Tag Archives: chance

Africa Cup of Nations: Cape Verde 2 Angola 1 – Match Report

Cape Verde 2 Angola 1: Underdogs come from behind to cause an upset as Blue Sharks make quarter-finals

PUBLISHED:

19:37 GMT, 27 January 2013

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UPDATED:

19:37 GMT, 27 January 2013

Massive underdogs Cape Verde Islands scored two late goals to snatch a dramatic 2-1 win over Angola and qualify for the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday.

A header from Gege after 82 minutes and a strike from substitute Heldon in the first minute of stoppage time gave the islanders the most unlikely of wins and put them into the last eight after South Africa drew 2-2 with Morocco in the other Group A match in Durban.

Angola had taken the lead when Nando deflected the ball into his own net after 33 minutes, but even though Angola were winning for much of the match, they looked like being eliminated while Morocco were beating South Africa.

Pure delight: Cape Verde's Heldon celebrates his goal

Pure delight: Cape Verde's Heldon celebrates his goal

Late goals in both games changed everything in the final minutes as Cape Verde clinched their place in the last eight to take second place in the group behind South Africa. Morocco finished third and Angola fourth.

The showdown in Port Elizabeth was the first time the two former Portuguese African colonies had met in the tournament and many of the players from both sides have links past and present at club level.

But despite the 'derby' aspect of the match, it got off to a ponderous start with lots of scrappy play from both sides.

Shock: Cape Verde's defender Fernando Varela celebrates after scoring against Angola

Shock: Cape Verde's defender Fernando Varela celebrates after scoring against Angola

Back in the game: Angola get back on level terms

Back in the game: Angola get back on level terms

The end could hardly have been more different, ending in high drama as Cape Verde came from behind to win.

Angola coach Gustavo Ferrin made five changes to the side that lost 2-0 to South Africa in their previous match in a bid to give them a fighting chance of squeezing into the last eight.

Cape Verde's coach Luis Antunes

Angola's soccer coach Gustavo Ferrin

Contrasting emotions: Cape Verde's coach Antunes flies the flag as Angola's coach Gustavo Ferrin looks angry

One of those changes, midfielder Djilma Campos helped set up their opening goal when he provided the cross for Mateus. Under pressure as Mateus went for goal, the ball took its deflection off Nando and went into the back of his own net.

But Cape Verde never stopped coming forward and equalised when Gege headed home after 82 minutes. The winner came when Lama made a dreadful mistake in the Angolan goal as Heldon swept home the winner.

Australian Open 2013: Victoria Azarenka wins first round

Azarenka not firing on all cylinders but world No 1 battles through opening test

By
Jon Fisher, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

04:01 GMT, 15 January 2013

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UPDATED:

04:37 GMT, 15 January 2013

Top seed Victoria Azarenka survived a second-set scare to see off Monica Niculescu in the first round of the Australian Open.

Having cruised through the opener Azarenka's game inexplicably came off the rails in the second before she reasserted her superiority to win 6-1 6-4.

It seemed plain sailing for the defending champion on Rod Laver Arena as she raced into a 4-0 lead, seemingly at ease with her own game and that of her opponent, whose quirky sliced forehand marks her out from the rest of the crowd in the women's game.

Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka

Defending champion: Victoria Azarenka survived a wobble in the second set to beat Monica Niculescu

A minor blip saw Niculescu break back but the Belarusian simply raised her level once again to take the first set in 31 minutes.

There appeared little chance of a Niculescu comeback but the Romanian surprised everyone inside Rod Laver Arena by swiftly establishing a 3-0 advantage. It almost became 4-0 but Azarenka clung grimly on to her serve by staving off two break points.

It proved a turning point as the world No 1, roared on by close friend Redfoo from the band LMFAO, hit back.

Watching brief: Stefan 'Redfoo' Gordy of LMFAO watches Azarenka and Niculescu in Melbourne

Watching brief: Stefan 'Redfoo' Gordy of LMFAO watches Azarenka and Niculescu in Melbourne

She drew level at 3-3, prompting a frustrated Niculescu to crack her racket into the court – an act which earned her a warning from the chair umpire.

Azarenka then broke again for 5-4 as Niculescu's challenge waned and she served it out to advance.

