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Ronaldo’s appeal against five-game ban rejected

Cristiano Ronaldo will be suspended for Real Madrid’s Spanish Super Cup, second leg against Barcelona on Wednesday (Aug 16) evening after his appeal against a five-game ban was dismissed.

Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (right) gestures after receiving a red card by referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during the first leg of the Spanish Supercup football match against Barcelona on Aug 13, 2017. (Josep LAGO/AFP)

The Spanish football federation’s (RFEF) appeals committee “dismissed the appeal presented by Real Madrid”, the RFEF said in a statement on Wednesday.

Ronaldo will also be absent when Madrid begin their defence of La Liga on Sunday at Deportivo la Coruna as well as home games against Valencia and Levante and a trip to Real Sociedad.

The World Player of the Year was controversially sent off in Madrid’s 3-1 first-leg win on Sunday for a second yellow card when referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea adjudged he had dived trying to win a penalty eight minutes from time.

After being shown the 10th red card of his career, Ronaldo then lightly pushed the referee.

On Monday, the RFEF issued Ronaldo with an automatic one-game ban for the red card plus an extra four-match suspension for the push.

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane expressed his anger at what he believes is an excessive punishment.

“When you look at everything that happened, to think Cristiano won’t play five games with us … it is infuriating,” Zidane said on Tuesday.

The Portugal captain will, though, be free to play when Madrid begin their Champions League campaign on Sep 12 or 13.

Source AFP

Own goal seals Liverpool win at Hoffenheim

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool are far from certain of a Champions League group stage berth despite their 2-1 win at Hoffenheim on Tuesday (Aug 15) in their play-off, first-leg

Hoffenheim’s Ermin Bicakcic (centre), teammate Kevin Vogt (right) and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane (left) vie for the ball during the Champions League football qualifier match. (Daniel ROLAND/AFP)

The result in south-west Germany leaves Klopp’s Liverpool in pole position ahead of the return at Anfield on Wednesday, Aug 23.

After goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had saved a first-half penalty, 18-year-old defender Trent Alexander-Arnold curled in a free-kick to give Liverpool the lead.

Ex-England forward James Milner made sure of victory by curling in a cross-cum-shot, which dropped inside the far post on 75 minutes after deflecting off Havard Nordtveit for an own goal.

However, Hoffenheim pulled a goal back when replacement Mark Uth managed to beat the offside trap to score late on to give the Germans hope.

“I am happy with the performance, we’d have liked to have won 2-0 and the goal they scored just before the end isn’t so favourable for us,” said Klopp.

“We could have scored one or two more goals and we need Anfield in the return leg. This thing isn’t over yet.”

Liverpool’s want-away attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho sat out the play-off with a back injury.

The Brazilian is desperate to leave Anfield for Barcelona after handing in a transfer request, but Liverpool insist he is not for sale.

Belgium goalkeeper Mignolet saved an early first-half penalty to deny hosts Hoffenheim an early lead in Sinsheim.

When Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren brought down Germany winger Serge Gnabry, Hoffenheim’s ex-Leicester City striker Andrej Kramaric stepped up for the spot kick.

The Hoffenheim forward squandered the golden chance, weakly firing his 11th minute spot-kick at Mignolet.

At the other end, Liverpool’s Egypt striker Mohamed Salah fired just wide of the post on 15 minutes after sprinting clear and beating Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann.

Alexander-Arnold gave Liverpool the lead when his floated free-kick beat Baumann on 35 minutes.

However, Hoffenheim could have gone into the break level when striker Sandro Wagner hit the post after Mignolet blocked a Gnabry shot.

Liverpool should have made it 2-0 straight after the break when Baumann saved Roberto Firmin’s shot from point-blank range after Sadio Mane’s clever cross.


Substitute Milner put the matter beyond doubt when he snapped up Firmino’s pass to the wing from a quickly taken free-kick. He fired home off his left boot on 75 minutes as the shot clipped Nordtveit and went into the net.

Uth netted Hoffenheim’s consolation goal to give his team a lifeline when he managed to hold off Alexander-Arnold to score on 87 minutes.

“We deserved to at least of had a draw,” said Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann.

“We were brave, but we were a bit too open in the second half and risked too much. The way the game went, with the missed penalty, was unfortunate for us.”

Elsewhere, Apoel Nicosia took a big step towards the group stages with a 2-0 win over Czech side Slavia Prague in Cyprus with Igor de Camargo and Efstathios Aloneftis scoring in the first ten minutes.

