Monthly Archives:September 2019

Van Persie, Rooney hit form before Sociedad clash ( admin posted on September 18th, 2019 )

The Dutchman and the Englishman scored in Saturday’s 3-1 victory at Fulham as the champions put a slow start to their domestic campaign behind them and gave themselves a lift before Tuesday’s Champions League Group A clash at Real Sociedad.

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It was the fourth time that they have netted in the same game under Moyes, who is in his first season in charge after taking over from decorated Scottish compatriot Alex Ferguson, and Van Persie now has six for the season in the Premier League, with Rooney on five.

“I thought there were real signs of great combination between them and they made the goals for each other,” Moyes said at a news conference.

“There was good link-up play and I just started to see really good signs from the two of them,” added the 50-year-old.

“It was great they both got on the scoresheet because that is what forwards do and I have always said you need these boys to get a hat-load of goals if you are to be successful.

“They are both incredibly talented and understand each other and the talents they both bring with them.”

United captain Nemanja Vidic also praised the two forwards.

“I was really pleased with Robin and Wayne,” the Serbian centre back told United’s television channel MUTV.

“In the first 30 minutes they played terrific football and we need them to keep doing that.

“Their movement was terrific; they got a goal each and set up the other for Antonio (Valencia). It was a good sign for us and for the team.”

Victory for United at Sociedad’s Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian will put them within touching distance of a place in the last 16 and end the Basque club’s first foray into the Europe’s elite club competition in a decade.

The Liga side’s 1-0 defeat at United last month left them without a point after three of six matches and their exit will be confirmed even with a draw on Tuesday if Bayer Leverkusen beat Shakhtar Donetsk in the group’s other game in Ukraine.

United are top on seven points, Bundesliga side Leverkusen have six in second and Shakhtar are third on four.

ATTACKING PROWESS

Sociedad showcased their attacking prowess with a thumping 5-0 success at home to 10-man Osasuna on Saturday that lifted them to seventh in La Liga.

Defenders Ion Ansotegi and Inigo Martinez struck with headers either side of halftime before Osasuna centre back Jordan Loties was shown a straight red card for tripping Carlos Vela when he was through on goal.

In-form forward Antoine Griezmann nodded a third in the 56th minute, Gonzalo Castro finished off a sweeping break in the 82nd and substitute Haris Seferovic helped himself to a goal two minutes from time.

“It was the kind of match that every coach wants,” Sociedad’s inexperienced manager Jagoba Arrasate told a news conference.

“Winning, not conceding a goal, it wasn’t easy but everything came off perfectly,” added the 35-year-old.

United’s win in London did not come without a cost and Moyes has injury concerns over midfielder Tom Cleverley and defenders Jonny Evans and Rafael, who all had to be replaced at halftime.

“Tom Cleverley had double vision, Jonny Evans’s back stiffened up and Rafael went over on his ankle,” Moyes said.

“I’m hoping they will be fit. Rafa is the biggest doubt. Tom should be okay in a day or two’s time and Jonny, I couldn’t tell how his back is.

“To go and play against any side in Spain who have qualified will be a hard test, but we will go over there and try and get a good result that will continue our good form in the group.”

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Knockout stage beckons for perfect quartet ( admin posted on September 18th, 2019 )

Paris St Germain and Atletico Madrid have also won all three games to date while Manchester City, who have won two and lost one match, can also secure their place in the knockout round with another win over CSKA Moscow in Group D.

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Barcelona, who have dropped two points, will qualify if they win at home to AC Milan in Group H and Manchester United will take a big step towards the last 16 if they win at Real Sociedad.

Bayern visit Czech club Viktoria Plzen, who they beat 5-0 at home two weeks ago, Paris St Germain are at home to Anderlecht after winning 5-0 in Brussels. Real Madrid go to old rivals Juventus who they beat 2-1 last time out and Atletico Madrid are at home to Austria Vienna after winning 3-0 there on October22.

Manchester United will be looking for another win over the Spanish side after beating them 1-0 at Old Trafford while Barcelona will be seeking victory against an out-of-sorts AC Milan at home after drawing in Italy two weeks ago.

European champions Bayern should have no trouble in their Group D match in Plzen following their demolition of the Czech champions at home.

On Saturday Bayern struggled past Hoffenheim 2-1 to reclaim top spot in the Bundesliga and equal a 30-year-old league record with their 36th straight game without defeat.

CAVANI ON TARGET

Bayern were far from their dominant selves but still did enough to equal SV Hamburg’s record from 1982-83.

Paris St Germain also won in Ligue 1, thrashing lowly Lorient 4-0 with in-form striker Edinson Cavani scoring twice as PSG moved three points clear at the top.

Brazilian Lucas and Jeremy Menez were also on target and it seems inconceivable that PSG will allow the Belgians to pick up their first points of the campaign in their Group C match.

Real Madrid cruised into a 3-0 lead against bottom side Rayo Vallecano in La Liga on Saturday but were unconvincing and survived a scare when they conceded two second-half penalties before securing a nervy 3-2 win.

Real play at Juventus in Group B on Tuesday but Real’s glaring defensive failings are concerning coach Carlo Ancelotti.

“The second half (against Rayo) was a disaster,” Ancelotti said. We can’t let teams back into a game like that when you have the quality of Real Madrid.”

Unbeaten Spanish champions Barcelona warmed up for their match with Milan with a 1-0 home win over Espanyol in Friday’s Catalan derby.

Alexis Sanchez scored the only goal but the biggest surprise was that Lionel Messi failed to score for a fourth straight league match in which he played the full 90 minutes, the Argentina forward’s worst run in almost six years.

But that run could end if Milan play as poorly as they did on Saturday when they lost 2-0 at home to Fiorentina for their fifth defeat in 10 league matches and were booed off by their own fans.

