’s side has not played this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the European Championship being postponed until 2021.

Maguire’s United teammate, 18-year-old forward Mason Greenwood, has been brought into the senior squad for the first time. Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden and Leeds defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips also earned first call-ups.

BFC signs Ajith Kumar from Chennai City FC******Football

BFC signs Ajith Kumar from Chennai City FC

BENGALURU:August 24, 2020 07:27 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 07:27 ISTBENGALURU:August 24, 2020 07:27 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 07:27 IST
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Bengaluru FC announced the signing of left-back Ajith Kumar for an undisclosed fee from Chennai City FC (CCFC).

The 23-year-old joins on a three-year deal ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super League campaign.

Ajith had played a crucial role in CCFC’s I-League triumph in 2018-2019, playing each of his side’s 20 games.

“I am thrilled to have become a Bengaluru FC player. The chance to share a dressing room with a legend like Sunil Chhetri, who I hope to learn so much from, and so many of the national team boys is very exciting for me,” said Ajith.

Club CEO Mandar Tamhane said: “We have been pursuing Ajith for some time now, tracking his progress in the I-League and his performances with Chennai in the AFC Cup. He is a bright young footballer and has all the qualities to fit into our system.”

Call to rename Kanteerava Stadium

The Bangalore Urban District Athletic Association (BUDAA) called on the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports to rename the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as Kanteerava Athletic Stadium.

The reasoning is that athletics is “the only sport that cannot be played on any other arena be it hockey, football, tennis etc.”

free slot play at south pointAmazing teamwork the key to Bayern’s treble season, says coach******Football

Amazing teamwork the key to Bayern’s treble season, says coach

ReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 05:45 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 04:48 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 05:45 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 04:48 IST

Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.

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Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League.

Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.

When Hansi Flick took over struggling Bayern Munich in November 2019 the media headlines declared that teams should no longer fear the German champions, but outstanding teamwork and a hunger for victory turned the season around, the coach said on Sunday.

Bayern beat Paris St Germain 1-0 courtesy of Kingsley Coman’s 59th minute winner to claim their third trophy of the season following their Bundesliga and German Cup double and complete an amazing transformation.

“I am proud of this team,” a beaming Flick told reporters. “When I started in November I read the headlines: ‘No need to fear or respect Bayern Munich anymore’, ‘The team is awful.”

“But the development of my team since then has been sensational. We made maximum use of everything. It is not easy to win three titles. It was hard work,” he added.

Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.

But the former Germany assistant coach almost instantly turned the campaign on its head, leading Bayern to an unbeaten 2020 in every competition.

They have won 21 consecutive matches in all competitions and are on a 30-game unbeaten run despite a two-month break in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flick reinstalled Thomas Mueller in attack behind Robert Lewandowski and also plucked Jerome Boateng from the bench to restore order in the German side’s defence.

“You could see during winter how much determination we have in this team, which is obviously something you wish for as a coach,” Flick said. “The team is eager and we have players with boundless desire to win.”

“The only thing that was missing was the fans. Maybe in the future we can have games with fans again. This sport deserves it.”

The eight-team Champions League tournament was played in Lisbon in empty stadiums due to the pandemic.

The Bavarians won every Champions League game this season - including a memorable 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-finals - becoming the first side to do so.

“The team is always in the foreground,” Flick said. “When you see how we worked until the 96th minute tonight in defence then it is a superb team spirit.

“Every player developed this season in such a way so as to win three titles. This only happens as a team.”

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【fabulous free slots casino free coins】Gopi Chand donates Rs. 50,000 to ailing former coach

National Sports Awards******Football

National Sports Awards | AIFF lauds award winners

PTINEW DELHIAugust 24, 2020 03:44 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 23:04 ISTPTINEW DELHIAugust 24, 2020 03:44 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 23:04 IST
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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Saturday praised Arjuna Award-winning national team defender Sandesh Jhingan and former coach and player Sukhwinder Singh for being honoured with the Dhyan Chand Award.

Jhingan is the country’s 27th footballer to win the Arjuna Award, while former India coach and defender Sukhwinder became the third person in football to receive the Dhyan Chand Award.

“Sandesh’s spirit and tenacity have been such a remarkable hallmark in Indian football in recent times. You fully deserve this honour,” Praful said.

“Sukhwinder Singh has played a key role in developing Indian football. He has been a successful coach and a player winning many laurels. My heartiest congratulations to him,” the AIFF chief added.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das also lauded the duo.

Bayern hero Coman leaves injuries behind to shine in Champions League final******Football

Bayern hero Coman leaves injuries behind to shine in Champions League final

ReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 03:09 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 03:09 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 03:09 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 03:09 IST

Two years ago Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman was publicly contemplating ending his career at the age of 22 with a string of injuries keeping him out of football for months on end.

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Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman celebrates scoring their goal.

Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman celebrates scoring their goal.

Two years ago Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman was publicly contemplating ending his career at the age of 22 with a string of injuries keeping him out of football for months on end.

Two years ago Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman was publicly contemplating ending his career at the age of 22 with a string of injuries keeping him out of football for months on end.

But on Sunday Coman, one of the most gifted French players of his generation, scored the winner in Bayern’s 1-0 victory over Paris St Germain to help the Germans lift the Champions League trophy at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz and complete a treble of titles.

Coman, who had also missed out on France’s winning 2018 World Cup run through injury, was not even expected to be in the starting lineup against the club where he spent most of his youth career.

A surprise change by coach Hansi Flick brought the speedy Frenchman in for Ivan Perisic, with Coman on a good day strong in one-on-one situations and quicker than the Croatian down the wing.

The coach’s move proved a masterstroke as Coman, lurking at the far post, beat defender Thilo Kehrer and headed in a Joshua Kimmich cross for the winner in the 59th minute.

Consecutive injuries in 2017 and 2018 saw Coman miss the major part of both seasons and followed ankle ligament injuries in 2016 after he had joined the Bavarians the previous year. The France international even considered retiring.

“It was a very difficult year. When I hurt myself, it was the end of the world for me.” Coman said in 2018.

“I hope I don’t have to relive what I’ve been through. Enough is enough. I will not accept a third operation -- it will mean maybe my foot is not made for this level.

“I will then lead another life, an anonymous life.”

He again struggled with injuries last season and missed the round-of-16 second leg against Chelsea.

On Sunday, however, he finally got to shine on the biggest stage and to live up to his talent.

UEFA Champions League******Football

UEFA Champions League | Bayern Munich crowned champions after beating PSG

ReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 02:34 ISTUpdated:November 28, 2021 12:57 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 02:34 ISTUpdated:November 28, 2021 12:57 IST

PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman appeared at the back post to glance home the only goal of the game

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Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lifts the trophy after Munich won the Champions League final.

Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lifts the trophy after Munich won the Champions League final.

PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman appeared at the back post to glance home the only goal of the game

Bayern Munich won the Champions League for a sixth time by beating Paris St Germain 1-0 in Sunday's final thanks to a goal from former PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman.

France international Coman appeared at the back post to head home in the 59th minute, completing a sweeping move from Bayern.

Also Read

Bayern hero Coman leaves injuries behind to shine in Champions League final
 

Coman's strike secured a treble for the Germans and punished PSG's wastefulness in the first half as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both failed to beat Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer from close range.

PSG were playing in their first European Cup final after billions of euros of investment from the Qatar royal family but they fell short on the final step to glory.

It was not the classic or the goal-feast that many had anticipated but it was high-tempo battle and in the end Bayern just about deserved to emerge victorious.

The German outfit claimed Europe's elite club trophy by winning every game in the Champions League this season. The victory also completed a treble of trophies for Hansi Flick's side after they also won the Bundesliga and the German Cup.

The Bayern coach opted to start with Coman instead of Ivan Perisic on the left flank and it was an inspired decision.

Jerome Boateng was deemed fit to start in the Bayern central defence, having recovered from a knock picked up in the semi-final win over Olympique Lyonnais.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas returned to their starting lineup having recovered from injury.

Neymar Foiled

After a cagey opening, Neymar suddenly burst into life in the 18th minute, scampering into the box and firing off a left-foot shot but Neuer's outstretched leg foiled the Brazilian.

Four minutes later Bayern's goal threat, Robert Lewandowski, was found in the box by a left wing cross from Alphonso Davies and given room to turn but his shot struck the post.

PSG were certainly asking questions of the Bayern defence and the livewire Angel Di Maria, after a quick exchange on the edge of the area, created space for a shot but his effort, with his weaker right foot, flew high and wide.

Bayern's gamble to start Boateng looked mistaken when he hobbled off in the 25th minute, being replaced by Niklas Suele.

PSG's industrious midfielder Ander Herrera had a fierce effort from distance deflected wide, while at the other end Lewandowski's stooping header from close range forced a fine reflex save out of Navas.

Mbappe, PSG's talented French World Cup-winning striker, should have done better just before the break when, after a smart one-two with Herrera, he shot straight at Neuer.

It was a scrappy start to the second half with both sides struggling to find any composure but the game came alive just before the hour mark.

After a well-worked move down the right Joshua Kimmich picked out Coman at the back post and he got behind Thilo Kehrer to head firmly into the bottom corner.

Bayern Munich's French forward Kingsley Coman (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (R) and Bayern Munich's Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies during the UEFA Champions League final.

Bayern Munich's French forward Kingsley Coman (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (R) and Bayern Munich's Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies during the UEFA Champions League final.

Coman threatened in the same area again moments later, after Thomas Mueller found him with a cross, and Thiago Silva had to block the volley.

Bayern were starting to look in control and PSG coach Thomas Tuchel responded by throwing on his Italian midfielder Marco Verratti in a bid to change the momentum.

But Flick's side were in no mood to give up their lead and they fought for every ball with tenacity, reducing any chance PSG had to find openings for their expensive strikeforce.

One final opportunity did come, in stoppage time, when Mbappe broke down the inside-left channel and found Neymar who turned sharply but saw his shot go harmlessly wide.

The PSG dream was over, the debutant finalists defeated by the determination, organisation and remarkable consistency of the formidable and now six-times European champions.

Europa League******Football

Europa League | Sevilla wins thriller for sixth title

ReutersCOLOGNEAugust 23, 2020 22:45 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 22:45 ISTReutersCOLOGNEAugust 23, 2020 22:45 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 22:45 IST

Inter done in by Lukaku’s own goal

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Triumphant: A delighted Sevilla squad with the Europa League trophy.

Triumphant: A delighted Sevilla squad with the Europa League trophy.

Inter done in by Lukaku’s own goal

Sevilla clinched the Europa League title for the sixth time with a 3-2 win over Inter Milan, after an overhead kick by defender Diego Carlos in the 74th minute deflected by the Italian side’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku settled a thrilling contest, on Friday.

It was an astonishing anti-climax to Lukaku’s first season after he had set the longest scoring run by a player in UEFA Cup/Europa League history when he netted in the 11th successive game to give Inter an early lead with a penalty conversion in the fifth minute.

Luuk De Jong, who scored Sevilla’s winner in the semifinal, showed his predatory instinct again with a pair of headers which turned the tide in the side’s favour.

However, Sevilla’s joy was short-lived as it was undone by a fine set piece three minutes later, with Marcelo Brozovic swinging in a free kick for Diego Godin to head home from close range.

Julen Lopetegui won his first trophy as coach at senior level after a torrid period which saw him sacked by Spain and Real Madrid.

The result:Sevilla 3 (de Jong 12, 33, Lukaku 74-OG) bt Inter Milan 2 (Lukaku 5-pen, Godin 35) .

Man United captain Harry Maguire released after assault hearing******Football

Man United captain Harry Maguire released after assault hearing

ReutersATHENSAugust 23, 2020 07:24 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 07:50 ISTReutersATHENSAugust 23, 2020 07:24 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 07:50 IST

Maguire was detained following a brawl in the Greek island of Mykonos.

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England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece, on Saturday, August 22, 2020. The Manchester United captain was arrested during a brawl on the neighbouring holiday island of Mykonos.

England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece, on Saturday, August 22, 2020. The Manchester United captain was arrested during a brawl on the neighbouring holiday island of Mykonos.

Maguire was detained following a brawl in the Greek island of Mykonos.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was released by a Greek prosecutor after appearing in court on Saturday following two days in detention over a brawl on the island of Mykonos, the Premier League club confirmed.

England international Maguire, 27, will respond to the charges against him on August 25, according to local police.

In a statement, Manchester United said: “Following the appearance in court today we note the adjournment of the case to allow the legal team to consider the case file.”

“Harry has pleaded not guilty to the charges. It would be inappropriate for the player or club to comment further while the legal process takes its course.”

Maguire left the court building in an unmarked van for an undisclosed destination. He and the two other defendants were charged with multiple instances of assault and battery in regard to a fight they had with others on Mykonos, an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea.

Police tried to break up the fight. Maguire and another defendant are also charged with attempted bribery and assault against a policeman.

Quoting a local website, Mykonosvoice.gr, Greece's Ethnos newspaper said the charges against Maguire, getting into an altercation, were considered misdemeanours.

Under Greek law that means Maguire can be represented by his lawyers in court in a hearing, rather than appear in person.

Maguire's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Manchester United had previously issued a statement on Friday saying they were aware of the incident and that Maguire was fully co-operating with the Greek authorities.

Maguire joined United from Leicester City for 80 million pounds — a world record fee for a defender — in August 2019.

He had travelled to Mykonos for a holiday following United's exit from the Europa League last week.

(With inputs from AP)

425 days later, Champions League ends with PSG******Football

425 days later, Champions League ends with PSG-Bayern final

APLisbonAugust 22, 2020 18:23 ISTUpdated:August 22, 2020 18:26 ISTAPLisbonAugust 22, 2020 18:23 ISTUpdated:August 22, 2020 18:26 IST

If PSG wins, it will pick up their first European Cup; for Bayern Munich it will be the sixth time.

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A giant replica of the UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed at the Rossio square downtown Lisbon, Portugal on August 21, 2020.

A giant replica of the UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed at the Rossio square downtown Lisbon, Portugal on August 21, 2020.

If PSG wins, it will pick up their first European Cup; for Bayern Munich it will be the sixth time.

After an unprecedented suspension of the competition, pandemic-enforced changes to the format and a switch of location for the final, the Champions League will conclude on Sunday — 425 days after the first game was played.

Either Paris Saint-Germain will pick up the European Cup for the first time or Bayern Munich will become six-time winners of the continent’s premier competition.

And just a few hundred people, including the coronavirus-checked players and officials, will be allowed into the final, which is being played in Lisbon in late August rather than Istanbul in May as originally scheduled.

Never before has the European Cup been handed out in such empty surroundings. There’s none of the usual gathering of tens of thousands of supporters in the host city. Only the large trophy in Rossio — Lisbon’s main central square — gives away that the biggest match in world football is taking place in the Portuguese capital.

Around Benfica’s stadium, there is not a single sign indicating a game due to be watched on television by hundreds of millions of people on Sunday night will be played inside.

The lack of buzz and atmosphere at this 65th European Cup final will not detract from the magnitude of the occasion for the teams. For the first time since 1998, the final is a meeting of two teams who qualified as domestic champions.

PSG’s mission

Celebrating the 50th anniversary since its formation -- after the merger of Paris clubs -- PSG is younger than the 65-year-old European Cup. Becoming European champions would be the fulfillment of a nine-year journey of lavish investment since the state of Qatar bought the club.

They will be the most important 90 minutes of our lives as footballers and in the history of the club, said Marco Verratti, who has been at PSG eight years.

More than $1 billion in player investment -- including the 222 million world record signing of Neymar in 2017 -- has turned PSG into such a dominant force in France that the seasons become a procession. Seven out of the last eight Ligue 1 titles have been captured by PSG and four of the last six campaigns have ended in domestic trebles.

But PSG had become synonymous with its Champions League collapses, failing to make the semifinals for a quarter-century until this month in Lisbon.

Bayern’s quest

Since winning the Champions League for a fifth time in 2013, Bayern has lost four semifinals -- to record 13-time champion Real Madrid (twice), Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Founded in 1900, Bayern established itself as a super club long before states started investing in football. Whereas PSG is an extension of soft power by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, at Bayern it is the fans who control the football club through a mass membership system.

But a quarter of the business is owned by the sportswear firm Adidas, insurance giant Allianz and carmaker Audi. And the acceptance of sponsorship from state-owned Qatar Airways since 2018 has seen the club denounced by human rights groups for accepting financing from a Gulf nation where migrant workers can suffer from inhumane working conditions.

Search for goals

Bayern is a formidable attacking unit. While PSG has scored 25 goals in 10 games on the run to its first final, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry have netted 24 between them as part of Bayern’s overall haul of 42.

With 15 goals and six assists in Europe, the 32-year-old Lewandowski is enjoying the career of his season. Only Cristiano Ronaldo — with 17 goals for Real Madrid in 2013-14 — has scored more in a Champions League campaign.

