Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 16th 2017 Contents sports A41
Monday, January 16, 2017 guardian.co.tt
MADRID---Valencia has finally won again in the Span-
ish league, beating Espanyol 2-1 to end a three-month
drought and move further from the relegation zone,
Martin Montoya scored from close range in the 17th
minute and Santi Mina sealed the victory in the 73rd
at Mestalla Stadium as Valencia snapped its eight-
game winless streak to open a four-point gap to the
relegation teams and has a game in hand.
David Lopez netted for Espanyol in the 85th but
Valencia held on to earn the elusive victory.
Valencia hadn't won in the league since a 2-1 result
at Sporting Gijon in October, in what was the first
match in charge for Cesare Prandelli, the former Italy
coach who resigned during the winter break because
of the team's struggles.
The traditional Spanish club was yet to win this
year. It had lost both of its Copa del Rey round-of-16
matches to Celta Vigo 6-2 on aggregate.
In its previous league match, Valencia was ahead
of last-placed Osasuna until the final minutes when
it missed a late penalty kick and then conceded an
injury time equaliser for a 3-3 result.
Owned by Singapore investor Peter Lim since 2014,
Valencia is the most recent team other than Madrid,
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid to win the league title,
Barcelona moved to second place by beating Las
Palmas at Camp Nou on Saturday, while fourth-placed
Atletico edged Real Betis 1-0 at home for its third
win in a row.
Guardiola virtually concedes
EPL after heavy loss for City
MANCHESTER--- The Premier
League season is barely past
the halfway point and already
Manchester City manager
Pep Guardiola has virtually
given up on winning the title.
The world's most coveted
coach can't have envisaged his
first year in English soccer being
It takes something special to
overshadow a match between
bitter rivals Manchester United
and Liverpool, but City's 4-0
loss at Everton yesterday did
As he slumped to the heaviest
loss of his career in a domestic
league match, Guardiola --- with
his arms folded --- was seen star-
ing into space while he sat in the
Goodison Park dug-out. At oth-
er times, he had his face in his
City has dropped out of the
Champions Leagues positions,
into fifth place, and 10 points
adrift of leader Chelsea.
Asked if the gap to first place
was now too great, Guardiola
said: "(To) the first one? Yes.
Ten points is a lot of points. The
second one is three points. We
have to see."
A fifth loss of the league sea-
son was administered by a team
managed by Guardiola's friend
and former Barcelona teammate,
"Pep Guardiola knows it is
a project at Manchester City,"
Koeman said. "Of course, maybe
they expected better results and
a defeat like this is really strong
but Pep has the experience to
turn it around."
After 21 of 38 games, City and
United --- the two pre-season ti-
tle favorites --- are outside the top
four. Two high-profile managers
were always going to have their
reputation tarnished this season,
with six big teams challenging for
four Champions League spots.
Few would have predicted
they'd be Guardiola and Jose
MAN CITY 0
While there was misery for
City at Goodison Park, there
was jubilation for Everton after
a win that was sealed by goals
from two of the club's promis-
Goals either side of halftime
by Romelu Lukaku and Kevin
Mirallas set Everton on its way
before 18-year-old midfielder
Tom Davies raced into the area
and dinked a deft finish over
goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, the
ball landing just inside the post.
It completed an impressive
display by Davies, who has now
started two straight games and
is distinctive with his all-action
style and mop of blond hair.
The fourth goal was scored by
19-year-old debutant Ademo-
la Lookman, four minutes into
injury time. And it summed up
City's sloppy performance.
John Stones --- a former Ever-
ton player --- tried to clear the
ball for a throw-in only to see
it ricochet off Everton defender
Seamus Coleman to set up Look-
man. Signed from Charlton this
month and on as a late substitute
for his debut, Lookman placed
his shot through Bravo's legs.
"How we played in the second
half was really perfect," Koeman
said. "In my opinion, it is impos-
sible to play at a higher level, in
every aspect of football. It was
a perfect afternoon."
MAN UTD 1,
Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised
late for United to bail out team-
mate Paul Pogba in a frantic,
intense match at Old Trafford
between the two most decorated
teams in English soccer.
On the day United rolled out
advertising hoardings displaying
Paul Pogba's new Twitter emoji,
the player himself made a crucial
mistake by conceding a penalty
for handball while jumping with
his back to the ball at a corner.
James Milner converted the
spot kick but Liverpool was
denied a win after Ibrahimovic
glanced a header in off the cross-
bar in the 84th minute, moments
after substitute Marouane Fel-
laini headed against the post.
