Barca game not a po­lit­i­cal protest, says Atletico pres­i­dent

Nadal, Fed­erer reach semis in Shang­hai

Iran Daily - - Sports -

Iran fin­ished its group-stage cam­paign at FIFA U-17 World Cup in Goa, In­dia, in style as the Asian side clinched a com­fort­able 3-0 vic­tory over Costa Rica to win the Group C of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Beat­ing Guinea and Ger­many 3-1 and 4-0 ear­lier in the group, Iran went into the fix­ture against the Cen­tral Amer­i­cans at the Pan­dit Jawa­har­lal Nehru Sta­dium on Fri­day, need­ing only a draw to claim the top spot of the group.

Ira­nian won­derkid Younes Delfi was brought down twice in the 18-yard box to con­vince the ref­eree to point to the spot on both oc­ca­sions.

Cap­tain Mo­ham­mad Ghobeishavi opened the scor­ing with his spot-kick on 25 min­utes be­fore Taha Shariati em­u­lated his skip­per with a penalty fin­ish of his own four min­utes later.

Iran cruised through the sec­ond half be­fore adding a third goal just be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle through sub­sti­tute Mo­ham­mad Sar­dari.

The only dis­ap­point­ment for Iran was a sec­ond yel­low card of the com­pe­ti­tion for Ghobeishavi, which will rule him out of their Round of 16 match. Jose Mour­inho in­sisted there is noth­ing Liver­pool fans can do to make An­field in­tim­i­dat­ing for his Manch­ester United play­ers later to­day.

Phil Neville said this week that a trip to An­field is the “ul­ti­mate test” for a United player while Mikael Silvestre warned the cur­rent squad to pre­pare for “hell”, ESPN re­ported.

Mour­inho, though, in­sists his play­ers will “en­joy” what­ever the 55,000 Liver­pool fans can throw at them.

He told a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day, “You know this is quite funny for me be­cause I think when peo­ple speak about big at­mos­pheres, it looks like we don’t like, it looks like it’s a prob­lem for us to go to a cer­tain place and to face a big at­mos­phere – this is what we want. Top seeds Rafael Nadal and Roger Fed­erer re­main on course to meet in Shang­hai Mas­ters af­ter reach­ing the last four on Fri­day.

World num­ber one Nadal beat Grigor Dim­itrov 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 to reg­is­ter his 15th con­sec­u­tive win and will face fourth seed Marin Cilic in the semis, BBC re­ported.

The Spa­niard is chas­ing a tourlead­ing sev­enth ti­tle this sea­son, and beat Dim­itrov for the sec­ond time in

“I am sur­prised that you speak about that in a neg­a­tive way, I am even more sur­prised when I hear for­mer, big play­ers speak about at­mos­pheres like some­thing sin­is­ter, some­thing that wor­ries.

“It mo­ti­vates us, it is some­thing that we want, it is some­thing that if we could have ev­ery match we would have ev­ery match.

“We are speak­ing about Old Traf­ford, in this case An­field like it’s a big prob­lem. it’s a sat­is­fac­tion, that’s what we want

“I never see a player com­plain ‘oh, this at­mos­phere was very strong’ – we com­plain when the at­mos­phere is flat.

“When we play at home and we don’t see big en­thu­si­asm in the peo­ple, a week fol­low­ing his semi­fi­nal vic­tory at the China Open.

“It was a very tough match,” said Nadal.

“I think both of us played at a very high level of ten­nis. The con­di­tions, of course, have been dif­fer­ent to­day than my two pre­vi­ous matches. I think [it was] a great bat­tle be­tween two play­ers who are play­ing all the time very fo­cused, very in­tense points all the time.” we com­plain.

“So we go to where we want to go, we go to play against a big team with a big tra­di­tion in an amaz­ing sta­dium with great tra­di­tion.

“We know that the fans have huge an­i­mos­ity against Manch­ester United his­tor­i­cally, but this is what we want so we are very happy to have one more op­por­tu­nity in our ca­reers to play in this beau­ti­ful con­di­tions. It’s beau­ti­ful to play at An­field. Beau­ti­ful.”

Mour­inho con­firmed he will be with­out Michael Car­rick for the game but Romelu Lukaku is ex­pected to start af­ter shak­ing off an an­kle in­jury.

Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba are set to miss out with knee and

Mean­while, Fed­erer man­aged to out­mus­cle France’s Richard Gas­quet (7-5, 6-4) in an en­ter­tain­ing match.

Fed­erer took some time to find his rhythm, par­tic­u­larly on serve, but man­aged to seal vic­tory in one hour and 19 min­utes.

He will face 16th seed Juan Martin Del Potro af­ter the Ar­gen­tine over­came an in­jury scare to beat Vic­tor Troicki 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the quar­ters.

ham­string in­juries, re­spec­tively.

United is look­ing to main­tain its im­pres­sive start to the sea­son and keep pace at the top of the ta­ble with Manch­ester City, which faces Stoke City at the Eti­had Sta­dium to­day.

Mour­inho added, “It’s just one more match, could be the first, could be the eighth or ninth or the last one.

“Prob­a­bly, if it was the last, maybe it would de­cide some­thing im­por­tant but Oc­to­ber for me is just another match.

“I un­der­stand the tra­di­tion, the emo­tions around the sup­port­ers but I look at it in a pro­fes­sional way.

“What I try to tell my play­ers from the be­gin­ning of the sea­son is ev­ery match is im­por­tant, there are no easy matches, there are no matches you pre­pare more care­fully than oth­ers, so if I try this men­tal­ity I am not go­ing to say this match is more im­por­tant than oth­ers.”

Coutinho, Firmino fit to play

Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp said he was “not happy” to see mid­fielder and club cap­tain Jor­dan Hen­der­son play for Eng­land af­ter the na­tional team had al­ready achieved World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Hen­der­son started for Eng­land in Sun­day’s match in Lithua­nia de­spite Gareth South­gate’s side book­ing its place in Rus­sia for next sum­mer three days ear­lier by beat­ing Slove­nia at Wem­b­ley.

Klopp told a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day ahead of to­day’s Pre­mier League clash against Manch­ester United at An­field, “I was not happy Hendo was on the pitch [against Lithua­nia] when they had al­ready qual­i­fied.”

Liver­pool will be with­out for­ward Sa­dio Mane for around six weeks af­ter the Sene­gal in­ter­na­tional suf­fered an in­jury while on in­ter­na­tional duty, but he is con­fi­dent that Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino will be fit to face United in the lunchtime kick­off de­spite only re­turn­ing from Brazil on Thurs­day. Atletico Madrid pres­i­dent En­rique Cerezo wants the club’s fans to avoid turn­ing tonight’s game with Barcelona into a po­lit­i­cal demon­stra­tion fol­low­ing weeks of ris­ing ten­sions be­tween the Span­ish gov­ern­ment and Cat­alo­nia.

Cata­lan club Barca vis­its the Span­ish cap­i­tal for the first time since a banned vote on in­de­pen­dence from Spain took place in Cat­alo­nia on Oc­to­ber 1, Reuters re­ported.

Barca de­cided that day to play its game with Las Pal­mas at the Nou Camp be­hind closed doors to show op­po­si­tion to po­lice vi­o­lence against vot­ers, Barcelona pres­i­dent Josep Maria Bar­tomeu said at the time.

The Frente Atletico (Atletico Front) sup­port­ers’ group have called for a mass dis­play of Spain flags in the Wanda Metropoli­tano sta­dium for the visit of Barca.

Yet the game has not been clas­si­fied as a high-risk event by the Span­ish foot­ball fed­er­a­tion as no Barcelona fans will be present due to a dis­agree­ment be­tween the two clubs over a ticket al­lo­ca­tion.

“I want the game to be played with the same sport­ing spirit as al­ways against Barcelona, Satur­day’s game is not a po­lit­i­cal demon­stra­tion, it’s a game of foot­ball,” Cerezo said in an in­ter­view with ra­dio sta­tion Onda If you heard that only one na­tion had qual­i­fied for five men’s FIFA tour­na­ments in 2016 and 2017, chances are you would guess it was Brazil, Ger­many or another of the game’s global su­per­pow­ers.

In fact, Iran hold that unique and im­pres­sive dis­tinc­tion, hav­ing reached the se­nior World Cup as well as FIFA’S U-20 and U-17 fi­nals, and its fut­sal and beach soc­cer show­pieces.

Nor have the Asian gi­ant been sat­is­fied sim­ply with tak­ing part, as fifa. com dis­cov­ered.

