Author: AFP

CAF history seekers Primeiro hold slim advantage

Johannesburg (AFP) – Primeiro Agosto take a 1-0 lead into the second leg of a CAF Champions League semi-final against Esperance in Tunisia Tuesday hoping to become the first Angolan finalists. The closest a club from the oil-rich southern Africa state has come to reaching the tile decider was Petro Atletico getting to the 2001 semi-finals before losing on penalties. Reaching the penultimate stage of the elite African club competition this year is a remarkable achievement by Primeiro, whose financial backers include the Angolan military. They scraped into the group phase on penalties and scored eight minutes into stoppage time ... Read more

Bolt ‘offered cut-price deal’ in Australia – media

Sydney (AFP) – Australia’s Central Coast Mariners have offered sprint superstar Usain Bolt a contract, reports said Monday, but the club’s coach said he knows nothing about it. The eight-time Olympic champion has been on trial with the A-League side since arriving in August to fulfil his dream of becoming a professional footballer. He scored two goals in a pre-season friendly last week and on Thursday turned down a two-year, trial-free deal from cashed-up Maltese champions Valletta. “I can confirm Usain has been offered a contract by Central Coast Mariners,” the Jamaican’s agent Ricky Simms told the BBC. The club ... Read more

Lopetegui on the brink as Madrid seek morale-boosting win over Plzen

Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid’s players may have offered a show of public support to Julen Lopetegui but fail to win at home against Viktoria Plzen on Tuesday and their words will mean very little. “Julen has the backing of the entire team,” Sergio Ramos said after Madrid’s 2-1 loss to Levante on Saturday, their fourth defeat in five games and third in a row. “We are with him to the death,” said Marcelo. Three months into the season, there are few obvious alternatives if the club’s president Florentino Perez decides to wield the axe. Santiago Solari, coach of Castilla, ... Read more

Loud and clear: English teen stars Sancho, Nelson shine in Germany

Berlin (AFP) – They may be struggling with the language, but when it comes to playing football in Germany, English teenagers Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson are making themselves perfectly understood. The 18-year-olds have both seized their chances in the Bundesliga and are expected to play key roles in the Champions League this week. Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund in August 2017, rejecting a contract extension at Manchester City, while Nelson is on loan at Hoffenheim from Arsenal. Both admit playing in a foreign country presents particular challenges, not least the German language. Sancho conducts his interviews in English but admits ... Read more

Return of a hungry Ronaldo worrying for Manchester United

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo will always be fondly remembered at Old Trafford, but as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner rolls back into town this week, this former hero may be the last sight Manchester United want to see. Ronaldo made his name in Manchester, scoring 118 goals, winning three Premier League titles and the first of his five Champions Leagues before a then world record move to Real Madrid. On Tuesday he returns in the colours of Juventus, eager to let his football do the talking with the cloud of a rape accusation in the United States ... Read more

Bayern head to AEK buoyed by ‘liberating’ victory

Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich travel to Greece to face AEK Athens in the Champions League on Tuesday boosted by a Bundesliga win that “felt like a liberation” after their miserable run of form and a stormy week behind the scenes. The pressure was mounting on the German champions and new coach Niko Kovac during a four-match winless run to the extent that senior club figures including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeness launched a stunning attack on the media. But Saturday’s 3-1 win over Wolfsburg, in which Robert Lewandowski scored twice to end a five-game goal drought, is being hailed ... Read more

Rooney brace propels D.C. into MLS Cup playoffs, Galaxy stay alive

Washington (AFP) – Former Manchester United and England Star Wayne Rooney scored twice to push D.C. United to a 3-1 victory over New York City FC and into the MLS Cup playoffs on Sunday. The victory in the penultimate weekend of the regular season capped a remarkable resurgence for D.C. United, who were languishing at the foot of the table when Rooney arrived in Washington in July. Until that point they had just two wins from 14 matches and appeared headed for another disappointing season. Now they have won 12 of 18 games to clinch their spot in the post-season. ... Read more

Vieira’s Nice continue to struggle with Marseille loss

Paris (AFP) – Patrick Vieira’s Nice slumped to a fourth defeat in five home league games this season as Morgan Sanson’s first-half strike fired Marseille to a 1-0 win in Ligue 1 on Sunday. It was a laboured performance from Nice, who sit 14th in the table and only two points above the relegation play-off spot, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Marseille. Vieira may need a good run of results if he is to keep his job long enough to take on former Arsenal and France teammate Thierry Henry when his side visit Monaco on December 8. For Marseille, all ... Read more