The Cypriot outfit were knocked out by FC Copenhagen at this stage last season, but the Danes are struggling this time, falling 1-0 in Azerbaijan by Qarabag FK.

Mahir Madatov scored the only goal of the night when he fired in a rebound after Dino Ndlovu’s shot hit the post after 25 minutes.

In Switzerland, Young Boys defender Kasim Adams Nuhu scored an own goal in added time to hand CSKA Moscow a 1-0 win.

Steaua Bucharest, reduced to ten men after Mihai Pintilii was sent off ten minutes from time, drew 0-0 at Sporting Lisbon.

UEFA Champions League play-off first-leg results:

At Baku
Qarabag (AZE) 1 FC Copenhagen 0

At Lisbon
Sporting (POR) 0 Steaua Bucharest 0 (ROM)

At Sinsheim, Germany
Hoffenheim (GER) 1 Liverpool (ENG) 2

At Bern
Young Boys (SUI) 0 CSKA Moscow (RUS) 1

At Nicosia
APOEL (CYP) 2 Slavia Prague (CZE) 0

Source AFP

Vietnam defeated Timor Leste 4-0 at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games

Doan Van Hau scored twice and produced an assist as Vietnam defeated Timor Leste 4-0 in their Group B opener at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia on August 15.

The Hanoi FC defender put Vietnam ahead after only eight minutes and paved the way for striker Ha Duc Chinh to double the advantage 12 minutes later. Hau made the score 3-0 for the red-colour team four minutes prior to halftime, before favourite striker Nguyen Cong Phuong sealed the fourth goal for Vietnam in the 72nd minute.

Vietnamese players started the match comfortably, with their confidence strongly boosted thanks to an absolutely overwhelming head-to-head record over Timor Leste. In their last four meetings at major tournaments at the U22 and U23 levels, Timor conceded 16 goals and failed to score a single goal against Vietnam.

Most recently, Vietnam beat Timor Leste with four unanswered goals in their Group I opener at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers in Ho Chi Minh City on July 19.

For that reason, it is not surprising as Vietnam enjoyed an early lead thanks to Van Hau’s close-range strike eight minutes from the first whistle.

After the opener, coach Nguyen Huu Thang’s players took control of the match, and it was only a matter of time before the second goal went to the Vietnamese side. In the 20th minute, Van Hau’s left-wing cross was caught by Duc Chinh’s head to beat Timor keeper Pereira.

It took just another 21 minutes for Vietnam to make it 3-0, with Hau producing an eye-catching goal from long range towards the far corner.

The score should have been 5-0 in favour of Vietnam before halftime if strikes by Tuan Anh (15’) and Duc Chinh (39’) had not been denied by the post and cross-bar.

In the second half, Vietnam brought the pressure on the Timor Leste side and created a number of opportunities to widen the gap, but the most anticipated striker Cong Phuong failed to make use of them to net his first goal at the 29th SEA Games.

It was not until the 72nd minute that the scoring pressure was relieved from Vietnam’s no. 10 jersey player, as he converted a convenient assist from Van Toan into the fourth and last goal for Vietnam during the match.

With the resounding 4-0 victory, Vietnam is temporarily leading Group B with three points, two points ahead of Thailand and Indonesia, who held each other to a 1-1 draw in another group matchup the same day.

Next up for Vietnam will be a match against Cambodia on August 17.



Barcelona begin spending spree with Paulinho

Barcelona made Brazilian international midfielder Paulinho their first signing since banking a world record fee for Neymar on Monday (Aug 14) after agreeing a €40 million (US$47 million) fee with Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.

File photo of Brazil’s midfielder Paulinho during the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier match against Uruguay at the Centenario stadium in Montevideo, on Mar 23, 2017. (DANTE FERNANDEZ/AFP)

“Barcelona and Guangzhou Evergrande have reached an agreement for the transfer of the player Paulinho Bezerra for 40 million euros,” Barca said in a statement.

The 29-year-old has signed a four-year deal with a €120 million buyout clause and will be formally presented on Thursday.

The announcement of Barca’s third signing of the summer transfer window after Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo came just hours after the Catalans suffered a 3-1 home defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup first leg on Sunday.

Midfielder Sergio Busquets had put pressure on the club’s board by claiming Barca had to strengthen their squad before the transfer window closes on Aug 31.

Barca have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts to land a more natural replacement for Neymar with huge bids for Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele being rejected by Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

“I hope you are as happy as I was there,” Neymar wrote on Instagram to wish his international teammate well.

