Police investigate Chelsea fan’s ‘racist’ gesture against United

ChelseaLONDON (AFP) – London’s Metropolitan Police Force announced Thursday they had launched an investigation after a Chelsea supporter was photographed apparently making a racist gesture towards a black Manchester United player.

The picture, published in several British newspapers, was taken during Chelsea’s dramatic 5-4 League Cup win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and appeared to show a fan making a monkey gesture at striker Danny Welbeck.

“We have received a complaint into alleged racist behaviour at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday,” a police spokesman told AFP on Thursday. “No arrests have been made and enquiries are continuing.”

The police’s move came after Chelsea had announced earlier Thursday that they were holding their own separate investigation into the incident and appealed for anyone who could identify the fan to contact the club.

“Chelsea FC is committed to removing all forms of discrimination and if we have sufficient evidence we will take the strongest possible action, including supporting criminal prosecution,” the club added in a statement.

The incident comes after Chelsea confirmed they had complained to the Football Association about “inappropriate language” used by referee Mark Clattenburg towards midfielder Jon Mikel Obi during Sunday’s Premier League defeat by United.

A similar complaint involving Spanish midfielder Juan Mata was dropped by the club.

However, police are investigating Clattenburg’s alleged comments to Mikel.

Chelsea captain John Terry is currently serving a four-match ban imposed by the FA for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand during a match in October last year.

Earlier this year Chelsea banned for life a supporter who admitted racially abusing former player Didier Drogba.

culled from Vanguard

Last minute clean-up ahead of Williams sisters’ exhibition match

Secretary, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos, Kolade Olutekunbi, said on Thursday that everything was being done to ensure a hitch-free outing for the William sisters’ proposed exhibition match.

Olutekunbi told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that the centre court of the club would host the top-flight exhibition encounter between Venus Williams and Serena Williams on Friday, November 2.

He added that tickets for the highly anticipated match between the two sisters who are frontline tennis players were being sold at N10, 000 and N5, 000 respectively.

“I can proudly say that the club is prepared to host the William sisters and lovers of the sport on Friday.

“We have taken steps to ensure that the match goes smoothly, without any hitches, in line with what obtains in the circuits they usually feature in,” he said.

The secretary added that financial members of the club would also need to obtain tickets to watch the iconic exhibition match.

He said that some selected cadet players would also be able to watch the match for free, although he did not mention the actual number that would be allowed to watch the match on the house.

“We have made arrangements to ensure that some budding tennis players shared in the excitement. That will definitely inspire them for better performances,” he said.

Olutekunbi added that the club was proud to host the William sisters.

Serena has won 15 Grand Slam Singles titles, while her elder sister, Venus, has seven Grand Slam Singles titles to her credit.

culled from Punch

Capital One Cup Review: Spurs, Liverpool liminated, Chelsea send United Out

Che_Utd_C1-300x160

Another unbelievable night of Capital One Cup action saw Chelsea gain revenge for Sunday’s controversial league defeat to Manchester United by beating the Red Devils on Wednesday, on a night when defending champions Liverpool and 2008 winners Tottenham were both knocked out.

Roberto Di Matteo saw everything go against his Chelsea side when they lost to Manchester United at the weekend, with referee Mark Clattenburg subsequently reported for alleged “inappropriate language” after a highly charged encounter.

Wednesday’s match provided more controversy as official Lee Mason awarded Chelsea two penalties – both justified – as the Blues scored a 93rd-minute leveller to force extra-time. They eventually ran out 5-4 winners thanks to goals from David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, Daniel Sturridge and Ramires.

Di Matteo made six changes from the team that lost in the league, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Victor Moses, Lucas Piazon and Sturridge all coming into the starting XI. Sir Alex Ferguson also mixed up his team with 10 new faces selected, Rafael the only man to keep his place.

Significantly the two men linked to the Clattenburg case, John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata, both started, and Mikel was booked inside 25 minutes. Chelsea also fell behind in that period and they were contributors to their own downfall, with Petr Cech’s pass to Romeu inviting United pressure that led to Ryan Giggs scoring the opener.

Chelsea were level within eight minutes thanks to a similarly ridiculous piece of defending, with Alexander Buttner recklessly sliding in on Moses inside the area. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Luiz, although Anders Lindegaard did get a hand to it.

