Ammon News, Sports

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

[8/21/2017 3:34:12 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday. Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans. An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background. Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils. Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou. There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend. Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final. It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half - an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. “We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times. *AP

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Man United thrashes Swansea in second straight 4-0 win

[8/19/2017 4:54:21 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Manchester United swept to its second straight 4-0 win to start the Premier League season by thrashing Swansea on Saturday, with Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial all scoring again for Jose Mourinho’s side. Center back Eric Bailly gave United the lead on the stroke of halftime with a close-range strike at a corner, and the visitors were comfortable in the second half before running amok in the final 10 minutes. Lukaku slotted home in the 80th from a pass by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who then set up Pogba to deftly chip goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in the 82nd. Martial, on as a substitute, scored United’s third goal in a devastating five-minute span when he finished a counter-attack with a low shot into the corner. Encouraging start for Mourinho Eight goals scored and two clean sheets makes for an encouraging start to the season for Mourinho, who has built an imposing and clinical team that looks equipped to challenge for the title. This wasn’t the fast-paced United that demolished West Ham at Old Trafford on the opening weekend until the final 10 minutes, when Swansea’s defense opened up. The Welsh team, which sold its star player Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton this week, has beaten United twice in August in the last three years. The only time Swansea seriously threatened United was in the third minute when Jordan Ayew broke clear thanks to a fortunate ricochet, cut into the area and curled an attempted cross - with the outside of his right foot - against the crossbar. Phil Jones also struck the bar in the ninth minute for United with an effort that came off his shoulder from Juan Mata’s inswinging free kick. *AP

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Ronaldo banned for 5 games after pushing referee

[8/14/2017 4:30:17 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five games after shoving a referee following his red card during Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday. The Spanish football federation said on Monday that Ronaldo has been suspended for one game for the red card and four games for pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea in the back. Ronaldo will miss Wednesday’s return leg of the Spanish Super Cup in Madrid plus the first four matches of the Spanish league season. *AP

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Furious Al-Faisaly fans leave referee with head bleed after losing ACC final

[8/7/2017 8:31:24 AM]

AMMONNEWS - The intense Arab Club Championship final on Sunday ended with the referee in hospital. Fans were furious by the controversial goal scored by Esperance Sportive de Tunis, which won them the championship 3-2 against Jordan’s Al-Faisaly ,Roya published. Al-Faisaly officials protested that the third goal, scored in the 101st minute of the game, “should not have been counted.” Egyptian referee Ibrahim Nour Eddine allowed Tunisia to score a goal into an empty net from the off-side position, while a Faisaly player was still injured on the pitch. After the game, Nour Eddine was violently attacked by a group of Al-Faisaly fans, leaving him with a reported head bleed. On Sunday night, dozens of Jordanians demonstrated outside the Egyptian Embassy in Amman. They were protesting referee Nour Eddine and the arrest of tens of Al-Faisaly fans outside the Alexandria Stadium after the game had finished. Egyptian police had arrested dozens of Al-Faisaly fans after they were involved in hooliganism.

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Faisali aim for Arab Clubs Championship title

