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LONDON, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Chelsea announced the signing of Enzo Fernandez from Benfica on Wednesday after days of complex negotiations between the clubs to secure the Argentina midfielder for a British transfer record 106.8 million pounds ($131.46 million). Premier League club Chelsea announced the signing on Wednesday 1000 GMT via a video on Twitter, which showed a clip of a clock ticking down, making a reference to race against time to sign the World Cup winner. It takes Chelsea's transfer spending in January alone to close to 300 million pounds and to more than 500 million pounds since last May's takeover by an investment group led by American Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. His fee eclipses the 100 million pounds Manchester City paid Aston Villa for England midfielder Jack Grealish in 2021. On Tuesday, Chelsea sold experienced midfielder Jorginho to Premier League leaders Arsenal for 12 million pounds.
Aberdeen sack manager 19 minutes after thrashing
  + stars: | 2023-01-28 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
Jan 28 (Reuters) - Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen took just 19 minutes to sack manager Jim Goodwin after a 6-0 hammering at Hibernian on Saturday continued the club's woeful form. Goodwin was hanging on to his job after Aberdeen suffered a humiliating Cup defeat to sixth-tier Darvel on Monday and the latest capitulation proved the final straw. In a statement on the club's website, Aberdeen Chairman Dave Cormack did not mince his words. He has given it everything he can give it, but the simple facts are that the results since coming back from the World Cup break have been wholly unacceptable and the away form is utterly abysmal. Aberdeen are seventh in the table having conceded 11 goals in their last two league games.
SummarySummary Companies Leicester scrape past fourth-tier WalsallLeeds win 3-1 at Accrington StanleyFulham salvage 1-1 draw with SunderlandWALSALL, England, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Kelechi Iheanacho spared Leicester City from a potential FA Cup giant-killing as his second-half goal saw the Foxes beat fourth-tier Walsall 1-0 and progress to the fifth round on Saturday, while Leeds advanced with a 3-1 win over Accrington Stanley. Southampton put their Premier League woes aside to beat Championship strugglers Blackpool 2-1 while Bristol City eased to a 3-0 win over fellow second-tier side West Bromwich Albion. Leicester, who beat fourth-tier strugglers Gillingham with an Iheanacho goal in round three, faced a stern test from a hard-working, high-energy Walsall outfit. Leeds reached the fifth round for the first time since 2016 as they avoided a slip-up at third-tier Accrington. Reporting by Adam Millington and Martyn Herman; Editing by Hugh LawsonOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Tsitsipas thriving after wake-up call, says McEnroe
  + stars: | 2023-01-28 | by ( Martyn Herman | )   time to read: +2 min
Jan 28 (Reuters) - Stefanos Tsitsipas's stunning Australian Open form could have been inspired by the likes of Carlos Alcaraz and other young guns stealing his spotlight, according to John McEnroe. Teenager Alcaraz jumped the queue last year by winning the U.S. Open and McEnroe believes it was a jolt for Greek Tsitsipas who struggled in the majors last year after reaching the Australian Open semi-final a year ago. "So I think there was this danger that (Tsitsipas) was going to be sort of not forgotten, but sort of not top top tier. Djokovic will start as a big favourite to take a record-extending 10th title and keep Tsitsipas waiting. "This is possibly the match of his life -- he is playing for a world number one and a Grand Slam title, against me.
FA to investigate alleged racial abuse of Birmingham keeper
  + stars: | 2023-01-28 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
Jan 28 (Reuters) - The Football Association said it would investigate alleged racist abuse aimed at Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge as a matter of urgency following an incident in their FA Cup game at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Birmingham manager John Eustace said Etheridge was abused by fans after he celebrated his side's stoppage time equaliser in the 2-2 draw in the fourth round. After the goal Etheridge went to referee Keith Stroud on the halfway line to complain about comments directed to him. The FA said: "We are aware of an alleged incident of racial abuse that was reported to the match official. "We take allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and we will be investigating as a matter of urgency."