The defensive calamities continued as United scored again on the stroke of half-time, with Luiz this time the culprit. Attempting an ambitious mazy run near the halfway line, Luiz was robbed of the ball – allowing United to feed Javier Hernandez who slotted past Cech. An enthralling cup tie took another twist seven minutes after the break as Cahill produced a trademark header at a corner that crossed the line before Rafael could clear, but United quickly restored their advantage for a third time. Nani exchanged a sharp one-two with Anderson inside the area, before the Portuguese chipped the ball over Cech as the keeper raced from his line.

Moses and Hernandez both wasted glorious chances to affect the scoring again, and Mason drew the wrath of the crowd when he failed to spot Michael Keane’s handball inside the final 20 minutes. However, the ref did point to the spot three minutes into injury-time for a foul by Scott Wootton, rolled calmly home by Hazard for 3-3 to force extra-time.

It was a tough night for Wootton who then gifted Sturridge Chelsea’s fourth as the Blues led for the first time in the evening, sending a powerpuff header to Sturridge who rounded Lindegaard for 4-3. Luiz rattled the bar late on before Hazard created the goal of the night, bamboozling the United defence before slipping in Ramires for 5-3, and there was still time for Giggs to score from the spot in the final minute on another incredible night.

Holders Liverpool welcomed Brendan Rodgers’ old club Swansea to Anfield as they targeted a place in the last-eight of the Capital One Cup, but it proved an unhappy reunion for Rodgers who saw his team lose 3-1 thanks to strikes from Chico, Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman.

Liverpool had gone four games unbeaten in all competitions prior to Wednesday’s match, and Rodgers was able to play a number of his fringe staff as Jack Robinson, Jamie Carragher, Sebastian Coates, Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Cole, Oussama Assaidi, Stewart Downing and Samed Yesil all came into the starting XI.

However, the changes led to an extremely disjointed display as the Reds barely found Cole and Yesil in the forward positions. Instead it was Swansea who deservedly took the lead after 34 minutes when Chico rose completely unmarked to bury Dyer’s delivery from six yards.

Rodgers responded by throwing on Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard for Cole and Yesil at half-time, and it should have reaped its reward when Gerrard’s shot was tipped onto a post, only for Downing to miss an easy rebound.

They were made to pay when Dyer tapped home a second for Swansea 18 minutes from time, although Liverpool did rally through Suarez’s 78th-minute header from Gerrard’s free-kick. Swansea had the final say, though, with De Guzman killing the tie off in the final stages.

Norwich scored twice in the last six minutes to dump out Tottenham 2-1 at Carrow Road. Gareth Bale’s goal appeared to have won it for Spurs with 84 minutes on the clock, but a Jan Vertonghen own goal followed by a Simeon Jackson strike turned the game on its head.

Andre Villas-Boas fielded plenty of star names with the likes Bale and Kyle Walker retaining their places, and it was the Welsh winger who broke the deadlock on 66 minutes. Cutting in from the flank, Bale beat three players across the edge of the area before sending a right-footed shot past Mark Bunn.

However, Alex Tettey’s 84th-minute shot deflected off Vertonghen to pull Norwich level, before Jackson won it three minutes later. Spurs still had a chance to force extra-time as Walker was brought down inside the area, but Clint Dempsey’s penalty was woeful.

Culled From Daily Post

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers frustrated by lack of squad depth

Liverpool_Manager

Brendan Rodgers highlighted the lack of depth in his Liverpool squad as the holders crashed out of the Capital One Cup to his former club Swansea.

The Reds went 1-0 behind and Rodgers sent on Steven Gerrard, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling to try to turn the tie around, but Liverpoool lost 3-1

“We have a very, very small squad. A very thin squad,” said Rodgers.

“With three competitions, I have rotated, looked at young players and looked at fringe players.”

Liverpool went behind to Chico Flores and Nathan Dyer goals and, although Luis Suarez pulled one back for the visitors, Jonathan De Guzman made sure of the win for Swansea.

“That was a lesson for me in terms of where we are at,” said Rodgers.

“I have given players the opportunity to come in and shine and that is all you can do as a coach and a manager. It then becomes quite easy for me, but the problem is then that your squad is even thinner.”

Joe Cole failed to impress after being given a rare start, while Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson both struggled on a night to forget for Liverpool.

Rodgers also gave 18-year-old striker Samed Yesil a chance to start with Fabio Borini’s long-term injury leaving Rodgers woefully short of options in attack.

