Croatia football body fined by UEFA for racist fan incidents

Croatia football body fined by UEFA for racist fan incidents
Croatia players pose for a team group photo before their UEFA Nations League match against Denmark at Stadion Maksimir, Zagreb on September 22, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 November 2022

Croatia football body fined by UEFA for racist fan incidents

Croatia football body fined by UEFA for racist fan incidents
  • UEFA did not specify the incidents at Croatia’s 3-1 win at Austria in the Nations League
  • UEFA ordered a section of the stadium to be closed when Croatia host Wales in March

NYON, Switzerland: Croatia’s football federation was punished by UEFA on Friday for “racist and discriminatory behavior” by fans at the team’s last game before traveling to the World Cup.
UEFA did not specify the incidents at Croatia’s 3-1 win at Austria in the Nations League in September, which were reported to be insults directed by fans at the federation and far-right chants.
UEFA ordered a section of the stadium to be closed when Croatia host Wales in March to open their 2024 European Championship qualifying group. The Croatian football body was fined 20,000 euros ($19,900) for the discrimination and 23,000 euros ($22,900) for other incidents in Vienna.
Long-time tensions between Croatia fans and national football officials led to a game being stopped at Euro 2016 because of disorder in the stands.
Croatia prepare for the World Cup playing Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Nov. 16, one week before their opening game in Qatar.
The 2018 World Cup runner-up are in a group with Belgium, Canada and Morocco.


Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top

Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top
Updated 20 sec ago

Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top

Haller on scoresheet after cancer battle as Union knock Bayern off top
BERLIN: Sebastien Haller crowned his recent return from testicular cancer with an emotional goal for Borussia Dortmund Saturday, as Union Berlin knocked Bayern Munich off the top of the Bundesliga with a dramatic late win over Mainz.
Six months after a shock diagnosis which saw him miss the entire first half of the season, Haller finally opened his account for the club he joined last summer.
The Ivory Coast international’s second-half header prompted wild celebrations among his team mates and helped Dortmund to a 5-1 win over Freiburg which kept them within two points of leaders Union.
Freiburg were reduced to ten men early in the first half after French full-back Kiliann Sildillia was booked twice in the space of two minutes.
Former Freiburg player Nico Schlotterbeck then heaped more misery onto his old club, his low snapshot beating goalkeeper Mark Flekken at the near post to give Dortmund the lead.
Schlotterbeck and Niklas Suele handed Freiburg a lifeline with some farcical defending on the stroke of half-time, allowing Lucas Hoeler to sweep in an unexpected equalizer.
Yet Karim Adeyemi wriggled his way through the Freiburg box to restore the lead with a neat finish early in the second half, before goals from Haller, Julian Brandt and Giovanni Reyna completed the rout.
Meanwhile in the capital, Union Berlin were working on their own fairytale as a late winner from US international Jordan Siebatcheu sent the high-flying minnows top of the table.
Former Union player Marcus Ingvartsen had canceled out Kevin Behrens’ first-half opener with a late penalty, but the Berliners rallied to claim a fourth straight win in 2023.
Eintracht Frankfurt also remained within four points of the top as France forward Randal Kolo Muani ran riot in a 3-0 win over hapless Hertha Berlin.
Having put Frankfurt ahead from the penalty spot, Kolo Muani ghosted through the Hertha back line to make it 2-0 before the half-hour mark, before Aurelio Buta added a third on the stroke of full time.
RB Leipzig’s 0-0 draw at Cologne meant that Frankfurt remain a point adrift of the Champions League places in fifth.
Hertha have slumped to four straight defeats since the beginning of 2023, and are now five points adrift of safety after fellow strugglers Bochum cruised to a 5-2 win over Hoffenheim.
Philipp Hofmann gave Bochum a deserved lead with a tap-in before Philipp Foerster and Takuma Asano showed up a lifeless Hoffenheim defense to make it 3-0 by half-time.
Erhan Masovic and Moritz Broschinski added two more for Bochum after the break, with Christoph Baumgartner and Munas Dabbur grabbing consolation goals for the visitors.

