Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says his organization will be announcing a new head coach for the Reggae Girlz in a matter of days.

According to Ricketts, the JFF’s technical committee, which has the prevue of selecting a coach, will make its decision after discussions with stakeholders on Tuesday.

According to Ricketts, the decision will be made to replace former head coach Hue Menzies, who announced his intention to leave the programme via the media more than a week ago, despite not receiving a formal resignation.

“We haven’t gotten anything official,” said Ricketts.

“But he has gone public [with his resignation], so we just have to take it that he will not be a part of the programme,” he said.

Menzies announced his intention to leave the programme after four years, citing a lack of communication from the JFF regarding a new contract that had expired in August, as well as unpaid salaries and reimbursements.

Menzies had refused to coach the team until all unpaid monies were sent his way.

The former coach’s stance meant he missed the first round of Olympic Qualifiers with the Reggae Girlz.

Those qualifiers still went well under the guidance of assistant coach Lorne Donaldson, with the final round of qualifiers set to take place from January 28 to February 9, 2020.

Donaldson’s performance is reported to have made him frontrunner for the job, however, the assistant has hinted at reservations about taking the new post.

Fiorentina star Franck Ribery is set to miss 10 weeks after undergoing surgery on his ankle on Saturday.

Ribery, 36, suffered the injury during Fiorentina's 1-0 loss to Lecce in Serie A on November 30.

Fiorentina announced on Saturday that the French attacker had undergone surgery and they expect him to resume full training in around 10 weeks' time.

"Franck Ribery today underwent surgery for stabilisation of the tibiofibular syndesmosis," a club statement read.

"The operation, carried out by Professor Gabel, was a complete success.

"The player will return to Florence on Sunday and begin his rehabilitation plan. He will resume exercise in two weeks.

"[He] is expected to resume full training in around 10 weeks' time."

Ribery has scored two goals and provided two assists in 11 league matches this season.

Fiorentina, who are struggling in 13th in Serie A, host league leaders Inter on Sunday.

Diego Simeone believes there are few strikers in football with the ability of Atletico Madrid frontman Alvaro Morata.

Spain international Morata found the breakthrough in Saturday's 2-0 win over Osasuna – Atleti's first victory in four LaLiga outings that moved them back up to fourth in the table.

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Juventus forward scored in seven consecutive games for club and country as October became November but ended a six-game drought when he powered Kieran Trippier's free-kick past inspired Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera.

Simeone has been linked to making attacking reinforcements during the January transfer window, with Timo Werner, Edinson Cavani and Olivier Giroud all touted as possible Atletico targets, but he offered a ringing endorsement of his current number nine.

"Hopefully he'll return to the way he was before the [international] break," he told a post-match news conference.

"He was scoring in almost every game.

"There aren't many people like that in football and we want to make the most of him."

Manuel Sanchez made his Atletico debut at left-back and Simeone felt the 19-year-old's impressive showing was fitting as it came on the evening long-serving defender Juanfran bade farewell to the club's faithful before kick-off.

"I loved him," he said.

"It's not easy. He's young, growing and has been working a lot with us.

"He has to keep growing and this was an important moment for his career.

"Today, Juanfran said goodbye and another debuted. Someone new was born."

Alvaro Morata believes Atletico Madrid are moving in the right direction after they returned to winning ways in LaLiga with a 2-0 triumph over Osasuna.

Visiting goalkeeper Sergio Herrera turned in a stunning display that threatened to make it a fourth straight top-flight game without taking three points for Diego Simeone's men.

However, Morata powered home a 67th-minute Kieran Trippier free-kick – ending a six-game goal drought for club and country – before Saul Niguez made the points safe.

"It's our last game of the year here. It was important to win it," Morata said on the Wanda Metropolitano pitch afterwards, before talking up Atleti's recent performance.

"We had a lot of chances - not just me, the whole team. I think we're growing as a team.

"We came out well against Barcelona and Juventus and Villarreal and we've got to continue that way. We're playing well.

"Every team needs to win. We're in a good dynamic, we’ve got a lot of desire and, as I say, we're growing as a team. The results will come."