Liverpool ended United's
nine-game winning run in all
competitions --- six of which
had come in the league --- but
dropped seven points behind
first-placed Chelsea. Sixth-
placed United was 12 points off
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, right, celebrates scoring his
side's goal during their English Premier League match against
Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, yesterday. AP PHOTO
African Cup title-contender
Algeria held 2-2 by Zimbabwe
OYEM---Two days, two sur-
prise results at the African
Cup of Nations as Algeria
was held to a 2-2 draw by
Zimbabwe yesterday despite
a double from Riyad Mahrez.
Not only was Algeria held, it
needed Mahrez's long-range
shot in the 82nd minute, which
slipped past Zimbabwe goal-
keeper Tatenda Mkuruva, to
save it from opening its group
campaign with an unexpected
The first of Sunday's two
Group B games in Franceville, in
the far eastern interior of Gabon,
was pulsating just about from
the beginning. Mahrez sent in a
curling shot from a tight angle
for 1-0, Zimbabwe rallied to lead
2-1 just over 15 minutes later, and
Mahrez struck at the end to deny
the Zimbabweans what would
have been a memorable victory.
Zimbabwe hasn't played at
the African Cup in a decade, had
its buildup marred by a player
strike over unpaid wages and
bonuses, and then had to play
its opening game in a makeshift
team uniform after kits for the
tournament didn't arrive out in
Franceville in time for the game.
In contrast, Algeria has been
tipped to go far at this African
Cup, spearheaded by the slick
attacking threats of Mahrez and
Islam Slimani of Premier League
champion Leicester, and Porto's
Algeria's slip-up in the jun-
gle in Franceville probably will
also have been noted by African
champion Ivory Coast, whose
squad is in its final prepara-
tions ahead of the start of the
defense of its title in Oyem, an
even more remote town in Ga-
bon's far north, on Monday.
The African Cup has served
up two warnings to the so-called
bigger teams already, with tour-
nament debutant Guinea-Bissau
scoring a 90th-minute equalizer
in the opening game to surprise
Gabon with a 1-1 draw.
In Franceville, Mahrez gave
Algeria a 13th-minute lead with
a curling shot from just inside
the area. Kuda Mahachi made
it 1-1 just four minutes after
Mahrez's opening goal, and Nya-
sha Mushekwi's penalty on 30
minutes put Zimbabwe ahead.
Algeria surged forward in the
last 10 minutes, Mahrez made it
2-2, and Slimani badly missed
with a header from right in front
of goal that would have given Al-
geria a late victory. Senegal and
Tunisia are the other two teams
in Group B, meaning that Zim-
babwe was supposed to be the
weakest of the four.
Today, Ivory Coast starts its
African Cup against Togo and
Congo, whose team is no longer
on strike, will play Morocco in
Africa Cup of Nations
Algeria 2 v 2 Zimbabwe
Tunisia 0 v 2 Senegal
Yaya Toure celebrates after the
Ivory Coast won the last Africa
Cup of Nations.
Diego Maradona hopeful
of future Napoli role
NAPLES---Former Napoli star Diego Maradona is
in talks to work with the Serie A side, where he is
still idolised nearly 27 years after leaving the club.
Maradona, who is in Naples for a theatrical event
today celebrating the club's first title win, met with
Napoli President Aurelio de Laurentiis on Saturday
"It was the first step," Maradona said Sunday.
"First of all I have to sort out the problems I have
here in Italy, then I can work for Napoli in Italy and
in the world.
"We have to do things well because I want a win-
ning team, a team that can play on level terms against
Juve, Inter, Milan and Roma. He understood imme-
diately because in these years he has grown from
a president who didn't know much about football
to become an expert today."
An Italian court is scheduled to finally end the
decades-long battle between Maradona and the
Italian government on February 28.
Maradona has always insisted he does not owe
any of the millions in back taxes the government
claims are due.
The 56-year-old Argentine arrived in the city on
Saturday night and was greeted by more than 100
cheering Napoli fans, who had waited in freezing tem-
peratures outside his hotel for a glimpse of their idol.
"It continues to surprise me," Maradona said.
"There are kids who have never seen me play and
today they get excited and cry for a photo with me.
Maradona led Napoli to its only two league titles
in 1987 and 1990 and scored a club record 115 goals
between 1984 and 1991.
Celta Vigo 1, Alaves 0
Sporting Gijon 2, Eibar 3
Granada 1, Osasuna 1
Sevilla 2 v 1 Real Madrid
Marseille 1 v 4 Monaco
Cagliari 4 v 1 Genoa
Lazio 2 v 1 Atalanta
Sampdoria 0 v 0 Empoli
Napoli 3 v 1 Pescara
Sassuolo 4 v 1 Palermo
Udinese 0 v 1 Roma
Fiorentina 2 v 1 Juventus
Roda JC 0 v 2 Feyenoord
PEC Zwolle 1 v 3 Ajax
Vitesse A 3 v 1 Twente
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