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After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Man United soccer's top moneymaker again after 11 years

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Manchester United is a long way from winning the English Premier League again but is back on top of another table — as soccer's biggest moneymaker. For the first time since 2005, Manchester United overtook Real Madrid in top spot in the soccer finance rankings compiled by accountancy firm Deloitte even as it sits sixth in the Premier League. In 2015-16 when United won only the FA Cup and failed to qualify for the Champions League, the 20-time league champions generated 515.3 million pounds (689 million euros based on the annual average; now about $632 million). Spanish champion Barcelona had 620.2 million euros in revenue and Real Madrid, which won an 11th Champions League title in May, dropped to third on 620.1 million euros in Deloitte's 20th annual rankings. United's stay at the top could be short-lived with the pound weakening since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June and the failure to reach the Champions League. Despite Jose Mourinho replacing Louis van Gaal as manager, United is struggling to break back into the top four Champions League qualification places let alone win the first Premier League title since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013. But United, owned by the Florida-based Glazer family and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has maintained an ability to attract sponsors. 'Manchester United have had to wait 11 years to regain their position as the world's leading revenue-generating club and it has taken phenomenal commercial revenue growth to help them achieve this,' said Dan Jones of the Deloitte sports division. 'In recent years, their ability to secure commercial partnerships with value in excess of that achievable by their peers has been the crucial factor in enabling the club to regain their place at the top of the Money League.' The top five is completed by German champion Bayern Munich and Manchester City. The eight English clubs in the top 20 account for 45 percent of the accumulated revenue in the standings of 7.4 billion euros — up 13 percent from the previous year. Leicester, a first-time winner of the Premier League, makes the cut for the first time, squeezing into 20th place on 128.7 million pounds. West Ham returns to the top 20 and should move up from 18th place (143.8 million pounds) following its move last summer to Olympic Stadium. The other Premier League teams are: Arsenal (seventh at 350.4 million pounds), Chelsea (eight at 334.6 million pounds), Liverpool (ninth at 302 million pounds) and Tottenham (12th at 209.2 million pounds). The weight of English clubs in the revenue rankings should increase next year with the rise in television revenue. Premier League clubs should each earn at least 100 million pounds a season as part of the rights deals worth more than 8.3 billion pounds over three years. The only French team represented in the rankings is Paris Saint-Germain, which fell two places to sixth with revenue of 520.9 million euros. Zenit Saint-Petersburg is the only Russian team included, improving a place to 17th by generating 196.5 million euros. Along with Bayern, German also provides Borussia Dortmund (11th at 283.9 million euros) and Schalke (14th at 224.5 million euros). Juventus heads the list of four Italian teams, in 10th place on 224.5 million euros, followed by AS Roma (15th at 218.2 million euros), AC Milan (16th at 214.7 million euros) and Inter Milan (19th at 179.2 million euros). Deloitte warns that the enhanced English broadcast deals could see at least one of the Milan teams fall out of the top 20 next year. Joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the rankings from Spain are Atletico Madrid in 13th place at 228.6 million euros. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Stock Market: 'Brexit,' Trump uncertainty spook local stocks

LOCAL STOCKS dropped for a fifth consecutive session, as investors continued to await clarity on the planned exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) as well as US president-elect Donald J. Trump's economic policy direction......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Ibrahimovic's late goal earns United 1-1 draw vs Liverpool

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic compensated for Paul Pogba's moment of recklessness by scoring Manchester United's late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against fierce rival Liverpool, a result that damaged both teams' Premier League title chances on Sunday. Ibrahimovic maintained his hot streak with a glancing header in off the crossbar in the 84th minute at Old Trafford, canceling out James Milner's 27th-minute penalty that was conceded by Pogba's handball. On the day United rolled out advertising hoardings displaying Pogba's new Twitter emoji, the player himself made a crucial mistake while jumping with his back to the ball at a corner. Liverpool ended United's nine-game winning run in all competitions — six of which had come in the league — but dropped seven points behind first-placed Chelsea. Sixth-placed United was 12 points off the leader. 'We get one point, but we were not on the top of our game. It was a hard fight, a hard game,' Ibrahimovic said. 'I think we did simple mistakes. We were not comfortable.' Wayne Rooney, needing one goal to surpass Bobby Charlton as United's outright record scorer, came on for the start of the second half but didn't have a genuine chance at a history-making goal in an intense, scrappy match between English soccer's two most decorated clubs. United's recent form had raised the possibility of a late run at the title, so this result was a setback. However, Mourinho's team got some reward with a more direct approach late in the game. Marouane Fellaini came on as a 76th-minute substitute and the tall Belgian made a difference — and played a key role in the goal. His glancing header from a left-wing cross struck the post and the ball eventually made its way to right back Antonio Valencia, whose return cross was met by Ibrahimovic for his 14th league goal of the season. He has scored 11 goals in his last 11 league games. 'They played long balls,' Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. 'It was a wild game.' Milner's penalty was Liverpool's only real chance in the first half, with United having more sight at goal — in particular one-on-one chances for Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Pogba skewed his chance wide and Mkhitaryan was denied by Simon Mignolet. Rooney's arrival in place of Michael Carrick meant the game became more open and disjointed, and Liverpool suddenly looked dangerous on the counterattack, especially after Philippe Coutinho came on as a substitute. 'We didn't reflect the qualities we have and Liverpool have but it was very emotional, intense, aggressive. We fought until the last second,' Mourinho said. 'We were the team that attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Guardiola virtually concedes title after heavy loss for City