As Diego Costa remains on the sidelines with a neck injury, Atletico have been linked to a host of strikers ahead of the January transfer window.

Even if the likes of Edinson Cavani, Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud are under consideration, Morata insists that is none of his concern.

"No, I don't care," he replied. "We're a great team and great dressing room and that's the important thing."

Liverpool's Club World Cup semi-final opponents Monterrey will have to up their game when they face Jurgen Klopp's Reds, the Mexican side's head coach Antonio Mohamed has said.

Monterrey beat Xavi's Al Sadd 3-2 in Qatar on Saturday to seal a last-four clash against Champions League holders Liverpool.

Leonel Vangioni scored a stunning goal, Rogelio Funes Mori made it seven goals in his past five matches and Carlos Rodriguez also found the net, yet Mohamed was not pleased with the level of performance.

Abdelkarim Hassan scored Al Sadd's second goal - after Baghdad Bounedjah got their first - to give them hope and Mohamed insisted a similar performance against Liverpool in the semi-final will result in defeat.

"It was a difficult match and we have to flip the page, it's a new chapter now," Mohamed said at a news conference.

"We have to play better and perform better if we want to compete against Liverpool. Liverpool are a team that forces you to play better and top your performance.

"We have no other option. If we play like today we will not be able to defeat Liverpool, so we have to raise the bar."

Alvaro Morata ensured Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways in LaLiga as Diego Simeone's side battled to a 2-0 victory over Osasuna.

A month had passed since Atleti's previous top-flight triumph over Espanyol on November 10 and the brilliance of Osasuna goalkeeper Sergio Herrera looked like spelling another frustrating outing at the Wanda Metropolitano.

But Morata dispatched an emphatic header midway through the second half to break the deadlock and Saul Niguez doubled the advantage 15 minutes from time.

Los Rojiblancos move up to fourth in the table, six shy of Barcelona after the leaders were held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad earlier on Saturday.

Herrera began a busy first half by thwarting Morata at close quarters before the former Juventus striker turned provider and played in Joao Felix in the 23rd minute – the Osasuna keeper saving with his boot.

A double stop from Herrera spared Jagoba Arrasate's side 10 minutes from half-time, parrying a shot on the angle from Thomas Lemar and getting back into position to repel Koke's follow-up drive.

The pick of Herrera's work came in the 39th minute when, at full stretch, he turned Joao Felix's header from teenage debutant Manuel Sanchez's left-wing centre onto the crossbar.

He was not done there, keeping out Thomas Partey's rasping long-ranger and frustrating Joao Felix once more to ensure parity at the interval.

Morata got behind the visiting defence only to miss his kick woefully and Herrera's masterclass continued as he saved with his foot from Sanchez.

Avila's sweetly struck volley kept Jan Oblak honest in the Atleti goal before Sanchez was finally beaten in the 67th minute.

Trippier delivered a typically threatening set-piece from the right and Morata put his earlier profligacy behind him to power home.

Saul sealed the points in style, darting forward from the unfamiliar position of left-back to dink over Sanchez – Simeone letting out a guttural roar on the touchline.

 

What does it mean? Simeone's spluttering stars stay in the title picture

Clear vulnerabilities at Barcelona and Real Madrid this season have thrown up opportunities an Atletico side also in transition have failed to capitalise upon. They have still drawn more matches than they have won in LaLiga this season, but the obvious room for improvement and their proximity to the top of the table should be cause for mid-season encouragement.

Heroic Herrera ill-served by defeat

It was easy to sense the belief draining from Atletico before Morata broke through, with much of that down to a truly phenomenal goalkeeping display in the visiting goal. Herrera's efforts as Atletico laid siege to the Osasuna area during the closing stages of the first half were out of the very top drawer.

Frustration for Joao Felix

To his credit, the prodigiously talented 20-year-old does not hide when things are not falling his way, but this became an increasingly frustrating outing for Joao Felix – the open spaces Atletico's record signing found earlier on turning into blind alleys before his 82nd-minute withdrawal. Nevertheless, his developing partnership with Morata could be a huge asset in 2020.

