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Finale de la Ligue des champions féminine : Barcelone contre Wolfsburg à guichets fermés

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Wolfsburg célèbre sa victoire contre Arsenal en demi-finale de la Ligue des champions à l'Emirates Stadium
Wolfsburg a battu Arsenal pour atteindre la finale de la Ligue des champions

La finale de la Women’s Champions League entre Barcelone et Wolfsburg a fait salle comble, la première depuis 2010.

L’UEFA a déclaré que plus de 34 000 billets avaient été vendus pour le match au stade PSV d’Eindhoven le 3 juin.

Ce sera la plus grande foule pour un match féminin aux Pays-Bas.

La directrice générale du football féminin de l’UEFA, Nadine Kessler, a déclaré que la vente à guichets fermés était “un autre signe que nous avons atteint un nouveau niveau”.

Barcelone a battu Chelsea et Wolfsburg a battu Arsenal en demi-finale.

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Barcelone, vainqueur en 2020-21, en est à sa quatrième finale en cinq saisons, tandis que le double champion Wolfsburg n’a pas remporté la Ligue des champions depuis qu’il a défendu son titre en 2013-14.

Ils se sont rencontrés en demi-finale de la Ligue des champions l’année dernière, sous le regard d’un record de 91 648 fans au Camp Nou.

Finale de la FA Cup féminine de dimanche à Wembley – quand Chelsea a battu Manchester United – avait une foule de 77 390 personnes.

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Involve former professionals & use more common sense? Pundits on VAR controversies

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Seventeen months on from its introduction in Scottish football, VAR is rarely out of the headlines.

The latest chapter was the opening 45 minutes of Hearts’ Sunday win over Celtic, given more prominence as an isolated game and one involving two of the top three sides in the Premiership.

Referees, VAR and the Scottish FA have regularly been in the firing line and the governing body may well have wished for Monday’s promotional event for the Scottish Cup not to be taking place so soon after events at Tynecastle.

A penalty was awarded to each side, Celtic’s Yang Hyun-jun had a yellow card upgraded to a red for a high boot and both teams had a goal ruled out for offside.

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Celtic intend to appeal against the Yang red card and have “written to the SFA to raise our serious concerns regarding the use of VAR and the decisions made within the match”. The SFA have been approached for comment by the BBC.

Neil Lennon, Graeme Souness and Alan Stubbs – all trophy winners as players and managers – were put up by cup sponsor Viaplay at national stadium Hampden to preview this weekend’s quarter-finals. And they did not hold back.

‘Who would want to be a referee today?’

Souness, who played for and managed Liverpool and Rangers, feels VAR is “not aiding” referees north and south of the border.

“When you’ve got the chance to look at something time and time again and from different angles and you’re still making the wrong call, it’s telling you something is not right,” he said.

“It’s showing them up in a bad light. I have to say it’s the exact same in England.

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“They know the first line of the book, the rule book, and they know every single rule in it, but they can’t interpret when there’s a coming together where the intent lies. They make the wrong call.

“They should involve ex-players to sit with the VAR referee and offer a different opinion and maybe they see it that way. VAR is just embarrassing them. Who would want to be a referee today?”

‘Something’s got to change’

Stubbs, a league title winner as a Celtic player and Scottish Cup-winning manager with Hibernian, agrees with Souness’ view about refereeing standards in England and Scotland.

However, he questions whether involving former pros would be welcomed.

“Referees don’t necessarily want to see former players or former managers in there,” he explained. “They do need help, but it’s what help that is.

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“Referees across the whole of the UK need help. Some of referees on the pitch are not overturning the decisions because they’re scared to upset their friends or their mates. They don’t want to go against each other. Something’s got to change.

“There’s going to be some strange VAR decisions. We don’t want VAR to have a part in the outcome of the [Premiership] title. We want the title to be won on merit by the best team over the season. VAR has to do as much as it possibly can to not get involved in the games.”

Another of Stubbs comments struck a chord with regular criticisms of how VAR marriages the game’s laws to how it is played.

“There has to be some common sense,” he appealed. “The sending off [of Yang] will definitely divide opinion. For me, it’s a yellow card.

“The referees have to be stronger on the pitch and back their decisions that they’ve made. I don’t think the initial decision was wrong.”

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Of the handball given against Celtic’s Tomoki Iwata, he said: “The penalty is farcical. This natural and unnatural position will create penalties as long as we keep going. The handball one is the most frustrating one going.