Guardiola virtually concedes title after heavy loss for City br /> STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The Premier League season is barely past the halfway point and already Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has virtually given up on winning the title. The world's most coveted coach can't have envisaged his first year in English soccer being this tough. It takes something special to overshadow a match between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, but City's 4-0 loss at Everton on Sunday did just that. As he slumped to the heaviest loss of his career in a domestic league match, Guardiola — with his arms folded — was seen staring into space while he sat in the Goodison Park dug-out. At other times, he had his face in his hands. City has dropped out of the Champions Leagues positions, into fifth place, and 10 points adrift of leader Chelsea. Asked if the gap to first place was now too great, Guardiola said: '(To) the first one? Yes. Ten points is a lot of points. The second one is three points. We have to see.' A fifth loss of the league season was administered by a team managed by Guardiola's friend and former Barcelona teammate, Ronald Koeman. 'Pep Guardiola knows it is a project at Manchester City,' Koeman said. 'Of course, maybe they expected better results and a defeat like this is really strong but Pep has the experience to turn it around.' Man United kicked off less than an hour after City's drubbing but couldn't get a win that would have put the neighbors tied on points, drawing 1-1 with Liverpool at Old Trafford. After 21 of 38 games, City and United — the two pre-season title favorites — are outside the top four. Two high-profile managers were always going to have their reputation tarnished this season, with six big teams challenging for four Champions League spots. Few would have predicted they'd be Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Here's a closer look at the top games that pitted Merseyside against Manchester: ___ EVERTON 4, MANCHESTER CITY 0 While there was misery for City at Goodison Park, there was jubilation for Everton after a win that was sealed by goals from two of the club's promising teenagers. Goals either side of halftime by Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas set Everton on its way before 18-year-old midfielder Tom Davies raced into the area and dinked a deft finish over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, the ball landing just inside the post. It completed an impressive display by Davies, who has now started two straight games and is distinctive with his all-action style and mop of blond hair. The fourth goal was scored by 19-year-old debutant Ademola Lookman, four minutes into injury time. And it summed up City's sloppy performance. John Stones — a former Everton player — tried to clear the ball for a throw-in only to see it ricochet off Everton defender Seamus Coleman to set up Lookman. Signed from Charlton this month and on as a late substitute for his debut, Lookman placed his shot through Bravo's legs. 'How we played in the second half was really perfect,' Koeman said. 'In my opinion, it is impossible to play at a higher level, in every aspect of football. It was a perfect afternoon.' ___ MANCHESTER UNITED 1, LIVERPOOL 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized late for United to bail out teammate Paul Pogba in a frantic, intense match at Old Trafford between the two most decorated teams in English soccer. On the day United rolled out advertising hoardings displaying Paul Pogba's new Twitter emoji, the player himself made a crucial mistake by conceding a penalty for handball while jumping with his back to the ball at a corner. James Milner converted the spot kick but Liverpool was denied a win after Ibrahimovic glanced a header in off the crossbar in the 84th minute, moments after substitute Marouane Fellaini headed against the post. Liverpool ended United's nine-game winning run in all competitions — six of which had come in the league — but dropped seven points behind first-placed Chelsea. Sixth-placed United was 12 points off the leader. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Stock Market: Volatile trading seen as markets focus on Trump

LOCAL STOCKS are headed for another week of volatile trading, as investors face increasing uncertainty from developments abroad, including the leadership change in the United States......»»

Category: financeSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Chelsea reveals cost of firing Mourinho, ending Adidas deal

span style="font-size: 13px;">LONDON (AP) — Chelsea says firing Jose Mourinho the second time cost about 8 million pounds, and 67 million pounds was paid for the early termination of the Premier League team's Adidas sponsorship. /span> Mourinho, who now manages Manchester United, was dismissed by Chelsea during his third season back in charge in December 2015. br /> Chelsea's newly-published accounts reveal 'termination payments and compensation' of 8.3 million pounds (then $13 million). br /> Mourinho previously managed Chelsea between 2004-07. Chelsea later said that it paid 23.1 million pounds to dismiss Mourinho and successor Avram Grant. br /> Most of Chelsea's 'exceptional costs' last year covered the 67 million pound (then $97 million) payment to Adidas to allow the club to sign a new sponsorship with Nike worth more than $1 billion. br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