What's next?

Atletico travel to Real Betis for their final game of 2019 next Sunday, while Osasuna host Real Sociedad after taking on minnows Lorca Deportiva in the Copa del Rey.

West Brom sit at the top of the Championship after Charlie Austin's double helped them to a 3-2 win over Birmingham City in Saturday’s early game.

Leeds United looked set to reclaim first place later in the day but threw away a three-goal lead at home to Cardiff City to draw 3-3.

Preston North End are now 10 points behind Marcelo Bielsa's side after a 2-1 win over Luton Town, while Brentford leapfrogged Fulham into fourth with a slender 1-0 win.

At the other end of the table, rock-bottom Barnsley registered a remarkable 5-3 win over QPR but Middlesbrough slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Swansea City.

 

AUSTIN INSPIRES BAGGIES COMEBACK

Charlie Austin took his tally for the season to eight with a brace to help West Brom record a vital win at Birmingham City.

Slaven Bilic's side looked set for a first defeat in 12 league games after Lukas Jutkiewicz and Harlee Dean had scored either side of Grady Diangana's goal.

Austin drew his side level three minutes after being introduced, though, when he flicked up Jake Livermore's pass and rifled a half-volley past Connal Trueman.

The 30-year-old sealed all three points nine minutes from time, powering home Darnell Furlong's cross with his head.

LEEDS CAPITULATE AGAINST BLUEBIRDS

Leeds conceded three goals inside the final 30 minutes to miss the opportunity to quickly reclaim top spot from the Baggies.

Helder Costa gave the hosts a wonderful start at Elland Road, scoring after six minutes, before Patrick Bamford struck twice to open up a commanding lead.

However, Lee Tomlin gave the Bluebirds hope with a goal on the hour mark to spark an unexpected comeback.

Sean Morrison added another with eight minutes remaining, before receiving his marching orders four minutes later for a late tackle.

Their numerical disadvantage did not daunt the visitors, however, as Robert Glatzel struck with two minutes remaining.

STOCKLEY FIRES PRESTON INTO THIRD

Jayden Stockley scored with six minutes remaining to help Preston beat Luton and climb to third in the table.

Paul Gallagher opened the scoring early on, slotting home after his penalty had been saved, before James Collins levelled from the spot.

Brentford, meanwhile, are a point behind Preston in fourth after Bryan Mbeumo scored the only goal of the game against Fulham.

Sheffield Wednesday are level on points with the Bees, the Owls cruising to a resounding 4-0 win over Nottingham Forest at the City Ground thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Jordan Rhodes.

CHAPLIN TREBLE LIFTS CLOUDS OVER BARNSLEY

Barnsley moved to within four points of safety as Conor Chaplin's hat-trick helped them to a stunning win over QPR at Oakwell.

Cauley Woodrow and Bambo Diaby were also on target in what was only the Tykes' third league win of the campaign.

Fellow strugglers Stoke City and Wigan Athletic were held to 0-0 and 1-1 draws by Reading and Huddersfield Town respectively.

Andre Ayew scored twice in Swansea's comfortable win over Middlesbrough, while Bradley Johnson and Adam Armstrong helped Blackburn Rovers to a 2-0 triumph at Bristol City.

Bayern Munich interim head coach Hansi Flick hailed an "amazing" display by Philippe Coutinho during Saturday's 6-1 rout of Werder Bremen.

Milot Rashica gave the visitors a deserved lead with a fabulous 24th-minute solo goal but Bayern took control of the contest after the irresistible Coutinho equalised in the 45th minute.

The on-loan Barcelona star set up Robert Lewandowski to give Flick's men a half-time lead, and he lobbed Jiri Pavlenka and rifled in from the edge of the penalty area either side of another assist for substitute Thomas Muller.

Bundesliga top scorer Lewandowski finished with a double of his own but Coutinho's performance commanded the post-match attention.

"I think everyone in the stadium enjoyed his performance," Flick told a news conference after his players bounced back emphatically from back-to-back defeats in the league.

