Daily Archives: February 10, 2017

Alaves stuns Celta Vigo to make Copa del Rey final debut

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Deportivo Alaves reached the Copa del Rey final for the first time in their 96-year history after a surprise 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo in their semi-final second leg.

Edgar Mendez scored the only goal over two legs when he lobbed Celta keeper Sergio Alvarez and into the net in the 83rd minute.

Iago Aspas could have equalized for Celta but was denied by a fingertips save from goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco.

Alaves will meet Spanish double winners FC Barcelona, who knocked out Atletico Madrid, in the final in May.

However, Alaves may have a boost in their confidence after they managed to stun Barca 2-1 at the Nou Camp earlier this season.

They will also have an early preview of their final opponents as they host Luis Enrique’s team in La Liga this Saturday .

It was a proud moment for the newly promoted team regardless.

“We’re going to enjoy tonight and we’ll try to go for glory in May but we’ve already made history,” Alaves captain Manu Garcia said.

Alaves’ only other appearance in a major tournament final came in 2001 when they were beaten 5-4 by Liverpool in the UEFA Cup by golden goal rule.

Eddie Howe has full support of Bournemouth chair Jeff Mostyn

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Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn has given full backing to manager Eddie Howe as the Premier League club continue to struggle for their first win in 2017.

Mostyn said his relationship with Howe was “incredible” and that there was not a more “level-headed person”.

“Eddie is our manager and will continue to be our manager for the foreseeable future,” Mostyn said.

The Cherries are at 14th place, five points off relegation, and were routed 6-3 by Everton last weekend.

Howe, 39, led Bournemouth to a 16th-place finish last season in their first-ever campaign in the top flight, and his side were ninth at the turn of the year.

But their performance dipped, beginning with a squandered 3-0 lead against Arsenal to draw at the Vitality Stadium on 3 January, before defeat by League One side Millwall in the FA Cup third round and losses to fellow survival rivals Hull City and Crystal Palace.

“It is always a concern when you are not winning games,” Mostyn claimed about the poor run. “Over the last three or four years the team have always had a poor run of form in January and February.”

“I am totally convinced we will get back to winning ways. February presents us with a very difficult programme but the Premier League is topsy-turvy.”

The Cherries host Manchester City on Monday and travel to West Brom before the end of February, before going on the road again to visit Manchester United at the start of March.

Leicester City gets first home win of the year

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Leicester City earned their first home win of 2017 after a strong performance from the Foxes led to a 3-1 victory against Championship side Derby County in their FA Cup fourth round replay.

English Champions Leicester, who struggled for goals and league wins in the new year, were condemned to a fierce Premier League survival battle after a 3-0 rout by Manchester United last weekend.

The team and coach Claudio Ranieri came under immense scrutiny in recent weeks as they struggled to find a suitable formation — as opposed to last season, when they won the Premier League title with the least amount changes of all the teams.

But despite Ranieri making 10 changes to the team, the host took the lead with an Andy King header, after Demarai Gray’s clever cross was nodded back across goal by Marc Albrighton.

Abdoul Camara’s free-kick forced extra time for Championship Derby only for substitute Wilfred Ndidi to restore the Foxes’ lead with a fantastic individual strike.

Gray then sealed a deserved win with an angled finish after another fine run.

“Derby played good football and we won. This is what we needed and I wanted,” Ranieri said after the match.

“We want to do well in all competitions. We want to go forward in the FA Cup. The Premier League is not so good but we have to stay in the Premier League. This fresh air is good for the players.”

The Foxes will face League One club Millwall in the fifth round.