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Leicester return to King Power Stadium for emotional farewell to Vichai

Category : AFP

London (AFP) – Leicester return to action at the King Power Stadium on Saturday with football a mere afterthought as fans prepare to pay heartfelt tribute to the man who turned their dreams into astonishing reality.
Manager Claude Puel’s pre-match preparations for the game against Burnley were disrupted after he and a number of players, including Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel, travelled to Thailand to pay respects to the late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Leicester owner Vichai was killed in a helicopter crash just outside the ground along with four other people after his club’s 1-1 draw at their King Power Stadium on October 27.
His shocking death — moments after taking off from the pitch — sent shockwaves through Leicester, where the charismatic Vichai had become a beloved figure in the club and the city — a feat rarely achieved by Premier League clubs’ billionaire owners.
It was under Vichai’s ownership that Leicester crafted one of the biggest fairytales in English football history by winning the 2015/16 Premier League, having started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title.
The team, currently 10th in the Premier League, returned to action last weekend, beating Cardiff 1-0 away but Saturday will give a chance to a capacity crowd to show their appreciation for the man who transformed their club.
A special “Tribute to Khun Vichai” video will be shown on big screens before kick-off followed by a two-minute silence and fans will receive commemorative scarves and souvenir matchday programmes in honour of the club’s late chairman.
– Tributes –
Tribute T-shirts will be worn by the players during their warm-up and Khun Vichai’s name will be embroidered on the team’s match shirts during the first half.
The second-half shirts will bear the embroidered poppy symbol in honour of those who have given their lives in war, with the match selected as the club’s annual remembrance fixture, 100 years after the end of World War I.
“We know our fans, they are fantastic… there were 3,000 of them at our last game in Cardiff, it was a fantastic reunion with the fans,” Puel said.
“After the game, there was a lot of emotion that we shared with them and we can imagine what it will be like at home with 30,000 people in the stadium.”
Puel admitted preparing for the game against struggling Burnley had been tough, with emotions running high.
“It’s not easy to prepare this game, but the togetherness between us all, it’s a good feeling, a good energy, a fantastic strength,” he added.

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Boca, River fans going crazy over Libertadores derby final

Category : AFP

Buenos Aires (AFP) – Millions of football mad fans in Argentina are eagerly counting down to the first ever “superclasico” Copa Libertadores final between the country’s two powerhouse outfits: Boca Juniors and River Plate.
Beginning with Saturday’s first leg at Boca’s iconic Bombonera stadium fans of the two most popular teams in the country will be reaching fever pitch long before the return leg two weeks later at River’s Monumental ground.
It will be a tie that’s not for the faint hearted between two teams that allegedly command the support of 70 percent of the country’s football fans.
It’s the most explosive and combustible match in a nation in which fans have been banned from travelling to away matches since 2013 due to football-related violence that has seen 305 supporters killed in the last 50 years, according to the Salvemos al Futbol (Let’s save football) charity.
The rivalry between the two sides, both originally from the working class La Boca district of Buenos Aires before River moved to the more upmarket Nunez neighbourhood, has been lauded as the greatest in world football by numerous newspapers and magazines.
Britain’s The Observer claimed it “makes the Old Firm game” between Glasgow rivals Celtic and Rangers that has toxic sectarian undertones “look like a primary school kick-about.”
Football magazine FourFourTwo as well as British newspapers The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror have recognised it as the fiercest derby — known as a clasico in Spanish — rivalry on the planet.
The teams’ presidents have tried to calm the waters ahead of a tie being dubbed the “superclasico” of the century.
“We call upon supporters, fans and club members to experience this as a popular festival, we are rivals not enemies,” said River’s Rodolfo D’Onofrio and Daniel Angelici of Boca in a joint statement.
– President can’t sleep –
However, it is hard to rein in the expectations when even the country’s President Mauricio Macri, a Boca fan and the club’s former chairman, has said: “I’m not going to be able to sleep over this.”
He even went so far as to suggest away fans be let into the stadiums to fire up an already white-hot atmosphere, but D’Onofrio wouldn’t hear of it: “I don’t want to have a death on my hands.”
Expectation has been reflected in ticket prices as places with a face value of $90 are being sold on the internet for $5,000.

