Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski revelled in scoring his 200th competitive goal for the Bundesliga champions.

Lewandowski celebrated a milestone as Bayern opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade in Munich on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old striker, who moved onto 199 competitive goals for Bayern in their draw at Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig last week, poked home the team's second goal with 10 minutes remaining against Red Star.

"We always had the game under control and played well, we upped the pace and created a lot of chances," Lewandowski said as he reflected on the Group B clash.

"But we didn't score enough goals. We always tried to get forward. Sometimes we might have made wrong decisions, but these are little things. In the end it was only three goals, but it could have been five or six.

"You need games like today to help with a good analysis, to see what you can do better. After the second goal, it got easier. I'm glad I scored again."

Lewandowski – the highest-scoring foreigner for Bayern – is fourth on the club's all-time list, behind Rainer Ohlhauser (215), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (218) and Gerd Muller (564).

The Poland international has flourished since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, winning five successive Bundesliga titles.

Lewandowski – who has also won two DFB-Pokal trophies and three DFL-Supercups – has topped the Bundesliga scoring charts for the past two seasons and four of the past six.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness hit out at disgruntled Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the German Football Association (DFB) and the media amid the ongoing debate involving Manuel Neuer, who he believes is the "much better" shot-stopper.

Tension between Bayern keeper Neuer and Barcelona's Ter Stegen has been high after the latter voiced his frustration about the lack of international opportunities for Germany.

Despite 22-time international Ter Stegen's fine form with the LaLiga champions, captain Neuer is Germany's number one and started ahead of the 27-year-old during the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Neuer – a World Cup winner with Germany having amassed 90 caps – accused Ter Stegen of putting himself before the team when he expressed frustration with the selection order, and his positional rival described the 33-year-old's criticism as "inappropriate".

Hoeness fiercely weighed into the Neuer and Ter Stegen debate following Bayern's 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

"I think that this is a joke and especially the Munich press I think it's not okay what they do," Hoeness told reporters. "The West German press is heavily supporting Marc-Andre ter Stegen as if he won 17 times the World Cup. And from the South German press I don't see any support.

"I think it's impossible to make such a topic public because he has no claim to play there [in the national team]. With the goalkeepers it's different than with the other.

"He [Neuer] was the best goalkeeper in the world for many years. Now he was injured sometime but it was clear that if he becomes the old one again – and he is the old one again - there is no discussion if just him can be the number one. I hoped for more support from the German football federation. We frequently have troubles with DFB.

"First of all, I remember how our three players were kicked out in a very bad way of the national team [Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and former defender Mats Hummels] and now this with Manuel Neuer is the same. I don't know how you cannot do something against it when a player goes public with a topic that he should only discuss with [head coach] Joachim Low. This is not okay.

"We have our opinion and we won't let this happen in the future that our players will be damaged without reason because Ter Stegen is a good keeper but Manuel Neuer is much better. And has more experience. There is no discussion necessary. Nobody in the world can have doubts with Manuel Neuer being Germany's goalkeeper. Neuer can play as long as he stays healthy. He will always be the best. There is no discussion about it."

Hector Herrera came off the bench to score a 90th-minute equaliser as Atletico Madrid fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Juventus in the Champions League.

Juan Cuadrado's stunning strike and a Blaise Matuidi header looked to have earned Maurizio Sarri's side victory in Group D on Wednesday.

However, Atletico produced a wonderful fightback as set pieces proved Juve's undoing, Stefan Savic nodding home from close range to set up a grandstand finish at the Wanda Metropolitano.

With injury time beckoning, substitute Herrera rose highest in the box to superbly flick home a header from Kieran Trippier's left-wing corner, leaving the spoils shared.

Schoolboy football players that were affected by a lightning strike during a Manning Cup match on Monday are reportedly recovering with very little ill effects.

The match between urban area schoolboy football teams Jamaica College and Wolmer’s was called off after several players suffered injuries when lightning struck the field at Stadium East. 

Two players, JC’s Terrence Francis and Dwayne Allen of Wolmer’s were taken to the hospital following the incident, with another player later admitted after suffering from chest pains.  According to ISSA president Keith Wellington, none of the players seems to have suffered significant injury and are on the improve.

 “Thankfully they have shown significant improvement.  The Wolmer’s young man was treated and released.  One young man when he initially went to the hospital wasn’t speaking or walking but eventually, he came around and he has been moving and speaking,” Wellington said in an interview on the Sportsmax Zone.

