BREAKING NEWS: Benzema signs new Real Madrid deal

By Sports Desk August 20, 2021

Karim Benzema will remain a Real Madrid player through to the end of the 2022-23 season after the talisman agreed a one-year extension to his contract.

The Spanish capital giants continue to be linked with moves for Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, but they have ensured Benzema will be around to help any new arrivals settle.

A fresh deal for the 33-year-old was announced on Friday as the France striker pledged his allegiance again to the cause he joined in 2009 after beginning his career at Lyon.

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  • Waite, Gayle eye improvements as Tivoli, Waterhouse remain level in quarterfinal tie Waite, Gayle eye improvements as Tivoli, Waterhouse remain level in quarterfinal tie

    It is as you were between Tivoli Gardens and Waterhouse heading into the second-leg of their Wray and Nephew Jamaica Premier League quarter-final encounter, as they played out a 1-1 stalemate in first-leg action at Sabina Park on Monday.

    Javane Bryan, with his 15th goal of the season, gave Waterhouse the lead from a 44th-minute penalty, but substitute Lennox Russell replied for Tivoli Gardens in the 74th to ensure both teams remain level ahead of next Monday's decisive contest, at the same venue.

    Waterhouse's Head coach Marcel 'Fuzzy' Gayle was the happier of the two tacticians, having lost twice to Tivoli Gardens in the preliminary phase of the season.

    "We are grateful that we are still in it, so kudos to my team, I think we played well. We had an objective today and I think we met it the only disappointment is that we didn't keep a clean sheet because of that mistake and with our senior players on the park we should have done better in that moment.  So, we still can perform better and so we are going to put in the work for the next leg and go out there and play again," Gayle said in a post-match interview.

    "Tivoli is a quality team, they finished third which is a testament to their strength so we expected a close game, it did come down to fine margins and we know set plays can make a difference. So, it's something we have in our arsenal as we move forward," he added.

    It was a tentative start by both teams in the early exchanges as they moved the ball well but didn't really offer much in the attacking third at that point. In fact, it wasn't until in the 24th minute that Tivoli Gardens started to look more threatening in open play and even got the ball in the back of the net, only for it to be called back for a foul on Waterhouse's custodian Kemar Foster.

    Prior to that, the West Kingston team orchestrated a good build up play, which saw Anthony Nelson's header coming back off the crossbar, after he deflected Horatio Morgan's intended shot from an angle goalwards.

    At the other end, Nickoy Christian went close for Waterhouse with a 38th-minute freekick that was punched clear by Diego Haughton in goal for Tivoli Gardens. 

    The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes later when Bryan picked himself up and converted from the 12-yard spot, after he was felled by Nathan Thomas in the danger area, to put Waterhouse 1-0 up at the break. 

    Tivoli Gardens were more purposeful on the resumption, as the substitutions injected some tempo into their attacking thrust and they bossed possession and forced Waterhouse into a defensive posture. They again threatened in the 57th when Justin Dunn’s cross found Morgan, whose effort was charged down by a defender.

    However, they were back on level terms minutes later as substitute Rodico Wellington executed a cheeky freekick that eluded Waterhouse's custodian Foster, and another substitute Russell was well positioned to finish the rebound.

    From there, Tivoli Gardens went for the winner and should have had it in the 81st minute. This, as Nickalia Fuller's weighted cross found Wellington in space for a free header, but the once clinical player steered his effort wide of the target.

    Tivoli's Jerome Waite was pleased with his team's response after a lukewarm first half.

    "Put it this way, the first half we didn't play, and these players have to understand that attitude don't win game you have to come out and play. It was a different second half thanks to the substitutes, but we still have 90 more minutes to play so we just have to go back analyse what we need to do better and come out and do what we have to, to win the game," Waite shared.

  • Barcelona could demand Real Madrid replay if ‘phantom goal’ deemed legal Barcelona could demand Real Madrid replay if ‘phantom goal’ deemed legal

    Barcelona president Joan Laporta has threatened legal action and could demand a replay after his side were denied a goal against Real Madrid at the weekend.

    Lamine Yamal thought he had scored in the 28th minute of Sunday’s 3-2 LaLiga loss at the Bernabeu but, after a lengthy VAR check, it was ruled the ball had not cross the line.

    The Spanish competition does not use goalline technology.

    Laporta has requested footage and audio of the decision-making over this “phantom goal” incident from the Spanish Football Federation and will then consider further action.

    He said in a statement on the club’s website, fcbarcelona.com: “If, once this documentation has been analysed, the club understands that an error was made in the revision of the incident, we will take all available measures to reverse the situation, without discounting, obviously, any necessary legal action.

    “If it is confirmed that it was a legal goal, we will move ahead and we do not discount requesting that the game be replayed, just as has happened in another game in Europe due to a VAR error.”

    Laporta was referring to a decision to replay a Belgian Pro League between Anderlecht and Genk because of a VAR error earlier this season.

    Real went on to win the match 3-2 with a stoppage-time winner from Jude Bellingham and are now 11 points clear of Barca at the top of the table.

  • Mauricio Pochettino says Enzo Fernandez will be ‘much better’ next season Mauricio Pochettino says Enzo Fernandez will be ‘much better’ next season

    Mauricio Pochettino believes it is unfair to compare the impact of Enzo Fernandez at Chelsea to that of Arsenal’s Declan Rice, as the teams prepare to face each other at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

    England international Rice joined Mikel Arteta’s side from West Ham last summer for £100million, less than the £107m it cost to take World Cup winner Fernandez from Benfica to Stamford Bridge in January 2023.

    The fee for the Argentinian was a British record at the time, though the club have since surpassed it in signing fellow midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton for £115m.

    Rice has won plaudits for his transformational effect on Arsenal’s midfield, helping to forge a sturdier, more cohesive side than the one that fell away in the final weeks of last season’s Premier League title race.

    By contrast, Chelsea’s league position has not markedly improved in the 15 months since Fernandez arrived in west London, and despite clear flashes of his obvious talent and range of passing, question marks have remained over whether the club got value for money.

    However, his countryman Pochettino called for perspective on the obstacles that his player has had to contend with since arriving in England.

    “Declan Rice was playing for West Ham, an English guy who knows the Premier League, knows the language,” said the 52-year-old.

    “For Enzo, after the World Cup to arrive here, in a team that was inconsistent, difficult to get positive results, always it was really difficult.

    “In summer he was involved in too many games and he arrived late in pre-season, hasn’t had a holiday in the last two years.

    “Too many negative things happened. (It was) difficult for him to adapt, his family. It’s not easy to adapt and perform so quick.”

    Fernandez was responsible for creating Chelsea’s best chance of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City, hitting an incisive, raking pass from deep that sent Nicolas Jackson through on goal, but the striker could not finish.

    He has scored three Premier League goals and made four assists since moving from Portugal in the immediate aftermath of Argentina’s 2022 World Cup triumph, but Pochettino insisted the best is yet to come from the 23-year-old.

    “For sure he is going to be much better next season, after the experience of the whole season in this squad and this team,” he said.

    “He’s more experienced, he gets better feelings. The whole season is good for him to learn. Even if he is a world champion, he needs to adapt to the Premier League and to this club. For me, there is no doubt that he is going to be much better.”

    Pochettino said there have been no discussions over the future of striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on a season-long loan at Roma, but appeared to hint that the door could be open for a return.

    The 30-year-old has scored 18 goals for the Serie A side this campaign after telling Chelsea last summer that he wanted to leave.

    “He’s a Chelsea player, so for sure we will pay attention,” said Pochettino. “It’s an option. But still we did not take any decision.”

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