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Tokyo 2020: Spain Outclass Ivory Coast 5-2 To Reach Semi Finals

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Spain ended a 21-year wait to reach the men’s Olympic soccer semi-finals as substitute Rafa Mir scored a hat-trick to secure a 5-2 victory over Ivory Coast in extra time on Saturday.

Winger Max Gradel appeared to have secured Ivory Coast’s place in the final four when he made it 2-1 with a stoppage time strike, only for Mir to score almost immediately at the other end and force extra time.

Ivory Coast’s fate was sealed when defender Eric Bailly, who scored their opening goal inside 10 minutes, turned from hero to villain as he conceded a penalty with a bizarre handball inside the box.

Mikel Oyarzabal slotted the ball home from the spot in the 98th minute before Mir added two more goals past an exhausted Ivory Coast defence to put the result beyond doubt.

Dare brokers peace after Tokyo protest
Victory ensures Spain return to the semi-finals for the first time since claiming silver at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Spain, the last European team to win a men’s soccer Olympic gold in 1992, will face the winner of the quarter-final between hosts Japan and New Zealand.

(Reuters/NAN)

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Good To Be Working With Sancho, Says Man United Interim Coach, Rangnick

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New Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has revealed he tried to sign Jadon Sancho for RB Leipzig.

He said all his efforts to sign the player when he was 17-year-old failed.

Rangnick addressed the press on Friday after he took over the reins of leadership from Michael Carrick at Old Trafford.

The German said he and his team had held talks with Sancho in a bid to bring him to RB Leipzig but the England team snubbed them and joined rivals Borussia Dortmund instead in 2017.

“Jadon Sancho I knew from the Bundesliga. As a matter of fact, I met him when he was 17 in London.

“We were at the time trying to convince him to come to Leipzig and he decided a couple of months later to go to Dortmund which was not a wrong step from his perspective.”

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I’m Desperate To Sign Cavani, Says Xavi

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Barcelona manager, Xavi Hernandez has responded to claims that Barcelona is interested in acquiring the services of Manchester United striker, Edinson Cavani.

The former Barcelona midfielder hailed the Uruguayan as a ‘great player’ but refused to be drawn on Barcelona’s transfer link with him.

Cavani is sidelined due to injury and has made just 8 appearances for Manchester United this season.

The 34-year-old was convinced by sacked manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to extend his stay with United at the end of last season.

Reports emerged during the week that the Uruguayan International is now intent on making the move to Barcelona at the end of the season.

However, Xavi confirmed that the Catalan side is keen on bolstering their squad in January and in the summer but concedes that the club’s financial situation ‘is not great’.

“The club is trying to strengthen the squad, and if we need to strengthen the squad with players coming in some will have to leave,” Xavi told the Spanish press on Friday.

“We’ll see what situation we’re in, what we can do, our financial situation is not great so we’ll see how we manage all these things.

“The club is trying to make something work and they are working very hard. But the reality is what it is.

“I’d rather talk about the players that we have and in case we do get a player in January I’ll talk about perhaps more specific types of players we need in each position and if there are any players that will adapt to us.

“I’m not going to talk about names now, I’ll talk about the players we have now and tomorrow’s important game.”

Asked about a move for the veteran Uruguayan striker, Xavi replied: “You didn’t hear what I said before, right? You haven’t been paying attention!

“I think he’s a good player, but I’d rather talk about the players who are here, who are important, who need the love of the fans and from us as well. But yes, Cavani is a great player.”

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Zouma: West Ham Will Make Chelsea Suffer

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West Ham defender, Kurt Zouma, has said they can make former club Chelsea suffer when they meet in a London Derby on Saturday.

David Moyes’ side is looking to end a run of three games without a win against the Premier League leaders.

Zouma left Stamford Bridge to join the Hammers in a £29.8 million deal in the summer, after seven years and 151 appearances for Chelsea.

The Frenchman has made an impressive start in East London but expects a tough afternoon against Thomas Tuchel’s men.

“It will feel special in a way because I’ve been there for so many years.

“I want to beat Chelsea because I want to beat everybody. I play for West Ham now and I’m very happy to be here. It’s going to be a tough game as we know they have a lot of strength, but we have to use our strength to make them suffer,” Zouma told club’s website.

West Ham remains in the top four despite a run of two defeats and a draw over their past three league games and sits seven points off Liverpool in third and nine behind Thomas Tuchel’s Blues.

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