“If you get nudged in the air, your hands are not going to be by your side. Straight away, you’re looking to try and find your balance and, when you want balance, your arms do come out. It’s a really, really poor decision.”

‘The majority of the decisions were wrong’

Lennon, who managed Celtic to multi-trophy success and got Hibs promoted, sympathised with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers’ post-match comments.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with VAR,” he said. “It’s the people that make the decisions. It’s not the technology. The technology’s fine, we all see the technology.

“You have to say that all the decisions apart for the offside for [Hearts’] Lawrence Shankland were wrong. I didn’t think Celtic’s was a penalty. I certainly didn’t think it was a red card because Yang – there’s no real intent there, he’s just trying to flick the ball over [Alex] Cochrane’s head.

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“A yellow card would’ve sufficed. I know people say he’s endangering the player, he wasn’t. I’ve seen people endanger players with high boots and that certainly wasn’t the case from Yang.

“The penalty that Hearts got was beyond belief. Iwata’s got his eyes closed, he’s been bumped by [Alistair] Johnston, the ball lands on his arm and they come to the conclusion that it’s a penalty, so I understand Brendan’s frustrations.

“The majority of the decisions were wrong and they’re impactful on the game in terms of the spectacle as well. I’m sure there will be a review into that performance. The referee’s performance, there has to be questions asked about that – just on his decision-making more than anything else.”

‘It must be how the SFA are instructing refs’

Former referee Steve Conroy felt the Yang red card was justified but described the award of both penalties as “plain wrong”, Celtic’s having been given for Cochrane’s challenge on Yang.

“There’s nothing wrong with the technology,” Conroy told BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime. “It’s our interpretation of it that is quite baffling at times.

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“The fact that we get so many things wrong when we watch it repeatedly on replay and still call things wrong, I think that’s quite worrying.

“The obvious route is how our guys are being trained and coached. It must be how the SFA are instructing our guys.”

The Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association issued a statement on Monday that expressed how the union was “extremely disappointed and concerned by another weekend of targeted and personalised criticism of its members”.

“It is regrettable that criticism, which we generally accept is a part of the game for players and coaches as well as referees, has become much more frequent, disproportionate, and personalised towards our members,” they added.

The SFA regularly announce a list of decisions that its VAR independent review panel deemed to have been incorrect. The most recent bulletin highlighted 13 over the second round of Premiership fixtures.

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However, perhaps another of Stubbs’ remarks will chime more with supporters.

“Probably the less said about VAR the better.”

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Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor signs new three-year deal with WSL club

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Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor with his players
Taylor has won 97 of his 131 games in charge of Manchester City’s women’s team

Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor has signed a new three-year contract with the Women’s Super League club.

Taylor has been in the role since May 2020, winning the FA Cup that year and the League Cup in 2022 with City.

His side are second in the WSL table, behind leaders Chelsea on goal difference.

“I think what we’re doing here and trying to achieve is a build and a long-term project of sustainability and success,” said Taylor, 51.

“Our ambition was always to be right at the top and we’ve done that.

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“It’s taken a lot of hard work from a lot of people behind the scenes. The players have really bought in to what we’re trying to do and achieve.”

Taylor has been in charge of City for 131 games and won 97 of those.

City host Chelsea in the Women’s League Cup semi-finals on Thursday before a trip to Tottenham in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

Analysis

BBC Sport’s Emma Sanders

Taylor came in for heavy criticism last season after a poor start to the campaign followed an upheaval in the summer with several key players leaving.

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He called for time and patience as his side went through a transitional period and City gave him that, despite reservations from many outside the club.

That faith in Taylor has now paid off as City have had a strong 2023-24, playing some of the best football in the WSL and showing an identity under his leadership.

They are in position to challenge Chelsea for the WSL title and a 1-0 victory over them last month will no doubt have helped Taylor’s case in negotiations over a new deal, which is much deserved.

A new three-year deal is a statement from City regarding their trust in Taylor’s ability to win more silverware at a club with the resources to achieve much more than they have.

It is eight years since they last won a WSL title and Taylor’s main goal will be to end that wait. Until it happens, he will still have to face his critics.

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Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United: Foden is best player in Premier League – Guardiola

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola describes Phil Foden as “the best player in the league” after his two goals help his side to a 3-1 Premier League derby win over Manchester United at Etihad Stadium.

MATCH REPORT: Foden doubles helps Man City fight back to win derby

Available to UK users only.