“All the tests that have been done ECG, CT scans have come back with good results.  I think the major issue now is that that the flash seems to have affected their eyes so the ophthalmologists will examine them.  It appears as though they have passed the worst.”

 

 

 

Ross Barkley said his penalty miss in Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Valencia would not have kept him from taking another spot-kick because he swiftly brushed off the disappointment.

Frank Lampard's men fell behind to Rodrigo Moreno's 74th-minute strike in the Champions League clash at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, and the Blues boss sent Barkley on as a substitute six minutes later.

The England international had been on the field for just seven minutes when his side won a penalty and he stepped up despite Willian and Jorginho both appearing to stake their claims to take it.

Barkley's spot-kick grazed the top of the crossbar on its way over and Chelsea began their European campaign with a defeat, but the midfielder told reporters: "If there was another penalty in the game I would have been confident of taking it.

"You can miss penalties. It's not the end of the world.

"We've got five more group games to go that we're aiming to win."

While backing himself to convert penalties in the future, Barkley said his team-mates were not vying to take the kick before he stepped up.

"We've got a lot of good penalty takers in the squad," said Barkley. "On a sheet in the changing room, it says I'm on penalties when I'm on the pitch, otherwise it's Jorginho.

"All players feel confident of taking penalties, but we can all miss them. It's more 'good luck with the penalty' type of thing, encouraging me. They would have been willing to take it as well, but I felt confident.

"They were just encouraging me, encouraging me to score the goal. They are confident of taking penalties as well, but I take penalties every day.

"I don't miss them in training and in pre-season I was scoring penalties. I've missed penalties before, when I was at Everton.

"I'm gutted I missed, but these things happen."

The Coupe de la Ligue will cease to run from next season after French football authorities opted to suspend the tournament indefinitely.

The move is designed to provide players with a less taxing competitive schedule, according to the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP).

Unlike the Coupe de France, the country's most prestigious knockout competition, the Coupe de la Ligue is open only to professional clubs, most of which compete in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.

It has existed in its current form since 1994 but will not continue beyond this season's final, to be held on April 4.

An LFP statement read: "Meeting on September 18, the Board of Directors and the General Assembly of the LFP decided to suspend the organisation of the Coupe de la Ligue at the end of the 2019-2020 edition.

"Depending on the market conditions, the LFP reserves the right to restart this competition later.

"This decision will lighten the competition schedule, give players more recovery time and offer an additional place in European competitions via the Ligue 1 classification at the end of the 2020-2021 season."

At present, the winner of the Coupe de la Ligue is eligible for a spot in the Europa League qualifying rounds.

Paris Saint-Germain won the competition for five straight years before Strasbourg ended their stranglehold by beating Guingamp in last season's final.

Samuel Eto'o joked he will "kill" Xavi if his former Barcelona team-mate never coaches the Catalan giants.

Xavi, who won multiple major honours as a player at Camp Nou, has long been seen as a future Barca coach and has started his managerial career in Qatar with Al Sadd.

With Ernesto Valverde again coming under pressure amid an underwhelming opening to the season for the Catalan giants, Eto'o offered a clear suggestion on who could replace him. 

"He is the f******g boss in Qatar and in Spain," Eto'o told Cadena SER of Xavi.

"If he doesn't end up coaching Barca, I'll kill him!"

Xavi and Andres Iniesta were part of one of football's great midfields, with Eto'o hailing the latter's talent.

"In the [2006 Champions League] final in Paris he played like [Diego] Maradona, [Lionel] Messi and Cristiano [Ronaldo] combined," Eto'o added.

"I already said in my first interviews: he's the best player I have trained with.

"People were surprised I didn't say Ronaldinho or Messi, but time has proved me right.

"He's never been recognised at the level of Leo or Cristiano, but Xavi and Iniesta are at that level."

Barca's next great star could be Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old becoming the youngest player to feature for the club in the Champions League when he started against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Fati already has two goals in three LaLiga appearances and Eto'o is excited by the forward's huge potential.

"Only God knows what's to come with Fati. He's very good," said the former Cameroon striker. "That one has two pairs of balls... he doesn't have one pair, he has two."

Fati has been playing alongside Barca's new signing Antoine Griezmann, who also has two LaLiga goals this term.

"Playing at Barca is like drinking a good glass of wine," Eto'o added. "Griezmann is drinking from that glass and enjoying it for a long time."

Victor Lindelof has signed a new long-term Manchester United contract, the club have confirmed.