It was her first appearance on RLA since her thrashing of Maria Sharapova in last year's final and Azarenka admitted she was pleased to have avoided an embarrassing return.

Game over: In the end,, world No 1 Azarenka had too much in her locker for Niculescu

Game over: In the end,, world No 1 Azarenka had too much in her locker for Niculescu

Monica Niculescu

'It's great to be back, there were a lot of overwhelming emotions out there,' she said.

'I started really well but the second set was a struggle. I am pleased to get through.'

Azarenka had to pull out of the warm-up event in Brisbane due to an infected toe but she insists the injury is now behind her.

She added: 'I am running without pain and am just trying to focus on the next two weeks.'

Rio Ferdinand reveals that a "United Boys" gang turned up at his house ordering him to sign a new contract

Revealed: How Rio Ferdinand was confronted by 'United boys' gang at his home ordering him to sign new deal

By
Andy Hampson, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

16:40 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 2 January 2013

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed he was confronted by a gang of hooded fans during his contract talks with the club eight years ago.

The group calling themselves the 'United boys' turned up outside the player's house to demand that he signed a new deal.

Ferdinand's future had been the subject of speculation at the time after he had been photographed with then Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon in a restaurant, but that had been a chance encounter.

As well as winning five league titles Ferdinand has had an up and down career

The good times: As well as winning five league titles Ferdinand has had an up and down career

Ferdinand was asked to come to the door but could not see anyone on his security monitors.

The 34-year-old told Four Four Two magazine: 'So I go to the side door and grab a big bit of wood, jump on the side of the wall and I'm just about to scream “raaaah!” when I see there's a massive group of people, with hoodies and caps covering their faces.

'I just thought, 'I'm going to get served up in a moment, so go bananas and they'll think you're a nutter!'

'Then one of them said, “We're the United boys, f***ing sign your contract,” and I was like, “What you talking about I've only just started negotiating two months ago, what you worrying about”

Ferdinand again found the headlines at the Etihad after taking a coin to the head

Unsavoury: Ferdinand again found the headlines at the Etihad after taking a coin to the head

Explaining the background, he added: 'Basically I went to see my agent for half an hour and Kenyon was with him.

'Someone's taken a picture and made out like we're having a bloody meal together. So I'm saying to these guys, “If I'm going to do a deal with another club, do you think I'd be doing it in broad daylight”

'One of the neighbours had called the police by then and they got off when they heard the sirens.'

Ferdinand, in a question and answer section with fans, also spoke of the lowest point of his career, when he was banned for eight months after failing to attend a drugs test in 2003.

Ferdinand has always had a 'hardman' demeanor on the pitch

Not one to mess with: Ferdinand has always had a 'hardman' demeanor on the pitch

He said: 'If that sort of thing can't make you more responsible then I don't know what can.

'People assume I must have had something to hide but I did all the tests that were asked in the end and the judge said I had proved beyond any doubt I had nothing in my system – those tests trace stuff from months back.

'So I never had any doubt in my mind, it was just irresponsible of me not to go to the test at the time and I got punished severely for it.

'Eight months of my career just gone, just like that. It was easily the lowest point of my career, especially as I knew people were trying to tarnish my name by saying I was into drugs.

'That's the most disappointing thing for me, that people assumed I was involved in drugs or had something to hide.'

Saracens 19 Munster 13: Match report

Saracens 19 Munster 13: Farrell's boot edges Sarries closer to Heineken Cup qualification

PUBLISHED:

17:57 GMT, 16 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 16 December 2012

Owen Farrell edged the battle of the erratic goal-kickers as Saracens won a compelling contest against Munster at Vicarage Road to top Pool One of the Heineken Cup.

With two games remaining in the pool stage, Saracens hold a two-point advantage over Racing Metro and a three-point cushion over Munster who now have it all to do to remain in the competition.

Saracens were deserved winners, overcoming the loss of Will Fraser to the sin bin, but had to rely on 14 points from the boot of Farrell for their success.

Just bootiful: Owen Farrell was the difference for Saracens

Just bootiful: Owen Farrell was the difference for Saracens

Munster grabbed an interception try from Doug Howlett but failed to take advantage of Fraser's absence and two late misses from Ronan O'Gara cost them dearly.