United draws Wigan in FA Cup 4th round

LONDON (AP) — Defending champion Manchester United has drawn 2013 winner Wigan at Old Trafford in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Chelsea will face Championship side Brentford in a west London derby at Stamford Bridge, and Manchester City will go to Crystal Palace or Bolton. The winner of the replay between Liverpool and Plymouth will face Wolverhampton. Non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln will have home games if they win their third-round replays against Wimbledon and Ipswich respectively. First, Sutton must get past Wimbledon, while Lincoln faces Ipswich. If they are winners, Sutton will host Cambridge or Leeds, and Lincoln will welcome Brighton. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Jose Mourinho to face the 'new Mourinho' in League Cup

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> LONDON (AP) — Jose Mourinho is preparing to face the man who has been dubbed the 'new Jose Mourinho.' The Manchester United manager will lead his team against Hull on Tuesday in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals. Hull is coached by Marco Silva, a Portuguese manager who has drawn comparisons with Mourinho. 'I'm Marco Silva only,' said Silva, who has been called a 'kid friend' by Mourinho. 'He's a friend also,' Silva said. 'All Portuguese coaches are proud of him for what he did before and for me, what he continues to do in his career.' Hull has been struggling in the Premier League, sitting in last place with only 13 points, while United has won eight consecutive matches and next faces Liverpool in the league on Sunday. 'We play against Liverpool, a big match for us, but we want to be in the (League Cup) final,' Mourinho said. 'So we are going to face this Hull match with everything we have, all the power we have, as we know it's two legs but the second leg is away. If we can do something in the first leg that gives us the advantage, so we will try to do that.' Liverpool plays at Southampton on Wednesday in the other League Cup semifinal, only days after the team was held to a 0-0 draw by Plymouth in the FA Cup. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has since defended his decision of making 10 changes and fielding the club's youngest ever starting lineup against Plymouth. 'If you want to see it (the result) in a bad way then I am 100 percent responsible, I have no problem with that,' Klopp said. Besides the two legs of the League Cup and the match against United, Liverpool also has a replay at Plymouth and matches against Swansea and league leader Chelsea in January. ___ UNITED RECALL After resting a number of key players in Saturday's 4-0 FA Cup win over Reading, Mourinho said he will recall Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Tuesday. Defender Marcos Rojo is a doubt with a muscle injury, however, after coming off in the first half against Reading. United are unable to call on defender Eric Bailly, who is away at the African Cup of Nations. ___ ROONEY TO WAIT? With Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in the starting lineup, Wayne Rooney may have to wait for his chance to become Manchester United's all-time leading scorer after netting his 249th goal for the club against Reading, equaling Bobby Charlton's milestone. ___ FONTE DILEMMA Southampton, which lost all three of its Premier League games over the holiday period and was held to a 2-2 draw by Norwich in the FA Cup over the weekend, has been hit by a transfer request from captain Jose Fonte. The Portugal defender was left out against Norwich and it remains to be seen if manager Claude Puel will recall the 33-year-old Fonte. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Klopp's decision to field youngest ever side backfires

br /> JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   Juergen Klopp's decision to field Liverpool's youngest ever team backfired Sunday as the Premier League title contender was held 0-0 at home by fourth-tier Plymouth in the third round of the FA Cup. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino also made sweeping changes, and was made to sweat as his side left it late to beat second-tier Aston Villa 2-0. Chelsea had an easier time, sweeping aside third-tier Peterborough 4-1, with Spanish forward Pedro scoring twice. With games coming thick and fast during the festive season and a midweek trip to Southampton looming in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals, Klopp made 10 changes from the team that drew 2-2 with Sunderland on Monday. But instead of keeping players rested for other competitions, the Liverpool manager now faces an unwanted replay at Plymouth. 'It's my responsibility, the whole thing, the lineup and performance. We could have done better,' Klopp said. 'If you want to see it (the result) in a bad way then I am 100 percent responsible, I have no problem with that.' Liverpool is in second place in the Premier League and well positioned to challenge for the title. Plymouth is second, too, but in the far less glamorous League Two. Despite this it still seemed a risky move by Klopp to select a team with an average age of 21 years, 296 days. 'There is a long season still to go and we need to change,' Klopp said. 'If you make that many changes, it doesn't make it easier for the boys.' The 17-year-old Ben Woodburn — Liverpool's youngest-ever scorer — made his full debut alongside 19-year-olds Ovie Ejaria and Sheyi Ojo in a three-man attacking midfield supporting lone striker Divock Origi. Trent Alexander-Arnold made only his second Liverpool start. Attacking midfielder Adam Lallana, forward Roberto Firmino and England striker Daniel Sturridge were on the bench. Woodburn and Ojo went close early on as Liverpool dominated. But for all of its possession, Liverpool struggled to create further chances. 'We started well but then we lost patience too early,' Klopp said. Klopp brought on Sturridge shortly after the hour mark, and he went close almost immediately with a low shot past the right post. Sturridge then clipped another shot narrowly wide as Liverpool continued to push forward. But even with the introduction of Lallana and Firmino late on — and six minutes of injury time — the winner never came. There were no such frustrations at Stamford Bridge, with Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi and Brazil midfielder Willian getting the other goals. Defender Ben Davies put Tottenham ahead and South Korea forward Son Heung-min scored for Tottenham in the last 20 minutes, while Middlesbrough eased past second-tier Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. Also, 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon scored Fulham's winner in a 2-1 win at Cardiff — a match pitting teams from the second-tier Championship. Defending champion Manchester United crushed Championship side Reading 4-0 on Saturday, but Premier League Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke lost to lower-league opponents, while Arsenal needed a late winner against Preston to reach the fourth round. ___ CHELSEA 4, PETERBOROUGH 1 Striker Michy Batshuayi got a rare start and welcome goal for his club while Spanish forward Pedro made it three in three games. After Pedro put Chelsea ahead in the 18th minute, Batshuayi made it 2-0 shortly before halftime. Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek expertly cushioned a cross from the right into Batshuayi's path, and he drilled in a low shot into the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season. Since joining from French club Marseille for a reported fee of 33 million pounds (around $40 million), Batshuayi has struggled to get games and he had not scored since netting twice in the League Cup on Aug. 23. Pedro set up Willian's goal in the 53rd for 3-0 and — after John Terry was shown a straight red card for hauling back Lee Angol — forward Tom Nichols scored for the visitors. With 15 minutes left, Pedro's curling shot completed a comfortable win. ___ TOTTENHAM 2, ASTON VILLA 0 Defender Ben Davies' first goal for the club was a timely one after second-tier Aston Villa frustrated the home side. Mauricio Pochettino made nine changes from the Tottenham side that beat Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday and fans at White Hart Lane had to wait until Davies headed home in the 71st minute. South Korea forward Son Heung-min turned in a cross from France midfielder Moussa Sissoko with 10 minutes left. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 3, SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 0 Central midfielder Grant Leadbitter put the Premier League side ahead with a free kick in the 58th minute, and Spanish forward Alvaro Negredo showed his alertness to make it 2-0 shortly after. Negredo charged down goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith's attempted clearance, and the ball went off Negredo and into the net. Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon wrapped up the win against the Championship side in injury time. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Rooney equals record as United beats Reading 4-0 in FA Cup

