Thursday, 17 August 2017

Simon Grayson Hails Sunderland After Weathering Tough Sheffield Wednesday Storm & Claiming 1-1 Draw

Draw ​Sunderland boss Simon Grayson has lauded his side's mental strength following the Wearsiders' 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night at Hillsborough.  The Black Cats started brightly and took an early lead thanks to George Honeyman capitalising on poor goalkeeping from Kieran Westwood, allowing the 22-year-old to lash the ball home from 15 yards through a crowd of defenders.  But the North East side were pegged back midway through the second-half courtesy of a 30-yard wonder...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2whCCpy

Barcelona Boss Ernesto Valverde Admits Real Madrid Were 'Better Than Us' After Super Cup Defeat

​Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has admitted that Real Madrid were "better than us" after Wednesday night's 5-1 aggregate defeat in the Spanish Super Cup. The Blaugrana trailed 3-1 from the first leg at the Nou Camp, and were comfortably beaten in another underwhelming display at the Bernabeu. Valverde bemoaned the loss, but insisted that it does not show that Real Madrid are "invincible". "There are no invincible teams, if there is a certainty in this sport, it's that we are going to lose...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2x6WKb6

Teammate Names the Thing Eden Hazard Needs to Add to His Game for Ballon d'Or Recognition

​Eden Hazard has been backed as one of the world's top five players with the potential to win the Ballon d'Or by Belgium teammate Radja Nainggolan.  The all-action Roma star admitted that the Chelsea man, who returned to training this week after suffering an ankle injury at the end of last season, still needs to add goals to his game to compete with the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - but backed his countryman to keep improving.  Eden Hazard is training with the squad for...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2wcGxou

Zinedine Zidane Heaps Praise on His 'Spectacular' Players After Real Madrid Secure Super Cup

​Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has hailed the "spectacular" performance of his players after Wednesday night's Super Cup victory over Barcelona. Los Blancos emerged as comfortable 2-0 winners in the second leg at the Bernabeu, having beaten Barcelona 3-1 at the Nou Camp last weekend. And Zidane has expressed his delight at the success in what he described as an "important trophy", to add to Real Madrid's European Super Cup win against Manchester United. "We had to be prepared for the start...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2fNgjli

Arsene Wenger Concedes the Arsenal Board Could Have Final Say on Alexis Sanchez's Future

​Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal's board will have the final say on the future of Alexis Sanchez - but insisted that they remain firmly behind his stance to keep hold of the Chilean at the risk of losing him on a free transfer in a year's time.  ​Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Wenger said that the potential financial loss matters less to him than the board - and claimed that he remains hopeful that Mesut Ozil will sign a new contract at the Emirates.  Arsene Wenger says there has...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2i8OcOr

Rodgers hails complete Celtic performance in Astana thrashing

Glasgow (AFP) – Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers hailed his side’s outstanding display as they moved to the verge of the Champions League group stages with a 5-0 thrashing of FC Astana in Glasgow.

An own goal from Evgeni Postnikov and two goals from Scott Sinclair either side of half-time had the Hoops cruising to victory before James Forrest’s strike and a late Igor Shitov own goal rounded off the rout.

It means the Scottish champions will take a commanding advantage to Kazakhstan for the return leg next Tuesday and puts them within touching distance of sealing their place in the lucrative group stages for a second successive season.

“We’ve had a number of outstanding performances since I came in but this was a different game and a different occasion,” Rodgers said.

“Every game in this qualification is a pressure game. The pleasing aspect is how the players coped with that – their calmness in possession, how we circulated the ball and how we opened up the spaces and tired Astana out. 

“It had everything in it — creativity, pressing, a real good structure to the team and good organisation.

“Some of our play was outstanding.

“We scored five goals and missed one or two with that. For a Scottish side to do that at this level of competition against a side that a couple of years ago were drawing with Atletico Madrid and Benfica and show that level of composure makes me really proud of the team.

“It was a brilliant performance. Very complete in many aspects of how we work.”

