Ammon News, Sports

Referee banned for life for match-fixing in World Cup qualifier

[3/20/2017 3:51:15 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Ghanaian referee Joseph Lamptey has been banned for life for match manipulation in a World Cup qualifier, soccer’s governing body FIFA said Monday. FIFA said Lamptey was found guilty of unlawfully influencing a match result following South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal in November in African Group D. FIFA did not give further details but African soccer’s governing body (CAF) said at the time that Lamptey had wrongly awarded a penalty to the South Africans and suspended him for three months. CAF said that Lamptey was guilty of “poor performance” in the match and “awarded a wrong penalty for handball despite the fact that the ball never touched the hand of the player.” Thulani Hlatshwayo converted the penalty in the 42nd minute and Thulani Serero added another goal three minutes later. Lamptey previously served a six-month ban, imposed by CAF, for wrongly awarding a goal during a CAF Champions League semi-final in 2010. South Africa’s win left them level with Burkina Faso on four points from two games in the group with Senegal on three and Cape Verde on none. FIFA did not say whether the result would stand or whether it would order a replay. “Further information concerning the South Africa v. Senegal match in question will be provided once the decision becomes final and binding,” it said. *Reuters

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Mourinho: United gets no help from hectic schedule

[3/18/2017 2:17:58 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The Premier League just doesn’t care about Manchester United, according to Jose Mourinho. The United manager complained about the congested schedule on Thursday, saying his team shouldn’t have to get back on the field early on Sunday after playing in the Europa League on Thursday night. “They simply don’t care,” Mourinho said after United reached the Europa League quarterfinals by beating Rostov 1-0. “In other countries they try to do that little support to the teams in Europe. But here it is difficult. We go Sunday at 12 o’clock. Why? Why us? So it’s going to be even more difficult for us.” United played in the FA Cup on Monday, losing to Chelsea. They then had to play Thursday in the second leg of the Europa League. And the team now has only Friday and Saturday off before and an early wakeup call on Sunday to face Middlesbrough in the Premier League. “We should be the last team to play in the weekend, it is as simple as that,” Mourinho said. “We should play Monday. Or we should play the last match on Sunday. Not 12 o’clock. At least let us sleep a little bit on Sunday, right?” United is in sixth place in the Premier League with 49 points, six points behind fourth-place Liverpool and the coveted Champions League places. On Thursday, United produced a lethargic performance in beating Russian club Rostov 1-0 and also lost midfielder Paul Pogba to a hamstring injury. Mourinho said it was no surprise United was picking up injuries “due to an accumulation of fatigue.” “He was already feeling something in the first half and immediately he felt he couldn’t carry on in the second. Even a physical monster like him felt it,” Mourinho said. “He was one of the players who never had a rest, because he played every game.” United defender Marcos Rojo even ate a banana on the field toward the end of the game to try to boost his energy levels -- indicative, Mourinho said, of a player “at their limit.” “I did not think it was a funny situation. When I watch marathons, when I watch other sports and people go to the limit, I don’t think it’s funny,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think it’s funny that some of our players have played 11 matches in six weeks.” *AP

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Bayern’s Ancelotti gets Real reunion, Juve meet Barca

[3/18/2017 2:12:47 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Titleholders Real Madrid must face their former coach in the Champions League quarter-finals after they were drawn against Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern Munich on Friday. Ancelotti led Real to the 10th of their 11 European Cups in 2014, inflicting Bayern’s heaviest European home defeat on the way with a 4-0 win at the Allianz Arena in the second leg of the semi-final. Barcelona were pitted against Italian champions Juventus in a repeat of the 2015 final which the Spanish side won 3-1. Rank outsiders Leicester City will take on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, runners-up in two of the last three seasons, with the first leg at the Vicente Calderon where no English side have won. Borussia Dortmund face AS Monaco who upset Manchester City in the previous round. Bayern will host the first leg against Real as the two sides renew one of European soccer’s oldest and most bitter rivalries. “The match against Real Madrid will be special for me. It is going to be exciting to play against them,” Ancelotti said. “We have a lot of confidence and want to win the Champions League this season. I think we have the ability to beat Real Madrid. But they have a fantastic team with a fantastic coach.” Juventus will host the first leg against Barcelona and the second will see their full back Dani Alves return to the Nou Camp where the Brazilian made 247 appearances in eight years. Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke was relieved not to draw Bundesliga rivals Bayern. “We wanted to avoid Bayern, and I think they wanted to avoid us. From that perspective, it is a good draw,” he said. “I saw Monaco’s match against Manchester City and I am aware that they have a goal difference of +58 in the league. It’s a difficult match. At this level, it doesn’t really matter if you play at home first.” Atletico Madrid v Leicester City Borussia Dortmund v Monaco Bayern Munich v Real Madrid Juventus v Barcelona *Reuters

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Valverde, Unzue primed for Barca job as Sampaoli’s star fades

[3/15/2017 4:52:15 PM]

