Neil Warnock is looking forward to welcoming ‘the best team in the world’ after seeing his Cardiff side beat Mansfield 4-1 in their FA Cup third round replay to set up a home clash with Manchester City in the next round.A brace from Junior Hoilett, with further goals from Bruno Ecuele Manga and Anthony Pilkington saw the Bluebirds avoid a potential banana skin pretty comfortably in front of watching City boss Pep Guardiola at a bitterly cold Field Mill.“They’re probably the best in the world at the moment, it’s great, and I think the fans deserve that as we have put a lot in this season,” said a jubilant Warnock. “It’s a great reward.“It’s a great game now because we can’t lose whatever the result and it’s a great bonus for us. To be totally honest, if the draw had been different we would probably have been knocked out, but I decided to put out a virtual first team and we got our rewards.”Warnock revealed he had to have a few words with his team at half-time after Stags striker Danny Rose matched Manga’s effort to send the teams in level at the break.He continued: “I wasn’t too disappointed at half-time, we were just a little bit lethargic. We had one or two words, I didn’t raise my voice to them.“I decided to put Hoilett through the middle as I thought we just needed that spark down there. It was a matter of changing a few things and getting the right result, and we did.“It was hard, we were playing against a team who had lost once in 20-odd games, it doesn’t matter what division they’re in. And the way they play, you’re up against it every minute. You’ve got to play against these teams and compete and I thought in the second half we were super.“Also, a big thank you to the fans tonight, that’s the coldest I have ever known it watching a game and to come all this way, well, great tribute to them and I hope they all get tickets for the City game.”Angry Mansfield manager Steve Evans slammed referee Geoff Eltringham’s performance and admitted the result could have been very different if he had shown two-goal Hoilett a red rather than a yellow card for a bad lunge on Alex MacDonald in the first half.“How they have not had a red card is beyond me,” he raged. “He’s been shocking tonight.“If that’s not a red, I’m giving the game up. We wish Cardiff well. It’ll be a fantastic day. There won’t be challenges like that against Manchester City. It was a game changer, a cup-tie changer.“We were by far the best side in the first half and it was harsh on us to only be level. We were dominating the second half until they got the second and then the third goal killed the tie.“My players have been great, they have played well, and the officials have been rubbish.”
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has written to the Premier League to ‘thank’ them for their Christmas schedule.The champions are one of five clubs who face two games in less than 48 hours this week.City travel to Wolves for a 7.45pm kick-off on Friday and then host Sheffield United at 6pm on Sunday.Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City play twice in under 48 hours over Christmas (Martin Rickett/PA)Guardiola has complained before about the close proximity of the two fixtures, which were confirmed when TV schedules were announced in October, and has since made representations to the competition’s organisers.Speaking sarcastically, Guardiola said: “I wrote a letter to the Premier League to say thank you and we are going to the fridge after Wolves to get ready for Sheffield United.“We are training on the 23rd and 24th. The night of 24th is off, the morning of 25th off. Then 26th training and 27th Nuno’s (Espirito Santo) team.”Guardiola wants his players to have greater recovery time between matches. One such star he would undoubtedly wish to protect is Kevin De Bruyne, who was outstanding in City’s 3-1 defeat of Leicester on Saturday.De Bruyne, who also shone in last week’s win at Arsenal, admits it will be tough to maintain the momentum over the festive period.The Belgian said: “The first game is in five or six days, so that’s OK, but the other one – I don’t know what to do. We’ll see how everybody feels after 48 hours.“Normally it would be impossible to play but it’s the schedule and we just have to find a way to manage, but we’ll see what happens.A win that looked mighty fine from all angles 💪🔵 #ManCity #MCILEI pic.twitter.com/BTzZthrOOU— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 22, 2019“Hopefully everybody feels all right for these two games but obviously we’re going to have to change a few players.”City’s win on Saturday moved them back within a point of second-placed Leicester but they still trail runaway leaders Liverpool by 11 points and have played a game more.Guardiola says he does not seriously think the gap can be closed.He said: “When a team has 16 victories from 17 it’s unrealistic to think we are going to chase them.Well-deserved win! Thanks for the amazing support 💙 pic.twitter.com/qx9TXHdxAM— Kevin De Bruyne (@DeBruyneKev) December 21, 2019“We have to try to win our games, secure Champions League for next season and then you never know, no?“If they drop a couple of games, and we win and win… I don’t know. When one team loses one game in the last 53 or 54 I’m not optimistic that they are going to lose four or five in 10 or 11 games because they are incredibly strong.”If City are to catch Liverpool they would welcome a favour from Leicester, who host the Reds on Boxing Day.It is a challenge former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is relishing.Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers faces former club Liverpool on Boxing Day (Mike Egerton/PA)Rodgers said: “It’s always disappointing to lose a game but we’ll get them right and we look forward to being at home.“That’ll be us at the halfway point against Liverpool so we’ll be firing and ready to go to get a good performance and a good result.“It’ll be a different game. I know they’re a top-class team, a different style, but we have to get ready for that.”
