Sunday, 28 December 2014

Chris and Gabby Adcock into semis

Chris and Gabby Adcock
England's Chris and Gabby Adcock reached the semi-finals at the World Superseries Finals in Dubai after winning their final group match.
The Adcocks beat German pairing Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels 21-16 21-17 to secure their first win at the event.
But their place in the last four was only confirmed when China's Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei beat Korean duo Ko Sung-hyun and Kim Ha-na 21-12 21-18.
The Adcocks will meet Zhang and Zhao in the semi-finals on Saturday.
The world number one pairing beat the English duo 21-14 21-17 in Thursday's second round of group matches.
That was one of back-to-back defeats for the Commonwealth Games gold medallists, but they progressed having lost one fewer game than Ko and Kim.
Chris Adcock said: "We did everything we could and it was just a case of playing the waiting game."
Danes Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Christinna Pedersen face China's Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin in the other semi-final.

World Superseries Finals: Chris and Gabby Adcock lose semi-final

Chris and Gabby Adcock
England's Chris and Gabby Adcock failed in their bid to make the final of the World Superseries Finals in Dubai.
The Commonwealth Games gold medallists were beaten 21-9 21-12 by world number ones Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei.
The Chinese pairing despatched the Adcocks in the semi-final in just 36 minutes, with Gabby Adcock playing despite suffering from a chest infection.
The English husband-and-wife pair finish 2014 ranked sixth in the world.
Zhang and Zhao had already beaten the Adcocks in the group phase, with the English couple managing to progress despite recording just one win, over Germany's Michael Fuchs and Birgit Michels.
"Gabby had nothing more to give today. She is really struggling with the chest infection and finding it hard to breathe on court," said Pete Jeffrey, Badminton England's national coach.
"She has performed amazingly well this week despite being ill and I feel that just shows her character and her desire to reach the very top in her sport."

Question of the Day: Which club had the best 2014?

Question of the Day: Which club had the best 2014?
Question of the Day: Which club had the best 2014?

I voted for Ronaldo to win Ballon d'Or

Dunga: I voted for Ronaldo to win Ballon d'Or
The winger is the favourite to win the trophy for a third time and has the backing of Brazil's coach
Brazil boss Dunga has revealed he voted for Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo to win the 2014 Ballon d'Or.

Ronaldo, who was handed the award in 2014, is the favourite to win the trophy for a third time but faces competition from Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

There have been growing calls for Neuer to be acknowledged for his role in winning the World Cup with Germany, but Dunga has given his backing to the Portugal captain.

"My vote was for Cristiano Ronaldo," the 51-year-old said at a press conference in Porto Alegre.

If the 29-year-old is successful in his bid for the Ballon d'Or, he will be just one victory short of matching Messi, who has won the trophy four times.

On Saturday Bayern goalkeeper Pepe Reina said Ronaldo would win the prize but feels Neuer is a more worthy candidate, while Barca midfielder Xavi has also questioned the Portuguese's credentials because of his failure to shine at the World Cup.

The winner of the award will be announced at the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich on January 12.

The Players Nigeria Should Forget in 2015

Emmanuel Emenike
Looking forward to the coming 12 months, the team present six players who they believe should play no part in the team's attempt to comeback from the disappointments of 2014
By Solace Chukwu, Ed Dove & James Ezimoha
2014 is drawing inexorably to a close.
It has been a disappointing twelve months for the Nigeria national team, with the promise of 2013 being unrealised despite the opportunities offered by the World Cup and Cup of Nations qualifying.
Far from establishing a dominant core to the side, many of Stephen Keshi’s chosen ones have fallen from grace in recent fixtures.
In this article, three of Goal Nigeria’s writers each present two players who they believe Nigeria should cast aside in 2015.
Efe Ambrose & Emmanuel Emenike
Efe Ambrose
Nigeria’s final qualifying game for the 2015 AFCON featured an interesting tactical battle: South Africa defended very narrow and marked tightly in midfield, challenging Stephen Keshi’s men to break them down.
The men on the pitch with the most space were the full-backs, Efe Ambrose and Juwon Oshaniwa, who had to accelerate at least 30 metres to have anyone come out to meet them. The former is a centre-back, the latter is a shutdown left-back and little else.
It served a cogent lesson: in modern football, no one can succeed without attacking full-backs.
This is why Efe Ambrose has to go in 2015.
As the Super Eagles look to the future, it is vital that the national team seek out a proper right-back. Midfield battles have become tighter, and full-backs have never been more important. Having one proficient with the ball at his feet and capable to contribute in attack in vital.

