“Like all the best sports journalists, Simon had a real love and feel for his subject matter,” said Tony Hicks, the AP’s deputy director of photography (international). “That said, Simon was not a one-dimensional sports enthusiast. He was well traveled, well educated, a bon vivant, a raconteur and a pleasure to spend time when we got those fleeting moments to unwind in the middle of many hectic assignments.”
Category: European Football
Lars Ronbog/Getty Images
New Zealand midfielder Marko Stamenic made his professional debut in FC Copenhagen’s 2-1 defeat to Randers.
New Zealand footballer Marko Stamenic made his professional debut for Danish Superliga club FC Copenhagen on Tuesday (NZT), less than three months after joining from Wellington’s Western Suburbs.
But he hopes it is just the start of a successful career in Europe and is already targeting more minutes.
“It was amazing. It’s obviously a big achievement for myself. I’ve always dreamed of playing as a professional and to get my debut for such a successful club is a dream come true in a way,” Stamenic told fck.dk.
Football Ferns players still buzzing after early wake-up call to watch Fifa Women’s World Cup announcement.
The 18-year-old played the first 71 minutes of FC Copenhagen’s disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Randers, starting the match in a holding midfield position in the absence of quarantined captain Carlos Zeca.
* Another Kiwi in Europe: Rising star Marko Stamenic joins top Danish football club
* European offers on the table for talented Wellington Phoenix fullback Liberato Cacace
* Covid-19 puts Kiwi footballer Marko Stamenic’s European dream on hold
Stamenic put in a composed performance on debut, frequently moving into pockets of space and calmly distributing the ball for his team-mates.
The former New Zealand under-17 representative used his height to good effect, winning numerous aerial duels and was voted man of the match by FC Copenhagen’s supporters.
He was replaced in the 71st minute, immediately after Alhaji Kamara scored Randers’ second goal to reclaim the lead for the visitors.
“I think I did well. I took time to get confident on the ball but after the first few touches I felt more at ease and I wanted to get the ball more. It’s obviously unfortunate that we lost and I hope that in the future if I am to be involved that we can win more and I can add value to the team.”
The result continued FC Copenhagen’s poor start to the 2020-21 season. The 13-time Danish champions have won just three of their first nine matches and now occupy a lowly 10th position on the table.
A product of the Ole Football Academy in Porirua, Stamenic signed with FC Copenhagen at the start of September and helped the club win the under-19 cup final before being invited to train with the first team, where he quickly impressed manager Jess Thorup.
After an early taste of Superliga action, Stamenic said he was hungry for more.
“I think it’s just the beginning. I can’t get my head too far up my arse. I can’t think about it too much,” he said.
“I just have to continue working hard and deserve my spot in the first team. I want to be a regular member of the squad so I just have to continue working hard and do my thing.”
Recent All Whites to have played in the Danish Superliga include captain Winston Reid and Marco Rojas.
Esports India Announces First-ever Online National Freestyle Football Championship – European Gaming Industry News
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The four-day long, ‘virtual’ IGDC2020 (The India Game Developer Conference) concluded on a high note, with great takeaways and exchange of ideas with 6000+ check-ins from 64 countries, doubling attendance over last year.
The online conference had a fantastic line-up of 80 industry sessions, panel discussions and workshops. In all, 115 speakers including 43 international renowned speakers from 10 different countries participated. Per session attendance was also 3x this year compared to 2019 physical event.
Rajesh Rao, Convenor, IGDC2020 said, “This year’s virtual event went way beyond our expectations. The participation was overwhelming, with over 6000 check-ins from 64 countries, a reflection of the rapid growth and market potential of India. Thanks to strong industry support, we were able to offer this conference free to all attendees. The speaker line up was the best ever, with ‘virtual’ making it possible for so many speakers to participate without traveling”
This year’s “Investor-Publisher-Connect, had over 50 gaming companies from India and overseas, 300 + virtual one-to-one meetings were set up between investors, publishers, and the startups, which is 70% higher than 2019 with a 100% match rate. The inaugural “Founder-Connect”, which had 20 founder’s participation, was a huge success as they networked and explored opportunities to collaborate with each other.
Notable VCs present at the event were Accel, Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Blume Ventures, Lumikai, Elevation Capital, Kalaari Capital, Venture Highway, and Falcon Edge Capital who held meetings with shortlisted gaming startups.
There was also enhanced interest from game publishers this year with marquees names such as Epic Games, Mobile Premier League, Nazara, Paytm First Games, nCore Games, and Zapak Games extending their publishing support to promising gaming companies.
Global publishers such as Miniclip, Crazylabs, Tilting Point, Hyper Hippo Entertainment, and Tapnation and many gaming start-ups from the UK, Canada and Australia were among the attendees.
BYOG (Build Your Own Game) Jam held alongside, received 87 finished entries by the deadline, which was three times more than 2019. The number of participants showed a remarkable jump of about 50%, jumping from 200 in 2019 to 313 in 2020.