St Mirren boss Oran Kearney admits he was left baffled by referee Kevin Clancy’s decision not to dismiss Hamilton defender Ziggy Gordon.The Paisley hosts found themselves a goal down to Accies at half-time but came back out looking to put up a better fight against their Ladbrokes Premiership relegation rivals.However, the tide turned when Gordon got away with a booking despite hauling Simeon Jackson down just as the Saints striker looked set to burst through on goal.With their full complement intact, Hamilton were able to race forward moments later and see man-of-the-match James Keatings put the seal on a 3-1 win which moves them five points clear of the second-bottom Buddies.Frustrated Kearney said: “I think Gordon should have been sent off. I thought we were on the front foot in the second half and that was our big moment.“I was pretty much celebrating. If you’re inside the penalty box it’s a yellow card and a penalty because there are no double whammys anymore. But it’s a cynical challenge outside the box. That’s the rules of the game.“That’s the most black-and-white decision of the day. If they go down to 10 men that’s gives us a great chance of kicking on. It’s baffling, to be honest with you.”Saints were looking to build on last week’s win over Hearts – their first since Kearney took over three months ago – but were undone after 21 minutes when Dougie Imrie headed home from a Keatings corner.Keatings then delivered another quality free-kick delivery for Gordon to put his side two ahead on 43 minutes but Saints skipper Stephen McGinn cut the deficit on the stroke of half-time.There was no way back for the Buddies when Keatings’ sublime 55th-minute strike was followed up soon after by a red card for striker Simeon Jackson.There was concern for the visitors when Keatings limped off with a foot injury – but boss Martin Canning is confident he will be fit for Wednesday’s trip to fellow strugglers Dundee.“We’ve got to thank Keatsy for the bits of quality he provided,” he said. “Both set-piece deliveries and his goal were all fantastic. That’s the special talent he can be if we can get him up and running.“He got a bang on his foot so we just have to assess him over the next couple of days and we’ll see how it goes.“We want our good players on the pitch and hopefully Keatsy recovers in time for Wednesday.“He’s up and about, walking about the changing room. When it happened, he felt like his foot went numb but I think he might have just caught a wee nerve on the top of his foot.“I would hope he would be fine but we will have him in tomorrow to assess him. We’ll give him every opportunity to get fit.
Dwyane Wade and his family are putting their money where their mouths are in support of the LGBT community. The retired NBA star took to Instagram to announce a collaboration with the lifestyle brand YNGDNA. Both Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union, promoted a new line of T-shirts intended to help GLSEN, which is a “leading national organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students.” Fifty percent of the proceeds from T-shirt sales will go to GLSEN, plus a $50,000 donation from the Wade family. View this post on Instagram S/O to @yngdna for these Please Remain Inclusive & Dedicated to Equality tees‼️ We are donating 50% of the proceeds to GLSEN as well as a 50 thousand dollar donation on behalf of our family‼️ #wesupporteachotherwithprideA post shared by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on Sep 13, 2019 at 11:20am PDTWade closed the Instagram caption with the hashtag, “#wesupporteachotherwithpride.”In April, Wade shared photos of his family at the Miami Pride parade while traveling on the road with the Heat in support of his 12-year-old son, Zion.Dwayne Wade and Gabby Union supporting young Zion at Miami Pride is so beautiful, I could cry. I can’t imagine having had this type of support as a kid (or even young adult). Amazing example of living in and showing unconditional love ? pic.twitter.com/2cT8Ow6kik— Câmi Thomas (@CamiCruzThomas) April 7, 2019The 17-year veteran also spoke earlier this year about the importance of standing alongside Zion in all that he does. “You have the support of your father, you have the support of your family every step of the way,” Wade said to Variety.The entire Wade family posted variations of the photo announcing the collaboration, with Zaire Wade captioning, “THE WADES STAND AS ONE.” View this post on Instagram As a family, we believe inclusion and equality are two essential pillars needed to move towards growth and progressive thinking in our society. We have created a Limited Edition T shirt to help create a more inclusive space with our platform. The Wade family and @yngdna have decided to donate $50k and 50% of the proceeds of sales of the Pride shirts The GLSEN organization who’s mission is dedicated to sexual orientation as well as gender identity and gender expression, for 25 years GLSEN has been the leading national organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students. The only place to get these shirts is through the link in my bio. THE WADES STAND AS ONE! Link in @yngdna bioA post shared by beat the odds ??♂️ (@zaire) on Sep 13, 2019 at 11:39am PDTThe T-shirts read “Please Remain Inclusive & Dedicated 2 Equality.”