“I can’t keep playing Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez is our only striker,” Rodgers added.

“Jamie Carragher was outstanding, kept going and kept driving. Joe Allen was virtually playing on his own in midfield in the first half with all due respect. I have got to use a game somewhere along the line to rest some of them.

“That is where the club is at. That is the reality. It is not embarrassing but I would have loved to have been able to keep them on the side [against Swansea] and give them that breather, give them that rest because they have been playing continuously.

“They are catalysts for the team but when you need them, you need to put them on.”

When asked if defeat by his former club had been particularly painful, Rodgers said: “It is disappointing. But you can only really hurt if you are the better team and I thought they were the better team. That is the honest truth of it.

“It obviously hurts and is disappointing but whenever the other team is better than you, you have to acknowledge that and move on.”

Rodgers believes it may take until the start of next season to gather a group that are capable of producing the kind of football his Swansea side became famous for during his time in Wales.

“It just takes a wee bit of time,” he added.

“Swansea’s play is what I have been involved in for a couple of years. It is about creativity and brightness and cleverness and intensity and quick thinking.

“But over the next couple of transfer windows we will get the opportunity to build that type of group. In the meantime the guys are giving me everything.”

Culled from BBC

Mikel Obi earns laurels

John-MikelChelsea manager, Roberto di Matteo has praised the attitude of Nigeria midfielder, John Mikel Obi following his display in the Blues’ 5-4 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

The midfielder played 46 minutes of the game before he was substituted with Brazilian midfielder, Ramires taking his place.

Mikel had been under intense media scrutiny in recent days following allegations that referee, Mark Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” at him during Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Many questioned di Matteo’s decision to start the player against United just days after Sunday’s controversial game but the Italian said he never had any doubt the former FC Lyn-Oslo man would cope just fine.

“I had no doubts in my mind about his attitude and his frame of mind for the game (against United) and I was proved right. He did very well,” di Matteo said.

The Chelsea trainer also took the time to explain the decision to substitute Mikel just after the break.

“It had nothing to do with (Mikel’s) frame of mind. He was already on a yellow card at that point and we didn’t want to take any risks.

“Also we had to change some things tactically and that was why I brought on Ramires in his place,” he said.

Mikel has made 15 appearances for Chelsea this season.

Culled from SuperSport

John Mikel Obi earns laurels

John-Mikel Chelsea manager, Roberto di Matteo has praised the attitude of Nigeria midfielder, John Mikel Obi following his display in the Blues’ 5-4 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.

The midfielder played 46 minutes of the game before he was substituted with Brazilian midfielder, Ramires taking his place.

Mikel had been under intense media scrutiny in recent days following allegations that referee, Mark Clattenburg used “inappropriate language” at him during Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Many questioned di Matteo’s decision to start the player against United just days after Sunday’s controversial game but the Italian said he never had any doubt the former FC Lyn-Oslo man would cope just fine.

“I had no doubts in my mind about his attitude and his frame of mind for the game (against United) and I was proved right. He did very well,” di Matteo said.

The Chelsea trainer also took the time to explain the decision to substitute Mikel just after the break.

“It had nothing to do with (Mikel’s) frame of mind. He was already on a yellow card at that point and we didn’t want to take any risks.

“Also we had to change some things tactically and that was why I brought on Ramires in his place,” he said.

Mikel has made 15 appearances for Chelsea this season.

culled from Supersport

Besiktas Target Amokachi For Coordinator Role

Turkish side Besiktas have reportedly indicated interest to hire their former striker, Daniel Amokachi, as the club’s coordinator of football administration.

Amokachi, now an assistant coach of the Super Eagles, joined Beşiktaş for £1.75m in 1996 and was a fans favourite in the three seasons he spent at the Turkish giants. He scored 19 goals in 77 appearances for the club before he left in 1999.

According to www.fanatik.com.tr, the Black Eagles have ‘thrown forward’ the former Nigeria international’s name for the post, with Besiktas’ president, Fikret Orman, in support.

If Besiktas succeed in hiring the Atlanta ’96 Olympic Games gold medallist, he is expected to create a harmonious working environment technically at the club.