Son at the double to fire Tottenham past Preston in FA Cup
  + stars: | 2023-01-28 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
PRESTON, England, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min returned to form with two goals in their 3-0 defeat of second-tier Preston North End in the FA Cup fourth round, with debutant Arnaut Danjuma also on target at Deepdale on Saturday. South Korean Son has endured a lean season but made the difference with two superb goals after the break as the visitors moved comfortably through to the next round. Five minutes into the second half the ball was played to Son outside the penalty area and he struck an unstoppable drive low into the corner of the net. It was only his second goal since mid-October but 19 minutes later he struck again, turning smoothly on the edge of the box and firing past Preston goalkeeper Freddie Woodman. Apart from a brief spell in between Tottenham's goals, Preston rarely troubled the away side who did not even need to bring leading scorer Harry Kane off the bench.
On Friday, Russia's Karen Khachanov faces Stefanos Tsitsipas as he bids to reach his first Grand Slam final. With the conflict in Ukraine showing no sign of ending, a decision about Russian and Belarussian players competing at the All England Club is pressing. Australian Open organisers even banned Russian and Belarusian flags from Melbourne Park last week after a complaint from Ukraine's ambassador to the country. 'SITUATION NO-ONE WANTS'Nine-times Australian Open champion Djokovic has urged Wimbledon to allow Russian and Belarus players to enter the 2023 tournament, a view also backed by American great John McEnroe. "I disagreed with it last year that Wimbledon didn't allow the Russians or Belarusian players to play.
Djokovic is making a mockery of the theory that the second week of Grand Slam tournaments get tougher. Fifth seed Rublev has now lost all seven Grand Slam quarter-finals which he contested. "I'm really excited, man. So I'm really grateful." Linette had no problems serving out her quarter-final against twice Grand Slam finalist Pliskova, whose 36 unforced errors sabotaged yet another bid to win a first major.
Tsitsipas subdues Lehecka to reach Australian Open semi-final
  + stars: | 2023-01-24 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
MELBOURNE, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the Australian Open semi-finals for the fourth time as the Greek saw off rising Czech Jiri Lehecka 6-3 7-6(2) 6-4 on Tuesday. The third seed dominated the opening set after breaking a nervy Lehecka early on but was pushed hard after that against the 21-year-old who has enjoyed a breakout tournament. Tsitsipas was forced to save three successive break points at 3-3 in the third set as Lehecka threatened to extend the Rod Laver Arena clash. Tsitsipas will face Russian Karen Khachanov in the semi-final when he will again enjoy strong support from the many Greek-origin fans in Melbourne. Lehecka, who enjoyed impressive wins against seeded players Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime during his run, will rue not taking any of eight break points.
Struggling Everton sack manager Lampard - reports
  + stars: | 2023-01-23 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
[1/5] Soccer Football - Carabao Cup Second Round - Fleetwood Town v Everton - Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood, Britain - August 23, 2022 Everton manager Frank Lampard before the match Action Images via Reuters/Ed SykesJan 23 (Reuters) - Everton have sacked manager Frank Lampard, British media reported on Monday, after a poor run of form that has left the Premier League club in a relegation battle. Lampard was appointed by Everton in January 2022 after he managed Chelsea from 2019-2021 and Derby County in the second tier in 2018-19. The 44-year-old was sacked as Chelsea manager in January 2021, having returned to the west London club where he holds the goalscoring record. He took over at Everton after the Merseyside club parted ways with Rafa Benitez, continuing the managerial revolving door at a club struggling to revive former glories. Everton next host leaders Arsenal on Feb. 4 followed by the Merseyside derby at Liverpool on Feb. 13.
Azarenka back in Australian Open quarters after seven-year wait
  + stars: | 2023-01-22 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
Azarenka, twice a winner of the title in Melbourne, started slowly and lost the opening set but stormed through the second to take the fourth round match into a decider. I've had a couple of close matches this year that didn't go my way so I'm really proud of myself." Looking ahead to her quarter-final she said it would be a more familiar opponent, having known liitle about Zhu Lin. "I've practised a lot with Jess and I'm going to enjoy that one. If I do lose I would rather lose to Jess, but I'm going to give her hell!"
We paid for mistakes says Man Utd boss Ten Hag
  + stars: | 2023-01-22 | by ( Martyn Herman | )   time to read: +2 min
United led early through a Marcus Rashford goal and after falling 2-1 behind drew level through Lisandro Martinez. But Eddie Nketiah's 90th-minute close-range effort sealed a deserved win for Arsenal who dominated the second half. "Two top teams but of course we are disappointed when you lose this game at a late stage. All the goals we conceded today are mistakes -- it can't happen." We want to be the number one but not if we make mistakes.
