Daily Archives: January 20, 2017

Sporting Gijon coach steps down but refuses compensation

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Sporting Gijon coach Abelardo Fernandez has stepped down from his post but refused any compensation from his hometown club.

Abelardo, 46, native in Gijon, played for the club for five years and took over as head coach in 2014. He lead them into the Spanish top flight in 2015.

But now, the club and the manager have gone their separate ways by ‘mutual consent’ following a poor run of results.

As present, Gijon languishes at 18th place in the Spanish top flight, and with seven losses in their last eight matches. They are also five points adrift from safety.

With three and a half years left on his contract, Abelardo was due a reported €4 million in compensation, but he has turned it down — out of loyalty.

Abelardo has also pledged his help to Sporting in the future.

“I cry for these people, for this club and for the fans, who I love so much,” Abelardo said. “As a Sporting fan, even though I had a contract until 2020, I couldn’t do that [accept compensation] to the club I love.”

“I did the same at other clubs and it wasn’t going to be any different here. I don’t have a problem writing off the money. There are more important things, loyalty to my club above all.”

In Abelardo’s place, Sporting Gijon have appointed Joan Francesc Ferrer, who is also known as “Rubi,” as their new head coach.

Jan Vertonghen out six weeks for Spurs

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Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen will be out of action for six weeks after an ankle ligament injury, according to Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Belgian centre-back turned his left ankle in the second half of Tottenham’s 4-0 Premier League win over West Brom last Saturday, leaving the pitch in tears.

However, the six-week diagnosis is much better than the two-month prognosis originally given.

“When your mind is positive it’s easier to recover,” Pochettino said. “He doesn’t require surgery.”

Vertonghen has featured for Spurs in 20 out of 21 league matches this season, forming part of a defence that has conceded just 14 goals – the best record in the league. Still, Pochettino played down fears that his absence leaves a void in the squad.

“We have players that can perform in his place and we are very happy with the squad and the players we have.”

Tottenham, who will visit Manchester City this saturday, will still play without Erik Lamela. A fellow compatriot of Pochettino’s, he has been sidelined since late October with a hip problem.

Lamela’s injury has not improved thus far.

Admitting growing concerns for the playmaker’s condition, Pochettino said: “Now we start to be concerned about him because he is three months and still in a situation that has not moved on.”

“Tomorrow he will have a scan. Still it is difficult to give the time that he can come back. We need to wait tomorrow because there is still some problems, and we are still not sure of the diagnosis.”

Prediction:

Manchester City 2 – 2 Tottenham

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic ousted in second round

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Novak Djokovic, defending champion of the Australian Open suffered a shock exit in the Grand Slam event after he failed to overcome world number 117 Denis Istomin in the second round.

A six-time winner of the opening Grand Slam event of the calendar year, Djokovic struggled for rhythm and lost 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in four hours and 48 minutes.

He won his first service game after 15 minutes but went on to lose the first set in one hour and 25 minutes.

As his opponent faltered in the third set, he won four consecutive games but Istomin managed to come back in the fourth set to extend the match to a tie-break.

Both players served aggressively as they received vocal support from the crowd, as Istomin, who broke in game five, remained strong on his own serve. The Uzbek national wrapped things up when Djokovic, lunging on the backhand, could only block another crunching delivery long on match point.

This was the first time that the Serb has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam event — his last similar defeat was at Wimbledon in 2008.

It is also only the second time in seven years that Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the top 100 — his defeat by Juan Martin del Potro, ranked 145th, at the Rio Olympics in 2016 being the other occasion.

“He deserved to win. No doubt, he was a better player in the clutch moments,” said Djokovic. “Many things came together for him today and he’s a well-deserved winner. There’s not much I could do.”

“It is the biggest win of my career and means so much, now I feel I can play with these guys and be with them on the same level,” said Istomin. “From the third set I had cramp in my leg, I don’t know how I held it. I was playing so good. I surprised myself.”