Connect with us

Football

Messi shines as Barca sweep past Girona

Published

on

SPAIN: Lionel Messi scored a sublime goal to make up for the missed trip to Miami as Barcelona beat Girona 2-0 on Sunday to go five points clear again at the top of La Liga.

This was the fixture intended to be played in the United States but any advantage Girona maintained by keeping it at their own Montilivi ground was cancelled out by Messi, and another ruthless Barca display.

Messi’s brilliant finish in the second half, his ninth goal in as many games, came after Nelson Semedo had given the visitors an early lead, before Bernardo Espinosa’s red card consigned Girona to 39 minutes with 10 men.

The home fans were left incensed by that decision, as well as Messi’s reaction they believed had caused it, but the Argentinian’s goal offered the perfect riposte.

Barcelona restore their hefty advantage over Atletico Madrid, who had cut the gap to two by beating Getafe on Saturday. Real Madrid will have to overcome Espanyol later on Sunday just to reduce their own deficit to 10.

Outside the stadium before kick-off, propped up on a railing, was a sign with a scrawled message that read: “Miami, here we come”.

La Liga had hoped to drag this game there to promote Spanish football and the clubs had supported the idea, with various perks dangled in front of fans, including free flights and tickets, not to mention the chance to be part of something “historic”.

Girona’s home, however, is here and when opposition proved too great, neither team wanted to appear disappointed.

“I always felt it was a distant option,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said on Saturday.

 

 

app

Football

UEFA probe Ronaldo for ‘improper conduct’ over ‘cojones’ goal celebration

Published

on

UEFA probe Ronaldo for 'improper conduct' over 'cojones' goal celebration

MILAN: UEFA on Monday opened an investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ Champions League comeback win against Atletico Madrid last week.

European football’s governing body said Ronaldo was facing charges of “improper conduct” after he mimicked Diego Simeone’s crotch-grabbing ‘cojones’ gesture in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win that sent Juventus through 3-2 on aggregate.

After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone’s gesture after the Spaniards’ 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.

A decision will be taken by UEFA on March 21.

Juventus take on Dutch club Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals over two legs, on April 10 in Amsterdam and April 16 in Turin.

Coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he is confident Ronaldo will not be fined or suspended.

“I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands. I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won’t be a ban,” said Allegri.

Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture.

“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” said the Argentinian coach.

Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo is the record goal scorer in the European competition with 124 goals in 160 matches.

 

 

 

app

Continue Reading

Football

FIFA supports plan to increase number of teams for 2022 World Cup

Published

on

FIFA supports plan to increase number

MOSCOW: FIFA moved a step closer on Friday to expanding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams and hopes to confirm the plans in June if a suitable co-host can be found.

An internal feasibility study supporting the expansion, which is being strongly pushed by president Gianni Infantino, was given full backing by the FIFA council in Miami.

A final decision will now be taken in Paris on June 6 after FIFA and Qatar jointly submit the names of potential co-host nations to the governing body’s Congress.

Infantino, who also confirmed a new Club World Cup with 24 teams will begin in 2021 to replace the Confederations Cup, told a press conference: “You have in front of you a happy FIFA president. I am always happy but especially today because we have taken some important decisions. We came to conclusion, yes it’s feasible to move from 32 to 48 teams at the World Cup provided certain conditions are met. We have the duty to look into it, 90 percent are in favour of an increase but it’s not as easy as that. We have to analyse matters carefully and we are working closely with Qatar.”

The move away from the traditional 32 teams which will see 80 matches instead of 64 — the notion was originally slated to come into effect for the 2026 tournament in North America — means one or more other countries will be asked to help Qatar stage the shortened 28-day event which is scheduled to kick off in November 2022.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman and United Arab Emirates are all potential options yet rancorous diplomatic disputes has led to the tiny Gulf state being politically isolated from many of its former allies.

Europe boycott

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will need to end their diplomatic blockade of Qatar launched in 2017 if they want to be involved, FIFA’s feasibility study said.

“We know the situation in the Gulf region,” added Infantino. “We are in the lucky position of being in football, and that means you can only care about football. I was pleased with the reaction of the Qataris. We don’t want to regret not analysing the decision.”

Analysts expressed scepticism, however, that regional acrimony can be overcome to enable Infantino’s hoped-for expansion.

“The Gulf Crisis is not going to solved by playing football,” said James Dorsey, a researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

“FIFA recognises that it is out of the question to share (matches) with (the) Qataris’ detractors, the Emiratis and Saudi Arabia. If you pull in Kuwait and Oman, it could aggravate the situation.”

The Qatari organising committee for the 2022 World Cup meanwhile gave a lukewarm response to Friday’s decision, saying organisers would continue planning for a 32-team event.

“We will work with FIFA to determine whether or not a viable operating model does exist and importantly, whether it is in the best interests for football and for the tournament, and for Qatar as the host nation,” a spokesman for Qatar 2022 said.

“Until we reach that conclusion, we will continue to work toward hosting a 32-team World Cup…”

FIFA, meanwhile, have been told that the leading European clubs will boycott a Club World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 2021 which was also given the go-ahead at the meeting in Florida.

A 17-page report distributed to the 37 members of FIFA’s ruling body calls for the new tournament to take place between June 17 and July 4 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup international tournament.

Infantino called the decision to move ahead with the plans an “important milestone for world football” and expects no problems moving forward.

“We should enjoy what is coming,” he said.

But the European Club Association (ECA) said leading European clubs would boycott the event.

An ECA spokesman said: “ECA clubs will not participate in the Club World Cup in 2021 and will assess participation in the Club World Cup in 2024.”

UEFA also confirmed Europe had voted against the new tournament at Friday’s meeting.

There was also confirmation from FIFA that the video assistant referee system (VAR) will be used at the women’s World Cup this summer.

Continue Reading

Europe

Three ex Greek football chiefs sentenced

Published

on

ATHENS: Three former Greek football federation presidents received five year suspended prison sentences on Thursday for their part in a 13 million euros ($14.65 million) health fund scandal.
Two other men who had served on the federation’s board when the funds destined for free amateur player health checks were misused were also found guilty.
Former federation presidents Vasilis Gagatsis, Sophocles Pilavios, and Giorgos Girtzikis, as well as former board members Giorgos Sindoris and Giannis Oikonomidis, said they would appeal the verdict.
The scandal involved a health fund which was set up in 2005 but was never implemented despite the convicted men running the scheme until 2013 with a loss of around 13 million euros for the federation.

 

Continue Reading

News Pakistan Trending