AMMONNEWS -Sevilla’s Champions League exit to Leicester City may have scuppered Jorge Sampaoli’s chances of replacing Barcelona’s departing coach Luis Enrique next season, with Ernesto Valverde and Juan Carlos Unzue now seen as the favourites. The Argentine was widely reported to be among the top candidates to take the vacant Barcelona dugout in the summer along with Athletic Bilbao’s Valverde, Everton coach Ronald Koeman and Unzue, Luis Enrique’s current assistant. Sampaoli represents a popular choice among supporters for the thrilling style of play he has served up with Sevilla, but his stock is reported to have fallen with recent results. Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester followed disappointing 1-1 draws with Leganes and Alaves which saw Sevilla drift further behind La Liga pace setters Barcelona, and in recent weeks the team look as if they have run out of steam. Radio Catalunya and Spanish daily Marca reported on Wednesday that Barca’s board have ruled Sampaoli out of the running due to his lack of ties to Barcelona, a factor seen as one of the reasons Gerard Martino proved an unsuccessful choice in 2013. Valverde, a former Barca striker who has enjoyed sustained success in four years with Athletic, is reportedly the number one choice for President Josep Maria Bartomeu and the board due to his ties with the club and his knowledge of La Liga. Valverde spent two years as a Barcelona forward under the late visionary coach Johan Cruyff and was reportedly offered the role when Tito Vilanova was forced to quit as coach after being diagnosed with cancer in 2013, although he had already committed to take charge of Athletic. Valverde, who has also taken charge of Espanyol, Valencia and Olympiakos in Greece, led Athletic back to the Champions League after a 16-year absence in his first campaign. Athletic, who only choose players with ties to the Basque region of Spain, reached the 2015 King’s Cup final, losing to Barca, but they exacted revenge with a 5-1 aggregate win in the Spanish Super Cup, their first trophy for 31 years. Valverde is also admired for his ability to manage squads and egos. “Ernesto Valverde would fit in perfectly at Barcelona for his style of play and philosophy,” said former Athletic goalkeeper Iago Herrerin last month. “He has very clear ideas and a lot of character. He has managed to make the regular starters and fringe players happy at Athletic, which is the hardest thing to do in football.” Koeman, whose free-kick at Wembley delivered Barca’s first ever European Cup in 1992, has been linked due to his strong ties with the club and the success of previous Dutchmen such as Cruyff, Louis Van Gaal and Franck Rijkaard. Unzue, meanwhile, represents a continuation of the style of Luis Enrique. The former Barca substitute goalkeeper followed Luis Enrique to the Catalan club from Celta Vigo in 2014 and coaches the team in set pieces, although he has no experience in charge of any club. According to a front page report in Barcelona-based daily Sport on Wednesday, the prospect of appointing Unzue is becoming increasingly more attractive to the board due to his popularity in the Barca dressing room. *Reuters

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Man United charged with ‘failing to control players’

[3/14/2017 3:41:23 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Manchester United has been charged by the English Football Association after its players harangued referee Michael Oliver following the sending-off of Ander Herrera during the team’s FA Cup loss to Chelsea. United’s players were unhappy when Herrera received a second yellow card in the 35th minute for fouling Chelsea winger Eden Hazard. The score was 0-0 at that stage and United went on to lose 1-0 in the quarterfinal match at Stamford Bridge on Monday. The FA said Tuesday that United has been charged with “failing to control their players.” United has until Friday to respond to the charge. *AP

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Miami to host ‘Clasico’ friendly between Barcelona and Real

[3/11/2017 2:48:13 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Spanish arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona will meet in a pre-season friendly in Miami on July 29 in the first “Clasico” to take place outside Spain for 35 years. The game is part of the International Champions Cup, an annual pre-season tournament which has been going since 2013, and will take place at 65,000-capacity Hard Rock stadium, home of NFL franchise the Miami Dolphins. Barca and Real, first and second respectively in the La Liga standings, have amassed 56 domestic titles and 16 European Cups between them. They have only met on foreign soil once before, in Venezuela in 1982. Real have been visiting the United States for their pre-season campaign since 2009, although did not go there in 2015, which is the last time Barca played in the US. Barca have sought to increase their profile in America recently, opening an office in New York and setting up a youth academy in Charlotte, North Carolina last year, adding to an existing academy in Miami. “I think today we are writing a crucial chapter in football history in the United States as this match will be a big opportunity to promote the game in this country,” Barca marketing director Manel Arroyo said in a statement. “This is something we are hoping to achieve at FC Barcelona and the recent opening of our New York office is testament to this. The match on the 29th is not only a friendly, it is much more than that: it is a game which is always passionate and one which all fans will be able to enjoy, especially here in Miami.” *Reuters

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Germany, Turkey the only bidders to host Euro 2024

[3/8/2017 2:42:25 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Germany and Turkey are the only countries who want to bid for the right to host soccer’s 2024 European Championship finals, continental governing body UEFA said on Wednesday. The football federations of the two countries were the only ones to submit a declaration of interest before the March 3 deadline, UEFA added in a statement. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland had explored a joint bid but did not to proceed. The potential hosts will now have to produce a full bid dossier by April next year with UEFA choosing the winner the following September. *Reuters

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