Ancelotti sacked by Bayern Munich

Italian football coach Carlo Ancelotti arrives at the training grounds of German first division Bundesliga football club FC Bayern Munich in Munich, southern Germany on September 28, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 28 September 2017
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Ancelotti sacked by Bayern Munich

BERLIN: Bayern Munich have sacked coach Carlo Ancelotti in the wake of their Champions League defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, the club announced on Thursday.
“Following an internal analysis in Munich on Thursday 28 September 2017... the club is to part company with head coach Carlo Ancelotti with immediate effect,” Bayern said in a statement on their website.
Former player Willy Sagnol, the ex-France international who had been serving as an assistant to Ancelotti, has been named interim coach.
Pressure had already been building on Ancelotti with Bayern enduring an inconsistent start to the season before losing 3-0 to PSG in the French capital on Wednesday.
After that game the Italian was questioned by German media about his tactics and team selection, following his decision to leave Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Mats Hummels on the bench at kick-off.
“The performance of our team since the start of the season did not meet the expectations we put to them,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“The game in Paris clearly showed that we had to draw consequences. (Sporting director) Hasan Salihamidzic and I had an open and serious discussion with Carlo today and informed him of our decision.
“Carlo is my friend and will remain so, but we had to make a professional decision in the interests of FC Bayern. I now expect the team to have a positive development and top performance, so we can reach our goals for this season.”
Bayern are currently third in the Bundesliga table after six games, three points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, before visiting Hertha Berlin on Sunday.
They have not been so far off the pace at the top of the Bundesliga so early in a season since 2010/11, when Dortmund went on to win the title and Bayern finished third.
Ancelotti, 58, led Bayern to a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title last season in his first campaign in charge after succeeding Pep Guardiola at the Allianz Arena.
However, the Bavarians lost to Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and to Dortmund in the semifinals of the German Cup.
Ancelotti has also coached Parma, Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid.
Among the potential replacements being mentioned is Thomas Tuchel, currently a free agent after leaving Dortmund at the end of last season.


India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

Updated 18 September 2018
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India and Pakistan ready to renew rivalry in Dubai showdown

  • India brace for Pakistan after surviving stern test against minnows Hong Kong
  • Usman Shinwari: Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high

DUBAI: As delirium sweeps the UAE ahead of the mouth-watering encounter between arch rivals India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup, it seems one man — at least outwardly — is not as excited as the rest of the country and cricketing fans the world over.
India captain Rohit Sharma played with a straight bat when asked about the biggest clash in world cricket, set to take place today at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. On his first Asia Cup media outing the 31-year-old seemed unconcerned by the impending showdown with their fiercest opponents, his focus instead on facing Hong Kong, who Sharma and Co. had a big scare against on Tuesday.
“Right now, we are not focusing on Pakistan as (first) we are playing Hong Kong,” Sharma said on Sunday. “Obviously we have to focus on that particular team but once we have finished that game we will focus on Pakistan and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
These are clearly the words of a man so media trained that by now he could easily be on the other side of the desk, asking the same questions he and his colleagues sometimes enjoy batting back with crafted clichés that speak of focusing on “one game at a time” or the like.
Sharma was clearly right to not take his eyes off the ball with Hong Kong — they are not here to merely make up the numbers, as their brilliant, battling performance on Tuesday illustrated. But at the same time, Sharma will be all too aware that as India skipper the one match you do not want to lead your side to defeat in is the one against Pakistan, regardless of competition and location.
Clearly India are not leaving Pakistan preparations to the 14 hours or so (sleep included) between the close of the Hong Kong clash and the toss prior to resuming Indo-Pak cricketing rivalry. To suggest they are would be naive at best.
A year on from Pakistan’s show-stealing Champions Trophy final victory over the old enemy in June last year, and a whole five years since the two sides met outside of an ICC or ACC event due to strained political relations, the appetite for the first of potentially three matches at this year’s Asia Cup is huge and one borne out of starved hunger.
Pakistan’s Usman Shinwari, fresh off defeating Hong Kong on Sunday, was more candid than Sharma.
“Any player who performs well in an India-Pakistan match will find his career reaches a new high, and every player dreams of doing well in this contest,” the fast bowler said. “I took three wickets (against Hong Kong), I hope that can be five wickets against India.”
Shinwari’s sentiments were echoed by his captain, Sarfraz Ahmed, who is absolutely clear on the levels of expectation that this fixture demands from fans on both sides of the border.
“The passion is always there,” said Sarfraz. “When you play against India everyone wants us to win as it’s against India.
“The fans say that whatever happens you have to win but as a captain I have to win against every team. It would be the same for India whose fans want them to win. It has happened in the past that any player who performs in the Indo-Pak match becomes a national hero.”
UAE cricket fans cannot wait for the clash. It took just a few hours for the first batch of tickets to be snapped up, the second bought in equally ravenous fashion. It has left a huge number of tickets now being touted across online marketplaces, social media platforms and, ultimately, will likely see the inflated resales being pawned outside the stadium on matchday too.
An expected 25,000 fans will swell the Ring of Fire, set to deal not only with cricket’s most fierce rivalry but also with all the unpredictability that will be thrown their way.
The famed traffic jams around Hessa Street, leading up to the stadium, and local entrances of Dubai Sports City will heave and efforts have been made to ease the burden of vehicles that will cart both sets of fans in and out of the area. Gates will open from 12p.m. local time, a whole three and a half hours before the first ball has been bowled. In an emirate where the last-minute rush is a daily fact of life, this will be not be an easy thing to execute but that, alongside the immense presence of volunteers and security, should prove welcome additions to the day’s running order.
This, though, is India vs Pakistan. Anything could happen.