Emmanuel Emenike
There is only so long one can labour under a burden before deciding it is easier to discard it.
Sad as it is to admit, Emmanuel Emenike is a burden now. Without a goal in over a year with the Super Eagles, especially in a team that does not rely on its midfield for goals, there is no basis for his continued presence.
His form with Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig is not sparkling either, he has only managed two goals this season, and his confidence appears shot.
If form is the metric for selecting a national team (in an ideal situation, it should be) then the 27-year-old has no business in the team at the moment. 
Failure to qualify for Equatorial Guinea 2015 avails the team handlers an opportunity to start afresh and look to the future. On the current evidence, Emenike does not feature in that future.
Peter Odemwingie & Ikechukwu Uche
The two players I believe ought to be forgotten in 2015 are both men with similar profiles and similar qualities. Notably, they both lived out comparable narratives and made parallel contributions to the national side.
At the beginning of 2014, neither Peter Odemwingie nor Ikechukwu Uche figured in Stephen Keshi’s plans.
Both men had been sidelined following well-publicised disagreements with the Big Boss and, heading into their 30s, appeared to have a limited future with the Super Eagles.
However, the failings of Emmanuel Emenike, Ideye Brown, Victor Moses and others forced Keshi to turn back to the veterans.

After much long drawn-out speculation, both men eventually returned; Odemwingie for the pre-World Cup friendly against Scotland, Uche for the qualifier against the Republic of Congo.
Their respective stats for 2014 read as follows: Odemwingie—seven appearances, one goal; Uche—two appearances, one goal.
While they may have made pertinent (if ultimately futile) contributions, both men are past their prime. Odemwingie will be 35 and Uche 33 by the next time Nigeria could possibly feature in a major tournament, there is no dearth of bright striking talent and the New Year must herald the start of a new attacking era for the national side.
Azubuike Egwuekwe & Chigozie Agbim
Azubuike Egwuekwe
There’s really no better way to put this: Azubuike Egwuekwe is not good enough for the Super Eagles and should be forgotten in 2015.
It’s okay to be good but there’s always better; and better is what Nigeria need.
With a population of over 150 million people within the geographical space called Nigeria, not to mention the Diaspora, there are certainly better defenders who can contribute more than what the Warri Wolves captain chips in for the national team.
His towering height, obviously, serves well for thwarting aerial threats, but unfortunately, that’s about his most significant contribution to the team. And in all honesty, alternatives are aplenty.
His pace, or the lack of it, leaves much to be desired of the central defender. What can we say about his decision-making? It’s as slow as the man himself.
It was an eyesore against South Africa, for example, during the qualifiers, and Nigeria deserve better.

Chigozie Agbim
Third-choice goalkeepers are not necessarily necessary, but they have to be there, just in case. And they have to be reliable, too. There are so many scenarios, though they seldom play out, where third-choice goalies have proved important additions to squads.
It won’t be overstretched, though, to say that Super Eagles fans must give thanks to the man ahead of him for not allowing their darling team be in a crucial position where Chigozie Agbim needed to be called upon.
Remember that dying-minute reflex save by Vincent Enyeama from Edin Dzeko’s header, which preserved Nigeria’s lead, and win, at the World Cup? If that was Agbim… let’s not even go there.
The CHAN catastrophe is just a page in a catalogue of his embarrassing displays.
I really don’t know how Agbim got into the national team in the first place, but his time as the first-pick from the local-based goalkeepers, which is highly debatable and even laughable, should end in 2015.

Clinical Colback helps Pardew return to winning ways

Newcastle 3-2 Everton: Clinical Colback helps Pardew return to winning ways
 The Magpies returned to winning ways in a thrilling contest as Jack Colback scored the winning goal at St. James' Park despite going behind to an early Arouna Koné strike
 Newcastle held on to defeat Everton 3-2 at St. James' Park on Sunday as the Magpies responded well after three matches without a win.

Arouna Koné opened the scoring after just four minutes for Everton at St. James' Park with a smart finish from a Seamus Coleman cross, however the Magpies hit back through Papiss Cissé before the break.

Ayoze Perez then put the hosts in front before Jack Colback added a third. Kevin Mirallas gave the Toffees hope late on but Newcastle held on for a crucial win.

I knew Koeman would be great at Southampton

Mourinho: I knew Koeman would be great at Southampton
The pair worked together under Louis van Gaal at Barcelona and the Chelsea manager insists he always expected his former colleague to impress at St Mary's this season
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Ronald Koeman's Southampton side have earned the right to play without pressure.

Koeman's side have overcome a mini-wobble that saw them six games without a win in all competitions during November and December, but victory over Crystal Palace on Friday saw them move back into fourth.

The pair worked together on Louis van Gaal's coaching staff at Barcelona in the late 1990s and Mourinho revealed he always felt Koeman was the right man to take over from Mauricio Pochettino.

"I know Ronald well, we worked together. We worked together in Barcelona on Mr Van Gaal's coaching staff so we were colleagues," said the Portuguese.

"I know that he's a good coach and has a good mentality and I know the football principles he defends and he likes.

"So for me, when I saw him get his hands on a Pochettino team, I thought he was the right guy to do it."

Mourinho also praised Koeman's ability to get the best out of a squad that lost key players such as Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw and Dejan Lovren in the close-season.

"Obviously they lost some good players but they were very clinical in their choices," Mourinho added.

"You lose Lambert, you go for [Graziano] Pelle. This kind of situation, you lose Lovren, you keep [Jose] Fonte and you go for [Toby] Alderweireld. You lose [Artur] Boruc, you go to the big guy [Fraser Forster].

