NYC defeat Montreal to advance to Eastern Conference Final, Austin beat Dallas

By Sports Desk October 23, 2022

New York City are through to the final four in the MLS playoffs for the second season in a row after a convincing 3-1 victory away from home against Montreal on Sunday.

City – the reigning champions after defeating the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup – moved one step closer to going back-to-back when a smart cutback from Gabriel Pereira presented Maximiliano Moralez with an open goal in the sixth minute.

Their lead was doubled in first-half stoppage-time as Santiago Rodriguez picked out a beautiful ball through to Heber in behind the Montreal defence, and he tucked it away stylishly with his first-time strike from just outside the six-yard box.

Talles Magno was brought off the City bench in the 58th minute, and he assumed penalty responsibilities just three minutes later, finishing calmly into the bottom-left corner to make it 3-0.

Montreal were able to salvage a consolation goal through Djordje Mihailovic in the 85th minute, but that would be all they could muster as New York booked their place in the Eastern Conference Final against the Philadelphia Union – the east's top seed.

Later on Sunday night, two first-half goals in quick succession was enough for Austin to eliminate Dallas 2-1.

Austin jumped ahead in the 26th minute when a corner bounced its way through a crowd and found Moussa Djite at the back post, and just three minutes later they led 2-0 after Sebastian Driussi capitalised on a midfield turnover and finished well on the counter.

A slick team move resulted in Dallas pulling one goal back through Alan Valasco in the 65th minute, but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Austin will play the Western Conference's top seed, LAFC, in the Western Conference Final on Sunday.

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    Leicester will definitely not face a points deduction in this season’s Championship over the Premier League charge they face for allegedly breaching top-flight financial rules, the EFL has confirmed.

    The EFL said its rules as currently written do not give it the power to apply any points penalty that may be ordered by an independent commission formed under Premier League auspices.

    Leicester, who are involved in a three-way automatic promotion battle with Leeds and Ipswich, had sought an interim injunction to prevent any sporting sanction such as a points deduction being applied this season, but that application has been dismissed after the EFL’s confirmation it had no power to apply the penalty in any event.

    A legal decision related to the injunction application published on Friday evening shows the Premier League initially sought an expedited process, and that its lawyers wrote to the chair of its independent judicial panel to say it was imperative the whole case – including any appeal – was concluded before the end of the Championship regular season on May 4.

    The Premier League letter to its judicial panel came after a letter from EFL chief executive Trevor Birch to his Premier League counterpart Richard Masters, prior to the charge being issued, saying the EFL would “seek to respect” any decision ordering a points penalty and apply it to the Championship standings.

    According to the written decision, in the same letter Birch urged the Premier League that, in the event it sought a points deduction in the current season, it should do so urgently to ensure it could be applied before the end of the Championship regular season on May 4.

    The legal decision states that the Premier League wrote to the club’s lawyers on March 26 to say it would no longer seek to expedite the proceedings, because the EFL no longer maintained its position that it would seek to apply any points deduction in the Championship.

    That means the case is extremely unlikely to be concluded until next season, and that any points penalty will only apply immediately if, by the point the hearing concludes, Leicester are a Premier League club again.

    The decision reveals that Leicester had accused the EFL of “conspiring with the Premier League to use unlawful means and to procure or induce a breach of contract by the Premier League”.

    The club are understood to remain extremely disappointed with the way they feel the EFL has acted.

    The Foxes were charged with breaching the top flight’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) on March 21 in relation to the assessment period ending with the 2022-23 season, when they were still a Premier League club.

    The club issued “urgent legal proceedings” on March 22 against that charge, and against an EFL transfer embargo.

    Earlier this month, Leicester announced a loss of £89.7million for the 2022-23 season.

  • Dundee boss Tony Docherty declines to get involved in Dens Park pitch row Dundee boss Tony Docherty declines to get involved in Dens Park pitch row

    Dundee manager Tony Docherty kept his “laser focus” on Saturday’s trip to Pittodrie as he dodged questions about the Dens Park pitch and the controversy over the second postponement of their game with Rangers.

    Docherty’s side will clinch a cinch Premiership top-six place if they beat Aberdeen and a draw would suffice if Motherwell get a result against Hibernian at Fir Park.