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> LONDON (AP) — Wayne Rooney stands one goal away from becoming Manchester United's outright record goal-scorer after equaling club great Bobby Charlton's mark of 249 on Saturday. With the 79-year-old Charlton watching from the stands, Rooney guided in Juan Mata's cross after seven minutes as the defending FA Cup champion swept aside second-tier Reading 4-0 in the third round. English Premier League teams Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City all bowed out to lower-league opponents while Arsenal needed second-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud, the Frenchman netting late on, to wipe out Preston North End's halftime lead. Third-tier Millwall, Cup finalist in 2004, caused the biggest shock by thumping a much-changed Bournemouth 3-0, West Brom went down at home to Championship team Derby County 2-1, while Wolverhampton Wanderers, also from the second tier, ensured Stoke lost in the third round for the first time since 2009 by winning at Britannia Stadium 2-0. In all-Premier League matches, Ahmed Musa scored twice as Leicester fought back from a goal down to defeat Everton 2-1, while in the battle of the new managers, Marco Silva saw his Hull side get the better of Paul Clement's Swansea 2-0. Silva, appointed on Tuesday in place of the fired Mike Phelan, would have noted the large number of empty seats at Hull's KCOM Stadium with home fans staying away in protest against the club's owners. Non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln City earned replays but there was no fairytale for the lowest-ranked team in the competition Stourbridge as it went down at Wycombe 2-1. ___ MANCHESTER UNITED 4, READING 0 Rooney's latest milestone — he is the record scorer for England — came in front of Old Trafford fans who have adored him, on and off, since he joined as a teenage prodigy from Everton in 2004. 'It is a really proud moment for me,' Rooney said. 'It was not something I could have imagined. You don't think that far ahead, but I have been at this club a long time, it is a huge part of my life, and it is an honor to be up there alongside Sir Bobby.' United manager Jose Mourinho, who won the FA Cup when in charge of Chelsea in 2007, was effusive in his praise of Rooney. 'A more special day will arrive,' he said. 'It was great but I want one more goal. He is an amazing guy in the group and we all want him to do that. To have Wayne as the top scorer in a club like this is magnificent for him.' The game will be not be so fondly remembered by former United defender Jaap Stam, whose Reading side he coaches was outclassed. Rooney set up Anthony Martial for 2-0 not long after he scored the opener. United, winning for the eighth consecutive game in all competitions, added two more in quick succession after the break through Marcus Rashford, his second coming after a mistake from goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. PRESTON NORTH END 1, ARSENAL 2 Arsenal preserved manager Arsene Wenger's feat of never having lost a third-round match, but the Gunners did it the hard way. After their dramatic comeback from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Bournemouth in midweek, Arsenal started slow again as second-tier Preston fully deserved its halftime lead. But whatever words Wenger barked during the break, they had an immediate effect with Ramsey rifling in an equalizer 50 seconds after the restart. Arsenal, 11-times FA Cup winners, six of which have come under Wenger's long reign, dominated after that but had to wait until two minutes from time to seal victory through Giroud. EVERTON 1, LEICESTER 2 A turgid first half at Goodison Park was followed by an entertaining second as Leicester showed the mettle that made it English champion last season. It fell behind to Romelu Lukaku's goal on 53 minutes but Musa's equalizer was a rebound after he struck the post, and his second goal five minutes later was a fine finish after he played a one-two with Danny Drinkwater. WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1, DERBY COUNTY 2 Tom Ince, son of former England midfielder Paul Ince, struck a fine winner to upset top-flight West Brom. The hosts led through a Matt Phillips long-range strike but Derby hit back in the second half as Darren Bent levelled and Ince curled home a superb free kick. MILLWALL 3, BOURNEMOUTH 0 Bournemouth made 11 changes from its last game and suffered an embarrassing defeat against a side in ninth place in League One. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Radamel Falcao scores again as Monaco advances in French Cup