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton
Updated 04 February 2023

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton

Premier League leaders Arsenal stunned by struggling Everton
  • Everton's first win in 11 games lifts the Toffees out of the relegation zone
  • Arsenal remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table

LIVERPOOL: Arsenal fell to just a second Premier League defeat of the season as James Tarkowski’s header gave Everton the perfect start under new manager Sean Dyche in a 1-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Everton’s first win in 11 games lifts the Toffees out of the relegation zone.
Arsenal remain five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table, but may rue a huge chance to extend their advantage as they aim for a first league title since 2004.
Everton came into the game on a run of four league defeats at Goodison for the first time since 1958.
That disastrous form cost Frank Lampard his job and Dyche’s appointment got the desired bounce in performance.
Everton’s board again stayed away due to rising tensions between the club’s hierarchy and supporters.
Protests were planned for before and after the game for fans to voice their anger at the running of the club.
The Toffees were the only Premier League club to not make any signings in the January transfer window despite their perilous position in the table.
But the home side showed there is still enough talent available to Dyche to dig themselves out of trouble if they can harness the same level of energy and intensity on a more regular basis.
Two of Dyche’s former Burnley players were included in his first starting line-up and they combined for the only goal of the game on the hour mark as Tarkwoski headed in Dwight McNeil’s corner.
A first victory since October was no more than Everton deserved after they passed up a host of chances to go ahead before the break.
Keeping Dominic Calvert-Lewin fit will be critical to Everton’s survival hopes, but the England international showed his rustiness in front of goal in a second consecutive injury-impacted season.
Amadou Onana’s surging run and ball across the face of goal just needed a finishing touch that Calvert-Lewin could not stretch to make.
Moments later Abdoulaye Doucoure, who had been frozen out by Lampard, headed a glorious chance wide when unmarked inside the box.
It took Arsenal half an hour to even threaten Jordan Pickford’s goal, but they should have led when Eddie Nketiah fired high and wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Conor Coady then had to react quickly to turn Bukayo Saka’s volley off the line as the visitors began to find their rhythm.
But it was Calvert-Lewin who passed up another sight of goal in first half stoppage time when he headed Seamus Coleman’s cross wide.
Arsenal were brighter at the start of the second period and Martin Odegaard will feel he should have hit the target when teed up by Nketiah.
But just as the Gunners were beginning to turn the screw, their luck at the back ran out.
Tarkowski was fundamental to Dyche overachievements in keeping Burnley in the Premier League for six consecutive seasons between 2016 and 2022 and the center-back rose highest to power home McNeil’s corner on the hour mark.
Mikel Arteta’s decision to substitute three of his most consistent performers this season in Gabriel Martinelli, Thomas Partey and Odegaard will be questioned as Arsenal lacked the guile to break down the mass ranks of defense from Dyche’s men.
The full-time whistle was met with jubilant celebrations as Everton lifted themselves one point clear of the bottom three.


It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi

It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi
Updated 04 February 2023

It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi

It’s ‘normal’ for defenders to patrol Vinicius: Xavi
  • Vinicius was brutally chopped down in Madrid's 2-0 win over Valencia by Gabriel Paulista
  • Xavi told a news conference: "Vinicius creates so much in attack, it's normal that the opposition defence keeps a closer eye on him”

BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona coach Xavi believes it is normal that defenders keep close tabs on Real Madrid winger Vinicius Junior, amid controversy over rough treatment toward the Brazilian.
Vinicius was brutally chopped down in Madrid’s 2-0 win over Valencia by Gabriel Paulista, who was sent off, and no player in the division has been fouled more this season.
“Players like Ousmane (Dembele), Neymar, when he was here, or Vinicius, these players who can beat a man, opponents are a lot more aggressive to them,” Xavi told a news conference.
“They get past their marker with ease, opponents give them more attention. Vinicius creates so much in attack, it’s normal that the opposition defense keeps a closer eye on him.
“There’s a referee and a refereeing committee, they have to do their job.”
Real Madrid face Real Mallorca on Saturday and the island club’s captain Antonio Raillo said earlier this week he would not use Vinicius as an example for his son to look up to.
Raillo had previously accused Vinicius of provoking and disrespecting opponents.
Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said the forward did not need any special preparation for the game, despite the bad blood with Raillo.
“Vinicius will prepare for the game as normal and will try to make the difference as he always does,” Ancelotti told a news conference Saturday.
“He is focused on what he has to do, I don’t have to talk about anything with him.”
Ancelotti said his own grandchildren were all fans of Vinicius.
“My grandchildren are all for Vini, youngsters like this type of player, who has so much quality, who is spectacular with the ball,” added the coach.
“They all have Vinicius shirts, that’s the only one they want.”
Barcelona will be without their own flying winger Dembele for the next few weeks after he suffered a thigh injury last weekend against Girona.
Xavi said the team would miss the winger’s ability to take on defenders but other players could help in that regard.
“Maybe we have less dribbling ability, Ousmane is the best at taking players on in the squad,” said Xavi.
“We lose that quality which Ousmane has, which draws two defenders, giving us numerical superiority on the other side.
“But Raphinha can do it too, so can Ansu (Fati), Ferran Torres, even (Alejandro) Balde, Sergi Roberto, (Jules) Kounde.”
Balde missed Barcelona’s training session on Saturday with a fever but Xavi said club doctors told him that the defender would be ready to face Sevilla on Sunday in La Liga.


Street 2022 World Skateboarding Championships in Sharjah set for semifinal showdown

Street 2022 World Skateboarding Championships in Sharjah set for semifinal showdown
Updated 04 February 2023

Street 2022 World Skateboarding Championships in Sharjah set for semifinal showdown

Street 2022 World Skateboarding Championships in Sharjah set for semifinal showdown
  • Competition at Aljada Skate Park acts as a qualifier for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris
  • Australian star Chloe Covell, 12, in confident mood after quarterfinal success

SHARJAH: The quarterfinals of the Street 2022 World Skateboarding Championships at Aljada Skate Park in Sharjah on Friday saw big tricks and a dramatic day of action that set up the highly anticipated semifinals on Saturday for some of the sports finest athletes.

Among them was Chloe Covell, at 12 years old the youngest competitor in the field, who said: “I feel good after that, I got a pretty big score and it’s definitely given me more confidence leading into the finals. I think what got me the score was me doing switch tricks — standing the opposite way to do a trick — which gets you more points. I hope the semifinal will go well and I think everything will go to plan if I just do what I can do and not overthink it too much.”

The Street 2022 World Skateboarding Championships’ grand finale for both men and women at Aljada Skate Park is on Sunday, Feb. 5.

The Park 2022 World Skateboarding Championships begin that day as well, with the Sharjah hub hosting the tournament’s quarterfinals on Friday, Feb. 10, semifinals on Saturday, Feb. 11, and the final on Sunday, Feb. 12.

Both competitions act as qualifiers for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris — with all 12 Olympic medallists from the 2020 Games competing in the star-studded Sharjah line up.

A record-breaking total of more than 450 of the world’s best skateboarders are starring at the Street 2022 and Park 2022 World Championships for a prize pool of $500,000. Gold-medal winners in each discipline, in both the male and female categories, receive a $50,000 prize.

In the men’s Street event, the following skateboarders qualified for Saturday’s semifinal at Aljada Skate Park: Jagger Eaton (US); Kelvin Hoefler (Brazil); Aurelien Giraud (France); Ginwoo Onodera (Japan); Kairi Matsumoto (Japan); Ryan Decenzo (Canada); Alexander Midler (US); Sora Shirai (Japan); Joseph Garbaccio (France); Richard Tury (Slovakia); Chris Joslin (US); Angelo Caro (Peru); Gustavo Ribeiro (Portugal); Toa Sasaki (Japan); Giovanni Vianna (Brazil); Jhancarlos Gonzalez Ortiz (Colombia).

The competition in the women’s Street event was just as close, with the following skateboarders reaching the semifinals: Heat 1: Daniela Terol (Spain); Rayssa Leal (Brazil); Haylie Powell (Australia); Nonoka Nakajima (Japan); Momiji Nishiya (Japan); Aoi Uemura (Japan), Gabriela Mazetto (Brazil); Mariah Duran (US). Heat 2: Liv Lovelace (Australia); Funa Nakayama (Japan); Pamela Rosa (Brazil); Paige Heyn (US); Yumeka Oda (Japan); Chloe Covell (Australia); Rizu Akama (Japan); Roos Zwetsloot (Netherlands).