LaLiga’s top two clash at the Mestalla on Sunday, with Valencia taking on Barcelona.Los Che are rejuvenated this year and they go into the contest just four points behind table-topping Barca after eight successive victories.What changes are you expecting to see in #LaLigaSantander this weekend? ⬆️⬇️? pic.twitter.com/OfUrTN4Ven— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) November 24, 2017However, the visitors have dropped just two points all season and go into the game on a high after Lionel Messi signed a new contract.Here, Football Paradise looks at some talking points surrounding the game.Magic Messi? ? Lionel #Messi happy to continue ‘at home’ #Messi2021 pic.twitter.com/Cwzbb0tXo0— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 25, 2017All eyes will be on Lionel Messi. The LaLiga top scorer’s decision to commit himself to the club until the summer of 2021 delighted all at the Nou Camp and means, in all likelihood, the 30-year-old will finish his career with the club. Messi played only 34 minutes of Wednesday’s Champions League match against Juventus and boss Ernesto Valverde has allayed any fitness concerns, so few would bet against the Argentinian adding to his 12-goal league tally at the Mestalla.Zaza-bout that?Zaza making Mestalla his home! ⚽️?The Italian has scored 5 of his 6 #LaLigaSantander goals there this season. #ValenciaAthletic pic.twitter.com/26CJ4utfRB— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) October 1, 2017Messi may be the league’s top scorer – but Simone Zaza is second. Although Zaza drew a blank in the 3-0 defeat of Leganes, the previous time the 26-year-old failed to hit the target in LaLiga was September 16. Nine goals in his last seven matches continues the upturn in fortunes for the Italy international, who failed to impress in a loan spell at West Ham last season but finished it strongly for Los Che, prompting them to make the move from parent club Juventus permanent.Valverde’s case for the defence? Getting ready for #ValenciaBarça on Sunday! Are you? #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/tp7Abq2Hjg— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 24, 2017Valverde faces a dilemma over who he will pair in central defence. Gerard Pique is suspended after picking up a fifth yellow card of the season against Leganes last weekend, while Javier Mascherano also misses out with a hamstring problem sustained on international duty with Argentina earlier this month. There is plenty of speculation as to who will replace them on Sunday, with Thomas Vermaelen and Samuel Umtiti – and maybe both – in the frame.Further absentees could give Valencia hope? Match Day Squad #ValenciaBarça➡️ Find out about Valencia’s final training session https://t.co/TfrPhitKKx pic.twitter.com/ug0FIOl9d5— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) November 25, 2017It is not just in defence where the visitors are down on numbers. Midfielders Arda Turan, Rafinha, Sergi Roberto and Andre Gomes are all injured and although Ousmane Dembele may return earlier than expected from a hamstring issue which has limited his LaLiga involvement to just 51 minutes since his £96.8million arrival from Rennes in August, this match comes far too soon for the tricky forward. Barca have dropped only two points this season and the strength of their squad is obvious – but their absent friends should hearten Valencia.A bore draw looks unlikelyThis Sunday…@Neto_Murara ? @mterstegen1Guedes ? Messi? @valenciacf_en ? @FCBarcelona ? pic.twitter.com/ZbzDiWvM7V— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) November 24, 2017These two teams have scored 65 goals between them in league play this season (Barcelona 33, Valencia 32) and last season’s two matches yielded 11 goals. Considering the attacking flair on show and the fact they have played out only one goalless draw in 44 games since 1995, only the brave would predict both teams drawing a blank on Sunday – even if Barca’s last two Champions League away contests have finished 0-0.
Any thought of Nate Diaz suffering from cage rust after a nearly three-year layoff was answered in pure Nate Diaz pressure style, as only he can deliver.Diaz dirtied up the bout immediately and made it a phone-booth fight by staying in the pocket and relentlessly smothering Anthony Pettis with punches, elbows and knees. Diaz went on to score a resounding unanimous decision in the UFC 241 co-main event at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Saturday night. Judges scored it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in favor of Diaz. Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a year”It’s Nate Diaz army, motherf—er!” Diaz declared in the Octagon following his dominant victory. “The reason I was off was because everyone sucked. There was nobody to fight.”Diaz proceeded to salute Jorge Masvidal for his riveting flying-knee victory over Ben Askren last month, and then called him out for a fight. Masvidal laughed and smiled as he stood in the audience.”I want to defend my title against Jorge. He’s a gangster, but he ain’t no West Coast gangster.”@NateDiaz209, welcome back! #UFC241 pic.twitter.com/Y5DdHcnwzO— UFC (@ufc) August 18, 2019Diaz unleashed hellacious knees on Pettis in the third round Saturday and had “Showtime” reeling to the point where the referee could have arguably stopped the action. He allowed it to continue, however, and Pettis showed plenty of heart by twice breaking loose from Diaz on the ground — first from an armbar attempt and then from a rear naked choke try. In the second round, Diaz had Pettis up against the cage as he unleashed a big knee, elbow and jab in a precursor of what was to come. “Showtime” was fading at that point.Diaz is teeing off on Pettis as round 2 comes to a close!#UFC241 pic.twitter.com/oB6cmHTcl7— UFC (@ufc) August 18, 2019Perhaps the only glimmer of serious trouble for Diaz was an arm-in guillotine attempt that he powered out of in the first round.Pettis slaps the guillotine on, but Diaz escapes! #UFC241 pic.twitter.com/5KxhKggYPe— UFC (@ufc) August 18, 2019The crowd was Diaz’s from that point on, and he gave it plenty to rave about in his impressive return to the UFC.