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Top 5 must-see soccer games on US TV this weekend

Sometimes soccer weekends do just come together don’t they?
This one has the lot. Local derbies, historic rivalries, new rivalries and in the case of the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday night, absolutely everything.
Overall, there’s very few overlaps too, meaning at least four of these fixtures can be enjoyed in full. It’s going to be some two days.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the games!
 
Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, FS2, Univision Deportes Network, fuboTV, Sling Blue and PlayStation Vue (free trial)
For the first time in a long time in the Bundesliga, it appears as though we may have a title race of some substance to look forward to.
Borussia Dortmund have once again emerged as the most likely challengers to the monopoly Bayern Munich have had on the German top-flight prize. This fixture, in front of their own supporters and with a four-point lead intact against their rivals, feels like a chance for them to really assert themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
Bayern appear to have slowly overcome the crisis that left manager Nico Kovac under major pressure earlier in the campaign and although they aren’t playing with a swagger quite yet, they are at least getting results. Last week’s draw at home to Freiburg showed there is still a lot of work to do, though.
Regardless of what happens on Saturday the league leaders will still be Borussia Dortmund. However, there’s a huge difference between a one-point and a seven-point gap; a win for the home side may just make them favorites to top the table come the season’s end.
 
Boca Juniors vs. River Plate
Saturday November 10, 2 p.m. ET, FOX Deportes, Fanatiz and fuboTV (free trial)
The first leg of the Copa Libertadores final will take place on Saturday; with bitter rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate set to take part in it, the final is the most anticipated one for a generation.
Such is the animosity between the two teams, no away fans will be permitted to attend either Saturday’s game at the Bombonera nor the return fixture at El Monumental in a couple of weeks time. Everyone appears keen to get a look at this showdown too, with Russian president Vladimir Putin set to be among the attendees.
Both Buenos Aires outfits were able to get the better of Brazilian opponents to make it this far. River Plate came through 2-2 on aggregate against Gremio, having won the second leg 2-1 on the road and progressed thanks to a controversial stoppage-time penalty from Gonzalo Martinez.
For Boca matters were much more straight forward, as three goals over the two legs from Dario Benedetto were enough to inspire them to a 4-2 aggregate win over Palmeiras. Despite Boca being the more impressive of the two sides in the semis, ahead of these much-anticipated matches there’s little to pick between these two historic outfits.
 
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Sunday November 11, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, Telemundo, fuboTV (also available in 4K), Sling Blue and PlayStation Vue (free trial)
Following remarkable results for both Manchester outfits in the Champions League in midweek, this derby showdown has even more anticipation leading up to it.
The match will be at City’s Etihad Stadium and they are undoubtedly the favorites going into it. Not only did they hammer Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 on Wednesday in Europe, in the Premier League they appear to be hitting their straps too, as they beat Southampton 6-1 on Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s side are irresistible on the eye and look unstoppable at the moment.
As for United, they picked up their best result under Jose Mourinho on Wednesday at Juventus. The Red Devils did ride their luck at the home of the Italian champions, although they dug in and scored a couple of late goals to pick up a famous 2-1 win. They’ll be buoyant heading across Manchester to their local enemies as a result.
While the Red Devils have been able to find their way through matches as of late, there are still issues to be resolved in their play. City away, at the moment, is the biggest examination of any weaknesses in the entire sport.
 
Milan vs. Juventus
Sunday November 11, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
After their shock loss to Manchester United in the week, a trip to the San Siro to face an in-form AC Milan doesn’t look like an ideal fixture for Juventus.
In fairness to Juve they were unfortunate in midweek against the Premier League outfit. Once they went ahead thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning volley they had numerous chances to kill the game off, with the likes of Juan Cuadrado and Miralem Pjanic being profligate in front of goal. On another day, they waltz to victory.
In the main that’s what they’ve been doing in Serie A. While there are some concerns about the defensive setup of the team and the manner in which they’ve conceded chances at times, the attacking firepower provided by the likes of Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala is enough to see them through matches.
Despite talk of Arsene Wenger potentially becoming manager in midweek, Gennaro Gattuso remains in charge of Milan and they’re a team that have slowly started to forge an identity. Milan are up to fourth after five wins from their last six top-flight outings.
 
