Tag Archives: luzhniki

Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out of the rest of Newcastle"s season with a hamstring injury

Hamstring injury rules Newcastle star
Ben Arfa out for the season

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

13:47 GMT, 15 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:55 GMT, 15 March 2013

Hatem Ben Arfa is out for the season.

The Newcastle United midfielder needs a hamstring operation.

Ben Arfa missed two months of the season and returned for the goalless draw in Moscow last week.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew said: 'He needs a hamstring operation and that will probably leave him missing for the rest of the year.

Big loss: Hatem Ben Arfa will be unavailable as Newcastle chase Europa League glory

Big loss: Hatem Ben Arfa will be unavailable as Newcastle chase Europa League glory

'It is the news we didn't want to hear. The priority now is to get fit for pre-season.

'He gives us that x-factor which was missing from a game like last night but the team has responded well in his absence.'

Newcastle's stand-in captain Yohan Cabaye, however, could be fit to travel to Wigan Athletic on Sunday.

Optimistic: Yohan Cabaye, however, could recover in time to face Wigan

Optimistic: Yohan Cabaye, however, could recover in time to face Wigan

The France international limped off in the first-half of last night's Europa League win over Anzhi with a groin injury.

Pardew added: 'The good news is he has half a chance for Sunday. It is international week and he has to get through to be available for that and I am.'

He will be assessed by Newcastle medical staff in the coming weeks.

Ben Arfa tore his hamstring during a 2-1 Barclays Premier League defeat at Fulham on December 10 and spent a frustrating three months on the sidelines.

Talented: Ben Arfa is often Newcastle's most dangerous player

Talented: Ben Arfa is often Newcastle's most dangerous player

He was thrown straight in at the deep end at the Luzhniki Stadium last Thursday night when he was asked to play as a lone striker, and he had a glorious second-half opportunity to snatch victory.

However, he was unable to take his place in the squad for Sunday's 2-1 win over Stoke, and was ruled out of last night's return against Anzhi, which saw the Magpies book their place in the quarter-finals, by Pardew on Wednesday.

Now it appears his season could be over, and a man who spent all but four games of his first campaign on Tyneside recovering from an horrific double leg fracture, may have to turn his attention to August.

'X-factor': Pardew rates Ben Arfa highly

'X-factor': Pardew rates Ben Arfa highly

Pardew said: 'That's the priority for him now because he's been a huge miss for us.

'He gives us that X-factor. In a game like last night's where he could open the door for us, we haven't got that luxury.

'Unfortunately for Hatem, that's the news that he didn't want to hear. But as far as we are concerned, the team has responded well in his absence and hopefully, we do that until the end of the year.'

Champions League round-up: Juventus draw with Nordsjaelland

Champions League round-up: Juventus' hopes fading after Nordsjaelland draw

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UPDATED:

23:33 GMT, 23 October 2012

Italian champions Juventus are
battling to save their Champions League hopes after being cut four
points adrift in their group following a surprise 1-1 draw at
Nordsjaelland.

Mikkel Beckmann's free-kick gave the
hosts a shock lead five minutes into the second half, and they held out
for more than half an hour before Mirko Vucinic lashed in an equaliser.

Down and out: The draw with Nordsjaelland leaves Juve in a precarious position

Down and out: The draw with Nordsjaelland leaves Juve in a precarious position

Elsewhere, Spartak Moscow earned their first Champions League points of the season with a 2-1 victory at home to Benfica.

Rafael Carioca gave the hosts a third-minute lead, and although Rodrigo Lima headed Benfica level at the Luzhniki Stadium, a Jardel own goal restored Spartak's advantage before half-time.

Galatasaray claimed the first point of their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Cluj.

It was a frustrating night for the
hosts, with Dany Nounkeu putting through his own net to give Cluj a
19th-minute lead before Felipe Melo missed a penalty 10 minutes before
half-time.

Gala dominated the second half though, and got their reward through Burak Yilmaz 13 minutes from time. Group F is a much tighter affair with Valencia, BATE Borisov and Bayern Munich all locked on six points.

