Category: AFP

Title race not over says Walker

London (AFP) – Kyle Walker insists the Premier League title race isn’t over for Manchester City despite their latest damaging defeat. Pep Guardiola’s side trail leaders Liverpool by 14 points after losing 2-1 against Manchester United in Saturday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium. In a match marred by an alleged racist gesture from a City supporter towards United players, the champions were punished for defensive miscues and a lack of cutting edge in the final third. United continually cut City open in a series of incisive counter-attacks, with a penalty from Marcus Rashford opening the scoring before Anthony Martial doubled ... Read more

Sudan’s first female football stars push for women’s rights

Khartoum (AFP) – Within months of Sudan’s first women’s football league kicking off, the championship’s emerging stars are being hailed as icons for equal rights in a country transitioning to civilian rule. Orjuan Essam, 19, and Rayan Rajab, 22, of Khartoum-based Tahadi women’s club, have scored several goals already in a tournament that would have seemed unlikely when autocrat Omar al-Bashir was in power. “I was thrilled to see that authoritarian rule was finally turning into civilian and that women’s rights could now be achieved,” said Essam, her long hair flowing freely as she trained at a stadium in the ... Read more

Juve defeat at Lazio throws open Serie A title race

Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Italian champions Juventus suffered their first defeat of the season Saturday with a 3-1 loss against Lazio in Rome blowing open the Serie A title race. Maurizio Sarri’s eight-time reigning league champions remain second in the table, two points behind leaders Inter Milan after 15 matches. Third-placed Lazio clawed to within just three points of Juventus after their first win at home against the Turin giants since December 2003. Cristiano Ronaldo put Juventus ahead at the Stadio Olimpico when he picked up a Rodrigo Bentancur cross to tap in after 25 minutes. But Luiz Felipe hit ... Read more

Messi hat-trick breaks La Liga record as Barca put five past Mallorca

Madrid (AFP) – Lionel Messi broke yet another record by hitting his 35th La Liga hat-trick on Saturday as Barcelona thrashed Real Mallorca 5-2 to keep pace with Real Madrid at the top of the table. A trio of vintage Messi finishes contributed to five stunning Barca goals, the best of them arguably belonging to Luis Suarez, whose brilliant backheel capped a free-flowing move, involving seven different players.  But at the end of a week in which Messi claimed a record sixth Ballon d’Or, the Argentinian etched his name into the history books again after pulling clear of Cristiano Ronaldo’s ... Read more

Ronaldo scores but Juve fall to Lazio for first defeat of season

Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Italian champions Juventus suffered their first defeat of the season in all competitions with a 3-1 Serie A loss against Lazio in Rome on Saturday. Maurizio Sarri’s eight-time reigning Serie A champions remain second in the league, two points behind leaders Inter Milan after 15 matches. Cristiano Ronaldo put Juventus ahead at the Stadio Olimpico when he picked up a Rodrigo Bentancur cross to tap in after 25 minutes. But Luiz Felipe hit back for the Romans in front of 60,000 fans just before the break. Juventus were hampered by Juan Cuadrado’s sending off on 69 ... Read more

Solskjaer demands life ban for ‘monkey chant’ spectator at Manchester derby

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer demanded a life ban from all football grounds for the spectator who allegedly aimed racist monkey chants at his team’s Brazilian midfielder Fred on Saturday. United’s 2-1 Premier League derby win over neighbours and defending champions Manchester City was overshadowed by a series of ugly incidents at the Etihad. Solskjaer said both Fred and teammate Jesse Lingard had been “affected” by the alleged abuse. However, the Norwegian insisted it is the individual concerned rather than City as a club who should bear the brunt of any sanctions. “Why don’t ... Read more

United win battle of Manchester marred by alleged racism

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City are 14 points adrift of runaway leaders Premier League leaders Liverpool after a 2-1 derby defeat to Manchester United that was marred by alleged racist abuse aimed at United midfielder Fred and Jesse Lingard. City issued a statement promising to take a “zero tolerance” approach to any supporters guilty of racism as Fred was also hit by objects thrown from the crowd as he took a corner. On the field, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial scored the goals for the visitors, who survived a late onslaught after Nicolas Otamendi pulled a goal back ... Read more

Napoli stretch winless run at Udinese, Atalanta edge Verona

Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Coach Carlo Ancelotti ruled out resigning from his position as Napoli stretched their winless run to seven Serie A games with a 1-1 draw at struggling Udinese on Saturday. Kevin Lasagna scored for the north-easterners after 32 minutes, picking up a Seko Fofana cross after the Ivorian beat defender Kalidou Koulibaly, to beat Alex Meret in the Napoli goal. But Piotr Zielinski pulled the visitors level after 69 minutes as the southerners held on for just their fifth point in their last seven games. Ancelotti’s side are seventh in the league — 17 points behind leaders ... Read more