Sport Soccer

Saturday 25 January 2020

Rumours Real for Pellegrini

Manuel Pellegrini spoke as if he suspected his days were numbered as Real Madrid coach yesterday ahead of the last game of the season at Malaga.

The nine-times European champions are one point behind La Liga leaders Barcelona, who host Real Valladolid at the same time today. An exciting final-day showdown, however, may not be enough to save Pellegrini, who has clearly been affected by the stream of rumours in the media linking Inter Milan's Jose Mourinho with the Real job for next season.

The Chilean said he felt there was no smoke without fire over reports he would not be completing the second year of his contract, but defended his record over the last year.

"I don't think Real speak behind the back of their coach, this isn't their style. But I am not so innocent to believe that all the rumours are simply speculation by journalists," Pellegrini said.

"If, for whatever reason, the project doesn't continue the person who comes in will have a difficult job . . . he will have to win more than 100 points in the league to do better than me. I know failing to win a title isn't good but I don't think the final decision will change much whether we win the league or not."

Real were embarrassed by third-tier club Alcorcon in the King's Cup and dumped out of the Champions League by Olympique Lyon in March.

Sligo hit awful Drogs for six

Sligo Rovers claimed a second successive 6-0 win after a destruction of Drogheda United at the Showgrounds last night.

Padraig Amond hit a second-half hat-trick, while Richie Ryan, Gavin Peers and John Dillon were also on the mark. Drogheda had Brian King sent off in first-half stoppage time.

Sligo: Brush, Keane, Peers, Ventre, Davoren (McCartney 37), Doyle, Russell (Doninger 62), Ryan, McCabe (Dillon 75), Ndo, Amond.

Drogheda: Skinner, D Brennan (Daly 64), Harris, McNally, King, O'Connor, B McGill, E McGill (Smyth 55), R Brennan (Osbourne HT), Crowley, Fitzpatrick. Referee: D McKeon (Dublin).

Conway brace sinks County

Craig Conway was the hero yesterday grabbing a double as Dundee United ended a 16-year wait to bring the Scottish Cup back to Tannadice having beaten Ross County 3-0.

David Goodwillie set the SPL side on their way to victory before Conway finally exorcised the ghosts of his missed penalty in the Cup final two years ago.

United surged into the lead on 61 minutes. Michael McGovern raced off his line to clear a long ball from Morgaro Gomis but it broke for Goodwillie and, with the goalkeeper stranded, he was able to lob the ball into the back of the net.

Hopes of a County comeback were dashed when United claimed their second with 15 minutes to go. Jon Daly's flick-on was nodded on again by Goodwillie for Conway, who raced into the box before slotting past McGovern.

Conway wrapped up the victory four minutes from the end, collecting a short pass from Gomis before lashing a ferocious shot beyond the County 'keeper from inside the box.

Frank Johnstone

The death has occurred of Frank Johnstone, former football correspondent of The Irish Times and Irish Sunday People.

Frank had been ill for a number of months and was 80 years of age. A founder member of the Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland in 1960, he served as president of the organisation between 1966 and 1968.

As a teenager, he played for the renowned Johnville schoolboy club before joining Bohemians in the League of Ireland. However, it was as a scribe that the Dubliner became best known following his appointment at The Irish Times in 1947.

During his 10 years at the paper, Frank covered Ireland's famous 2-0 friendly victory over England at Goodison Park on September 21, 1949. Moving to The People in 1957, he continued to write passionately about the game while also reporting on golf. Frank continued to write for The People until the early years of this century.

Frank is survived by his wife Marie, sons David and Keith and daughter Gayle.

Sunday Independent

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