MONACO (AP) — Radamel Falcao scored his seventh goal in the past five games as Monaco beat second-division Ajaccio 2-1 to reach the fourth round of the French Cup on Friday. The Colombia striker made a sharp run to the near post to turn in an excellent cross from 18-year-old French winger Kylian Mbappe in the 19th minute. The 30-year-old Falcao has netted 16 times in all competitions this season, continuing his strong return to form following a career-threatening knee injury. It was while playing in the early rounds of the French Cup three years ago that Falcao sustained the injury, ruling him out of the 2014 World Cup. He is thriving now after two complicated seasons on loan in the English Premier League at Manchester United and Chelsea, where his scoring deserted him as he tried to recover the strength and mobility that once made him among the world's most feared strikers. Falcao, with a header, and Mbappe, with a curling shot, hit the crossbar within quick succession early in the second half. Ajaccio punished Monaco for those misses when veteran midfielder Johan Cavalli equalized from the penalty spot in the 65th. But the lead lasted little more than one minute as substitute striker Valere Germain headed in from a free kick. Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain is in action on Saturday when it hosts another Corsican side, Bastia. French League leader Nice, Marseille and Lyon all play on Sunday. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

Content Mourinho enjoys luxury of injury-free Man United

JUSTIN PALMER, Associated Press br /> Jose Mourinho gleefully proclaimed something predecessor Louis van Gaal was unable to do when he was the Manchester United manager. 'There are zero injuries,' Mourinho said on Friday. 'Zero injuries! We have 27 players and zero injuries.' Mourinho confirmed that skipper Wayne Rooney will start on Saturday in the FA Cup third-round match against Championship visitor Reading, which was managed by former United defender Jaap Stam. Rooney needs one goal to equal Bobby Charlton's record of 249 for United which has stood for more than 40 years. A fully fit squad midway through the season was a luxury Van Gaal only dreamed of during his Old Trafford tenure, which began in 2014 and ended when he was fired days after their FA Cup final triumph last May. Even in an era of large and expensive squads, such was the extent of United's injury crisis last season that Van Gaal was unable to call on 11 first-teamers at one point, and forced to blood youngsters and fringe players. For one Premier League game, against Bournemouth in December 2015, the Dutchman handed debuts to two full-backs while completing his patched-up defense with the inexperienced Paddy McNair and midfielder Daley Blind. By then, questions were already being asked about why United had so many injuries. Former assistant manager Mike Phelan, fired this week as manager of Hull City, claimed Van Gaal's fitness regime was to blame. In contrast, Mourinho appears to be steering a happy United ship, although they remain outside the top four in sixth place, despite six successive league wins. Reflecting on his first six months at the helm, Mourinho hailed his squad and the absence of the injuries that so blighted Van Gaal. 'During the season, we have never had big, big problems with that. We had the normal amount of injuries that happen all the time but, in this moment, we have zero. We have every player available apart from (Eric) Bailly, who is in the African Cup,' he said. 'I like my players very, very much. Not just the players, but the combinations between the players as people. They are very good guys and I love to work with them.' United began the season by winning the Community Shield and its first three league games. Then came just one victory in its next seven, including a humiliating 4-0 drubbing at Mourinho's former club, Chelsea, which was the team to catch in the race for the title. But since early November, United has been unbeaten in 13 consecutive games and on a roll. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