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Match of the Day 2: How Man City overpowered Erik ten Hag’s ‘weak’ Man Utd squad

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Match of the Day 2’s Mark Chapman, Troy Deeney and Danny Murphy look at the how Manchester City overpowered Erik ten Hag’s “weak” squad during their 3-1 win over Manchester United in the Premier League.

Watch Premier League highlights and analysis onMatch of the Day 2 on BBC iPlayer.

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Garry Monk: Cambridge United name ex-Sheffield Wednesday boss as head coach

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Breaking news

Former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United boss Garry Monk has been named as the new Cambridge United head coach on a contract to the summer of 2026.

The 44-year-old replaces Neil Harris, who quit the U’s after just 17 games in charge to take over at Millwall.

Monk began his managerial career with Swansea City and his former clubs also include Middlesbrough and Birmingham.

He has been out of football since he was sacked by Wednesday in November 2020 after 14 months at Hillsborough.

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Cambridge majority owner Paul Barry said: “He is a coach of high pedigree, has managed at the top level and impressed us all with his leadership skills, clarity of thinking and his analysis of Cambridge United – both the squad and the club.

“Although he has had opportunities to get back into the game over recent times, he has been waiting for the right one. Like us, he sees this as a project and we are pleased he has decided to join us on the journey ahead.”

Cambridge have lost their last four games – the last three to top-six teams with Barry Corr in interim charge.

They are 19th in the League One table, just four points above the relegation places, and Monk’s first match at the helm will be at home to Northampton Town on Saturday.

“We do, of course, all recognise that there is the immediate challenge of securing our League One future after what has been a difficult period for everyone at the club, following Neil Harris’ unexpected and sudden departure,” added Barry.

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“In many ways the season starts now. We have 11 games to go. We know what we need to do and we know that it will require a collective team effort with everyone playing their part in helping us get over the line – players, staff and fans.”

Monk made 270 appearances for Swansea over 11 years, becoming player-manager in February 2014, initially on an interim basis.

He was sacked in December 2015 but was appointed by Leeds the following summer, only to resign after a single season following a takeover by Andrea Radrizzani.

He lasted only six months at Middlesbrough before moving on to Birmingham and then Wednesday, who were next to bottom of the Championship when he was sacked.

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Rangers maintain SWPL lead with victory at Hibs, big wins for Celtic & Glasgow City

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Mia McAuley scores for Rangers against Hibernian
Mia McAuley scored Rangers’ opener in the 27th minute

Rangers won 3-0 at Hibernian to stay four points clear at the top of the SWPL.

Mia McAuley slotted in Rangers’ first-half opener and Rio Hardy and McAuley netted in the second period.

Second-placed Celtic and Glasgow City, in third, remain level on points after big wins, 6-1 against Partick Thistle and 8-1 over Aberdeen respectively.

Hearts beat Dundee United 3-0, Montrose thrashed fellow strugglers Hamilton 7-0 and Motherwell defeated Spartans 4-1.

Montrose’s win moved them off the bottom with a three-point gap over Hamilton and Dundee United.

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At Petershill Park, Hayley Lauder netted early on for Glasgow City, and Meikayla Moore, Lisa Forrest and Carlee Giammona added further goals before the break.

Bailey Hutchison pulled one back for visitors Aberdeen but Wilma Forsblom, Giammona, Aleigh Gambone and Moore completed the scoring for City.

Celtic were three up within 20 minutes as Amy Gallacher, on her way to a hat-trick, scored either side of Murphy Agnew’s effort. Cara Henderson’s penalty reduced Thistle’s deficit but Natasha Flint got Celtic’s fourth before half-time. Jenny Smith added a fifth and Gallacher completed her treble and the scoring.

Emma Brownlie’s cross found its way in to give Hearts the lead against Dundee United, and former United player Danni Findlay tucked in the visitors’ second. Brownlie headed her second on the half hour.

Joanne Addie gave Motherwell a first-half lead at Spartans but Mya Bates brought the hosts level just after the break. Louisa Boyes scored either side of a Morgan Cross strike to seal Well’s win.

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Montrose scored all their goals against Hamilton in a remarkable second-half spree. Jade McLaren struck from close range, Aimee Ridgeway headed their second and then got the third with her left foot.

Georgia Carter finished high into the net for number four, McLaren got her second, Holly Daniel made it six and there was still time for McLaren to complete her treble.

