Fàbregas admits his pizza hit Ferguson’s face
Cesc Fàbregas has admitted he threw the pizza that struck then Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in the infamous “Battle of the Buffet” 13 years ago.
Arsenal, for many years locked in a titanic duel for Premier League supremacy with Manchester United, saw their 49-game unbeaten run come to an end at
Old Trafford in October 2004 and a clash in the tunnel followed.
Fàbregas’s former Arsenal teammate Martin Keown said the pizza was thrown by the Spanish playmaker in 2014, but it has taken another three years for an admission from the man himself.
Asked about the incident on
Sky 1’s A League of Their Own, Fàbregas, who now plays for Chelsea, told host James Corden “yes”, before expanding.
The 30-year-old Chelsea midfielder said: “Martin Keown is a liar because I saw him in front of me just, like, punching people. He didn’t see anything.
“All of a sudden, I heard noises and I thought ‘what’s happening?’ So I go out with my slice of pizza and I saw Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown … everyone pushing each other.
“I was, like, I want to get in, but I don’t know how to and I threw … peeew … just threw it.
“Once I saw it was hitting, like, who it was hitting, which I didn’t mean … I apologise, Sir Alex, [I] really didn’t mean to do that.”
Fàbregas was asked where the pizza struck Ferguson and indicated it was on the Scot’s cheek. — AFP Nigeria are closing in on a sixth World Cup appearance, with reigning continental champions Cameroon and Algeria out of the running in a challenging section — but Zambia could still deny the Super Eagles.
Tunisia are well positioned to end their 12-year World Cup exile, leading nearest rivals the Democratic Republic of Congo by three points, and Egypt are in control of their destiny.
But other groups remain wide open with just the first-place finishers qualifying for Russia. Côte d’Ivoire top Group C on seven points, but both Morocco (six) and Gabon (five) still harbour genuine hopes.
It is a similar situation in Group D — after Fifa’s decision to annul South Africa’s 2-1 win over Senegal in November 2016, a match manipulated by a Ghanaian referee. Burkina Faso and Cape Verde head the pool on six points, but Senegal trail by just a point, with their match against Bafana Bafana to be replayed in November.
Syria head into play-offs
Iran, Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia will represent Asia in Russia next year, but Syria and Australia will attempt to join them though the play-offs.
Syria prolonged their fairytale World Cup campaign with a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser in their final group match to set up a double-header against Australia on October 5 and 10.
The Socceroos are bidding for a fourth straight finals appearance, whereas Syria — who have never reached the World Cup before — have kept their dream alive despite the brutal civil war that has forced them to play all their home games abroad.
They will take on Australia in Malaysia in the first leg before travelling to Sydney for the return. The winner of the tie will meet the fourth-placed team from Concacaf with a spot in Russia at stake.
Mexico and who else?
Mexico will compete at their seventh straight World Cup next summer, and Costa Rica are also on the verge of direct qualification. But a third automatic berth is still in play, as the fourth-placed side can also qualify through the intercontinental play-offs.
Panama, in third, lead the United States and Honduras by a single point, with two rounds of games still to play. — AFP