Can a 162-game season boil down to 19 games?For the Mets, that reality might be setting in. It hasn’t been a pretty season for the Mets, who now sit at 34-38 after getting their bell rung by division rival Atlanta on Monday in a 12-3 laugher where nothing went right. It was the first game in an 11-game road trip that could very well decide the rest of the Mets’ season, with games against the Braves, Cubs and Phillies. Then they get home and play eight more against the Phillies, Braves and Yankees.Every year — for non-Mets fans, at least — the team looks legitimate enough to at least make a run at a wild card. But it’s starting to feel like the Mets are cursed with potential rather than production, which has, bafflingly, been one of the team’s biggest issues since their 2015 World Series appearance. Health, bullpen and depth have always been the biggest questions surrounding the Mets, and those questions were seemingly answered before the season.But the latest bout of Mets mediocrity — they’re 6-9 in June, hardly nice — just feels different than in years past. They have the reigning Cy Young winner in Jacob deGrom. They have a much improved core of young players, anchored by Pete Alonso and his dislike of the letter R. In fact, this started way, way before Opening Day. This started with Brodie Van Wagenen’s offseason moves and bravado painting an overly optimistic picture of what this team was going to be.Before you get on Mickey Callaway and call for his head (though the clock on Callaway’s tenure sure seems to be clicking), let’s take a look at the Mets’ offseason. Let’s break down BVW’s moves one-by-one:— Van Wagenen traded for to bolster the outfield and add another quality defender to the bench. Broxton was DFA’d and subsequently traded to the Orioles in May.— He signed , who has yet to play a game with the big-league squad. He’s dealt with a left knee issue, then a left hamstring issue, and now … well, let’s let Van Wagenen explain: “I’m not going to get into any more details beyond the fact that his left side needs to be working in concert with each other,” Van Wagenen said, via Newsday. “The knee to the hamstring, we want to make sure that the kinetic chain is working together and that his posture and his functionality is working.”Side note: The Mets are always the most quotable team. “Kinetic chain.” “Glut of outfielders.” “Come and get us.” — was brought back to be the eighth-inning guy and he’s been … not great. He has allowed five home runs on the season already, one shy of his career high (six) and has also allowed 24 earned runs on the season, also one shy of his career high.— has been decent, but also hasn’t showcased a ton of signature power this year. His .401 slugging percentage is about 30 points lower than his career average. His 103 OPS+ is one of the lowest marks in his career, but as a catcher, that’s a good number. — The trade for and has been … something. Diaz hasn’t looked like his 2018 self — even elite relievers have off years — but he’s given up 12 earned runs on the season (four shy of what he gave up all last season) and that mark is halfway to his career high of earned runs allowed in a season. Canó has been either hurt or bad, dealing with a quad injury but also being worth -0.3 bWAR on the season. It wasn’t a bad deal — trading Jarred Kelenic might hurt in years, but it’s not something to get hung up on now when a team is ready to win — regardless of revisionist history that might be happening now. Hindsight is always 20/20, and no one raved as much about the Mets and their moves this offseason as this guy did. Really, the blueprint wasn’t necessarily bad, either. The Mets seemingly alleviated bullpen issues, bench depth and the catching situation all in one offseason. It cost nothing but money and a top prospect, but it was a win-now move made to help the Mets supplement their already (somewhat) proven rotation, with deGrom at the top.The biggest issue plaguing the Mets in 2019 has been the “rebuilt” bullpen, featuring Familia and his 7.81 ERA and Díaz and Drew Gagnon, who joins Familia in the 7-plus ERA club. For all the grief Mickey Callaway has gotten — some warranted — what’s he supposed to do? He can only play the guys he was given and we’ve seen this season that they’ve been as effective as a screen door on a battleship.To get back to the future, the “good” thing for New York is that they can turn it around. It just has to start right now, and it can’t come without help. There are a lot of legitimate bullpen arms on the trade market, should Van Wagenen decide to go that direction to shore up a leaky unit, something he should do. Truth is, the Mets have too much young position player talent to keep squandering opportunities year after year, with NL Rookie of the Year candidate Pete Alonso at the top of that list.Jeff McNeil, Dom Smith and Michael Conforto have all been plusses with the Mets this year, with Todd Frazier and J.D. Davis playing valuable roles with the team as well. There are more positives than there are negatives with this team, so to see them under .500 and not particularly inspiring baseball is curious at best.Van Wagenen did a very good job — or tried to, at least — of positively selling the Mets during the offseason. “Come and get us,” he said, with vigor and aplomb in January. Now it’s time to see how they respond.