FIFA World Cup Rus­sia 2018

Played 18, lost none. That was the re­mark­able record that pro­pelled Car­los Queiroz’s team to Rus­sia 2018, and en­sured that Iran be­came the first Asian side to qual­ify. Iran sealed its place with two games to spare and is now look­ing for­ward to a fifth World Cup, hav­ing pre­vi­ously par­tic­i­pated in the 1978, 1998, 2006 and 2014 edi­tions. Queiroz is not con­tent sim­ply to be join­ing the party though.

“My goal and dream is to get to the knock­out stage,” he said.

“We should not be sat­is­fied with the first round. We need to be am­bi­tious. We need to think big. We will not go to Rus­sia as tourists.”

FIFA U-17 World Cup In­dia 2017

Although Iran qual­i­fied for In­dia 2017 by reach­ing the fi­nal AFC U-16 Cham­pi­onship, few would have ex­pected the im­pact the Asian side has made thus far.

The Asian side topped the Group C of the com­pe­ti­tion and booked a place in the knock­out stages, hav­ing beaten Guinea 3-1 and in­flicted a stun­ning 4-0 de­feat on Ger­many be­fore out­class­ing Costa Rica 3-0 on the fi­nal Cero on Fri­day.

“Atletico won the league in the Nou Camp (in 2014) and the whole sta­dium ap­plauded us, we can’t for­get that.”

Barcelona is the only team that Diego Sime­one has been un­able to beat in La Liga since he took over Atletico in 2011 and trans­formed the club’s for­tunes.

He has failed to win in 11 league en­coun­ters be­tween the teams, although his side has twice elim­i­nated the Cata­lans in the Cham­pi­ons League.

“They’ve al­ways scored one goal more than us, they’ve been de­ci­sive in the key mo­ments and they are a very good team,” Sime­one told a news con­fer­ence ahead of the game.

“We have been stronger in the Cham­pi­ons League and I hope to­mor­row we can over­come this ob­sta­cle.”

Barca has a 100 per­cent record in the league and in Europe this sea­son and lead the stand­ings by five points over near­est chal­lengers Sevilla. They are six points clear of Atletico in fourth.

“They are one of the best teams in the world, right now I’d say Real Madrid are slightly bet­ter, but they have rein­vented them­selves very quickly af­ter the de­par­ture of Ney­mar and their play­ers never tire of win­ning,” added the Ar­gen­tine coach. day of the group phase.

The Ger­mans’ coach, Chris­tian Wuck, praised his side’s con­querors after­ward, say­ing, “Iran played a great match. They are men­tally a very good team.”

FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Repub­lic 2017

Iran’s U-20 cam­paign looked set for suc­cess too when it opened its cam­paign in Korea with an im­pres­sive 1-0 win over Costa Rica.

And while Iran was ul­ti­mately edged out by Por­tu­gal and Zambia for a place in the last 16, mid­fielder Omid Nourafkan vowed that the tour­na­ment would help pre­pare the Ira­ni­ans for chal­lenges in the se­nior ranks.

“The level of the ex­pe­ri­ence we’ve got here is not com­pa­ra­ble to any­thing we’ve had,” Nourafkan said.

“This event will greatly as­sist and help us.”

FIFA Beach Soc­cer World Cup Ba­hamas 2017

Hav­ing qual­i­fied for Ba­hamas 2017 by re­tain­ing the Asian ti­tle, Iran pro­ceeded to make his­tory by fin­ish­ing third at the global fi­nals.

That rep­re­sented the high­est-ever fin­ish by an Asian side at the Beach Soc­cer World Cup, with Mex­ico, Switzer­land and Italy all beaten en route to the podium.

FIFA Fut­sal World Cup Colom­bia 2016

Another tour­na­ment, another bronze medal and another best-ever fin­ish for Iran.

Mo­ham­mad Nazem-al-sharia’s side qual­i­fied as Asian cham­pion and emerged as one of the tour­na­ment’s ma­jor suc­cess sto­ries, stun­ning record cham­pion Brazil in the Round of 16 on the way to fin­ish­ing third.

GETTY IM­AGES

GETTY IM­AGES

REUTERS

JAN KRUGER/GETTY IM­AGES Al­lah­yar Sayyad­manesh (L) of Iran bat­tles with Fer­nan Faer­ron of Costa Rica dur­ing the FIFA U-17 World Cup Group C match in Goa, In­dia, on Oc­to­ber 13, 2017.

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