"They have a very good squad, a very good coach, they're playing well and they're getting results. They don't have pressure, they're the kind of team that in this moment has no pressure because relegation is very, very far [away].

"The title is not for them, so they are in a fantastic position to play beautiful football like they are doing."

I'll have to be at my best to stop Diego Costa - Alderweireld

I'll have to be at my best to stop Diego Costa - Alderweireld
Well aware of the striker's threat from their work together at Atletico Madrid, the Southampton loanee expects a tough time but senses similarities between the Saints and Atleti
Southampton defender Toby Alderweireld says that he will have to be at his best if he is to hold off Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

The pair played together at Atletico Madrid last season, along with Blues goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and have both impressed since moving to the Premier League last summer and the Saints loanee is well aware of the danger posed by his former team-mates, as well as Belgium international colleague Eden Hazard.

"They are the best players in the world," Alderweireld told The Daily Telegraph ahead of Sunday's meeting between the two sides.

"I'm not surprised about how well Thibaut has settled because he speaks all the languages and is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. We have to be at our top to beat them.

"It is very difficult to stop Diego because he is fast, he is strong, he has technique. He can score goals, is good with his head so I have to be at my best."

Having played a key part in Southampton's challenge for a top-four position this season, Alderweireld feels that there are similarities between Ronald Koeman's side and Atleti's unlikely title triumph in Spain last season.

"Yes, because in the beginning nobody was giving Atletico a chance," he remarked. "Even maybe the last 10 games, people were saying 'yeah, they will lose points' but, just like the coach [Diego] Simeone, told us: 'Go game by game and, at the end, we will see. They are better, they have a better squad, better players but we have something special – we have a team.'

"We have to have a team [at Southampton] and we can do great things like now. Of course, Graziano [Pelle] is scoring and [Dusan] Tadic is getting his assists but I think the team is our strength.

"We love to play a little bit more beautiful football but the organisation has to be good otherwise you can't make goals," he continued. "They are similar in their organisation but Simeone was a little bit more tactical in a different way and Koeman is more 'how we can beat them, how can we have the ball possession?'

"Simeone makes a team, team, team. Nobody's more important than the team. If you think you are [more] important, you go out, no matter who it was. There was one thing: winning. Simeone doesn't care. Just winning.

"No matter how ugly it was: winning, three points, go home. Tactically, I think he's the best coach I have ever seen."

Chelsea set to bid for Kramaric

Chelsea set to bid for KramaricThe Blues sent negotiators to Croatia on Saturday for talks with the player's father and a Rijeka delegation, including former Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban
Chelsea are set to lodge a €10 million bid for Rijeka hotshot Andrej Kramaric.

The 23-year-old has scored 27 goals in 26 matches this season across the Croatian Prva HNL and Europa League, building on last season's tally of 30 in 41 in all competitions.

Those impressive figures have caught the eye of some of Europe's top clubs, including Juventus and AC Milan, while Leicester City tried to reverse their Premier League fortunes by lodging an official bid to sign the forward.

Kramaric, however, rejected the Foxes on the grounds that they are likely to be relegated this season and Chelsea have now moved in and hope to secure a deal in the coming days.

Blues manager Jose Mourinho has previously insisted that his club will not do any business in the upcoming January transfer window but it is understood that representatives were in Croatia on Saturday to meet with the player's father and agent, Joza, as well as a Rijeka delegation including former Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban.

A fee of a €10m has been proposed, with the Croatian side set to receive just over €4.8m as Dinamo Zagreb, Kramaric's former club, are due between 50 and 60 per cent of the total fee thanks to a clause in the 2013 transfer.

A friendly between the two clubs at Rijeka's new stadium, expected to open in 2016, is thought to form part of the proposal.

It has not yet been decided whether the Blues would keep Kramaric for the second half of the season or send him on loan, either back to Rijeka or another European club.

Chelsea have established a vast loan network for their young stars, with many tasting action in the Netherlands with Vitesse, but the forward is keen to stay at Stamford Bridge and would not favour a tempoarary switch, as was the case with fellow Croatian Mario Pasalic, who joined from Hajduk Split in July and is now at Elche.

Croatia national team coach Niko Kovac told Goal $ Sportmasta earlier in December that Kramaric should choose his next club carefully and quickly, suggesting that he should move where he is most likely to see first-team action.

"My advice not only to him but all young players going out is don't look at how high a salary you can get but choose a club you will play in," he said.

"When young players go out, they do not know anybody, don't have friends, family, don't know the language and, if they don't play, they lose confidence and, in a year or two, disappear.

"And if they play in some smaller team, the opportunity will come to go to a bigger club and earn more."

Kovac handed Kramaric his Croatia debut in September after representing his country at seven different youth team levels, from the Under-14s up to the Under-21s.

He has scored twice, against Malta and Azerbaijan in Euro 2016 qualifiers, in his four senior appearances to date.