It was a marked improvement from last season when the Hoops narrowly saw off the Kazakhstan champions 3-2 over two legs in their third round qualification match of the same competition.

And Rodgers, who led his side to an unbeaten domestic season as they collected a treble, praised the progress his side have made since his arrival at Celtic Park last summer.

“It was a great demonstration of the work that the players have made and how they have progressed over the course of the last season,” the Celtic manager said.

“We made a big step forward last year. We had a physical courage to work but over the course of the season we played a game that you have to be able to play under pressure.

“That progress is continual and I think you see tonight the marked difference from when we won here last season 2-1.

“There is a maturity in performance, an excitement and creation of chances.

“Tactically the players are thinking about football. It’s not just about going out and running about and hoping.

“We are seeing that development and it is great to see young Scottish players in particular having that composure, quality, hunger and desire to play the game to that level.”

The post Rodgers hails complete Celtic performance in Astana thrashing appeared first on World Soccer Talk.



from World Soccer Talk http://ift.tt/2vFPLIl

Paris Saint-Germain Appear to Take Subtle Dig at Barca on Twitter During Supercopa Final Humiliation

​PSG may have signed Barcelona superstar Neymar after a protracted chase during the summer months, but that doesn't appear to concluded their hostilities with the Catalan club. The Ligue 1 club were able to entice the Brazilian over to France and in doing so raise the profile of French football around the world. However, they initially were met with a complete reluctance by Barca to cooperate for a transfer and even sanction Neymar's official paperwork, thereby delaying his appearance for the...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2uK3VsY

Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (Agg 5-1): Los Blancos Cruise Past Blaugrana in Dominant Super Cup Win

​Real Madrid comfortably secured victory in the Super Cup second leg with a win over Barcelona at the Bernabeu. An early goal from the superbly talented Marco Asensio put the home side in a controlling position following their first leg win. 👇 2️⃣0️⃣ 👇 @marcoasensio10 http://pic.twitter.com/y22y366rki — Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) August 16, 2017 That was added to by Karim Benzema shortly before half-time, before a second half in which both sides played out the inevitable result. With the hosts...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2v2YxMS

Ronaldo-less Real complete Super Cup rout of Barcelona

Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid shrugged off the absence of the suspended Cristiano Ronaldo to cruise past rivals Barcelona 2-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup to cap a 5-1 aggregate win.

Ronaldo was slapped with a five-game ban for pushing the referee after he was sent-off in the first leg, but his replacement Marco Asensio enhanced his reputation as one of world football’s rising stars as he smashed Madrid into the lead after just four minutes.

Karim Benzema then deservedly doubled Real’s lead before half-time.

Barca responded with a more spirited second-half showing and were unfortunate not to at least pull a goal back as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hit the woodwork.

Victory continues Madrid’s run of success under Zinedine Zidane with the European champions now having lifted seven trophies in the 20 months since the Frenchman took charge.

Zidane even had the luxury of leaving first team regulars Gareth Bale, Isco and Casemiro on the bench as Real’s strength in depth was demonstrated in a dominant first 45 minutes.

Asensio had already shown the threat he poses with a dangerous run and cross that saw Luka Modric’s goalbound effort blocked by Samuel Umtiti before he found the net himself.

Just as in the first leg, the 21-year-old sent an unstoppable left-footed shot past Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the top corner from outside the box.

– Worst possible start –

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde has suffered the worst possible start to his reign with back-to-back defeats against the Catalans fiercest rivals and the visitors only briefly threatened to mount a comeback after conceding.

Suarez volleyed over before Keylor Navas rushed from his goal to block from Messi.

However, shorn of Neymar after his world record breaking transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and injured captain Andres Iniesta, Barca’s star front two lacked the service needed to make a meaningful impact.

Indeed, the scoreline could have been a lot more embarrassing for Barca as Marcelo dragged wide before Lucas Vazquez hit the post with a glorious chance.