Good news also flowed in during the event as Bengaluru-based Mobile Premier League (MPL) has earmarked a ₹37 crore fund for Indian game developers and studios to develop games for their Indian and global audience.
IGDC 2020 saw great support from the industry. Unreal Engine/ Epic games were presenting sponsors of IGDC 2020, along with MPL, Facebook, Google, Unity, Hyper Hippo, Gametion, Nazara, Lakshya, and Yesgnome.
IGDC 2020 which was held online amid concerns of coronavirus attracted 50 exhibitors on the e-expo floor.
On the surface, Chelsea’s victory against Rennes in the Champions League a few weeks ago was just another of those disposable, check-box exercises that litter the group stages of the competition. Chelsea, the heavy favorite — the team with superior financial firepower, a deeper squad and broader ambitions — cruised to a win.
Beyond the score, there seemed little to remember it by. And yet that game, like Tuesday’s return match in France, was a rarity not only in the Champions League, but in elite European soccer as a whole.
Startlingly, troublingly, these may be the only two games in the Champions League this season in which both teams played a Black goalkeeper: Édouard Mendy, the 28-year-old acquired by Chelsea in September, and Alfred Gomis, the man who replaced him at Rennes.
Few sports are quite the level playing fields they believe themselves to be. Black quarterbacks were once as rare in the N.F.L. as Black entrants were at tennis championships and golf majors. Soccer, like so many other sports, still struggles for Black representation in leadership roles: There are few Black managers, and even fewer Black executives.
And, certainly, there is abundant anecdotal evidence that the game — in Europe, if not in the United States or Africa — harbors a deep-rooted skepticism toward Black goalkeepers, one that has been allowed to fester through lack of analysis, lack of opportunity and even lack of acknowledgment.
André Onana, the Ajax goalkeeper, has a story about the time an Italian club informed him that its fans simply would not accept a move to sign a Black goalkeeper. There is another one about a former Premier League manager who, when presented with two potential new recruits, outright dismissed the one who was not white. He did not need to see him play, he said.
For most of his career in England, the former goalkeeper Shaka Hislop was aware of the unspoken stereotype that shadowed him, and he still remembers those occasions when it was given voice. Like the day he and his teammates for Trinidad and Tobago were waiting in a New York airport and an immigration officer — not quite realizing who he was — explained to him, at length, why Black players did not make good goalkeepers.
Quite how deep-rooted the problem remains, though, is borne out by the figures. Of Europe’s five major leagues, France’s 20-team Ligue 1 — where nine Black goalkeepers featured last season, and eight have already received playing time this year — is very much an outlier. The numbers elsewhere are stark.
Before last week’s international break, 77 goalkeepers had appeared for at least a minute across the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga. None of them were Black. Last year, appearances by Black goalkeepers were similarly rare: only two of the 92 men who played goal in Italy and Spain, and only two of the 36 who featured in Germany.
The figures in England are almost as striking. Only three Black players have featured in goal in a Premier League match this year: Alphonse Areola of Fulham, Brighton’s Robert Sánchez and Chelsea’s Mendy. Five others are currently registered to Premier League squads, including the United States international Zack Steffen at Manchester City, but have yet to play in the league.
The contrast between the paltry amount of Black goalkeepers and the number of Black outfield players across all of Europe’s elite leagues is such that it is hard to write it off as coincidence or the illusion of a momentary snapshot. Black goalkeepers are chronically underrepresented in European soccer. African ones are even more uncommon.
Every year, for example, the traditional powerhouse nations of West Africa have dozens of players on rosters in Europe’s major leagues. But the first-choice goalkeepers of Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana all still play in Africa. And while no African country has produced quite so many elite goalkeepers as Cameroon, which once sent Jacques Songo’o and Thomas N’Kono to play in Spain and Joseph-Antoine Bell off to a long career in France, that nation’s current No. 1 goalkeeper, Fabrice Ondoa, has not yet left Belgium’s top division for one of Europe’s marquee leagues.
Ondoa’s cousin — and national teammate — Onana does, at least, play in the Champions League for Ajax. But only Senegal, with two goalkeepers — Mendy and Gomis — playing in the world’s biggest club competition, can say with confidence it has two goalkeepers competing at professional soccer’s highest level.
Mendy does not have a ready explanation for why that might be. Perhaps, he said at his introduction as a Chelsea player, it was something to do with the ill-defined “profile” of players that coaches wanted. Others have different, more deep-rooted explanations.
“There used to be a stigma attached to the idea of a Black quarterback in the N.F.L.,” said Tim Howard, the former Everton and United States goalkeeper. “There was this idea that they were not as cerebral.”
Howard sees an echo of that in the dearth of Black goalkeepers. Soccer has long considered itself a meritocracy — at least on the field — that has moved beyond old, damaging stereotypes. Dig a little deeper, though, and their pernicious influence remains. Black players are still statistically less likely to play in central or attacking midfield, for example, and are far more likely to be praised by commentators for physical attributes like pace and power than about more intangible qualities like “intelligence” and “leadership.” And very rarely, it seems, are they given a chance at the elite European level to play in goal.