Arsenal moved above West Ham in to the Premier League top five

Arsenal moved above West Ham in to the Premier League top five after inflicting a first home defeat on the Hammers since August.
Alex Song had a 20-yard volley ruled out for offside for the hosts.
Santi Cazorla put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot, following a foul by Winston Reid, before Danny Welbeck put Arsenal further in front.
Cheikhou Kouyate's header gave the hosts hope but West Ham were unable to avoid a second successive defeat.
It was Arsenal's ninth win in a row in all competitions against West Ham as they moved level on points with fourth-placed Southampton and just three points behind Manchester United in third.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, who opted to rest key players Song and Diafra Sakho for the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Boxing Day, disagreed strongly with the decision to disallow Song's goal, claiming Sakho was not in the eyeline of the goalkeeper when he was adjudged to be offside.
The Hammers had won six of their last seven league home games but, despite heavy late second-half pressure, lacked the quality needed for the leveller.
Former Arsenal man Song, on loan from Barcelona, almost made an instant impact with a low volley into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards early on. Sakho was penalised for standing in an offside position in front of goal, though, despite not touching the ball.
While Allardyce's men have exceeded expectations this season, Arsenal have had a mixed start to the campaign and they were very much on the back foot in the opening stages.
But the Gunners had failed to score in only one of their last 11 away matches in the Premier League and they were at it again before the break.
Cazorla punished Reid's high leg in the box to roll home the resulting penalty for the opener. The lead was doubled minutes later as Welbeck was on hand to slide the ball in to the net from close range after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's low cross from the right.
Stunned by the deficit, West Ham restored hope soon after the break with Kouyate bundling Sakho's cross from the right in to the net via Mathieu Debuchy.
But it was Arsenal who had the better chances, with Hammers keeper Adrian brilliantly denying Alexis Sanchez and Oxlade-Chamberlain, before the visitors survived a late aerial bombardment.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"We had a committed and united performance. The keeper made some good saves. We knew we needed to be good in the air today.
"I didn't know why Alex Song's goal didn't stand, I thought it would. We scored a good second goal and had many opportunities to score another. It didn't come and at 2-1 I thought the last 30 minutes would be difficult.
"We did dig deep. It is down to consistency and we are slowly getting there."
West Ham's Alex Song
Alex Song had a goal ruled out for offside
Francis Coquelin arsenal
West Ham have not beaten Arsenal since 2007
Arsenal cazorla
Arsenal are unbeaten in five matches in all competitions
West Ham
West Ham had won six of their last seven Premier League home games
West Ham Cheikhou Kouyate
Cheikhou Kouyate scored his first goal for West Ham

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (5)

West Ham United

  • 13 Adrián
  • 17 O'Brien (Demel - 78' )
  • 05 Tomkins Booked
  • 02 Reid Booked
  • 03 Cresswell
  • 30 Song
  • 21 Amalfitano
  • 08 Kouyaté (Nolan - 78' )
  • 11 Downing
  • 09 Carroll Booked
  • 15 Sakho (E Valencia - 62' )


  • 04 Nolan
  • 16 Noble
  • 19 Collins
  • 20 Demel
  • 22 Jääskeläinen
  • 24 Cole
  • 31 E Valencia


  • 01 Szczesny
  • 02 Debuchy Booked
  • 04 Mertesacker
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 18 Monreal
  • 34 Coquelin Booked
  • 20 Flamini
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Chambers - 90' )
  • 19 Cazorla
  • 23 Welbeck (Gibbs - 85' )
  • 17 Sánchez Booked


  • 03 Gibbs
  • 09 Podolski
  • 13 Ospina
  • 14 Walcott
  • 21 Chambers
  • 28 Campbell
  • 38 Akpom
Ref: Neil Swarbrick
Att: 34,977

Match Stats

Possession43%57%90minsWest Ham UnitedArsenal


14 21

On target

4 7


7 8


12 13

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, West Ham United 1, Arsenal 2.
90:00 +5:55 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, West Ham United 1, Arsenal 2.
90:00 +5:16 Attempt missed. Enner Valencia (West Ham United) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Aaron Cresswell with a headed pass following a set piece situation.
90:00 +4:30 Booking
Booking Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card.
90:00 +4:27 Stewart Downing (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
90:00 +4:27 Foul by Francis Coquelin (Arsenal).
90:00 +3:21 Alexandre Song (West Ham United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
90:00 +3:21 Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal).
90:00 +1:45 Foul by Guy Demel (West Ham United).
90:00 +1:45 Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
90:00 +1:11 Corner, West Ham United. Conceded by Kieran Gibbs.
90:00 +1:09 Attempt missed. Enner Valencia (West Ham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Aaron Cresswell.
90:00 +0:16 Attempt saved. Kevin Nolan (West Ham United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andy Carroll.
89:30 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Arsenal. Calum Chambers replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
87:09 Booking
Booking Winston Reid (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card.
87:02 Attempt missed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.
85:59 Attempt missed. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla following a fast break.
84:28 Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
84:10 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Arsenal. Kieran Gibbs replaces Danny Welbeck.
83:20 Booking
Booking James Tomkins (West Ham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Mourinho rages over anti-Chelsea 'campaign

Mourinho rages over anti-Chelsea 'campaign'

The Portuguese believes the repeated allegations faced by his players in recent weeks might be making officials reluctant to award them key decisions in matches
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says a "campaign" against his side is to blame for four of his players picking up bookings for diving this season.

Cesc Fabregas became the latest Blues player to see yellow for simulation in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Southampton, though it appeared he had been tripped by Saints left-back Matt Targett.

Gary Cahill, in particular, attracted criticism earlier in December for what was judged to have been a dive against Hull City, but Mourinho says each decision has been a "bad yellow card".

"I think it’s clearly the result of something that looks like a campaign," he told reporters. "In the first match Diego [Costa] got a yellow card when should it have been a penalty and red card at Burnley.

"A few months later we lose two points in a match where the penalty is there and Fabregas gets a yellow card [on Sunday at Southampton]. In football we are always trying - or we should always try - to change the bad things and the double punishment is something unbelievable.

"You have a penalty and probably you win the game. You don’t get the penalty and you get a yellow card. It should be easy - [referee] Anthony [Taylor] goes to a screen, he sees he makes a mistake, he’s a good guy, an honest guy, he writes ‘I made a mistake’ and lets [rescind] the yellow card to Fabregas. It should be simple.

"[They are] Bad yellow cards. You can say that. I’m not saying all, but the crucial ones, because we’re speaking about crucial decisions. For example, the game against Hull City - do you think the most important thing of the game was Cahill or was it Filipe Luis almost with a broken leg? For me that’s the crucial point of the game."

When asked who he thought was behind the campaign against Chelsea, Mourinho replied: "I don’t know, but for example after the game against West Ham - good game, normal game, 2-0, should be four, should be five, Valencia made a very bad dive and at the end of the game Sam [Allardyce] is speaking about Ivanovic! What is this? What is this? For what? Why? Which intention? And today you come here, it’s crucial decision, one of these matches between two good teams, difficult match, not many opportunities for both sides, crucial decisions, and the referee makes a wrong decision. Do I have to blame the referee? I just say he made a mistake. Just that."

On the Fabregas incident, Mourinho added: "My view is the same as yours. It’s the view of everybody. There are situations in matches where we can have different opinions, and you think something, I think another thing but there are others where everyone has the same opinion.

"I’m saying we don’t need to speak about it because everyone knows.

"Why [was Fabregas booked]Because the referee made a mistake. People make mistakes, he made a mistake. Big mistake, but a mistake. He’s a very good referee. He’s a good guy from what I know. He’s young and has years and years of football ahead of him. It is a big mistake but tomorrow is another day and on January 1 he has another match against QPR and life goes on."

Real Madrid & Juventus do battle for top award

Real Madrid & Juventus do battle for top award
The European giants have been nominated for the Club of the Year prize at the annual Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai along with Bayern Munich, Ajax and Basel
Real Madrid and Juventus are among the five European clubs on the shortlist for the prestigious Club of the Year award at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai.

The European champions, who secured La Decima in May, will be in Dubai to play AC Milan in a friendly on December 30 and Carlo Ancelotti and his key players are expected to attend the ceremony the day before at the luxurious Atlantis, The Palm resort.

Real Madrid and Italian champions Juventus are joined on the shortlist by Bayern Munich, Ajax and Basel.

Other categories in the annual awards - organised by Globe Soccer in conjunction with the ECA, the European Club Association, and the EFAA, the European Football Agents' Association - include Agent of the Year and Referee of the Year.

The nominations for Agent of the Year 2014 are Volker Struth, Pere Guardiola, Jorge Mendes and Giovanni Branchini.

The Referee of the Year 2014 shortlist includes Nicola Rizzoli (Italy), Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands), Alireza Faghani (Iran), Yuicihi Nishimura (Japan), Janny Sikazwe (Zambia) and Bakary Papa Gassama (Gambia).

Completing the list are Abdelkader Zitouni, Norbert Hauata (both Tahiti), Wilmar Alexander Roldan (Colombia), Sandro Meira Ricci (Brazil), Roberto Garcia and Marco Antonio Rodriguez (both Mexico).

All the winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony attended by influential football figures such as Michel Platini and Fabio Capello at the culmination of the Globe Soccer Conference on December 29.