The hosts finally doubled their lead six minutes before the break when Benzema nipped in front of Umtiti and slotted past Ter Stegen.

An 11:00 pm kick-off time meant half-time saw Wednesday turn to Thursday and Barca did at least salvage some pride in the early morning with an improved second-half display.

Messi was desperately unlucky not to net a consolation goal as he hit the underside of the bar from a narrow angle.

The visitors’ night was summed up when Suarez headed against the post with the goal gaping after Navas had parried Messi’s driven shot into his path.

And there could be even worse news to come for Barca as Suarez ended the game visibly suffering from a knee injury just four days ahead of their La Liga opener against Real Betis on Sunday.

The post Ronaldo-less Real complete Super Cup rout of Barcelona appeared first on World Soccer Talk.



from World Soccer Talk http://ift.tt/2wc0ETt

Asensio stunner helps Real Madrid brush aside Barça for Super Cup success

• Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (agg: 5-1); Asensio 4, Benzema 39
• Rivals pile on the misery for Barcelona

The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was only four minutes old when a smile stretched across Zinedine Zidane’s face. Real Madrid had just taken the lead, Marco Asensio’s wonderful 35-yard effort dipping past Marc-André Ter Stegen but Zidane did not leap into the air, clench his fists or scream; it was just that smile, appearing easily, almost gently, as if he was not just enjoying it – he had expected it. Already 1-0 on the night, it was 4-1 on aggregate and his team were on course to win the seventh title they have collected in only 18 months under him.

By the end, it was 2-0, 5-1 on aggregate, after Karim Benzema added a second past the half-hour. Madrid had the victory, the title and the promise of more, too. Past 1am they paraded the trophy and if the silverware was something to celebrate, the sense of security was another. Such a contrast to Barcelona, who stood and watched them collect it, well beaten. Maybe that had been expressed best in Zidane’s smile. The opening goal had the ingredients to be a surprise but did not feel like one, somehow.

Continue reading...Football | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2v2NYtp

Asensio stunner helps Real Madrid brush aside Barça for Super Cup success

• Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona (agg: 5-1); Asensio 4, Benzema 39
• Rivals pile on the misery for Barcelona

The second leg of the Spanish Super Cup was only four minutes old when a smile stretched across Zinedine Zidane’s face. Real Madrid had just taken the lead, Marco Asensio’s wonderful 35-yard effort dipping past Marc-André Ter Stegen but Zidane did not leap into the air, clench his fists or scream; it was just that smile, appearing easily, almost gently, as if he was not just enjoying it – he had expected it. Already 1-0 on the night, it was 4-1 on aggregate and his team were on course to win the seventh title they have collected in only 18 months under him.

By the end, it was 2-0, 5-1 on aggregate, after Karim Benzema added a second past the half-hour. Madrid had the victory, the title and the promise of more, too. Past 1am they paraded the trophy and if the silverware was something to celebrate, the sense of security was another. Such a contrast to Barcelona, who stood and watched them collect it, well beaten. Maybe that had been expressed best in Zidane’s smile. The opening goal had the ingredients to be a surprise but did not feel like one, somehow.

Continue reading...

from Football | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2v2NYtp

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Championship roundup: Sunderland draw and Norwich sink QPR

• Simon Grayson’s side draw 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday
• Nelson Oliveira opens scoring as Norwich beat QPR 2-0

Sunderland’s Championship credentials were put to the test but they emerged with credit after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

After a horrible campaign last year, and a pre-season littered with problems, the Black Cats were not fancied to be much of a threat on their return to the second tier but under the guidance of the streetwise Simon Grayson they took four points from their opening two league games.

Continue reading...Football | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2fLvD1Y

Napoli punish nine-man Nice

Paris (AFP) – Napoli took a big step towards the Champions League group stage with a 2-0 win over outclassed nine-man Nice in their play-off, first-leg in Italy on Wednesday.

The Riviera side were down to nine men after 79 minutes when Alassane Pléa was sent off for a second yellow card just after Vincent Koziello’s straight dismissal.