The game began with a spark as the first ruck culminated in a heated melee between the packs, resulting in a warning being given to the captains.

The opening minutes were frenetic as both sides harried each other into mistakes. Saracens had the first sustained attack and the first scoring chance but Farrell's 25-metre drop-goal attempt sailed narrowly wide.

After eight minutes, Farrell was given another opportunity and this time he was on target with a long-range penalty.

A poor kick from Farrell, which went straight to Simon Zebo, gave Munster their first chance to counter-attack. O'Gara produced an exquisite chip over the top for Zebo to collect but a knock-on by hooker Mike Sherry prevented the move from developing.

On the charge: Schalk Brits of Saracens is tackled by Peter O'Mahoney

On the charge: Schalk Brits of Saracens is tackled by Peter O'Mahoney

Saracens conceded a penalty at the resulting scrum but O'Gara fired wide, however moments later the outside-half made no mistake with his second effort after Farrell had been penalised for not releasing.

Munster suffered a setback when full-back Felix Jones limped off, to be replaced by Luke O'Dea, but although Saracens had marginally the better of the first quarter it was still 3-3 at the end of it.

However after 22 minutes, the hosts scored the opening try when Farrell's clever chip through saw David Strettle easily win the race for the touchdown which Farrell converted.

Back came Munster to tie up the scores. Farrell's loose pass on half-way was intercepted by James Downey, and although the centre was caught by Strettle he got the ball away to Howlett who scored for O'Gara to convert.

Mixed emotions: Saracens pack celebrate winnning a late scrum as the dejected Munster forwards look on

Mixed emotions: Saracens pack celebrate winnning a late scrum as the dejected Munster forwards look on

Saracens continued to dominate in terms of possession and territory but they could not make it count at that stage.

Strettle was hauled down just short of the line and Farrell missed a penalty so it remained at 10-10 at the interval.

When O'Dea fumbled an up-an-under early in the second half, it allowed Saracens a position in the visitors 22. Munster were penalised but again Farrell could not take advantage.

Against the run of play, O'Gara put his aside ahead with a penalty after Downey nailed his former Northampton colleague Chris Ashton, who was penalised for not releasing.
Farrell responded with a simple penalty after Munster offended at a scrum and minutes later kicked another to give Saracens a 16-13 lead going into the final quarter.

Saracens suffered a huge blow when Will Fraser was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Howlett.

Munster immediately piled on the pressure for their best period of the match but O'Gara's drop goal and penalty attempts both missed the target.

Saracens survived the onslaught and it was left to Farrell to seal a crucial victory with a penalty four minutes from time.

Millwall 1 Leicester 0: match report

Millwall 1 Leicester 0: Taylor nails Foxes and puts Jackett's men back on track

PUBLISHED:

17:22 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:22 GMT, 15 December 2012

Substitute Chris Taylor fired Millwall back into the npower Championship play-off places with the goal which sank fellow promotion hopefuls Leicester.

The winger struck midway through the second half of a scrappy match to condemn the Foxes to their sixth defeat on the road this season.

It meant a return to winning ways for Millwall's manager of the month Kenny Jackett, whose side's 13-match unbeaten run came to a surprise end at Ipswich last week.

Open sesame: Chris Taylor celebrates opening the scoring for the Lions

Open sesame: Chris Taylor celebrates opening the scoring for the Lions

Match facts

Millwall: Forde, Adam Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, Henry, Trotter, Abdou, Malone (Chris Taylor 46), N'Guessan (Keogh 66), Wood (Batt 79).

Subs Not Used: Maik Taylor, Wright, Feeney, Jack Smith.

Booked: Abdou, Shittu.

Goals: Chris Taylor 67.

Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Morgan, Whitbread, Konchesky, Knockaert (Marshall 64), King (James 70), Drinkwater, Dyer (Futacs 70), Vardy, Nugent.

Subs Not Used: Logan, Schlupp, Moore, Lingard.

Booked: Nugent, Knockaert, Futacs.

Att: 10,189

Ref: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).

The latest Championship table, fixtures and results

Leicester actually made the livelier
start and David Nugent's shot was deflected wide before Jamie Vardy teed
up Andy King, whose effort was blocked.

