Favre refuses to discuss Sancho´s suspension after Dortmund win without star

Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre refused to discuss Jadon Sancho being dropped for the victory over Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

Dortmund suspended star Sancho for Saturday’s clash following reports he returned late from international duty with England this week.

Favre’s Dortmund won 1-0 without 19-year-old sensation Sancho thanks to Marco Reus’ 58th-minute goal at home to Gladbach.

Asked about Sancho – who has been heavily linked to Premier League giants Manchester United – Favre told reporters: “I am not going to comment on that. It was a disciplinary measure.

“Tomorrow is a new day. That’s all. It stays internal.”

Sancho has scored three goals and supplied five assists in Bundesliga games this season but started on the bench in the 2-2 draw against Freiburg on October 5.

The Englishman – who arrived from Manchester City in 2017 – scored 12 goals and supplied 14 assists as Dortmund finished runners-up to Bayern Munich last season.

“We have a responsibility for the club and, in this case, also for the hygiene of the squad,” Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc said.

“And therefore the decision was without an alternative. [Sancho] trained alone today and we’d like to think he’ll be back against Inter [in the Champions League].

“He is only suspended today [Saturday]. Jadon is a good lad, but he’s very young and shot to the top. He might test his limits and that’s why we decided to not call him up today.”

Real Madrid hurting after Mallorca loss, says Marcelo

Marcelo said Real Madrid’s shock loss to Real Mallorca “hurts” as the LaLiga giants lost top spot to defending champions Barcelona.

Madrid crashed to their first LaLiga defeat of the season, with Zinedine Zidane’s 10-man visitors succumbing to Lago Junior’s early strike at Son Moix on Saturday.

Bitter rivals Barca leapfrogged Madrid into top spot thanks to their win over Eibar earlier in the day, and left-back Marcelo lamented the result away from home.

“We lost but we must keep going,” Marcelo said. “It hurts to lose because we played well, but we conceded early on and then looked to make our comeback but it was not possible.

“We did not have time to think, they scored a goal and they defended and waited for the counter, that’s no excuse though.

“We need to play well until the final whistle. We have won some games while lacking something. We’re trying to do everything possible to win but LaLiga is tough these days.”

It was not the result Zidane had in mind following the international break as Madrid looked to preserve their lead atop the table.

However, Mallorca’s Lago stunned Madrid seven minutes into the match by finding the bottom-right corner.

Karim Benzema hit the crossbar before substitute Rodrygo Goes squandered a presentable chance and Madrid’s hopes of a comeback were all but over when Alvaro Odriozola saw red 16 minutes from the end, with Mallorca holding firm to claim their first win over Los Blancos since 2009.

“We knew about Mallorca,” Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said. “The coach warned us they would come out with grit and real intensity. In the first five or 10 minutes, we were caught short. 

“We had chances but lacked that final touch. The goal scorer is right footed and he sent it in at the far post. It is a shame, we should have won here.”

On Odriozola’s dismissal, Courtois added: “In the first yellow [he] hit the ball, the second is fair. I think that at that time with a card there should be no foul, but hey, it is the adrenaline. Playing with 10 was more complicated.”

Ancelotti: I´ll call Ibrahimovic about Napoli move

Carlo Ancelotti joked he will call Zlatan Ibrahimovic about a move to Napoli following Saturday’s 2-0 win over Hellas Verona.

LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic talked up his chances of a return to Serie A as the 38-year-old expressed his interest in playing for Ancelotti’s Napoli.

Former Juventus, Inter and AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic claimed he would score 20 goals a season in Italy’s top flight during an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

Responding to Ibrahimovic’s comments after Arkadiusz Milik’s double guided Napoli past Verona, head coach Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia: “I’ll call him tonight and say we’re waiting!

“I have a great deal of affection for him, I saw he scored 29 goals in 30 MLS games.

“Tomorrow, after I’ve called him, I’ll let you know how it went!”

Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy are in action in the MLS play-offs on Sunday.

The Galaxy will meet Minnesota United for a spot in the Western Conference semi-finals against Supporters’ Shield champions Los Angeles FC.

Ibrahimovic netted 30 goals during the regular season, four adrift of top scorer and LAFC captain Carlos Vela.

Ex-Manchester United star Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the season and the veteran has been linked with a return to Italy, as well as Argentine giants Boca Juniors – where Roma great Daniele De Rossi is based.

Manchester United won´t wait 30 years for title – Solskjaer aims dig at Liverpool

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is adamant the Red Devils will not have to wait 30 years for their next Premier League title as he aimed a dig at rivals Liverpool.

United have not won the league since 2012-13 and the struggling English giants are languishing in 14th position and 15 points adrift of Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford.

Liverpool have not claimed a league crown since 1990, though the unbeaten Premier League leaders are on track to end their drought this season.

While United have fallen on tough times, Solskjaer is confident it will not be three decades before the 20-time English champions are back at the summit.

“Manchester United will bounce back and win the league,” Solskjaer told reporters. “We might have to wait a while but I’m sure it is not going to be 30 years before the next title.”

