Man City will not cruise to Premier League glory, warns Guardiola

Man City will not cruise to Premier League glory, warns Guardiola
Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after their Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, on May 14, 2024. (Reuters)
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Updated 17 May 2024
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Man City will not cruise to Premier League glory, warns Guardiola

Man City will not cruise to Premier League glory, warns Guardiola
  • “We would like to be 3-0 up after 10 minutes but that’s not going to happen,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference on Friday
  • “I’m ready for it to be a tough, tough game”

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola has warned that Manchester City cannot take anything for granted as they seek to claim an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title against West Ham on Sunday.
City have the destiny of the title in their hands as they lead Arsenal by two points going into the final day of the season.
However, Guardiola pointed to the dramatic final day two years ago, when City had to come from 2-0 down late on to beat Aston Villa 3-2 to deny Liverpool the title.
The English champions were also made to sweat to beat Tottenham 2-0 on Tuesday despite many Spurs fans wanting their own side to lose to prevent north London rivals Arsenal claiming their first title for 20 years.
“We would like to be 3-0 up after 10 minutes but that’s not going to happen,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“I’m ready for it to be a tough, tough game. I want to put in the mind of the players, ‘Look at Tottenham, how they fought for every ball’.
“It was the same with Aston Villa two years ago — they were in the same position, they didn’t have anything to play for — and we know what happened.
“Our people have to come here and be ready from the first minute, to be with us and do it together.”
City are attempting to become the first side in history to win four straight English top-flight titles and are on the brink of a sixth Premier League win in the past seven seasons.
Guardiola batted away suggestions that his side do not get the credit they deserve for the scale of those achievements.
“I don’t know what people think but if you ask all the Premier League teams at the start of the season, they would want to be in our position,” he said.
“We have one game left, destiny in our hands. Win our game and we will be champions.
“They (the players) know it is win or win, otherwise Arsenal will be champions.”


Messi-less MLS fall 4-1 to Mexican league in All-Star Game

Messi-less MLS fall 4-1 to Mexican league in All-Star Game
Updated 25 July 2024
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Messi-less MLS fall 4-1 to Mexican league in All-Star Game

Messi-less MLS fall 4-1 to Mexican league in All-Star Game
  • Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi did not play for MLS due to a right ankle injury suffered in Argentina’s victory over Colombia in the Copa America final
  • Argentine striker German Berterame and Moroccan winger Oussama Idrissi also scored for the Mexican league’s elite squad in the triumph at Columbus, Ohio

WASHINGTON: Second-half goals by Argentine strikers Juan Brunetta and Maximiliano Meza gave Mexico’s Liga MX a 4-1 victory over Major League Soccer in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game.

Argentine striker German Berterame and Moroccan winger Oussama Idrissi also scored for the Mexican league’s elite squad in the triumph at Columbus, Ohio.

MLS had won both prior All-Star meetings with Mexican league rivals, playing to a 1-1 draw and winning 3-2 on penalty kicks in 2021 and taking a 2-1 triumph in 2022.

Berterame, a 25-year-old forward for Mexico’s CF Monterrey, opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

Cucho Hernandez, a Colombian winger for the Columbus Crew, equalized for MLS in the 17th minute.

Idrissi answered for Liga MX in the 41st minute to give his squad a 2-1 lead at halftime.

Reserve Brunetta, a striker for Tigres UANL, boosted Liga MX’s lead in the 68th minute and Meza, a winger for Monterrey who also came off the bench to start the second half, added another goal in the 69th for the final margin.

Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi did not play for MLS due to a right ankle injury suffered in Argentina’s victory over Colombia in the Copa America final.

Messi, who also missed two MLS games last week, is uncertain for Miami’s home game Saturday against Puebla as Inter begin defending the Leagues Cup, a second-year tournament involving MLS and Liga MX clubs that begins on Friday.
 