But no-nonsense Millwall soon began to out-muscle City's flair players and there were few clear-cut chances in the first half.

Leicester have been linked with a
January move for Millwall's on-loan striker Chris Wood, who the Lions
themselves want to snap up on a permanent deal.

And the young New Zealander had Millwall's first chance after 20 minutes but planted his header wide.

Lions winger James Henry then fizzed a
long-range drive wide before finding Dany N'Guessan with a free-kick,
but the former Leicester forward's header was too high.

Liam Trotter also forced a smart save from Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel after finding space in the area.

However, Leicester passed up a decent
chance to take the lead in the 37th minute when Nugent met a free-kick
from Anthony Knockaert six yards out, but the one-time England striker's
shot was too close to home keeper David Forde.

Schmeichel was called into action again in first-half stoppage time with a diving save from N'Guessan's long-range drive.

Jackett's half-time team talk seemed to work wonders as his side dominated the early stages of the second half.

N'Guessan and Shane Lowry had shots blocked for Millwall before Taylor, on at the break, fired over the crossbar.

Wood got another sight of goal on the
hour mark but lifted his shot too high, while Danny Drinkwater fired
over the top for City.

But the deadlock was broken in the
67th minute when Trotter played a neat one-two with Andy Keogh down the
left and crossed for Taylor, who had a simple sidefooted finish from six
yards out past the helpless Schmeichel.

Leicester attempted to hit back and
Nugent fired wide before Forde saved Wes Morgan's stoppage-time shot,
but they could not find a way past a stubborn Millwall rearguard.

Bradley Wiggins wants to defend next Tour de France despite Chris Froome being Team Sky"s lead man

Wiggins wants to defend Tour de France title despite Team Sky claiming Froome would be lead man

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UPDATED:

11:29 GMT, 13 December 2012

Bradley Wiggins has revealed he wants to retain his Tour de France title next year – despite Team Sky suggesting Chris Froome will lead the British team in 2013.

The 2012 winner said Team Sky will have to ‘service both mouths’ and could even have two leaders.

Team Sky director Dave Brailsford said last month that Froome would focus on the Tour de France with Wiggins focussing on the Tour of Italy, although the plan had not been ‘completely signed off’.

Taking the lead again: Bradley Wiggins said he wants to win the Tour de France

Taking the lead again: Bradley Wiggins said he wants to win the Tour de France

Froome, 27, rode in support of
Wiggins as the 32-year-old became Britain’s first winner of Tour de
France, but it had been expected the roles would be reversed next year.

Wiggins told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘I
don’t know what the situation is in terms of leadership. As it stands
I’m probably going to try and win a second Tour de France.

‘Maybe we’ll have two leaders, which
is more unlikely I guess. How that will work with the team I don’t know.
That’s more Dave Brailsford’s problem to worry about that, really.

Second fiddle Chris Froome had been touted as the lead man for Team Sky

Second fiddle Chris Froome had been touted as the lead man for Team Sky

Olympic stars: Wiggins (centre) and Froome both enjoyed a fantastic London Games

Olympic stars: Wiggins (centre) and Froome both enjoyed a fantastic London Games

‘It’s just how we service both
mouths. That’s more the problem for Dave to figure out. My goal is to
win the Tour next year, whether that’s realised or not I don’t know.’

Wiggins, however, said he would
accept the team’s decision if the team decide Froome has a better chance
at glory. The 100th edition of the Tour de France, which will take place
from June 29 to July 21 next year, is likely to favour climbers such as
Froome, who impressed in the mountainous stages this year.

Wiggins, speaking from a training
camp in Mallorca today, continued: ‘Whatever the team strategy is, we’ll
support that, because you don’t take the start line (if that’s not the
case).

‘There’ll be someone else that’s
willing to fulfil that job, so you do what is asked of you on the day
really, whatever that decision is.’

Duo: Wiggins with his team-mate Froome

Duo: Wiggins with his team-mate Froome

Reflecting on a remarkable year,
Wiggins said it would be difficult to top riding into Hampton Court last
summer to win his seventh Olympic medal with gold in the men’s time
trial.