United welcome Liverpool to Manchester, having gone three Premier League matches without a win.

Solskjaer’s side lost 1-0 at lowly Newcastle United prior to the international break, following a draw with Arsenal and defeat against West Ham.

“You never take a draw when you’re at Manchester United, I want to go out there and get three points,” he said. “We need points and we need to start winning. It doesn’t matter if it’s Liverpool, Manchester City or Brighton and Hove Albion.

“We know we aren’t creating enough chances, we need to be more adventurous. One of my big philosophies is to play attacking football by launching attacks quickly, but to do that you need confidence to move the ball forward.”

Solskjaer, who was appointed permanently in March after an impressive interim spell following Jose Mourinho’s December sacking, added: “We had a good spell last season playing fast, fluid counterattacking football, but since then opponents have been setting up to try to stop us doing that. Either we haven’t been given the chance or we haven’t been able to grasp it.

“Young, inexperienced players often want to play safe for fear of making a mistake. At this club we prefer them to take risks, because we know these players are good enough, but if you lack confidence you sometimes think twice instead of acting on instinct.

“Football nowadays is so quick in the moment of transition, teams spring back into shape so swiftly after losing the ball, that it only takes one or two square passes for the opportunity to disappear. I want to defend well in the sense of winning the ball in great positions to set up an attack. That’s the next bit we need to get right.”

Zidane won´t say he is ´worried´ by Mallorca defeat but demands Real Madrid show consistency

Zinedine Zidane refused to say he is “worried” after Real Madrid lost to Real Mallorca but has called on his side to show greater consistency.

Madrid’s unbeaten start to the LaLiga season was ended at Son Moix on Saturday thanks to a solitary goal from Lago Junior.

Zidane’s side had beaten in-form Granada 4-2 prior to the international break, but his much-changed side struggled to create goalscoring chances against Mallorca as they fell to a defeat that leaves them a point behind league leaders Barcelona.

The Madrid head coach said it is a lack of consistent performances that is holding his side back at present, even if he is not overly concerned by the result.

“The problem is that we have to show every three days that we’re good,” Zidane said. “That’s the difficulty – we don’t do it.

“I won’t say that I’m worried because I don’t like the word, but if we want to win something this season, we need consistency.”

Madrid were without the injured Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Lucas Vazquez, with Luka Jovic failing to impress in only his third league start for the club as Zidane set his side up in a 4-4-2.

Zidane insisted the absences were no excuse for their display as he laid down a challenge to his squad players to step up a show they are worthy of a place in the team.

“The injuries aren’t an excuse,” Zidane said. “There are players who aren’t injured; we have more good payers, too.

“When it comes to their turn, they have to show that they’re at the level to be here. We can’t do anything about the injured players.

“We can’t be surprised by a team playing in their own stadium. We knew what would happen. They surprised us because they scored, but then they backed down and we didn’t find a solution.”

Sarri wants end product and not showboating from Juventus

Maurizio Sarri told Juventus to curb needless showboating after their 2-1 win over Bologna on Saturday.

The Bianconeri established a four-point lead over Inter at the top of Serie A after goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Miralem Pjanic secured the victory.

However, Sarri was unhappy with the manner in which some of his attacking players took to excessively showing their skills rather than killing the game off.

Bologna almost snatched a point amid some late drama that included a penalty appeal against defender Matthijs de Ligt and Federico Santander hitting the bar before forcing a save from goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon with an overhead kick.

“It was a good game, tainted by some mistakes,” Sarri said.

“The boundary between dribbling in a productive way and becoming a bit superficial, however, is thin: for 40 minutes we did it well, for five minutes incorrectly.

“We have to dribble with substance and not just for the sake of it.

“We must manage the result and the energy levels. We have to secure games and in the second half we had the chance to do so.”

Pjanic felt Juventus’ victory was merited even though they were hanging on at the end as Bologna threw caution to the wind in stoppage time.

“We knew it would be a complicated game, we have seen them play often,” he said.

“Bologna are in good shape, play well and are organised on the pitch. 

“We deserved it. We had to score one more goal to secure the result but in the end they are three precious points, after the [international] break it is never easy. 

“In the end they too got tired, because they had to run a lot. We are happy and move forward.”

Barkley injury looks a bit nasty, admits Lampard

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admits Ross Barkley’s injury “looks a bit nasty” but he is waiting for a doctor’s assessment on Sunday.

Barkley was forced off after 43 minutes of Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League defeat of Newcastle United, hobbling off the pitch with an ankle problem to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic.

The England international, who started in place of the injured N’Golo Kante, is now expected to have tests ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League trip to face Ajax.

Cesar Azpilicueta also suffered a knock in the closing stages, but Lampard is hopeful the defender has not sustained any serious damage.

Speaking after the match, which was settled by Marcos Alonso’s 73rd-minute strike, Lampard told reporters: “I think Azpi was alright, he didn’t say anything when he came off.

“Ross turned his ankle. It looks a bit nasty at first glance, but the doctor wants to have a look at it tomorrow. I have no more on that.”