Mendy accepts that it falls to him to help overturn the stereotype. All he can do, he said, is “show I can really perform at this level, and perhaps change people’s mentalities on these things.” To those who have had to endure the same prejudices, though, who spent their careers hoping to be an agent of change, that is part of the problem.
Hislop, now a commentator for ESPN, zooms in on the case of Jordan Pickford, the current first-choice goalkeeper for both Everton and England’s national team. Pickford has come under scrutiny in the last few years both for perceived technical flaws in his game and for a tendency toward rashness. “Everyone comes under the spotlight once in a while,” Hislop said.
The difference is that, whenever Pickford makes a mistake, “nobody uses his performances to proclaim that white players don’t make good goalkeepers,” Hislop said. If Pickford errs, the only reputation that suffers is his own.
Black goalkeepers, Hislop argues, are not afforded the same privilege. It felt to him during his career, he said, as if every individual error was used as conclusive proof that all “Black goalkeepers make mistakes.” And it did not apply just to him: He believed that when David James, a goalkeeper with Liverpool, Manchester City and England, made mistakes, those errors were held up as supporting evidence for the stereotype.
He sees a parallel with Black representation in other areas of the sport, too. Hislop cites Les Ferdinand, the director of football at Queens Park Rangers, currently in England’s second-tier Championship. As soon as he was appointed, Hislop said, Ferdinand knew there was more than just his reputation riding on his performance.
“If 80 percent of the white male directors of football in the league are abject failures, that will not stop anyone appointing the next white guy,” Hislop said. “But Les had to be outstanding for other Black players to be given a shot.”
The same applies to goalkeepers, in Hislop’s eyes, and creates a self-fulfilling cycle. Carlos Kameni, a former Cameroon international who spent the bulk of his career at Espanyol in Spain, said he was confident that the dearth of Black goalkeepers was not “a form of racism.”
If a goalkeeper is good enough, Kameni said, one of Europe’s major clubs will sign him, and he uses Mendy’s arrival at Chelsea as supporting evidence. To Kameni, the problem is much simpler. “There are not enough Black goalkeepers who are good enough,” he said over a series of WhatsApp messages.
Those two things, though, are not unconnected. The problem, Hislop said, is not only that coaches are less likely to give aspiring Black goalkeepers a chance to showcase their talents, but that Black players have fewer role models offering proof that they can succeed. “They do not have an example to follow,” he said.
He is, at least, hopeful. He sees a raft of promising Black goalkeepers in the United States, a country and a soccer culture where Howard, Bill Hamid, Sean Johnson and now Steffen have effectively killed off the stereotype, and where Philadelphia’s Andre Blake — a Jamaica international — was just named Major League Soccer’s goalkeeper of the year.
More pertinently, Hislop cites Brazil as proof that stereotypes can disappear. For a long time — and despite compelling evidence to the contrary — it was held as gospel truth that Brazil did not produce high-quality goalkeepers.
“Everyone in Trinidad and Tobago also kind of considers themselves a Brazil fan,” Hislop said. “And they would always say that Brazil didn’t make goalkeepers. But now you have Alisson and Ederson, who are two of the best in the world. Nobody will ever say that again.”
Prejudices, unspoken or not, can be exposed. Vicious cycles can be stopped in their tracks, or even reversed. Mendy, Gomis, Onana and the rest can help that process. The shame, of course, is that they have to do so.
Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain look vulnerable after weekend defeats, while Erling Braut Haaland laid down another marker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic keeps on scoring too, and Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt have a record which will take some beating.
AFP Sport rounds up some of the main talking points from across the continent:
– Barcelona are unrecognisable –
If Barcelona thought keeping Lionel Messi against his will would suffice to make them contenders in La Liga this season, it is not working.
The Argentine was a peripheral figure as Ronald Koeman’s team produced a mediocre performance and lost 1-0 to Atletico Madrid on Saturday, a result which left them 12th in La Liga, nine points behind Diego Simeone’s team in second. They are 12 points behind leaders Real Sociedad, albeit with two games in hand.
The Basque club are flying, having equalled a club record of six straight league wins, while Barcelona have won just once, and lost three times, in the same period.
Atletico are possibly now the title favourites, unbeaten in 24 league games, and it all points to the Catalans facing a fight just to finish in the top four.
All the more so as the injuries are piling up: Against Atletico they saw Gerard Pique go off with a serious knee injury and lost Sergi Roberto to a thigh tear. Both are expected to be out for two months.
– Haaland is unstoppable –
Erling Braut Haaland keeps on breaking records. On Saturday the Norwegian sensation, aged 20 years and four months, scored four times in the second half in Borussia Dortmund’s 5-2 win at Hertha Berlin, becoming the youngest player to net four in one Bundesliga game.
