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Football Briefs: Chhetri winner in running for 2017 AFC Cup Goal of Tournament

Last updated on: November 06, 2017 22:18 IST
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Sunil Chhetri

IMAGE: India captain Sunil Chhetri. Photograph: AIFF Media

India captain Sunil Chhetri's spectacular free-kick goal in Bengaluru FC's 1-0 win over Maldives club Maziya Sports and Recreation in the AFC Cup has been nominated as one of the four best goals of the tournament.

Chhetri curled past the Maziya defensive wall and the goalie to dump the ball into the net in the 57th minute of the group match in Bengaluru on May 31 to send his side to the inter-zone semi-finals.


The three other goals nominated were -- Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta'zim player Nazmi Faiz's winner against Beoungket Angkor, Iraqi side Al Zawraa striker Mohanad Abdulraheem's strike against Al Jaish and Philippine club Ceres Negros midfielder Iain Ramsay's effort against Tampines Rovers.

The winner of the 2017 AFC Cup Goal of the Tournament will be decided by public vote on the AFC's Cup's official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Bengaluru, the losing finalists last year, beat 4.25 SC of North Korea in inter-zone semifinals but eventually lost to FC Istiklol of Tajikistan in the finals.

India hold Yemen to goalless draw in AFC U-19 C'ship QF

India, on Monday, grabbed their first point as they played out a goal-less draw against Yemen in their second match of the AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

India had suffered a 0-5 thrashing at the hands of hosts Saudi Arabia in their tournament opener on Saturday. They play Turkmenistan in their final Group D match on Wednesday.

The 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams advance to the AFC U-19 Championship Finals alongside hosts Indonesia.

It was all Yemen in the first 10 minutes of the match as they dominated possession and kept threatening the Indian citadel. The Indian defence was left to deal with most of the danger, while goalie Dheeraj Singh's safe hands kept Yemen at bay.

The young Indians grew in confidence as the match progressed.

In the 18th minute, Rahim Ali set up Amarjit Singh whose shot from outside the box went wide.

In the 29th minute, Ninthoi released a pass for an onrushing Suresh Singh, who failed to test the Yemen custodian as the ball flew over the bar.

India had an opportunity to take the lead early in the second half when Rahim Ali was released onto the goal. Rahim shot straight to the goalkeeper from a tight angle in the 46th minute.

Four minutes later, it was Abhishek Haldar's attempt from inside the box that went inches wide of the goal after Suresh had found him with an inch perfect cross.

In the 55th minute, Dheeraj Singh was called into action and he did not disappoint as he made an acrobatic save to keep out Yemen. 

Juve survive fright, Lyon enjoy record win


IMAGE: Juventus players celebrate. Photograph: Juventus FC/Twitter

Champions Juventus were given an almighty scare by basement side Benevento before recovering to win 2-1 and hand the Serie A newcomers their 12th straight defeat of the season on Sunday.

Amato Ciciretti stunned the home fans with an exquisite free kick in the 19th minute and Benevento led for 38 minutes until Gonzalo Higuain and Juan Cuadrado turned the game around.

Benevento's defeat meant they equalled the record for the longest losing streak at the start of the season in the top five European leagues, set by Manchester United in 1930/31.

Juve's win closed the gap on Napoli to one point after the leaders were held 0-0 at Chievo, dropping points for only the second time this season, and moved the champions into second place above Inter Milan, who were held 1-1 at home by Torino.

AS Roma clocked up a 12th consecutive away win in the league by beating Fiorentina 4-2 while Lazio's match at home to Udinese was postponed after heavy rain left the Stadio Olimpico pitch waterlogged.

In the evening game, big-spending AC Milan, with only one win in their previous seven games in all competitions, eased the pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella with a 2-0 win at struggling Sassuolo.

Napoli, who like Inter are unbeaten, have 32 points from 12 games, followed by Juventus (31), Inter (30), Lazio (28) and Roma (27).

Douglas Costa twice hit the woodwork for Juve early on before Ciciretti curled a free kick past Wojciech Szczesny to give Benevento a lead nobody had expected.

Juve kept pouring forward and missing chances until Higuain acrobatically hooked the ball past Alberto Brignoli in the 57th minute.

Nine minutes later, Brignoli misjudged Alex Sandro's cross by staying on his line and Cuadrado crept in at the far post to score with a powerful downward header.

Juventus still had to survive nervous moments and Danilo Cataldi nearly grabbed an equaliser with a dipping long-range effort.

"It seemed like the game was jinxed, the ball did not want to go (in), but we managed to turn it around," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said.

"We risked conceding an equaliser towards the (end of the)game, maybe we thought that the game was already over. We have to understand that no game is ever easy."

Napoli dominated possession and created plenty of chances against Chievo but were repeatedly defied by goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.

A 79th-minute goal by forward Eder salvaged Inter's unbeaten record after Iago Falque had fired visitors Torino ahead on the hour in front of over 71,000 at San Siro.