James Wiseman never really got the chance to see what it could be like. His opportunity was denied to him by others, certainly, but more to the point he never gave himself the chance.Had there been no NCAA suspension to keep him off the basketball floor these past several weeks, he might have understood the ecstasy available to a Memphis basketball player playing for Memphis in Memphis. There is a connection between the city and the Tigers, especially those who are Memphians, that is uncommon in the college game. Wiseman was teased with that just a bit in the opening two games of his too-short college career. His coach, Penny Hardaway, understands the feeling better than anyone. It’s part of what brought him back to the city following his retirement from the NBA, back to coaching, and eventually to becoming head coach of the Tigers.And the collective possibilities were boundless, as well. The constant rotation at the top of the Associated Press poll, the results impacting the highest-rated teams almost nightly and the stirring performances of the Tigers in Wiseman’s absence all suggest the potential for this team — his team — was enormous.Thursday, through an Instagram post, Wiseman declared he was withdrawing from the University of Memphis and would look forward to preparing for the 2020 NBA Draft. His college career ends with these small totals: three games played, 59 points scored, two games won.A 7-1 center with a developing jump shot, he was the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class. He will leave, though, having made the slightest impact on the college game since the NBA age limit was installed in 2005 and Greg Oden became the first gigantic talent to attend college in a dozen years.“When you get a player described as a generational talent and then have this occur, you can’t help but think, ‘What if?'” Dave Woloshin, who has done play-by-play for Tigers basketball since 1986, told Sporting News. “I am really sad for him personally. I view him as a victim. But I have no idea what changed.” College Basketball Athlete of the DecadeMemphis is undefeated since Wiseman’s suspension. There was so much excitement in the city about what could be possible when the nation’s brightest talent rejoined a team that, without him, won on the road at Tennessee and UAB, at home against Ole Miss and on a neutral court against N.C. State. With Duke and Kentucky losing to middling mid-majors, with Michigan State recovering from Joshua Langford’s injury, it appeared as though a team this resilient bolstered by a player so gifted could join the ranks of genuine national title contenders.Woloshin acknowledged he began to think about that very thing when Kentucky fell on a neutral court late Wednesday to a developing (and unranked) Utah squad.Wiseman had not played for the Tigers since a Nov. 12 loss at Oregon. He was declared ineligible and then reinstated under the grounds he serve a 12-game suspension that would have returned him to the court in mid-January. All this time away from the game is time in which the negatives of competing at the college level could be emphasized by those interested in Wiseman’s future earning potential.For one, there is the current prohibition to compete. That such a circumstance could develop after he’d been informed in May there would be no issues was bound to engender mistrust toward the NCAA. There is the possibility of injury, which inevitably is exaggerated in such a conversation but is not imaginary. (He could get hurt, as well, doing the predraft training he promised in his post). And there is the wait for the money that will be available to him once he enters the professional game.He can be a pro now, but he can’t be an NBA player. So there isn’t much immediately available to him. He can move into a nice, new home using the credit that will be made easily available to him as a projected top pick in the draft and do so beyond the purview of the NCAA. He probably could sign an endorsement deal with an athletic apparel company, though he has less leverage at this point in such a negotiation than when his draft destination clears up or if he’d finished out this season as a Final Four hero.Wiseman played a single game for the Tigers, scoring 28 points and grabbing 11 rebounds on opening night against South Carolina State, before the NCAA indicated to Memphis he was likely ineligible. That ruling was on account of an $11,500 payment Hardaway had made to Wiseman’s family when James moved from Nashville to Memphis to play high school basketball for Hardaway’s East High squad. Hardaway has publicly said the NCAA was made aware of that in May, when the organization apparently approved him to compete, but the contradictory ruling reached the school as the Tigers prepared for their second game. Eventually, the NCAA determined he would be suspended 12 games. Whether he served all of that suspension or none of it has become a semantic exercise. Wiseman will not be punished in the draft for taking this approach. His talent is too obvious for teams to dismiss him. He has sacrificed, though, the opportunity to compete for something important and to spread his brand beyond those who view him merely as that guy who got suspended. There is value in that, or there would have been no celebration in the Pelicans’ ticket offices when their organization won the lottery to select Zion Williamson.And there is an intangible value, as well, as could be seen in Zion’s ceaseless smiles after every Duke victory in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. He expressed how much he enjoyed his experience, how much he cared about his teammates, how badly he wanted to win.In the space of five months, Wiseman could have left an impression on his adopted city that would have lasted a lifetime. Instead, he’s leaving.
