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Soccer Extras: Former England defender Cole hangs up boots

Last updated on: August 18, 2019 20:44 IST

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Former England, Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, one of the most decorated players in English domestic football, announced his retirement from the game on Sunday, bringing an end to a colourful 20-year career.

The 38-year-old, who also had spells at AS Roma in Italy’s Serie A and LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer, last represented Championship (second-tier) outfit Derby County before his contract expired at the end of last season.

Former England defender Ashley Cole. Photograph: File

The left back won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and a League Cup during his career. He also won the Champions League and UEFA Cup once each while at Chelsea.

Cole often found himself in the news over the years over his private life, including his marriage to singer and television personality Cheryl Cole.

“After hard consideration, it’s time to hang my boots up and look towards my next chapter, which will hopefully be coaching,” Cole, who was also capped 107 times by England, told Sky Sports.

“As a young kid, I never expected to play one game or be a professional. Looking back, to be able to say I played in World Cups, Champions League finals, being lucky enough to lift Premier League titles - it’s a young kid’s dream.

“I fulfilled my dream. Now I look to the future, hopefully as a great coach.”

Cole won two league titles with boyhood club Arsenal after making his debut in 1999 and was part of their “Invincibles” team that went unbeaten throughout the 2003-04 campaign.

He joined London rivals Chelsea in 2006 and continued to stamp his authority as one of the best defenders in England, going on to lift more titles at Stamford Bridge.

His four FA Cups with Chelsea took his personal tally to seven, making him the most successful player in the competition’s history.

After leaving Chelsea in 2014, he played in Italy and the United States before working under former teammate and current Chelsea boss at Derby, helping them to the playoff final which they lost to Aston Villa.

Dortmund crush Augsburg in season opener

Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus scored in their victory against Augsburg on Saturday

IMAGE: Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus scored in their victory against Augsburg on Saturday. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Title contenders Borussia Dortmund crushed Augsburg 5-1 in their Bundesliga opener on Saturday, with two goals from Paco Alcacer, to lay down an emphatic marker after champions Bayern Munich slipped up in their season premiere a day earlier.

Augsburg stunned the hosts with Florian Niederlechner's goal after only 30 seconds but Dortmund quickly recovered to level with Spaniard Alcacer, Dortmund's top scorer last season, in the third minute.

 

They turned up the tempo in the second half, scoring three goals in a span of eight minutes with lightning quick combinations that left constantly Augsburg a step behind.

England international Jadon Sancho fired them ahead in the 51st and the teenager then helped set up goals for Marco Reus and Alcacer. Substitute Julian Brandt volleyed in their fifth in the 82nd.

Bayern, who have won the last seven consecutive league titles, looked far from ready in their 2-2 draw at home against Hertha Berlin on Friday.

While they needed some 50 minutes to get started, Dortmund were a class better than their opponents, firing 24 shots to Augsburg's five and having more than 72% possession throughout the game.

"We were surprised by the very early lead by Augsburg," said Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, in his second season in charge.

"But we stayed calm and managed to equalise quickly. We then increased the pace after the break and that was really good.

"It is a clear and well deserved result for us. We still need to work on some things and improve each day."

Bayer Leverkusen saw promoted Paderborn come back twice from a goal down before Kevin Volland fired in the winner for a 3-2 home victory over the underdogs.

Borussia Moenchengladbach and Schalke 04 shared the points after their goalless draw.

Freiburg struck three times in the last nine minutes to beat Mainz 05 3-0 while Fortuna Duesseldorf earned a 3-1 win at Werder Bremen.

RB Leipzig, who finished in third place last season, kick off their campaign at promoted Union Berlin on Sunday.

India U-19 football team beats Vanuatu 1-0

Sumit Rathi's 78th minute strike earned India U-19 national team a 1-0 win against hosts Vanuatu in their opening fixture of the OFC Developmental Tournament in Port Villa on Sunday.

Coach Floyd Pinto opted to field four defenders at the back while Aman Chetri was put upfront in the attacking third in the match played at the Korman Stadium.

Chetri rattled the crossbar in the third minute of the match and off the rebound, he took another valiant attempt from close range but the opponent goalkeeper parried with it safely.

Givson was mostly operating as a free agent in the middle of the park while Vikram Partap Singh was gunning from the right flank. Vikram and Givson kept the Vanuatu defenders on their toes but the hosts somehow managed to keep a clean sheet until the end of the first half.

After the breather, India earned back-to-back corners in quick succession but to no avail. Coach Pinto, having put in Gurkirat Singh at the expense of Aman Chetri, tweaked in his strategy in their pursuit of the elusive goal.

Givson, on 73 minutes, tried his luck from 40 yards out only to see his shot sail over the crossbar. Five minutes later, India finally got the breakthrough from what was India's fourth corner of the day.

Givson took a short corner and Ninthoi, on receiving the same, rolled it to Vikram before reaching Sumit Rathi whose shot found the back of the net eventually.