Gerson twice gave Roma the lead in the first half at Fiorentina only to see his side pegged back each time by goals from Jordan Veretout and Giovanni Simeone.

But second-half goals from Kostas Manolas and Diego Perotti gave Roma an impressive win to follow-up Tuesday's 3-0 demolition of Chelsea in the Champions League.

Milan, seventh with 19 ponits, did just enough to get past Sassuolo and claim their sixth league win -- still well short of the standard expected of a team that spent more than 200 million euros ($232.32 million) in the transfer window.

Alessio Romagnoli headed Milan in front five minutes before halftime as Sassuolo angrily protested that he had fouled goalkeeper Andrea Consigli.

Suso added the second in the 67th minute as he was released down the touchline, cut inside and fired a left-foot shot past Consigli.

'No promises' as injured Cahill heads off for World Cup playoff

Injured Australia forward Tim Cahill was not prepared to make any promises but said he was doing everything he could to be fit for Friday's World Cup playoff first leg as he departed for Honduras on Monday.

The 37-year-old, who has scored a record 50 goals in 103 matches for his country, said he and two personal physiotherapists had been working around the clock on the ankle since he injured it in an A-League match on Friday.

"I'm definitely not going to promise anything ... but this is a massive occasion for us, the chance to make it to a fourth consecutive World Cup, so we're making a calculated decision," he told reporters at Melbourne airport.

"If it works, fantastic. If it doesn't then, I'll be accountable.

"It's a massive two weeks for Australian soccer and I understand all the stuff around me travelling but I wouldn't be doing it if I thought it was the wrong thing."

Cahill, whose brace in Sydney proved decisive in getting Australia past Syria in the Asian World Cup playoff, said the treatment on the damaged joint would continue throughout the long flight to Central America.

The rest of the squad were already on their way to San Pedro Sula from their various clubs around the world.

Team officials said on Sunday that VfL Bochum forward Robbie Kruse had been ruled out of the match and would rejoin the squad with suspended midfielder Mark Milligan and striker Mathew Leckie for the second leg in Sydney on Nov. 15.

Lyon enjoy record win at 10-man St Etienne in troubled derby

Tempers flared as Olympique Lyonnais cemented third place in Ligue 1 with a record 5-0 win at 10-man St Etienne in a hostile atmosphere against their bitter rivals on Sunday as goals continued to flow in the French top flight.

The game was interrupted twice because of flares in the first half and the home fans also invaded the pitch in the closing stages as Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir, with a double, Mariano Diaz and Bertrand Traore all got on the scoresheet.

St Etienne played almost half of Sunday's game with 10 men after Leo Lacroix was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Fekir two minutes into the second half.

The win put Lyon on 25 points from 12 games, seven adrift of leaders Paris St Germain, who themselves won 5-0 at Angers, and three points off second-placed AS Monaco who went one better by beating visitors En Avant Guingamp 6-0 also on Saturday.

It was Lyon's biggest league victory at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in France's fiercest derby.

Olympique de Marseille are fourth on 24 points after a 5-0 thrashing of Caen earlier on Sunday.

The match was interrupted for almost 10 minutes because of flares early in the first half, with Dutch international Depay opening the scoring after 10 minutes with a clinical finish after being set up by Houssem Aouar.

Six minutes later, St Etienne lost key midfielder Romain Hamouma through injury.

In the 25th, Fekir unleashed a fierce left-foot shot past Stephane Ruffier from 20 metres to extend the lead.

Lacroix was shown a straight red card early in the second half for a rough tackle on Fekir ending St Etienne's hopes of making a comeback.

Diaz poked the ball home from close range to put Lyon 3-0 up in the 58th minute before setting up Traore for the fourth as Les Verbs began to fall apart, with Fekir adding a fifth in the closing stages to rub salt into the home side's wounds.

Toronto beat Red Bulls over two legs to reach MLS Eastern final

Toronto FC paid a heavy price while advancing on Sunday to the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference final.

Star midfielder Sebastian Giovinco and striker Jozy Altidore will miss the first leg of the upcoming series after incurring the wrath of the referee during an spiteful game against the New York Red Bulls.

Bradley Wright-Phillips' goal gave the Red Bulls a 1-0 victory in Toronto in the second leg, but the 2-2 aggregate score over two games allowed top-seeded Toronto to advance on the away goal rule.

Altidore and New York's Sacha Kljestan were shown straight red cards for violent conduct after an altercation in the tunnel at half-time as tempers flared.

Giovinco picked up a late yellow card, which means he will join Altidore on the sideline for the first game of the two-leg Eastern series against either Columbus Crew or New York City FC.

The Crew took a 4-1 lead over New York into the second leg of their series on Sunday.

Moyes interested in West Ham job as Bilic faces exit

David Moyes is interested in becoming the next West Ham United manager, with the future of the current boss Slaven Bilic hanging in the balance after the club's disappointing start to the Premier League season.