Lewandowski has been amazing, Bayern winger Kingsley Coman said.

He has been the best player of the season and in the world.

But he won’t be in contention for the Ballon D’Or after France Football scrapped the game’s top player award this season due to the coronavirus disruption that saw Ligue 1 curtailed in March with PSG declared champions.

Could that decision be reversed if PSG becomes France’s first European champions since Marseille in 1993? Kylian Mbapp頡nd Neymar would certainly be strong Ballon D’Or contenders. Angel Di Maria would be staking a claim too after revitalizing his career at PSG after a miserable 2014-15 season at Manchester United, with a goal and two assists in the 3-0 semifinal win over Leipzig.

But PSG’s players haven’t got close to Lewandowski’s lethal qualities in front of goal. Mauro Icardi and Mbapp頯nly have five goals each in the Champions League, although Mbapp頨as contributed five assists.

At the back

The 3-0 victory for Bayern over Lyon in the semifinal looked convincing, but it was only the French side’s poor finishing that prevented it going ahead. It could prove costly if David Alaba and Jerome Boateng, in central defense for Bayern, give too much space for Mbapp鬠Di Maria and Neymar.

It could be an uncomfortable final night in a PSG shirt for the 35-year-old Thiago Silva — alongside Presnel Kimpembe — as Lewandowski looks to add to his 55 goals for this year-long season.

In the dugout

This is a meeting of two German coaches.

Hansi Flick only took charge of Bayern in November, gaining internal promotion after Niko Kovac was fired with the team fourth in the Bundesliga. The recovery saw Bayern clinch an eighth successive Bundesliga title, collect the German Cup and reach the Champions League final for the first time since 2013.

Would Thomas Tuchel still be in charge of PSG had it not been for the 90th-minute recovery to oust Atalanta in the first single-game quarterfinal in Lisbon almost two weeks ago? Winning French titles is the minimum expected of Tuchel. At the end of his second season in charge, the former Borussia Dortmund coach will be judged on his European record by the Qatari leadership.

At least 8 Serie A players test positive for coronavirus******Football

At least 8 Serie A players test positive for coronavirus

APMilanAugust 21, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 21, 2020 07:10 ISTAPMilanAugust 21, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 21, 2020 07:10 IST

The new season is scheduled to start on September 19.

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The new season is scheduled to start on September 19.

A number of Serie A players have tested positive for the new coronavirus as they return from their truncated offseason.

The new season is scheduled to start on September 19 but at least eight players have tested positive for COVID-19.

The latest clubs to announce they have positive cases among their players were Torino with two, and Napoli with one Thursday.

Roma and Cagliari confirmed positive cases on Wednesday.

All eight players are asymptomatic.

The number of positive cases in general in Italy is also rising. The country reported 845 new cases on Thursday, the highest rise since May 16.

Italy was one of the hardest hit countries by the coronavirus, with more than 35,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. It was also the first country in Europe to shut down its soccer league on March 9.

Serie A resumed without fans on June 20 and finished on August 2, with Juventus winning a record-extending ninth successive league title.

Messi decides to stay on at Barcelona******Football

Messi decides to stay on at Barcelona

AFPLONDONSeptember 04, 2020 22:48 ISTUpdated:September 04, 2020 22:55 ISTAFPLONDONSeptember 04, 2020 22:48 ISTUpdated:September 04, 2020 22:55 IST

Criticising Bartomeu, says he will never take the ‘club of his life’ to court

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Frank and forthright:  Lionel Messi launched a stinging attack on the Barcelona president during his interview with  Goal.com’s  Ruben Uría.

Frank and forthright: Lionel Messi launched a stinging attack on the Barcelona president during his interview with Goal.com’s Ruben Uría.

Criticising Bartomeu, says he will never take the ‘club of his life’ to court

Lionel Messi said on Friday he will stay at Barcelona, insisting he could never go to court against “the club of his life”.

But he launched a stinging attack on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, whom he accused of going back on an agreement to let him leave for free at the end of last season.

Not keeping his word

“The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview withGoal.com, released on Friday.

“I thought and we were sure that I was free...now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this disease that altered all the dates.

“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club... because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million release clause.

“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”

“Of course, I had a hard time deciding. It does not come from the Bayern result...I wanted a winning project and to win titles with the club, to continue expanding the legend of Barcelona.

And the truth is that there has been no project or anything for a long time, they juggle and cover holes as things go by. As I said before, I always thought about the welfare of my family and the club.”

Full support

Despite his unhappiness, Messi insists he will give his all for Barcelona under new coach Ronald Koeman.

“My attitude is not going to change, no matter how much I have wanted to go. I will do my best. I always want to win, I am competitive and I don't like to lose ever.”

João Victor on playing for Hyderabad FC, Indian Super League 2020******ISL 2020Football

‘Football in India is going to improve and get bigger’: Brazilian footballer João Victor

Divya Kala BhavaniHyderabadSeptember 04, 2020 12:53 ISTUpdated:September 11, 2020 15:40 ISTDivya Kala BhavaniHyderabadSeptember 04, 2020 12:53 ISTUpdated:September 11, 2020 15:40 IST

Recently signed to Hyderabad FC for Indian Super League, the footballer shares his story to train with international players

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João Victor

João Victor

Recently signed to Hyderabad FC for Indian Super League, the footballer shares his story to train with international players

This year, Indian Super League (ISL) is set to take place in Goa. Having kicked off in October 2014, the football championship has ten franchises based in Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur. At its core, ISL has, over the past six years, created a platform to groom football talent in the country, as well as embrace international talent from other countries.

One of the international talents is the 31-year-old João Victor from Brazil who was signed on to play for Hyderabad FC. In an email interview withThe Hindu, the defensive mid-fielder starts with his awareness of India’s football scene. “To be honest, I didn’t know too much about Indian football. I have the basic idea because of some players that I have played with,” he admits, but says he is excited for what is ahead in Goa.

João says the reason he joined Hyderabad FC is his belief in the project that the club has, explaining, “I believe that football in India is going to improve and get bigger and known all around. Personally, I want to be part of this journey and try and make my contribution to the cause.” João has had his hand — or foot, rather — in clubs such as La Liga, Cypriot First Division and Uzbek League among others.

Admitting he has never played cricket because Brazil and the other countries in which he lived did not have much of it, his heart is committed to football. He also loves where the sport has taken him. “I’ve played in different countries before, where the teams have had a lot of international players, making it multi-cultural. So, I’m used to this kind of set up. In fact, I really enjoy it. You can learn a lot about different cultures, and make friends in many different places.” He adds, cheekily, “It means that when I go for a vacation in many countries, I won’t need to book a hotel, as I’ll always have a house to stay for free.”

When it comes to short-term championships like ISL, João insists he goes full-on with training and playing. “I’m not the kind the guy that keeps my best for later, or someone who likes to take it slowly. I think I adapt very quickly wherever I go, because I enjoy football a lot. I enjoy the ambience of the dressing rooms, the stadiums, and more importantly matches. So that’s why I’ll always give my maximum in everything,” he affirms.

Pandemic makes a play

The COVID-19 pandemic has not been easy on the sporting world, and João is well aware of it. “It’s a very tough moment for everybody. But at least we can use our job as footballers to bring some joy to the people. Mentally, it is not going to be easy because everything will be different from what we’re normally used to. We’re going to play without fans behind closed doors. We’re going to be staying in a bubble in a hotel, we’re going to be without families,” he says.

João, who has never been to India, concludes, however, on a positive note, “In this situation, your team becomes your one big family and that’s a special thing about sport. But at the same time, we need to stay concentrated because the league is going to be a short one and those who can manage to have a strong mind will be a step ahead from the others.”

Messi might stay at Barca******Football

Messi might stay at Barca

APMADRIDSeptember 03, 2020 22:32 ISTUpdated:September 03, 2020 21:48 ISTAPMADRIDSeptember 03, 2020 22:32 ISTUpdated:September 03, 2020 21:48 IST

Jorge-Bartomeu meeting fails to throw up any agreement

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Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi.

Jorge-Bartomeu meeting fails to throw up any agreement

Staying with Barcelona may be an option for Lionel Messi after all.

A day after the Spanish club reaffirmed its position not to facilitate a transfer, Messi’s father-agent did not dismiss the possibility of his son reconsidering his decision to leave.

Jorge Messi left the prospect open after being briefly questioned on Thursday on whether he was considering the possibility of Messi staying for now and leaving for free next year. The affirmation came a day after there was no agreement in the meeting between Jorge Messi and Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu.

Shree Cement to invest in East Bengal******Football

Shree Cement to invest in East Bengal

PTIKolkataSeptember 02, 2020 23:04 ISTUpdated:September 02, 2020 23:04 ISTPTIKolkataSeptember 02, 2020 23:04 ISTUpdated:September 02, 2020 23:04 IST

CM Mamata Banerjee plays active role, says club should be in ISL

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CM Mamata Banerjee plays active role, says club should be in ISL

East Bengal announced Shree Cement as its new investor here on Wednesday, a development which will help it tide over financial problems and hope for a chance to play in the country’s top league — ISL.

East Bengal’s new investor has agreed to keep both its emblem and colours.

‘Difficult’ for Messi to stay at Barcelona******Football

‘Difficult’ for Messi to stay at Barcelona

AFPBarcelonaSeptember 02, 2020 22:58 ISTUpdated:September 02, 2020 23:07 ISTAFPBarcelonaSeptember 02, 2020 22:58 ISTUpdated:September 02, 2020 23:07 IST

Player’s father Jorge arrives in city

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Jorge Messi.

Jorge Messi.

Player’s father Jorge arrives in city

Jorge Messi, father and agent of Lionel Messi, said on Wednesday he thinks it will be “difficult” for his son to stay at Barcelona.

Messi senior landed in Barcelona on Wednesday ahead of talks with the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu about the striker’s intention to leave this summer.

Messi senior flew in from the Argentine city of Rosario, landing at the private terminal in Barcelona’s El Prat airport on Wednesday morning.

Asked by reporters about the possibility of Messi staying, Jorge Messi said: “Difficult”. He was then asked how he sees his son’s future at Barca, to which he replied: “Difficult, difficult”.

No talks with City

When the prospect of joining Manchester City was put to him, he said: “There’s nothing yet.” It was suggested he had spoken already to City coach Pep Guardiola. “I didn’t talk to Pep,” Jorge Messi said. “Not to anyone.”

Jorge Messi will be hoping to unblock the stand-off between Barca and his son, which threatens to descend into an expensive and bitter legal battle if a resolution cannot be found.

The 33-year-old striker boycotted Barcelona’s first pre-season training session on Monday, as he tries to force his way out of the club he joined as a 13-year-old.

Messi also failed to attend a coronavirus test at the training ground on Sunday.

Yet Barcelona insists its captain will only depart if his €700m release clause is activated, a stance that has been backed up by La Liga, which says that release clause still applies.

Three PSG players test positive for COVID******Football

Three PSG players test positive for COVID-19

ReutersSeptember 02, 2020 21:23 ISTUpdated:September 02, 2020 21:23 ISTReutersSeptember 02, 2020 21:23 ISTUpdated:September 02, 2020 21:23 IST

French sports daily L'Equipe reported Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes tested positive after returning from Ibiza

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Paris St Germain's Neymar reacts. File

Paris St Germain's Neymar reacts. File

French sports daily L'Equipe reported Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes tested positive after returning from Ibiza

Three Paris St Germain players have tested positive for COVID-19, the Ligue 1 club said on Wednesday.

The club declined to comment when contacted by Reuters about the identity of the players but French sports dailyL'Equipereported Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Leandro Paredes tested positive after returning from Ibiza.

“Three Paris Saint-Germain players have confirmed positive Sars CoV2 tests and are subject to the appropriate health protocol,” the club said in a statement.

“All of the players and coaching staff will continue to undergo tests in the coming days.”

The French champions on Monday said that two of their players had tested positive for the virus and gone into quarantine.

Although the Ligue 1 season has kicked off, PSG have yet to begin their campaign as they have been given a break following their run to last month's Champions League final, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

The Parisian club start their title defence at Racing Lens on Sept. 10.

First Clasico on Oct. 25******Football

First Clasico on Oct. 25

AFPMADRIDSeptember 01, 2020 23:09 ISTUpdated:September 01, 2020 23:19 ISTAFPMADRIDSeptember 01, 2020 23:09 ISTUpdated:September 01, 2020 23:19 IST

The first games of the new season will be played on the weekend of September 12

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The first games of the new season will be played on the weekend of September 12

Barcelona will play Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou on October 25, after the LaLiga fixtures were announced on Monday.

The first games of the new season will be played on the weekend of September 12.

The two will then face each other at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 11, with Zinedine Zidane’s side looking to defend the Spanish league title it won in July.

【fabulous free slots casino free coins】Gopi Chand donates Rs. 50,000 to ailing former coach

Lionel Messi skips training******Football

Lionel Messi skips training

AFPMADRIDAugust 31, 2020 23:28 ISTUpdated:August 31, 2020 23:50 ISTAFPMADRIDAugust 31, 2020 23:28 ISTUpdated:August 31, 2020 23:50 IST
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Lionel Messi boycotted Barcelona’s first pre-season training session on Monday, club sources confirmed.

After skipping coronavirus tests on Sunday, Messi was absent again from the club’s Ciutat Esportiva training ground, where Ronald Koeman held a session, his first after being appointed Barcelona coach.

The 33-year-old and his lawyers believe that participating in the pre-season programme would contradict their argument that Messi no longer belongs to the club.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic ready to sign new contract at AC Milan******Football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic ready to sign new contract at AC Milan

PTIMilanAugust 31, 2020 04:31 ISTUpdated:August 31, 2020 01:51 ISTPTIMilanAugust 31, 2020 04:31 ISTUpdated:August 31, 2020 01:51 IST

The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic is expected to sign a one-season deal worth 7 million euros ($8.3 million)

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Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes for the ball against Cagliari during a Serie A soccer match at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, August 1, 2020.

Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes for the ball against Cagliari during a Serie A soccer match at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, August 1, 2020.

The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic is expected to sign a one-season deal worth 7 million euros ($8.3 million)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in Italy and ready to sign a new contract with AC Milan.

Finally everything is in place and finally I can return to where I feel at home, Ibrahimovic said upon his arrival at Milan’s Linate airport late Saturday.

The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic is expected to sign a one-season deal worth 7 million euros ($8.3 million).

Ibrahimovic began his second stint with Milan in January on a six-month contract and helped turn the Rossoneri’s season around with 10 goals in 18 Serie A matches.

Seven-time European champion Milan finished sixth in the Italian league and earned a Europa League spot.

As I’ve always said, I’m not here to be a mascot. I’m here to bring results and to help the team, the coach and the squad return to where Milan should be, Ibrahimovic said in a video on Milan’s website.

We had a great last six months but we haven’t won anything, he added. This year I’ve got the chance to be here from the start so we’ve got to continue like we were, working hard and sacrificing ourselves to reach our goals. Serie A opens Sept. 19.

Lionel Messi skips required coronavirus testing with Barcelona******Football

Lionel Messi skips required coronavirus testing with Barcelona

APMadridAugust 30, 2020 17:28 ISTUpdated:August 30, 2020 17:42 ISTAPMadridAugust 30, 2020 17:28 ISTUpdated:August 30, 2020 17:42 IST

Barcelona said Lionel Messi was the only player who did not undergo the tests at the club’s training centre

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Lionel Messi announced his decision to leave on Tuesday by sending the club a burofax, a certified document similar to a telegram.

Lionel Messi announced his decision to leave on Tuesday by sending the club a burofax, a certified document similar to a telegram.

Barcelona said Lionel Messi was the only player who did not undergo the tests at the club’s training centre

In another sign that Lionel Messi’s time with Barcelona is coming to an end, the player did not report for required coronavirus testing scheduled for the whole squad on August 30.

Barcelona said Messi was the only player who did not undergo the tests at the club’s training centre. The team is set to resume training on August 31 ahead of the upcoming start of the season.

The club also reiterated its stance not to negotiate Messi’s early release, saying president Josep Bartomeu will only sit down with the player if it is to extend his contract beyond next season.

Messi last week expressed his desire to leave the club, but Barcelona wants him to play out the contract that ends in June 2021. The club also said it is not negotiating a possible transfer with any other team.

Messi announced his decision to leave on Tuesday by sending the club a burofax, a certified document similar to a telegram. He invoked a contract clause that allowed him to leave at the end of the season for free, but the club claims that the clause had already expired.

A legal battle is expected to unfold as Messi will contend that the season was extended beyond the date the clause expired because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Argentina great reportedly said he wanted to negotiate with the club, but Barcelona said on Saturday it was not willing to facilitate his exit. The club said it would like for Messi to finish his career with the Catalan club.