However, Paulinho’s arrival has not been warmly received by the Barca fanbase.

Over 80 per cent of fans urged the club not to sign him for over €20 million in a survey conducted by Barcelona sports daily Mundo Deportivo.

That lack of enthusiasm is due to Paulinho’s chequered career at club level in Europe.

After spells in Lithuania and Poland as a teenager, Paulinho moved to Tottenham Hotspur from Corinthians in 2013.

Yet he failed to shine in two years in England before moving to Guangzhou in 2015 for €14 million.

However, he has rebuilt his career in China and established himself as a regular in a rejuvenated Brazil side since the appointment of Tite as coach a year ago, most notably scoring a hat-trick in a 4-1 win away to Uruguay in World Cup qualifying back in March.

And Paulinho’s former coach at Tottenham, Andre Villas-Boas, believes his move to Barca is a huge boost for the prestige of the Chinese Super League.

“Because Paulinho’s come here, he’s done ever so well and now he has a transfer to one of the biggest clubs in the world,” said Shanghai SIPG coach Villas-Boas.

“I think it shows that the big clubs are also looking at our league. It’s a reflection of the players and the quality of work that is being done here.”

Source AFP

Ronaldo handed five-match ban for referee push

Cristiano Ronaldo was hit with a five-match ban by the Spanish football federation (RFEF) on Monday (Aug 14) for pushing the referee after being sent-off in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Spanish Super Cup, first leg win over Barcelona.

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his goal during the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona on Aug 13, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Stringer)

The World Player of the Year received an automatic one-match ban for his dismissal on Sunday and an extra four games for his reaction towards referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea.

Ronaldo was also fined €3,805 (US$4,500) and has 10 days to appeal the ban.

Should any appeal fail, Ronaldo will miss Wednesday’s Super Cup, second leg and Madrid’s first four La Liga games of the season against Deportivo la Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.

However, Ronaldo will be free to feature when Madrid start their defence of the Champions League on Sep 12 or 13.

Madrid had already signalled their intent to appeal Ronaldo’s second yellow card shown for diving eight minutes from time when he went down inside the area under pressure from Samuel Umtiti.

“Ronaldo’s sending-off annoys me because even if it is not a penalty, the card is harsh,” said Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane after the game. “We will see if we can do something so that he is available on Wednesday.”

Ronaldo was only on the field for 24 minutes as he was introduced as a second-half substitute and fired into the top corner 10 minutes from time to give Madrid a 2-1 lead.

He received his first yellow card for removing his shirt in celebration before being shown the 10th red card of his career two minutes later.

“Once shown the red card, said player (Ronaldo) pushed me lightly as a sign of his disapproval,” de Burgos Bengoetxea wrote in his referee’s report.

According to the RFEF’s rules, such offences are met with a suspension of anything between four and 12 games, but previous cases also resulted in four-game bans.

Despite Madrid’s claims Ronaldo had reacted in the heat of the moment, the RFEF judged the push was an “unjustified and disproportionate reaction”.

Source AFP

Vietnamese club finish third in futsal tourney

Thai Son Nam Club of Vietnam came from behind to clinch the third place in the Asian Football Confederation Futsal Club Championship after a 6-1 victory over Qatar’s Al Rayyan in Ho Chi Minh City on July 30.

The Vietnamese champions secured a berth in the top three of the continental tournament for the second time.

Two years ago, they were third in the event, which was organised in Iran.

The home side attacked their rivals from the beginning with a high-pressing game, but it was Al Rayyan who had the opener.

Hazem Samy Selim had an easy tap-in, converting Mohammad Taheri’s looping header over goalkeeper Nguyen Van Huy to the net.

Al Rayyan almost doubled their lead in the 11th minute, when Diego Costa showed his class to turn past Thai Son Nam’s Hossein Tayibbidgoli, before clipping his effort just over a well-beaten Huy, but it went wide.

Thai Son Nam also threatened the opposition several times.

Lukaian Baptista, Tayibbidgoli and Nguyen Manh Dung all tested Ali Ibrahim Al-Ajmi.

However, it was not until the 18th minute that they found the equaliser. Tran Thai Huy sent a pass to captain Tran Van Vu, who made no mistake from close-range finish.

Thai Son Nam continued dominating the second period’s early proceedings.

It took them about 10 minutes to double the result, when Phung Trong Luan connected with precision to Le Quoc Nam’s kick-in.