[8/6/2017 8:23:07 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Faisali play Esperance Tunis (Tarraji) in the final of the Arab Clubs Championship, which concludes in Alexandria, Egypt on Sunday. It will be the second time the Jordanian team plays for the title of the elite Arab competition and observers are anticipating a hard-fought final. Making it to the final was no easy feat and Faisali have been impressive since the first round when they topped Group A, after beating the UAE’s Wihdeh 2-1 and scoring 1-0 wins over Algeria’s Hussein Dey and hosts Egypt’s champion Ahli. In the semis, the Jordanian league and cup champs beat Egyptian giants Ahli 2-1 while two-time champs Esperance beat Morocco’s Rabat also 2-1 to advance in the other semifinal. No Jordanian team has won the competition that kicked off in 1980 and had different competitions under five different editions. Faisali were runner- up to ES Setif in the Arab Clubs Championship in 2007, and were also runner-up in the Arab Super Cup in 1996. This year the winner will take home $2.5 million. Twelve teams played in three groups, with Egypt’s Ahli finishing best runner up behind Faisali in Group A as Group B was led by Morocco’s Rabat which included Egypt’s Zamalek, Saudi Arabia’s Nasser and Lebanon’s Ahed while Tunisia’s Esperance topped Group C which included Sudan’s Marrikh, Saudi Arabia’s Hilal and Iraq’s Naft Al Wassat. Faisali, had an exciting local season and now hope to take a regional title home. They are twice winners of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup, and did not compete on the Asian scene this year. The 2016/17 season competitions saw them combine the Jordan Professional Football League and Jordan Cup titles while Ahli beat Wihdat to win the 34th Super Cup, and Shabab Urdun won the Jordan Football Association Shield. Wihdat, who this year settled for third in the league and failed to win even one of the four local competition titles, were eliminated from the 14th Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup semifinals. Wihdat’s ambitions of competing among top tier Asian teams were dashed early when they were eliminated from the preliminary round of 2017 AFC Asian Champions League (ACL). Jordanian teams have never before made it past the ACL preliminary round. The Arab Clubs Championship is an annual regional club football competition organised by the Union of Arab Football Associations and contested by elite clubs from the Arab world. The tournament is played by teams from the Asian Football Confederation and Confederation of African Football, all of which are either winners or runners-up of their country’s league or cup competition. Founded in 1980 as the Arab Club Champions Cup, the tournament’s first ever champions were Iraqi giants Al Shorta. Iraq’s Al Rasheed (Karkh) are the most successful club in the competition’s history. Saudi Arabian clubs won the title eight times and Tunisian clubs five times. Since the tournament was merged with the Cup Winners’ Cup, only ES Sétif of Algeria have managed consecutive wins, successfully defending their title in 2008. The reigning champions are USM Alger from the 2013 final. After being put on hold for three seasons, the tournament has returned for the 2016–17 season.

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Spain’s La Liga rejects Neymar payment over PSG move - source

[8/3/2017 3:17:19 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Spain’s La Liga on Thursday rejected payment of a record-breaking release clause that would allow Neymar to leave Barcelona for Paris St Germain, a source from the national soccer league said. A group of lawyers representing Neymar visited La Liga in Madrid on Thursday to try to settle the transfer and pay the 222 million-euro ($263 million) break fee. It was not immediately clear whether La Liga’s refusal to accept payment would put the brakes on the transfer. Spain’s Marca newspaper reported that Neymar and his advisers would turn to FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, requesting a provisional transfer to PSG. Footing the bill The Brazilian striker’s agent Wagner Ribeiro had said on Wednesday that the French club was ready to foot the bill so that Neymar could be presented at PSG at the weekend. La Liga president, Javier Tebas, had already warned in an interview that Spain’s league would not accept payment by PSG to trigger the release clause, saying it was potentially in breach of UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. Under the those rules, a club’s wage bill must not exceed 70 percent of its revenue. UEFA, European football’s governing body, told Reuters on Wednesday that had been no complaint received so far about PSG in this respect, adding that it would not block any potential deal in advance. *Reuters

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Man United sign midfielder Matic from Chelsea

[7/31/2017 6:29:04 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Manchester United have signed Serbia midfielder Nemanja Matic from Premier League champions Chelsea on a three-year contract with an option to extend for a further year, both clubs said on Monday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but British media reported that United paid between $52.48 million (40 million and 50 million pounds) to reunite the 28-year-old midfielder with manager Jose Mourinho. “Nemanja is a Manchester United player and a Jose Mourinho player. He represents everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition, team player,” Mourinho said in a statement. “I would like to thank him for his desire to join us because without that, it would be impossible to have him here. I am sure our players and supporters will love him. A big welcome to our new number 31.” Mourinho’s title-winning side Mourinho signed Matic when he was in charge of Chelsea in 2014. Matic, who originally joined Chelsea in 2009 before moving to Benfica in 2011, became an influential part of Chelsea’s title-winning side under Mourinho in 2014-15. “To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” Matic said. “This is a very exciting time for the club and I am looking forward to playing my part in creating more history for this great club.” Matic’s arrival followed Mourinho’s unsuccessful move for Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier as United seek to mount a serious Premier League challenge for the first time since the departure of Alex Ferguson as manager in 2013. Matic made 40 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea last season as Italian Antonio Conte marked his first season in charge of the London-based club by winning the league. However, Chelsea’s signing of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko in this transfer window was an indication that Matic could have struggled for game time next season. United have also signed defender Victor Lindelof from Benfica and striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton. *Reuters

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