FA Cup fights for relevance as EPL gets wealthier

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Within minutes of lifting the FA Cup in May, Louis van Gaal discovered how little the competition factored into the decision on his Manchester United future. United's approach for Jose Mourinho to succeed Van Gaal emerged as the Dutch coach was facing the media at Wembley Stadium straight after beating Crystal Palace. Two days later, Van Gaal was booted out of United, paying the price for failing to secure Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four. It's clear what the priority is now for English Premier League owners like the Glazers. United and the other 19 Premier League teams enter the FA Cup in the third round this weekend, knowing success in soccer's oldest knockout competition has rarely counted less. What matters is making cash through the Premier League, which has eroded the FA Cup's long-standing cherished place in the English football calendar over the last two decades. Van Gaal is one of several managers to leave their jobs despite reaching an FA Cup final. Alan Pardew, his Palace counterpart in May, was fired in December due to the London club's lowly Premier League position. Going back to 2013, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was turned out of his job two days after losing the final to Wigan, which was relegated in the same season. Martinez did, however, secure a move to Everton after his triumph. Roberto Di Matteo, the 2012 cup winner, was at least given until November after his May triumph before being dumped by Chelsea. Perhaps the only manager the FA Cup has mattered to in recent years was Arsene Wenger, with successes in 2014 and 2015 easing some of the heat he has faced for Arsenal's failure to win the Premier League since 2004. Wenger's last cup final victory came against Aston Villa in May 2015. Given that Villa hadn't won a major trophy since the 1996 League Cup or won the FA Cup since 1957, reaching the final was a proud day for manager Tim Sherwood. Five months later, Sherwood was dismissed and he hasn't found another job. No current manager has more experience of the FA Cup and the debate about its luster than Wenger, who has spent 21 years at Arsenal. 'I have no special solution,' the Frenchman said. 'But as well when April comes and May comes and teams go to Wembley it's something special ... it's a big priority for us. 'We have shown historically that we care about that competition and it's a massive competition for everybody.' Just less so in January. 'After the congested Christmas period it's always a tricky game the third round, and that is why I believe (it's a) mental challenge as well for the Premier League teams to prepare well, not to have a bad surprise, and especially today when you go to a Championship team it's always difficult.' Arsenal travels on Saturday to Preston, which is 11th in the 24-team second-tier League Championship. Preston North End's heyday was in the 19th century, winning the top tier twice and the FA Cup once. The northern English club's last major honor was lifting the FA Cup in 1938. Here is a look at the pick of the third-round fixtures involving Premier League teams against lower-league sides. ___ MAN UNITED-READING United's cup defense begins with a reunion as former defender Jaap Stam returns to Old Trafford. The Dutchman won the cup in United's 1998-99 treble-winning season along with the Premier League and Champions League. 'I'm not going to make a big thing of it because I'm not going to be waving,' Stam said. That's because the next time he returns to United he hopes it is because Reading, currently third in the Championship, is back in the Premier League. TOTTENHAM-ASTON VILLA Steve Bruce, whose Hull side lost the 2014 final to Arsenal, is midway through his first season at Aston Villa. There's little doubt his main task is returning the team to the Premier League but it is a place below Preston in 12th place and seven points from the playoff spots. Tottenham is likely to use the cup on Sunday as a chance to rest the key players behind the five-match league winning run, crowned by the victory over Chelsea on Wednesday that lifted Mauricio Pochettino's side to third. LIVERPOOL-PLYMOUTH It's second in the Premier League versus second in the fourth tier at Anfield on Sunday. And it's Juergen Klopp's first taste of the FA Cup, but the Liverpool manager is likely to use the game to test the depth of his squad and give game time to youngsters. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

Liverpool's pursuit of Chelsea frustrated; Man City and United win

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's pursuit of English Premier League leader Chelsea stalled on Monday as Juergen Klopp's four-match winning run ended at Sunderland. Liverpool's 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side gives Chelsea the platform to open up an eight-point lead by beating Tottenham on Wednesday. Twice Liverpool led in northeast England — through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane — but on both occasions Jermain Defoe scored penalties to draw Sunderland level. Mane's hand-ball was responsible for conceding the second spotkick. 'I must be honest, it doesn't feel good and it's not because of the point, it's because two penalties in a game,' Klopp said. 'Usually what you have to do to get a penalty, to get two, that was harsh, very hard to accept. 'But obviously I have to accept it, so I will do it.' ___ MAN CITY 2, BURNLEY 1 A victory for City but Pep Guardiola was still tetchy after the game, even suggesting he might not have long left in management. Halfway through his first season at City, the 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said: 'It might be one of my last teams.' English football is proving far tougher for Guardiola than Spanish or German. After losing at Liverpool on Saturday, City started badly against Burnley when captain Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a two-footed lunge on Johann Gudmundsson. City held off Burnley with 10 men and seized the lead in the second half through Gael Clichy. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second, ensuring Ben Mee's goal for Burnley would only be a consolation. City regained third place ahead of Arsenal, which is at Bournemouth on Tuesday, and Tottenham. ___ WEST HAM 0, MAN UNITED 2 United reeled off a sixth successive league victory in a match that turned on Sofiane Feghouli being harshly sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones in the 15th minute. Even with a man advantage, United took until the 63rd to score when substitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata combined. Mata turned Rashford's pullback past goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 17th goal in his first season with United. ___ EVERTON 3, SOUTHAMPTON 0 Everton scored three times in the last 17 minutes to ensure manager Ronald Koeman emerged victorious against the club he left in the offseason. Enner Valencia was the game-changer, coming off the bench to score the opener in the 73rd minute and then winning the penalty that Leighton Baines converted. Romelu Lukaku contributed the third as 10th-place Southampton lost a third match inside a week. Everton is seventh. ___ WEST BROM 3, HULL 1 Hull is now without a win in nine games and three points from safety after throwing away the lead at West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass' opener was canceled out by Chris Brunt before Gareth McAuley and James Morrison put the hosts in front. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 0, LEICESTER 0 With Islam Slimani and Danny Drinkwater out injured and Jamie Vardy suspended, Leicester was satisfied with a point and a second successive clean sheet. It's all about avoiding a relegation dogfight for struggling champion Leicester, which is six points from danger. 'Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed,' Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Liverpool's pursuit of Chelsea frustrated; Man City and United win