Named last week as the winner of the Golden Boy for Europe’s best young player, as awarded by Italian sports daily Tuttosport, he has 10 Bundesliga goals for the season and 15 in all competitions. Not to mention six for his country.
Haaland’s figures have been mindblowing since he burst onto the scene last season with Salzburg, and he has now scored a total of 23 goals in 22 Bundesliga matches following his move to Dortmund in January.
That beats the tally of Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler, who scored 20 in his first 22 outings of the first Bundesliga season in 1963/64.
– PSG implode and give hope to rivals –
Kylian Mbappe, that other young striking phenomenon, has now scored 99 goals for Paris Saint-Germain since signing from Monaco in a 180 million-euro deal ($215m) deal in August 2017.
On Friday he grabbed a first-half brace to put PSG 2-0 up away against his old side, but the champions imploded in the second half and ended up losing 3-2, with a late Cesc Fabregas penalty deciding the game.
After eight consecutive Ligue 1 wins, PSG’s momentum has been stalled and they are now just two points clear of Lille at the top.
And their defensive weaknesses may come back to haunt them in a crucial Champions League clash with RB Leipzig this midweek. Presnel Kimpembe is suspended for that match, and Abdou Diallo is in the firing line after his error gifted Monaco the crucial penalty.
The jury remains out on last season’s Champions League finalists.
– Evergreen Zlatan –
Will Haaland and Mbappe still be banging in the goals as they approach 40? Zlatan Ibrahimovic is, and AC Milan are on top of Serie A.
On Sunday the Swede scored twice before limping off with a thigh strain as the Rossoneri won 3-1 at Napoli to stay two points ahead of Sassuolo at the top, and remain unbeaten.
Ibrahimovic is the top scorer in Italy with 10 goals, despite turning 39 last month. Milan coach Stefano Pioli must hope the veteran forward is not missing for too long. The early indications are he will be out for at least 10 days.
– Northern delights –
Milan’s other goal-scorer in Naples was Jens Petter Hauge, the winger signed from Bodo/Glimt at the start of the season.
Hauge’s old club have coped fine since his departure and on Sunday became Norwegian champions for the first time.
From the small town of Bodo, just north of the Arctic Circle and a 16-hour drive from Oslo, Bodo/Glimt are the northernmost top-flight champions ever according to sports data experts Gracenote who say they have stolen that particular prize from KA Akureyri, former Icelandic title winners.
Bodo/Glimt have won the league with five games to spare and will enter next season’s Champions League.
As players pour hours into Football Manager 2021’s beta, long term save ideas are being scribbled down on notepads all over the world. Many will be looking to fill their FM CV’s with glory, but with so many leagues at your disposal, picking a team can become a harder task than winning the Champions League itself.
Whether you favour youth development, managing superstars or building a dynasty, here are 9 of the most interesting teams to manage in FM21.
Red Bull Bragantino
Série A new boys Bragantino have a singular Paulista title to their name, giving you an opportunity to create your own legacy. The Red Bull model mixed with a league full of wonderkids makes this an exciting save.
Winning the Série A is your first goal before setting your sights on South American’s biggest prize, the Copa Libertadores. After that, winning a Champions League with New York, Salzburg and Leipzig while keeping the same high tempo blueprint throughout the Red Bull family would make this the ultimate journeyman save.
The MLS is a unique experience in Football Manager. With its own set of transfer and contract rules, it can also be quite daunting. Grasp the rules and building an expansion team from scratch can be an appealing playthrough with none more glamorous this year than David Beckham’s Inter Miami.
The Designated Players of former Juventus man Gonzalo Higuaín, Matías Pellegrini and Rodolfo Pizarro offer real quality from the off. Add the experience of Blaise Matuidi and the potential of Julián Carranza and there’s a real chance of walking away with an MLS Cup in your maiden season.
The success and style of Pep Guardiola’s 2010/11 Barcelona side position them as one of the best ever. The possession-based approach inspired many sides to adopt a similar model but few would expect such a style to appear in Cumbria.
Dubbed ‘Barrowcelona’, the side won promotion to the National Football League for the first time in 48 years playing a brand of football rarely seen on the mud-soaked pitches of non-league football. Taking over the reins in League Two the aim is simple, climb the English football pyramid. Reach the top and you can start dreaming of a European final against the side that inspired it all. Doing this while playing an attractive style of football would make that first European Cup even sweeter.
When it comes to youth development in Holland, no team matches Ajax’s conveyor belt of talent. There is one side on the rise in terms of developing exciting young talent in the form of AZ Alkmaar.
Finishing just behind the Amsterdam side last season, AZ shone thanks to the likes of youngsters Calvin Stengs and Myron Boadu. This is a team more than capable of threatening PSV, Feyenoord and Ajax for years to come while attempting to make the European Champions Cup group stages and beyond. Retaining talent for as long as possible while developing the next generation is a must. Do this and you could be topping the Eredivisie for the next decade.
