Moukoko could become youngest Champions League player

Moukoko could become youngest Champions League player
Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko, left, in action with Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark during their Bundesliga match on Saturday. Dortmund won 5-2. (Reuters)
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Updated 24 November 2020

Moukoko could become youngest Champions League player

Moukoko could become youngest Champions League player
  • The 16-year-old Cameroonian has been training regularly with the Dortmund first team since August

DORTMUND: Borussia Dortmund forward Youssoufa Moukoko could become the youngest player ever in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Dortmund said Monday that Moukoko was added to the squad for the home match against Belgian club Brugge.

Moukoko broke the Bundesliga record on Saturday when he made his debut for Dortmund on the day after his 16th birthday. Moukoko came off the bench in the 5-2 victory over Hertha Berlin.

If he plays on Tuesday, Moukoko would break the Champions League record held by Celestine Babayaro. The Nigerian left back was 16 years, 87 days old when he played for Belgian club Anderlecht in the group stage in 1994.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said he was eager to rotate the team to cope with a busy schedule but didn’t commit to giving Moukoko any game time.

“It’s hard to say and to answer immediately. We will see today in training and we have a lot (of players) up front,” Favre said. “We have a lot of options up front and we will see.”

Moukoko scored 13 goals in four games for Dortmund’s under-19 team this season and 34 in 20 games last season. He has been training regularly with the first team since August.

Moukoko was born in Cameroon but moved to Germany as a child and has played for German youth national teams.

Dortmund are in first place in Group F of the Champions League and will be on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stages with a win over Brugge. Dortmund beat the Belgian team 3-0 earlier this month.

Dortmund said Monday that attacking midfielder Reinier had tested positive for the coronavirus. Dortmund said Reinier is in isolation at home and is not showing symptoms. He is on loan from Real Madrid.

Reinier most recently played for the Brazilian under-23 national team in two friendlies in Egypt during the last international break. He wasn’t in the Dortmund squad for the 5-2 Bundesliga victory over Hertha Berlin on Saturday.


Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season
Updated 25 January 2021

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season

Chelsea fires coach Frank Lampard halfway through second season
  • Chelsea has lost five of its last eight Premier League games and dropped to ninth place

LONDON: Frank Lampard was fired by Chelsea on Monday halfway through his second season in charge of the London club after being unable to replicate his success as the club’s record scorer in his first Premier League managerial job.
Chelsea has lost five of its last eight Premier League games and dropped to ninth place, despite Lampard benefiting from nearly $300 million spent on new players for this season.
Chelsea said the performances had not shown “any clear path to sustained improvement” — making a change of managers necessary.
“This was a very difficult decision for the club, not least because I have an excellent personal relationship with Frank and I have the utmost respect for him,” owner Roman Abramovich said. “He is a man of great integrity and has the highest of work ethics. However, under current circumstances we believe it is best to change managers.
“On behalf of everyone at the club, the Board and personally, I would like to thank Frank for his work as head coach and wish him every success in the future. He is an important icon of this great club and his status here remains undiminished. He will always be warmly welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.”
As the pressure has grown, the cracks were showing ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup win over Luton, when Lampard hit out at perceived negative coverage of the club.
But his own shortcomings of a fledging coaching career were being exposed and sentimentality counted for little despite being instrumental to the trophy-laden revival of the club as a player since the takeover by Abramovich in 2003.
Chelsea brought back its midfield great as coach in 2019 despite him having only a single season’s experience in management in the second division with Derby.
He achieved Champions League qualification in his first season by securing a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. The rush to dismiss Lampard is indicative of the impatience shown by Abramovich, particularly when the team is slipping away from the Champions League spots.
After securing one of the biggest jobs in English management so early in his coaching career, Lampard leaves Stamford Bridge without any success having lost the 2020 FA Cup final to Arsenal.
Lampard is a Chelsea great after scoring 211 goals from central midfield from 2001-14, during which he won every major honor at the club including three Premier League titles and the Champions League. He was associated with some of the best moments in the club’s history and admired for his work ethic and making the most of his talent.