Monaco vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Sunday November 11, 3 p.m. ET, beIN SPORTS Connect, Sling Latino, Sling World Sports and fuboTV (free trial)
Speaking of fixtures that aren’t necessarily ideal, PSG’s visit to Monaco comes at the worst possible time for Thierry Henry, who is still looking for his first three points since taking over the principality club.
PSG, by contrast, have managed to settle into a record-breaking groove in Ligue 1. In European football’s top-five divisions no team has managed to win their opening 12 games before; they reached that landmark last Friday at the expense of Lille, extending their lead at the top to 11 points.
Monaco, the champions of this division in 2016-17, are gearing up for a relegation fight as things stand, as they languish in 19th spot. The Champions League provided little relief for them in midweek either, as they were hammered in 4-0 in embarrassing style by Club Brugge.
If Henry wasn’t aware of how difficult a job he had he will be now and while stranger things have happened in football, it’s hard to see how his team can muster enough to keep the PSG juggernaut from adding to their winning sequence.
 

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Arsenal progress despite Sporting stalemate, Chelsea ease through

Category : AFP

Paris (AFP) – Arsenal booked a place in the Europa League knockout stage and extended their unbeaten run to 15 matches despite a 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon on Thursday, while Olivier Giroud’s first goal of the season sent Chelsea through.
Unai Emery’s Gunners were the better side for long periods at the Emirates against a team who have already had three different managers this term, but had to settle for a point.
But Arsenal did secure a last-32 spot regardless, as Vorskla Poltava lost 1-0 at home to Azeri outfit Qarabag in the other Group E game.
A drab first half was delayed for several minutes when Danny Welbeck, given a rare start just hours after being named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, had to be stretchered off with what looked a nasty injury after seeing a header saved by Renan Ribeiro.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Welbeck’s replacement, had the first real opening of the game but volleyed wide from just a few yards out early in the second half.
Arsenal continued to press for a winner but failed to find a way through the Sporting defence as Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw an effort saved at point-blank range by Ribeiro and Aubameyang was denied by a flying block.
Sporting were reduced to 10 men late on when former Barcelona centre-back Jeremy Mathieu brought down Aubameyang, but the Gabon forward blasted the resulting free-kick over the bar.
– Giroud ends drought –
Chelsea made it four wins from four matches in Group L by edging out a spirited BATE Borisov 1-0 in Belarus.
Giroud ended his 11-game goal drought this season by giving Chelsea a 53rd-minute lead, and the Premier League giants held on despite BATE striking the woodwork three times in the match.
“I was hoping to score soon because I came back late from the World Cup and I was lacking maybe a bit of efficiency and luck but you always need to keep working hard and keep the faith and that’s what happened tonight,” France striker Giroud told BT Sport.
The Londoners moved six points clear of Hungarians Vidi at the top of the group and have not tasted defeat in 17 matches since losing the Community Shield to Manchester City in August.
– Gerrard finally beaten in Europe –
Steven Gerrard’s Rangers saw their 11-game unbeaten run in this year’s Europa League come to a dramatic end as they threw away the lead three times in a 4-3 defeat at Spartak Moscow.

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Mbappe tells AFP: Ronaldo, Messi still best but won’t win Ballon d’Or

Category : AFP

Paris (AFP) – Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe told AFP on Thursday that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi remain football’s greatest players but that his own World Cup heroics could help crown him as the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner.
Mbappe, 19, helped France to World Cup victory in Russia as his four goals included one in the 4-2 final victory over Croatia as he became just the second teenager after Pele in 1958 to score in the championship match.
He was also voted Young Player of the tournament and has since become Ligue 1’s leading scorer with 11 goals as Paris Saint-Germain run away with the French championship.
Messi and Ronaldo have won the last 10 Ballon d’Or awards and Mbappe believes that they are still the sport’s top A-listers.
“Nobody is doing better at the moment and we can’t say it’s the end of their era because it will only end when somebody else does better than them,” Mbappe told AFP.
However, the young striker added: “I don’t think one of them will win the Ballon d’Or this year because it was a World Cup year, and the World Cup takes precedence.”
While Mbappe thrived at the World Cup, Messi’s Argentina and Ronaldo’s Portugal bowed out in the last 16.
Mbappe was speaking at an event organised by watchmakers Hublot, one of his leading sponsors.