Water performance: Yilmaz wheels away after scoring a goal against Cluj on a rain-sodden night in Istanbul

Water performance: Yilmaz wheels away after scoring a goal against Cluj on a rain-sodden night in Istanbul

Water performance: Yilmaz wheels away after scoring a goal against Cluj on a rain-sodden night in Istanbul

A hat-trick from Roberto Soldado ensured Valencia were convincing 3-0 winners in Belarus.

The Spain striker opened the scoring
from the penalty spot just before half-time and struck twice more in the
second half to sink BATE.

Bayern, meanwhile, hit back from
their shock loss to BATE last time out to edge past Lille 1-0, courtesy
of Thomas Muller's 20th-minute penalty.

The result means Lille have lost all three of their matches so far, conceding six goals in the process.

Mullered: Bayern celebrate their goal in front of a partisan crowd in Lille

Mullered: Bayern celebrate their goal in front of a partisan crowd in Lille

Mullered: Bayern celebrate their goal in front of a partisan crowd in Lille

Mullered: Bayern celebrate their goal in front of a partisan crowd in Lille

Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo set to win 100th cap against Northern Ireland

Portugal winger Ronaldo set to join 100 club against Northern Ireland

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UPDATED:

21:18 GMT, 11 October 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo is on course to win his 100th
international cap against Northern Ireland on Tuesday after training with his
Portugal team-mates and declaring himself fit to face Russia.

The Real Madrid winger hurt his left shoulder attempting an
overhead kick against Barcelona at the weekend and was rated a doubt for both
Portugal's World Cup qualifiers, in Moscow on Friday and against Northern Ireland
in Porto.

Feeling fit: Cristiano Ronaldo takes part in a training session at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow

Feeling fit: Cristiano Ronaldo takes part in a training session at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow

He was given the all-clear, after checks on his shoulder,
and is expected to earn his 99th cap on the Luzhniki Stadium's artificial
surface, even though coach Paulo Bento was keeping his cards close to his
chest.

'We will have to see if there is any reaction and assess how
he is,' said Bento. 'But of course it would make a big difference to us, if he
can play. He is the best there is, and he will certainly get my vote for world
player-of-the-year.'

Milestone: Ronaldo could reach 100 caps against Northern Ireland

Milestone: Ronaldo could reach 100 caps against Northern Ireland

Russia's former England manager Fabio Capello refused to
be taken in by Bento's cautious stance, saying: 'I was honestly hoping
Ronaldo's injury proved more serious than it was. If he had been ruled out, it
would have been that much easier for our defence. We are going to have our
hands full, trying to contain him.'

Neil Lennon hails Celtic win over Spartak Moscow

Proud Lennon hails Celtic heroes after first away win in Champions League

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UPDATED:

19:54 GMT, 2 October 2012

Neil Lennon described himself as probably the proudest man in Europe after Celtic's historic 3-2 Champions League Group G victory over Spartak Moscow in the Luzhniki Stadium.

Georgios Samaras's last-gasp header gave the Hoops their first win away from home in the group stages of European football's elite club competition and it was a deserved victory for the Parkhead men.

Gary Hooper gave the visitors the lead in the 12th minute before Emmanuel Emenike netted twice for the Russian club, once either side of the break.

Proud: Celtic manager Neil Lennon celebrates after his side's famous win in Russia

Proud: Celtic manager Neil Lennon celebrates after his side's famous win in Russia

Proud: Celtic manager Neil Lennon celebrates after his side's famous win in Russia

Spartak defender Juan Insaurralde was sent off just after the hour mark for preventing Hooper going clean through on goal before Celtic levelled after a drive from substitute James Forrest deflected in off Spartak captain Dmitri Kombarov.

Celtic, though, refused to settle for the point and to cap a remarkable night for the Scottish champions, Samaras headed in an Emilio Izaguiire cross to send the small band of Hoops fans – and the Celtic bench – wild with delight.

'I am probably the proudest man in Europe tonight,' said Lennon.

'I cannot speak highly enough of the players, they were magnificent.

'They played magnificent football at a very tough venue against an excellent side.

Star: Georgios Samaras scored Celtic's winning goal in the dying seconds in Russia

Star: Georgios Samaras scored Celtic's winning goal in the dying seconds in Russia

Celtic's Georgios Samaras celebrates his winning goal with his team-mates

'They showed great character and fortitude to come back after going behind just after half-time.

'I thought we thoroughly deserved to win it.

