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Sterling Spares City, Newcastle Off Mark

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was left scratching his head after Raheem Sterling was sent off moments after giving his side a last-gasp 2-1 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Sterling celebrated his deflected 97th-minute winner by throwing himself into the jubilantly celebrating away end and was shown a second yellow card by referee Mike Dean.

“You can imagine how happy he is, how happy the fans are,” Guardiola said. “If you cannot celebrate with the fans, the best solution is not to invite the fans.”

Elsewhere, Newcastle United and Swansea City both picked up their first wins of the Premier League campaign with victories over West Ham United and Crystal Palace respectively.

Guardiola, who dropped Sergio Aguero, saw his side fall behind in the 13th minute at the Vitality Stadium courtesy of a sensational strike by Bournemouth left-back Charlie Daniels.

Dan Gosling’s left-wing cross was headed clear by Vincent Kompany and from a position just wide of the penalty area on the Bournemouth left, Daniels hammered a scorching half-volley in off the bar.

David Silva teed up Gabriel Jesus to equalise eight minutes later and after both sides had hit the post, Sterling struck the winner.

The five minutes of stoppage time indicated by the fourth official had already elapsed when Danilo crossed from the right and Sterling beat Asmir Begovic via a sizeable deflection off Andrew Surman.

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Accompanied by his team-mates, Sterling tore off in celebration and threw himself into the arms of the City fans at the front of the away section, only to then be dismissed by Dean.

After the game, a Bournemouth steward complained to police that he had been struck by Aguero, who had come on as a substitute, during the celebrations.

But City were reportedly confident Aguero had no case to answer.

DE BOER IN DOLDRUMS

“Winning in the last minute is always special,” said Guardiola, who had seen Sterling score a late equaliser in Monday’s 1-1 draw at home to Everton.

“It was a tough game. It is always complicated against Bournemouth. They play long balls, balls into the channels and play set-pieces, but we got into the game.

“We tried, our finishing was not good, but we are there.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said he was “very proud” of his team.

“It was a difficult game,” he said. “There’s no denying how good they are. We dug in and defended really well and made it difficult for them.

“We slowed the game down and looked like we were going to get a great point.”

With Huddersfield Town dropping points in a 0-0 draw with Southampton and West Bromwich Albion in action on Sunday, Manchester United can go clear at the summit by beating Leicester City later on Saturday.

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Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle got off the mark at the third attempt after goals from new signing Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrovic secured a 3-0 home win over West Ham, who remain without a point.

Frank de Boer is still waiting for his first point — and goal — as Palace manager after a 2-0 loss at home to Swansea, who prevailed courtesy of goals from Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham and Jordan Ayew.

Watford’s Miguel Britos was sent off for an awful studs-up foul on Anthony Knockaert in a 0-0 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion at Vicarage Road.

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FIFA President, Infantino tests positive for COVID-19

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FIFA Chief, Gianni Infantino has contracted coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19,  the world’s football governing body announced on Tuesday.

According to the information scooped from AFP, the 50-year-old has mild symptoms and will remain in isolation for a further 10 days.

“All people who came into contact with the FIFA President during the last few days have been informed accordingly and they are being requested to take the necessary steps,” the body said.

“FIFA sincerely wishes President Infantino a speedy recovery,” it added.

Infantino’s last public appearances was at FIFA’s Compliance Summit which ended on October 16 when all attendees were present via video.

Cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 in the body’s base, Switzerland, have doubled from one week to the next throughout October.

The country’s government is expected to decide Wednesday on new measures to control the spread of the virus.

The spread of the illness has cast doubt over Wednesday’s potential meeting between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the Champions League after the Juventus attacker tested positive for the illness earlier this month.

 

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Barcelona: Real reason for Messi’s u-turn

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Lionel Messi said on Friday he will stay at Barcelona, insisting he could never go to court against “the club of his life”.But he launched a stinging attack on Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, accusing him of going back on an agreement to let him leave for free at the end of last season.

“The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he didn’t end up keeping his word,” Messi said in an interview with Goal, released on Friday.

“I thought and we were sure that I was free. The president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and now they hold on to the fact that I did not say it before June 10 when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for the league in the middle of this shitty virus and this disease that altered all the dates.”

Messi, 33, added: “And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club… because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700-million-euro release clause.

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“This is impossible, and then the other way was to go to trial. I would never go to court against Barca because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here.”

Messi had said he wanted to leave the club he joined as a boy after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in August.

His lawyers sent a burofax stating his intention to go for free on August 25 but Messi says he had made his feelings clear to Bartomeu many times before.

“I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go,” said Messi. “I’ve been telling him all year. I believed it was time to step aside.

‘Everything became difficult’

“I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling very sorry because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.

“It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new horizons.

“It wasn’t because of the Champions League result against Bayern, I had been thinking about it for a long time. I told the president and the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word.”

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Despite his unhappiness, Messi insists he will give his all for Barcelona next season under their new coach Ronald Koeman, with his current contract due to expire in June next year.

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Messi set to quit Barcelona

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Lionel Messi has informed Barcelona that he wants to “unilaterally” terminate his contract with the Spanish giants, a club source confirmed to AFP on Tuesday.

Lawyers for the Argentina star sent Barca a fax in which they announced Messi’s desire to rescind his contract by triggering a release clause.

However, the club maintains the clause expired in June and he remains under contract until the end of the 2021 season.

“In principial, this clause expired on June 10, but the unusual nature of this season disrupted by the coronavirus opened the way for Messi to ask to be released from his contract now,” wrote Spanish sports daily Marca.

“It’s the first step towards opening negotiations over his departure, on the basis of which his release clause amounts to 700 million euros.”

According to Spanish media, Messi met with new Barca coach Ronald Koeman last week and told the Dutchman he saw himself “more out than in” the club.

“The end of the glorious era of Leo Messi at Barcelona seems to be close. After the arrival of Ronald Koeman, what looks like the exit of his friend Luis Suarez and a difficult and turbulent end to the season, Messi told Barcelona in a fax of his intention to leave the club,” said Once radio station.

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Barcelona suffered a humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon earlier this month, resulting in the dismissal of coach Quique Setien after barely six months in charge.

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