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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Giggs named Wales manager

Football Briefs: Giggs named Wales manager

Last updated on: January 15, 2018 23:45 IST

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Ryan Giggs

IMAGE: Legendary Ryan Giggs was Manchester United’s assistant manager. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images.

Former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs has vowed to win over doubting fans with success on the pitch after being appointed manager of Wales on a four-year contract on Monday.

The 44-year-old takes over from Chris Coleman, who led Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals but quit the job in November to take charge of English Championship (second tier) side Sunderland.

It will be the first major managerial role for a player who won 64 caps for Wales between 1991 and 2007 but was unpopular with some supporters for missing many internationals, especially friendlies.

"I know that the criticism is going to come and the way to combat that is to win games and give it my all, which I'll do," he told a news conference at HensolCastle near Cardiff.

Giggs ended his playing career in 2014 and was Louis van Gaal's assistant at Old Trafford for the following two seasons, before leaving United in 2016 after Jose Mourinho was appointed as manager.

He also had a brief role as interim manager at United after David Moyes was sacked in 2014.

Giggs said the opportunity to manage Wales was one he could not turn down, and was 'tremendously proud and excited' about working with the players.

"I'm just itching to get back into football, because that's where I feel comfortable, that's where I belong," he told reporters.

Giggs's immediate challenge will be to take Wales to the 2020 European Championship after the side failed to qualify for this year's World Cup finals in Russia.

His first game in charge will be in the China Cup tournament against the hosts in Nanning on March 22.

I-League: Churchill clinch first win of season with 3-2 result over Gokulam

Gokulam Kerala FC slumped to their fifth straight defeat in the Hero I-League as Churchill Brothers FC Goa recorded their first win of the season in Kozhikode on Monday.

Kalu Ogba (16', 74') scored the only goal in the first half before the match went into an enthralling 45 minutes of football.

Daniel Addo (59') pulled off the equaliser for the hosts before Emannuel (70') bombed the second one for Bino George's team.

Their joy was cut short by Kalu Ogba again before Koffi Mechac (90'+2') calmly converted the penalty to steal all three points from Gokulam Kerala FC's grasp.

Churchill Brothers FC Goa, with their first win of the season, have now four points from seven matches whereas the Keralite side have same points having played two matches more. 

Former England striker Cyrille Regis dies aged 59

Cyrille Regis

IMAGE: Cyrille Regis. Photograph: Paul Childs/File Photo/Reuters

English soccer mourned former West Bromwich Albion, Coventry City and England striker Cyrille Regis on Monday as a role model and pioneer for the country's black footballers after his death at 59.

Local media said he died of a heart attack on Sunday.

Born in French Guiana but moving to London as a boy, Regis joined West Brom in 1977 and scored 112 goals in 297 appearances for the club before going to Coventry in 1984, where he won the FA Cup three years later.

He went on to play for Aston Villa, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wycombe Wanderers and ChesterCity before hanging up his boots in 1996.

Apart from being a powerful and talented striker, Regis inspired a generation of black players at a time when they were a rarity in the top echelons of English soccer and were regularly subjected to racial abuse from crowds.

"Devastated this morning my hero my pioneer the man behind the reason I wanted to play football has passed away," former England striker Andy Cole said on Twitter.

Together with Brendon Batson and the late Laurie Cunningham, Regis formed part of a West Brom trio nicknamed "The Three Degrees" by manager Ron Atkinson after the American female singers visited The Hawthorns.

Barca's Dembele suffers another hamstring injury

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has suffered another hamstring injury and will be out of action for between three and four weeks, the La Liga leaders said on Monday.

The French winger, signed last year from Borussia Dortmund for a fee which could rise to 147 million euros, suffered a hamstring tear in September that kept him out until January.

Dembele featured in four games after returning, starting one, before suffering a new problem in the 4-2 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday.

"Tests have confirmed that the player has suffered a hamstring injury of the semitendinosus muscle that does not affect the area operated on earlier in the season," Barcelona said in a statement.

Dembele will miss King's Cup and La Liga matches but should return before the Champions League last-16 clash against Chelsea at StamfordBridge on Feb. 20.

Captain Andres Iniesta, who was on the bench against Real Sociedad, also has a problem in his right calf and is a doubt for the King’s Cup match at Espanyol on Wednesday.

Italy police report suspicious elements in AC Milan sale - sources

A report by Italy's finance police points to potentially suspicious elements in the sale of AC Milan soccer club by Silvio Berlusconi's holding company to a Chinese group last year, two sources close to the matter said on Monday.

The holding company, Fininvest, declined to comment.

Berlusconi, who leads the biggest political party on Italy's centre-right, denied a report on Saturday in La Stampa newspaper which said prosecutors had opened an investigation into alleged money laundering during the sale.

Milan's chief prosecutor Francesco Greco also said no investigation had been opened into the sale.

The four-time prime minister sold the club last April for 740 million euros ($907.76 million) and stepped down from his role as president that he had held for more than 30 years.

No investigation has been opened, the sources said on Monday, but the finance police delivered a report of around 10 pages to the prosecutor's office before Christmas, they said.

Financial institutions are obliged to notify the Bank of Italy of transactions in which there is "reasonable cause to suspect" financial crimes such as money laundering have been committed or attempted.

The central bank then sends these notifications to the finance police, which compiles a report that is sent to a prosecutor, who must decide whether to open a probe.

The report regarding the AC Milan sale contained three indications of suspicious operations, known in Italian by the acronym "SOS", the sources said.