Sweden defender Lindelof has committed his future to the club to 2024, with an option to extend the contract by a further year.

The centre-back joined from Benfica two years ago and has started all five Premier League games for United this term, forming a partnership with new signing Harry Maguire.

"Since the day I arrived at United it has felt like home," Lindelof told the club's official website.

"I have grown significantly both as a player and as a person in the last two years and for that I am grateful to everyone at the club for their help and support. I love playing football and my aim now is to help the team to win trophies and repay the fans for their unrivalled support.

"I know that everyone at the club shares this vision and will give everything to get Manchester United back to where it belongs.

"I'm still young and know I can improve further but with the help of the boss and his coaching staff, I believe that only good things are ahead for this great club."

The 25-year-old has made 74 appearances in all competitions for United, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delighted to have secured the defender's future.

"Victor has established himself here and has become a very important part of our team," Solskjaer said. "He brings calmness on the pitch and I can see that he is determined to help this club and to be successful here.

"I'm extremely happy that he has committed his future to Manchester United. We're all looking forward to working together to deliver the success and get United back to where we know the club belongs."

Lindelof commits his future to United in the same week Spain goalkeeper David de Gea finally signed a new long-term contract at Old Trafford.

United begin their Europa League campaign at home to Astana on Thursday.

Kashima Antlers saw their AFC Champions League defence ended in the quarter-finals as Guangzhou Evergrande progressed to the last four with a 1-1 second-leg draw.

The sides played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg in China but Anderson Talisca's 40th-minute header in the return game gave Guangzhou control of the tie.

That left Kashima needing to score twice to go through and, though Serginho levelled matters six minutes after the restart, they could not find the decisive goal as Guangzhou won on away goals.

Guangzhou will face Urawa Red Diamonds over two legs for a place in the final.

Talisca beat goalkeeper Kwoun Sun-tae to a near-post corner from Huang Bowen to power home the opening goal five minutes before half-time.

Fortune appeared to be favouring Kashima, however, when Serginho's effort took a heavy deflection beyond Zeng Cheng.

Serginho struck the crossbar and Leo Silva saw a goal-bound effort cleared as Kashima sought to complete the turnaround.

However, Guangzhou clung on and are two games away from a third Champions League final, having won the competition in 2013 and 2015.

Neymar was met by boos on his return to action for Paris Saint-Germain and Thomas Tuchel will understand if supporters continue to subject him to jeers.

The Brazil international, who is suspended for Wednesday's Champions League clash with reported suitors Real Madrid, shrugged off the rough treatment to score a spectacular overhead kick winner in a 1-0 victory over Strasbourg on Saturday.

Neymar said afterwards that all matches would be "away games" for him now, having irked fans with his desire to leave the club in the last transfer window.

Tuchel reiterated there is no issue between him and the former Barcelona star, but can see why fans may choose not to forgive Neymar for his actions.

"He did not want to be here. He tried everything that was in his power [to leave the club]," Tuchel told DAZN. 

"That did not help make him popular. You could feel that and I can understand it, if the crowd are angry, even permanently.

"Nevertheless, there is also a side between me as a coach and him as a player. There was never a break or a discrepancy. That's why it was very easy for me to let him play.

"He has always trained professionally. I feel that the decision was a relief to him, even though it fell against his wish.

"Then the concentration and reflection on the task automatically occurs. As an athlete you will not have much else left. You have to give gas. He is hungry and a competitive guy who always wants to win.

"He has to withstand it now, that's the reality. He has to go through, we have to go through all in the home games a bit. The best thing is to come to terms with it."

Fernando Ricksen has died aged 43 following a battle with motor neurone disease, his former club Rangers have announced.

The 12-cap Netherlands international's condition came to light in October 2013, shortly after his retirement from football.

Rangers announced the news of Ricksen's death on Wednesday as they paid tribute to their Hall of Fame member.

A club statement read: "Rangers is deeply saddened to announce that former player Fernando Ricksen passed away this morning following his battle with motor neurone disease.

"In October 2013 he revealed he was suffering from motor neurone disease and since then has fought a terrific battle against the condition, raising awareness and funds for the Fernando Ricksen Foundation, which aims to help others suffering from the illness.

"A benefit match was held at Ibrox in January 2015 and attracted over 41,000 fans to Ibrox.

"It raised £320,000 with the proceeds split between Fernando, his daughter Isabella, MND Scotland and the Rangers Charity Foundation.