"It made me especially happy that the whole team celebrated together with him and shared his happiness from the heart.

"He scored three goals and assisted twice. This is amazing. We are very happy with his performance."

Lewandowski's link-up with Coutinho put Bremen to the sword and threatened an even greater margin of victory.

"That was his game today, with the ball, with the movement," the Poland striker told Bayern's official website.

"How he did it was outstanding. We need such a player. I am very pleased that he showed how good he is and what great potential he has."

Bayern are back in action with a trip to high-flying Freiburg on Wednesday.

Bafetimbi Gomis backed Al Hilal to reach the Club World Cup final after he scored a spectacular winning goal in his side's 1-0 quarter-final victory over ES Tunis.

The former Lyon, Marseille and Galatasaray forward came on as a second-half substitute and struck a volley from the edge of the penalty area 17 minutes from time to tee up a semi-final clash with South American champions Flamengo.

Gomis reflected on his recovery from a series of hamstring problems after further justifying Al Hilal's €6million investment with his latest crucial goal.

"It was a good team effort," the striker, who scored in the AFC Champions League final second leg last month, told reporters.

"I am happy I helped my team. All the players worked well; we played a very good game. I am happy I scored that goal.

"I am very happy because I worked a lot to come back to that level. I had surgery and it took me time to come back. So, I am very happy."

Gomis warned his team-mates that they will face stern opposition in Jorge Jesus' side in the last four but indicated that a narrow win had given Al Hilal belief.

"It will be a good game between two big teams," said the 34-year-old. "Flamengo have many qualities and a great coach.

"We don't know this team very well. Before having the opportunity to play against Flamengo, we needed to win against ES Tunis. We did it. Now, we hope we can play a good game and win against Flamengo.

"Everything is possible in football. We also have our qualities."

Leonel Vangioni's superb goal sent Monterrey on their way to a 3-2 Club World Cup quarter-final victory over Al Sadd that sealed a last-four tie against Liverpool.

Monterrey, third in this tournament back in 2012, will face the European champions on Wednesday after a thrilling victory at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium.

Vangioni scored with a stunning strike from 30 yards midway through the first half, before Rogelio Funes Mori made it seven goals in his past five matches with an effort just before the break.

Baghdad Bounedjah scored for the second straight match, but any hopes of an Al Sadd comeback were effectively ended when Carlos Rodriguez struck with 13 minutes to go.

There was still time for Abdelkarim Hassan to score a second for Al Sadd, who had laboured to an extra-time win over Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia in the first round, as the team representing host country Qatar were eliminated.

Monterrey almost made a dream start when Jesus Gallardo fired a left-footed effort against the crossbar after being found by Funes Mori. 

Al Sadd went straight up the other end and Akram Afif forced a key save from goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero as part of a lively opening.

It was the Mexicans who scored a magnificent opener after 22 minutes, Vangioni receiving a pass from Rodriguez and sending an unstoppable effort off the post and into the top-right corner.

Monterrey struck again in the opening minute of first-half stoppage time, an awful back-pass from Gabi inadvertently sending Funes Mori through on goal and the striker took a touch before coolly beating keeper Saad Al Sheeb.

Afif missed a glorious chance for Al Sadd, but Xavi's men did get one back with 24 minutes left when Bounedjah headed in a Hassan Al Haydos cross.

But Monterrey booked their place in the next round when a superb run and pass from Gallardo set up Rodriguez to fire into the roof of the net, with Hassan's great strike for Al Sadd with a minute left of normal time coming too late in the day.

A frustrated Sergio Busquets hit out at the inconsistency of referee Javier Alberola Rojas and questioned why Barcelona did not benefit from a VAR review, after they were denied an injury-time penalty in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.

Fourth-placed Sociedad were good value for their point against the reigning LaLiga champions, which was earned through Alexander Isak's 62nd-minute strike after Barca had come from a goal down to lead.

However, the visitors felt they should have had a late spot-kick when Gerard Pique claimed his shirt had been pulled by Diego Llorente as the pair fell to the ground in the Sociedad box.