Macarthur FC enter the A-League for the first time on FM21. The club’s initial roster is a mixture of experienced pros like Adam Federici and youngsters like Denis Genreau. With 6 player slots left to fill, you will have to recruit in line with the competition’s strict rule set.
Foreign player restrictions and salary caps make recruitment trickier than usual. The board understands the magnitude of the job, expecting you to avoid finishing bottom of the league each season over the next 5 years. Get it right early on and you could see yourself punching well above your weight before 2026.
Currently sat top of the table in real life, Bodø look set to win their first Eliteserien title. Success domestically has been achieved thanks to developing stars like Jens Petter Hauge and Håkon Evjen via its excellent youth facilities. The real challenge for you awaits in Europe.
The prize money for winning the league is just £1.57m and the 1st place team enter the ECC but only at the Champions Path First Qualifying Round stage. Finally, the domestic season runs June to December meaning your European campaign is spread across two seasons if you make it past the group stage. A tough ask, although Bodø/Glimt might just be the best placed Scandinavian team to pull it off.
The Bundesliga has become an enjoyable league to manage in-recent years. Young talent and forward-thinking managers populate all three playable tiers, with the aim of stopping Bayern München’s dominance every side’s goal. Dortmund seem likely heirs to the throne but a glance across the Ruhr region might lead to a more interesting project.
Schalke have finished closer to the bottom of the Bundesliga than the top in the last two seasons but the facilities and fan base are in place for a revival. A Revier Derby win against fierce rivals Dortmund would be your first port of call before leading Amine Harit and co. back to European football. Winning the clubs first piece of silverware in 9 years would cement you as a legend in Gelsenkirchen.
Easily the most successful club on this list, Milan of 2020 aren’t quite the global powerhouse they once were, but with a first team average age of 24, this is a side built with the future in mind.
The club expects you to win your first Scudetto by the 2023/24 season. That could prove difficult given the dominance of ‘Zebre’, the wealth of talent in Inter’s side as well as Atalanta and Lazio both posing a serious threat. Despite this, the building blocks are in place at the San Siro for you to create a Michelangelo-esq Milan masterpiece.
In FM20, the team at SI added the Canadian Premier League to the database for the first time. 8 teams populate the league, the oldest of which, FC Edmonton, could provide a lengthy and rewarding career. The Eddies are manager less with no club vision at the beginning of the season. After finishing bottom the previous year, your only expectation is that you be competitive, giving you a year to get to grips with the league structure, rules, and teams around the division.
From there beating the MLS’s Canadian teams in the Canadian Championship will be your next goal before taking on the might of Liga MX in the North American Champions League. Going from the bottom of the CPL to NACL champions will be hard but could also be one of your crowning achievements on FM21.
Everton: 3 players Everton should sign in January to challenge for European football – Prince Rupert’s Tower
Here are three players Everton must target in the January transfer window.
Everton have gained a lot of pulling power ever since the acquisition of Carlo Ancelotti as a Christmas present for Toffees fans. We’ve seen players like Allan and world-class playmaker James Rodriguez join the club due to believing in Ancelotti’s project. This should make fans hopeful for future transfer windows because Ancelotti has the ability to bring in high-quality players using just his name value.
These players aren’t all guaranteed to join Everton, these are just names that I think will help the club massively in their push for the top 6. The Toffees aren’t exactly known for business in January due to Director of Football Marcel Brands’ belief that signing too many players in January can disrupt team chemistry, so don’t expect many signings.
Will there be a fire-sale at Goodison Park?
One thing that people believe may happen is that Ancelotti will cut the deadwood in the Everton squad, players like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bernard have been rumoured to hit the chopping block in January, but do I think that’s likely?
To be completely honest I don’t think there will be many if any, sales in January if Brands believes signing a lot of players disrupts team chemistry then I can’t imagine he’ll want 3 or 4 players leaving the club unless it’s some of the youngsters gaining valuable first-team experience out on loan.
I do think we could see Sigurdsson leaving the club, the Icelandic playmaker isn’t Ancelotti’s first choice in any of the positions Gylfi can play, and with him taking home 100k a week to sit on the bench. I can imagine Ancelotti could think of ways to get more use out of his wages, which could see Sigurdsson depart from Goodison Park in January.
Here are the three players I believe we should sign in the January transfer window. Isco hasn’t been included simply because a lot of analysis has already been done on him by my colleagues on the site.
At the end of each player I’ll also be giving a rating out of 10 for two categories:
The Possibility of Everton Signing the Player
How Much Do I Want the Transfer to Happen?
What to watch in European football today: Leicester hoping to spoil Liverpool’s record, Milan to test unbeaten run against Napoli – Sports News – Firstpost
Liverpool have not lost their last 63 league games at home. That matches a club record set in December 1980 which was ended by a defeat to Leicester.