Atletico Madrid also had the perfect warm-up for their game against Austria Vienna with a 2-0 La Liga win over Athletic Bilbao with goals from David Villa and Diego Costa.

Manchester City, second behind Bayern in Group D, could also seal their place in the last 16 if they beat CSKA at home.

That would put them on nine points from four matches and even though CSKA could equal that total, City would advance with the better record against the Russian side.

They had the perfect warm-up too, beating Norwich City 7-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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Ancelotti can push Juve closer to exit door ( admin posted on September 18th, 2019 )

But, after drawing with Galatasaray and Copenhagen and then losing in 2-1 Madrid two weeks ago, Juventus suddenly find themselves fighting for survival.

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Ancelotti is unlikely to admit it but he may gain some grim satisfaction if he can help eliminate his former club.

He had two difficult years at Juventus early in his coaching career, where despite twice leading them to second place in Series A he was sacked on the last day of the 2000-01 season.

Conte, who has led Juventus to two successive Serie A titles, was his swashbuckling captain at the time and has since gone on to become of Europe’s top coaches although he has sometimes shown exasperation at his club’s lack of financial clout.

A win for Real, whose only previous away win against Juventus was 51 years ago, would send them into the last sixteen with two matches to spare and leave third-placed Juve with only two points from four games.

Should Galatasaray win away to FC Copenhagen in Tuesday’s other Group B game, Juventus would find themselves five points behind the Turkish champions with a trip to Istanbul still to come.

WINLESS RUN

Juventus have failed to win their last five Champions League ties, a run which started when they lost both legs of their quarter-final to Bayern Munich last season.

Worryingly, three of those matches have been at home at the Juventus stadium, which the club had hoped to turn into an impenetrable fortress when it was opened two years ago.

On the other hand, they have won their last three Serie A matches without conceding a goal and will be hoping that Real’s defence will be caught off guard, having leaked five goals in its last two La Liga outings.

“Real have plenty of strong players up front who sometimes help out less in defensive areas, which puts their backline under pressure,” Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio said on Sunday.

“We managed to defend well in Spain, enjoy possession and cause them problems.”

Juventus will be without defender Giorgio Chiellini, who was sent off at the Bernabeu a fortnight ago, leaving Marchisio as the only survivor from the team which beat Real on their last visit to Turin five years ago.

“Even when down to ten we played an excellent game in terms of our attention and chances created,” he said of their last meeting.

“We must do this again on Tuesday night, whilst being cautious of their threat on the counter through the likes of Angel Di Maria, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.”

“Plus, in Turin, we’ll be able to count on the support of our fans, who will provide a red-hot atmosphere at the stadium.

“We haven’t had a great deal of time in which to prepare for the game, but encounters like these provide plenty of motivation by themselves.”

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Josh Reich)

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Senate tickets ‘will change for recount’ ( admin posted on September 18th, 2019 )

Labor senate candidate Louise Pratt says her party will have to consider whether to change the order of the senate ticket in the event of a court-ordered new election in Western Australia.

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Australian Election Commissioner Ed Killesteyn apologised on Monday, admitting there was “a nagging and almost irreconcilable doubt” about the outcome of the WA poll after the loss of 1375 votes.

Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam and the Australian Sports Party’s Wayne Dropulich won senate spots after the recount was called – pushing out Senator Pratt and Palmer United Party’s Zhenya “Dio” Wang.

Senator Pratt had been controversially bumped to Labor’s number two spot on the senate ticket, behind former union powerbroker Joe Bullock.

Confirming she intends to stand again in the event of a fresh election, Senator Pratt said the High Court would have to give parties flexibility over which candidates ran – and in what order – but declined to comment on Labor’s “internal politics”.

“It will be a question for the Labor party to resolve, but it is clearly a different race with a lot more focus,” Senator Pratt told Fairfax radio.

“It would be a very difficult thing to require all candidates to run again because life circumstances change.

“There would have to be some flexibility about what political parties put forward for any prospective ballot. In some situations they would have to (change).”

Senator Pratt believes more voter confusion is also inevitable, if multiple micro-parties run in any new poll.

There are also fears West Australians will be ‘election weary’ if they are forced back to the polls.

Following a state election in March, the federal election and local council elections, a new senate election would be the fourth time in 12 months WA voted – if the Court of Disputed Returns orders a new poll.

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Assange to try again for Senate seat ( admin posted on September 18th, 2019 )

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will make a second bid for a spot in the federal parliament if a fresh Senate election is ordered in Western Australia.

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The WA senate result is likely to be challenged in court after the Australian Electoral Commission revealed last week it has lost 1375 ballot papers between the initial count and a recount.

The High Court sitting as Court of Disputed Returns could order a new election be held.

It’s unclear whether any new poll would be restricted to the same parties and candidates that contested the September 7 federal election, or if the regular procedure for nominations would occur.

Assange contested a Victorian senate spot for his Wikileaks Party in September and attracted almost 41,700 primary votes out of 3.5 million.

But the Wikileaks lead candidate in WA, Gerry Georgatos, says Assange would head the party’s ticket instead if a new election was held.

This would allow West Australians to “remedy the injustice of Julian Assange not being elected to the Senate” in the Victorian contest.

“If a fresh election is called for, the Wikileaks Party will contest the election and we will accept the will of the people, not the mistakes of the AEC,” Mr Georgatos said in a statement on Monday.

“The imperative is for Julian Assange to reach our Senate and to renew democracy, to break down the narrow corridor of political discourse that are we mired within.”

Assange has been in the Ecuadorian embassy since June 2012 after seeking refuge there to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct.

He had feared the Swedish proceedings could result in him be extradited to the US, where there has been uproar over the decision by Wikileaks to publish highly sensitive government cables and documents.

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