Barca's frustrations were heightened by the fact they had fallen behind to a Mikel Oyarzabal penalty, awarded when Busquets was ruled to have tugged the jersey of Llorente.

"If you set the bar so low for the first penalty, you have to give so many more penalties," insisted Busquets.

"VAR would have to have intervened in that final play. The penalty on Pique is so clear.

"I think the referee saw it, but he didn't want to blow the whistle. I don't know why VAR didn't intervene. I would like to know their explanation, but it's not going to happen."

Busquets was able to speak more positively about Antoine Griezmann, who marked his latest return to his first professional club with Barca's first goal, courtesy of a delightful chipped finish.

"We knew it was special for Antoine, because of his past," added Busquets. "He did not want to celebrate the goal, which is respectable, but for us that goal, and his work as usual, has been very good for us."

Griezmann said: "I will never celebrate a goal against Real. I have a lot of respect for everything they gave me."

Ernesto Valverde passed up the opportunity to berate referee Javier Alberola Rojas after two penalty decisions went against Barcelona in their 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.

Barca were denied three points in the Basque Country on Saturday, having been outplayed for long periods by a Sociedad side for whom Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard impressed.

However, LaLiga's reigning champions felt they should have been awarded an injury-time penalty when Gerard Pique and Diego Llorente tumbled to the ground contesting a Luis Suarez cross.

Barcelona's frustrations were heightened by the fact Sociedad had taken the lead from a spot-kick of their own after 12 minutes, when Sergio Busquets was penalised for tugging Llorente's shirt in circumstances not dissimilar to those involving Pique at the end of the match.

Yet while sections of the Spanish media bemoaned the consistency of the officials, Valverde was more measured in his post-match comments.

"From the bench you see the game with the shirt of your team on," said the Barca boss.

"The penalty to Pique? I have not seen it repeated but I will say that it is a penalty and that the Busquets one was not. I guess the coach of la Real will say the opposite."

Barcelona's failure to win means Real Madrid can move two points clear at the top of the table by beating Valencia ahead of Wednesday's Clasico at Camp Nou.

Yet Valverde highlighted the fact his side had faced a stiff opponent in fourth-placed Sociedad, adding: "We had a great team in front of us that is having a great season. The game was very intense in every way."

The 55-year-old also firmly rejected suggestions his second-half changes, which saw Busquets, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic withdrawn, had been made with the Clasico in mind.

"What do you think? We are dying here, on the bench, and are we going to think about the Clasico? You think about what you have in front of you," Valverde stated.

Stefano Pioli has urged his Milan players to mark the club's 120th anniversary celebrations with a victory against Sassuolo on Sunday.

Previous Rossoneri stars will be in attendance at San Siro as Milan, who have won Serie A 18 times and the Champions League or European Cup on seven occasions, remember their fine history.

The glory days appear an awfully long time ago given Milan started this round of fixtures 10th in the table with a return of 20 points from 15 games.

Pioli's side have recorded back-to-back victories, though, and the head coach wants to make that three in a row on a special day for Milan.

"Tomorrow's celebrations are just a reminder to the players that this is not just any club," Pioli told a news conference.

"Tomorrow's game is very, very important; we get to honour a great history of this club, we have the chance to honour it if we play well and we win.

"I'm not interested in anything after tomorrow at the moment; I'm solely focused on the game tomorrow. We'll be facing a team that play very good football, they have very gifted players especially up front, and so we need to be at our best."

Pioli became Milan's third manager of 2019 when he was hired in October.

The club have not qualified for the Champions League since finishing third in 2012-13 and Pioli knows he faces a challenge to restore Milan to the previous heights.

"Milan – for Italian football, European football and world football – has been a top club," he added.

"For a very long time it was one of the best clubs in the world with a winning spirit and incredible play. A very well-organised club, Milan was an example to follow for everyone.

"Tomorrow's game will be very important on an important day, a lot of football coaches and players will be present.

"I hope to do well, but I don't know what I will be remembered for in the future. There are things I'd like to be remembered for, but this is not the right moment."