A look at what’s happening around European football on Sunday:
Title-holders Liverpool host 2016 champions Leicester in the Premier League with Jürgen Klopp’s team aiming to set an outright record at Anfield. Liverpool have not lost their last 63 league games at home. That matches a club record set in December 1980 which was ended by a defeat to Leicester.
Leicester trail league leaders Tottenham by two points and can go top outright if they win. Liverpool will move level with Spurs on points with a victory.
In a game between two teams with 16 top-tier titles between them, Leeds (3) host Arsenal (13) at Elland Road. Also Sunday, Fulham host Everton, and West Ham travel to last-place Sheffield United.
Spanish leaders Real Sociedad visit Cádiz looking to add to their five-match winning streak and go three points clear at the top of the league. Real Sociedad lead Atlético Madrid on goal difference. The Basque Country club is led by Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, who has scored six goals in their winning run.
Cádiz, who have impressed since their return to the top flight, are in sixth place. But they will be without striker Álvaro Negredo due to a muscle injury and Anthony Lozano after the forward tested positive for the coronavirus .
Also, Valencia will try to build on their 4-1 rout of Real Madrid in last round when they visit Alavés. Granada welcome last-place Valladolid, and Eibar search for their first home win of the season against Getafe.
Union Berlin were expected to struggle in their second season in the Bundesliga, particularly after seeing a host of players, including goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz, leave in the offseason. But Urs Fischer’s team started the eighth round in fifth place and are on a six-game unbeaten run. Union next travel to Cologne, who are on a 17-game run without a win including last season. Fischer still expects a tough test for his side.
“In the previous games against Werder Bremen (1-1) and Bayern Munich (1-2), the Cologne players were very compact. They’re well organised,” Fischer said.
Cologne forward Sebastian Andersson was one of those who left Union in the offseason and will be keen to add to his two league goals so far.
Winless Mainz visit Freiburg in the other game.
League leaders AC Milan face one of their sternest tests yet when they visit Napoli. Milan are one of only three sides unbeaten in Serie A this season, along with Juventus and Sassuolo, and are a point ahead of second-placed Juventus. Fourth-placed Napoli can move level with Milan with a win.
Sassuolo will be looking to take advantage of any slip by Milan to move to a once-unthinkable top. They are only two points behind the Rossoneri and visit Hellas Verona.
It is only Sassuolo’s eighth season in the Italian top-flight and the team has never finished higher than sixth.
Also, it’s: Fiorentina vs. Benevento, Inter Milan vs. Torino, Roma vs. Parma, Sampdoria vs. Bologna, and Udinese vs. Genoa.
Lille have not won in three games and recently lost their unbeaten record, but coach Christophe Galtier’s side needs only a draw at home to struggling Lorient to overtake Monaco and reclaim second place. However, a win would move Lille just two points behind league leaders Paris Saint-Germain after their 3-2 defeat at Monaco on Friday.
In other games, improving Lyon will look to make it eight games unbeaten and close in on the top three positions when they visit Angers, and Montpellier are at home to 19th-place Strasbourg.
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Barcelona dropped to 10th place in La Liga after going down 1-0 to Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Yannick Carrasco scored the winning goal when nutmegging Marc-Andre ter Stegen before slotting home into an empty net.
Barcelona could not find their way back into the match, leaving coach Ronald Koeman once again facing more questions over the direction of his side.
Barcelona’s latest defeat was their first against Atletico in 10 years, with Atletico going joint top.
Earlier in the day, Gerard Moreno’s late penalty helped secure Villarreal a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid to maintain their unbeaten home record.
Real, looking to respond from the 4-1 defeat at Valencia before the international break, took an early lead through Mariano.
Moreno had missed a couple of opportunities to haul his side level, but made sure of a share of the points when he converted from the spot with 14 minutes left.
Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos missed out after sustaining a hamstring problem in Spain’s 6-0 Nations League win over Germany.
Eden Hazard made a first appearance since November 3 following a positive Covid-19 test.
The visitors were in front after just two minutes at Estadio de la Ceramica when Dominican Republic forward Mariano headed home at the back post. The goal was allowed to stand after a VAR check for a possible offside in the build-up.
Villarreal, who were looking to move top of the table with another home win, went close to an equaliser on 21 minutes.
Moreno floated a ball into the penalty area from the left, but Daniel Parejo sent his free header over the crossbar.
Real Madrid almost went further ahead on 32 minutes when right-back Dani Carvajal drove forwards and drilled an angled shot into the side-netting.
Just before half-time, Mariano’s effort hit the post after a quick counter attack, but the offside flag was up.
Real Madrid had another chance to extend their lead five minutes into the second half, but Lucas Vazquez curled his shot over after being picked out by Mariano.
Just before the hour, Villarreal should have been on level terms when the visitors were caught in possession when trying to play out from the back. Manu Trigueros quickly fed Moreno – but his shot was dragged just wide of the far post.