The cyclist, the favourite to win the
BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday night, said: ‘That
was the highlight of my career and I don’t think it will get any better
than that. I can probably achieve other things but most of us, as
British Olympians, will never experience anything like that again. It
was a phenomenal day.

‘We reset the goals, try and do other
things, maybe try and win a second Tour de France, but you’re never
going to replicate those circumstances in your home Olympics.

‘It will probably never be topped,
but I accept that and I’m happy with that really, because you can’t have
too many occasions like that in your career.’

Pep Guardiola is Bayern Munich target with Manchester City and Chelsea chasing

German giants Bayern aiming to pip Man City and Chelsea to Guardiola's signature

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UPDATED:

12:37 GMT, 9 December 2012

Bayern Munich have emerged as a serious threat to Manchester City’s hopes of luring Pep Guardiola to The Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

With time running out for Roberto Mancini, following another Champions' League failure and claims of dressing room unrest, City have made Guardiola their top target and believe they have a better chance than Chelsea of enticing him back to management.

The Blues are desperate to bring him
to Stamford Bridge, although have begun to draw up a list of
second-choices because they are worried Guardiola is unwilling to work
under notoriously impatient owner Roman Abramovich.

Wanted man: Pep Guardiola is in demand with Bayern Munich, Man City and Chelsea in the hunt

Wanted man: Pep Guardiola is in demand with Bayern Munich, Man City and Chelsea in the hunt

But whether City have a better chance than Bayern is beginning to look increasingly doubtful.

Talks have already taken place between Bayern bosses and Guardiola’s brother Pere, and the former Barcelona coach is now waiting for the outcome of discussions in the New Year over Jupp Heynckes’ future.

Officially, Bayern want their veteran boss to continue for another year and have said they will tell him as much when they sit down with him in February or March.

The word within the Allianz Arena, however, is that the meeting could be as early as next month and that Heynckes, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, will indicate he is ready to step down in May, when he turns 68.

At risk: Roberto Mancini could be replaced at the Etihad

At risk: Roberto Mancini could be replaced at the Etihad

There is a growing feeling that if Bayern win the Bundesliga, which they led by 11 points going into Bayer Leverkusen’s game at Hannover on Sunday afternoon, or especially the Champions’ League, Heynckes would consider it the ideal way to bow out.

Guardiola has been made aware he is far and away Bayern’s top choice to take over and left in little doubt that he can name his own terms.

Bayern would not only meet his financial demands but, despite the presence of former playing legends like Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, allow him total control of football matters, without any interference.

Backing: Luca Toni (left) has helped Bayern's cause by speaking to Pep

Backing: Luca Toni (left) has helped Bayern's cause by speaking to Pep

The presence of former Barcelona officials Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano at The Etihad can only enhance City’s prospects of winning any tug-of-war for Guardiola, should Mancini be axed amid claims his players are not responding to his style of management.

Bayern will not give in without a fight and even have their former striker Luca Toni, a close friend of Guardiola’s after they played together at Brescia a decade ago, aiding their cause.

‘I have spoken to Pep a couple of times about what he might do next and recommended Bayern to him,’ said the Italy forward. ‘The circumstances and everything about the club would be perfect for him.’

Either Manchester City or United will win the Barclays Premier League title: Gary Neville

The title is now a two-horse race and both are from Manchester

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UPDATED:

23:19 GMT, 8 December 2012

My gut feeling assessing the Manchester derby on Sunday is to say that this is just another three points in a long season.

I want to argue that, in my years of
fighting for titles and having watched several races unfold, Sunday's
result will not have a pivotal influence on the eventual outcome.

I would add that it is far too early to judge and that there are too many twists and turns to come.

Golden touch: City forward David Silva celebrates scoring in the 6-1 derby win at Old Trafford last season

Golden touch: City forward David Silva
celebrates scoring in the 6-1 derby win
at Old Trafford last season

Either of these sides are capable of
putting a 10- or 15- game unbeaten run together. And either team could
be struck down with injuries.

There is so much more to be played out. Remember, it was just over a year
ago, in October 2011, that Manchester City beat Manchester United 6-1 at
Old Trafford and the headlines the day after were 'Power Shift' and
'This Will Herald A New Era'.