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AC Milan’s Biglia out for four months

Category : AFP

Milan (AFP) – AC Milan’s Argentinian international midfielder Lucas Biglia has been ruled out for four months after undergoing surgery on a calf muscle injury, the Serie A club confirmed on Thursday.
Biglia picked up the injury in training a week ago.
Gennaro Gattuso’s team host champions Juventus in Serie A on Sunday.
The 32-year-old underwent successful surgery in Finland on Thursday, the club said, adding that “full healing will take four months”.

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‘Hey NFL! Leave our soccer alone’: World Soccer Talk Podcast

Category : WW88 khuyến mai

World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.
In the NEW episode, number 97, Christopher Harris and Kartik Krishnaiyer cover a range of topics including:
• El Clasico getting its lowest viewing number in years,
• How the NFL philosophy is trying to ruin the game of world soccer,
• Our thoughts about the European Super League and what it would do to the TV industry,
• Has Turner Sports turned a corner with their Champions League coverage,
• Netflix scores a new soccer documentary,
• And we have a bunch of letters from you, the listeners, in our mailbag section.
Listen to the show via the player above or via this link.
Send in your questions, comments and feedback via e-mail web@worldsoccertalk.com, via Twitter (@worldsoccertalk) or Facebook. We’ll read them out on-air in the next episode.
Here are the different ways you can download the World Soccer Talk Podcast stream.
• Subscribe to the World Soccer Talk Podcast on Stitcher,
• Subscribe to the podcast via Google Play,
• Listen via the World Soccer Talk website, or visit the World Soccer Talk Podcasts page• Subscribe to the World Soccer Talk Podcast on iTunes,• Add the World Soccer Talk Podcast RSS feed to your RSS reader, • Listen to the World Soccer Talk Podcast on TuneIn, Soundcloud, Spreaker, YouTube and Audioboom.

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Chelsea’s Loftus-Cheek left behind and to ponder his future

Category : AFP

London (AFP) – Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season under Maurizio Sarri has surpassed all expectations, but the visit of Crystal Palace on Sunday is a reminder of how again one of the club’s brightest prospects has fallen out of favour.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek made four appearances in England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals in the summer on the back of a loan spell at Selhurst Park last season that offered him the competitive Premier League minutes he needed to convince Gareth Southgate he was worth taking to Russia.
However, the 22-year-old is yet to start a league game this season and didn’t even make Southgate’s squad for last month’s Nations League clashes as England took an impressive four points from trips to Croatia and Spain.
Southgate has repeatedly expressed his concern at the lack of opportunities handed to young English players. The summer signings of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic forced Loftus-Cheek further down the pecking order in an over-subscribed Chelsea midfield.
However, Loftus-Cheek has also been overtaken by another English international in Ross Barkley.
The former Everton midfielder admitted his frustration at watching from afar while Loftus-Cheek and company became national heroes in Russia.
The roles were reversed, though, as Barkley made his first England starts for over two years in Croatia and Spain, while Loftus-Cheek remained at home.
“He is becoming a very, very important player for us, and not only us, for the English people too,” said Sarri of Barkley on Friday.
After an injury-ravaged first season at Chelsea, Barkley is taking his chance to impress by scoring in each of his side’s last three Premier League games.
Loftus-Cheek has also provided a much-needed goal threat for Sarri in recent weeks given Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud’s struggles up front and a back injury to Eden Hazard, which means the Belgian is again unlikely to start on Sunday.
Yet, even after scoring a hat-trick against BATE Borisov, Loftus-Cheek started on the bench at Burnley last weekend before coming on to seal a 4-0 win in stoppage time.
– Palace still keen –
There is no secret that Palace would be keen to bring him back in January if a deal can be struck.
“We admire him, we like him very much, we wish him well, and of course, like a lot of other clubs, I’m sure when the day comes when he becomes available for a transfer, we will be sticking our noses into that,” said Palace manager Roy Hodgson recently.