Moussa Diaby joins Al-Ittihad from Aston Villa

Moussa Diaby joins Al-Ittihad from Aston Villa
Updated 25 July 2024
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Moussa Diaby joins Al-Ittihad from Aston Villa

Moussa Diaby joins Al-Ittihad from Aston Villa
  • Moussa Diaby joins fellow Frenchmen Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in Jeddah

RIYADH: Frenchman Moussa Diaby has joined Al-Ittihad, the club announced on Thursday.
The Jeddah team posted an announcement video with the player wearing Ittihad’s black and yellow jersey.
He will join the Tigers on a five-year contract after successfully passing a medical exam in Alicante, Spain, a club statement said.
“Hello Tigers, I am here,” Diaby announces in the video, holding a vintage rotary phone.
“I am thrilled to join Al-Ittihad and be part of a project that aims to build a strong team reflecting the club’s rich history and values. I look forward to collaborating with my new teammates to achieve victories and bring joy to our dedicated fans,” said the Frenchman.
“Diaby has an impressive track record, having played in the top leagues of France, Germany, and England, where he has showcased his talent and skill as a winger,” the statement read.
Domingos Oliveira, the CEO of Ittihad, said: “Our sports committee identified the need to strengthen the winger position with an exceptional player, and we are confident that Moussa Diaby is one of the top players who stand out globally in this role.”
The 25-year-old midfielder played 54 games for English Premier League side Aston Villa, including 25 appearances last season during their impressive fourth place finish.
In Spain, the player was welcomed by the team’s sporting director, Ramon Planes, and introduced to his new teammates and the technical and administrative staff.
He joins fellow Frenchmen Karim Benzema and Ngolo Kante in the west coast city.
The left-footed Diaby, a pacy and versatile player, is not known for scoring lots of goals but his attacking threat will be an advantage for the Tigers.
Ittihad had a disappointing season last year with a fifth place finish, after winning the Saudi Pro League title a year earlier.
The Jeddah side has brought in veteran French player Laurent Blanc as coach to boost their chances against the other big three clubs in the SPL: Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli.
Ittihad are currently in pre-season training in Spain and will play Seville on Friday.


Egypt and Dominican Republic grind out goalless draw in their Paris Olympics opener

Egypt and Dominican Republic grind out goalless draw in their Paris Olympics opener
Updated 24 July 2024
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Egypt and Dominican Republic grind out goalless draw in their Paris Olympics opener

Egypt and Dominican Republic grind out goalless draw in their Paris Olympics opener
  • Peter Gonzalez has the ball in the net for the Dominicans in the 13th minute but referee disallows it for a foul on Egyptian defender Hossam Abdelmajeed
  • Egypt are competing in the Olympics football contest for the 13th time, the most of any African nation, while the Dominican Republic are making their debut

PARIS: Egypt and the Dominican Republic battled their way to a scoreless draw on Wednesday in their opening Group C match on the first day of the men’s soccer tournament at the Paris Olympics.
The Dominicans, who are playing for the first time ever in the football competition at the Games, had the ball in their opponents’ net in the 13th minute, courtesy of Peter Gonzalez, but the referee ruled it out over a foul Egyptian defender Hossam Abdelmajeed.
Both teams had chances throughout the match, which took place at Nantes’ Stade de la Beaujoire, but goalkeepers Xavier Valdez and Hamza Alaa were not to be beaten on the day. Alaa made a great save to tip away a Gonzalez free-kick in the 70th minute, and his Egyptian teammates worked hard to grab a winner late on but the Dominican defense refused to yield.
Egypt are competing in the Olympics football contest for the 13th time, the most of any African nation, but has never finished higher than fourth place, which it achieved in Amsterdam in 1928 and Tokyo in 1964. The team made reached the quarter-finals at Tokyo 2020, losing 1-0 to Brazil.
It had been hoped that Mohammed Salah might join the Egyptian side as a senior player at the Olympics but he declined to do so, opting instead to focus on Liverpool’s preseason preparations. Former Arsenal midfielder Mohammed Elneny captained Egypt.
Earlier, Spain, silver medalists in Tokyo three years ago, kicked off their Group C campaign with a 2-1 victory over Uzbekistan at the Parc des Princes. Their squad included two members of their Euro 2024-winning squad: Alex Baena and Fermin Lopez.


