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Match Preview: Persepolis – Al Hilal By FIFA.com

Given the two sides’ legendary status on both the home and continental stage, Group D’s top-of-the-standing meeting looks set to capture the most attention. Both teams are among the most successful in their respective leagues, with Persepolis the nine-time Iranian champions while Al Hilal have prevailed in the Saudi championship a record 13 times. Adding to their unrivalled domestic achievements, the Riyadh giants have secured continental silverware on four occasions with two Asian Club Championships and two Asian Cup Winners’ Cup titles, while the Iranians lifted the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup in 1991.

Both have not been firing on all cylinders on the local front this season, with Al Hilal conceding the league title to Al Shabab after finishing third, while Persepolis are languishing in 11th following a recent 4-1 defeat at Teraktor-Sazi. However, the Tehran club have impressed in Asia this year, enjoying a two-point lead ahead over Al Hilal with a draw enough to see them through. The home side will look to the scoring-form of Libyan striker Eamon Zayed and captain Ali Karimi with each having scored three times to date. The visitors, for their part, will count on their Moroccan striking-ace Youssef El Arabi. Qatar’s Al Gharafa, meanwhile, face a must-win scenario against bottom side Al Shabab if they are to maintain their ambitions.

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Roy Hodgson and England

Published on April 30, 2012 by in England, Euro

Roy Hodgson and England

BBC – Roy Hodgson arrived at Wembley on Monday afternoon for talks with the Football Association over the England manager’s job. The West Brom boss, who was meeting a four-man panel, is expected to be appointed within 48 hours.

The FA says the 64-year-old is the only person it has approached about succeeding Fabio Capello.

He said he would “be delighted” to manage England, in a BBC Sport interview before the FA’s approach.

Hodgson has extensive international experience, having managed Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland, and domestic teams in Sweden, Italy and England.

Bernstein said: “Roy is the only manager we have approached and we remain on course to make an appointment within the timescale we set out.”

The four-man panel which will decide who takes over from Capello are Bernstein, FA general secretary Alex Horne, FA director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking and managing director of Club England Adrian Bevington.

Bernstein approached West Brom on Saturday and was given permission to speak to Hodgson, who is likely to be appointed on a long-term basis.

It is expected any contract will cover the three tournaments up to and including Euro 2016, at which point he will be two months short of his 69th birthday.

Hodgson’s contract with West Brom ends on 30 June.

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp had been heavily linked with the job ever since Capello left the post in February, but the FA has decided to discuss the position with Hodgson, who has previous international experience from his time in charge of Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Finland.

In total, he has managed 18 teams either at domestic or international level, including two spells as Inter Milan boss.

On Friday, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Pat Murphy spoke to Hodgson about the England job, and put it to the West Brom manager that the FA was expected to make a move for Capello’s successor this week.

“It’s news to me,” Hodgson said. “I shall just watch like everyone else interested in football to see who the next England manager will be.

“I don’t what the plans are of the FA, as I’ve said all along. They’ve got a job to do. I’m sure they have looked into the sort of candidates that they consider potentially right for the job.

“No doubt, if you say next week, we’ll find out which candidate they have plumped for.”

Murphy told Hodgson he “ticked a lot of the boxes”, and the West Brom manager replied: “I don’t know about that. It’s nice of you to say so, but I’m sure there’s lots of other people who tick a lot boxes as well.”

Hodgson, who had a disappointing time at Liverpool last season, has steered West Brom to mid-table in the Premier League. And Albion chairman Jeremy Peace remains hopeful he will stay on at the Hawthorns.

Peace said: “Roy has done a fantastic job over the past 15 months and the fact the FA wants to discuss the England role with him is testament to that. “Roy is a proud Englishman and we can understand why he wants to speak to the FA about this highly prestigious managerial position. “However, we have emphasised to Roy how much we would like him to remain as our head coach and continue his major contribution to our project at the Hawthorns as we look to establish ourselves as a Premier League club.

“Everyone here has an excellent working relationship with him and he is immensely popular with our supporters.”

England have two fixtures before their Euro 2012 opener against France on 11 June, with friendlies planned against Norway on 26 May and Belgium on 2 June.

Stuart Pearce – who is in charge of both the England Under-21 squad and the Team GB Olympic set-up – is currently in temporary control of the national side and oversaw a 3-2 friendly defeat by the Netherlands at Wembley last month.

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Manchester City and Manchester United face crunch derby

BBC – Manchester City host rivals Manchester United on Monday night knowing victory would give them the edge in the Premier League title race.

United travel to Etihad Stadium with a three-point lead over their rivals, but have an inferior goal difference. City kept the pressure on the leaders with a 2-0 win over Wolves last weekend as United drew 4-4 with Everton.

Victory for City would put them level with Sir Alex Ferguson’s men with just two games remaining. United have the edge in the head-to-heads, having won 67 of the 161 matches between the two clubs with City coming out on top in 44. However, the last time the two sides met in the league, City thumped United 6-1 – the Red Devils’ heaviest-ever Premier League defeat and the first time they had conceded six goals at Old Trafford since 1930.

“This is the derby game of all derby games,” said Ferguson. “It is our city rivals and that makes everyone step up a notch in terms of anticipation.

“Our fans will look upon it [a possible league win] as a special one because they are our fans’ most bitter rivals, there is no getting away from that. It means everything to the fans and I think going into work on Tuesday morning will be the most important day of their lives for both sets of supporters. People are brought up through their grandfathers, their great grandfathers, their grandmothers to be what they are. You can’t change a family’s traits. It is steeped in the blood of these supporters and they will give everything to win this game on Monday.”