Riyad Mahrez struck the winner before half-time

Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez struck the winner before half-time as bottom club Leicester clinched a first victory in 14 Premier League matches at Hull's expense.
The Algerian winger struck from the edge of the area to give manager Nigel Pearson victory at his former club.
Leicester rode their luck late on as Hull hit the post twice through Jake Livermore and Abel Hernandez.
Both teams ended the game with 10 men as Leicester's Paul Konchesky and the hosts' Stephen Quinn were dismissed.
This was billed as a "bigger game than the FA Cup Final" by Hull boss Steve Bruce as they started the day six points above Leicester.
Opposite number Pearson shunned his usual position in the directors' box and appeared on the touchline for the duration of a Premier League game for only the second time after serving a one-match ban.
The Tigers went into the match on a high following victory at Sunderland on Boxing Day but they struggled to get going in a cagey opening where both sides appeared to feel the magnitude of the occasion.
The visitors' Ben Hamer was the first keeper called into action as he kept out David Meyler's shot from long range.
But Leicester went on to snatch the lead on the break as a driving run from David Nugent found Mahrez, who cut in and found the bottom corner before celebrating with his manager.
Pearson's side settled somewhat after that with Mahrez firing straight at Allan McGregor from another Nugent pass.
But Hull could have been level at the break with an unmarked Ahmed Elmohamady missing the target from six yards following Quinn's cross.
A partial floodlight failure disrupted proceedings in the second half although both managers agreed to play on despite parts of several of the lights being out.
Leicester had to defend for most of the second 45 minutes with Wes Morgan close to deflecting into his own net from a Robbie Brady cross.
Livermore was unfortunate to see his shot come back off the post as he broke free in the area before Hamer saved from sub Hernandez following Elmohamady's long throw in.
Hernandez went even closer when his header struck the post before Curtis Davies' follow-up effort was cleared off the line by Danny Drinkwater.
Leicester were holding on as left back Konchesky was dismissed for a second yellow card after he blocked Elmohamady late on.
But the numbers were level again as Quinn was adjudged to have handled while denying a clear goalscoring chance.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

Hull City

  • 01 McGregor
  • 14 Livermore
  • 04 Bruce
  • 06 Davies
  • 02 Rosenior
  • 27 Elmohamady
  • 07 Meyler (Ince - 61' )
  • 29 Quinn Dismissed
  • 11 Brady
  • 24 Aluko (Hernández - 62' )
  • 25 Ramírez (Jelavic - 45' )


  • 03 Figueroa
  • 09 Hernández
  • 12 Maguire
  • 18 Jelavic
  • 20 Sagbo
  • 22 Harper
  • 23 Ince

Leicester City

  • 12 Hamer
  • 17 Simpson Booked
  • 27 Wasilewski
  • 05 Morgan
  • 03 Konchesky Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 26 Mahrez (de Laet - 71' )
  • 19 Cambiasso (Drinkwater - 71' )
  • 08 James
  • 15 Schlupp
  • 35 Nugent
  • 23 Ulloa (Wood - 55' )


  • 02 de Laet
  • 04 Drinkwater
  • 07 Hammond
  • 18 Moore
  • 24 Knockaert
  • 31 Smith
  • 39 Wood
Ref: Phil Dowd
Att: 23,809

Match Stats

Possession38%62%90minsHull CityLeicester City


18 4

On target

5 2


7 1


12 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, Hull City 0, Leicester City 1.
90:00 +5:15 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, Hull City 0, Leicester City 1.
90:00 +4:35 Foul by Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City).
90:00 +4:35 Jeffrey Schlupp (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
90:00 +3:37 Dismissal
Dismissal Stephen Quinn (Hull City) is shown the red card.
90:00 +3:19 Hand ball by Stephen Quinn (Hull City).
90:00 +2:59 Attempt blocked. Robbie Brady (Hull City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
90:00 +1:58 Tom Ince (Hull City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
90:00 +1:58 Foul by Daniel Drinkwater (Leicester City).
90:00 +0:49 Hand ball by Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City).
89:07 Attempt missed. Abel Hernández (Hull City) left footed shot from very close range is too high following a corner.
88:39 Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Danny Simpson.
88:36 Attempt blocked. Curtis Davies (Hull City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Robbie Brady with a cross.
88:07 Corner, Hull City. Conceded by Marcin Wasilewski.
87:15 Dismissal
Dismissal Second yellow card to Paul Konchesky (Leicester City) for a bad foul.
86:56 Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
86:56 Foul by Paul Konchesky (Leicester City).
85:45 Attempt saved. Abel Hernández (Hull City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jake Livermore.
83:02 Attempt blocked. Curtis Davies (Hull City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
83:01 Abel Hernández (Hull City) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Ahmed Elmohamady with a cross following a corner.

Record-breaker Messi to receive LFP tribute

Record-breaker Messi to receive LFP tribute at Barcelona-Atletico clashThe Argentine broke Telmo Zarra's record of 251 goals in the Spanish top flight on November 22 and his achievement will be celebrated in his club's next home league game
 Javier Tebes has confirmed that the LFP will pay tribute to La Liga's all-time leading goalscorer, Lionel Messi, at Barcelona's meeting with Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou on January 11.

The Argentina international broke Telmo Zarra's record of 251 goals by netting a hat-trick in his club's 5-1 rout of Sevilla on November 22.

Messi's achievement was set to be recognised at Barca's meeting with Eibar on December 20 but the LFP decided against doing so out of respect to the Deportivo fan who died as a result of injuries sustained during violent clashes among fans in Madrid earlier in the day.

However, Tebes stated on Saturday that the LFP will now celebrate Messi becoming Liga's most prolific marksman at a special ceremony at Barca's next home league game, against Atletico.

Messi, who made his Blaugrana debut in 2004, has since taken his Primera Division tally to 258 goals.

