Daily Archives: February 17, 2017

UEL: Man United takes solid lead while Gent deflates Spurs

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Manchester United has taken a solid lead against Saint-Etienne while Tottenham Hotspurs were left wanting after a 1-0 defeat by Belgium team Gent in the UEFA Europa League.

The Red Devils won 3-0 against the French club thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic hat-trick, which took the Swede’s tally to 23 goals in all competitions this season.

His deflected free-kick wrong-footed goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier and dribbled over the line for the opener after just 15 minutes, and he tapped home from close range after good work from Marcus Rashford, before sealing his treble with a late penalty.

The result also meant that his team would extend a healthy lead into Stade Geoffroy-Guichard for next week’s second leg.

As for Tottenham, Mauricio Pochettino’ team would host Gent next week chasing a 1-0 deficit after Jeremy Perbet’s goal gave the Belgian side a surprise victory.

The French striker showed good control before slotting in a pull-back from Danijel Milicevic on the hour.

Gent, eighth in the Belgian league table, came close to adding another as Milicevic’s shot tipped the post, while Tottenham looked second best the entire night despite fielding their best players.

Southampton signs Martin Caceres after delay

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Southampton has signed on Martin Caceres until the end of the season after his brother’s passing had delayed the free agent’s move.

The former Barcelona, Juventus and Sevilla centre-back became a free agent last June, and underwent a medical in Southampton last week but the transfer was delayed after the death of his brother in their homeland.

The Saints had since completed the move and hope that the former Uruguayan International will reinforce their defence after the departure of Jose Fonte to West Ham during the January transfer window and the ankle injury suffered by Virgil van Dijk, who is not expected to return until at least April.

“I am very happy to have signed for what is an important club in English football,” Caceres told the Southampton club website.

“Of all of the options that I had, I think that the best option for me was to come to Southampton. I am extremely happy to have joined this club. I am looking forward to getting started with my new team-mates.”

Caceres, who will turn 30 in April, won 68 caps for Uruguay as well as a Champions League and La Liga title with Barcelona in 2008-09. He also made 77 appearances for Italian champions Juve across three spells, winning four Serie A titles with the club.

Southampton will be keen to see him get up to speed but it may take some time: his last competitive match was on 3 February 2016, when he played for Juventus in a 1-0 win against Genoa, before going down with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Les Reed, executive director at Southampton said: “In a tough situation for us, losing Virgil to injury, he will bring experience, talent and character. He has played in the biggest of games, and will provide depth to our squad.”

“Two days of extensive medicals and tough fitness tests have further demonstrated his desire and positive personality.”

Hooligans to aim violence at England fans in World Cup

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Russian hooligans have ominously forewarned England fans that they are “100% guaranteed” to be their main target for at the 2018 World Cup

The same group has also claimed that the tournament will descend into “a festival of violence” for some locals.

There had been notable clashes between Russian and English supporters, as both countries met in the group stages in Marseille, France, where Euro 2016 was held last summer.

“Denis” – who led the “Orel Butchers” group that had been at the centre of the violence at Marseille – said in another interview that England fans will inevitably be subjected to violence again if they travel to Russia next June.

“They can come over and we’ll see,” he said. “Somebody will obviously try to do something, that is like 100% – 100% guaranteed.”

Another anonymous hooligan interviewed in the city of Rostov said England supporters were targeted due to their traditional association with hooliganism: “Our opponents are naturally the English because they are the forefathers of hooliganism and naturally they are always awaited.”

“For some it will be a festival of football, for others it will be a festival of violence,” he said of the upcoming World Cup.

Despite unsubstantiated claims of Kremlin involvement, many hooligans believe they will be subjected to strong measures before the tournament. “What’s most likely [to] happen [is] they will just take down all leaders, all people who are capable of organising anything and just lock them down,” Denis said.