Daily Archives: March 2, 2017

Real Madrid saves point as Gareth Bale sees red

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Real Madrid saved a potentially vital point in their quest for an overdue La Liga title after a 3-3 draw with Las Palmas.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored two late goals, a penalty and a superb header, as 10-man as Real Madrid rescued a home draw after Ronaldo’s fellow Madrid forward Gareth Bale had been sent off.

Isco brought Real ahead in the eighth minute but the lead was firmly and swiftly equalized by Las Palmas midfielder Tana.

But not two minutes after half-time, Bale saw red as he twice clipped the heels of Viera before the Las Palmas player reacted. Referee Fernandez Borbalan was set to show the Welshman a yellow card before the 27-year-old aggressively shoved Viera, which prompted the official to show a straight red.

It got worse for Madrid as Sergio Ramos was then forced to handle the ball, and Las Palmas took the lead after Jonathan Viera converted the ensuing penalty to put the visitors ahead in the 56th minute. Kevin Prince-Boateng stretched Las Palmas’ lead by beating Keylor Navas outside the box.

But Real, who had three goals ruled out, refused to give in.

At the 86th minute, a firm cross from substitute James Rodriguez struck the hand of Dani Castellano. It was almost the same case as Ramos as it appeared that the Las Palmas midfielder did not have time to move his hands away, and Ronaldo took to converting the ensuing penalty.

With seconds of the match remaining, the Portugal forward, who cut a frustrated figure throughout the night, rose brilliantly to head in Rodriguez’s corner.

However, Los Blancos are now second in the standings on 56 points, one behind Barcelona who thrashed Sporting Gijon 6-1, but Zinedine Zidane’s side have a game in hand on their arch-rivals as they seek a first league title since 2012.

Luis Enrique: manager to leave FC Barcelona in the summer

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FC Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is set to part ways with the Catalan club at the end of this season.

Enrique, 46, revealed his intentions to step down after the club’s 6-1 rout over Sporting Gijon in La Liga.

The former Barca player was in his third season in charge of Barca. The contract that ties him to the club will expire at the end of this season.

As Barca manager, Enrique won the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey as part of the treble in his first year and led them to a domestic double last season.

However, they are on the verge of elimination from the Champions League this season after losing 4-0 to Paris St-Germain in the last-16 first leg.

“It is a difficult, measured and well thought-out decision and I think I have to be loyal to what I think,” Enrique said after the rout over Sporting. “I would like to thank the club for the confidence they have shown in me. It’s been three unforgettable years.”

“It’s about how I live with my profession, with a never-ending quest for solutions and to improve my team. That means I have very little time to rest, very few hours to disconnect.”

“I think it will be good for me at the end of the season, because I need to rest. That’s the principle motive.”

“The most important thing is we have three exciting months left in all three competitions. In one of them, we are in a difficult situation but if the stars align, we will have a chance to turn it around.”

Barca’s win over Sporting took them to the top of La Liga, one point clear of Real Madrid. They will also meet Alaves in the Copa del Rey final on 27 May.

Aguero’s Manchester City future to be determined in summer

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Sergio Aguero is set to sit down with Manchester City in June regarding his future as the club have yet to inform him officially that he is wanted beyond the summer.

Aguero featured strongly and scored twice in City’s 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Huddersfield Town. While it was a consecutive brace of goals for the Argentinian striker, it still has not ended speculation about his future with the Manchester club.

The rumours of an imminent exit began when Pep Guardiola dropped him in favour of Gabriel Jesus last month; Aguero managed to regain a place in the Manchester City first team only because of the Brazil forward’s metatarsal injury.

Privately the club insist Aguero, 28 and under contract until 2020, will not be sold, but in an interview the player admitted that Manchester City has not tell him that there are plans to have him stay beyond June.

“That will be seen in June,” Aguero said. “My intention is to stay but it is a long way away. I have three months to give my best and as I always said, in June it will be seen. One thing is that the club officially says it (they want me to stay) and another thing is to tell me.”

“The club has not directly told me they want me to stay. All I have to do is dedicate myself to playing football, there are three months left, the only thing I think is to give the best in these three months and then you will see. My intention is to stay. The club can say what it wants but in June they will have to meet with me.”

“I’m not thinking about Real Madrid or anywhere, I am focused on City,” he added. “I do not want to think about what will happen to my future. I hope that by June we can achieve a title, which is the most important thing, and then we will see.”

City coach Pep Guardiola has repeatedly said it is up to Aguero if he stays, but also admitted: “At the end of the season I don’t know [if Aguero will remain]. Even in my career I didn’t know what would happen at the end of the season.”