Manchester City missed a golden chance to close the gap

Ashley Barnes
Manchester City missed a golden chance to close the gap on league leaders Chelsea as they surrendered a two-goal half-time lead against Burnley.
City were cruising when Fernandinho followed up David Silva's opener with a fine curling shot.
George Boyd scored straight after the break, turning home Danny Ings' shot despite appearing to be offside.
Then Ashley Barnes reacted quickest in a crowded penalty area to smash home a loose ball to earn the visitors a draw.
It was a result that didn't seem likely at the break, when City looked sure to cut Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premier League to a single point.
Samir Nasri's precise pass had been perfect for Jesus Navas to run on to. Silva had found enough space to collect his fellow countryman's cross.
He spun round and beat Burnley keeper Tom Heaton by his left-hand post from eight yards for his fourth goal in three games.
Nasri then showed admirable patience in waiting for an opening before eventually rolling a pass back to Fernandinho, whose superb curling shot provided him with his first goal of the season when it crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.
The first-half was not without its mishaps for City.
Fernando was booked for fouling Scott Arfield that will rule him out of the New Year's Day encounter with Sunderland and Pablo Zabaleta needed a bandage applying to a wound sustained in a clash of heads with Eliaquim Mangala.
It took an element of good fortune for Burnley to get back into the game at the start of the second period, with none of the officials spotting Boyd was in an offside position when he got the slightest of touches to Ings' shot before it squeezed under Joe Hart.
Both sides had chances after that. Heaton denied Nasri with a full-length save and at the other end, Ings was narrowly wide with a shot from 25 yards before Arfield was denied by a well-timed tackle from Martin Demichelis.
Burnley kept going and their attacking intent was rewarded when a long free-kick bounced off Michael Keane and Barnes wasted no time in driving a first-time shot into the roof of Hart's net before the City keeper had a chance to react.
Rather than risk losing their point, the visitors opted for a safety-first strategy at the end, with manager Sean Dyche telling his players to take the ball towards the corner flag during five minutes of injury time.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (3)

Manchester City

  • 01 Hart
  • 05 Zabaleta Booked
  • 26 Demichelis
  • 20 Mangala
  • 11 Kolarov
  • 06 Fernando Booked
  • 25 Fernandinho (Sinclair - 88' )
  • 15 Jesús Navas Booked
  • 21 Silva Booked
  • 08 Nasri (Lampard - 76' )
  • 07 Milner (Jovetic - 62' )


  • 03 Sagna
  • 12 Sinclair
  • 13 Caballero
  • 18 Lampard
  • 22 Clichy
  • 35 Jovetic
  • 38 Boyata


  • 01 Heaton
  • 02 Trippier
  • 25 Keane
  • 05 Shackell
  • 06 Mee Booked
  • 21 Boyd
  • 08 Marney
  • 14 Jones
  • 37 Arfield
  • 10 Ings
  • 30 Barnes


  • 07 Wallace
  • 11 Kightly
  • 17 Sordell
  • 19 Jutkiewicz
  • 20 Chalobah
  • 22 Gilks
  • 28 Long
Ref: Kevin Friend
Att: 45,608

Match Stats

Possession37%63%90minsManchester CityBurnley


17 12

On target

6 3


10 3


18 9

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, Manchester City 2, Burnley 2.
90:00 +5:08 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, Manchester City 2, Burnley 2.
90:00 +4:31 Foul by Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City).
90:00 +4:31 George Boyd (Burnley) wins a free kick on the right wing.
90:00 +3:16 Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).
90:00 +3:16 Ashley Barnes (Burnley) wins a free kick on the left wing.
90:00 +1:21 Foul by Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City).
90:00 +1:21 Ashley Barnes (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
90:00 +0:37 Offside, Manchester City. David Silva tries a through ball, but Scott Sinclair is caught offside.
87:59 Booking
Booking David Silva (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card.
87:53 Hand ball by David Silva (Manchester City).
87:07 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Manchester City. Scott Sinclair replaces Fernandinho.
86:46 Jesús Navas (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
86:46 Foul by Scott Arfield (Burnley).
85:46 Attempt blocked. David Silva (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jesús Navas.
84:44 Attempt blocked. Kieran Trippier (Burnley) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
83:46 Foul by Eliaquim Mangala (Manchester City).
83:46 George Boyd (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
82:54 Attempt saved. Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Frank Lampard.
80:55 Goal scored
Goal! Goal! Manchester City 2, Burnley 2. Ashley Barnes (Burnley) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Michael Keane following a set piece situation.