Villarreal boss Unai Emery made a triple change to freshen up the side as Samuel Chukwueze, Yeremi Pino and Pervis Estupinan all came on.
With 20 minutes left, the hosts created another good opening when Ecuador left-back Estupinan got away down the flank and his low cross was met by Parejo – but the veteran former Real Madrid midfielder sent a first-time effort wide.
Villarreal were awarded a penalty in the 75th minute when Thibaut Courtois brought down Chukwueze as the striker raced into the box.
Moreno dispatched the spot-kick past the dive of the Belgian No 1 to draw the home side level.
Villarreal remained on the offensive and Raphael Varane produced a brave block to deny Moreno what looked a certain second goal as the visitors held out for a point.
Bundesliga: Haaland scores four
Erling Haaland scored four goals in a sensational second-half performance to help Borussia Dortmund come from a goal down to crush hosts Hertha Berlin 5-2 and climb to second place in the Bundesliga.
It was a memorable evening for Norwegian Haaland, who notched his first away goals of the campaign and took his season tally to 10 goals in eight matches, one less than top scorer Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski.
It was an equally memorable match for teenager Youssoufa Moukoko, who replaced Haaland late in the game to become the youngest-ever Bundesliga player at the age of 16 years and one day.
Haaland struck twice between the 47th and 49th minutes to put his team in front after Matheus Cunha had stunned the visitors with an unstoppable shot from 25 yards in the 33rd.
He completed his hat-trick when he pounced on a Hertha mistake to round the ‘keeper and slot in, with the hosts in complete disarray.
Haaland grabbed his fourth after Raphael Guerreiro had also scored for the visitors and Hertha had briefly cut the deficit with a 79th-minute Cunha penalty.
Lacklustre Bayern Munich had to come from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw against Werder Bremen, slipping up for only the second time in their last 35 matches in all competitions but staying a point ahead of undefeated Bayer Leverkusen.
Four days after Germany’s stunning 6-0 loss to Spain, there was little in terms of redemption for Bayern’s many internationals, with the German champions failing to hit a single shot on target in the entire first half.
Werder took a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time after Josh Sargent set up Max Eggestein who beat ‘keeper Manuel Neuer with a well-placed left-footed effort.
Bayern, who had won 33 of their previous 34 games in all competitions, had to wait until the 50th minute for Douglas Costa to rattle the crossbar with a fierce shot and the hosts to show some signs of life.
They upped the pace briefly and Kingsley Coman drew them level, nodding in at the far post in the 62nd but for the next 20 minutes they again dropped back before a couple of late chances for Eric Choupo-Moting and Robert Lewandowski.
The hosts, however, have Neuer to thank for avoiding the second league defeat of the season after he beat Sargent in a one-on-one in the 88th minute.
Bayern are on 19 points, three ahead of RB Leipzig, who are in action later against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen are provisionally second on 18 after their 2-1 win over Arminia Bielefeld, courtesy of Aleksandar Dragovic’s 88th-minute winner on the rebound.
Schalke 04 slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home against VfL Wolfsburg and have gone 24 league matches without a win. Schalke, who are edging closer to the all-time winless run of 31 matches in the league set by Tasmania Berlin in 1965/66, are 17th.
Serie A: Immobile helps Lazio move up to fifth
Ciro Immobile became Lazio’s joint second top goalscorer in Serie A history as he set his side on their way to a 2-0 victory at Crotone in sodden conditions on Saturday.
The match was in danger of being called off after violent storms and flooding in Calabria, but, after the pitch passed an inspection, Immobile glanced home a 21st-minute header to move onto 107 Serie A goals for Lazio, alongside Giuseppe Signori.
As the rain subsided in the second half, the visitors made sure of the three points in the 58th minute as Joaquin Correa squeezed a shot in from a tight angle.
The win stretches Lazio’s unbeaten run to seven in all competitions and moves Simone Inzaghi’s side up to fifth in the Serie A standings, while Crotone remain bottom.
Lukaku, Tielemans & Elliot: What happened to Europe’s 16 youngest debutants since 2000? – GIVEMESPORT
Borussia Dortmund starlet Youssoufa Moukoko is a hot topic among football fans right now.
The Cameroon-born striker turned 16 on Friday and is now in line for his professional debut in the Bundesliga.
Moukoko’s form with Dortmund’s youth teams has attracted attention from across the globe in recent years.
With the German club’s U17 side, the Germany U20 international scored 90 goals and notched 16 assists in his 56 appearances.
Upon promotion to the U19 team, Moukoko continued his ridiculous form by scoring 47 goals and contributing with 10 assists in just 25 games.
According to his profile on Transfermarkt, the teenage sensation is averaging 1.9 goal contributions per game at youth level – absolutely ridiculous.
The sky is the limit for Moukoko, but smashing it at youth level and making your professional debut as a 16-year-old aren’t things that automatically guarantee success.
Thanks to Transfermarkt once again, we’ve provided the 16 youngest debutants in European football since the year 2000 and have then looked at their career paths so far.