There were rumours earlier in the week that Messi would show up for Sunday’s tests to avoid breaking team rules while negotiating his departure, but his people reportedly told the club on Saturday of his intentions not to attend the testing.

Barcelona will resume training with incoming coach Ronald Koeman in charge after Quique Setién was fired following the team’s 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Aug. 14.

The defeat, one of the worst in Messi’s career and in the club’s history, prompted Barcelona to announce “profound” changes to the first-team and a “wide-ranging” restructuring of the club.

Koeman reportedly told Luis Suárez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Samuel Umtiti that they are not in his plans for the future, but all of them showed up for the required tests on Sunday.

Suárez has been a longtime teammate and friend of Messi, and the decision to get rid of the Uruguayan striker was believed to have upset Messi and played a part in his decision to leave.

The 33-year-old Messi had been outspoken about the club’s poor decisions this season, its first without a trophy since 2007-08.

Indian Super League: Chennaiyin FC name Csaba Laszlo as head coach for 2020******Football

Indian Super League: Chennaiyin FC name Csaba Laszlo as head coach for 2020-21 season

PTIChennaAugust 30, 2020 13:26 ISTUpdated:August 30, 2020 13:27 ISTPTIChennaAugust 30, 2020 13:26 ISTUpdated:August 30, 2020 13:27 IST

It will be the 56-year-old Hungarian Laszlo’s first stint in Asia. He has more than two decades of coaching experience at club and international level.

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Chennaiyin FC on Sunday announced the appointment of experienced Csaba Laszlo as their head coach for the 2020-21 season. Twitter/@ChennaiyinFC

Chennaiyin FC on Sunday announced the appointment of experienced Csaba Laszlo as their head coach for the 2020-21 season. Twitter/@ChennaiyinFC

It will be the 56-year-old Hungarian Laszlo’s first stint in Asia. He has more than two decades of coaching experience at club and international level.

i Two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin FC on Sunday announced the appointment of experienced Csaba Laszlo as their head coach for the 2020-21 season.

It will be the 56-year-old Hungarian Laszlo’s first stint in Asia. He has more than two decades of coaching experience at club and international level.

The Romania-born Laszlo had coaching stints in eight countries, including two national teams -- Uganda and Lithiania.

Laszlo replaced Owen Coyle, who took the team to the final in the 2019-20 ISL season. Coyle recently moved to Jamshedpur FC as their head coach.

"Chennaiyin is a family-like club that chases excellence with passionate fans by its side at all times. I'm so happy to be a part of this family. Together, we will do everything to take #CFC to greater heights." #CoachLaszlo

Read more: https://t.co/4vHVCdDQhV#WelcomeLaszlo

— Chennaiyin FC (@ChennaiyinFC) August 30, 2020
 

“I am incredibly proud and happy to become the Head Coach of Chennaiyin FC. It is my privilege to join the club on its completion of six successful years. I believe Chennaiyin is a close-knit family-like club that chases excellence with absolutely passionate fans by its side at all times,” the Hungarian was quoted as saying in a media release.

“And I’m so happy now to be a part of this family. Together with my coaching staff, we will do everything possible to take Chennaiyin to greater heights.”

Chennaiyin FC co-owner Vita Dani said Laszlo has the credentials to bring success to the club.

“We are excited to bring Csaba onboard as Head Coach and believe he has the perfect credentials to bring success to our club. Along with his experience of coaching at the highest level in various leagues and countries,” Dani said.

“Csaba also possesses proven expertise in unearthing and nurturing youngsters. Promoting budding Indian talent is at the forefront of our objectives at Chennaiyin, and Csaba fits the mould perfectly in that regard as well,” she added.

CFC had recently announced the retention of 11 Indian players from last ISL season’s squad, apart from retaining the services of Brazilian duo of defender Eli Sabiᠡnd creative midfielder Rafael Crivellaro.

A central midfielder himself, Laszlo’s playing career comprised a host of clubs in Romania, Hungary and erstwhile West Germany before he was forced to retire due to a knee injury at the age of 27.

His early coaching career included a spell at the Borussia Monchengladbach B team, where he oversaw the discovery of several future stars, most notably German international and FIFA World Cup bronze medalist Marcell Jansen.

He worked as assistant to German World Cup-winning legend Lothar Matth䵳 at the Hungary national team.

Laszlo also became head coach of Hungarian giants FerencvᲯs and he won the 2005 Hungarian Coach of the Year award. He then assumed the role of Ugandan national team boss, whom he took from 167 to 97 in the FIFA world rankings. He has also served as head coach of the Lithuanian national team.

Laszlo then made the switch to Scottish top-flight side Heart of Midlothian (Hearts) and helped them finish third in the standings and secured qualification to the inaugural UEFA Europa League.

Subsequently, he coached clubs in Belgium (Charleroi), Hungary (MTK Budapest), Slovakia (Dunajsk᠓treda) and returned to Scotland with Dundee United in the 2017-18 season. His last coaching stint was with Romanian club Sepsi OSK.

Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties to lift FA Community Shield******Football

Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties to lift FA Community Shield

ReutersLONDONAugust 30, 2020 06:42 ISTUpdated:August 30, 2020 06:42 ISTReutersLONDONAugust 30, 2020 06:42 ISTUpdated:August 30, 2020 06:42 IST

It was the Gunners' second trophy within a month following the side's FA Cup final win over Chelsea on August 1.

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Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz, right, pose with the trophy at the end of the English FA Community Shield soccer match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Wembley stadium in London on August 29, 2020. Arsenal defeated Liverpool 5-4 in a penalty shootout after the game ended tied 1-1.

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz, right, pose with the trophy at the end of the English FA Community Shield soccer match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Wembley stadium in London on August 29, 2020. Arsenal defeated Liverpool 5-4 in a penalty shootout after the game ended tied 1-1.

It was the Gunners' second trophy within a month following the side's FA Cup final win over Chelsea on August 1.

Arsenal beat Liverpool 5-4 on penalties on Saturday to lift the FA Community Shield, the curtain-raiser for the English domestic season, after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw on a chilly afternoon at Wembley.

Gunners captain and match goal-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fired in the final penalty of the afternoon to complete the north London side's second win over the league champions in the space of six weeks following a shortened summer break.

“We are improving. There is still work to do but I'm really happy and it's an exciting time to be an Arsenal player,” Aubameyang toldBT Sport after the match. It was the Gunners' second trophy within a month following the side's FA Cup final win over Chelsea on August 1.

The game, played each summer between the league and FA Cup winner of the season just finished, was a very even and at times rather slow affair.

Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk had an early strike ruled out offside before Arsenal's opener, a well-worked move to break out of the champions' high press.

Bukayo Saka took the ball up the field on the right, crossed all the way over to Aubameyang on the far left, and the Gabon striker skipped forward and curled an inch-perfect shot beyond the reach of Liverpool keeper Alisson into the opposite corner.

The Liverpool attack appeared disjointed by contrast. While they pushed Arsenal right back up the field for long stretches, they were unable to put together a single shot on goal in the first half.

Liverpool's Japanese substitute Takumi Minamino eventually levelled the tie in the 73rd minute with a shot from close range, picking up his first goal in 15 appearances since arriving on Merseyside in January from Red Bull Salzburg.

“If we'd scored earlier that would have helped ... We had our big moments, which we didn't finish off, so that's the result,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told reporters.

Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, Minamino and substitute Curtis Jones all scored for Liverpool in the shootout, but fellow late substitute Rhian Brewster blasted his shot — his first touch of the ball — onto the bar.

Reiss Nelson, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Cedric Soares and David Luiz all scored for the Gunners before Aubameyang stroked his shot past Alisson to seal the victory for the Londoners.

When asked about whether he will renew his contract with Arsenal which currently expires next summer, Aubameyang — their leading scorer for the last two seasons — remained enigmatic: “We're going to see in these days. Today we take the trophy, that's it.”

Gunners manager Mikel Arteta sounded more positive about both Aubameyang's contract and the team as a whole, saying: “I try to do my job which is convince him he's at the right place. I'm very positive he is going to sign.”

“It's not a one-off when we beat the teams we have in the last two months consistently,” he said, though he added: “We have aspects in our game we have to improve.”

Barcelona unwilling to negotiate Messi’s departure******Football

Barcelona unwilling to negotiate Messi’s departure

APMADRIDAugust 29, 2020 22:22 ISTUpdated:August 29, 2020 22:22 ISTAPMADRIDAugust 29, 2020 22:22 ISTUpdated:August 29, 2020 22:22 IST

Spanish media says the player has contacted the club to try to resolve the situation

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A new artwork by street artist depicting Lionel Messi in Barcelona on August 29, 2020.

A new artwork by street artist depicting Lionel Messi in Barcelona on August 29, 2020.

Spanish media says the player has contacted the club to try to resolve the situation

Barcelona is unwavering in its intention to keep Lionel Messi, who told the club earlier this week that he wanted to leave.

Spanish media says Messi has contacted the club to try to resolve the situation, but Barcelona confirmed toAPon Saturday that it will not negotiate to allow the Argentina great to depart before his contract ends next year.

Earlier this week, Messi said he wanted to invoke a contract clause that allowed him to leave at the end of last season, but the club said the clause had already expired.

A lengthy legal battle may ensue as the 33-year-old forward is expected to say the clause was valid until the end of the season, which was pushed back because of the pandemic.

Barcelona is not willing to give up on the player, especially not for free. Messi’s contract, which ends in June 2021, has a buyout clause of €700 million. He has been with the club for nearly two decades, leading it to more than three-dozen titles and holding most of its individual records.

Spanish media said Messi and his team contacted the club late this week to try to discuss his situation. He had announced his intention to leave by sending the club a burofax, a certified document similar to a telegram.

Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu reportedly tried to meet with the player after his decision to leave was announced.

Paul Pogba tests positive for COVID******Football

Paul Pogba tests positive for COVID-19, replaced in France squad

APPARISAugust 28, 2020 07:26 ISTUpdated:August 28, 2020 08:08 ISTAPPARISAugust 28, 2020 07:26 ISTUpdated:August 28, 2020 08:08 IST

The Manchester United player was replaced by 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga for upcoming Nations League qualifiers against Sweden and Croatia.

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Manchester United's Paul Pogba

Manchester United's Paul Pogba

The Manchester United player was replaced by 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga for upcoming Nations League qualifiers against Sweden and Croatia.

France midfielder Paul Pogba was left out of the national team squad on Thursday after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Manchester United player was replaced by 17-year-old Eduardo Camavinga for upcoming Nations League qualifiers against Sweden and Croatia.

"I had to make a change at the last minute because Paul Pogba was supposed to be in the squad,” France coach Didier Deschamps said. “Unfortunately for him, he had a test yesterday which was positive this morning.”

United’s players are scheduled to return for pre-season training on Wednesday, with their start to the new season delayed a week because of their involvement in the latter stages of the Europa League.

While most Premier League teams start their new campaign on the weekend of September 12-13, United begins the following weekend with a home match against Crystal Palace.

Camavinga made an immediate impression with Rennes last season, where he stood out in a win over French champion Paris Saint-Germain despite being only 16.

Aouar stood out for Lyon during its run to the Champions League semifinals, while Upamecano was among Leipzig’s best players as it also reached the last four in Lisbon.

Deschamps also gave a surprise recall to Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who fell out with the coach after asking to be taken off the list of reserve players for the 2018 World Cup.

"It was a mistake on his part. What happened has happened, I’m not someone who likes to take radical positions,” Deschamps said. “I would like to think he’ll be here on Monday. I’ll get the chance to talk with him then.”

Anthony Martial regained his place in the squad following an impressive season with Manchester United, where he finished as the club’s co-top scorer with 17 Premier League goals. He last played for France in March 2018.

France travels to play Sweden near Stockholm on September 5 and then hosts Croatia at Stade de France three days later.

Team

Goalkeepers- Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Marseille)

Defenders- Lucas Digne (Everton), Lşo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clşment Lenglet (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid), Dayot Upamecano (Leipzig), Raphašl Varane (Real Madrid)

Midfielders- Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), N’Golo Kantş (Chelsea), Steven Nzonzi (Rennes), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Houssem Aouar (Lyon)

Forwards- Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Jonathan Ikonş (Lille), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappş (Paris Saint-Germain)

Kerala Blasters FC signs Rohit Kumar******Football

Kerala Blasters FC signs Rohit Kumar

Special CorrespondentKOCHIAugust 26, 2020 23:00 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 23:00 ISTSpecial CorrespondentKOCHIAugust 26, 2020 23:00 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 23:00 IST
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Kerala Blasters FC has signed Delhi midfielder Rohit Kumar for the Indian Super League (ISL).

The 23-year-old, who started his career at the Bhaichung Bhutia Football School, played for Hyderabad FC in the ISL last season and for FC Pune City earlier.

“Joining the Blasters was an easy decision since I’ve always wanted to play for the club.

“I hope to improve as a player to contribute to the vision of the club,” said Rohit.

“Rohit is yet another quality addition to our midfield. I hope he explores his full potential with the team and we are ready to support him in the best possible manner,” said Karolis Skinkys, the club’s sporting director.

Lionel has not told us he will miss training: sporting director******Football

Lionel has not told us he will miss training: sporting director

AFPMadridAugust 26, 2020 22:56 ISTUpdated:August 27, 2020 15:51 ISTAFPMadridAugust 26, 2020 22:56 ISTUpdated:August 27, 2020 15:51 IST

Sporting director says club working internally to convince the Argentine

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring a goal. File photo

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring a goal. File photo

Sporting director says club working internally to convince the Argentine

Lionel Messi has not informed Barcelona coaches he will not attend training on Wednesday, according to the club’s newly appointed sporting director, Ramon Planes.

“Messi has not informed us that he was not going to show up for training,” Planes said during the official unveiling of Portuguese striker Joao Trincao.

“But all exchanges will remain between the two parties (the club and the player) and out of respect we will not communicate on what is said because we are putting all our efforts in this dialogue.”

Messi, Planes insisted, was “important news. But what we think, and we’ve said it many times, is that we see Messi as a Barca player”.

Also read:Where next for Messi?

Planes added: “Barca has rebuilt itself several times in its history, and it has always come back more powerful. Our idea is to do it once again, around the best player in the world.

“You have to have enormous respect for what Messi is and for his history.

Planes stressed that there was “not an argument between Messi and Barca — neither deserves it”.

 

Where next for Messi?******Football

Where next for Messi?

AFPMadridAugust 26, 2020 22:36 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 22:58 ISTAFPMadridAugust 26, 2020 22:36 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 22:58 IST

Manchester City and PSG front-runners as most likely destinations

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Adieu? Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has told Barcelona that he wants to leave on a free transfer.

Adieu? Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has told Barcelona that he wants to leave on a free transfer.

Manchester City and PSG front-runners as most likely destinations

If Lionel Messi’s mind is made up to leave Barcelona, the question turns to where he goes next.

His priority has always been to be part of a “winning project” at Camp Nou but his latest season was not only devoid of trophies, it was defined by chaos and ended in humiliation.

Messi has not asked for a transfer to put his feet up for the final years of his career. This is a considered move aimed at bolstering his successes, and in one competition in particular.

The Champions League has become his obsession, which puts all of Europe’s super-clubs in contention and eliminates the less intensive, or more romantic, options, at least for now.

A fairytale return to Newell’s Old Boys in Argentina, a project-build in the MLS or even a challenge at an aspiring European team in the mould of Diego Maradona’s time at Napoli, will all become more likely once Messi is out of Barcelona.

But that is not likely to be his next step. Instead, Messi wants titles and a club he believes in again.

There will be no shortage of clubs pining for arguably the greatest player of all time but once they have done the sums, particularly in the heat of the coronavirus crisis, only a few will be able to make the numbers work.

On the back of its Champions League triumph, Bayern Munich is the pre-eminent force in Europe but it is unlikely to be able to afford Messi, aged 33, and with a base salary of around €60 million per year.

The same goes for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, as well as Juventus, which remains restricted by the enormous outlay needed to sign Cristiano Ronaldo two years ago.

Madrid, meanwhile, would love nothing more than to prize Messi from its rival — and it has tried before — but even if Messi wants to leave Barca, he is not out to burn his reputation and legacy.

Wealthy left standing

Only the wealthiest are left standing but would the history of Manchester United or the upward momentum of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea be enough to persuade Messi?

Those able both to afford Messi, and convince him, may only be Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, with Inter Milan a third option.

City would appear favourites but the club has always trodden carefully around the prospect of Messi.

Messi could propel City in the Champions League and launch its brand, so important to the Abu Dhabi owners, to a different level.

Seismic addition

For PSG, whose frustration in Europe has been comparable to City’s, even if it broke new ground by reaching last weekend’s final, Messi would also represent a seismic addition to the Qatari project.

A Neymar-Messi-Kylian Mbappe front three would not be a difficult sell.