'We didn't start the game particularly well, we looked a bit nervous and our passing wasn't there for the first five or 10 minutes but we had a quick break and scored a good goal.

'I have to say I thought Gary Hooper was world class tonight.

'I thought he was just magnificent and the catalyst for a lot of good things we did tonight.

'People keep asking me about him playing for England, well I think he showed how good he is tonight.

World class: Lennon hailed striker Gary Hooper after he scored the opening goal

World class: Lennon hailed striker Gary Hooper after he scored the opening goal

'But there were so many good performances, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Wilson, Brown, Samaras came on to a game, Commons got stronger as the game went on, James Forrest came on and gave us pace and quality.

'I think people underestimate Celtic. I don't think we get the respect we deserve but maybe tonight's performance might change a few attitudes.'

Celtic have four points from two games but Lennon refused to get carried away with regards their chances of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

'We said: “We just have to play Barcelona home and away…

Party time: Celtic's supporters celebrate the team's victory in Russia

Party time: Celtic's supporters celebrate the team's victory in Russia

'It is a huge step for the club. It is our first away win in the Champions League so we have broken a record.

'It is fantastic but there is a lot of football to be played in the group.

'We have two home games and Benfica and Barcelona away so it is still an open group for second place as far as I am concerned.

'We are still novices in this tournament but a few more performances like that wouldn't do us any harm at all.

'Every one of the players was a credit to the club tonight.'

Aiden McGeady: I"m ready for Celtic return

For one night I'll forget I'm a Celtic fan, says former Hoops star McGeady

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UPDATED:

16:26 GMT, 1 October 2012

Aiden McGeady will experience a 'strange feeling' when he lines up for Spartak Moscow against former club Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

The Russian side host the Hoops at the Luzhniki Stadium and McGeady, 26, who signed from the Parkhead club in 2010 for reportedly around 9.5million, will have to contend with mixed emotions at facing his boyhood heroes.

'It'll be the first time I've faced Celtic,' he told BBC Scotland. 'I try to catch most Celtic games on TV and I keep up to date with what's going on online. But, obviously, I'm now a Spartak player.

From Russia with love: McGeady is preparing to make his first return to Celtic

From Russia with love: McGeady is preparing to make his first return to Celtic

'Of course, Celtic are the team I grew up with, the team I support and the team I grew to love, but tomorrow night that all goes out the window.'

McGeady admits there is a sense of excitement at the thought of going back to Parkhead.

'To just be back playing at Celtic Park, for a different team, it's going to be a great experience,' he added.

'When the draw came out my phone was ringing off the hook with everyone phoning and texting me about the draw and how good it was. But, yeah, it's going to be exciting.'

McGeady was rested for the 3-1 win over Amkar at the weekend which took Spartak to fifth in the Russian Premier League, four points behind leaders Anzhi Makhachkala.

Hoops hero: McGeady was a regular for his boyhood club

Hoops hero: McGeady was a regular for his boyhood club

Spartak are looking for their first points in Group G, though, after losing 3-2 away to Barcelona in their opening game as the Scottish champions played out a goalless home draw against Benfica.

The Scotland-born Republic of Ireland player believes the artificial pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium maybe be a factor tomorrow night.

'Everything's going well,' said McGeady. 'I think the team is progressing well.

'We've got a new coach and a lot of new players and we're starting to gel together pretty well. It's going to be a difficult game for us, and, likewise, I think Celtic think the same.

'Generally, our record over the past few years hasn't been that great at home, but, possibly, Celtic aren't used to playing on this type of pitch (artificial surface), so it's possibly going to be a tricky match for them.

'It's going to be an exciting game.'

Celtic"s James Forrest ready to face Aiden McGeady in Champions League

Forrest all fired up to cause a surprise and sink former hero McGeady

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 1 October 2012

James Forrest can prove that he is a worthy heir to Aiden McGeady in Tuesday night’s Champions League head-to-head — as he and Celtic aim to spring another Group G 'surprise' in Moscow.

The SPL champions, having taken a point from their home opener against Benfica, head to the artificial surface of the Luzhniki Stadium in excellent form after regaining the SPL lead with an away win over Motherwell on Saturday.