Two minutes later, Tayebibidgoli bagged his seventh goal of the championship for the home side.

The Iranian completed his double with an accurate finish at the 40th mark.

Earlier, Thai Huy and Baptista had their names on the board with a goal each at the 37th and 38th minutes.

In the final match later on July 30, a magical hattrick by Suphawut Thueanklang steered Bluewave Chonburi of Thailand to the coveted title for the second time after narrowly defeating Giti Pasand of Iran 3-2.

U22 Vietnam beat Korean All-Star team in friendly

The national under-22’s Vietnamese football team secured a 1-0 victory over an All-Star team from the Republic of Korea in a friendly match at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on July 27.

The victory is expected to boost the morale of Vietnamese footballers ahead of the upcoming 2017 Southeast Asian Games hosted by Malaysia.

With advantages in experience and physical strength, the Korean team dominated for the first 15 minutes but Vietnam soon fought back and created several goal opportunities.

However, the first and only goal of the match did not come until the 70th minute when Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Toan was able to put one past the Korean goalkeeper.

U22 Vietnam’s starting line-up

A tackle between Vietnam and Korea

Vietnamese player Nguyen Cong Phuong surrounded by Korean players

Thousands of spectators turn up to show support for the young Vietnamese side

Thai Son Nam qualify for AFC Futsal Club quarterfinals

Two goals from Hossein Tayyebi helped Vietnamese club, Thai Son Nam, emerge as 2-0 victors over Al Dhafra (UAE) in their last Group A match on July 24, thereby qualifying for the quarterfinals of the 2017 AFC Futsal Club Championship


Thai Son Nam began the clash, at Phu Tho Gymnasium in Ho Chi Minh City, with great determination, targeting the victory that would allow them to advance through to the next round (as the group’s runners-up).

Iranian star Tayyebi lived up to expectations by putting the Vietnamese side in front with his opening goal after seven minutes.

At the opposite end of the court, Al Dhafra imposed a strong pressure on the Thai Son Nam players, forcing them to commit unnecessary mistakes. The UAE team was awarded a penalty kick in the 13th minute, but Williams missed the chance to equalise as he failed to beat Vietnamese keeper Van Huy from the spot.

For the remainder of the first half, Thai Son Nam played with great precaution and put Al Dhafra’s defensive line on “red alert” a number of times. Four minutes before the break, Tayyebi managed to double the advantage for the Vietnamese side.

Both teams made concerted efforts as they tried to score in the second half, however, neither successfully took advantage of opportunities to change the 2-0 score.

Concluding the groupstage of the competition, Thai Son Nam, Al Dhafra and Erem (Kyrgyzstan) finished on the same six points, but the first two teams won quarterfinal berths thanks to having a better goal difference.

Next up for Thai Son Nam will be a quarterfinal clash with either Al Rayyan (Qatar) or Nafit Al-Wasat (Iraq), who will meet later today to decide the top two finishers of Group B.

Indonesia to lead SE Asian 2034 World Cup

Indonesia is set to lead a consortium of South East Asian countries in an ambitious bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, the country’s football association said Wednesday.

Joko Driyono, the vice-president of the Indonesia’s football association, PSSI, said the country had proposed to lead the South East Asian consortium at an Asian Football Federation (AFF) council meeting in Vietnam earlier this month.

Indonesia is set to lead a consortium of South East Asian countries in an ambitious bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup, the country’s football association said Wednesday.

Joko Driyono, the vice-president of the Indonesia’s football association, PSSI, said the country had proposed to lead the South East Asian consortium at an Asian Football Federation (AFF) council meeting in Vietnam earlier this month.

“It will be officially endorsed in the (AFF) council meeting in Bali in September,” Driyono told AFP.

Driyono said the bid to host the most prestigious football event was “ambitious” but that the consortium, comprising countries from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), had 17 years to prepare. The deadline to register a bid is 2026.

Due to geographical and infrastructure considerations, only two or three of the 10 ASEAN member countries would be in a position to host matches in the 2034 World Cup, Driyono added.

He believed the bid would provide a boost to Indonesia and its neighbours in their efforts to improve their football performance.

The game in Indonesia has been suffering from problems for years, from the creation of a breakaway association that tore the football establishment apart to cases of foreign players being treated badly.

“It is time that South East Asia hosts the World Cup, and the progressive growth of Asia, especially Southeast Asia, brings an optimism for us,” Driyono said.

Agence France-Presse