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But seven weeks later, when City lost at Chelsea, another headline read: 'Title Race Blown Wide Open'. Normally I would use those examples to demonstrate how quickly our perceptions of the title race can change.

But then my mind goes back to that
dramatic last day of the season, to Sergio Aguero's injury-time goal, to
the United players looking bemused and downcast at the Stadium of Light
and to City's ecstatically celebrating the title – on goal difference.

I said in April last year, before that climax to the season, that it would be Sir Alex Ferguson's worst nightmare to lose a title race on goal difference and that he had always emphasised to us the importance of winning a game 3-0 or 4-0 once we were in control, precisely because of that possibility. And I remember Sir Alex congratulating City immediately after they had won the title, but then saying: 'This will never happen again.'

On Sunday, those United players that were at the Stadium of Light, who experienced the bitterness of losing the title, will be reminded of that: it can never happen again. Because although we can overstate the importance of individual games, when it came down to it, the goal difference City accrued in October last year at Old Trafford proved crucial.

And those United players will receive another reminder from Sir Alex that, were they to lose at the Etihad Stadium, they would again be knocked off the top spot by City – on goal difference. And that's why this game has become the most important fixture in English football.

Low point: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson leaves the pitch after losing 6-1 against City

Low point: United manager Sir Alex Ferguson leaves the pitch after losing 6-1 against City

I've seen both United and City nine times this season and there is nothing to choose between them.

The title race is between these two. I don't see any other team with the mental strength, durability and character that these clubs possess. They haven't been at their best yet and if there's one thing I would want to see on Sunday it's a step up in quality so that it is a magnificent game that befits the Premier League's strongest clubs, with exciting attacking cancelled out by concentrated defending.

But make no mistake, these are the best teams in England right now.

United have been better in attack, they have had more creative play and are more unpredictable.

But City have been more resolute defensively, grinding out results without the flair of United but with more stability. So Roberto Mancini will want to see that spark again to ignite his team. He would want to see Edin Dzeko, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasir firing again.

And Sir Alex, with most of his defenders fit, would want to start keeping clean sheets, to see his side become difficult to beat and pick up 1-0 wins rather than the 4-3 victories.

No love lost: Ferguson clashes with City manager Roberto Mancini (right)

No love lost: Ferguson clashes with City manager Roberto Mancini (right)

But do I think that if United win, City will have suffered a crucial blow in retaining their title No.

And if City win, does that mean they will go on and win the League No.

The reason why it's impossible to call between these two is because of that mentality they now show.

Last season, City made good the mental deficit they had always had when competing against United, that feeling that they would always fail at the last. The 6-1 win at Old Trafford, the crucial 1-0 win at the Etihad in April which put them back on top of the table and finally winning the League has given them a psychological strength that only a title win can provide.

Now both sides have a level of mental strength unmatched by the teams around them. You can see it in the early-season form. Whether it be in United's ability to
come from behind or City's knack of winning when not at their best, they
have demonstrated courage to stay in games and ability to grind out
results.

Who will have the edge: Ferguson (right) does not need to remind his players they lost the title on goal difference

Who will have the edge: Ferguson (right) does not need to remind his players they lost the title on goal difference

Even when City have suffered disappointments in the Champions League, they have been able to bounce back in the Premier League. So when they lost in the final minutes at Real Madrid, they were able to draw against Arsenal that Sunday. When they went down 3-1 at Ajax, they beat Swansea the following Saturday.

Both of these sides are capable of withstanding a setback on Sunday and coming back to win the title. But at the same time, the race is likely to be so close that this result could be significant.

Anyone who says they know who will win this is guessing. And if anyone tells you they know who will be champions after Sunday, you can ignore them.

All that we can say for sure is that last season showed these Manchester derby games have the potential to be decisive – even if it's impossible to say exactly how at this point.

Give him a hand: UEFA president Michel Platini has a plan

Give him a hand: UEFA president Michel Platini has a plan

Plantini's big idea has potential

UEFA president Michel Platini has suggested that the Euro 2020 Championship will be in a multitude of countries rather than in one or two host nations.

I think we need to hear the details before we form a fixed view as to whether it can be a success or not.