Former Celtic superstar McGeady, already with an assist to his name after Spartak’s dramatic 3-2 defeat in Barcelona on match day one, is expected to be one of the main threats for the home side.

Ready to go: Celtic's James Forrest can fill the boots left by Aiden McGeady

Ready to go: Celtic's James Forrest can fill the boots left by Aiden McGeady

But Scotland winger Forrest, who has filled the role left vacant when McGeady moved to Russia in a record-breaking 9.5million transfer two years ago, is eager to impress his boyhood hero.

‘Aiden was an inspiration to me,’ said the 21-year-old, adding: ‘When I was coming through, there was Aiden and Shaun Maloney playing in my position — and it was great for me to learn from both of them.

‘They were playing in the first team, so it was ideal for me to watch and pick up a lot of things.

‘I’ve learned from Aiden and from Shaun. Now it’s about me in the first team — and I’m just going to concentrate on staying there and doing as well as I can.

‘Most of the boys here know Aiden. He’s a good attacking player and he’ll be one of their biggest threats. We know how difficult he will be to play against.’

Addressing the widespread perception that Celtic should be no more than whipping boys on their return to the world’s elite club competition, Forrest admitted: ‘Nobody gives us a chance. I think everybody expects to us to be beaten in every game.

‘But we did well against Benfica and, hopefully, we can keep surprising teams.

Heading off: Celtic manager Neil Lennon checks in at Glasgow Airport ahead of the Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow.

Heading off: Celtic manager Neil Lennon checks in at Glasgow Airport ahead of the Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow.

‘We had a really good performance against Motherwell, but we know it’s going to be a different game in Moscow.

‘All the players are back — and I think the gaffer has said it’s the best he’s seen a Celtic team play at Fir Park.

‘It’s hard to say before the game if a point would be a good result. We’re just going to go over there in the right frame of mind.

‘We’ve played on an artificial surface a few times. We played on it in Helsinki, while we’ve also trained on it a few times.

‘Possibly it will suit our style of play — but you also have to remember Spartak play on it every other week.’

Impressive as Forrest was on Saturday, he was outshone by the remarkable Kris Commons, a creative spark who surely must be named in Scotland’s squad for the World Cup double-header away to Wales and Belgium; it is hard to think of a convincing football case for excluding probably the best player in the SPL.

Familiar face: Aiden McGeady is getting ready to go up against his former team

Familiar face: Aiden McGeady is getting ready to go up against his former team

Forrest said: ‘His skill at the first goal was tremendous and I thought he played very well. He’s back to the best form of his first season with us.’

There was further encouragement for Celtic last night from their opponents’ camp, with Spartak boss Unai Emery apparently harbouring concerns about the form of his his centre-backs.

The Spanish coach has little confidence in Juan Insaurralde and Sergei Bryzgalov, despite the pair helping Spartak to a 3-1 away win at 10-man Amkar Perm on Saturday.

And while Emery may be toying with the idea of making changes for tomorrow night’s clash, Celtic boss Neil Lennon has been told he can pull off a notable result in Russia if he adopts the same ‘pressing’ tactics Amkar did.

Gianluca Nijholt, son of former Motherwell defender Luc, faced Spartak in Amkar’s Star Stadium, having just joined the Russians from Utrecht last month. And the Dutch midfielder saw nothing for Lennon to fear and revealed that a post-match talk with his compatriot Demy de Zeeuw brought Emery’s own fears out into the open.

‘I spoke with Demy and he said that the coach (Emery) had to put certain guys in the team that he did not want to play,’ said Nijholt.

‘Spartak did not look very good in defence. The centre backs (Insaurralde and Bryzgalov) did not look stable and made a lot of mistakes.’

Jose Mourinho accused of gay slur

Mourinho centre of storm as Real Madrid manager is accused of gay slur

Accused: Mourinho is the subject of a complaint by a gay rights group

Accused: Mourinho is the subject of a complaint by a gay rights group

Jose Mourinho is the subject of a complaint by a gay rights group after he allegedly used a Spanish homophobic insult about match officials.

The Real Madrid manager has been accused by the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF) of referring to officials as 'maricones', which translates as 'faggots' in English, before the Champions League tie against CSKA Moscow.

Louise Englefield, co-president of the EGLSF, called on UEFA to take action over the comments, which were shown on the Spanish television channel Quatro.

