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Liverpool back to winning ways and Premier League summit with victory over Bournemouth

MADRID: Real Madrid are making it clear they are still in the fight for the Spanish league title.With a convincing victory in the Madrid derby on Saturday, Real Madrid climbed up to second place in the Spanish league for the first time since September and moved within five points of leaders Barcelona, who have a…

Liverpool back to winning ways and Premier League summit with victory over Bournemouth

MADRID: Real Madrid are making it clear they are still in the fight for the Spanish league title.With a convincing victory in the Madrid derby on Saturday, Real Madrid climbed up to second place in the Spanish league for the first time since September and moved within five points of leaders Barcelona, who have a difficult away match against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.“We reached our goal, which was to regain second place and move closer to the lead,” Madrid captain Sergio Ramos said. “The league isn’t over yet. There are many points still up for grabs. We will keep fighting until the end and we will keep trying to make things difficult for Barcelona.”In a derby marked by video review, Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 3-1 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium with an overhead kick by Casemiro, a penalty kick converted by Ramos, and a second-half goal by Gareth Bale.“You need to play a complete match to win here, and we did that,” manager Santiago Solari said.Antoine Griezmann scored for Atletico, which lost at home for the first time this season. Diego Simeone’s team stayed six points off the lead.Griezmann’s goal was initially disallowed for offside but the VAR reversed the call. Video review also had to be used to confirm the penalty that led to Ramos’ goal just before halftime, and to verify another offside call that disallowed a second-half equalizer by former Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata. It was also used when Morata wanted a penalty call — not awarded — later in the game.Atletico, coming off their first league loss since the third round, played a man down from the 80th minute after midfielder Thomas Partey was sent off for a second yellow card.The city rivals drew their last four league matchups, and Real Madrid’s last win against Atletico was nearly two years ago in the Champions League semifinals.Saturday’s match was even when Casemiro opened the scoring with his an overhead kick after Atletico’s defense could not fully clear a corner kick.Griezmann equalized less than 10 minutes later by sending a shot underneath goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in a one-on-one situation created after Real Madrid forward Vinicius Juniors lost the ball in attack. It took a while for the video review to reverse the offside call that initially disallowed the goal, keeping a record crowd of more than 67,752 at the Metropolitano from being able to celebrate.The VAR then helped Real Madrid by confirming a penalty decision after Vinicius Junior made a great run down the left side and was brought down from behind by Jose Maria Gimenez just inside the area. Ramos converted the 42nd-minute penalty.Atletico thought they had equalized again early in the second half after Morata — playing against his former club for the first time since joining Atletico — scored with a shot over Courtois, but he was immediately ruled offside.Madrid sealed their fifth league win in a row with Bale’s low shot after a pass by Luka Modric in the 74th. Bale, who replaced Vinicius Junior earlier in the second half, appeared to provoke the Atletico crowd during his celebration near one of the sidelines.Courtois, who used to play for Atletico, was loudly jeered from the start. Atletico fans threw stuffed rats toward the goalkeeper from behind one of the goals.

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Chelsea moves into top 4 after draw with Burnley

JEDDAH: Saudi sides Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad returned to action on Monday for Matchday Four of group stage play in the AFC Champions League 2019. Ahli defeated Persepolis FC of Iran 2-1 in a Group D match thanks to  Omar Al-Somah who struck twice on minutes 30 and 84 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai. The…

Chelsea moves into top 4 after draw with Burnley

JEDDAH: Saudi sides Al-Ahli and Al-Ittihad returned to action on Monday for Matchday Four of group stage play in the AFC Champions League 2019.

Ahli defeated Persepolis FC of Iran 2-1 in a Group D match thanks to  Omar Al-Somah who struck twice on minutes 30 and 84 at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.

The Iranians avoided a shutout when Shoja Khalilzadeh scored in the third minute of injury time.