All three sides are nine points off the top four, with Chelsea having played 20 games to Liverpool and Brentford's 19 apiece. Liverpool have failed to win any of their last three league games, while it is the first time they have failed to score in consecutive matches in the competition since March 2021. Chelsea are now without a win in their last six league games on the road, their longest comparable run in the competition since September-December 2015. They have collected just 15 points from their 20 league this season -- their fewest points won after 20 games of any league campaign in their history. They have 39 points and are third on goal difference ahead of Manchester United, who play leaders Arsenal on Sunday.
Murray grinds down Kokkinakis in late-night epic
  + stars: | 2023-01-19 | by ( )   time to read: +4 min
Murray, back with coach Ivan Lendl who guided him to his Grand Slam titles and to world number one in 2016, has not gone past the third round of a Grand Slam since 2017 when his hip condition first surfaced. Kokkinakis tightened with the finishing line in sight and the venom gradually went out of his shots as Murray threw caution to the wind and locked on to his target. Relentlessly Murray ground his way back into the contest to set up a deciding fifth set, sealing the fourth set with a second-serve ace. There was pandemonium when he saved four break points at 3-3 and Kokkinakis was within two points of victory when Murray served at 4-5 in the decider. "Thanks for staying, but now I think we should all get off to bed," Murray said.
Manchester United cemented their top-four place, moving level on points with Newcastle as goals by Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford sealed a 3-0 victory at Old Trafford. Arsenal, who failed to score for the first time this season in all competitions, have 44 points from 17 games with champions Manchester City on 36 after playing 16. Newcastle have 35 from 18 matches, ahead of United on goal difference although they have played a game more. Manchester United are now five points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after a fourth successive league win. United are back in action on Friday when they host Everton in the FA Cup third round.
ARSENAL BEGIN WHERE THEY LEFT OFFWhen Mikel Arteta's table toppers went behind early on against struggling West Ham United there were mutterings around the Emirates Stadium -- with fans perhaps fearing Arsenal's pre-break momentum had been lost. TOTTENHAM CONTINUE TO PUZZLETottenham's inability to show consistency, even throughout 90 minutes, was evident again in a 2-2 draw at Brentford. But, as so often this season, they showed that when in a self-inflicted hole, they can actually look like a good side. West Ham United look a shadow of the side that were so impressive last season and a fourth straight defeat heaped more pressure on manager David Moyes. Like West Ham, Everton are just above the drop zone but a home loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers was ominous and manager Frank Lampard will need positive results quickly to silence his critics.
LONDON, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said he had no doubts that Harry Kane would rise above the disappointment of his World Cup heartache as the Premier League season resumed on Monday. Kane matched Wayne Rooney's England goal-scoring by converting a penalty in the World Cup quarter-final against France but later missed a penalty in the 2-1 defeat. "For sure, for Harry, he's facing a strange situation because he played a really good World Cup. Brentford fans had taunted Kane with chants of "you let your country down' but Conte said fans should instead clap him. "In one side, I have to be happy for the way, for the reaction, for the way we played in the second half of the game," Conte said.
Vuelta a Espana 2023 to start in Barcelona's Olympic port
  + stars: | 2022-12-20 | by ( )   time to read: +1 min
Dec 20 (Reuters) - Barcelona's Olympic port will host the departure of the 78th edition of the Vuelta a Espana next August, organisers said on Tuesday. Stage one will feature a 14km team time trial through the streets of the city, which hasn't played host to the first stage of the race since 1962. Mataro will host the departure of the second stage -- a 181km route that will likely be decided on the iconic Montjuic climb before the finish at the Olympic stadium. To have La Vuelta return to Barcelona after 60 years is wonderful news," Jaume Collboni, the city's Deputy Mayor, said. "La Vuelta 23 will be an opportunity for us to showcase our city's cultural, social and artistic wealth.