Bayern Munich greats Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben bowed out on a high as the club won the DFB-Pokal for a ninth domestic double in 19 years by beating RB Leipzig 3-0. The pair, both late substitutes, played little part in the actual result which owed everything to two goals from Robert Lewandowski either side of Kingsley Coman’s individual effort. Lewandowski, the competition’s highest scorer this season with seven, also took his individual tally in German Cup finals to seven as Bayern won it for the 19th time in their history. Leipzig never looked like securing their first major trophy once their dominance of the opening 15 minutes ended.Manuel Neuer, back in the side after six weeks out with a calf problem, was the first goalkeeper to be tested when he tipped Yussuf Poulsen’s powerful header on to the underside of the crossbar in the 11th minute.RelatedEuropean Team of the Week: Barcelona slayer, Serie A hat-trick hero and Neymar make cutAbu Dhabi teams secure their places in National Semi-Finals at du Football ChampionsBut Bayern struck with their first shot on target in the 29th minute, with Lewandowski superbly converting a twisting, stooping header when David Alaba’s cross arrived slightly behind him.Ibrahima Konate then headed off the line after Coman had rounded goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi having sprinted on to Mat Hummels’ defence-splitting through-ball, although an offside flag went up rather late.Lewandowski should have doubled the lead on the stroke of half-time but was too slow to react and the ball hit his body after being fired in and Gulacsi blocked.Minutes into the second half Neuer raced to the edge of the area to save a one-on-one with Emil Forsberg while Hummels’ drive forced Gulacsi to dive low to his right.Lewandowski directed a looping header wide before Robben was introduced for his farewell appearance after a decade at the club.With 12 minutes remaining Coman’s clever piece of control set him up for the second goal and Lewandowski scored his second late on, allowing Bayern fans to also bid farewell to substitute Ribery, who is ending his 12-year association with Bayern.
Frank Lampard revealed he had a hunch two-goal Jack Marriott would play a starring role in his side’s thrilling Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final win at Leeds.Marriott hauled his side level at 1-1 on the night 33 seconds after stepping off the substitutes’ bench shortly before half-time.Derby then stunned Leeds at a partisan Elland Road with further goals in the second half through Mason Mount and Harry Wilson’s penalty.Leeds responded through Stuart Dallas’s second of the night, which made it 3-3 on aggregate, but Marriott’s late winner sealed Derby’s place at Wembley in the final.“The Jack Marriott one is a question I get asked. I know the fans want to see him playing,” said Lampard.“Jack’s been really good for us this season. I just felt in the last couple of months, in terms of what I really want from Jack, what can make him the player he was tonight, is the absolute ethic to do everything as an all-round striker.“He’s not the tallest. He’s strong in terms of stockiness, but he needs to work without the ball, to have a hunger and desire constantly.“I said to him before the game I had a feeling. I said I know you’re upset, but I have a feeling that something’s going to come from you today.”Lampard said his emotions after his side’s victory matched anything he had felt during his playing days.“It means such a great deal,” Lampard said. “To get into the play-offs after such a great run and to go 1-0 down and do something that no team has ever done in the play-offs after losing the first leg at home.“In terms of personal achievement, the feeling is as much as I’ve had in football.“It’s not the personal achievement of being able to win stuff at Chelsea, but in terms of how I feel right now, it’s up there.”Leeds, who missed out on automatic promotion after topping the table in March, will now do all they can to keep hold of manager Marcelo Bielsa.Bielsa could not hide his disappointment, but said he would listen to the club’s proposals for next season.“It’s not as you can imagine convenient to talk about this point right now,” the Argentinian said.“Anyway, the process and you know about this process, that’s why I’m talking about it, if the club offers me the possibility to carry on I will listen to this proposal.”Leeds spurned chances to take a commanding aggregate lead in the first half and failed to convert their openings in the second period – a season-long theme that has caught up with them.“It’s a painful situation and we’re all disappointed,” Bielsa said.“In the first half we should have finished with one or two goals more and in the second half it was a game that broke immediately.“The chances of the opponent ended in goals and our’s not.”But Bielsa had no complaints about his players, adding: “What they have offered to the club during this season will be valued with the time.“The fact that we couldn’t reach goals that were so close leaves a feeling of disappointment, but you can have another perspective about it.”