According to media reports, West Ham are set to part company with Bilic on Monday and are expected to replace the Croat with Moyes on an initial contract until the end of the season.

Moyes, who has been out of work since resigning from Sunderland in May after their top-flight relegation, denied there had been contact, but made it clear he wanted to return to club management.

"I've always said I want to go back into club management. If the right opportunity comes around, I'll be interested," the 54-year-old Scot told Bein Sports.

When asked if he could take the West Ham job, Moyes replied: "I am interested but at the moment that vacancy has not become available."

The former Everton manager's stock has fallen considerably in recent years, following an unsuccessful spell at Spanish side Real Sociedad and an ill-fated spell as Alex Ferguson's successor at Manchester United in 2013-14.

Former Stoke defender Teixeira dies aged 25

Former Stoke City defender Dionatan Teixeira has died aged 25, the Premier League club announced.

The Brazilian joined the club in 2014 and made two first-team appearances before joining Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol.

"Dionatan was a hugely popular member of our squad and it’s difficult to comprehend that he has passed away at such a young age," Stoke's chief executive Tony Scholes said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his young family and friends at such a difficult time."

Media reports claimed the player died from a suspected heart attack.

Alli ruled out with injury, Keane added to England squad

Everton defender Michael Keane was called up on Monday to replace injured Tottenham Hotspur forward Dele Alli in the England squad for friendlies against Germany and Brazil this month.

Alli has been ruled out after he sustained a hamstring injury during last week's Champions League victory over Real Madrid.

Tottenham team mates Harry Kane and Harry Winks, along with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, will undergo late fitness tests, the Football Association said.

"Keane has now been added to the group of players due to report to St. George'sPark today, ahead of the upcoming double-header at Wembley Stadium," the FA said in a statement.

The 24-year-old has a chance to earn his fifth England cap after returning from a leg infection during Everton's 3-2 comeback win over Watford.

England host Germany on Friday and meet Brazil four days later. 

Mohun Bagan, East Bengal miss out on AFC License once again

Indian football heavyweights Mohun Bagan and East Bengal were on Monday denied AFC License for this season by the All India Football Federation.

Reigning I-League champions Aizawl FC and Bengaluru FC were awarded the AFC License.

Eight clubs -- Aizawl FC, Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Bengaluru FC, Shillong Lajong FC, Churchill Brothers, Chennai City FC and Minerva Punjab FC -- applied for the AFC and National Licenses for the season 2017-18.

The AIFF's Club Licensing Committee -- First Instance Body -- met here today and evaluated the applications made by license applicants for AFC Club Competitions 2017-18.

"After going through the reports, the members of the committee unanimously decided to award the AFC License to Aizawl FC and Bengaluru FC only," the AIFF said in a statement.

"The committee further decided to convene another meeting in the near future to decide the results of the applications made by the same clubs for National Club Competitions."

Players' union to withdraw challenge to transfer system

The world players' union FIFPro has agreed to withdraw its legal challenge to the transfer system at the European Commission after reaching an agreement with global soccer body FIFA to overhaul it.

In a joint statement on Monday, the two organisations said FIFA had agreed to set up a task force to look at sweeping changes to the transfer regulations in the long term and, in the short term, to make it easier for players to leave their clubs if they are not paid on time.

The system has been under scrutiny because of the spiralling fees paid for big-name players, such as Brazilian forward Neymar's record-shattering 222 million euro ($257.4 million) move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain earlier this year.

There are also concerns that it has contributed to the growing dominance of a handful of select clubs.

FIFPro president Philippe Piat said the agreement would "set in motion the biggest changes to football transfer rules since 2001."

"While clubs in the richest leagues invariably treat players well, there are other leagues in which the employment rights of players are routinely ignored," he said.

The issues which the task force could examine include limiting transfer fees and increasing competitive balance as well as the role of agents, transfer windows, the loan system and squad sizes.

The statement said the "health and safety" of the players would be addressed, particularly regarding the international calendar.

FIFPro lodged its legal complaint at the European Commission in 2015, saying the transfer system was anti-competitive, unjustified and illegal.

If successful, the complaint could have caused the biggest upheaval to the sport since the Bosman ruling in 1995, which paved the way for players in the European Union to move to another club at the end of a contract without a transfer fee being paid.

FIFA administers international transfer regulations through its Rules on the Status and Transfer of Players (REST) which have existed in their current form since 2001.

The immediate changes to the rules will allow players to leave their clubs if they have not been paid for two months or if they are subject to abusive behaviour, such as being forced to train alone.

FIFPro says that until now, clubs have been able to drag the process out for up to two years by taking the case to FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the agreement was "an important milestone in the improvement of the global governance of professional football."

"These were complicated negotiations with the game's key stakeholders and each one has made some compromises but... this agreement is beneficial for all and the ultimate winner is football," he said.

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