The victory avenged a 2-0 defeat on Matchday Three against Persepolis and gave the Jeddah-based Ahli 6 points in the group with Persopolis on 4 points.

Ittihad, another Jeddah-based club playing away to PFC Lokomotiv in Tashkent, Uzbekhistan, settled for a 1-1 draw  in the Group B match.

Ittihad won their last match against 10-man Lokomotiv on Matchday Three behind a penalty goal in injury time by Fahad Al-Muwallad.

On Monday, winger Al-Muwallad was again in good form, his 10th minute corner kick finding Brazilian forward Romario Ricardo da Silva who  converted for the match icebreaker.

Temurkhodzha Abdulklholiqov tallied the equalizer for the hosts eight minutes before the halftime break. Lokomotiv team captain Islom Tukhtakhodjaev was shown the red card in the 75th minute. The result had Ittihad on seven points in Group B from four matches and Lokomotiv on four points. 

 

 

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Ahli triumph, Ittihad draw in AFC Champions League

ROME :The breakthrough under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Then the coronation at Real Madrid. And now another title at Juventus. If ever there was a need to emphasize Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact as a footballer, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner did it again this weekend by helping Juventus to the Serie A title in his…

Ahli triumph, Ittihad draw in AFC Champions League

ROME :The breakthrough under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. Then the coronation at Real Madrid. And now another title at Juventus.

If ever there was a need to emphasize Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact as a footballer, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner did it again this weekend by helping Juventus to the Serie A title in his first season in Italy.

In doing so, the 34-year-old Ronaldo became the first player in history to win league titles in the English Premier League (with United), the Spanish league (Madrid) and Serie A (Juventus).

“I’m very happy to have won in England, Spain and now the league title in Italy as well,” Ronaldo said. “It meant a lot to me and it means a lot to us as a team.”

Other players have won titles in three of the five major European leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France) but nobody had previously put together the combination of England, Spain and Italy.

David Beckham played in four of the top leagues but only won titles at United (six), Madrid (one) and Paris Saint-Germain (one), having failed to lift the Serie A trophy during his two loan spells at AC Milan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic won four Serie A titles (three with Inter Milan and one with AC Milan), the Spanish league with Barcelona and four French championships with PSG.

Brazil fullback Maxwell was on many of those same teams as Ibrahimovic and also won in Italy, Spain and France.

Then there was Arjen Robben, who won the Premier League twice with Chelsea before adding a Spanish title at Real Madrid and seven Bundesliga trophies at Bayern Munich.

Another Dutchman who achieved the feat was Mark van Bommel, with titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich (two) and AC Milan.

While Juventus also won the league in the seven seasons before Ronaldo’s arrival, there was no doubting his impact in Turin. With 19 goals and six assists in 27 Italian league matches this season, Ronaldo played a part in nearly 40 percent of Juventus’ goals.

So it came as no surprise when his dangerous cross from a sharp angle was redirected in by a defender as an own-goal for the winner in Juve’s 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Saturday — giving the Bianconeri more than the single point they needed to secure a record-extending eighth straight title with five rounds remaining.

It’s the sixth league title of Ronaldo’s career.

The first came as a 22-year-old at United, ending a four-year drought for Ferguson’s squad as Ronaldo scored 17 goals — three fewer than Didier Drogba’s league-best 20.

That was just a warmup for what came next.

In 2007-08, Ronaldo led the Premier League with 31 goals and helped United to the league title and the Champions League trophy.

Another Premier League title came the following season as Ronaldo finished second in the scoring charts with 18 goals, behind only Nicolas Anelka, who had 19 for Chelsea.

While Ronaldo won only two Spanish league championships in his nine seasons at Madrid, he also helped the team to four Champions League trophies — including three consecutive European titles over the last three seasons.

When Juventus acquired Ronaldo in a €100 million ($112 million) transfer last year, the expectation was that he would help end the club’s long chase for a Champions League trophy.