After a distinguished playing career abroad, Amokachi returned home and has handled several managerial roles ranging from club to the men’s national team
By ’Tana Aiyejina
Culled From : PUNCH

NEW ATTACKING ROLE: Osaze gets West Brom praises

OsazeWest Brom manager, Steve Clarke, has hailed out of favour Super Eagles forward, Osaze Odemwingie after his return from suspension.

Speaking with birminghammail.net on Wednesday, the former Liverpool coach revealed that the Nigeria international is more than willing to embrace his wide-positions for West Brom – revealing the role was not new to him.

The Baggies top scorer striker has been used as a wide forward since Clarke’s summer arrival, a position the Eagles ace also occupied briefly under Roy Hodgson when the ex-Albion man ventured from his usual 4-4-2 formation.

Due to Albion’s attacking options – they effectively have five strikers vying for one central role and two wide positions – Osaze has found himself on the flank.

The 31-year-old has spent long periods of his career occupying wider roles, notably at Lokomotiv Moscow and during his earlier times at Lille, although he has expressed a preference for playing more centrally during interviews in the past.Clarke feels his experienced forward’s potency is not diminished from the position he is currently occupying.

His two most recent performances have certainly taken the eye.

“He came into the Manchester City game as a substitute and was really lively,” said Clarke.

“They were starting to tire so it was a good time for him to come on.

“He made a big contribution last weekend (at Newcastle) as well and has always been very motivated.

“He wanted to see how the club would develop, he’s happy here, he’s comfortable, he’s a good worker and I have no complaints about him.

“I remember watching him last season – he scored some goals from the right. He keeps telling me he got a hat-trick against Wolves playing on the right.

“When we were at Chelsea and played Lokomotiv in a pre-season friendly, he was playing on the right then too.

“It might be a new position to people watching him here but it’s not a new position to Peter.”

Clarke feels Odemwingie has more than made up for his sending-off at Fulham. He was given a straight red card for violent conduct after lashing out at Sascha Riether. Odemwingie apologised after the game before sitting out three games.

He was reintroduced to the side immediately after his ban and has impressed since.

“It was a blow for him to be sent off at Fulham,” continued Clarke.

“I said at the time it was out of character. I think he learned from it and he apologised for it. I he showed that in the game against Queens Park Ranger when I put him straight back into the side and he did very well.”

Called from The Nation

Ref called Mikel monkey — Chelsea

John-Mikel-Obi-360x270The race-row that has engulfed Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg intensified further on Wednesday as two Chelsea players claimed they heard him call teammate Mikel Obi a ‘monkey’.

It has emerged that the pair of unnamed stars say this is what happened during their match with Manchester United on Sunday — but the official categorically denies making any racist comments.

Clattenburg has been accused of saying to Mikel, ‘Shut up you monkey’ as he booked him for dissent as well as calling Juan Mata a ‘Spanish t***’ in their 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Mystery had surrounded what Clattenburg actually said to Mikel – until these allegations were made Wednesday morning.

But a source close to the referee told The Sun, “He said nothing of the sort – and he will fight this all the way.

“There is a lot of noise on the pitch and the players could have easily misheard.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s race case against Clattenburg is in serious danger of collapsing completely after it emerged that the club have employed independent lawyers to investigate the claims of their players.

The club are expected to conclude their internal investigation into allegations that the referee racially abused Mikel and swore at Juan Mata.

The external lawyers will then provide Chelsea with legal opinion as to whether their case will be successful. Despite issues over the available evidence, Chelsea remained robust.

Chelsea will proceed with the case against the referee only if they are satisfied the claims made by the players after the game will stand up to the FA’s burden of proof.

It means they will need to satisfy an FA commission ‘on the balance of probability’, but they also have to negotiate the complexities of the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the affair.

If the case breaks down, it will reflect badly on Chelsea, who made their claims of inappropriate language against Clattenburg in a strongly worded statement on Sunday, two hours after the final whistle.

Earlier it emerged that the club and Mikel could be charged with misconduct by the FA after the Nigerian had to be restrained from manhandling the referee in his dressing room following the clash.

Clattenburg did not mention the behaviour in the ‘extraordinary incident’ report he filed on Sunday, but he now has to make a detailed statement to the FA. Clattenburg’s assistants, Michael McDonough and Simon Long, and fourth official Mike Jones have filed reports in which they say they did not hear the Durham official say anything inappropriate.

All four were in the referee’s room when Mikel burst in with Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay and manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Mikel’s aggressive manner, along with the behaviour of other Chelsea officials, raises the possibility of FA action against the club.