It’s certainly a mixed bag…
16. Aaron Lennon, Leeds United, 2003/04 (16 years, 4 months, 7 days)
Lennon burst onto the Premier League scene as a teenager, but he failed to fulfil all of his enormous potential. The English winger was good in bursts at Tottenham, however, he was never close to the world-class bracket. He’s now out in Turkey with Kayserispor.
15. M’Baye Niang, Caen, 2010/11 (16 years, 4 months, 5 days)
The Senegalese striker just hasn’t lived up to expectation. Niang failed to make the grade at AC Milan and was pretty woeful during his loan spell with Watford in 2016/17. He’s now with Rennes, where he’s finally starting to find the back of the net again.
14. Enes Unal, Bursaspor, 2013/14 (16 years, 3 months, 15 days)
Unal completed a move to Manchester City in 2015 after breaking through at Bursaspor. He failed to play a game for the English club’s senior side and is now with Getafe after leaving Villarreal this summer.
13. Romelu Lukaku, Anderlecht, 2009/10 (16 years, 3 months, 9 days)
He’s been alright, hasn’t he? Lukaku lit up the Premier League with West Brom, Everton and – to a degree – Manchester United. Belgium’s record goal getter is now scoring for fun out in Italy with Inter Milan.
12. Youri Tielemans, Anderlecht, 2013/14 (16 years, 2 months, 21 days)
Another success story. Tielemans is a regular in the Belgian national team and has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders at Leicester. He’s still only 23-years-old as well.
11. Sepp van den Berg, Zwolle, 2017/18 (16 years, 2 months, 19 days)
Liverpool signed the teenage defender from Zwolle in the summer of 2019 and he’s already made four appearances for the club’s senior side. Will we see more of the 18-year-old this season now that the Reds are in the midst of an injury crisis in defence?
10. Rayan Cherki, Lyon, 2019/20 (16 years, 2 months, 2 days)
The French forward broke into Lyon’s first team last season and looks a real talent. In his 19 games so far, Cherki has scored three goals and contributed with two assists. A potential superstar in the making.
9. Stephan El Shaarawy, Genoa, 2008/09 (16 years, 1 month, 24 days)
For a brief period at AC Milan, it looked as if El Shaarawy was going to be the next great Italian forward. Sadly, his career has been on the decline for some time now and in the summer of 2019, the 28-year-old opted to join Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.
8. Willem Geubbels, Lyon, 2017/18 (16 years, 1 month, 7 days)
Soon after his debut for Lyon’s senior team, Geubbels was snapped up by AS Monaco. He’s played just 10 times for the principality side since, but there’s still time for the 19-year-old winger to get his career back on track.
7. Neal Maupay, Nice, 2012/13 (16 years, 1 month, 1 day)
Maupay’s five years in French football after making his professional debut were nothing to write home about. However, his career took off when he joined Brentford in 2017. The now 24-year-old striker scored goals for fun in the Championship and is now thriving in the English top-tier with Brighton.
6. Harvey Elliot, Fulham, 2018/19 (16 years, 1 month)
Elliot became the youngest player in Premier League history back in May 2019 and then secured a move to Liverpool a few months after – not bad that. The talented winger is now on loan at Blackburn Rovers, where he’s scored one goal and notched three assists in six Championship games.
5. Albert Rafetraniaina, Nice, 2012/13 (16 years, 27 days)
The man from Madagascar debuted for Nice just after his 16th birthday and remained with the club until 2019. He then joined Serie C team Bisceglie for the 2019/20 season but sadly, the 24-year-old defender is now a free agent.
4. Valeri Bojinov, Lecce, 2001/02 (15 years, 11 months, 12 days)
Since his debut as a 15-year-old, the Bulgarian has lived quite the journeyman career. Bojinov has played for 16 different teams, including Juventus, Manchester City and Sporting Lisbon. He’s now with Levski Sofia in his homeland, his third spell at the club.
3. Eddie Salcedo, Genoa, 2017/18 (15 years, 10 months, 19 days)
The Italy U19 star was signed by Inter Milan on a permanent basis in the summer of 2019. Salcedo is currently with Hellas Verona on loan and the 19-year-old is certainly a player to look out for in the future.
2. Pietro Pellegri, Genoa, 2016/17 (15 years, 9 months, 5 days)
In January 2018, Pellegri became the second-most expensive 16-year-old of all time, AS Monaco paying around €25m for his services. His move to France hasn’t gone to plan as of yet, with the Italian striker making just 11 appearances and scoring only one goal. However, the 19-year-old has time on his side.
1. Luka Romero, RCD Mallorca, 2019/20 (15 years, 7 months, 6 days)
Last season Romero became the youngest player to debut in European football this millennium. At the time of writing, the Argentine U17 international has made five appearances for Mallorca.
Will Romero and Moukoko join the likes of Lukaku and Tielemans in being an unmitigated success in the professional game? Only time will tell…