Inter’s pitch would be more personal, given Messi’s father Jorge has reportedly bought a house close to the club’s offices while the Italian outfit has fostered close relations with the Messi family for years.

With Antonio Conte as coach and ambitious Chinese owners, Messi might be drawn to Inter, where the tax regulations would be less punitive and the disapproval less pronounced, given the club’s history and tradition.

Staying at Barcelona remains a possibility, particularly if under-pressure president Josep Maria Bartomeu decides to resign.

But despite calls from fans and rival candidates, there is no suggestion yet that Bartomeu is considering his position.

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Manchester United defender Harry Maguire found guilty of assault******Football

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire found guilty of assault

APATHENS, GreeceAugust 26, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 06:44 ISTAPATHENS, GreeceAugust 26, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 06:44 IST

He was withdrawn from the England squad after conviction

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England's Harry Maguire | File

England's Harry Maguire | File

He was withdrawn from the England squad after conviction

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire was found guilty of assault at a trial on Tuesday and handed a 21-month suspended sentence following his arrest after a brawl last week on the island of Mykonos, court officials in Greece said.

Two other defendants — including Maguire’s brother Joe — were also found guilty on similar charges and handed 13-month sentences. The sentences for all three defendants were suspended for three years.

Maguire issued a statement saying he will appeal. "I remain strong and confident regarding our innocence in this matter,” Maguire said. “If anything, myself, family, and friends are the victims.”

Maguire, who is the world’s most expensive defender, was not present at the trial on the nearby island of Syros. He was found guilty of assault, swearing in public, and attempting to bribe a police officer.

United also issued a statement supporting the player.

In this Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 file photo, England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece.

In this Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 file photo, England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece.

"It should be noted that the prosecution confirmed the charges and provided their evidence late on the day before the trial, giving the defense team minimal time to digest them and prepare,” United said. “A request for the case to be adjourned was subsequently denied. On this basis, along with the substantial body of evidence refuting the charges, Harry Maguire’s legal team will now appeal the verdict, to allow a full and fair hearing at a later date.”

Yannis Paradeisis, a lawyer assisting with the prosecution and representing four police officers who were allegedly assaulted in the brawl, told that he was disappointed by Maguire’s behavior.

"He is a role model to young people and a sportsman. That is not the way to behave,” he said. “The officers I was representing were just doing their job. We have not heard an apology from Mr. Maguire or the other two defendants. We all understand that someone can go on holiday and get in some kind of trouble, but it is not right to behave this way. The whole thing could have ended with an apology.

Withrawn from squad

Harry Maguire was withdrawn from the England squad Tuesday by coach Gareth Southgate following his conviction, hours after being selected for two upcoming matches.

Southgate had included the Manchester United captain in his team after backing the defender’s version of events and receiving an apology for being detained after a brawl last week while on vacation on the island of Mykonos.

But Southgate made the about-turn after the defender was handed the sentence.

"In light of this evening’s developments, I can confirm I have withdrawn Harry Maguire from the England squad for the matches against Iceland and Denmark,” Southgate said. “As I said earlier today, I reserved the right to review the situation. Having spoken to Manchester United and the player, I have made this decision in the best interests of all parties and with consideration of the impact on our preparations for next week.”

Maguire has made 26 appearances for England, which plays Iceland on Sept. 5 and Denmark three days later in the UEFA Nations League. Southgate’s side has not played this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which led to the European Championship being postponed until 2021.

Maguire’s United teammate, 18-year-old forward Mason Greenwood, has been brought into the senior squad for the first time. Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden and Leeds defensive midfielder Kalvin Phillips also earned first call-ups.

Messi tells Barca he wishes to leave: club source******Football

Messi tells Barca he wishes to leave: club source

ReutersBARCELONAAugust 26, 2020 00:10 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 00:27 ISTReutersBARCELONAAugust 26, 2020 00:10 ISTUpdated:August 26, 2020 00:27 IST

The 33-year-old Argentine, who joined the club in 2000 as a youth player, has a contract with the Catalans until 2021.

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi during the Champions League quarterfinal match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi during the Champions League quarterfinal match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal.

The 33-year-old Argentine, who joined the club in 2000 as a youth player, has a contract with the Catalans until 2021.

Captain Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wishes to leave the club immediately, a source confirmed on Tuesday, deepening the turmoil within the Catalan side less than two weeks after their humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich.

The club source said Messi, who has spent his entire career at Barca, informed the club about his desire to leave by sending a burofax, a service used in Spain to urgently dispatch a document that requires proof to third parties.

A second source added that the burofax referred to a clause in the last contract the 33-year-old Argentine signed with the club which allowed him to leave for free, a clause that expired on June 10 this year.

Under the terms of the contract which expires in 2021, the only way Messi can leave without the club's consent is if a rival side pays his release clause of 700 million euros ($828 million).

The second source said the player's lawyers had informed the club that Messi wished to unilaterally rescind his contract in line with a clause in his contract.

“The club considers that the contract is fully binding until 30 June 2021,” added the second source.

The Argentine's request to leave Barca comes a day after Spanish media reported that new coach Ronald Koeman told Messi's close friend and strike partner, Luis Suarez, that he does not wish the Uruguayan to stay at the club.

Barca are in the midst of overhauling their squad following the 8-2 defeat by Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals earlier this month, which condemned the club to a trophyless season for the first time in 12 years.

Messi, who has been named world player of the year a record six times, has grown increasingly unhappy in the last 12 months with how the club is being run.

In February, he lashed out at then sporting director Eric Abidal on social media and a couple of months later turned his anger on the club hierarchy for the way in which players were forced to take a pay cut to cope with the financial hit of the coronanvirus pandemic.

After Barca surrendered the La Liga title to Real Madrid in July, Messi slammed the team as being “weak” and “vulnerable” during an uncharacteristically fiery post-match interview.

Former Barca captain Carles Puyol backed Messi's wish to leave the club by writing on Twitter: “Respect and admiration, Leo. You have all my support, friend.”

Champions League: PSG fans arrested for violence after final defeat******Football

Champions League: PSG fans arrested for violence after final defeat

AFPPARISAugust 24, 2020 23:36 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 23:38 ISTAFPPARISAugust 24, 2020 23:36 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 23:38 IST

The violence occurred around the Parc des Princes Stadium and on the Champs-Elysees avenue during and after the match

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The violence occurred around the Parc des Princes Stadium and on the Champs-Elysees avenue during and after the match

Nearly 150 people were arrested as Paris Saint-Germain fans set cars ablaze, smashed shop windows and clashed with police in the French capital after the team's Champions League final defeat, police said on Monday.

The violence occurred around the Parc des Princes Stadium and on the Champs-Elysees avenue during and after the match. Thousands of supporters had gathered at the Parc des Princes to cheer on PSG, lighting flares and chanting as they watched on a big screen.

The trouble lasted several hours, as groups of fans threw bottles and fireworks at police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Stadium in Sikkim named after Bhaichung Bhutia to be inaugurated after COVID******Football

Stadium in Sikkim named after Bhaichung Bhutia to be inaugurated after COVID-19 pandemic subsides

PTINew DelhiAugust 24, 2020 16:32 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 16:38 ISTPTINew DelhiAugust 24, 2020 16:32 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 16:38 IST

The stadium is in Namchi, which is 25 kilometres away from the footballer’s birthplace in Tinkitam.

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Football player Bhaichung Bhutia. File

Football player Bhaichung Bhutia. File

The stadium is in Namchi, which is 25 kilometres away from the footballer’s birthplace in Tinkitam.

A floodlit, 15,000-capacity stadium in Sikkim, to be named after Indian football great Bhaichung Bhutia, will be inaugurated once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

The stadium is in Namchi, which is 25 kilometres away from the footballer’s birthplace in Tinkitam.

“It’s our tribute to one of the best Indian footballers. Even after hanging his boots, Bhaichung Bhutia has been a role model to many and will continue to inspire footballers of India, let alone Sikkim,” Sikkim Football Association president Menla Ethenpa was quoted as saying by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).

“We can’t repay for what he has done for Indian football. But a stadium named after him might be a small homage towards the great footballer,” he added.

This is going to be the first-ever stadium in the country to be named after any footballer.

Bhutia, the first Indian footballer to play 100 International matches said he is “honoured”.

“I’m very much honoured and excited. If you look at the larger picture, I’m happier because the budding footballers will get another top-class facility and infrastructure to play football.

“This stadium has produced many footballers, including me. I have so many memories of playing there,” Bhutia said.

Groundwork of the Bhaichung Bhutia Football Stadium started in 2010 before it faced many roadblocks owing to financial difficulties.

After Prem Singh Tamang, the current Chief Minister of Sikkim, assumed his office, the construction work resumed once again.

“Our chief minister is an avid football supporter and he himself took interest to fast-track the construction work. Had the COVID-19 pandemic situation not disturbed the entire scenario, the stadium could have already been inaugurated already,” Ethenpa said.

The artificial turf has already been laid besides setting up 15,000-capacity stands. Ethenpa added that the plan of installing floodlights is already in the pipeline and it will be covered in the second phase of work.

“After resuming the work, it took less than fourteen months to finish. Chief Minister himself was monitoring the progress. The capacity of the stadium is 15,000 and we’ve already planned to install floodlights in the second phase.”

Academy

Bhutia said that he has submitted a proposal to establish an academy in the vicinity of the stadium which will, in turn, encourage more youngsters to take up football.

“We have already spoken with the State government about setting up a football academy. It will be a joint venture between the government and United Sikkim - the biggest semi-professional football club in this region.”

“It’ll provide a platform for the youth to play football. We look forward to hosting Golden Baby Leagues too,” Bhutia said.

BFC signs Ajith Kumar from Chennai City FC******Football

BFC signs Ajith Kumar from Chennai City FC

BENGALURU:August 24, 2020 07:27 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 07:27 ISTBENGALURU:August 24, 2020 07:27 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 07:27 IST
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Bengaluru FC announced the signing of left-back Ajith Kumar for an undisclosed fee from Chennai City FC (CCFC).

The 23-year-old joins on a three-year deal ahead of the 2020-21 Indian Super League campaign.

Ajith had played a crucial role in CCFC’s I-League triumph in 2018-2019, playing each of his side’s 20 games.

“I am thrilled to have become a Bengaluru FC player. The chance to share a dressing room with a legend like Sunil Chhetri, who I hope to learn so much from, and so many of the national team boys is very exciting for me,” said Ajith.

Club CEO Mandar Tamhane said: “We have been pursuing Ajith for some time now, tracking his progress in the I-League and his performances with Chennai in the AFC Cup. He is a bright young footballer and has all the qualities to fit into our system.”

Call to rename Kanteerava Stadium

The Bangalore Urban District Athletic Association (BUDAA) called on the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports to rename the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as Kanteerava Athletic Stadium.

The reasoning is that athletics is “the only sport that cannot be played on any other arena be it hockey, football, tennis etc.”

Amazing teamwork the key to Bayern’s treble season, says coach******Football

Amazing teamwork the key to Bayern’s treble season, says coach

ReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 05:45 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 04:48 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 05:45 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 04:48 IST

Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.

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Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League.

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick celebrates with the trophy after winning the Champions League.

Hansi Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.

When Hansi Flick took over struggling Bayern Munich in November 2019 the media headlines declared that teams should no longer fear the German champions, but outstanding teamwork and a hunger for victory turned the season around, the coach said on Sunday.

Bayern beat Paris St Germain 1-0 courtesy of Kingsley Coman’s 59th minute winner to claim their third trophy of the season following their Bundesliga and German Cup double and complete an amazing transformation.

“I am proud of this team,” a beaming Flick told reporters. “When I started in November I read the headlines: ‘No need to fear or respect Bayern Munich anymore’, ‘The team is awful.”

“But the development of my team since then has been sensational. We made maximum use of everything. It is not easy to win three titles. It was hard work,” he added.

Flick replaced Niko Kovac in November after a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and with Bayern having dropped out of the top three in the Bundesliga.

But the former Germany assistant coach almost instantly turned the campaign on its head, leading Bayern to an unbeaten 2020 in every competition.

They have won 21 consecutive matches in all competitions and are on a 30-game unbeaten run despite a two-month break in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flick reinstalled Thomas Mueller in attack behind Robert Lewandowski and also plucked Jerome Boateng from the bench to restore order in the German side’s defence.

“You could see during winter how much determination we have in this team, which is obviously something you wish for as a coach,” Flick said. “The team is eager and we have players with boundless desire to win.”

“The only thing that was missing was the fans. Maybe in the future we can have games with fans again. This sport deserves it.”

The eight-team Champions League tournament was played in Lisbon in empty stadiums due to the pandemic.

The Bavarians won every Champions League game this season - including a memorable 8-2 demolition of Barcelona in the quarter-finals - becoming the first side to do so.

“The team is always in the foreground,” Flick said. “When you see how we worked until the 96th minute tonight in defence then it is a superb team spirit.

“Every player developed this season in such a way so as to win three titles. This only happens as a team.”

National Sports Awards******Football

National Sports Awards | AIFF lauds award winners

PTINEW DELHIAugust 24, 2020 03:44 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 23:04 ISTPTINEW DELHIAugust 24, 2020 03:44 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 23:04 IST
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The All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel on Saturday praised Arjuna Award-winning national team defender Sandesh Jhingan and former coach and player Sukhwinder Singh for being honoured with the Dhyan Chand Award.

Jhingan is the country’s 27th footballer to win the Arjuna Award, while former India coach and defender Sukhwinder became the third person in football to receive the Dhyan Chand Award.

“Sandesh’s spirit and tenacity have been such a remarkable hallmark in Indian football in recent times. You fully deserve this honour,” Praful said.

“Sukhwinder Singh has played a key role in developing Indian football. He has been a successful coach and a player winning many laurels. My heartiest congratulations to him,” the AIFF chief added.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das also lauded the duo.

Bayern hero Coman leaves injuries behind to shine in Champions League final******Football

Bayern hero Coman leaves injuries behind to shine in Champions League final

ReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 03:09 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 03:09 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 03:09 ISTUpdated:August 24, 2020 03:09 IST

Two years ago Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman was publicly contemplating ending his career at the age of 22 with a string of injuries keeping him out of football for months on end.

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Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman celebrates scoring their goal.

Bayern Munich's Kingsley Coman celebrates scoring their goal.

Two years ago Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman was publicly contemplating ending his career at the age of 22 with a string of injuries keeping him out of football for months on end.

Two years ago Bayern Munich winger Kingsley Coman was publicly contemplating ending his career at the age of 22 with a string of injuries keeping him out of football for months on end.

But on Sunday Coman, one of the most gifted French players of his generation, scored the winner in Bayern’s 1-0 victory over Paris St Germain to help the Germans lift the Champions League trophy at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz and complete a treble of titles.

Coman, who had also missed out on France’s winning 2018 World Cup run through injury, was not even expected to be in the starting lineup against the club where he spent most of his youth career.

A surprise change by coach Hansi Flick brought the speedy Frenchman in for Ivan Perisic, with Coman on a good day strong in one-on-one situations and quicker than the Croatian down the wing.

The coach’s move proved a masterstroke as Coman, lurking at the far post, beat defender Thilo Kehrer and headed in a Joshua Kimmich cross for the winner in the 59th minute.

Consecutive injuries in 2017 and 2018 saw Coman miss the major part of both seasons and followed ankle ligament injuries in 2016 after he had joined the Bavarians the previous year. The France international even considered retiring.

“It was a very difficult year. When I hurt myself, it was the end of the world for me.” Coman said in 2018.

“I hope I don’t have to relive what I’ve been through. Enough is enough. I will not accept a third operation -- it will mean maybe my foot is not made for this level.

“I will then lead another life, an anonymous life.”

He again struggled with injuries last season and missed the round-of-16 second leg against Chelsea.

On Sunday, however, he finally got to shine on the biggest stage and to live up to his talent.

UEFA Champions League******Football

UEFA Champions League | Bayern Munich crowned champions after beating PSG

ReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 02:34 ISTUpdated:November 28, 2021 12:57 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 24, 2020 02:34 ISTUpdated:November 28, 2021 12:57 IST

PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman appeared at the back post to glance home the only goal of the game

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Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lifts the trophy after Munich won the Champions League final.

Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lifts the trophy after Munich won the Champions League final.

PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman appeared at the back post to glance home the only goal of the game

Bayern Munich won the Champions League for a sixth time by beating Paris St Germain 1-0 in Sunday's final thanks to a goal from former PSG youth academy graduate Kingsley Coman.

France international Coman appeared at the back post to head home in the 59th minute, completing a sweeping move from Bayern.

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Bayern hero Coman leaves injuries behind to shine in Champions League final
 

Coman's strike secured a treble for the Germans and punished PSG's wastefulness in the first half as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both failed to beat Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer from close range.

