Milan back in Champions League race after fiery Bologna win

AC Milan's Fabio Borini, top, scores past Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski his team's second goal during the Italian Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and Bologna at the San Siro stadium, in Milan, Italy, on May 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Updated 07 May 2019

Milan back in Champions League race after fiery Bologna win

  • Milan had dropped out of the European places after a draw against Parma and loss to Torino
  • Champions Juventus and second-placed Napoli are already assured of Champions League football next season

MILAN, Italy: AC Milan revived their Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win over Bologna on Monday as tempers flared with three players sent off and a bust-up between French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and coach Gennaro Gattuso on the sidelines.
Gattuso’s side move back into fifth place — three points behind Atalanta who occupy the final Champions League berth — with three games left to play this season.
Milan had dropped out of the European places after a draw against Parma and loss to Torino but now move level on points with Roma who are sixth.
Champions Juventus and second-placed Napoli are already assured of Champions League football next season but the battle for the final two berths remains tight with Inter Milan on 63 points, followed by Atalanta (62), AC Milan (59), Roma (59) and Torino (57).
“These are important points, we’re right there now for the Champions League,” said Gattuso whose side are targeting a return to elite European football for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.
Spanish winger Suso opened for Milan on 37 minutes with the game springing to life in the second half with Fabio Borini tapping in the second on 67 minutes.
Bologna’s Mattia Destro pulled one back on 72 minutes, with Milan playing the final quarter of an hour a man down after midfielder Lucas Paquetá was sent off for arguing with the referee.
In a nervy finale Bologna finished the game with nine men with Nicola Sansone and Mitchell Dijks both sent off late.
The absence of the pair could prove costly for Bologna, just five points above the relegation zone, and need points next week against Parma before their final two games against Lazio and Napoli.
There was also pitchside drama early when Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia picked up an injury 25 minutes into the game at the San Siro with the Milan coach asking on-loan Chelsea player Bakayoko to start warming up.
Bakayoko — on the bench after arriving late for training — started to warm up without enthusiasm to the fury of Gattuso who instead asked another substitute José Mauri to come on.
Gattuso and Bakayoko were caught on camera exchanging insults with the French player.
“I don’t want to talk about that here but in the dressing room, with my words, which I cannot use on television,” said Gattuso.
“I waited seven, eight minutes and he still hadn’t put on his shin guards, so I chose José Mauri. I have 27 players, we wear a glorious jersey,” continued the 2006 World Cup winner.
“Anyone can tell me to get lost on the touchline, but we’ll then meet in a room eye-to-eye and see. The priority is Milan.
“We have to focus on the victory and not waste time on other things.
“At the end of the season, we will see who has behaved well and who behaved badly.”
Bakayoko joined the club on loan from Chelsea last summer with an option to buy for 35 million euros ($39 million) but has been the subject of racist chanting this season several times notably from Lazio supporters.


Prince Abdullah wins legal battle to control Sheffield United

Updated 35 min 20 sec ago

Prince Abdullah wins legal battle to control Sheffield United

LONDON: A Saudi prince has won a London court battle for full control of Premier League club Sheffield United.

Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad and co-owner Kevin McCabe were locked in a legal dispute over ownership of the northern English team after their business partnership broke down.

The prince, through his firm UTB LLC, took McCabe’s company Sheffield United Ltd. to court in a bid to enforce a sale agreement reached in December 2017.

Judge Timothy Fancourt said McCabe must sell his 50 percent share of the club to the prince for £5 million ($6 million).

In a 138-page judgment, delivered in London on Monday, the judge said the club is now worth “in the region” of £100 million ($124 million).

In a statement after the ruling, Prince Abdullah said he is “fully committed to continued investment in both the first team and the academy and to bringing best practices and the highest standards of management to the club.”

UTB will have to buy the club’s property assets, which include the Bramall Lane stadium and the Sheffield United hotel, from Sheffield United Ltd.

The judge says McCabe was introduced to Prince Abdullah in 2012 by a third party. 

They reached an agreement to split control of the club, then in the third tier and in need of investment, on a 50-50 basis in return for the prince investing £10 million  over two years.

After relations soured following disagreements over funding, McCabe offered to either buy Prince Abdullah’s stake or to sell his to the prince for £5 million.

The sale was not completed however, prompting Prince Abdullah to bring legal action against McCabe to enforce the contract of sale.

In return, McCabe sued in a bid to have the contract declared void or set aside and also sought damages for breach of contract. 

The team has opened the Premier League season by collecting five points from five games to sit 15th in the 20-team standings.