Factbox: 10 memorable impressions from the Qatar World Cup
  + stars: | 2022-12-17 | by ( )   time to read: +5 min
SAUDI ARABIA STUN ARGENTINAArgentina were cruising in their opening Group C game after Lionel Messi scored a first-half penalty. RONALDO EXITS FINAL WORLD CUP IN TEARSPortugal's talisman became the first male player to score in five World Cups with a penalty against Ghana. FIRST FEMALE REFEREE AT A MEN'S WORLD CUPFrenchwoman Stephanie Frappart was handed control of Germany's final Group E clash against Costa Rica, becoming the first female referee to officiate at a men's World Cup. Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez described it as a big step forward in 'sexist sport' and the 39-year-old Frappart produced a calm and assured display in Germany's victory. Germany needed a win over Costa Rica and for Spain to beat Japan to go through as runners-up, and at halftime that was exactly what was happening.
Both scenarios would be an appropriate final act to the first World Cup staged in an Arab country. But for a month the so-called beautiful game did, in the words of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, spread some joy. The marquee names of Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo delivered storylines. In five second-half minutes Saleh Al-Shehri and Salem Al-Dawsari wrote themselves into Saudi sporting folklore by scoring the goals to overturn a Messi penalty and seal the biggest statistical shock in World Cup history. Messi, channelling his inner-Maradona, inspired Argentina to beat Croatia and few would begrudge the diminutive number 10's record-breaking 26th World Cup appearance ending with him holding aloft the gleaming trophy.
The brave septuagenarians arrived on Sangatte beach near Calais in September having entered the water 21 miles away on England's Kent coast 18 hours earlier in pitch darkness. But their incredible achievement has not been ratified by The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation (CSPF), because of what was described as an 'illegal changeover'. Group leader Bob Holman, 78, said he was 'totally gutted' that 'nit-picking and a pedantic attitude' by the overseeing organisation had denied them the record. Legal action is now being considered by the group whose effort raised thousands of pounds for an Alzheimer's charity. The Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation has been approached by Reuters for comment.
I'll have to live with penalty miss, says Kane
  + stars: | 2022-12-10 | by ( )   time to read: +2 min
The striker had drawn his side level in the Al Bayt Stadium with a successful spot kick that saw him match Wayne Rooney's record haul of 53 goals for England. After the final whistle Kane dropped to his haunches and stared at the ground before walking tearfully away to be comforted by England manager Gareth Southgate. Kane's miss will be added to some infamous England penalty failures at major tournaments with the likes of Southgate, Chris Waddle and Stuart Pearce all haunted by them, although theirs all happened in penalty shoot-outs rather than in regular play. "As you'd expect he's very, very low, but he has nothing to reproach himself for," Southgate said of Kane. Kane's converted spot kick in the second half was his fourth successful conversion at World Cups, not including shoot-outs - more than any other player in World Cup history.
AL KHOR, Qatar, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Jordan Henderson said England would not have made the World Cup quarter-finals without the goals of Harry Kane and said the striker would come back stronger after he missed a penalty in the loss to France on Saturday. "We know how many penalties Harry has scored for us," the England midfielder said after the 2-1 loss at Al Bayt Stadium. "He scored the first one and how many goals he has scored to get us here.... he'll be stronger for it in the long run I'm sure. Kane was top scorer in Russia four years ago with six goals as England reached the last four but the 29-year-old managed only two in Qatar. ​Southgate said he did not think England could have done any more and had given the world champions a great game.
"We know how many penalties Harry has scored for us," the England midfielder said after the 2-1 loss at Al Bayt Stadium. "He scored the first one and how many goals he has scored to get us here.... he'll be stronger for it in the long run I'm sure. "It feels like a missed chance because I felt the performances were really good and the focus and the hunger was good every single day," Henderson added. Kane was top scorer in Russia four years ago with six goals as England reached the last four but the 29-year-old managed only two in Qatar. Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, additional reporting by Martyn Herman in London, editing by Pritha SarkarOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
England's subs can be key against France, says Hoddle
  + stars: | 2022-12-09 | by ( )   time to read: +3 min
LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - England's depth on the substitutes bench could tip the balance in their favour in Saturday's World Cup quarter-final against France, according to former manager Glenn Hoddle. But Hoddle, who led England at the France 1998 tournament, says England's ability to make attacking changes when things get tight could be the key to the outcome. It could be a game that England have to come back into, which is something they've not experienced yet. While England's depth is underlined by the fact that they have had eight different scorers so far, France possess arguably the greatest match-winner in Kylian Mbappe. "They've got the most outstanding player of the tournament in Kylian Mbappe, and England are going to have to stop him."
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