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Fan berates Bundesliga stars after 6-0 defeat

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Watch the moment an ‘ultra’ Darmstadt fan berates the players on the pitch after their 6-0 home Bundesliga defeat by Augsburg.

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Manchester United fighting for fifth and possible Champions League spot, says Erik ten Hag

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Erik ten Hag stands on the touchline at the Etihad and raises his arm
Manchester United have lost 11 games in the Premier League this season

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is refusing to give up on Champions League qualification even though his side are now 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa with 11 games left.

New co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has made getting into Europe’s most glamorous competition a priority for the season.

But United’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City means they now need Villa to slip up badly, or for the Premier League to end up with five spots in the expanded competition.

Even then, United will need fifth-placed Tottenham to fail as Ange Postecoglou’s side are six points clear, with a game in hand.

“It can be a quick turnaround,” said Ten Hag. “We have to go into another final and try and get closer to them.

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“It can be an advantage that fifth spot can also be a Champions League spot, so we have to go for it and win our games.”

United’s task is not helped by the fact they have played both Villa and Tottenham twice, although the pair do face each other at Villa Park next Sunday.

‘We were close to winning’

England will get five Champions League places if the performances of Premier League teams in all three European competitions this term end with them finishing in the top two to claim one of Uefa’s ‘Performance Slots’. external-link

Currently Italy and Germany are in those positions, with England third, meaning United must hope old rivals City and Liverpool, among others, keep progressing and clubs from Serie A and the Bundesliga get knocked out.

However, United also need to catch Villa or Tottenham, which on this evidence is unlikely.

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Although they led early through Marcus Rashford’s magnificent effort, Ten Hag’s side had 26% possession and attempted just three shots in the game. Only once, against Liverpool in April 2022 during the final weeks of Ralf Rangnick’s unhappy reign when they lost 4-0, have they had fewer since 2003.

In return, they allowed City 27 shots meaning United have now faced 444 efforts on goal this season at a rate of 16.4 per game – only West Ham (16.9), Luton (16.9) and Sheffield United (17.2) have given up more.

The defeat was United’s 11th in the Premier League, one short of their worst return, again in 2022 and also 2013-14, when David Moyes was sacked.

With new director Sir Dave Brailsford watching on, it hardly inspires confidence in Ten Hag’s tenure, even though the Dutchman thought his side did well.

“Football is not just about possession,” he said. “Of course you need the ball to score a goal but in the first 20 minutes we had more opportunities and we defended brilliantly out of possession.

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“In defining moments we didn’t have it on our side because at 1-1 Rashford was in another break, and just before the 2-1 it was Garnacho in the breakthrough. But we were really close to winning or at least getting a point.”

Ten Hag in the spotlight

Erik ten Hag shakes hands with Marcus Rashford
Erik ten Hag has lost four of his five meetings with Manchester City since taking charge of Manchester United in 2022

As with the home defeat by Fulham eight days earlier, when he claimed United were the better side, many will take a different view to Ten Hag.

They may also reject Ten Hag’s theory his side should have been given a free-kick for a foul on Rashford by Kyle Walker in the moments before the counter-attack that led to Foden’s equaliser.

“It was very soft but when you are in a full-speed run and you get a little touch, then you are out of control,” he said.

The brutal truth for Ten Hag is that Brailsford, Ratcliffe and, possibly, Dan Ashworth – depending on when United can strike a deal with Newcastle for their sporting director to begin work – will decide his fate.

Former United skipper Gary Neville repeated on Sky Sports the decision may have already been reached.

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With home matches against Liverpool in league and FA Cup, plus a trip to Chelsea to navigate in the next month and struggling Everton due at Old Trafford on Saturday, even if it hasn’t, the conclusions may not be far away.

Ten Hag though, continues to talk up his side.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said, when asked whether the game was a reminder of the gulf between United and City. “Absolutely not.

“You can see we have many problems in injuries and still we had an opportunity. It’s not that big and when we have everyone on board we can be competitive.

“But City, is in this moment, the best team in the world. Don’t forget this.”

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Copa 71: Film shows record-breaking women’s World Cup

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“The number of times I was told, ‘You can’t have a sports film where you don’t have one winner that you want to win’. I said, ‘Well actually I think we can because I think the winner is the tournament itself, the fact that it happened, and the shared experience of those women together is a huge part of the film’.

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Man arrested over tragedy chant during Manchester derby

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It is alleged the person made an “aeroplane” gesture, mocking the Munich air disaster of 1958.

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