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 Mali beat South Africa 2-0 in AFCON match



Mali have moved into first place in Group E after winning their opening match at the Africa Cup of Nations 2-0 over South Africa.

South Africa could have taken the lead in the first half but Percy Tau blazed his penalty over the target.

Instead, Mali finally found their breakthrough on the hour mark. Sekou Koita hit the underside of the crossbar with a stunning free kick from the edge of the box, and captain Hamari Traore reacted quickest as he poked the ball home.

South Africa goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was helpless after diving to stop the initial shot, and none of his defenders anticipated needed to clear the ball off the line whatsoever.

Next up for Mali is a clash with Tunisia on Saturday night at 20:00 while Bafana Bafana meet Namibia 24 hours later needing a result to keep their knockout hopes alive.

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Man United beat Man City to claim 13th FA Cup title



Manchester United defeated Manchester City, the English Premier League (EPL) champions, 2-1 at Wembley to win the English FA Cup on Saturday.

A repeat of last year’s final, United exerted revenge this time in the Manchester derby final, thanks to two first-half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo. Jeremy Doku scored City’s late consolation.

Pep Guardiola’s Man City bossed possession but Erik ten Hag’s Man United were patient on the counterattack and pounced on a City error to take the lead on 30 minutes.

Miscommunication between defender Josko Gvardiol and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega saw the former head the ball past the latter with Garnacho handed the easy task of tapping into an empty net for 1-0.

Mainoo then finished a team move nine minutes later, clinically finishing Bruno Fernandes’ lay-off to hand the Red Devils a two-goal lead at halftime.

Man City increased the pressure in the second period, with penalty appeals turned down before halving the deficit on 87 minutes through Doku. The Belgian’s shot to the near post was diverted in by Andre Onana in goal to set up a tense final minutes.

However, Man United’s usually leaky defence held on for a memorable victory that provided succor for their worst season ever in EPL history.

The win sees Man United seal their 13th FA Cup title, with the Red Devils triumphing for the first time since 2016 — ending an eight-year drought in the competition.

The victory also ends Man City’s 35-match unbeaten streak in all competitions this season, including an 11-game unbeaten run in the FA Cup in regulation time.

It is the first time Man United defeated Man City this season and also in the FA Cup at the third attempt.

It is also the first time a team that finished eighth or lower has won the FA Cup when facing the EPL champions, with Man United repeating Aston Villa’s 1957 feat.

The title is ten Hag’s second trophy since arriving at the club, adding to his Carabao Cup triumph last year.

The FA Cup triumph also means Man United will play in the Europa League next season.

Source: The Cable


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Ten Hag prepares for FA Cup final amid sacking reports



Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is preparing for the FA Cup final without knowing whether reports that he will be sacked, no matter what the result, are true.

Rumours about Ten Hag’s future intensified on Friday morning before The Guardian reported the Dutchman would lose his job in the aftermath whatever the outcome of the Wembley meeting with Manchester City on Saturday (15:00 BST).

United have refused to comment on the story.

Club sources are adamant their focus is purely on the second consecutive cup final meeting with Pep Guardiola’s side and trying to end what has been a tortuous season on a high.

It is being stressed they remain committed to an end-of-season review, after which a decision on Ten Hag’s future will be made.

BBC Sport understands there has been no contact with Ten Hag or his representatives by United.

It all has uneasy echoes of eight years ago, when Ten Hag’s fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal learned he was about to be sacked as the 2016 final victory ended against Crystal Palace.

Van Gaal was informed of the decision by United’s hierarchy 24 hours later.

United go into the FA Cup final with City knowing defeat will mean no European football next season for only the second time since 1981-82, excluding the five-year period when all English clubs were banned.

They finished eighth in the Premier League, one place below the David Moyes season of 2013-14, and their lowest since 1989-90.

Replacements have been suggested in the form of Thomas Tuchel, Gareth Southgate, Mauricio Pochettino, Kieran McKenna, Thomas Frank and others.