The Street 2022 and Park 2022 World Championships is co-organized by World Skate and UAE-based developer Arada.


Premier League ‘Big Six’ see Newcastle as a real threat now, says Eddie Howe

Premier League ‘Big Six’ see Newcastle as a real threat now, says Eddie Howe
Updated 04 February 2023

Premier League ‘Big Six’ see Newcastle as a real threat now, says Eddie Howe

Premier League ‘Big Six’ see Newcastle as a real threat now, says Eddie Howe
  • Magpies boss has two new signings available for visit of West Ham, but Bruno Guimaraes starts three-match suspension

NEWCASTLE: Eddie Howe believes Newcastle United are now being viewed by the Premier League “Big Six” as a clear and present danger — and the recent transfer window proves it.

The Magpies tried in vain to nab loan deals from the likes of Chelsea in the closing hours of the window, but were hit with a brick wall from the Champions League-chasing, high-spending Blues.

And Howe thinks that’s the biggest evidence yet that those in the traditional positions of power are intimidated by the presence of the ambitious, Saudi-embellished Magpies.

“That’s your words not mine, but yeah, I think you’re on the right lines,” said Howe when asked if the top six now see United as direct rivals.

“I think it is potentially difficult for us. It depends on the player and it depends on the club but I think we’re probably aware we are seen differently this season to how we were last season.

“We are viewed differently probably by some clubs now and that is something we will have to adjust to.”

Tuesday saw the winter transfer window slam to a close with Newcastle still looking for a player to replace exited Jonjo Shelvey. The midfielder spent seven years at the club but left for Nottingham Forest with his current deal set to end in the summer.

It was a departure Howe did not welcome, especially with star man Bruno Guimaraes having to sit out the next three games due to a suspension picked up in the Carabao Cup win against Southampton.

Ahead of the visit of West Ham United to Tyneside in the Premier League, Howe said: “We’re going to miss him massively, he’s a huge player and done ever so well for us.

“Whenever you lose one player, you have to readjust. There will an opportunity now for the team to regroup and find another way.

“But certainly the timing is really difficult. We’ve had a really intense period of games and now we don’t and Bruno seems to miss a long period of time away. The good thing for Bruno is he’ll be available for the final.”

On Shelvey, Howe continued: “Losing Jonjo has been a concern for us.

“We have had a lot of discussions internally. We were active in the market but we didn’t manage to get a midfielder over the line.”

“In some senses, that gives opportunities to other players,” the coach said. “We really believe in Elliot Anderson and this could be a moment in his career where we see the very best of him. A local lad who gets a chance in the team. There are others who can play in that position. Bruno’s suspension came at the worst time in the worst position possible. Sometimes, these things happen.”

While concerns about absentees remains at the forefront of Howe’s thinking, he will have two new boys available for selection against the Hammers, one of which was a deadline-day capture from the East London outfit.

Anthony Gordon, ineligible in the Carabao Cup, and Harrison Ashby, nabbed from West Ham, are both likely to take their place on the bench on Saturday.

“Both players will be available, yes,” said Howe.

“They’ve trained well. They’ve done a couple of individual training sessions around the game because they weren’t eligible to play. Trained with the group yesterday, although it was a small group, so they haven’t actually trained fully with team but both are fit and fine.”

Having been taken off in a precautionary measure on Tuesday night, Alexander Isak remains a doubt after suffering a head knock.

“Alex actually made a vital contribution in that moment. James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick, naturally we discussed those situations a lot in the build up to both games and knowing how good he is, he (Isak) blocked the free-kick and took a blow to the side of the head,” Howe said.

“He had very slight signs of concussion. We’ve followed all the protocols. Whether he’ll be available or not, we’re not sure.”

“He’s been around, and he’s looked fine,” Howe added. “I don’t think he’s got any ill-effects. I don’t think he had any ill-effects the next day. Every day he’s felt better. He’s fine, no problems.”