Chelsea missed the chance to tighten their grip

Southampton's Sadio Mane
Chelsea missed the chance to tighten their grip on the Premier League title race as they were held to a draw by Southampton at St Mary's.
Sadio Mane gave Saints a deserved early lead but a superb equaliser seconds before half-time set up Jose Mourinho's title pacesetters for a second-half siege.
Chelsea's pressure duly arrived as they dominated possession and attacked constantly - but Southampton showed magnificent organisation and determination to ensure goalkeeper Fraser Forster was not seriously troubled.
Mourinho will have just cause for complaint, however, after referee Anthony Taylor waved away what looked a clear penalty when Cesc Fabregas went down under Matt Targett's challenge, only to receive a caution for diving.
Southampton even survived Morgan Schneiderlin's late sending off, after a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Fabregas.
The roars that rang around St Mary's at the final whistle revealed a mixture of relief at Southampton claiming a point but also admiration for the manner in which their team had dug so deep as Chelsea pressed.
For Chelsea and Mourinho, there was disappointment at the failure to fashion a victory and the casting aside of two points that will open the door a little further for reigning champions Manchester City.
The base of Nemanja Matic and John Mikel Obi provided the platform for Fabregas to play in a more advanced role and he posed problems for Southampton early on.
But Southampton's game plan was clear - manager Ronald Koeman wanted his players to press Chelsea in possession then use the pace of Mane in behind the opposing central defenders when the opportunity arose.
And the ploy worked exactly as Koeman had planned when Saints took the lead after 17 minutes, Mane showing too much pace for John Terry as he collected Dusan Tadic's clever pass before beating keeper Thibaut Courtois with a composed finish.
It gave Southampton impetus and their energy was restricting Chelsea's options until a moment of individual brilliance from Hazard put Mourinho's side level in first-half stoppage time.
Fabregas could claim his 13th Premier League assist of the season with a fine pass but the hard work was done by Hazard, who cut inside before placing a perfect low right-foot shot beyond the reach of Forster.
Chelsea, who introduced Willian for Andre Schurrle at half-time, were infuriated when Fabregas had a penalty appeal rejected after he went down under challenge from Targett.
He looked to have been clipped by the Saints defender, who appeared to lose his footing slightly, but referee Taylor not only refused Chelsea's claims but added insult to injury by showing Fabregas a yellow card for diving.
Southampton's work-rate in the first half had been matched by their defensive discipline and resilience in the second as Chelsea pushed constantly but were unable to get anywhere near troubling Forster.
Even with reduced numbers after Schneiderlin's sending off, Southampton held out and once again showed they are side to be reckoned with this season.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman:
"One point against Chelsea is worth three points against another opponent. I'm proud of the spirit and organisation.
"I'm disappointed we conceded before half-time, at some moments we were lucky but you need that against these opponents.
"We played with organisation until the last minute and the spirit we showed was unbelievable and we did not make stupid mistakes like we did against City and United.
"The second half was difficult, we fight until the last second and that was the key today.
"We can be very happy with our position in the table, we play good football and the fans love the way we play. We had a difficult two weeks but the spirit is back, the confidence is back.
"It's halfway and if we keep going like this we can fight for a good position."
Southampton fans
It was a sunny but nippy day on the South Coast
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (left) and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman
It was the first meeting between Jose Mourinho and Ronald Koeman in the Premier League
Sadio Mane
Sadio Mane made John Terry pay for his hesitancy in the 17th minute
Chelsea's Eden Hazard
Chelsea's Eden Hazard - one of the best players at St Mary's - equalised on the stroke of half-time

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (6)


  • 23 Forster
  • 03 Yoshida Booked (Gardos - 62' )
  • 06 Fonte
  • 17 Alderweireld
  • 33 Targett
  • 08 Davis (Long - 77' )
  • 12 Wanyama
  • 04 Schneiderlin Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 11 Tadic (Ward-Prowse - 58' )
  • 19 Pellè Booked
  • 10 Mané


  • 01 Davis
  • 05 Gardos
  • 07 Long
  • 16 Ward-Prowse
  • 27 Isgrove
  • 28 Reed
  • 32 McCarthy


  • 13 Courtois
  • 02 Ivanovic
  • 24 Cahill
  • 26 Terry
  • 03 Filipe Luis
  • 12 Mikel (Drogba - 74' )
  • 21 Matic Booked
  • 14 Schürrle (Willian - 45' )
  • 04 Fàbregas Booked
  • 10 Hazard
  • 19 Diego Costa (Remy - 89' )


  • 01 Cech
  • 05 Zouma
  • 07 Ramires
  • 11 Drogba
  • 18 Remy
  • 22 Willian
  • 28 Azpilicueta
Ref: Anthony Taylor
Att: 31,641

Match Stats



9 7

On target

1 1


4 6


23 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, Southampton 1, Chelsea 1.
90:00 +5:04 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Chelsea 1.
90:00 +4:44 Eden Hazard (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
90:00 +4:44 Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).
90:00 +4:11 Booking
Booking Graziano Pellè (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
90:00 +4:04 Willian (Chelsea) wins a free kick on the left wing.
90:00 +4:04 Foul by Graziano Pellè (Southampton).
90:00 +3:13 Foul by Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea).
90:00 +3:13 Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.
89:47 Attempt blocked. Filipe Luis (Chelsea) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
88:20 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, Chelsea. Loïc Remy replaces Diego Costa.
87:59 Dismissal
Dismissal Second yellow card to Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton) for a bad foul.
87:52 Cesc Fàbregas (Chelsea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
87:52 Foul by Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton).
87:09 Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Eden Hazard.
85:44 Offside, Southampton. Graziano Pellè tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.
85:17 Attempt missed. Toby Alderweireld (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
84:36 Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Nemanja Matic.
80:06 Corner, Chelsea. Conceded by Florin Gardos.
78:23 Delay over. They are ready to continue.