Friday 20 October 2017

Soccer in brief

Bhoys hopeful on Matthews

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hopeful Adam Matthews will be fit for Celtic's opening Champions League fixture against AC Milan in the San Siro on Wednesday night.

Matthews had to be replaced before the break by Georgios Samaras during the 3-1 league win over Hearts at Tynecastle after being injured in a challenge by defender Kevin McHattie.

"Adam is fine. He just jarred his ankle and couldn't continue but we are hoping he will be okay for Wednesday's game," Lennon said.

Recent signing Teemu Pukki grabbed a debut goal as the Hoops came through. Kris Commons scored from the spot in the 18th minute after Jamie Hamill was controversially penalised for handball, before Jason Holt equalised in the 56th minute with a deflected drive.

Anthony Stokes put Celtic back in front after 65 minutes with an unstoppable volley from 12 yards before substitute Pukki made it 3-1 five minutes.

Lennon was pleased with two of his other new boys, Dutch duo Derk Boerrigter and Virgil van Dijk. "Boerrigter was very good. He gives us pace and attacking thrust on either side and Van Dijk is going to be a top, top player," he said.

MOYES COY ON BALE RUMOURS

David Moyes has refused to confirm or deny if Manchester United had launched a bid to sign Gareth Bale.

Reports in France claim United offered Tottenham close to €150m (£125m) for the winger, who joined Real Madrid for €100m. After his side's victory over Crystal Palace, Moyes said that, now the transfer window had shut, he would not be commenting on such a matter.

However, he added: "I have said many times we are always bidding for the best players." Speaking on Friday, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said: "I know that Tottenham received a higher bid for Gareth Bale than the one from Real Madrid." French newspaper L'Equipe claimed that bid came from Manchester United, but Bale personally insisted on joining Real Madrid.

GENOA COACH CAUGHT SPYING

A coach from Serie A side Genoa was caught spying on local rivals Sampdoria dressed in camouflage gear ahead of today's derby clash.

Luca De Pra, a Genoa youth team coach and grand-son of Giovanni De Pra, the club's finest ever goalkeeper, was suspended by Genoa after being caught hiding in the bushes at Sampdoria's training ground Bogliasco. "No director or member of the coaching staff sent Luca De Pra, goalkeeping coach for the youth team, to watch the training session. It was a personal initiative," Genoa said in a statement.

"This has never been done before and is not part of the club's modus operandi. De Pra has been suspended."

Sampdoria fans at the training session saw movement in the small wood next to the pitch and alerted the staff.

SANCHEZ THE BARCA HERO

BARCELONA clinched a dramatic 3-2 victory over Sevilla, with Alexis Sanchez netting the winner on 94 minutes.

Goals from Ivan Rakitic on 80 minutes and Coke as the game moved into injury-time cancelled out earlier Barca efforts from Dani Alves and Lionel Messi and appeared set to hand the visitors an impressive draw, only for Sanchez to strike at the death.

Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid extended their winning start to La Liga to four games when David Villa led them to a 4-2 win over Almeria. Goals from Villa, Diego Costa, Tiago and Raul Garcia killed the game off.

DYCHE LEFT TO RUE BAD LUCK

Burnley boss Sean Dyche rued a "truly incredible" slice of luck for Jordan Rhodes which maintained Blackburn's 34-year hoodoo over their neighbours as the east Lancashire derby ended 1-1.

The Clarets' long wait for victory appeared to be coming to an end after Junior Stanislas netted in the 76th minute. But Scott Arfield's poor backpass five minutes from time opened the door for Rhodes, who turned inside and saw Michael Duff's clearance ricochet off his shin and loop into the net.

"The way it's gone in is truly incredible," said Dyche. "It could bounce anywhere and it happens to spin over your goalkeeper."

INCE SORRY AS BOTTLE HITS FAN

Blackpool manager Paul Ince apologised to a supporter who was struck by a bottle he threw late on in his team's Championship win at Bournemouth.

Ince was sent to the stands and did not appear for a press conference after the match, but his assistant Alex Rae explained the former England midfielder had sought out the female fan and said sorry. Goals from Neal Bishop and Ricardo Fuller earned league leaders Blackpool a 2-1 win on the south coast.

Rae said: "Once we had an opportunity to score to make it 3-1 Paul threw a bottle on the ground and it bounced off the ground and into the crowd. The manager went over and apologised to the lady immediately as it hit her on the foot and she's accepted his apology."

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