Both Mikel and Mata claim they have a witness to Clattenburg’s comments, and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor, who has assessed both complaints, told Sportsmail the pair have his ‘100 per cent support’.

Culled from Punch

Chelsea beat Manchester United in nine-goal thriller

chelseaChelsea have beaten Manchester United 5-4 after extra time at Stamford Bridge to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.

United had led 3-2 before Eden Hazard scored from the penalty spot with the last kick of normal time to force an additional 30 minutes.

Daniel Sturridge and Ramires then secured the Blues’ passage into the last eight on a remarkable night in West London.

United enjoy the early possession and they were rewarded with 22 minutes on the clock when Oriol Romeu was dispossessed before Ryan Giggs slotted in.

Chelsea rarely threatened in the first half but they found themselves level on 35 minutes as David Luiz converted from the penalty spot following Alexander Buttner’s foul on Victor Moses.

However, the Red Devils regained the lead on 43 minutes thanks to Javier Hernandez’s composed finish from Anderson’s through ball.

It took Chelsea only two minutes after the restart to get themselves level for the second time in the match as Gary Cahill powered home a header from Juan Mata’s corner.

A thrilling cup tie swung United’s way once again soon after when Nani rounded off a slick move by dinking the ball over Petr Cech.

Chelsea should have made it 3-3 on 70 minutes, but Cesar Azpilicueta somehow headed over the crossbar from Mata’s cross with the goal at his mercy.

They were appealing for a penalty soon after when the ball appeared to strike Michael Keane on the arm, only for referee Lee Mason to wave away the protests.

The home side continued to press for an equaliser and they got it with the last kick of normal time courtesy of substitute Eden Hazard’s penalty following Scott Wooton’s foul on Ramires.

Wooton’s night got worse in the first half of extra time as the young defender gifted the ball to Daniel Sturridge who rounded Anders Lindegaard before slotting in.

The match grew wide open as United surged forward to force the penalty shootout and Chelsea made sure of the win in the final minutes when Ramires latched onto Hazard’s threaded past to round Lindegaard and score.

There was a final twist as Giggs cut the deficit from the penalty spot after Azpilicueta had bundled over Hernandez, but it was too late for the visitors to find an equaliser.

Culled from NaiJ

Manu to Reinforce Eaglets Against Mali

Manu Coach Manu Garba (MFR) has assured that the Golden Eaglets would be better and stronger as the team steps up preparation for its third and final 2013 Under-17 Championship qualifier against Mali in November.

The Nigerian Under-17 team has scored a remarkable 17 goals and conceded one in four qualifying matches against Niger and Guinea; and Garba has revealed that the team would even be reinforced against Mali for better performance.

“We have said repeatedly that this team is still work in progress and the players in camp know that none of them is guaranteed a place in the team,” Garba said after the 4-0 win against Guinea in Conakry on Sunday. “There are even some good players who have passed the mandatory Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test and we are going to bring some in order to fortify the team for our next game against Mali.”

Adding some fresh players notwithstanding; Garba maintains absolute confidence in the capability of his wards in crossing the Malian Rubicon after the West African country dispatched Mauritania 6-3 on aggregate at the weekend.

“The mentality of our players is strong and it is tuned towards just one thing: winning,” Garba confidently said.

“There are four things that should be the hallmark of a good team and I tell you that our players have already tremendously showed them. These are commitment, composure, concentration and confidence, and that is why it is always difficult for our opponents to match us.”

The Golden Eaglets returned from Conakry on Monday, departed Lagos on Tuesday for their base in Calabar to begin earnest preparations for their third round-first leg game against Mali at the U.J Esuene Sports Stadium on November 18.

Meanwhile, Ganaeka Ibrahima, Guinea’s petit goalkeeper, has admitted Golden Eaglets superiority following the Junior Syli Stars 7-0 aggregate lost to their Nigerian counterparts in the 2013 under- 17 qualifiers.

It was Ibrahima’s agility over the two-legged matches, that stopped the Golden Eaglets from recording a double figure score line but he only had words of praises for the Nigerian conquistadors!

“The Nigerian team is good and have good quality,” Ibrahima, who was adjudged the best player with some instinctive saves during the first leg in Calabar, said through an interpreter.

“They played good football and it showed when we played them in Nigeria and here in Conakry.”

culled from Thisday