She said: 'Homophobia is unacceptable from anyone in football, much less from one of the game's most senior figures. We are deeply disappointed that Mr Mourinho is casually using homophobic terms of abuse in his workplace.

'It is especially sad that these comments have been made during the International Football v Homophobia campaign week.

'As long-standing partners of the FARE network, we call on UEFA to take action and impose appropriate sanctions.'

Television footage shows Mourinho using the word while inspecting the pitch at the Luzhniki stadium on Monday.

Jose Mourinho: Real Madrid to turn up the heat at CSKA Moscow

Madrid ready to turn up the heat to avoid defeat in freezing Moscow, says Mourinho

Jose Mourinho admits Real Madrid will face a huge Champions League test against CSKA Moscow in sub-zero temperatures on the Luzhniki stadium's artificial pitch.

Madrid head into the last-16 match on Tuesday after winning all six of their group games in the competition and also in fine form domestically, having won 18 of the last 19 matches to lead Barcelona by 10 points in the table.

For CSKA, the first-leg match will almost be a season-opener as the Russian league is on a winter break until mid-March.

Feeling chilly Cristiano Ronaldo (left), Fabio Coentrao (centre) and Pepe (right) warm up in Moscow on Monday

Feeling chilly Cristiano Ronaldo (left), Fabio Coentrao (centre) and Pepe (right) warm up in Moscow on Monday

Tough week ahead: Jose Mourinho will take his Real Madrid side to Moscow

Tough week ahead: Jose Mourinho takes his Real Madrid side to Moscow in the Champions League last 16

While Madrid are in fine form with Kaka, Marcelo and Sami Khedira all returning to the lineup for Saturday's 4-0 rout of Racing Santander, Angel di Maria's return was bittersweet after the Argentina international appeared to aggravate a right leg muscle injury as the match ended.

Full-back Alvaro Arbeloa returns to the squad while striker Gonzalo Higuain is also available.

'We need to now focus on the match against CSKA. Everyone's happy (with our play), we have two days to recover now and we're a happy group,' Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said.

'We've got a long trip ahead … but our motivation is high even though we know it won't be easy in Moscow.'

Though it's getting warmer in the Russian capital, the temperatures are expected to range between minus 8 degrees (17.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit).

'The ball resembles a piece of plastic when it freezes,' CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky said. 'A stone. It's painful to catch or block it. And it doesn't bounce high from the pitch.'

Madrid playmaker Kaka said the cold would be a negative factor for both teams.

Perfect record: Madrid won all of their games in the group stage at the end of last year

Perfect record: Madrid won all of their games in the group stage at the end of last year

'We have to prepare well and play a phenomenal match,' Kaka said.

Xabi Alonso said: 'Now we return to a competition that is very important for us.

'We all know what we're playing for and it's fundamental to get a good result away from home.'

CSKA have sold star Brazilian playmaker Wagner Love to Flamengo, but have signed 22-year-old South Korean midfielder Kim In-sung from Gangneung.

Sweden midfielder Pontus Wernbloom has joined from AZ Alkmaar in a four-and-a-half-year deal, becoming the Russian side's second January buy after forward Ahmed Musa, who arrived from another Dutch club, VVV Venlo.

'You never know for sure when it comes to new signings,' Slutsky said. 'Only competitive games can prove it was a right deal.'

The home side is meanwhile still without injured first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda.

Head boy: Cristiano Ronaldo helped his side beat Racing Santander on Saturday

Head boy: Cristiano Ronaldo helped his side beat Racing Santander on Saturday

Flying high: Madrid are a whopping 10 points clear of Barcelona in La Liga

Flying high: Madrid are a whopping 10 points clear of Barcelona in La Liga

'Much will depend on the beginning of the match,' Slutsky said of his team's chances. 'If we are able to be on equal terms from the very first minute, then we might have chances, otherwise it will be tough.'

Slutsky is bracing for a game in which his side is expected to come under immense pressure from the nine-time European champions.

'CSKA has proved that we can play successfully against key teams but we have never faced such a strong test before,' he said. 'Even Mourinho's Inter, which won the Champions League was weaker then Real today.'

Summing up things from CSKA's point of view, Slutsky said: 'We have a plan for the game and will hope our opponent will not play at its best.'