Daily Archives: March 15, 2017

FA Cup: United charged but Marcos Rojo in the clear

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The Football Association (FA) charged Manchester United with failing to control their players although it appears that Marcos Rojo will escape any retrospective action after his stamp on Eden Hazard.

Both incidents occurred in United’s 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup quarter final by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

“Manchester United have been charged for failing to control its players. It follows an incident in the 35th minute of the FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge,” a statement from the FA read. “The club have until 6pm on Friday to respond to the charge.”

This happened after referee Michael Oliver’s sending off of Ander Herrera, which prompted several United players to surround the official and argue with him. It was Herrera’s second yellow for tripping Hazard after drawing an earlier booking from Oliver for a body check on the Belgian.

Herrera’s dismissal also came after the referee’s warning to United captain Chris Smalling that United, being engaged in systematic fouling of Chelsea’s players, would have their next indiscretion answered with the issuing of a yellow card.

In a separate incident, Rojo appeared to make contact with Hazard’s chest towards the end of the tie, but Oliver did not appear to see this. He did not warn Rojo or censure the defender with a booking.

Rojo’s escape would come as a irony as not two weeks ago, Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings was handed a five-match suspension for stamping on Zlatan Ibrahimovic during United’s 1-1 draw with Bournemouth.

Nonetheless, Herrera will miss the Premier League matches against West Bromwich Albion and Middlesbrough along with Ibrahimovic. For the latter player they are the second and third matches of a three-game ban he received for elbowing Mings in the game with Bournemouth.

Everton striker Romelu Lukaku rejects new contract with club

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There could be a scramble for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer transfer window as the Belgium international rejected the most lucrative contract offer in the club’s history.

For weeks, Lukaku, who scored 19 goals in the Premier League this season, looked set to extend his stay at Goodison Park.

His agent, Mino Raiola, had also insisted repeatedly that Lukaku would accept lucrative new terms, claiming that the player had agreed “99.9%” to a £100,000-a-week deal that would have made him the best-paid player in the club’s history.

However, Everton manager Ronald Koeman felt uncertainty towards Raiola’s claims. His doubts seemed to be supported by Romelu Lukaku’s own interview with Belgian television. When asked whether he was about to sign the five-year contract on offer and if talks were taking place, the striker simply replied with the word “no” in each case.

Lukaku’s decision is believed to be led by his ambition to play in the Champions League. His performances suggest he could hold his own at that level but with Everton having no realistic chance of cracking the top four this season and it is hard to see how the situation could change.

But there will be no shortage of bidders for the 23-year-old as Chelsea made an inquiry about re-signing him last summer, and Manchester United is also thought to be interested. And being aware that he is coveted by a number of Champions League regulars, he could very well push for a move this summer despite having two years left on his contract with Everton.

In the meantime, the Merseyside club had made no official comment to make on the matter, although a Goodison insider indicated there was still much common ground between club and agent.

“A deal is on the table and there is plenty of time,” he said. “There is hope all round that it will be signed.”

UEFA Champions League: Atletico Madrid vs Bayer Leverkusen

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Fernando Torres is set for a return to Atletico Madrid’s squad as Diego Simeone’s men prepare for their Champions League tie with Bayer Leverkusen.

Torres missed out in action since Atletico’s match against Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga on March 2, in which the 32-year old lost consciousness to a heavy fall after an aerial battle.

Fortunately the striker was was released from hospital only 24 hours after he was admitted having suffered no serious injuries, and returned to full training on Monday. Atletico boss Diego Simeone had since confirmed that he is available for selection.

Kevin Gameiro is a doubt for the game after missing Saturday’s 1-0 La Liga win at Granada with an abdominal injury, while captain Gabi and left-back Filipe Luis are suspended for the game.

Regardless, Atletico is in a strong position to reach the last eight for a fourth successive year after winning their last-16 first-leg tie with Bayer Leverkusen 4-2.Torres scored in that game.

History is at Atletico’s side as there were four occasions in which an away side scored 4+ goals in a Champions League Round of 16 1st leg — all four progressed to the last eight.

As for Bayer, new coach Tayfun Korkut will miss a lot of his regulars as Benjamin Henrichs and midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu are suspended while Toprak, Jonathan Tah, Stefan Kiessling and captain Lars Bender are out injured.

The Bundesliga team will also be without 17-year-old midfielder Kai Havertz, who “has important exams at school” — as announced by Leverkusen through their Twitter account.

Prediction:

Atletico Madrid 2 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen