Lampard wants ‘no excuses’ in Super Cup final against Liverpool
Frank Lampard warned his Chelsea players he does not want to hear “any excuses” after today’s Super Cup final against Liverpool.
Lampard endured a tough competitive debut as Chelsea boss on Sunday as his side was beaten 4-0 by Manchester United in a performance that drew criticism for its naivety, Sky Sports reported.
Having qualified by virtue of winning last season’s Europa League, Chelsea faces the daunting challenge of taking on the Champions League holder in Istanbul.
“Going up against the team with the quality of Liverpool in a final is as tense as finals can be,” Lampard told uefa.com.
“Every player in there needs to be aware of the importance of the game to this club and we have to give everything, because it’s going to be tough.
“It’s going to be tough, but we cannot walk off the pitch and think, ‘Oh, we could’ve done that’ or ‘We missed that opportunity’ or ‘We weren’t quite ready’ or make any excuses for ourselves.”
Lampard’s first summer as Chelsea boss has been restricted by a two-window ban on the club signing new players, with the departure of Eden Hazard further intensifying the challenge facing the 41-year-old.
While Chelsea claimed its sole Super Cup trophy in 1998, Lampard lost back-to-back finals during his playing career, as the West London club qualified for the UEFA showpiece in 2012 and 2013.
“We need to be absolutely ready,” Lampard said.
“It’s a cup that the club desperately wants to win. I’ve never won it, a lot of players in there have never won it, so we have to give it everything.
“You can lose finals; they’re very tough. But what you cannot do is lose it on the premise that we weren’t prepared, or we didn’t have that hunger or desire or everything you need to try and win a game of this magnitude.”
Perisic joins Bayern on initial loan from Inter
Bayern Munich signed Ivan Perisic on a season-long loan from Inter, with an option to make the deal permanent next year.
The 30-year-old joined Inter in 2015 and has been a regular starter during his four years at San Siro, scoring eight goals in Serie A last term, goal.com reported.
He will provide competition to Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman at the Allianz Arena and could be included in Bayern’s opening league game against Hertha Berlin on Friday.
Head coach Niko Kovac has been in the market for at least one new wide forward following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.
Bayern’s hopes of signing Manchester City’s Leroy Sane in this transfer window were effectively scuppered last week following the news he will be out for six to seven months after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury to his right knee.
Perisic has previously played in the Bundesliga, initially for Borussia Dortmund before joining Wolfsburg midway through the 2012-13 season. He won the domestic double with Dortmund in 2012 and went on to win another DFB-Pokal and DFL-Super Cup with the Wolves.
He has made 82 appearances for Croatia and starred at the 2018 World Cup, scoring in the semifinal against England and in the final defeat to France.
“I am very happy to be back in Germany,” Perisic told Bayern’s official website.
Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in Europe. We want to attack not only in the Bundesliga and in the DFB-Pokal, but also in the Champions League.”
Bayern’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic added, “Ivan will help us with his many years of experience at an international top level immediately.
“He is technically strong and flexible in attack. I’m sure Ivan will integrate quickly as he already knows the Bundesliga and our coach Niko Kovac well.”
Seven-goal thriller sees Zob Ahan out of ACL
Al Ittihad toiled its way into the 2019 AFC Champions League (ACL) quarterfinals as it beat Zob Ahan 4-3 on Monday to progress from the Round of 16 6-4 on aggregate.
Showing the greater initiative from the opening whistle at the Grand Hamad Stadium, it initially looked as though Al Ittihad would be denied the advantage heading into the break as it found Mohammad-Baqer Sadeqi in outstanding form, foxsportsasia.com reported.
On three occasions, the Zob Ahan goalkeeper produced outstanding saves to keep out goal-bound efforts by Romarinho, Carlos Villanueva and Luis Jimenez.
Nonetheless, right on the stroke of halftime, Zob Ahan’s awful defending was finally punished as Emiliano Vecchio exploited a huge gap in the opposition backline to race onto Villanueva’s neat pass and finish into the bottom corner.
Eight minutes after the restart, the Iranian outfit leveled the scores when a free-kick swung in from the left sailed over a sea of players and ricocheted off a luckless Jimenez, who could only watch on in horror as the ball hit the back of his own net.
But, straight from the kickoff, Zob Ahan fell behind once more in calamitous fashion and the disaster could not have struck a less-deserving player, as Sadeqi completely miscued an attempted clearance and sliced the ball backward into his own goal.
Ten minutes later, Al Ittihad added a third when Hamdan al-Shamrani embarked on a barnstorming run down the left and played a perfect low cross at the feet of Romarinho, who made no mistake this time in beating Sadeqi from six yards out.
Al Ittihad then looked to be coasting to victory when it scored again in the 70th minute, as Jimenez’s first-time layoff from an incisive Villanueva pass was finished off by Romarinho.
However, Zob Ahan reduced the deficit just two minutes later when Hadi Mohammadi got in ahead of his marker to meet Qassem Haddadifar’s corner with a thumping header past Fawaz al-Qarni.