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Bernardo Silva ready to shine for City after De Bruyne injury

Category : AFP

Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Kevin De Bruyne’s wretched luck with injury has given Bernardo Silva the chance to continue his superb start to the season in Sunday’s Premier League visit of Southampton to the Etihad.
Playmaker De Bruyne injured ligaments in his left knee during Thursday’s League Cup win against Fulham — just his second start of the season — sidelining him for five to six weeks.
And that has all but assured Bernardo Silva’s spot in the City first team for as many as the next seven games as he continues to shine in De Bruyne’s absence.
The Portuguese’s form will soften the blow of having to do without De Bruyne next week’s Manchester derby for coach Pep Guardiola, who said that he will not rush the Belgian back into action when he does recover.
“It’s not about the derby, that’s three points, like Southampton. The Manchester derby will not be a final, it’s another game,” said Guardiola on Friday. 
“When you come back you cannot expect him to be the player we know he is in one day. He needs time to settle, take the pace, the rhythm, everything.”
De Bruyne initially injured his right knee after the opening game of the season, forcing him out for just over two months and allowing Bernardo to showcase his talents.
It proved a glorious opportunity for the Portuguese, signed from Monaco for £43 million ($56 million) last year and limited to just 15 league starts last season as he struggled to compete for regular football among City’s talented squad.
– Formidable –
This season, Bernardo has started all but one league game to date and could almost match last season’s total of 15 starts by the time De Bruyne is ready to return to action at the end of the calendar year.
He has also contributed greatly to City’s unbeaten start to the domestic campaign, scoring three goals and forming a formidable midfield partnership with David Silva and Fernandinho.
However, De Bruyne’s recent return had inevitably sparked speculation over which City player would make room to accommodate the Belgian, who was arguably the team’s best performer in last season’s record-breaking title-winning campaign.
Bernardo appeared the most likely candidate to make way, so De Bruyne’s fresh injury will keep the 24-year-old on the team sheet for at least the next few weeks.
Midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and defender Nicolas Otamendi are the only other injury absentees for the visit of Southampton, managed by former City boss Mark Hughes.

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2018 MLS average attendance down compared to 2017 season

MLS average attendance during the 2018 regular season dropped 1.09% compared to last year.
Despite LAFC selling out many of their games during their debut season, the addition of the new team to MLS didn’t have an impact on the league’s attendance because the stadium’s capacity is much smaller (22,000) compared to previous new teams such as Atlanta United and Orlando City (when they were at the Camping World Stadium).
Atlanta set a new season attendance record, beating its own gate from last season. Minnesota has the largest percentage increase, while unsurprisingly Columbus had the biggest decrease. It’s not a shock that Chicago had a large decrease, given their performance. But the average attendance for Supporters Shield winner Red Bulls downturn is disturbing.
Overall, the total reported attendance in 2018 surpassed 8.5 million with an average reported attendance of 21,873.
In 2019, we can expect a nominal increase. Portland’s expanded capacity of around 4,000 will be offset as Minnesota moves into Allianz Field with an approximate cap of 19,400, around 4,000 less than they drew this season. The increase will come from FC Cincinnati playing in Nippert Stadium.
 

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TEAM
2017 AVG
2018 AVG
INCREASE/DECREASE
Atlanta
48,200
53,002
9.96%
Seattle
43,666
40,641
-6.93%
Toronto
27,647
26,628
-3.69%
LA Galaxy
22,246
24,444
9.88%
Minnesota
20,538
23,902
16.38%
Orlando
25,028
23,866
-4.64%
NYCFC
22,321
23,211
3.99%
LAFC
NA
22,042
NA
Vancouver
21,416
21,946
2.48%
Portland
21,144
21,144
0%
Sporting KC
19,537
19,950
2.12%
San Jose
19,875
19,032
-4.24%
Salt Lake
18,781
18,605
-0.94%
Red Bulls
21,175
18,601
-12.16%
Montreal
20,046
18,569
-7.37%
NE Revs
19,367
18,347
-5.27%
DC United
17,904
17,635
-1.50%
Houston
17,500
16,906
-3.39%
Philadelphia
16,812
16,518
-1.75%
FC Dallas
15,122
15,512
2.58%
Colorado
15,322
15,333
0.07%
Chicago
17,383
14,806
-14.82%
Columbus
15,439
12,447
-19.38%

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AVG
GAMES PLAYED
 
 
 
2018
21,874
391
2017
22,114
374
2016
21,690
340
2015
21,547
374
2014
19,110
323

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