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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Bayern overcome bizarre own goal to clinch another title

Football Briefs: Bayern overcome bizarre own goal to clinch another title

April 07, 2018 21:43 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Bayern Munich

IMAGE: Bayern Munich's Juan Bernat and team mates celebrate winning the league with a replica trophy. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters.

Bayern Munich clinched a sixth successive Bundesliga title with five games to spare on Saturday by winning 4-1 win at Augsburg despite falling behind to a bizarre own goal.

 

Bayern's celebrations looked in danger of being delayed when the ball went into their net off their own defender Niklas Suele but Corentin Tolisso and James Rodriguez replied for the Bavarians before halftime before Arjen Robben and Sandro Wagner put the finishing touches in the second half.

Bayern, who have 72 points from 29 games, moved 20 ahead of Schalke 04, who have six games to play including Saturday evening's visit to lowly Hamburg SV.

It was a remarkable personal achievement for Bayern's 72-year-old coach Jupp Heynckes, who came out of retirement in October to replace Carlo Ancelotti for his fourth stint at the club with Bayern five points off the pace.

It was Heynckes's fourth Bundesliga title as coach, all with Bayern.

Augsburg dominated the first half-hour and took an 18th-minute lead with one of the oddest goals Bayern have conceded for a long time.

Defender Jerome Boateng, under no pressure, lost control of the ball and was dispossessed by Sergio Cordova leaving the Venezuelan with only Sven Ulreich to beat.

Cordova's shot was blocked by the Bayern goalkeeper but ricocheted off the hapless Suele's face and into the net.

Bayern equalised out of the blue when Tolisso was left unmarked to head in from Joshua Kimmich's cross in the 32nd minute and the Bavarians took the game by the scruff of the neck.

Rodriguez slipped the ball home from Juan Bernat's clever backheel six minutes later and the Colombian also set up Robben for the third just after the hour before Wagner completed the scoring.

Zidane rules out Real guard of honour for Barcelona

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday his side will not offer runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona a guard of honour before the 'Clasico' next month if the Catalans are crowned champions before then.

Barcelona famously formed a guard of honour in May 2008 for newly confirmed champions Real at the Santiago Bernabeu but they refused to repeat the gesture before their last Liga meeting on Dec. 23, days after Madrid had lifted the FIFA Club World Cup.

"Soon I'm going to be asked about this and my answer is very clear. It's my decision and it's final. I don't understand the concept of the guard of honour and so we aren't going to do it. Barca broke with the tradition," Zidane told a news conference ahead of the Madrid derby against Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Barca's head of institutional relations Guillermo Amor said in December that his club had declined to repeat the guard of honour for Real as they had not participated in the Club World Cup.

Barca lead the Liga standings by nine points over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid and are 13 ahead of third-placed Real with seven games remaining.

If Real beat Atletico in Sunday's Madrid derby and Barca win their next four fixtures, Ernesto Valverde's side will have clinched a 25th title by the time of the Clasico on May 6 at the Nou Camp.

Zidane, however, said his side were not worried about the fact that a victory over their city rivals would bring historical rivals Barca closer to winning the league, and were instead focusing on unseating Atletico in second.

"We're not thinking about Barca's path to the title, we're just concentrating on tomorrow's game and thinking about the three points as we want to keep accumulating points," Zidane added.

"Atletico deserve to be where they are, they're second and all we can do is try and reduce the distance between them and us."

Both sides go into the game high on confidence, with Real thrashing Juventus 3-0 in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday and Atletico beating Sporting Lisbon 2-0 and taking a big step towards reaching the Europa League semi-finals.

Confusion reigns at Sporting after 19 players reportedly suspended

Confusion reigned at Sporting on Saturday after club president Bruno de Carvalho announced that he would suspend nearly the entire first-team squad following a spat between himself and the players on Facebook.

De Carvalho, however, later deleted his most recent post on Facebook and there was no official mention of the row on the club's official website.

A news conference with Sporting coach Jorge Jesus, due to be held later on Saturday, was postponed for three hours amid media reports that Sporting would field a reserve team in Sunday's Portuguese league match at home to Pacos de Ferreira.

The row began after Sporting's 2-0 defeat away to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League on Thursday when De Carvalho lambasted their performance, singling out defenders Sebastian Coates and Jeremy Mathieu for extra criticism.

On Friday, the club denied media reports that the players had refused to train in protest but shortly afterwards most of the first-team squad published a note repudiating De Carvalho's comments.

"We always fight for our club, for our supporters and ourselves," said the statement. "For this reason, we express in this message our displeasure at the public comments of our president after a game in which we did not get the result we wanted."

The players also complained of "the lack of support from the one who is supposed to be our leader."

"No matter what the situation, all such matters should be resolved within the group," they added.

Portuguese media said that 19 first-team players had posted the message on their social media pages.

In reply, De Carvalho posted another Facebook message announcing their suspension. Screenshots of it were reproduced by Portuguese media although it was not on his Facebook page on Saturday.

"All the players who wrote the message below are suspended with immediate effect and will face the club's disciplinary procedures," said De Carvalho.

"I'm fed up with spoilt children who don't represent anything or anyone," he said. "This time, my patience has run out for those who think they are above the club and any sort of criticism."

Source:
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