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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Giggs enjoys memorable homecoming

Football Briefs: Giggs enjoys memorable homecoming

September 07, 2018 10:08 IST

Wales thrash Ireland

Ryan Giggs

IMAGE: Ryan Giggs. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Wales manager Ryan Giggs enjoyed a memorable first home match in charge as they thrashed Ireland 4-1 in the inaugural UEFA Nations League at a rocking Cardiff City Stadium on Thursday.

Wales had not beaten Ireland for 26 years, never in a competitive fixture and had scored only twice in their last seven meetings but they all but ended that jinx during a spectacular opening 45 minutes in which Tom Lawrence and Aaron Ramsey scored either side of a classic Gareth Bale strike.

 

Connor Roberts made it 4-0 soon after the break and even Ireland's consolation scored by Shaun Williams was drowned out by a chorus of Welsh anthems echoing around the stadium.

In Giggs's first two matches in charge, resurgent Wales have scored 10 times after he began his reign with a 6-0 victory in a friendly in China.

Wales, who are in League B in the new competition which largely replaces friendlies and offers a potential route to the Euro 2020 finals, will face a sterner test on Sunday when they face Denmark away in Group B4.

But they will go there in high spirits with Giggs having quickly put his dynamic stamp on a side blending experience with exciting young talents such as Chelsea centre back Ethan Ampadu.

"The lads were magnificent, some brilliant goals and great football. I can't be much happier," Giggs, who played 64 times for Wales, told Sky Sports.

"It's been intense as you don't get much time on the grass -- some of them were playing on Sunday. The problem is now they've set the standard, they have to stay there.

"I enjoyed the performance and the goals but you always think you can do better. There were mistakes."

Playing with the kind of pace and verve Giggs was noted for throughout his illustrious Manchester United playing career, Wales tore Martin O'Neill's sorry Ireland side to shreds.

Maradona named coach of Mexican club Dorados

Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona, a 1986 World Cup winner, has been appointed coach of Mexican second division team Dorados, the club said on its website on Thursday.

The club issued a short video on their social media channels with the messages ‘Welcome Diego’, and ‘Make it a 10’, the Argentina great’s shirt number as a player.

Although Dorados, who are based in Sinaloa state in northwest Mexico, gave no further details, Mexican newspapers said Maradona had been hired to replace Francisco Gamez.

Dorados fired Gamez earlier on Thursday after a poor start to the season that brought three points out of a possible 15. They are 13th in the 15-team league, joint bottom of the table.

The 57-year-old former Barcelona and Napoli forward is considered one of the greatest players of all time after a career that peaked in 1986 when he captained Argentina to their second and last World Cup title.

But drug-addiction, overeating and alcoholism put a sharp end to an otherwise glorious career and in 2000 he nearly died following a cocaine overdose.

Maradona previously had short stints coaching clubs in Argentina and the United Arab Emirates but his longest spell in charge was with Argentina, who he led at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

He will presented by Dorados this weekend and will debut as coach on Sept. 15 when his new club faces Cafetaleros de Tapachula.

'90 per cent chance Girona v Barcelona in US'

La Liga chief Javier Tebas has said there is a 90 percent chance the first Spanish top flight game in the United States will be Girona’s ‘home’ match against Barcelona in January and revealed the league will earn 200 million euros ($232.80 million) for playing games in North America.

Tebas added that Girona’s joint majority shareholders Manchester City had encouraged the Catalan side to get involved in the initiative, part of a 15-year deal the league signed with U.S. entertainment company Relevent last month, while stating that no club was obliged to play games in the US.

“Girona-Barcelona will 90 per cent be played in the United States, but the agreement is not about just one game, it’s about a process which is much bigger,” Tebas said in an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero broadcast on Friday.

“We held a bidding process and various companies got involved. There’s no obligation for teams to play one game a year in the United States, only the clubs who volunteer to go will go."

“But this is much more than a game, it’s about strategy and sponsorship.”

The game will deprive Girona of a home fixture with Tebas confirming reports that the club’s fans will be offered free flights to the game, set to take place at the Miami Dolphins’ 65,000-capacity Hard Rock Stadium in Florida.

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