PSG were playing in their first European Cup final after billions of euros of investment from the Qatar royal family but they fell short on the final step to glory.

It was not the classic or the goal-feast that many had anticipated but it was high-tempo battle and in the end Bayern just about deserved to emerge victorious.

The German outfit claimed Europe's elite club trophy by winning every game in the Champions League this season. The victory also completed a treble of trophies for Hansi Flick's side after they also won the Bundesliga and the German Cup.

The Bayern coach opted to start with Coman instead of Ivan Perisic on the left flank and it was an inspired decision.

Jerome Boateng was deemed fit to start in the Bayern central defence, having recovered from a knock picked up in the semi-final win over Olympique Lyonnais.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas returned to their starting lineup having recovered from injury.

Neymar Foiled

After a cagey opening, Neymar suddenly burst into life in the 18th minute, scampering into the box and firing off a left-foot shot but Neuer's outstretched leg foiled the Brazilian.

Four minutes later Bayern's goal threat, Robert Lewandowski, was found in the box by a left wing cross from Alphonso Davies and given room to turn but his shot struck the post.

PSG were certainly asking questions of the Bayern defence and the livewire Angel Di Maria, after a quick exchange on the edge of the area, created space for a shot but his effort, with his weaker right foot, flew high and wide.

Bayern's gamble to start Boateng looked mistaken when he hobbled off in the 25th minute, being replaced by Niklas Suele.

PSG's industrious midfielder Ander Herrera had a fierce effort from distance deflected wide, while at the other end Lewandowski's stooping header from close range forced a fine reflex save out of Navas.

Mbappe, PSG's talented French World Cup-winning striker, should have done better just before the break when, after a smart one-two with Herrera, he shot straight at Neuer.

It was a scrappy start to the second half with both sides struggling to find any composure but the game came alive just before the hour mark.

After a well-worked move down the right Joshua Kimmich picked out Coman at the back post and he got behind Thilo Kehrer to head firmly into the bottom corner.

Bayern Munich's French forward Kingsley Coman (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (R) and Bayern Munich's Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies during the UEFA Champions League final.

Bayern Munich's French forward Kingsley Coman (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammates Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (R) and Bayern Munich's Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies during the UEFA Champions League final.

Coman threatened in the same area again moments later, after Thomas Mueller found him with a cross, and Thiago Silva had to block the volley.

Bayern were starting to look in control and PSG coach Thomas Tuchel responded by throwing on his Italian midfielder Marco Verratti in a bid to change the momentum.

But Flick's side were in no mood to give up their lead and they fought for every ball with tenacity, reducing any chance PSG had to find openings for their expensive strikeforce.

One final opportunity did come, in stoppage time, when Mbappe broke down the inside-left channel and found Neymar who turned sharply but saw his shot go harmlessly wide.

The PSG dream was over, the debutant finalists defeated by the determination, organisation and remarkable consistency of the formidable and now six-times European champions.

Europa League******Football

Europa League | Sevilla wins thriller for sixth title

ReutersCOLOGNEAugust 23, 2020 22:45 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 22:45 ISTReutersCOLOGNEAugust 23, 2020 22:45 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 22:45 IST

Inter done in by Lukaku’s own goal

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Triumphant: A delighted Sevilla squad with the Europa League trophy.

Triumphant: A delighted Sevilla squad with the Europa League trophy.

Inter done in by Lukaku’s own goal

Sevilla clinched the Europa League title for the sixth time with a 3-2 win over Inter Milan, after an overhead kick by defender Diego Carlos in the 74th minute deflected by the Italian side’s top scorer Romelu Lukaku settled a thrilling contest, on Friday.

It was an astonishing anti-climax to Lukaku’s first season after he had set the longest scoring run by a player in UEFA Cup/Europa League history when he netted in the 11th successive game to give Inter an early lead with a penalty conversion in the fifth minute.

Luuk De Jong, who scored Sevilla’s winner in the semifinal, showed his predatory instinct again with a pair of headers which turned the tide in the side’s favour.

However, Sevilla’s joy was short-lived as it was undone by a fine set piece three minutes later, with Marcelo Brozovic swinging in a free kick for Diego Godin to head home from close range.

Julen Lopetegui won his first trophy as coach at senior level after a torrid period which saw him sacked by Spain and Real Madrid.

The result:Sevilla 3 (de Jong 12, 33, Lukaku 74-OG) bt Inter Milan 2 (Lukaku 5-pen, Godin 35) .

Man United captain Harry Maguire released after assault hearing******Football

Man United captain Harry Maguire released after assault hearing

ReutersATHENSAugust 23, 2020 07:24 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 07:50 ISTReutersATHENSAugust 23, 2020 07:24 ISTUpdated:August 23, 2020 07:50 IST

Maguire was detained following a brawl in the Greek island of Mykonos.

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England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece, on Saturday, August 22, 2020. The Manchester United captain was arrested during a brawl on the neighbouring holiday island of Mykonos.

England soccer player Harry Maguire leaves a court building on the Aegean island of Syros, Greece, on Saturday, August 22, 2020. The Manchester United captain was arrested during a brawl on the neighbouring holiday island of Mykonos.

Maguire was detained following a brawl in the Greek island of Mykonos.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire was released by a Greek prosecutor after appearing in court on Saturday following two days in detention over a brawl on the island of Mykonos, the Premier League club confirmed.

England international Maguire, 27, will respond to the charges against him on August 25, according to local police.

In a statement, Manchester United said: “Following the appearance in court today we note the adjournment of the case to allow the legal team to consider the case file.”

“Harry has pleaded not guilty to the charges. It would be inappropriate for the player or club to comment further while the legal process takes its course.”

Maguire left the court building in an unmarked van for an undisclosed destination. He and the two other defendants were charged with multiple instances of assault and battery in regard to a fight they had with others on Mykonos, an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea.

Police tried to break up the fight. Maguire and another defendant are also charged with attempted bribery and assault against a policeman.

Quoting a local website, Mykonosvoice.gr, Greece's Ethnos newspaper said the charges against Maguire, getting into an altercation, were considered misdemeanours.

Under Greek law that means Maguire can be represented by his lawyers in court in a hearing, rather than appear in person.

Maguire's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Manchester United had previously issued a statement on Friday saying they were aware of the incident and that Maguire was fully co-operating with the Greek authorities.

Maguire joined United from Leicester City for 80 million pounds — a world record fee for a defender — in August 2019.

He had travelled to Mykonos for a holiday following United's exit from the Europa League last week.

(With inputs from AP)

425 days later, Champions League ends with PSG******Football

425 days later, Champions League ends with PSG-Bayern final

APLisbonAugust 22, 2020 18:23 ISTUpdated:August 22, 2020 18:26 ISTAPLisbonAugust 22, 2020 18:23 ISTUpdated:August 22, 2020 18:26 IST

If PSG wins, it will pick up their first European Cup; for Bayern Munich it will be the sixth time.

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A giant replica of the UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed at the Rossio square downtown Lisbon, Portugal on August 21, 2020.

A giant replica of the UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed at the Rossio square downtown Lisbon, Portugal on August 21, 2020.

If PSG wins, it will pick up their first European Cup; for Bayern Munich it will be the sixth time.

After an unprecedented suspension of the competition, pandemic-enforced changes to the format and a switch of location for the final, the Champions League will conclude on Sunday — 425 days after the first game was played.

Either Paris Saint-Germain will pick up the European Cup for the first time or Bayern Munich will become six-time winners of the continent’s premier competition.

And just a few hundred people, including the coronavirus-checked players and officials, will be allowed into the final, which is being played in Lisbon in late August rather than Istanbul in May as originally scheduled.

Never before has the European Cup been handed out in such empty surroundings. There’s none of the usual gathering of tens of thousands of supporters in the host city. Only the large trophy in Rossio — Lisbon’s main central square — gives away that the biggest match in world football is taking place in the Portuguese capital.

Around Benfica’s stadium, there is not a single sign indicating a game due to be watched on television by hundreds of millions of people on Sunday night will be played inside.

The lack of buzz and atmosphere at this 65th European Cup final will not detract from the magnitude of the occasion for the teams. For the first time since 1998, the final is a meeting of two teams who qualified as domestic champions.

PSG’s mission

Celebrating the 50th anniversary since its formation -- after the merger of Paris clubs -- PSG is younger than the 65-year-old European Cup. Becoming European champions would be the fulfillment of a nine-year journey of lavish investment since the state of Qatar bought the club.

They will be the most important 90 minutes of our lives as footballers and in the history of the club, said Marco Verratti, who has been at PSG eight years.

More than $1 billion in player investment -- including the 222 million world record signing of Neymar in 2017 -- has turned PSG into such a dominant force in France that the seasons become a procession. Seven out of the last eight Ligue 1 titles have been captured by PSG and four of the last six campaigns have ended in domestic trebles.

But PSG had become synonymous with its Champions League collapses, failing to make the semifinals for a quarter-century until this month in Lisbon.

Bayern’s quest

Since winning the Champions League for a fifth time in 2013, Bayern has lost four semifinals -- to record 13-time champion Real Madrid (twice), Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

Founded in 1900, Bayern established itself as a super club long before states started investing in football. Whereas PSG is an extension of soft power by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, at Bayern it is the fans who control the football club through a mass membership system.

But a quarter of the business is owned by the sportswear firm Adidas, insurance giant Allianz and carmaker Audi. And the acceptance of sponsorship from state-owned Qatar Airways since 2018 has seen the club denounced by human rights groups for accepting financing from a Gulf nation where migrant workers can suffer from inhumane working conditions.

Search for goals

Bayern is a formidable attacking unit. While PSG has scored 25 goals in 10 games on the run to its first final, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry have netted 24 between them as part of Bayern’s overall haul of 42.

With 15 goals and six assists in Europe, the 32-year-old Lewandowski is enjoying the career of his season. Only Cristiano Ronaldo — with 17 goals for Real Madrid in 2013-14 — has scored more in a Champions League campaign.

Lewandowski has been amazing, Bayern winger Kingsley Coman said.

He has been the best player of the season and in the world.

But he won’t be in contention for the Ballon D’Or after France Football scrapped the game’s top player award this season due to the coronavirus disruption that saw Ligue 1 curtailed in March with PSG declared champions.

Could that decision be reversed if PSG becomes France’s first European champions since Marseille in 1993? Kylian Mbapp頡nd Neymar would certainly be strong Ballon D’Or contenders. Angel Di Maria would be staking a claim too after revitalizing his career at PSG after a miserable 2014-15 season at Manchester United, with a goal and two assists in the 3-0 semifinal win over Leipzig.

But PSG’s players haven’t got close to Lewandowski’s lethal qualities in front of goal. Mauro Icardi and Mbapp頯nly have five goals each in the Champions League, although Mbapp頨as contributed five assists.

At the back

The 3-0 victory for Bayern over Lyon in the semifinal looked convincing, but it was only the French side’s poor finishing that prevented it going ahead. It could prove costly if David Alaba and Jerome Boateng, in central defense for Bayern, give too much space for Mbapp鬠Di Maria and Neymar.

It could be an uncomfortable final night in a PSG shirt for the 35-year-old Thiago Silva — alongside Presnel Kimpembe — as Lewandowski looks to add to his 55 goals for this year-long season.

In the dugout

This is a meeting of two German coaches.

Hansi Flick only took charge of Bayern in November, gaining internal promotion after Niko Kovac was fired with the team fourth in the Bundesliga. The recovery saw Bayern clinch an eighth successive Bundesliga title, collect the German Cup and reach the Champions League final for the first time since 2013.

Would Thomas Tuchel still be in charge of PSG had it not been for the 90th-minute recovery to oust Atalanta in the first single-game quarterfinal in Lisbon almost two weeks ago? Winning French titles is the minimum expected of Tuchel. At the end of his second season in charge, the former Borussia Dortmund coach will be judged on his European record by the Qatari leadership.

At least 8 Serie A players test positive for coronavirus******Football

At least 8 Serie A players test positive for coronavirus

APMilanAugust 21, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 21, 2020 07:10 ISTAPMilanAugust 21, 2020 06:25 ISTUpdated:August 21, 2020 07:10 IST

The new season is scheduled to start on September 19.

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The new season is scheduled to start on September 19.

A number of Serie A players have tested positive for the new coronavirus as they return from their truncated offseason.

The new season is scheduled to start on September 19 but at least eight players have tested positive for COVID-19.

The latest clubs to announce they have positive cases among their players were Torino with two, and Napoli with one Thursday.

Roma and Cagliari confirmed positive cases on Wednesday.

All eight players are asymptomatic.

The number of positive cases in general in Italy is also rising. The country reported 845 new cases on Thursday, the highest rise since May 16.

Italy was one of the hardest hit countries by the coronavirus, with more than 35,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19. It was also the first country in Europe to shut down its soccer league on March 9.

Serie A resumed without fans on June 20 and finished on August 2, with Juventus winning a record-extending ninth successive league title.

Europa League final******Football

Europa League final | It’s Inter vs Sevilla

ReutersCOLOGNEAugust 20, 2020 22:29 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 22:36 ISTReutersCOLOGNEAugust 20, 2020 22:29 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 22:36 IST

Italian side begins favourite

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Inter Milan's head coach Antonio Conte runs during a training session in Cologne, Germany.

Inter Milan's head coach Antonio Conte runs during a training session in Cologne, Germany.

Italian side begins favourite

Antonio Conte will head into the Europa League final aiming to win a major trophy in his first season in charge of Inter Milan and extend the barren spell of his Sevilla rival Julen Lopetegui when they clash on Friday.

The difference in fortunes could not be starker as Conte won three successive Serie A titles with Juventus followed by the 2016-17 Premier League title with Chelsea, while Lopetegui has been unable to claim a single honour at senior level as coach. Sevilla and Inter have won eight Europa League titles between them, with the Spanish side chasing a record-extending sixth trophy against its in-form rival.

Lopetegui conceded denying Inter would be a tall order. “It is not easy for such high level players to play in such a peculiar collective way. The squad is full of players with a talent, they will oblige us to play an extraordinary game.”

Deadly pair

Conte acknowledged the Inter’s goal-hungry pair of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez had developed a lethal partnership. “It was inevitable that, working hard and working together, a connection between the two would develop,” said Conte.

told UEFA’s official website.

“They have the typical selfishness of all strikers, but they also work hard to help the others score.

“We’re playing a team with more experience and the most trophies in this competition in the last decade. It’s a final and only the best teams reach the final, so we need to show that we’re the best if we want to win the trophy.”

FIFA suspends 2 more Haiti officials in sexual abuse inquiry******Football

FIFA suspends 2 more Haiti officials in sexual abuse inquiry

APZurichAugust 20, 2020 17:16 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 17:16 ISTAPZurichAugust 20, 2020 17:16 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 17:16 IST

Furthermore, preliminary investigation proceedings are currently being carried out that include the analysis of potential offences committed by other soccer officials in Haiti, FIFA said.

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FIFA logo

FIFA logo

Furthermore, preliminary investigation proceedings are currently being carried out that include the analysis of potential offences committed by other soccer officials in Haiti, FIFA said.

FIFA suspended two more soccer officials in Haiti to widen its investigation Thursday into alleged systematic sexual abuse of young women players.

FIFA’s ethics committee judges first extended a 90-day provisional ban of Yves Jean-Bart, the longtime Haiti soccer federation president, by another 90 days while he is investigated for allegedly abusing national team players FIFA said ethics investigators now expanded the scope of the aforementioned investigations by opening formal proceedings against a woman and a man.

They are the girls’ supervisor at the national training center, Nela Joseph, and the federation’s technical director, Wilner Etienne. Both were suspended for 90 days.

Furthermore, preliminary investigation proceedings are currently being carried out that include the analysis of potential offences committed by other soccer officials in Haiti, FIFA said.

Jean-Bart, who has led Haitian soccer for 20 years, has denied the allegations that were published by British newspaper The Guardian in April.

Show commitment or leave: new coach vows to clean up FC Barcelona’s image******Football

Show commitment or leave: new coach vows to clean up FC Barcelona’s image

ReutersBARCELONAAugust 20, 2020 07:23 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 07:28 ISTReutersBARCELONAAugust 20, 2020 07:23 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 07:28 IST

Ronald Koeman left his role as Netherlands coach to take charge of Barca, who he helped win a first European Cup in 1992.

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Barcelona's new Dutch coach Ronald Koeman poses during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. Crisis-hit Barcelona hailed the "return of a legend" as the Spanish giants officially named Ronald Koeman as their new coach until 2022.

Barcelona's new Dutch coach Ronald Koeman poses during his official presentation at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. Crisis-hit Barcelona hailed the "return of a legend" as the Spanish giants officially named Ronald Koeman as their new coach until 2022.

Ronald Koeman left his role as Netherlands coach to take charge of Barca, who he helped win a first European Cup in 1992.

New Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman warned that any players who lack commitment or professionalism will be shown the door as he vowed to lead the team back to glory after last week's8-2 humiliation in the Champions League by Bayern Munich.

“What we need to do is give a different image to what we gave against Bayern, that's not the Barca we or the fans want to see,” Koeman said at his presentation on Wednesday after signing a two-year deal with Barca.

“You have to be very happy wear the Barca shirt. You have to show that with commitment, professionalism, with everything you have inside. If we do that, the image will be totally different to what it was last week,” he said.

Koeman left his role as Netherlands coach to take charge of Barca, who he helped win a first European Cup in 1992 during a golden six-year spell in Johan Cruyff's so-called 'Dream Team'.

The Dutchman said that Barca was his home, although he admitted it was not an easy time to return to the club, who are reeling from their first trophy-less campaign in 12 years.

“We're going to work very hard to build a strong team but we'll have to make changes because the image of the other day is not what we want. We'll have to work hard to recover our prestige,” he said. “It's a big challenge and it won't be easy because Barca always demands the best of you, which is the way it should be.

“Barca are still the biggest club in the world. Now we have to work hard to make sure Barca gets back to where they should be. There is enough quality in the team to demand the best results and to win trophies,” he said.

Koeman did not reveal which players he would seek to move on from the club, although he made it clear he only wanted to work with those who were fully committed.

“I don't want to mention names, we have to look in the club's best interests and make the best squad possible to try and win games,” he said.

“There are players of a certain age who you can start to doubt, although a player who is 31, 32 or even 33 is not necessarily finished, it all depends on your hunger and whether you want to give everything for the club,” Koeman said. “I only want to work with players who want to be here, and if they are not happy here then they should say so. I only want people who are going to give everything for Barca.”

Bayern beats Lyon 3******Football

Bayern beats Lyon 3-0, to play PSG in Champions League final

ReutersLISBONAugust 20, 2020 07:00 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 07:14 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 20, 2020 07:00 ISTUpdated:August 20, 2020 07:14 IST

The Germans are unbeaten in 2020, winning 24 of 25 matches in all competitions and they have won every Champions League game this season.

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Bayern's Serge Gnabry, right, celebrates his side's second goal with teammates Robert Lewandowski, center, and Thomas Mueller during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 19, 2020.

Bayern's Serge Gnabry, right, celebrates his side's second goal with teammates Robert Lewandowski, center, and Thomas Mueller during the Champions League semifinal soccer match between Lyon and Bayern Munich at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 19, 2020.

The Germans are unbeaten in 2020, winning 24 of 25 matches in all competitions and they have won every Champions League game this season.

Bayern Munich powered into the Champions League final, where they will face Paris St Germain, as two goals from Serge Gnabry led them to an emphatic 3-0 win over Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday.

Bayern will bid for their sixth European Cup triumph when they come up against Neymar and Kylian Mbappe on Sunday and after convincingly beating Chelsea, Barcelona and now Lyon, Hansi Flick's side will surely start as favourites.

The Germans are unbeaten in 2020, winning 24 of 25 matches in all competitions and they have won every Champions League game this season.

No team has ever won the Champions League with a 100 percent record but while Bayern will fancy their chances, PSG's powerful attack should make for an entertaining contest.

“Paris are a good team. For now we celebrate a little bit but afterwards we focus on the next game,” said Bayern's Canadian left back Alphonso Davies.

“It's going to be a good game, there's going to be goals in it. This is what you dream of as a footballer playing against the best in Europe. And we're able to do that, I'm excited,” he added.

PSG will take hope from the early chances that Lyon created — Memphis Depay found space behind the Bayern defence but, forced wide, he could only shoot into the side-netting.

Lyon, who upset Juventus and Manchester City in the previous rounds, had warmed up on the field before the game with rarely-seen intensity and it showed as they took the game to Bayern and they went close again in the 17th minute.

Powerful striker Karl Toko Ekambi found space in the Bayern box and should have done better after his first shot was blocked and his follow-up effort struck the post.

But moments later Bayern grabbed the lead a clever ball from Joshua Kimmich found Gnabry who danced in from the right and unleashed an unstoppable shot, from over 20 metres out, into the top corner.

Snap-shot

Gnabry went close again with a snap-shot that Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes did well to keep out as Bayern pushed hard for a second.

It came in the 33rd minute — and was started and finished by Gnabry.

The former Arsenal midfielder fed Ivan Perisic on the left and the Croatian's low cross found Robert Lewandowski at the back post.

His weak shot was saved by Lopes, only for the alert Gnabry to pounce and convert his ninth goal in nine Champions League games.

Lewandowski, looking well below his usual levels of sharpness, had another good chance after the interval, but he again made it too easy for Lopes, leaving Lyon still with hope.

Moussa Dembele, the two-goal hero in the quarter-final win over Manchester City, came on for Depay in the 58th minute and added much-needed life to the Lyon attack.

But once again, when the chance came for the French side, they failed to make the most of it — Houssem Aouar finding Ekambi in the box but the Cameroonian's finish was straight at Manuel Neuer.

Bayern lacked the intensity of their first-half display but they made sure of the win in the 88th minute when Lewandowski rose to head home a Kimmich cross from a free kick for his 15th Champions League goal this season.

Lewandowski has scored in nine straight UEFA Champions League matches only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) has a longer streak — and has notched 55 goals in all competitions this season.

Lyon's disappointment will be stronger given that their seventh-place finish in the French league means they will not be competing in European football next season.

“We knew that we were up against a better team and we stuck to our game plan but to beat such a team, you need to score when you have the chance,” said Lyon sports director Juninho. “Maybe it would have been different if we had converted our early chances.”

Karnataka government’s draft stadium policy invites criticism******Football

Karnataka government’s draft stadium policy invites criticism

N. SudarshanAshwin AchalBENGALURUAugust 19, 2020 23:15 ISTUpdated:February 02, 2021 16:11 ISTN. SudarshanAshwin AchalBENGALURUAugust 19, 2020 23:15 ISTUpdated:February 02, 2021 16:11 IST

It has demanded a share of the revenue from private franchise-based leagues held in the State

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Rooting for their heroes: Bengaluru FC has a huge fan following in the ISL.

Rooting for their heroes: Bengaluru FC has a huge fan following in the ISL.

It has demanded a share of the revenue from private franchise-based leagues held in the State

The move by the Department of Youth Empowerment & Sports (DYES), Govt. of Karnataka, to demand a share of the revenue generated from the conduct of private franchise-based leagues in the State has not been received well.

Bengaluru has fairly successful franchises in football, kabaddi and badminton.

In a draft policy formulated to govern the use of State-owned stadia, DYES has demanded a 25% share of all ticketing revenue, prohibited printed ticket sales (only online sales allowed) and directed organisers of marathons to part with 25% of all donations collected, apart from a deposit amount which is 25% of the average donations collected over the past three years.

Previously the State had no official policy, but the Karnataka High Court, while hearing a dispute over the use of the Sree Kanteerava Stadium for footballing activities last year, directed the government to devise one. Stakeholders can file objections to the contents by midnight of August 20.

“This policy dissuades any of us from conducting events,” said Mandar Tamhane, CEO of Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC (BFC), which normally plays its home matches at the Kanteerava Stadium. “No other sport apart from cricket makes money. This 25% can help us mitigate our losses. To take that away puts a spanner in all the talk about encouraging all sports.

“We at BFC have maintained the turf, installed bucket seats and improved the flood lights, initiatives that have helped all sports. The ISL is the top division of Indian football and clubs from it represent India in Asia. This move doesn’t seem to consider any of that.”

Restricted access

The policy also limits the use of the Kanteerava Stadium 400m track for day-to-day training to national- and international-level athletes and those residing in the sports hostels.

The rest have to make do with the adjacent 200m track. Also, only those with coaching diplomas, and medallists at the Asian, Commonwealth, World and Olympic levels, can impart training.

Athlete-turned-coach Pramila Aiyappa, heptathlon bronze medal winner at the 2010 Asian Games, agreed with proposed rule related to coaches’ qualification but was not keen on restricting access to the track.

“You cannot become a national or international athlete overnight. Denying the 400m track to a young upcoming athlete will stop his development,” she said.

Former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Maity passes away******Football

Former India goalkeeper Bhaskar Maity passes away

Special Correspondent MUMBAIAugust 19, 2020 23:05 ISTUpdated:August 19, 2020 23:05 ISTSpecial Correspondent MUMBAIAugust 19, 2020 23:05 ISTUpdated:August 19, 2020 23:05 IST
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Former India goalkeeper-turned-coach Bhaskar Maity passed away at a Navi Mumbai hospital on Wednesday. Maity, 67, had suffered a massive stroke on Tuesday night.

One of the most reliable and stylish goalkeepers in the country in the 1970s and ’80s, Maity made his India debut against Iraq during the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok.

Besides his exploits at the international level, Maity represented Maharashtra in the Santosh Trophy from 1975 to 1979.

He was a regular for Mafatlal SC from 1974 to 1980 before joining Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF) in 1981.

“It is sad to hear that Bhaskar Maity is no more. His contribution provided immense value. I share the grief,” All India Football Federation president Praful Patel was quoted as saying on AIFF’s Twitter handle.

After retiring in the mid-80s, Maity took over as RCF coach and played a big role in honing the skills of India regulars Khalid Jamil and Abhishek Yadav.

Maity is survived by wife, son and daughter.

PSG reach first Champions League final with win over RB Leipzig******Football

PSG reach first Champions League final with win over RB Leipzig

ReutersLISBONAugust 19, 2020 08:26 ISTUpdated:August 19, 2020 08:32 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 19, 2020 08:26 ISTUpdated:August 19, 2020 08:32 IST

PSG's only other appearances in the final of a European competition came with their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1996 and their runners-up spot in the following season.

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PSG players celebrate at the end of the Champions League semifinal soccer match between RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 18, 2020.

PSG players celebrate at the end of the Champions League semifinal soccer match between RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 18, 2020.

PSG's only other appearances in the final of a European competition came with their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1996 and their runners-up spot in the following season.

Paris St Germain reached their first ever Champions League final with a convincing 3-0 win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday, finally delivering the reward of the biggest game in European football for their Qatari backers.

Goals from Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria put PSG 2-0 up at the interval and Juan Bernat added the third in the 56th minute for what was a comfortable victory at the Estadio da Luz.

The French club, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding in 1970, will meet thewinner of Wednesday's other semi between Bayern Munich and Olympique Lyonnais after ending what some felt was a mental block in the knockout stages.

PSG have gone out in the last 16 for the past three years, but they proved a step too far for Leipzig, who were playing in the regional leagues just 11 years ago.

The Germans, financed by the Red Bull energy drink company, have outperformed all expectations by reaching the last four, knocking out Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid en route.

“We showed quality and determination. A good mix. We deserved to win,” said Tuchel, who had faced a heavy expectation to deliver in Europe this season. “I felt the pressure, it was not easy. I have players who are used to playing with this pressure, who like this pressure and these decisive matches.”

With French World Cup winning forward Kylian Mbappe back in the starting line-up after fully recovering from his ankle injury, Tuchel was able to field his preferred attacking trident with Brazilian Neymar and Di Maria.

Right from the outset, PSG looked a threat to the Leipzig defence with Neymar clipping the post after he was slipped in by Mbappe in the sixth minute.

Seven minutes later though, PSG had the lead — Neymar and Di Maria lined up to take a free kick on the left and it was the Argentine who floated in a lovely cross which was nodded home by Marquinhos.

Former Real Madrid and Manchester United winger Di Maria was in fine form, constantly probing, while Neymar created from deep and Mbappe pushed on to the last defender looking to use his pace.

The Germans were struggling but did threaten in the 25th minute when Konrad Laimer burst down the right and found Yussuf Poulsen but the forward's shot was just off target.

Neymar then went close with an audacious free kick from deep and wide on the right, the former Barcelona man going for Peter Gulacsi's near post and striking the post as the Hungarian keeper scrambled.

It was a poor clearance from the keeper which led to PSG's second. Leandro Paredes collected the ball and then found Neymar who cleverly flicked it with the back of his heel into the path of Di Maria who made no mistake.

Beyond doubt

Leipzig's 33-year-old coach Julian Nagelsmann needed to find some way to shift the momentum of the game and made two changes at the break but after a bright start, PSG put the outcome beyond doubt.

Leipzig defender Nordi Mukiele slipped while attempting to clear, allowing Di Maria to cross the ball back in to the box and Bernat's glancing header floated into the far corner.

Mbappe forced a good save out of Gulacsi as PSG pushed for a fourth while PSG keeper Sergio Rico had his hands warmed by a fierce drive from fellow Spaniard Angelino.

“After the second goal, the belief of our players went down a little bit,” said Nagelsmann.

“That's normal. It's not that easy right now to think about the good season we've had in the Champions League but in one week it will be ok. We know that it was a good season for a young team and we will try to do it again next season,” he said.

The French club have played 110 games in the competition the most played by a side before reaching their first final, overtaking Arsenal's record of 90 between 1971-2006.

PSG's only other appearances in the final of a European competition came with their UEFA Cup Winners' Cup victory in 1996 and their runners-up spot in the following season.

Olympique Marseille are the only French team to win the European Cup, triumphing over AC Milan in 1993.

Champions League******Football

Champions League | Bayern not taking Lyon challenge lightly

AFPLISBONAugust 18, 2020 23:23 ISTUpdated:August 18, 2020 23:48 ISTAFPLISBONAugust 18, 2020 23:23 ISTUpdated:August 18, 2020 23:48 IST

The German powerhouse to continue its ‘greedy’ appetite for goals

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From the spot: Robert Lewandowski scores Bayern’s opening goal against Union Berlin.

From the spot: Robert Lewandowski scores Bayern’s opening goal against Union Berlin.

The German powerhouse to continue its ‘greedy’ appetite for goals

Corentin Tolisso says treble-chasing Bayern Munich should be wary of his former club Lyon in Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal as the “greedy” Bavarians look to build on their demolition of Barcelona.

“From a German point of view, perhaps Lyon’s the least known team. But against Manchester City, we all saw what this team is capable of,” warned the Frenchman, who joined Bayern from Lyon in 2017.

“We will never underestimate them. When the big games come up, Lyon is always there. No team can reach the semifinals by chance,” added the 2018 World Cup winner, who is likely to start on the bench on Wednesday.

In the wake of the stunning 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona in the quarterfinals, there is an air of determination in the Bayern camp.

Akin to 2013 squad

Defender Jerome Boateng compared the current squad to the 2013 outfit which landed the first treble of Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League titles in the club’s history.

“To be honest, I noticed from day one that something was up,” remembers Boateng of the 2013 squad. “That was our big goal for the season. We played better in the Champions League from the start than we might have done in the Bundesliga. We were extremely greedy all the time.”

The current crop of Bayern stars has the same insatiable appetite, earning the nickname ‘FC Never Satisfied’ by the German media.

Bayern’s average of 4.33 goals per game is a new Champions League record. It has scored 39 goals in nine European games, including a 7-2 drubbing of Tottenham and a 6-0 romp at Red Star Belgrade.

Robert Lewandowski is the competition’s top scorer with 14 goals — three short of Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2013-14 record for a Champions League season.

However, nothing is being taken for granted against Lyon.

“The next game is always the most difficult,” said Boateng despite Bayern winning its last 20 games.

“The thrashing of Barcelona now counts for nothing. Our opponent is not standing where he is for nothing,” he added.

Coach Hansi Flick should have right-back Benjamin Pavard fit again after injury.

Barcelona sack coach Setien following Bayern drubbing, call elections******Football

Barcelona sack coach Setien following Bayern drubbing, call elections

ReutersBARCELONAAugust 18, 2020 06:22 ISTUpdated:November 28, 2021 13:01 ISTReutersBARCELONAAugust 18, 2020 06:22 ISTUpdated:November 28, 2021 13:01 IST
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Barcelona coach Quique Setien looks dejected following 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Champions League quarter final at Estadio da Luz, Lisbon in Portugal on August 14, 2020

Barcelona coach Quique Setien looks dejected following 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Champions League quarter final at Estadio da Luz, Lisbon in Portugal on August 14, 2020

Barcelona have sacked coach Quique Setien and brought presidential elections forward to March 2021, the club said on Monday, three days after the Spanish side werehammered 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Setien, 61, was appointed in January after the club sacked two-time league winner Ernesto Valverde despite his side sitting top of the La Liga standings on goal difference.

But after Barca were condemned to their heaviest defeat in European competition on Friday, Setien was also sacked after only seven months in charge, after overseeing the club's first trophy-less season in 12 years.

Also Read

Now not time to focus on own future, says coach Quique Setien after painful Barcelona defeat
 

Barca finished second in La Liga behind champions Real Madrid and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by Athletic Bilbao.