In a section of his pre-match news conference on Thursday, the content from which was embargoed until Friday evening, Ten Hag was asked whether talks were planned with the club’s new ownership group next week.

“No, we already did it and on Sunday I will go on holiday,” he said. “I think I deserve it.”

When he was then asked if he had been given any assurances about his future with the club, where his contract still has a year to run, Ten Hag replied: “It is not necessary. We will go for next season.”

Schmeichel would be surprised if Ten Hag stays
Former Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel believes Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group, which bought a 27.7% stake in the club in February, will part ways with Ten Hag as they implement their “project”.

Ineos took control of football operations after becoming a minority owner and former Manchester City executive Omar Berrada is set to join United as chief executive in the summer, while Jason Wilcox has already joined as technical director.

United are also looking to hire sporting director Dan Ashworth, who was placed on gardening leave by Newcastle after telling them he wanted to join the Red Devils.

“We’ve been talking about Erik’s position for a very, very long time,” Schmeichel told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“We’ve seen everybody else at the top of Manchester United has left the club and new people coming in.

“I’d be very surprised if he’s the manager next year to be honest because, the way they’ve been going about the first couple of months in charge, it points to [wanting] a completely new and a clean start and it to be their project.”

Schmeichel added: “I hate that fact that Manchester United has become a club that keeps a manager for a short time and when things are not going in the right direction you sack him.

“Since Alex Ferguson’s time it’s really just [been] eroding with no leadership from the top and it’s just been let go.

“I really honestly don’t know what the project is.”

Sport: Bbc Sport


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Barcelona sack Xavi with Flick set to replace him



Barcelona have sacked manager Xavi with former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick set to replace him.Xavi will take charge of Barcelona for the final time on Sunday, when they host Sevilla in their last La Liga match of the season.

The 44-year-old, who had been contracted until 2025, was informed of the club’s decision during a meeting with club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco on Friday – exactly one month since it had been announced that he would remain at the club.

Former Spain midfielder Xavi announced in January that he would leave the Camp Nou, but he was persuaded to stay by Laporta in April.

But recent comments from Xavi, in which he opened up about the club’s financial struggles, are said to have angered Laporta.

Barcelona said they would like to “thank Xavi for his work as a coach” since taking charge in 2021.

Source: Bbc Sport


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Newcastle eye Bowen & Calvert-Lewin – Friday’s transfer gossip



Newcastle United are lining up a move for two England players, while Thomas Tuchel is a leading candidate to take over at Manchester United...

Newcastle United are lining up a move for two England players, while Thomas Tuchel is a leading candidate to take over at Manchester United…

Newcastle United are hoping to sign two England internationals with Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, 27, and West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen, also 27, on their radar. (Telegraph – subscription required), external

Newcastle want nearly £200m for 24-year-old Sweden striker Alexander Isak, who has been linked with Arsenal. (Mirror), external

Thomas Tuchel, who is a free agent after leaving Bayern Munich, is the leading candidate to take over at Manchester United if they sack Erik ten Hag after the FA Cup final. (Guardian), external

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna is open to taking over at Manchester United if Ten Hag leaves. (Manchester Evening News), external

Brighton are confident of beating Chelsea in hiring McKenna but could try to bring back former manager Graham Potter if they fail to do so. (Times – subscription required), external

Chelsea are set to ask newly promoted Leicester City for permission to speak to Enzo Maresca about their managerial vacancy. (Talksport), external

Nottingham Forest will have to sell players before the end of June to avoid breaching Premier League profit and sustainability rules and being hit with a potential points deduction next season. (i, external)

Bayern Munich are keeping tabs on 29-year-old England and Manchester City defender John Stones. (Football Insider), external

Manchester City’s England midfielder Jack Grealish, 28, is also a target for Bayern. (Sun), external

Manchester City are open to selling Brazil keeper Ederson, 30, under the right terms if he wants to move to Saudi Arabia. (90 Min), external

Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman is attracting interest from Premier League clubs after his Europa League final hat-trick and the 26-year-old Nigeria winger could cost £30m. (Times – subscription required, external)