    Defeat for Dundee would put off confirmation of the make-up of the top and bottom six until the game with Rangers finally goes ahead.

    The match is now scheduled for Wednesday, but alternatives are being discussed between the clubs and the Scottish Professional Football League.

    When asked what state the pitch was in following the latest call-off on Wednesday due to a waterlogged surface, Docherty said in a media conference: “I really don’t know. I’ve not been anywhere near the pitch. We are in the Gardyne training facility and that’s where I have been for the last two days preparing for the Aberdeen game on Saturday.”

    Rangers accused Dundee of “negligence” after the postponement and Hibernian are reported to have complained to the SPFL given Docherty’s side may go into their final pre-split game knowing what they need to achieve.

    The Dundee manager refused to get involved in the furore.

    “In my capacity as football manager, all I can affect is my role as football manager and it’s incumbent upon me to make sure I prepare a team for the matches that are upcoming,” he said.

    “So anything outwith that, I can’t affect other teams, I can’t comment on other teams, I wouldn’t comment on other teams.”

    When asked about the prospect of facing Rangers at a neutral venue next Wednesday, Docherty said: “There is nothing I can do about that, I can’t affect that. I can affect the Aberdeen game and that’s where my laser focus is. Nothing can distract us from that.”

    Dundee’s previous game against Motherwell was the subject of similar uncertainty and talks over alternative venues and dates before it went ahead following a late inspection last Saturday, the visitors winning 3-2 after Dundee went 2-0 up.

    Docherty said: “Of course it can be unsettling because you prepare for every game. We have had five call-offs. You prepare for every game in terms of game plan, selection of players. But players quickly move on and I quickly move on. That’s gone now, that’s in the past.

    “It’s incumbent upon me as manager to make sure there is a laser focus now towards the Aberdeen game and that’s what me, my players and my staff have got. The next game is the most important game and something that we are very focused on.

    “It’s huge testament to this group of players, as the newly-promoted team and the youngest squad in the league… Seventeen of the squad have made their Premiership debut this season, of that 11 are under 21. It’s huge testament to the group that we are a win away from that (top six) and it’s advantage us because it’s in our hands.

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  • Haptic shirt to help boost St James’ Park atmosphere for deaf Newcastle fans Haptic shirt to help boost St James’ Park atmosphere for deaf Newcastle fans

    Newcastle have launched a new initiative which will allow deaf supporters to “feel” the atmosphere of games at St James’ Park.

    The Premier League club have brought out a new haptic replica shirt which, when worn at matches, will vibrate in response to crowd noises.

    The technology, which utilises microphones placed around the ground, will be used for the first time as the Magpies host Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.

    It is a world first in sport but similar systems have been used successfully in other areas of entertainment, particularly classical music concerts.

    Former Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee, who is an ambassador for the project, told the PA news agency: “It’s very difficult as someone who can hear to imagine what it’s like going to a game when you’re deaf.

    “Football is an experience of sound really. It’s the crowd cheering, singing songs. When I was playing, you’d run out at St James’ Park and the hairs on the back of your neck would stand up.

    “For these guys to be able to experience that through feel is amazing. It’s great technology.”

    The shirts have numerous sensors integrated throughout the garment, with each responding in different ways to the different sounds captured by the microphones.

    The noises are transformed into digital signals by specialised software and then transmitted wirelessly to the shirts, creating a tactile sensory experience for the wearer.

    Newcastle sponsor Sela, the Saudi events company, has been the driving force behind the initiative as part of its “Unsilence the Crowd” campaign.

    To mark the system’s launch, Sela has gifted its sponsorship rights for the Spurs game – including its logo space on the front of the shirt – to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) charity.

    The system will be available at all Newcastle home matches from then onwards.

    Lee, who made 381 appearances for the Magpies between 1992 and 2002, said: “St James’ Park is an amazing stadium. It’s always full, the atmosphere is always electric.

    “Ask any player what’s their favourite ground. I guarantee St James’ will be in the top three because of the atmosphere, because of the sound.

    “If we can get that experience out to the deaf and the hard-of-hearing, then it can only be a good thing.

    “I think it’ll be a showstopper and every club should get it.”

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