“This is the first decision within a wider restructuring of the first team which will be agreed between the current technical secretary and the new coach, who will be announced in the coming days,” added Barca's statement on Setien.

According to widespread Spanish media reports, Netherlands coach and former Barca defender Ronald Koeman is set to be named as Setien's successor.

The statement, which was released more than nine hours after president Josep Maria Bartomeu and directors had begun a board meeting, also said the club's hierarchy had decided against calling an election imminently in the wake of the Bayern defeat, as many fans and influential voices had demanded.

“The board understand that an immediate call for elections is not feasible, given that the league season will begin on the weekend of September 12, 2020, and the situation arising from the COVID-19 crisis - both economically and socially,” added the statement.

“Consequently, the club will continue to implement the plan to reverse the sporting and economic situation, based on profound changes to the first team, plus a redefined budget to deal with the new situation caused by COVID-19, before the end of the current mandate.”

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Once a sworn enemy, could Pochettino be Barca's next manager?
 

As at Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Osasuna, Barcelona presidents are voted for by club members.

Bartomeu won the last election, held in 2015, but is barred from running in the next round of elections as he has already served two consecutive mandates, having been named president in 2014 after the resignation of Sandro Rosell.

Victor Font is the front-runner for the election, while former president Joan Laporta has also declared his intention to run.

Once a sworn enemy, could Pochettino be Barca's next manager?******Football

Once a sworn enemy, could Pochettino be Barca's next manager?

ReutersAugust 17, 2020 06:44 ISTUpdated:August 17, 2020 06:59 ISTReutersAugust 17, 2020 06:44 ISTUpdated:August 17, 2020 06:59 IST

Pochettino, who had previously ruled out taking charge of Barcelona after spending a number of seasons with city rivals Espanyol as a player and coach, leads a short list of candidates to succeed current coach Setien.

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Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino

Pochettino, who had previously ruled out taking charge of Barcelona after spending a number of seasons with city rivals Espanyol as a player and coach, leads a short list of candidates to succeed current coach Setien.

Mauricio Pochettino once said he would rather return to his ranch in Argentina than coach Barcelona, yet he is now the top candidate to be their next manager as they look to the future after Friday's8-2 drubbing by Bayern Munich .

Quique Setienis certain to be sacked after Barca were humiliated in the Champions League quarter-final, a result which completed a miserable season, as for the first time since 2014 they failed to win a major trophy.

Pochettino, who had previously ruled out taking charge of Barcelona after spending a number of seasons with city rivals Espanyol as a player and coach, leads a short list of candidates to succeed Setien.

Media reports suggest Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman, former player Xavi and Thierry Henry are also being considered for the role by the club's hierarchy.

Pochettino was reported to have been approached by Barca alongside Koeman and Xavi when they sacked Ernesto Valverde in January, barely two months after the Argentine was fired by Tottenham Hotspur.

At the time he declined the offer as he was taking a break after spending an intense five years revolutionising Tottenham, who he led to four consecutive top-four finishes in the Premier League and a first ever Champions League final in 2019.

But after nine months out of work, Pochettino could be on the verge of taking charge of the Camp Nou dugout as he admitted he has softened his stance on coaching Barcelona.

“I didn't mean to disrespect Barcelona (but) Espanyol gave me a platform...,” Pochettino told newspaperEl Paisearlier this month. “Perhaps I wouldn't say that now because you never know what will happen in life.”

Pochettino has admitted to being on good terms with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu from when he lived in the city. He has met Bartomeu for dinner when he has returned to the city, where he still owns a home.

Although the Argentine has never won a trophy as a manager and is from a different school of thought to the brand of football Barca have been famed for since the days of Johan Cruyff, several factors make him a wise choice to lead the club.

The coach who nurtured Harry Kane and other young players could appeal to fans who want the club to take greater interest in their famed La Masia youth academy, which has recently developed exciting prospects in Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati.

He also fostered a spirit of hard work and energetic pressing, something Barca have been lacking in recent years while the other top teams in Europe have moved towards a more dynamic style of play.

Should Barca turn to Pochettino, they need to have more patience than they have shown in previous coaches.

But given the right amount of time and freedom, he could revive a crumbling institution back into one of Europe's best teams.

Luuk De Jong sends gritty Sevilla past Man Utd into Europa League final******Football

Luuk De Jong sends gritty Sevilla past Man Utd into Europa League final

ReutersAugust 17, 2020 06:24 ISTUpdated:August 17, 2020 06:59 ISTReutersAugust 17, 2020 06:24 ISTUpdated:August 17, 2020 06:59 IST

Sevilla will meet either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final in Cologne on Friday.

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Sevilla's Dutch forward Luuk De Jong celebrates scoring during the UEFA Europa League semi-final football match Sevilla v Manchester United on August 16, 2020 in Cologne, western Germany.

Sevilla's Dutch forward Luuk De Jong celebrates scoring during the UEFA Europa League semi-final football match Sevilla v Manchester United on August 16, 2020 in Cologne, western Germany.

Sevilla will meet either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final in Cologne on Friday.

Europa League thoroughbreds Sevilla reached yet another final as substitute Luuk de Jong struck in the 78th minute to earn them a gritty 2-1 victory over Manchester United on Sunday.

United, already beaten in two domestic semi-finals this season, looked on course to make it third time lucky when Bruno Fernandes scored from the penalty spot in the ninth minute.

But former Liverpool player Suso levelled in the 26th minute, and the Spaniards showed all their European know-how to weather a United storm on a humid night in Cologne.

Inspired goalkeeper Yassine Bono came to Sevilla's rescue on several occasions, and when United's energy levels dipped, De Jong stole in to snatch victory.

Sevilla will meet either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final in Cologne on Friday, when they will be going for their sixth title in the competition since 2006.

“I feel like I've been hugged by joy. We know what this side has been through, today included, and we've got such a resilience against such intensity,” said Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui, whose side are now unbeaten in 20 games in all competitions.

While Sevilla have a chance to restore Spanish pride after Barcelona's horror show in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday, United's defeat underlined a poor European season for English clubs, who provided all four finalists in last season's Europa and Champions League competitions.

United were the only English club to reach a continental semi-final this season after Manchester City were dumped out of the Champions League by Lyon on Saturday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side may ask themselves how they allowed this one to slip through their fingers though.

“The keeper's had a fantastic game. Of course it's disappointing that we don't score. We know we have players who have the quality to score, but that's the game,” Solskjaer said. “You could see how tired they were towards the end. Tired legs, tired minds.”

United made a dream start when Diego Carlos brought down Marcus Rashford in the area just after the striker fired across goal. The referee belatedly pointed to the spot, handing United their 22nd penalty of the season in all competitions, and Bruno Fernandes, who almost turned in Rashford's shot, smashed his spot kick past Bono.

Fred had a chance to make it 2-0 for United on the counter-attack but in a wildly open first half, Sevilla levelled when Suso swept in Sergio Reguilon's low cross.

United should have led by halftime with Anthony Martial side-footing a great chance over the bar, Rashford stinging the palms of Bono, and Fernandes's improvised volley forcing another fine save from the Moroccan.

Bono made another instinctive stop from Mason Greenwood just after halftime as United laid siege to the Sevilla goal.

Martial was also denied by Bono as Sevilla's goal led a charmed life, but they battened down the hatches and regained a foothold as United's intensity inevitably waned.

United had 20 attempts at goal compared with Sevilla's nine, but all the spurned gilt-edged chances came back to bite them as their hopes of a first trophy since winning the Europa League under Jose Mourinho three years ago evaporated.

To make matters worse it was former Manchester City player Jesus Navas's cross from the right that caught Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka sleeping and De Jong drifted in behind the pair of them to slot home.

United's frustration was such that Lindelof and Fernandes had a heated row.

“I think it's normal (to be frustrated) when you concede a goal in the last 10 minutes. What happened between me and Victor was nothing,” Fernandes said afterwards.

HFC ties up with Dortmund******Football

HFC ties up with Dortmund

Special CorrespondentHyderabadAugust 16, 2020 23:36 ISTUpdated:August 16, 2020 23:36 ISTSpecial CorrespondentHyderabadAugust 16, 2020 23:36 ISTUpdated:August 16, 2020 23:36 IST
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German football giant Borussia Dortmund (BVB) and the Hyderabad FC, which will be playing for the second time in the coming edition of the Indian Super League, have announced a two-year partnership with an option to extend it for additional years up to 2025. The HFC will become the first official club partner of Dortmund in India. The tie-up will be formally launched during Dortmund’s virtual Asia tour on Aug. 20.

ISL to be held in three venues in Goa******Football

ISL to be held in three venues in Goa

PTINew DelhiAugust 16, 2020 17:35 ISTUpdated:August 17, 2020 10:55 ISTPTINew DelhiAugust 16, 2020 17:35 ISTUpdated:August 17, 2020 10:55 IST

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda, Margao, the Tilak Nagar Stadium at Vasco da Gama and the GMC Athletic Stadium at Bambolim are the venues slated to host the matches with strict training and social distancing protocols

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Tilak Stadium, Vasco, Goa. File

Tilak Stadium, Vasco, Goa. File

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda, Margao, the Tilak Nagar Stadium at Vasco da Gama and the GMC Athletic Stadium at Bambolim are the venues slated to host the matches with strict training and social distancing protocols

All matches of the seventh edition of Indian Super League will be held in three venues in Goa, likely in November, amid strict health and safety measures to deal with the COVID-19 threat, the organisers said on Sunday.

In order to minimise travelling by players and officals amid the pandemic, the ISL organisers had wanted to host the league this time in just one State. Kerala was also in the reckoning to host the ISL but the organisers finally zeroed in on Goa.

“Keeping in mind the safety and well-being of players, participants, staff members and fans amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) has decided to host the upcoming Hero ISL season across three stadiums in the State of Goa,” the ISL said in a release.

“The passionate football state of Goa is set to host all the matches in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21,” it added.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda, Margao, the Tilak Nagar Stadium at Vasco da Gama and the GMC Athletic Stadium at Bambolim are the venues slated to host the matches with strict training and social distancing protocols.

“I am delighted to bring the ISL Season 7 to the state of Goa, from where we had left the action last season. Congratulations to the beautiful state of Goa and their passionate fans of football as they once again become the epicenter of the beautiful game in India,” said FSDL founder and chairperson Nita Ambani.

The announcement of the ISL came just days after the All India Football Federation decided to host all the matches of I-League in Kolkata only in view of the health and safety concerns due to the pandemic.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium is the home ground of reigning ISL league phase winners FC Goa and it has hosted India’s FIFA World Cup and the AFC Asian Cup qualifying round matches.

The Tilak Nagar Stadium has played host to I-League matches as well as Goa Professional League games. It is the home ground of Indian Arrows — the AIFF’s developmental side.

The GMC Athletic Stadium is the first integrated athletics complex in Goa. It played host to the Lusofonia Games in 2014.

The ISL is now the top tier league in the country while the I-League is the second rung domestic competition. The league phase winners of the ISL qualify for the AFC Champions League, the continent’s top level club competition while I-League winners get an automatic spot in the second tier AFC Cup.

Goa Sports Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar told reporters on Sunday that the Goa government is happy to host ISL in the state.

“We have already given permission for the ISL games in Goa," he said, adding that all SOPs will be followed along with guidelines of the MHA. “Football is our state game and through it, we will be pushing for tourism, said Ajgaonkar, who also holds charge of the tourism department in the Pramod Sawant-led government.

He said nearly 500 rooms in various hotels would be booked for the event, which will provide business to the tourism stakeholders.

The matches will be held without the presence of spectators at the venues, the minister said. “But, if we manage to find any solution for COVID-19, then we might even allow spectators,” he added.

M.S. Dhoni is quite good at football, says India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua******Football

M.S. Dhoni is quite good at football, says India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua

PTINew DelhiAugust 16, 2020 16:54 ISTUpdated:August 21, 2020 15:22 ISTPTINew DelhiAugust 16, 2020 16:54 ISTUpdated:August 21, 2020 15:22 IST

Dhoni loves to play the world sport and has often trained with Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC, which he co-owns.

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M.S. Dhoni plays football during a Chennaiyin FC training session. File

M.S. Dhoni plays football during a Chennaiyin FC training session. File

Dhoni loves to play the world sport and has often trained with Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC, which he co-owns.

He achieved fame and adulation in cricket but Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also “quite good” with football and has even impressed a top Indian professional footballer.

The 39-year-old Dhoni, who bid adieu to international cricket on Saturday to bring the curtains down on a glorious career, loves to play the world sport and has often trained with Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC, which he co-owns.

It was during those sessions that India striker Jeje Lalpekhlua saw the two-time World Cup-winning captain’s football skills and instincts.

“He just loves to play football. If he is around, whenever we’re playing a small-sided game during training, he’d always try to join us,” said Jeje about Dhoni.

“Of course, he’s played football when he was a kid and you can gauge how much he still enjoys playing even now. He was always so good with the ball at his feet.”

Dhoni, a wicketkeeper batsman in the Indian cricket team, would sometimes don the goalkeeping gloves during Chennaiyin FC’s training sessions.

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“He may have been a goalkeeper back in school. But when he’s playing, it has been evident that his skills with his feet have not left him. He’s quite good at football, to be honest,” Jeje said in an AIFF release.

Dhoni was helpful to Chenniyin FC footballers and he would offer them tips on how to deal with injuries.

“In one of the Hero ISL matches I suffered a cramp and had to limp out. After the match he came down to me and mentioned about some of his teammates in the cricket team who also suffered from cramps, and the ways they dealt with it.”

Local player Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, one of the latest additions to the Chennaiyin FC squad, described how the city treated Dhoni like its adopted son.

“People here are just crazy about him. They may have jobs, and other responsibilities with their family, but if MSD is in town and Chennai Super Kings have a training session, they would all head to the stadium, just to watch them practice,” he said.

“And when MSD comes out to bat in the nets, these guys just go bonkers.”

Talking about Dhoni being called ‘Thala’ by the people of Tamil Nadu, Vanspaul said, “Generally these titles are given to film stars like Ajith Kumar. But for Dhoni, it did not take long for him to earn that title.

“Perhaps it is because he mingled with the local culture here so easily. He even speaks a little Tamil. It’s these little gestures and small efforts that the people of this city appreciate, and that is why they shower him with so much love.”

Lyon stuns Man City 3******Football

Lyon stuns Man City 3-1 to reach Champions League semifinals

APLISBONAugust 16, 2020 03:53 ISTUpdated:August 16, 2020 03:55 ISTAPLISBONAugust 16, 2020 03:53 ISTUpdated:August 16, 2020 03:55 IST

It leaves Pep Guardiola without a Champions League title since 2011 with Barcelona

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Lyon players celebrate at the end of the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Lyon and Manchester City at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, on August 15, 2020.

Lyon players celebrate at the end of the Champions League quarterfinal soccer match between Lyon and Manchester City at the Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal, on August 15, 2020.

It leaves Pep Guardiola without a Champions League title since 2011 with Barcelona

Lyon stunned Manchester City to reach the Champions League semifinals for the first time in a decade, with Moussa Dembşlş scoring twice for the French outsiders Saturday to seal a 3-1 win that sets up a meeting with Bayern Munich.

City, one of the most expensively assembled squads in football history, lost to the team that finished seventh in the French league and needs to lift the European Cup for the first time to return to the competition next season.

It leaves Pep Guardiola without a Champions League title since 2011 with Barcelona, falling short in three attempts with Bayern Munich and never making it past the quarterfinals in his four seasons at City.

Guardiola’s decision to deploy an unfamiliar five-man defense to match Lyon’s system backfired when gaping holes were left at the back before Maxwel Cornet struck the opener in the 24th minute.

Kevin De Bruyne equalized in the 69th but substitute Dembşlş restored the lead 10 minutes later after being on the pitch for only four minutes. Then came the moment to level that will haunt Raheem Sterling, who blazed the ball over an empty net, and a minute later Dembşlş scored again.

There was no way back for City, which has been eliminated three consecutive seasons in the quarterfinals, leaving the club still waiting to become European champions despite the huge influx of cash from Abu Dhabi since 2008.

"We need to learn - it’s not good enough and that’s it,” De Bruyne said. “Different year, same stuff.”

City’s biggest Champions League win of the season, though, came off the pitch when its lawyers overturned a two-season ban from European competitions.

But for a City side that eliminated record 13-time champion Real Madrid in the previous round, losing to Lyon was not in the script.

Given that a place in the semifinals was on the line, City’s back line didn’t rise to the challenge.

The lack of urgency in dealing with Lyon’s advance for the opener was careless as Marŵrdquo}al sent a long ball over the top from inside his own half.

At that point Kyle Walker was alongside Cornet at the halfway line but the City right back lingered rather than tracking back. Aymeric Laporte also lost the advancing Toko Ekambi. Eric Garcia did run back to make the sliding tackle that prevented Ekambi from shooting.

