Man City owner wants to invest in Malaysian club

Malaysia’s Sports Minister Syed Saddiq and Manchester City’s Spanish CEO Ferran Soriano in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 24 May 2019
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Man City owner wants to invest in Malaysian club

  • CFG already owns or has stakes in New York City, Melbourne City, Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos, Atletico Torque, Girona and Sichuan Jiuniu, as well as star side Manchester City
  • City are flying high after winning the FA Cup last week, completing a domestic treble with the English league title and the League Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: The owners of Premier League champions Manchester City are eyeing a stake in a Malaysian team to add to their growing portfolio of clubs, a sports official said Friday.

Ferran Soriano — CEO of City Football Group (CFG), which is bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour of the Abu Dhabi royal family — raised the possibility when he met Sports Minister Syed Saddiq in Malaysia on Thursday.

CFG already owns or has stakes in New York City, Melbourne City, Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos, Atletico Torque, Girona and Sichuan Jiuniu, as well as star side Manchester City.

City are flying high after winning the FA Cup last week, completing a domestic treble with the English league title and the League Cup.

“They are looking at the possibility of co-owning a Malaysian club,” Ahmad Shapawi Ismail, director-general of Malaysia’s national sports council, told AFP.

The official, who was present at Thursday’s meeting, said he was “delighted and excited” at the news, adding: “We need (their) expertise.” He said that no specific side was discussed.

But Syed Saddiq said CFG would be meeting with some presidents of local clubs soon, and he wanted them to make Malaysia “their base in Southeast Asia.”

We see Malaysia has an opportunity for football ... The level of enthusiasm of the fans is obvious. The development of Malaysian football and the league in the last year with investment by the government shows that there is a great opportunity.

Ferran Soriano, CEO of City Football Group

Malaysia’s main divisions are the top-flight super league and the second-tier premier league. At Thursday’s meeting, Soriano said he saw great possibilities in Malaysia.

“We would like to talk to all of the Malaysian football stakeholders to find ways to collaborate,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper. 

“We see Malaysia has an opportunity for football ... the level of enthusiasm of the fans is obvious. The development of Malaysian football and the league in the last year with investment by the government shows that there’s great opportunity.”

It is the latest Asian country being considered by CFG — in March, Soriano said the group wanted to invest in India.

Football is popular in Malaysia but the country does not perform well on the international stage, and is currently ranked 168th in the world.


Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

Updated 44 sec ago
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Italy beats China 2-0 to reach World Cup quarterfinals

  • Italy will play either Japan or the Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes
  • China had only allowed one goal in its three group stage games but the talented Italian attack broke down the vaunted defense

MONTPELLIER, France: Valentina Giacinti and Aurora Galli scored and Italy earned its first appearance in the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup since 1991 after beating China 2-0 on Tuesday night.
Giacinti created and finished off her 15th-minute opener before Galli’s long strike put the result beyond doubt four minutes after halftime at the stiflingly hot Stade de la Mosson.
Playing in its first World Cup in 20 years, Italy has proven to be one of the revelations of the tournament by making the final eight after winning its group ahead of Brazil and Australia.
Italy will play either Japan or the Netherlands on Saturday in Valenciennes.
China had only allowed one goal in its three group stage games but the talented Italian attack broke down the vaunted defense.
Galli scored after coming on to replace striker Cristina Girelli, who walked off the field late in the first half with an apparent leg problem.
But it was Giacinti who was a force in the early stage of the match.
While Girelli and Barbara Bonansea had combined for five goals in the group phase, Giacinti had yet to score in the tournament.
She threatened on two other occasions Tuesday before finally finding the back of the net. She thought she had struck an early goal but it was ruled offside. Another shot swerved wide of the post after Bonansea intercepted a poor pass by a Chinese defender.
Giacinti then produced the chance that led to her opening goal. After pressuring to win a ball near the touchline, she raced down the flank and found Bonansea, who waited to find left back Elsa Bartoli joining the move. Bartoli’s shot was blocked by China goalkeeper Peng Shimeng, only for Giacinti to pounce on the loose ball and drive it home.
China midfielder Wang Yan did manage to make Italy goalkeeper Laura Giuliani palm her effort over the bar in the 28th minute.
But Peng then had to dive to parry a powerful strike from Valentina Bergamaschi as Italy looked close to a quick second goal against a China team that couldn’t handle its press and its trio of attackers.
Once China settled down and eliminated sloppy passes, the action tilted momentarily to the other half. Forward Li Ying gave Bartoli fits with her dribbling and she made the Italian defenders work with her dangerous crosses.
Italy suffered a bigger blow when it lost Girelli in the 39th.
She was replaced by Galli, who surprised Peng with a right-footed strike that went skimming over the turf and beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.
It was Galli’s third goal of the tournament. She got two in a 5-0 rout of Jamaica, also as a substitute.
China pushed for a goal to spark a comeback, but center backs Sara Gama and Elena Linari kept Giuliani from having to make any significant saves.
Italy has scored nine goals in its three wins in the tournament.
The Italians also maintained their stingy defense with a second clean sheet. Both goals they have conceded so far came on penalties.
China went home with just one goal scored.