"The thoughts of everyone at Rangers is today with his wife Veronika, his daughter Isabella and all his family and friends."

Chris Coleman has defended Gareth Bale's reserved nature and revealed the oft-criticised Real Madrid winger can speak perfect Spanish.

Wales star Bale almost left LaLiga for China during a turbulent close season in which Zinedine Zidane attempted to force him out of the Santiago Bernabeu.

The pair's relationship reportedly became fractured as Madrid fans showed increasing coldness towards the four-time Champions League winner, their treatment of him described as a "disgrace" by the player's agent.

Criticism of Bale has tended to centre on his speculated inability to learn Spanish as part of a wider reluctance to integrate into the country's culture.

Coleman, who managed the former Tottenham talisman for over five years at international level, believes such accusations are at least in part unfounded.

"I saw John Toshack saying Gareth hasn't given enough of himself to the public in Madrid," the former Wales boss told The Athletic.

"Well he's never done that. It's not his character. When he comes home he plays golf, stays with his family, in his little circle.

"I just thought it was unfair when people were picking him apart. He should do this, do that. No, be yourself. If he's not happy in his head he won't be right on the pitch.

"I've been with Gareth in Madrid, in a restaurant, and he's speaking perfect Spanish, ordering food, greeting people.

"He was very polite, but it's his own space. He has done all his talking on the pitch. He is the most decorated foreign import from the UK."

Bale was Coleman's key man when Wales exceeded expectations by reaching the semi-finals at Euro 2016.

Coleman stepped down the following November to take up an ill-fated opportunity at Sunderland, with Ryan Giggs named as his replacement.

Performances have not been entirely convincing but the former Fulham manager expects his successor to prove a shrewd appointment.

"I think he'll be good at it," Coleman said. "He is different to me and will do it his own way. Ryan's quiet, but he's super strong mentally."

He added: "Ryan's ego is not big enough where he thinks he's got all the answers, because none of us have. This is his first job, we mustn't forget that. He's going to get better and better."

There could be a fight to prise Fabian Ruiz from Napoli.

Fabian has established himself as one of Europe's premier midfielders and the Spaniard is reportedly attracting interest.

Two LaLiga giants and the Champions League holders are said to be eyeing Fabian.

 

TOP STORY - THREE-WAY BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool are chasing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to the Daily Mail.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and the Spain international has quickly become one of Europe's most sought-after midfielders.

Now three of the biggest clubs in the world are reportedly eyeing the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- The Sun reports Manchester United are preparing a January move for Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson. The Red Devils have limited options up front following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. Wilson, who has already scored three goals this season, fits the bill at Old Trafford as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer eyes talented English players.

Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City are all interested in Real Madrid playmaker Isco, claims Calciomercato.

Barcelona are set to offer 16-year-old sensation Ansu Fati a new five-year deal to fend off interest from European rivals, claims the Daily Mail.

- League One side Southend United want to hire former Celtic, Barca and Manchester United striker Henrik Larsson as their manager, says the Daily Mail. Southend are second bottom in the league after eight games, while Larsson was last in charge of Helsingborg before quitting in August.

- According to Globo Esporte, Flamengo are negotiating to bring Fredy Guarin to the club. The 33-year-old former Inter midfielder is a free agent after leaving Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.

Jadon Sancho said he does not know what the future holds but the Borussia Dortmund star wants to win titles with the German side amid growing links to Manchester United.

Sancho has reportedly emerged as United's top transfer target following previous speculation over a move to Old Trafford during the off-season.

The 19-year-old England international produced another impressive display as Dortmund drew 0-0 with Barcelona in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Asked about his future post-game, Sancho told Viasport: "I can't tell the future. I just take it game by game. I just wanna give 100 per cent for Borussia Dortmund.

"I really wanna do well with Dortmund. Obviously I want to win titles and give everything."

Sancho has established himself as one of Europe's best talents after leaving Premier League champions Manchester City in 2017.

He scored 12 goals and supplied 14 assists as Dortmund finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga last season, while Sancho already has two goals and four league assists this term.

"It's crazy. Everything has come so fast," Sancho told Viasat. "But I have a great team. They keep me humbled. I just take it game by game and give 100 per cent."

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc was asked about Sancho prior to the goalless draw against LaLiga champions Barca on Tuesday.

"We didn't talk to them [United]," Zorc told Viasport. "They were asking us for a meeting [during the off-season]. Sancho is not for sale."

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