The Vanuatu boys switched gears towards the end in their quest for the equaliser but the Indian defenders, along with goalie Prabhsukhan Gill who was donning the captain's armband, made sure India leave the pitch with all three points.

India face New Caledonia in their next fixture on Wednesday.

Bayern sign France youth international Cuisance to 2024

Bayern Munich on Sunday signed midfielder Michael Cuisance from Borussia Moenchengladbach on a five-year deal to 2024, the German champions said.

The France Under-20 international joined Gladbach in 2017 and was voted the club's player of the season in his first Bundesliga campaign.

"He is extremely skilled, has great potential," said Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic. "Michael wants to develop with us, and we are convinced we will have a lot of fun together."

There were no financial details available, but German media reported that the deal was worth 10 million euros ($11 million).

Cuisance is the third Frenchman to join the club this summer after 2018 World Cup winners Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard.

He will also not be the last midfielder to join Bayern, with Barcelona's record signing Philippe Coutinho having agreed terms with the Germans and expected to sign a one-year loan deal in the coming days.

Bayern are keen to boost their squad, having been less active in the transfer market than their title rivals Borussia Dortmund until now.

The Bavarians stumbled to a 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin in their Bundesliga opener on Friday. Dortmund crushed Augsburg 5-1 on Saturday.

Old grudge between Honduras football fans sparks riot that kills three

Three people were killed and at least 10 injured in riots Saturday night before a football match between rival teams after suspected fans attacked a bus carrying one of the two teams to the game, wounding three players, officials and the team said.

Fans of the Olimpia and Motagua football teams, bitter local opponents, rioted outside Tegucigalpa's National Stadium after a crowd of people believed to be rival supporters intercepted and vandalized a bus transporting Motagua players, police said.

"Three people died and seven were shot and stabbed. One of them is a boy. Three of the injured adults are in critical condition," Laura Schoenherr, a spokeswoman for the state University School Hospital, told Reuters.

The riot broke out after crowds threw stones at the bus carrying members of the Motagua team, sending shards of window glass at the players inside, according to the Motagua club, which blamed members of the Ultra-Faithful Olimpia fan club.

"This has to be severely sanctioned by the corresponding authorities," the Motagua club said in a tweet. "Reprehensible and lamentable," it added in another tweet.

Three of the players -- Emilio Izaguirre, Roberto Moreira and Jonathan Rougier -- were transferred to hospital with facial wounds, the Motagua club said.

Accompanying video purported to show players in blue uniforms standing in the still-moving bus beside smashed windows and a glass bottle rolling on a seat. "A rock! A rock! There! There!" someone shouts as a siren blares.

A statement from the Ministry of Security confirmed the bus attack and said its perpetrators wore the uniforms of the rival Olimpia team. The ministry added in the statement that it had set up "five rings of security" ahead of the game.

The National Football League suspended the game after the incident. It had expected some 20,000 fans to attend.

The president of Olympia club, Rafael Villeda, told local press that he would meet with the leadership of the National League and Motagua to decide on the future of the game.

Brazil-born Elkeson included in China squad in landmark move

Brazil-born striker Elkeson is in line to become the first player without Chinese heritage to represent China after the country's football authorities registered him for Asia's World Cup qualifying tournament next month.

The Asian Football Confederation announced Elkeson's inclusion in China's squad on its official website on Sunday, ending weeks of speculation that the 30-year-old had been granted citizenship and would be a member of Marcello Lippi's selection for the upcoming qualifiers for Qatar 2022.

Chinese authorities have relaxed eligibility rules to give Lippi the chance to guide the country to the finals of the World Cup for the first time since 2002, when China made their only appearance to date at the tournament.

England-born midfielder Nico Yennaris, whose mother is Chinese, became the first foreign-born player to be selected for the country when he was included in Lippi's side for a friendly match against the Philippines in early June, playing 55 minutes under the name Li Ke.

Elkeson's selection, though, marks the first time a player without Chinese ancestry has been included in the squad and comes after a prolific career in the Chinese Super League.

The forward joined Guangzhou Evergrande in 2013 and his goals helped the club to the 2013 and 2015 Asian Champions League titles as well as three consecutive Chinese Super League crowns, with Elkeson finishing as the league's top scorer in 2013 and 2014.

He transferred to Shanghai SIPG ahead of the 2016 season and was part of the SIPG squad that won the Chinese Super League title for the first time last year, only to return to Guangzhou last month for a second spell.

Elkeson's inclusion will give Lippi added firepower in attack as China prepare to take on Syria, the Philippines, the Maldives and Guam in group A of the second round of Asia's qualifying tournament for the World Cup finals.

China open their campaign against the Maldives in Male on Sept. 10 and only the group winners are guaranteed to advance to the next phase, when 12 nations will face off across two groups to determine Asia's four guaranteed qualifiers for the finals in the Gulf state in three years' time.

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