Mattia Caldara, who is yet to feature for Milan in Serie A since joining in 2018 due to a knee injury, has been named in the squad for Sunday's game.

Barcelona suffered a potentially costly slip-up ahead of Wednesday's Clasico as they were held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.

Luis Suarez scored one goal and made another as Ernesto Valverde's men, who had won their previous six games in all competitions, came from behind to lead at Anoeta.

However, Alexander Isak's 62nd-minute strike earned fourth-placed Sociedad a deserved share of the spoils, meaning Real Madrid now have the chance to move two points clear at the top of LaLiga with victory at Valencia on Sunday.

Barca could have few complaints about their failure to win, having been outplayed for large parts of an entertaining contest, and Ernesto Valverde's men will know they must deliver an improved display against Madrid in their next match.

Sociedad moved ahead after 12 minutes when Sergio Busquets was penalised for tugging Diego Llorente's shirt at a corner and Mikel Oyarzabal calmly sent Marc-Andre ter Stegen the wrong way from 12 yards.

The hosts remained in the ascendancy for much of the first half, but Barca pulled level in the 38th minute courtesy of a devastating break. Sociedad were left short of bodies at the back after Llorente was caught under the ball near the halfway line and Suarez drove forward before slipping in Antoine Griezmann, who clipped a deft finish into the bottom-right corner in front of his former home fans.

Imanol Alguacil's men were again guilty of slack defending as Barca took the lead four minutes into the second half. A glorious lofted pass from the previously unimpressive Busquets put Lionel Messi clear and he selflessly squared the ball to leave Suarez with the simple task of finding an open goal.

Griezmann and Gerard Pique came close to adding a third for Barca, but Sociedad soon hit back, Isak converting a simple rebound after Ter Stegen had needlessly parried a Nacho Monreal cross into the striker's path.

Monreal required treatment and a new shirt after comically injuring himself celebrating the goal. He and Oyarzabal attempted to bump chests but instead collided face to face.

Neither side could find a winner thereafter, home substitute Willian Jose coming closest when he fired a close-range shot into Ter Stegen's legs with the keeper grounded, while Barca saw an injury-time penalty appeal waved away when Pique and Llorente tumbled to the floor together contesting a Suarez cross.

 

Philippe Coutinho turned in a dazzling display as Bayern Munich came from behind to beat Werder Bremen 6-1 in the Bundesliga.

On-loan Barcelona playmaker Coutinho scored a hat-trick and laid on another for Robert Lewandowski, who continued his prolific campaign with a brace.

Bayern headed into the match on the back of consecutive league losses to Bayern Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach and Bremen deservedly led at the Allianz Arena through a fabulous Milot Rashica strike.

But those struggles felt a lifetime ago by the time Coutinho set up substitute Thomas Muller for the fifth, while the former completed the rout with a brilliant finish from the edge of the area.

Rashica spurned his first opening of the contest, streaking clear of the Bayern defence only to lose his footing in the penalty area, but he atoned in the 24th minute - spinning into space on halfway and driving at Jerome Boateng to lash in a stunning long-range strike.

Bremen goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka sharply denied Lewandowski and Coutinho, but the two attackers would decisively turn the game on the stroke of half-time.

Coutinho tapped in at the far post from Serge Gnabry's low cross after Josh Kimmich's chipped pass opened Bremen up.

Theodor Gebre Selassie was substituted after injuring his knee in the process of trying to stop the equaliser and the right-hand side of the visitors' defence was exposed as Coutinho played in Lewandowski to equalise in stoppage time.

Bremen retained their threat on the break, with the livewire Rashica slicing wide after tearing at the Bayern defence, yet Coutinho put daylight between the teams after the hour, lobbing a bouncing ball from David Alaba over the helpless Pavlenka.

Muller came on for Leon Goretzka with 20 minutes to play and his old alliance with Lewandowski yielded number four, the Poland star darting on to a chipped return pass for his 18th Bundesliga goal of the season.

Muller then got in on the act himself with a close-range finish – Coutinho the provider before claiming the matchball with a trademark curling effort that arced beyond the diving Pavlenka to find the net via the upright.

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