Ronaldo did his part by scoring a hat trick to overturn a first-leg deficit against Atletico Madrid in the opening knockout round and goals in both legs of the quarterfinals against Ajax but the Bianconeri were still eliminated by the Dutch club.

“Next year is a new page, the fans all want it and so do we,” Ronaldo said. “It is an important trophy, but it’s difficult to (win).”

A Champions League title with Juventus would enable Ronaldo to match another multiple nation and multiple team record — joining Clarence Seedorf as the only players to win the trophy with three different clubs.

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Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Four-star Everton pile on the agony for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer LIVERPOOL: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems since taking over as permanent Manchester United manager intensified with a humiliating 4-0 loss away to Everton on Sunday.Defeat at Goodison Park — United’s sixth in eight games — also dealt a huge blow to the Red…

Embiid returns to help 76ers beat Nets for 3-1 lead

Four-star Everton pile on the agony for Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

LIVERPOOL: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s problems since taking over as permanent Manchester United manager intensified with a humiliating 4-0 loss away to Everton on Sunday.Defeat at Goodison Park — United’s sixth in eight games — also dealt a huge blow to the Red Devils’ hopes of playing in the Champions League next season.Goals from Richarlison, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott inflicted the largest defeat on United since they lost by the same scoreline at Chelsea three years ago.But, after starting his reign with eight consecutive victories, the best start ever made by a manager at the club, former United striker Solskjaer is now collecting some other, very unwanted, statistics.This latest loss means United have now leaked 48 league goals, the most they’ve conceded in a season, since letting in 63 back in the 42-game 1978/79 campaign.Sunday’s loss also means United have conceded in 12 consecutive games for the first time since December 1998 while, under Solskjaer, the Reds have lost five consecutive away games for the first time in 38 years.United looked second best even before the hosts scored twice inside the opening half-hour, conceding a succession of corners from which Everton threatened.It was another type of set-piece, a long throw-in by Digne, from which Everton took the lead after 12 minutes when the full-back launched the ball deep into the United area.Dominic Calvert-Lewin helped the ball on with the flick of his head and Richarlison sent a spectacular scissor-kick finish flying past David de Gea.After a humbling 3-0 Champions League exit at Barcelona in midweek, it was not the start Solskjaer had been looking for. Everton soon made the situation worse for the visitors.After 27 minutes, Everton cleared a United corner and immediately broke on the counter-attack, with winger Bernard playing a delightful ball inside to Idrissa Gueye.He, in turn, released Sigurdsson who, with Nemanja Matic backing off, unleashed a magnificent 25-yard shot which bounced just in front of the diving de Gea on its way into the bottom corner.Richarlison might have given Everton the lead even earlier. His 10th minute shot drew an amazing reaction save from de Gea. From the rebound the Brazilian hurried his follow-up effort wide.With the recalled Romelu Lukaku booed every time he touched the ball by his former fans at Everton, United had little response to an impressive effort from the home side.In between the goals, United star Paul Pogba’s long diagonal pass freed Marcus Rashford who could only poke his effort over from a tight angle.Everton effectively killed the game in the 56th minute. De Gea punched clear a Sigurdsson corner to the unmarked Digne who sent a superb, first-time volley flying back past the United keeper from 20 yards.Three minutes later, and from the same left wing, another Sigurdsson corner almost crept in at de Gea’s near post before the Spaniard stuck out a boot to clear off his line.Even though Richarlison had limped off through injury, the agony was not over for United with the Brazilian’s replacement Walcott continuing the rout in the 64th minute.Sigurdsson again carved out the opening with a brilliantly-timed through ball which allowed the former England international the space to sprint into the area and beat the advancing de Gea.Not until the 86th minute, and a comfortably saved Anthony Martial strike, did United have a shot on target.Meanwhile Everton, who had not beaten a ‘big six’ rival in 25 attempts before last month, have now won consecutive home matches against Chelsea, Arsenal and United while keeping three clean sheets in the process.

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