West Ham boss Julen Lopetegui wants Wolves’ English centre-back Max Kilman, 27, to be one of at least six signings as he plots a summer overhaul of the Hammers’ squad. (Guardian, external)

Arsenal are interested in Feyenoord and Netherlands goalkeeper Justin Bijlow, 26, as a possible replacement for Aaron Ramsdale, who is expected to leave this summer. (Telegraph – subscription required, external)

Burnley are asking for £17m in compensation from Bayern to let manager Vincent Kompany take over at the German club. (Sky Sports Germany), external

Former Liverpool and Wales striker Craig Bellamy, who has been Kompany’s assistant manager for the past five years at Anderlecht and Burnley, will not join him at Bayern. (Mail, external)

Chelsea will listen to offers for England midfielder Conor Gallagher and English defender Trevoh Chalobah, both 24, following Mauricio Pochettino’s departure. (Evening Standard, external)

Liverpool have turned their attention to Leeds’ Dutch winger Crysencio Summerville, 22, after opting against moving for Newcastle and England winger Anthony Gordon, 23. (90 Min), external

Manchester United are leading the race for Crystal Palace’s France Under-21 winger Michael Olise, 22. (Football Transfers), external

Aston Villa are considering terminating the contract of 31-year-old Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho. (Givemesport), external

Nottingham Forest and England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, 22, is set to be a target for Tottenham. (Guardian), external

Ajax and Feyenoord are interested in Chelsea winger Omari Hutchinson, 22, who spent last season on loan at Ipswich. (Football London), external

Stoke’s Souleymane Sidibe, 17, could be on the move this summer with Brighton, Chelsea, Monaco and Juventus interested in the French midfielder. (Foot Mercato – in French), external

Brazil winger Willian, 35, is considering offers from Saudi Arabia with his Fulham contract is set to expire. (Telegraph – subscription required)


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Monaco GP could be tough for Red Bull – Verstappen



Monaco GP could be tough for Red Bull

Max Verstappen says this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix will be “one of the more difficult races” for his Red Bull team.

McLaren’s Lando Norris has emerged as a major threat to the world champion in the past two events, the Briton taking his maiden win in Miami and finishing a close second in Imola on Sunday.

Verstappen said: “Looking at the track layout it’s probably not going to be our best track, just because our car normally struggles a bit over bumps and kerbs.

“We did work on it a bit compared to last year. So far on most of the tracks that we’ve been to our low-speed performance has improved a little bit, but I don’t think this is going to be a very easy weekend.”

Verstappen won in Monaco last year but picked out Ferrari and McLaren as two teams to watch out for.

“After Miami, it was quite clear when we went into Imola that [the gap between teams] had all closed up a bit, even though Imola was probably also not our easiest weekend. For sure, Monaco is always like that anyway.”



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Maresca, McKenna & Frank on Chelsea job shortlist



Chelsea have drawn up an early shortlist of managerial options, which includes Ipswich Town’s Kieran McKenna, Leicester City’s Enzo Maresca and Brentford’s Thomas Frank.

The Blues are in search of a replacement for Mauricio Pochettino after he left the club by mutual consent on Tuesday.

Contact has been made with McKenna, 38 – who won promotion from the Championship with Ipswich Town this season – but there is competition from Brighton, who are looking to replace Roberto de Zerbi.

Manchester United are also reportedly interested in McKenna, who would cost more than £4m in compensation.

He is believed to be the frontrunner as Chelsea target a quick appointment but Maresca, 44, who led Leicester to the Championship title and was a coach at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, is an alternative option.

Danish coach Frank, 50, is similarly under consideration for his work in getting Brentford to the Premier League and then consolidating their position in the top flight.

It is understood that Chelsea also have a fourth ‘mystery’ contender on their shortlist.

Stuttgart manager Sebastian Hoeness had been tipped as an option but is now believed to be staying in Germany.

The Chelsea players not with their countries meet up for pre-season on 4 July and will embark on a tour of the United States under new management, having finished sixth in the Premier League and reached the Carabao Cup final – which they lost to Liverpool – last season.


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