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's pursuit of English Premier League leader Chelsea stalled on Monday as Juergen Klopp's four-match winning run ended at Sunderland. Liverpool's 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side gives Chelsea the platform to open up an eight-point lead by beating Tottenham on Wednesday. Twice Liverpool led in northeast England — through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane — but on both occasions Jermain Defoe scored penalties to draw Sunderland level. Mane's hand-ball was responsible for conceding the second spotkick. 'I must be honest, it doesn't feel good and it's not because of the point, it's because two penalties in a game,' Klopp said. 'Usually what you have to do to get a penalty, to get two, that was harsh, very hard to accept. 'But obviously I have to accept it, so I will do it.' ___ MAN CITY 2, BURNLEY 1 A victory for City but Pep Guardiola was still tetchy after the game, even suggesting he might not have long left in management. Halfway through his first season at City, the 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said: 'It might be one of my last teams.' English football is proving far tougher for Guardiola than Spanish or German. After losing at Liverpool on Saturday, City started badly against Burnley when captain Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a two-footed lunge on Johann Gudmundsson. City held off Burnley with 10 men and seized the lead in the second half through Gael Clichy. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second, ensuring Ben Mee's goal for Burnley would only be a consolation. City regained third place ahead of Arsenal, which is at Bournemouth on Tuesday, and Tottenham. ___ WEST HAM 0, MAN UNITED 2 United reeled off a sixth successive league victory in a match that turned on Sofiane Feghouli being harshly sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones in the 15th minute. Even with a man advantage, United took until the 63rd to score when substitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata combined. Mata turned Rashford's pullback past goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 17th goal in his first season with United. ___ EVERTON 3, SOUTHAMPTON 0 Everton scored three times in the last 17 minutes to ensure manager Ronald Koeman emerged victorious against the club he left in the offseason. Enner Valencia was the game-changer, coming off the bench to score the opener in the 73rd minute and then winning the penalty that Leighton Baines converted. Romelu Lukaku contributed the third as 10th-place Southampton lost a third match inside a week. Everton is seventh. ___ WEST BROM 3, HULL 1 Hull is now without a win in nine games and three points from safety after throwing away the lead at West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass' opener was canceled out by Chris Brunt before Gareth McAuley and James Morrison put the hosts in front. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 0, LEICESTER 0 With Islam Slimani and Danny Drinkwater out injured and Jamie Vardy suspended, Leicester was satisfied with a point and a second successive clean sheet. It's all about avoiding a relegation dogfight for struggling champion Leicester, which is six points from danger. 'Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed,' Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Goal transformed into art: Wenger lauds Giroud's 'scorpion'

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — With Alexis Sanchez's cross floating into the penalty area behind him, Olivier Giroud only had one choice: A back-heeled overhead flick. 'I was a bit lucky but it was the only thing I could do,' Giroud said. 'The ball was behind me and I tried to hit it with a back heel.' The ball hit the underside of the crossbar, came down and went over the line to produce one of the most exceptional goals witnessed by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. 'That could be remembered as the 'Giroud goal' that nobody forgets,' Wenger said after Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the English Premier League. 'Olivier transformed that goal into art,' Wenger added. 'Art because of the surprise, because the beauty of the movement and because the efficiency of the movement — the ball went in.' Giroud's previous touch before the 'scorpion strike' was also a back-heeled flick — the fourth touch in a flowing move launched by Arsenal inside its own half. Giroud squared to Granit Xhaka, who released Alex Iwobi to continue the advance before threading the ball through to Sanchez. Giroud then completed the counterattack in an exquisite manner in the 18th minute. 'It was an exceptional goal because it was at the end of a fantastic collective movement which our game is about,' Wenger said. 'After that it was a reflex. Any goal scorer is ready to take any part of his body to score a goal.' And when such a goal is executed so perfectly, it can light up a stadium — even on a rainy, freezing day. '(Giroud) brings the unexpected and we all come to football to get the unexpected,' Wenger said. Inevitably it overshadowed Iwobi's 56th-minute header which enabled the hosts to relax against a Palace side one place above the relegation zone. The victory took Arsenal above Manchester City into third place, nine points behind leader Chelsea. Tottenham also took advantage of City losing at Liverpool on Saturday by beating Watford to go into the fourth Champions League place. ___ WATFORD 1, TOTTENHAM 4 Harry Kane and Dele Alli both scored twice as Tottenham won a fourth consecutive match ahead of Wednesday's game against Chelsea. 'Chelsea arrive in very good shape - us too after the last few games,' Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said. 'It will be a very tough game and a great opportunity for us to try to stop them and try to reduce the gap. 'It's important, I think it's important for us and for the Premier League to try to win and try to stop them and reduce the gap.' Kane has now scored 59 goals in 100 league games, while Alli has 18 from 51 games. Younes Kaboul scored the stoppage-time consolation for Watford. ___ MONDAY'S GAMES In the packed festive program, 12 teams who played on Friday or Saturday are back in action on Monday. Liverpool can trim Chelsea's lead with a victory at relegation-threatened Sunderland, Manchester City hosts Burnley, Manchester United is at West Ham, Everton takes on Southampton, struggling champion Leicester plays at Middlesbrough and Hull faces West Bromwich Albion. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