Struggling to pick out the facts from the figures? Reality from the rubbish? Sense from the silly season? We’ve got you sorted in our daily dose of the Transfer Predictor, where we round up the latest rumours with an analytical spin. We sort through the most eye-catching transfer reports of the past 24 hours and give a balanced judgment on whether the move really will happen – and why, or why not. Today’s edition features the future of an imminent swap deal involving Juventus and Manchester…City, an England international with over 60 caps joining Crystal Palace and Paris Saint-Germain saying goodbye to a goalkeeper.JOAO CANCELORelatedWATCH: Pep Guardiola defends old foe Jose Mourinho ahead of Man City’s clash with TottenhamWATCH: Pep Guardiola admits Liverpool can break Man City’s Premier League recordJuventus -> €30m plus player -> Manchester CityA swap deal involving Juventus full-back Cancelo and City’s Danilo will be completed on Monday, according to Goal.WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: The 25-year-old was said to have endures a fraught relationship with Max Allegri last season and that seems to have converted to Maurizio Sarri, with reports in Italy frequently claiming Cancelo is behind Mattia De Sciglio on the Juve depth chart.It would be a coup for City who would be comfortable switching the forward-thinking Portuguese full-back on either flank. The move makes perfect sense for Danilo who has failed to convince since moving to Manchester from Real Madrid.WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: At initial glance it seems odd that Cancelo would make such a move, with Kyle Walker firmly established at right-back, while City have a number of options at left-back.But his temperament and one or two injury issues meant he was never fully trusted by Allegri last season, so perhaps the Portuguese feels he’s simply in need of a change of scenery. It seems only a matter of time before this deal is confirmed.Transfer predictor: 9/10GARY CAHILLChelsea -> Free -> Crystal Palace Palace are closing in on a deal for ex-Chelsea defender Cahill, reports The Sun.WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: The former Chelsea centre-back is a free agent so makes huge sense for Palace, who have been very quiet in the transfer market this summer. Cahill, 33, is keen to stay near his family base in London and the Eagles need to add quality to a defence shorn of Aaron Wan-Bissaka.WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: There are believed to be a number of clubs interested in the services of the 61-times capped England international – including London rivals Arsenal, while Cahill is also on Burnley’s radar.The Clarets may be set to lose James Tarkowski who Leicester see as a potential Harry Maguire replacement.Transfer predictor: 7/10KEVIN TRAPPParis Saint-Germain -> €10m -> Eintracht FrankfurtTrapp is back at PSG after spending last season on loan at the Bundesliga club, who are now hoping to land the German on a permanent basis, reports Le10Sport.WHY IT CAN HAPPEN: Trapp, who made 43 appearances for Frankfurt last term, is already believed to have agreed personal terms with the side he spent three seasons with from 2012-15 over a five-year contract.PSG have two options; sell this summer for a nominal fee or keep Trapp, although they would lose him for free at the end of his contract next summer.WHY IT WON’T HAPPEN: The main issue holding up any deal is Die Adler’s (the Eagles) refusal so far to meet the €10m asking price, although the two clubs are getting close.PSG will want to hold out for something close to that, although the risk of losing Trapp for free next year may well prove to be in his former side’s favour.Transfer predictor: 8/10
Players who are “questionable” heading into prime-time matchups are always start ’em, sit ’em worries, especially when they have missed the past couple games. That’s the situation for Baltimore’s Marquise Brown ahead of Week 9’s SNF Patriots-Ravens matchup. His counterpart, Julian Edelman, is on the opposite end of the spectrum — he’s always “questionable”, but he always plays. Either way, you can bet fantasy owners will be looking for injury updates ahead of the official active/inactive report. For updates on banged-up RBs , , and , click here; for the latest on WRs , , and , click here; for more on , go here. For , click here. Follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy for more news and updates. Is Marquise Brown playing Sunday night?Brown is officially ACTIVE.Brown (ankle) hasn’t played since Week 5, but after getting in limited practices this week, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he expects Brown to play against the Patriots on Sunday night.The talented rookie has been more good than bad this season, but a brutal matchup with Stephon Gilmore and the Patriots top-ranked defense awaits. He’ll likely be out there if you need him — and he could very well be Baltimore’s most targeted receiver — but he shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than a boom-or-bust WR3. All things being equal, he’s probably best left on fantasy benches.Is Julian Edelman playing Sunday night?Edelman is officially ACTIVE.We go through this dance every week with Edelman (chest). He’s always questionable; he always plays. There’s no reason to expect any different this week against Baltimore. Edelman has had at least seven catches in four straight games and even scored twice last week. He’s an easy call as a WR1 in PPR leagues.