With so much at stake, City manager Roberto Mancini is hoping that this derby will pass peacefully.

“It is a football day and not war and, for this reason, I hope all supporters will enjoy the game,” said Mancini, who admitted he is worried about the day. “The United game is like a final and you can lose these games; you are not playing against a small team.”

While City’s home record is favourable, with 21 wins in their last 22 matches in the top flight, the Blues have not scored at home against United in the league for nearly five years.

But recent form suggests City are favourites. Roberto Mancini’s men have won their last three games, scoring 13 goals in the process. United, meanwhile, have taken just four points from a possible nine, which included losing a 4-2 lead to draw with Everton at Old Trafford.

But if United win and then triumph in their two remaining games, they will finish with 92 points to equal their best Premier League tally, achieved when they won the title in 1994. City visit Newcastle next after the derby clash and then face QPR at home, while United take on Swansea at Old Trafford before finishing with a trip to Sunderland.

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Teraktor Vs. Perspolis (Week 32, IPL 2011/2012)

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Guardiola may be poised to quit Barcelona

Published on April 24, 2012 by in Barcelona, Spain

MADRID, April 26 (Reuters) – Rumours swirled around the Spanish press on Thursday that Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, distraught after their Champions League exit and La Liga troubles, may announce on Friday that he is leaving the club at the end of the season.

The vastly successful 41-year-old – whose contract expires at the end of June – had a three-hour meeting with club president Sandro Rosell on Thursday to discuss his future, the reports said.

Barca did not confirm any Guardiola news conference or announcement was scheduled for Friday but a source close to the club, who asked not to be identified by name, told Reuters Guardiola had informed Rosell of his decision to move on.

The source added that while he could change his mind at the last moment after talking to his family, it looked unlikely he would extend his four years in charge.

Rosell is desperate to persuade Guardiola to stay on and the longer he has delayed his decision the more speculation has grown he might be lured to another club with reports linking him to the Chelsea and Inter Milan jobs, among others.

Other reports suggested he was in line to become the next England manager or that he was planning to take a sabbatical.

The odds on Guardiola taking over from Fabio Capello at the helm of the England team narrowed sharply on Thursday. One British betting house quoted him as 22/1 earlier on Thursday and those odds fell to 14/1.

The former Barca and Spain midfielder has preferred to renew his contract on an annual basis and waited until Feb. 8 last year before agreeing a new deal.

He went on to capture a third straight La Liga title and a second Champions League crown, as well as the Spanish and European Super Cups and the Club World Cup, and has led Barca to 13 trophies since taking over in 2008.

However, his team were knocked out of the semi-finals of the Champions League by Chelsea on Tuesday and their three-year stranglehold on the La Liga title is poised to come to an end as bitter rivals Real Madrid have a seven-point advantage at the top of the standings with four games left.

Barca’s one remaining chance of silverware this season is in the King’s Cup and they play Athletic Bilbao in next month’s final in Madrid.

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AFC Champions League Matchday 3

AFC Champions League 2010

Afshin Afshar (lastkick.com) – On Tuesday, March 3 the third round of the AFC Champions League will get underway and will conclude the first legs of the matches. This Round could prove to be the definitive round for all four Iranian teams.

Esteghlal of Tehran vs. Al Gharafa  (3/23/2020)

Esteghlal will meet Group A leaders Al Gharafa in Tehran’s Azadi Stadium and that is always an advantage. The Qatari side have won both of their first two matches while Esteghlal have won one and tied the other. A victory will put the Blues in pole position with seven points and give them a great advantage going into the return leg of the match only a week later in Qatar.

Zob-Ahan vs. Bunyodkor (3/24/2010)

Zob-Ahan will be hosting Group B leaders in Foolad Shahr. The Uzbeks have won both of their matches while Zob-Ahan have won one and tied one. Bunyodkor and Al Ittihad were tagged as favorites to go through from this group, but the KSA side were trashed by the Uzbeks in the opener and held to a draw by Zob-Ahan. A win will put Zob-Ahan on top and put the pressure on the Saudis to keep up.

Pakhtakor vs. Sepahan (3/23/2010)

In Group C Sepahan of Isfahan were picked as one of the two favorites to go through, but they were held to draws in the first two matches and now sit third in their group following Al Shabab of KSA and Pakhtakor. Anything short of a victory will greatly hurt their chances of going through.   

Mes of Kerman vs. Al Sadd (3/24/2010)

Mess surprised everyone with their 4-2 win over Al Ahli in Round 1, but were manhandled by Al Hilal in Round 2. Mes and Al Sadd are tied for second place in points immediately following Al Hilal of KSA who are leading Group D with six points. Mes are not expected to go through, but a win here will make the race to the next round far more interesting.

Click here for results and standings in all groups.

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Happy New Year everyone

Published on March 20, 2010 by in lastkick.com



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Kind AFC Futsal Championship draw for Iran and Uzbekistan

Published on March 19, 2010 by in Asia, Futsal

Director of National Team Competitions, Mr. Shin Man Gil conducting the official draw in Tashkent. 

Tashkent (the-afc.com ) —  Asian futsal powerhouse Iran were drawn in an easy group for the 11th edition of the AFC Futsal Championship here in the Uzbek capital on Friday.

Iran, who will be gunning for their tenth title, were placed in Group B alongside Australia, Kuwait and Central Asians Tajikistan for the 16-team event.
Read more…

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