Marina Berlusconi, the politician's daughter and chairman of Fininvest, said in a statement on Saturday it had "behaved absolutely transparently and correctly" throughout the negotiations for the sale of the club.

French referee provisionally suspended for kicking out at player

Referee Tony Chapron has been provisionally suspended after he appeared to kick out at Nantes player Diego Carlos in Sunday's French Ligue 1 game against Paris St Germain.

During stoppage-time, Chapron bumped into Carlos and fell over with TV footage showing him swinging his leg towards the running defender's shins.

"The technical direction of refereeing and the federal commission of refereeing have decided on the withdrawal of Tony Chapron, who had been appointed for Wednesday's Ligue 1 game between Angers and Troyes, until further notice," the French federation said in a statement on Monday.

Chapron will also be summoned before the league's disciplinary committee.

A few seconds after the incident, Chapron gave Carlos a yellow card, which resulted in the player being sent off as he had also been booked in the first half.

Chapron apologised to Carlos on Monday.

"This clumsy gesture was inappropriate. I therefore wish to apologise to Diego Carlos," he was quoted as saying in French media.

The French league (LFP) said later on Monday that it had cancelled Carlos’s second yellow card, meaning he is eligible to play in Ligue 1 against Toulouse on Wednesday.

"I know that refereeing is tough, but the referee sometimes need to put himself into question," Nantes forward Valentin Rongier said.

"If we do something like this, we get a 10-game suspension."

Nantes president Waldemar Kita told L'Equipe: "It's a joke. I got 20 SMS from all over the world telling me that this referee is a joke. What do you want me to tell you? If I talk too much, I'll be summoned by an ethics committee."

Dortmund sign Swiss defender Akanji from Basel

Borussia Dortmund have signed defender Manuel Akanji from Swiss champions Basel on a four-and-a-half year contract, the eight-time German champions said on Monday.

The Switzerland international scored seven goals in over 50 appearances for Basel and helped them win the Swiss domestic double last season.

"He has already demonstrated at international and Champions League level that he can play at the highest level in Europe. Nonetheless, we still see him as a defender who has potential for further development," Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc said.

The 22-year-old Akanji, who has four won caps for Switzerland, featured in all Basel's Champions League group matches this season and is eligible to play for Dortmund in the Europa League.

"The discussions I've had with those responsible at Borussia Dortmund made me feel comfortable. In that respect it was a decision of the heart. And I've always enjoyed the football they play in Dortmund," Akanji said.

Dortmund are fourth in the Bundesliga and face Hertha Berlin on Friday.

PSG extend Ligue 1 lead with 1-0 win at Nantes

Paris St Germain's march towards a fifth Ligue 1 title in six years continued when Angel Di Maria gave them a 1-0 victory at Nantes to extend their lead to 11 points.

Argentine winger Di Maria scored before the break to lift PSG, who were without the injured Neymar and Thiago Motta, on to 53 points from 20 games.

Monaco are second on 42 points after a goalless draw at Montpellier on Saturday with third-placed Olympique Lyonnais behind on goal difference after a 1-1 home draw against Angers.

Claudio Ranieri's Nantes, who finished with 10 men against PSG after Diego Carlos received a second yellow card in the last minute, stayed fifth on 33 points.

PSG enjoyed most of the possession and were quickly ahead as Di Maria scored from inside the box after collecting a low cross from Edinson Cavani in the 12th minute.

Di Maria went close to doubling the lead eight minutes before the interval but his shot from close range hit the bar.

Nantes had a good chance early in the second half but Alphone Areola made a fine save to deny Emiliano Sala.

Earlier, Lyon's Nabil Fekir cancelled out Karl Toko Ekambi's opener from the spot for Angers as the hosts missed out on the opportunity to take second place.

Angers finished with 10 men when Flavien Tait was sent off for a second bookable offence six minutes from time.

Angers took the lead in the 14th minute when Toko Ekambi wrong-footed Anthony Lopes from the penalty spot after Angelo Fulgini had been fouled in the box.

Lyon equalised two minutes into the second half as Fekir found the back of the net with a fine curled shot from Maxwel Cornet's cross.

The home side had the best chance to add another goal in the 70th minute when Memphis Depay beat Ludovic Butelle with a header, only for defender Romain Thomas to clear the ball off the line.

Dortmund suspend Aubameyang, draw against Wolves

Borussia Dortmund misfired in their goalless draw against VfL Wolfsburg after suspending top striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for a disciplinary offence.

The Gabon international, who has scored 13 league goals, was dropped just before the game after he missed a team meeting on Saturday in his latest disciplinary offence.

His finish was badly needed as Dortmund lacked precision up front.

Ukrainian Andriy Yarmolenko squandered a golden opportunity from a Mario Goetze assist and fired over the bar from four metres out while teenager Alexander Isak and Sancho, who both also hit the woodwork, had their share of wasted chances.

Wolfsburg keeper Koen Casteels rescued his team with some desperate goalkeeping late in the game as Dortmund dropped their first points under new coach Peter Stoeger after two wins in their previous two games.

The result left the Ruhr valley club in fourth on 29 points as the league resumed after the winter break. Champions Bayern Munich increased their lead at the top to 13 points after they beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 on Friday.

RB Leipzig, on 31, reclaimed second place with a confidence-boosting 3-1 win over Schalke 04 that snapped their 11-game unbeaten run.

Source:
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