Maurizio Sarri praises back-up players as Chelsea labor to win over Fulham

England international Loftus-Cheek finished a lovely move by driving into the net from the right-hand side of the penalty area in the 82nd minute to seal the win for the Blues. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2018
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Maurizio Sarri praises back-up players as Chelsea labor to win over Fulham

Chelsea got back on track after their first Premier League defeat of the season last weekend with a 2-0 win over local rivals Fulham on Sunday, with goals from Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek putting the gloss on a mixed performance.
Chelsea dominated possession at Stamford Bridge and scored early through Spanish forward Pedro but struggled to find their rhythm and looked shaky until substitute Loftus-Cheek settled their nerves with a late second.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri enjoyed a dream start to his tenure in England but a chastening 3-1 defeat to Tottenham last week stung him badly, prompting a series of post-mortems with individual players.
“We can’t do much about the game against Tottenham — we played very badly and lost the game. Today was difficult, we started well and we had a good level of application,” Sarri said.
“We created some opportunities for 2-0 but missed them — we were in control of the match and I was afraid only because I saw that the team were a bit tense. The last 15 minutes could have been a problem but then we scored.
“Ruben Loftus-Cheek played very well in the Europa League and I am very happy with him. Today Mateo Kovacic had a knock to his ankle so he came on, it is not a problem to play with him. He is improving and he will be very important for us in the future.”
The home side welcomed former manager Claudio Ranieri back to Stamford Bridge in the Fulham dugout, but his side were quickly on the back foot inside four minutes.
N’Golo Kante — publicly criticized by his manager for his positioning in the match against Spurs — was instrumental in the opening goal, dispossessing Jean Michael Seri in the middle of the pitch and feeding the ball to Pedro on the right side of the penalty box.
The winger stepped inside onto his left foot and fired the ball into the far corner.
Pedro’s strike was Chelsea’s 1,000th Premier League goal — they are the third club to reach the landmark after Manchester United and Arsenal.
Fulham started the match rooted to the foot of the table but lifted by last week’s victory in Ranieri’s first match as boss, which followed six straight Premier League defeats.
And Ranieri, who managed Chelsea between 2000 and 2004, believed his team deserved a draw.
“We wanted to play football but we made mistakes and against big champions you pay everything for that,” Ranieri told BBC Sport.
“In the second half we changed system and maybe we deserved to draw the match. I am satisfied with how my players made decisions with the ball. We played together strongly and created good chances.
“We played so-so in the first half, we made a mistake for the first goal but we were much better in the second. We made chances but when you play big champions they can do that. It was a positive match for us, we are improving.
“It will be very emotional for me to play Leicester on Wednesday, but it is very important for us. I am positive.”
Late on, Pedro, who had missed a glorious chance, was spared embarrassment when England international Loftus-Cheek finished a lovely move by driving into the net from the right-hand side of the penalty area in the 82nd minute to seal the win for the Blues.


Egypt footballer Amr Warda banned over sexual harassment claims

Updated 26 June 2019
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Egypt footballer Amr Warda banned over sexual harassment claims

  • Sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms
  • In 2017 a Portuguese club terminated Warda’s contract over claims he sexually harassed the wives of his team-mates

CAIRO: Egypt’s football federation on Wednesday banned midfielder Amr Warda from playing in any further matches at the African Cup of Nations over mounting sexual harassment allegations.
“Amr Warda is banned from the national squad after discussions with the team’s technical and administrative bodies. This is to maintain the discipline and focus of the team,” said the federation in a statement posted on its website.
The sexual harassment claims surfaced earlier this week on social media platforms. Multiple women posted screenshots and testimonies of Warda’s alleged lewd comments.
The Wednesday decision comes hours after another viral clip posted on Twitter by a social media user showed him apparently exposing himself to her. AFP cannot verify the authenticity of the brief video.
“He’s definitely out. We have a match to focus on tonight,” Ihab Leheita, the Egyptian national team’s manager, told AFP, without giving further details.
In 2017, Portuguese football club CD Feriense terminated Warda’s contract over claims that he sexually harassed the wives of two of his team-mates. His tenure lasted only three days and he was transferred to his current Greek club Atromitos.
Egypt are hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations for the fifth time and play DR Congo later Wednesday in their bid to advance from the group stages.
The hosts beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their opening match, during which Warda took to the field.