IMG signs 5-year deal to become broadcast producer of Saudi football events

IMG signs 5-year deal to become broadcast producer of Saudi football events
Updated 25 July 2024
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IMG signs 5-year deal to become broadcast producer of Saudi football events

IMG signs 5-year deal to become broadcast producer of Saudi football events
  • The partnership with the Saudi Pro League and Saudi Arabian Football Federation will start next season and cover Roshn Saudi League, Saudi Super Cup and King Cup matches
  • ‘The SPL is poised to deliver an unparalleled football-viewing experience to fans around the world through technology, innovation and talent,’ says SPL CEO Omar Mugharbel

RIYADH: The Saudi Pro League and Saudi Arabian Football Federation have agreed a new five-year production-partnership deal with global sports, events and representation company IMG.
Beginning next season IMG will take the role of broadcast producer for the Roshn Saudi League, King Cup and Saudi Super Cup, with the aim of providing best-in-class production quality, innovation and consistency across the events.
The organizations said on Wednesday said that broadcasts in coming seasons will feature more dynamic storytelling and captivating content highlighting the excitement of the matches and celebrating the culture and passion that drive the sport.
This will enable partners to provide deeper insights and elevate the levels of engagement and entertainment, they added, to enhance the viewing experience for fans around the world and foster a deeper connection with the league.
SPL CEO Omar Mugharbel said the agreement represents a significant step forward for the league as its transformation and growth continues on and off the pitch.
“Our collaboration with IMG reflects our commitment to bringing world-class production standards to Saudi football, with the league the central host producer,” he added.
“By leveraging the expertise of IMG and maintaining strong partnerships with local and regional distributors, the SPL is poised to deliver an unparalleled football-viewing experience to fans around the world through technology, innovation and talent.”
Barney Francis, IMG’s executive vice president of studios, said: “The Saudi Pro League is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing leagues in global football, with fans around the world now tuning in to watch thrilling action between some of the game’s biggest stars.
“In today’s battle for attention, it’s critical for rights holders to take control of their narrative and innovate. We are excited to help SPL take its content offering and storytelling to the next level for viewers and broadcasters, and to provide opportunities for local broadcast and production talent to be part of the journey.”
The organizations said IMG will help the SPL and SAFF implement advanced remote-production technologies so that producers can oversee matches taking place in several cities on the same day and ensure the highest production standards are maintained regardless of location.
IMG produces content for some of the world’s biggest football leagues and other sporting events, including the English Premier League, Major League Soccer for Apple TV, CBS coverage of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and golf events including The Open, Ryder Cup and the DP World Tour.


Morocco fans rush field during Olympic football opener versus Argentina. Game suspended, goal disallowed

Morocco fans rush field during Olympic football opener versus Argentina. Game suspended, goal disallowed
Updated 25 July 2024
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Morocco fans rush field during Olympic football opener versus Argentina. Game suspended, goal disallowed

Morocco fans rush field during Olympic football opener versus Argentina. Game suspended, goal disallowed
  • Moments before play resumed, the goal was disallowed by VAR for offside
  • Morocco held on for a 2-1 victory

SAINT-ETIENNE, France: Morocco fans crashed the pitch to protest a late goal by Argentina at the opening match of the Paris Olympics men’s football tournament, an angry and bizarre scene that left the game suspended for nearly two hours with only minutes remaining.

Moments before play resumed, the goal was disallowed by VAR for offside. Morocco held on for a 2-1 victory.

But not before a furious reaction from Morocco fans who thought they’d been denied a critical win.

Objects were thrown and invading Morocco fans were tackled by security on the field at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne after Argentina tied it 2-2 with a goal from Cristian Medina the 16th minute of added time.

There were images of some Argentina players flinching when what appeared to be a flare was thrown. Bottles and cups were strewn over the field by the end.

It was initially thought that the full-time whistle had been blown. Even FIFA’s website declared the game over. Video boards informed fans the match was suspended and they had to leave the stadium.

About an hour after the incident, organizers at the venue said the match was not officially over and VAR was reviewing whether the goal would stand.

Players eventually re-entered the field after a long delay and began to warm up before the game could be concluded. After warmups, players from both teams stood on the field in the otherwise empty stadium while an official reviewed the video. He offered a brief explanation to Argentina’s players after the goal was overturned while players on Morocco’s bench celebrated.

Play went on for about three minutes after the resumption before the final whistle was blown.

Morocco had led the game 2-0 before Argentina’s fight back.

Giuliano Simeone scored in the 68th minute and Medina leveled the game deep into time added on.