Chelsea gets 13th straight win, Liverpool maintains pursuit

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Chelsea fought off a dogged Stoke for a record-equaling 13th successive Premier League win as Liverpool maintained its pursuit of the leaders with a victory over Manchester City. Thanks to Saturday's 4-2 win, Chelsea will enter the second half of the season holding a six-point advantage over Liverpool in Antonio Conte's first season in charge of the London club. Juergen Klopp is also satisfied with Liverpool's progress as he looks to deliver the club's first title since 1990 by chasing down Chelsea over the next 19 games. 'Can you imagine how annoying it is when you have won 13 games in a row and another team is only six points behind,' Klopp said after Liverpool's 1-0 win over City. 'It is unbelievably difficult this league.' It was Pep Guardiola with little to celebrate on New Year's Eve as City slipped 10 points behind leader Chelsea. ___ CHELSEA 4, STOKE 2 Chelsea has emulated Arsenal's 2002 side by reeling off 13 wins in a row in the same season and it's thanks to Willian's double. Goals from Gary Cahill and Willian were canceled out by Stoke duo Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch. When Willian put Chelsea in front for a third time in the 65th minute, Stoke could find no way back this time and Diego Costa added a fourth. 'When you win a lot there is a great danger to be satisfied, to be relaxed, to think, 'OK, but we won a lot in the past, now if arrive the draw, if we don't lose, if we don't win it's not important,'' Conte said. 'No. My players showed me great will, great will to fight, great will to win, great will to take this great achievement for us. I'm pleased for them and they deserved this. I'm their coach, but they deserved this.' ___ LIVERPOOL 1, MAN CITY 0 Georginio Wijnaldum's eighth-minute header secured Liverpool's fourth successive league win. Wijnaldum will take the plaudits for providing his second goal of the season, but Adam Lallana's contribution underscored how the midfielder is an essential ingredient in the title bid. It was Lallana's seventh assist of the season — he has also scored seven — that set up Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder climbed above City defender Aleksandar Kolarov to meet Lallana's well-placed cross from the left flank before planting a header beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. 'It was kind of a wild game,' Klopp said. 'It was intense. It's not about having a philosophy, it's about adapting to the quality of the opponent and in this case we needed to defend from a compact formation.' ___ MAN UNITED 2, MIDDDLESBROUGH 1 Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scored late goals in the 85th and 86th minutes to rescue a fifth successive win for Jose Mourinho's United. Grant Leadbitter had given Middlesbrough the lead but United gave the watching former manager Alex Ferguson the perfect 75th birthday gift. 'If the fans remember this not just for Sir Alex's birthday but for the kind of performance we had, I think it's a great tribute,' Mourinho said. United's in-house television channel received a shock after the game when nine-time Olympic Usain Bolt called in with his analysis. ___ LEICESTER 1, WEST HAM 0 Leicester moved six points clear of the relegation zone on Saturday after the struggling champions ended a three-game winless streak courtesy of Islam Slimani's header. Leicester moved up one spot to 15th. ___ SWANSEA 0, BOURNEMOUTH 3 Swansea's miserable form continued in the first game following Bob Bradley's firing. Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser scored first-half goals and substitute Josh King completed a comfortable win for Bournemouth in the 88th minute. ___ SOUTHAMPTON 1, WEST BROM 2 In the final five minutes of the first half, Shane Long put Southampton ahead and Matt Phillips equalized. But Hal Robson-Kanu struck a second-half winner for West Bromwich Albion before Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 88th for bringing down striker Salomon Rondon. ___ BURNLEY 4, SUNDERLAND 1 Burnley moved closer to mid-table safety powered by Andre Gray's hat trick against relegation-threatened Sunderland. ___ SUNDAY'S GAMES Fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham are both in action on New Year's Day. Tottenham is at Watford before Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

PHL's China &'145;pivot' seen to add fuel to growth

THE DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION’s friendlier stance towards China is expected to help boost growth prospects for 2017 amid global uncertainty, an analyst at Credit Suisse said, adding that a Trump presidency in the United States is unlikely to halt inve.....»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsNov 20th, 2016

Liverpool goes top of EPL, United ends 4-match winless run

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — There's an upside to missing out on the Champions League for Liverpool and Chelsea. They have surged into the Premier League's top two places while England's participants in Europ.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2016