Belgian midfielder Dries Mertens had slotted in the opener after 13 minutes with Jorginho doubling the hosts’ account with a penalty after 70 minutes.

It was a third straight defeat for Lucien Favre’s side who have lost their first two French Ligue 1 matches, and travelled without Mario Balotelli and new signing Wesley Sneijder.

Napoli, third in Serie A and in the Champions League last 16 last year, were a class above the French punishing defensive errors in front of a delighted 50,000 home fans at the San Paolo Stadium.

Napoli took control of the game early with Mertens outwitting the Nice defence and taking advantage of an error by Yoan Cardinale to slot past the advancing Nice goalkeeper.

And in the 70th minute it was again Mertens, brought down by Christophe Jallet, who earned the penalty which Jorginho slotted in.

Despite his initial error Cardinale made some key saves against Joe Callejon (15), Mertens (21) and two Lorenzo Insigne efforts after 42 and 67 minutes.

The Italians also other missed chances to increase their advantage with Insigne hitting the woodwork after 51 minutes.

Nice played the final ten minutes with nine men after first Koziello was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Piotr Zielinski.

Plea was then dismissed for a second yellow card, allowing the Italians to wrap up a deserved victory ahead of their Serie A opener on Saturday.

Maurizio Sarri’s side are now ideally placed to join Juventus and AS Roma in the group stage as Nice have it all to do in the return home leg in the Allianz Riviera stadium on August 22.

Spanish side Sevilla also set themselves up for a place in the group stage alongside Liga rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid by beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-1 in Turkey.

Franco-Tunisian forward Wisam Ben Yedder, picked up a backheeled pass from Jesus Navas, to seal the winner six minutes from time.

Sergio Escudero opened for Sevilla after 16 minutes with Eljero Elia getting the equaliser after 64 minutes.

A Scott Sinclair double helped Celtic to a 5-0 thrashing of Astana in their play-off round first leg in Glasgow.

An own-goal from Evgeni Postnikov opened the scoring in the 32nd minute before Sinclair doubled Celtic’s advantage 10 minutes later.

The English winger then grabbed his sixth goal of the season on the hour before James Forrest added another in the 79th minute.

Leigh Griffiths rounded off the rout in the 79th minute with a deflection off Igor Shitov to help the Scottish champions secure a commanding advantage to take to Kazakhstan for the return leg next Tuesday.

Elsewhere Hapoel Beer-Sheva beat Maribor of Slovenia 2-1 at home in Israel while Olympiacos beat Croatian side Rijeka by the same score in Greece.

The post Napoli punish nine-man Nice appeared first on World Soccer Talk.



from World Soccer Talk http://ift.tt/2x5XYDE

Twitter Goes Bananas After Real Starlet Marcos Asensio's Stupendous Golazo in Barcelona Rout

​Real Madrid sensation Marcos Asensio found himself 40 yards out, with little or no inclination to commence another round of attack against an underwhelming Barcelona side. He took one look at the Barca goal and unleashed a shot that will live long in the memory of football fans, let alone that of Los Blancos supporters.  The ball whirled through the air, nestling emphatically into the top corner, with Barca stopper Ter Stegen shellshocked by what he'd just witnessed. Perhaps it marked a new...

from All the latest breaking football news, transfer rumours, analysis, and match reports - 90min http://ift.tt/2wbZMON

Championship roundup: Sunderland draw and Norwich sink QPR

• Simon Grayson’s side draw 1-1 at Sheffield Wednesday
• Nelson Oliveira opens scoring as Norwich beat QPR 2-0

Sunderland’s Championship credentials were put to the test but they emerged with credit after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

After a horrible campaign last year, and a pre-season littered with problems, the Black Cats were not fancied to be much of a threat on their return to the second tier but under the guidance of the streetwise Simon Grayson they took four points from their opening two league games.

Continue reading...

from Football | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2fLvD1Y