Because if it's a tournament that takes place in six different cities within an hour's flight of one another, then it could be incredibly successful.

Imagine London, Cardiff, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and Dortmund being the host cities.

That would be easier to manage for all fans and for teams than the tournaments we've been at recently in South Africa or the Ukraine and Poland and certainly more condensed than the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

But if, for political reasons, Platini ends up giving games to Istanbul, Moscow, London, Reykjavik, Lisbon and Rome, you are talking about a fad.

All of those cities would be perfectly good hosts on their own.

But the geographical spread would make it a nightmare for players and fans.

I know what I expect to happen. But let's hope that UEFA can salvage a good idea out of this.

Brendan Rodgers not worried about Liverpool delay

Rodgers not worried about flight delay as Liverpool prepare for Hammers test

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UPDATED:

08:57 GMT, 8 December 2012

Brendan Rodgers has expressed confidence that Liverpool’s delayed return from their Europa League trip to Italy will not compromise their ambitions at West Ham tomorrow.

Liverpool were due to fly home straight following their 1-0 win over Udinese on Thursday night but they were grounded in Trieste airport after a problem was detected with their aircraft, while it was taxing to the runway.

Rodgers and his squad were kept on the plane for more than an hour while investigations were carried out before engineers confirmed that the fault in the left engine could not be repaired, forcing them to stay overnight in Italy.

No worries: Brendan Rodgers expects Liverpool to be ready for West Ham

No worries: Brendan Rodgers expects Liverpool to be ready for West Ham

A new aircraft was sent out to Trieste to collect them yesterday and the party arrived touchdown at John Lennon Airport at 3.30pm, some 15 hours later than had been scheduled.

There will be little chance for them to rest, as Liverpool will today (SAT) travel to London for their game at Upton Park but Rodgers does not feel his preparations have been overly-effected by the unforeseen issue.

‘It doesn’t overly affect us really,’ said Rodgers, whose side made it through to the Europa League’s last 32 as winners of Group A thanks to Jordan Henderson’ s goal. ‘It’s not ideal, of course, but we still have one more session before we play West Ham and we’ve been able to recover well.

‘The players had a good rest overnight, even though we only got back into the hotel late, at about 2.30am. The day after game it’s about the nutritional needs and physical needs of the players – they are what is important. But we could take care of that in the hotel.

Marching on: Liverpool beat Udinese to progress in the Europa League

Marching on: Liverpool beat Udinese to progress in the Europa League

‘It’s only an issue if you make it an issue. Sometimes it’s like how life is; it’s not always plain sailing – especially when you’re flying! It’s one we cannot control but we can control our mind-set and how we recover. Our recuperation has been fantastic.’

An added bonus for Rodgers is his squad will be bolstered at West Ham by the return of Steven Gerrard, who never travelled to Italy with illness, and Daniel Agger and Lucas Leiva, both of whom were rested in midweek.

Rodgers added: ‘We will have a final session tomorrow and will go to game on Sunday with no excuse. We have finished top of our group in a European tournament – for us we’re in a good moment and we’ll take it into Sunday’s game.’

John Terry Chelsea doubt for Club World Cup

Terry remains doubt for Chelsea's Club World Cup campaign with knee injury

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UPDATED:

07:04 GMT, 7 December 2012

John Terry could miss Chelsea's Club World Cup campaign as the club captain struggles to recover from injury.

The defender damaged his knee ligaments in last month's draw with Liverpool and has yet to resume full training.

Doubt: John Terry (left) has yet to return to full Chelsea training

Doubt: John Terry (left) has yet to return to full Chelsea training

Chelsea are due to have just one more training session before tomorrow's clash with Sunderland and will fly straight to Tokyo from Newcastle.

And, according to the Guardian, Terry will have little chance of facing either Monterrey or Ulsan Hyundai if he does not train.

Crocked: Terry was hurt after a collision with Liverpool's Luis Suarez

Crocked: Terry was hurt after a collision with Liverpool's Luis Suarez

Should Chelsea reach the final, they could face Brazilian side Corinthians on December 16 and manager Rafa Benitez must decide if Terry would be better served staying behind to regain full fitness.

Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge, who have had calf and hamstring problems respectively, are expected to fly to Japan however.