But Cornet had sprinted forward and was left unmarked to pick up the loose ball before exploiting Ederson being caught off his line. Cornet shot low past the goalkeeper into the corner of the net.

"This team is great,” De Bruyne said, “but we make too many mistakes.”

City should have been well aware of Cornet’s threat. He scored three goals against the then-Premier League champions across the two group stage games last season.

Although City began to find more space to attack, the only threat came from De Bruyne’s free kicks.

More creativity was added when Guardiola replaced Fernandinho with Riyad Mahrez who created the equalizer. The Algerian passed long down the left flank to Sterling and the ball was cut back for the unmarked De Bruyne to curl into the bottom corner.

Lyon made its own game-changing substitution with the arrival in the 75th minute of Dembele, who met Maxence Caqueret’s pass to complete a counterattack four minutes later.

City hoped the goal would be overturned by VAR for a foul on Laporte in the buildup but it was allowed to stand.

There were gasps among the few people allowed into the stadium - as part of coronavirus pandemic restrictions - when Sterling missed the chance to equalize after Gabriel Jesus squared across the face of goal.

"We scored a magnificent goal but unfortunately we missed another one,” Guardiola said. “You have to be perfect, you cannot make mistakes.”

 

Champions League quarterfinals: Bayern 8 Barcelona 2******Football

Champions League quarterfinals: Bayern 8 Barcelona 2

AFPLisbonAugust 15, 2020 22:51 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 23:25 ISTAFPLisbonAugust 15, 2020 22:51 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 23:25 IST

German giant scores four times in each half

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Early strike: Thomas Muller set the ball rolling Bayern Munich’s way with a goal in the fourth minute.

Early strike: Thomas Muller set the ball rolling Bayern Munich’s way with a goal in the fourth minute.

German giant scores four times in each half

A merciless Bayern Munich inflicted a humiliating, record defeat on Barcelona on Friday, with a scarcely believable 8-2 victory in their Champions League football quarterfinals to leave Lionel Messi forlorn and surely hastening the end of an era in Catalonia.

Thomas Mueller scored twice either side of goals from Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry in a stunning opening 31 minutes at an empty Estadio da Luz, with a David Alaba own-goal having briefly brought Barcelona back level.

Caving in

Luis Suarez pulled it back to 4-2 at one point in the second half, but Barcelona then caved in, with Joshua Kimmich getting Bayern's fifth before three more goals in the final stages, one for the prolific Robert Lewandowski and two for substitute Philippe Coutinho.

That was the really humiliating part for the beaten side, with Coutinho on loan in Bavaria from Barcelona, which spent huge money on signing the Brazilian in 2018.

Unbeaten run

This was its 19th consecutive victory in all competitions, and a 28-game unbeaten run for Hansi Flick’s side.

It has now scored 39 goals in nine Champions League outings this season.

But the story of this game is Barcelona’s remarkable capitulation and the question is what happens to it now.

Messi was 27 when it last won the Champions League in 2015.

He is 33 now and this game may make up his mind that he needs to finally leave Camp Nou if he is to win it again.

Barca was torn apart by Bayern in the 2013 semifinals, losing 7-0 on aggregate, but this was eight goals in 90 minutes.

And with an ageing team featuring six players aged 31 or older, this has to be the end of an era.

Coach Quique Setien will not survive.

His team, having already come second to Real Madrid in La Liga, simply could not cope with Bayern's pressing.

The result (quarterfinals):

Barcelona 2 (Alaba 7-og, Suarez 57) lost to Bayern Munich 8 (Mueller 4, 31, Perisic 22, Gnabry 27, Kimmich 63, Lewandowski 82, Coutinho 85, 89) .

Aaditya Thackeray pledges support to 1,000 football coaches during COVID******Football

Aaditya Thackeray pledges support to 1,000 football coaches during COVID-19 pandemic

PTIMumbaiAugust 15, 2020 12:38 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 12:50 ISTPTIMumbaiAugust 15, 2020 12:38 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 12:50 IST
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Aaditya Thackeray with AIFC director Dinesh Nair

Aaditya Thackeray with AIFC director Dinesh Nair

Mumbai District Football Association President Aaditya Thackeray has pledged to help 1,000 coaches who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“@AUThackeray pledges to support coaches across India. He handed over the first box of supplies to AIFC Director @DineshNair74. AIFC extends our gratitude towards him on behalf of all the coaches,” the Association of Indian Football Coaches said in a tweet.

Aaditya is the son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and also a Cabinet Minister in the State government. He is also an office bearer of the Western India Football Association (WIFA), which governs football activities in Maharastra.

In response, Aaditya said, “Happy to my bit @DineshNair74 for our coaches across.”

AIFC Director Dinesh Nair said, “On behalf of all the coaches & AIFC, I would like to thank Aaditya Thackeray for his help & support. We will ensure that this reaches all the right people. With this help, we can now also reach out to other stakeholders of Indian Football.”

The AIFC has also launced a campaign to support the coaches during the pandemic.

Football activities in India have come to a grinding halt since mid March when the nation-wide lockdown was enforced to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Now not time to focus on own future, says coach Quique Setien after painful Barcelona defeat******Football

Now not time to focus on own future, says coach Quique Setien after painful Barcelona defeat

ReutersLISBONAugust 15, 2020 09:10 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 11:00 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 15, 2020 09:10 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 11:00 IST

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu did not reveal what consequences such a seismic defeat would have.

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Barcelona coach Quique Setien looks dejected following 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Champions League quarter final at Estadio da Luz, Lisbon in Portugal on August 14, 2020

Barcelona coach Quique Setien looks dejected following 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in Champions League quarter final at Estadio da Luz, Lisbon in Portugal on August 14, 2020

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu did not reveal what consequences such a seismic defeat would have.

Barcelona coach Quique Setien preferred to avoid discussing whether or not he would remain at the club after Friday's tortuous8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals but admitted big changes would have to be made.

“Right now it's too soon to say whether I will continue or not. It's not up to me and the club will have to have a deep reflection that corresponds to such a humiliating and painful defeat,” Setien told reporters.

“This defeat has hurt me a lot. It's such an overwhelming defeat and I'm not just worried about my future, I'm thinking about what an awful defeat this is for the club and for the fans” he said.

Predecessor Ernesto Valverde was sacked in January partly for his role in Barca's two previous exits from the Champions League and Setien admitted his stock will have fallen after presiding over Barca's heaviest ever defeat in Europe.

“I know what a defeat of this calibre means but we have to analyse what has happened today from a wider perspective,” Setien added.

“I know that the credibility of a coach decreases when you have a defeat like this. We were over-powered by a very, very good team. Save for the first few minutes, they completely overwhelmed us,” he said.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu did not reveal what consequences such a seismic defeat would have on the squad and coaching staff, but he implied that the scale of the result would ensure some were moved on quicker than first thought.

“We were not at the level we want to be today. It was a disaster and soon we will take some decisions,” he said. “We had been thinking about some of them already and we will inform the affected people in the coming days. Some of those decisions had already been made, others will be made in the next few days.

“But right now is a time to reflect, not to make decisions in the heat of the moment. Above all, we want to apologise to all Barcelona fans for this heavy result,” he said.

Champions League: Brilliant Bayern humiliate hapless Barcalona with 8******Champions League |Football

Brilliant Bayern humiliate hapless Barcalona with 8-2 crushing

ReutersLISBONAugust 15, 2020 06:17 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 06:29 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 15, 2020 06:17 ISTUpdated:August 15, 2020 06:29 IST

Lionel Messi and his team mates were condemned to a thrashing that felt like the end of an era for the illustrious Catalan club.

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Bayern's Robert Lewandowski scores his sides sixth goal during the Champions League quarterfinal match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 14, 2020.

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski scores his sides sixth goal during the Champions League quarterfinal match between FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 14, 2020.

Lionel Messi and his team mates were condemned to a thrashing that felt like the end of an era for the illustrious Catalan club.

German champions Bayern Munich utterly humiliated Barcelona with an extraordinary 8-2 demolition job on Friday that sent them through into the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Thomas Mueller scored twice for a rampant Bayern, who led 4-1 after 31 astonishing minutes, as Lionel Messi and his team mates were condemned to a thrashing that felt like the end of an era for the illustrious Catalan club.

“We feel devastated, although shame is the real word I'm looking for,” said Barca defender Gerard Pique, adding that the historic defeat called for urgent changes across the club.

Barca coach Quique Setien, who is unlikely to survive the looming inquest, called the drubbing “a tremendously painful defeat”.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick hailed an “outstanding” display from his side but stressed that they were firmly focused on the semi-final, which will be against Manchester City or Olympique Lyonnais.

Mueller added: “We had so much fun today. Of course, Barcelona are special, so we had to be even more aggressive and come back again and again.

“You can imagine we feel good after this match but we have to be quiet and regenerate,” he said.

The scoreline recalled Germany's 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, a game where Flick was on the bench as the national team's assistant coach.

It began with Bayern grabbing a fourth minute lead when Mueller collected Ivan Perisic's cross from the left and played a clever one-two with Robert Lewandowski before drilling home.

But within three minutes Barca had struck back — Clement Lenglet's super long ball found Jordi Alba in space and David Alaba's attempt to deal with his searching cross ended up flying past his own keeper Manuel Neuer.

Running riot

Neuer then had to be quick off his line to foil a goal-bound Luis Suarez but was almost caught out by Messi's cross-shot from the right which drifted through the area and struck the post.

But just as Barca seemed to have established themselves, the Germans regained their lead in the 21st minute — Serge Gnabry fed Perisic on the left and the Croatian glanced up to see his options before drilling past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Bayern then added the third as Barca's defence was opened up again with ease. Thiago Alcantara was given plenty of space in midfield to find Leon Goretzka whose superb ball picked out Gnabry, who had got behind Lenglet and then made no mistake with the finish.

Flick's side were running riot and it got worse for Barca when a low cross from Joshua Kimmich was turned in at the near post by Mueller — another goal of ruthless simplicity making it 4-1 at the break.

The Spaniards desperately needed to find a way to shift the momentum after the break and Suarez, one of the few Barca players to emerge with any credit from the encounter, provided a route back into the game with a fine strike, in the 57th minute.

Jordi Alba found Suarez on the edge of the box and the Uruguayan jinked passed Jerome Boateng before blasting home.

But Bayern were in no mood to turn down the heat and six minutes later they restored their three-goal advantage thanks to some outstanding work from their Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies.

The left back dribbled in from the flank, danced past Nelson Semedo to get to the byline and then pulled the ball back to fellow full back Kimmich to slot home and make it 5-2.

Somehow Bayern had managed to score five goals without prolific striker Robert Lewandowski, who had scored in his previous seven Champions League matches, getting in on the act.

Eight minutes from the end, the Pole put that right.

Substitute Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at the German club from Barca, floated over a cross from the left which Lewandowski firmly headed home at the back post.

To add insult to the already painful injury, Coutinho then scored two more before the end, as Barcelona fell apart in unimaginable fashion to the brilliance of the Bavarians.

RB Leipzig stun Atletico Madrid to reach Champions League last four******Football

RB Leipzig stun Atletico Madrid to reach Champions League last four

ReutersLISBONAugust 14, 2020 06:43 ISTUpdated:August 14, 2020 07:21 ISTReutersLISBONAugust 14, 2020 06:43 ISTUpdated:August 14, 2020 07:21 IST

The team will come up against Paris St Germain with a chance at a place in the August 23 final.

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Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente in action with RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara during the Champions League quarter final clash between RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid at Estadio Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 13, 2020.

Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente in action with RB Leipzig's Amadou Haidara during the Champions League quarter final clash between RB Leipzig and Atletico Madrid at Estadio Jose Alvalade stadium in Lisbon, Portugal on August 13, 2020.

The team will come up against Paris St Germain with a chance at a place in the August 23 final.

RB Leipzig stunned Atletico Madrid, with a 2-1 victory in their Champions League quarter-final on Thursday, to reach the competition's last four for the first time in their club's short history.

With two minutes of normal time remaining, United States midfielder Tyler Adams snatched victory with a deflected shot from outside the box to set upa semi-final clash with Paris St Germain .

The German side had taken the lead in the 51st minute with a header from Spanish forward Dani Olmo but a disjointed Atletico were shaken into life when record signing Joao Felix came off the bench, earning and scoring a penalty to level in the 71st.

Atletico, runners-up in 2014 and 2016, looked more likely to score the next goal but it was the club founded only eleven years ago who were left celebrating in front of the empty seats of the Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Now the team, built up from the lower leagues and owned by energy drinks company Red Bull, will come up against Neymar and company with a chance at a place in the August 23 final.

As with all games in this 'final eight' mini-tournament, there were no fans to witness the drama but it was clear from the outset that Leipzig felt at home among European football's elite.

They fired an early warning shot when Marcel Halstenberg was picked out at the back post but his difficult volley flew off target.

Atletico responded with Yannick Carrasco bursting in from the left and firing goalwards but Leipzig keeper Peter Gulacsi reacted well to push the effort wide.

Julian Nagelsmann's side quickly settled though into the brand of attractive passing and movement that has earned them many admirers.

Kevin Kampl was busy in the centre of midfield and left wing back Angelino was enjoying plenty of space down the flanks but it was the performance of French central defender Dayot Upamecano that was the most impressive.

Solid defensively, taking care of Atletico's over-isolated striker Diego Costa, he also had the confidence to bring the ball out of the back and be the starting point for Leipzig's moves.

Breakthrough

It was impossible not to wonder how different the game might have been if Leipzig had not sold their top scorer Timo Werner to Chelsea in June, given the lack of a real threat in attack.

But six minutes after the interval, they found a way through — Marcel Sabitzer's cross from the right was met by Olmo, the Spaniard's angled header flashing past Jan Oblak and into the far, bottom corner.

The goal prompted Atletico boss Diego Simeone into a change, with Felix, the 20-year-old Portugal international and club record signing, introduced in the 58th minute.

The move paid off when Felix glided into the box and was brought down by an ill-timed tackle from Lukas Klostermann for a penalty.

Felix hasn't had the most impactful of debut seasons but he had the confidence to get to his feet and bury the spot kick to get the Spaniards back on level terms with 19 minutes left.

Atletico sensed the momentum had shifted and they pushed forward in search of a winner, which looked the more likely outcome, possibly in extra-time, as Leipzig struggled to regain control of the game.

But with two minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Adams tried his luck with shot from outside the box, which deflected off defender Stefan Savic and beat the wrong-footed Oblak.

Atletico piled on the pressure but Leipzig had the belief and the fortitude to hold on for their most famous victory.

Champions League: Lionel Messi’s toughest task as Barcelona face up to Bayern Munich******Football

Champions League: Lionel Messi’s toughest task as Barcelona face up to Bayern Munich

AFPLSIBONAugust 14, 2020 03:47 ISTUpdated:August 14, 2020 00:53 ISTAFPLSIBONAugust 14, 2020 03:47 ISTUpdated:August 14, 2020 00:53 IST

Bayern remains the favourite in the high-profile clash

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi. File

Barcelona's Lionel Messi. File

Bayern remains the favourite in the high-profile clash

Lionel Messi might never have been faced with a more daunting task at Barcelona than engineering a victory against Bayern Munich here on Friday.

The only surviving former winners of European club football’s greatest prize — with five titles each — meet in a heavyweight Champions League quarterfinal behind closed doors at the Estadio da Luz.

It is not often that Messi’s Barcelona comes into such a big European tie as the underdog, but it has this time, with Quique Setien’s team having lost to Real Madrid in the Spanish title race while Bayern appeared flawless on the way to winning a German league and cup double.

Messi is now 33, yet Barcelona appears more reliant on him than ever.

One-man army

He scored twice against Bayern in the quarterfinals in 2009 when Barcelona went on to triumph under Pep Guardiola.

He hit four against Arsenal the following year and five against Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 but on both occasions, Barca was the favourite.

Messi also sank Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2011 with a double in the first leg of the semifinal, including one of the finest goals the competition has ever seen.

Great comeback

And he was part of perhaps the tournament’s greatest comeback, the 6-1 destruction of Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 after Barcelona lost 4-0 in the first leg of that last-16 tie.

Yet this time threatens to be different.

With Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann alongside him, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets behind him, and Jordi Alba out wide, Messi should not be on his own.

Even in defence, Gerard Pique still has a claim to be the best defender in La Liga and Marc-Andre ter Stegen is among the most impressive goalkeepers in the world.

“Bayern are playing really well and are full of confidence but we have the weapons to beat them,” Griezmann told Barca TV.

Special effort

But the sense remains that Messi must perform if Barcelona is to defeat Bayern, widely seen as the favourite to lift the trophy on August 23.

It will take something very special not only to lift his own team out of the doldrums but also to neutralise an opponent that many believe is the most complete side in Europe.


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