Brazil saw three goals disallowed by Video Assistant Review as they were held by Venezuela to a goalless draw in their Copa America clash.The hosts thought Philippe Coutinho had finally gotten them the upper hand in the final minutes of the game, but his close-range effort was ruled out after VAR showed a handball by Roberto Firmino in the build-up.The Liverpool forward had already found himself on the wrong end of a VAR decision, which saw an effort by Gabriel Jesus disallowed.That came after Firmino had managed to find the net in the 38th minute – but the goal was chalked off after the referee ruled he had fouled in the process.Without injured star Neymar, the hosts appeared to lack some of the finishing power they needed to really get the better of La Vinotinto’s impressive goalkeeper.The Group A leaders were in possession for more than two thirds of the match, with nearly 20 attempts on goal.But they were repeatedly frustrated – despite Tite bringing on Everton, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus in the second half.Tite’s side started with a 3-0 opening-night victory over Bolivia as they look to claim their first Copa America crown since 2007.That task was made all the more difficult when Paris St Germain forward Neymar was ruled out of the competition after injuring his ankle in a warm-up win over Qatar.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton has dismissed suggestions that fellow strugglers Huddersfield and Fulham are already condemned to Premier League relegation.Bottom club Huddersfield are 13 points adrift of safety with 10 games remaining, while the Cottagers, who sacked manager Claudio Ranieri on Thursday, are three points better off.After beating Fulham in midweek, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl implied the bottom two clubs could not recover, leaving “five or six” teams competing to avoid 18th place.But Hughton, whose side sit two points above the drop zone ahead of Saturday’s visit of Huddersfield, feels it is wrong to write them off.“I certainly wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t say that anybody has gone,” said Hughton.“I think it’s very unfair on the two teams that are down there to say that.“I think everybody is fighting. I think there are a few other clubs that can get sucked into that.“We are one team that are amongst a group of teams that if we don’t get the results very much could fall into that.”Huddersfield, who were promoted alongside Brighton in 2017, recorded an overdue victory by beating Wolves on Tuesday evening.It was a first success for new Terriers manager Jan Siewert and ended a14-game winless run in the league which began at home to Albion on December 1.Hughton thinks the West Yorkshire club’s struggles are understandable and believes they will need to recreate the spirit shown at the end of last season under David Wagner to pull off another great escape.“It shows how difficult it is for any team that comes into the division, so it doesn’t surprise me,” said Hughton.“You’re up against sides that have spent a lot of money and have more experience in this league.“But I thought they were brilliant towards the end of last season and for where they are at this moment they’ll need that again.“They’re on the back of a result which lifted them and they’ll be looking for the same again.”After being in the relative comfort of mid-table for a number of weeks, Brighton’s own league position has become concerning.The Seagulls are the only club in England’s top four divisions without a league victory in 2019 and could end the weekend in the bottom three.Hughton, who wants his team to tighten up defensively, fears slipping into the drop zone may have a detrimental impact on the mentality of his squad.“Psychologically it gives you a big boost not to be in that bottom three,” he said.“There are still plenty of games to go and there will be lots of twists and turns in the positioning in that bottom group.“Sometimes it’s about going back to basics but without losing what we have offensively because you only win games by scoring goals.“But, yes, I think we have to get back to thinking about keeping clean sheets.”
England‘s three-match Test series in Sri Lanka begins on Tuesday in Galle. Here Press Association Sport looks at five discussion points on the eve of the match. LIFE AFTER CHEF Less than two months after Alastair Cook brought down the curtain on his Test career in grand fashion with a farewell century at the Oval, England take the field without him for the first time in 12 years. There will be young fans who have never seen a Test without him facing the new ball or standing watch in the slips but now it is over to Keaton Jennings and debutant Rory Burns to begin anew. Marcus Trescothick called on the pair to “forge their own path” and these are the first steps on that journey.Burns and Jennings are set to open for England.RelatedDominic Thiem on cusp of first Grand Slam title and other talking points from Australian OpenEngland’s fountain of youth is starting to flow but Ollie Pope is the brightest starALL HAIL HERATHHe may not have the chiselled good looks of an A-list star but Rangana Herath is a true great of Test cricket. His impending retirement, after one more visit to his favourite hunting ground, sees the departure of the most prolific left-arm spinner in history. The entire city of Galle is festooned with his likeness – with posters lining the streets, banners hung around the ground, and both sides planning to mark his 19-year career during the match. He needs one more wicket to reach 100 at the ground, and would become the third player in history to manage that at a single venue. Expect him to get plenty more than that.Herath is ready for one final party.NO MORE “SITTING DUCKS”Several England players have spoken about the importance of playing positively against spin in this series and not becoming creasebound while waiting for the inevitable. Jack Leach, a spinner himself, arguably put it best when he said the visiting batsman would not be “sitting ducks”. Players’ own options will be different – coming down the track, sweeping, reverse-sweeping or paddling – but all of the main run-scorers will be expected to have a counter-punch to the home side’s twirlers.England have the players to deal with Sri Lanka’s spin threat.SEEKING AN OVERDUE WINRemarkably, England have not won a Test on the road since they overturned Bangladesh in Chittagong in October 2016. Since then they have lost 10 and drawn three, with several truly troubling margins of defeat. The nature of modern touring schedules mean away wins are becoming harder and harder but England’s is a poor return on the talent and resources available to them. Captain Joe Root has vowed to make imaginative decisions to buck the trend and the success or failure of those gambles could be the difference.England are long overdue a Test series win on the road.WEATHER WATCHAfter the limited-overs leg of the tour was blighted by thunderstorms – not entirely unforeseeable when the matches were scheduled for the back end of the monsoon season – a few clear sessions of uninterrupted cricket are the order of the day. It may be a forlorn hope though. Forecasts anticipate a heavy chance of rain on each of the five days meaning delays and stop-start cricket could be on the agenda. It might not please the thousands of travelling fans who have made the journey but if the covers hold in moisture and stop the pitch breaking up, it could play into English hands.The weather forecast is not looking so good.