And, with seven minutes remaining, the designated host gave itself more hope when Haddadifar and Danial Esmaeilifar combined to create an opening for Alireza Cheraghali, whose fierce drive was spilled by Al-Qarni for Macauley Christantus to pounce and score on the rebound.
Still, it was always going to be a bridge too far and it proved to be so, as Al Ittihad went on to claim the victory and book its place in the quarters.
Barcelona delegation in Paris to offer €100m plus Coutinho for Neymar
Barcelona sent a delegation including technical manager Eric Abidal to France for talks with Paris Saint-Germain over a deal for Neymar.
As reported by RAC1 and confirmed to goal.com by sources close to the talks, Abidal, along with board member Javier Bordas, and Andre Cury, a specialist in the Brazilian market, flew to Paris to begin negotiations.
Barca was planning to initiate talks with the Ligue 1 champion and will make an opening offer in the region of €100 million (£93 million/$104 million), plus Philippe Coutinho.
The Catalans need to offload the Brazilian from their wage bill and had been actively offering him to the Premier League prior to the transfer window closing in England.
PSG, meanwhile, is determined to receive as much money as possible for a player it signed for €222 million (£200 million/$249 million) back in 2017, while it also wants right-back Nelson Semedo included in any potential deal.
Sources told goal.com that the French side would consider an offer that includes both Coutinho, Semedo and a cash payment of around €50 million (£47 million/$57 million).
PSG would, however, prefer to sell the Brazilian to Real Madrid, which is planning a €100-million-plus offer of its own, with the relationship between the Parisians and Barca strained after Neymar’s initial decision to leave Spain.
Speculation has been rife that the former Santos star has been searching for a way out of Paris, with his relationship with the club and its supporters appearing to be at an all-time low.
The forward, who didn’t feature for the club over preseason, was absent from the Trophee des Champions win over Rennes, while he was also missing from the Ligue 1 opening-weekend victory over Nimes.
Indeed, PSG supporters made their feelings clear as they sang songs and held up banners in protest against the Brazilian’s presence in Paris.
There were banners calling for the 27-year-old to “Get out” of the club.
The Ligue 1 side’s sporting director Leonardo confirmed on August 10 that there had been talks over Neymar’s exit and that they were “more advanced” than previously but that no deal had been agreed.
It remains to be seen if a transfer can be finalized before the transfer window closes in Spain on September 2 but it’s certain to be an intriguing battle as Barca and Madrid go head-to-head.
Murray rates Cincinnati singles comeback ‘OK’ despite defeat
Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray said he “did OK” in his first singles match in seven months – a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Richard Gasquet at the Cincinnati Masters on Monday.
“I don’t really know what I was expecting, to be honest,” said Murray, sidelined since January by a career-threatening hip injury, AFP reported.
“I did OK.
“There were a lot of things I would like to have done better in the match, but you also have to be somewhat realistic in terms of what you can expect, in terms of how you actually play and hit the ball.”
Murray said he “felt fine, physically,” during the match.
“My legs were a little bit heavy at the end of the match. When Richard drop-shotted me, there were a few times I didn’t even run to the ball, didn’t react to it.
“That’s nothing to do with my hip, that’s just me not running for a ball.”
Murray hadn’t played a singles match since a five-set first-round exit at the Australian Open, where he tearfully acknowledged he feared his career was over.
Since undergoing right hip resurfacing surgery on January 28 he has slowly fashioned a return.
Murray has been playing doubles for the past two months, winning at Queen’s Club in London with Feliciano Lopez.
Gasquet, however, was too strong for the 32-year-old, who won the title in the US Open warmup in Cincinnati in 2008 and 2011.
Gasquet, who had groin surgery in January, ended a five-match skid against the Briton, now ranked 324th.
Murray opened the game with a double fault, and his forehand into the net gave Gasquet a match point that the 56th-ranked Frenchman converted when Murray sent a service return wide to end the match after 96 minutes.
Tentative at times, he finished with a respectable 20 winners but struck 28 unforced errors.
No US Open singles
He was optimistic he can improve further.
“I think with a few more weeks of practice and hopefully some more matches, then I could do better,” said Murray, who nevertheless said after the match that he did not intend to play singles at the US Open.
“I’m not going to play the US Open singles,” he confirmed, adding that US Open organizers had wanted to know by Monday if he was interested in a wild card invitation.
“I felt like I wanted to maybe try and get a couple of matches in before making a decision like that,” added Murray, who knows the best-of-five set format at Grand Slams will be even more of a challenge.
The return of former world number one Murray dominated an opening day that saw another former US Open champion, Marin Cilic, join Murray on the sidelines with a 6-4, 7-6 (8/6) loss to Radu Albot.
French club Marseille said on Tuesday it had sacked World Cup winner Adil Rami reportedly for ‘gross misconduct’ following a disciplinary
procedure, AFP reported.