When asked if he could be fit to face Ajax, Lampard replied: “I genuinely don’t know. We will assess tomorrow.”

Chelsea’s win, their fifth in a row in all competitions, means they are fourth in the Premier League after nine matches.

It is always diving – Guardiola hits out at VAR

Pep Guardiola made no effort to hide his irritation after Manchester City were denied a penalty in their 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

City have been on the receiving end of some tough VAR calls this campaign, most notably in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in August when Gabriel Jesus’ stoppage-time goal was ruled out for what appeared to be an accidental handball by Aymeric Laporte.

The video review system did not help City at Selhurst Park, with the assistant referee deeming Anthony Taylor’s decision not to award the visitors a penalty for what seemed to be a blatant push on Kevin De Bruyne by Wilfried Zaha was correct.

Though the decision did not cost City, who missed several chances to further the lead handed to them by Jesus and David Silva, Guardiola was left furious.

“It’s diving. It’s diving, it’s diving,” Guardiola, who also referred to a similar incident in a match against Bournemouth earlier in the campaign, sarcastically told a news conference when asked if his team should have had a penalty.

“Every weekend it is always diving. [Like at] Bournemouth. But against Tottenham it was hands, real hands in the 94th minute. It’s diving again.

“Of course, I am [frustrated]. Next question.”

With Nicolas Otamendi injured and John Stones not fit enough to start, Guardiola named midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri as his centre-back pairing.

“Thank you so much to both of them,” Guardiola said.

“It is not easy playing in different positions against the strikers Palace have; Zaha, [Jordan] Ayew, [Christian] Benteke and [Andros] Townsend at the end, they did really well.”

At the other end of the pitch, Guardiola elected to start Jesus over Sergio Aguero, with the Brazilian’s goal taking him onto 50 for City.

Jesus has now scored in each of his past seven starts in all competitions and Guardiola insisted he is delighted with the performances of his strikers.

“I’m not going to talk about how important Sergio is for our club, he is so important,” Guardiola added.

“Gabriel, he came back from Brazil, he had rhythm. Sergio was 10 days away without training, but both are important. When Sergio plays he is at a good level and when Gabriel plays he is at a good level, after that I will take a decision.”

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City: The Gap Temporarily Reduced

Crystal Palace welcomed champions Manchester City to Selhurst Park in the ninth round of the Premier League season on Saturday evening.

The Eagles surprised quite a few people by gaining 14 points from the eight games before this one, including a win over Manchester United at Old Trafford.  Meanwhile, City haven’t exactly kicked off their title defence the way they’d have wanted to, with defeats away to Norwich City and at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as a home draw with Tottenham Hotspur, meaning that the unwavering Liverpool entered the round with an eight-point advantage over them.

Team News

Palace boss Roy Hodgson was without his first-choice goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, as well as defenders Martin Kelly and Mamadou Sakho, and forward Connor Wickham.

Wayne Hennessey stood between the posts. Gary Cahill and James Tomkins paired up at the back, with Joel Ward and Patrick van Aanholt on the defensive flanks. Luka Milivojevic was there to protect the back four, with Cheikhou Kouyate and James McArthur next to him. Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp supported Jordan Ayew upfront.

Pep Guardiola in the away dugout was without defenders Aymeric Laporte, Nicolas Otamendi and Kyle Walker, but John Stones was back in contention. Winger Leroy Sane remains out with a long-term knee injury and won’t be back before the turn of the year.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss chose a 3-5-2 system, an extremely attacking one even according to his standards, with no natural centre-backs in the starting lineup at all. Ederson Moraes was in goal. Fernandinho was the central defender, flanked by Mendy and Joao Cancelo. Rodri anchored the midfield with De Bruyne and Gundogan in more advanced position, and the two Silvas out wide; David on the left, Bernardo on the right. Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus paired up in attack.

The First Half

City opened the game with much possession, as they usually do, pushing the hosts far back. But their first effort came in the seventh minute as a mistake by Milivojevic allowed D. Silva to shoot from the edge of the box – straight at Hennessey.

Nonetheless, the visitors continued in the same rhythm while Palace seemed content with dropping back, defending in numbers and looking for counterattacking opportunities. At the stroke of nine minutes, Schlupp held the ball up well in City’s half and drew a foul from Cancelo. The ball was chipped into the box and it could have been dangerous, but the Eagles made a mess of it and City’s domination continued.

The visitors created a great opportunity in the 15th minute by playing a nice combination down the right and De Bruyne whipped in a low ball across the six yards in his trademark style, but Palace defended well. A cunning shot by B. Silva followed that, but Hennessey was alert.

City were slowly cranking the pressure up, breaking through the opposition lines and entering the box more frequently than before, causing the home side to panic on occasion. Palace had another attempt to charge suddenly through Zaha on the right, but Fernandinho was quick to put the fire out.

The game continued in much the same way as before, but in the 25th minute, Fernandinho went down in need of medical assistance. Guardiola got John Stones to prepare to come on, but there was no need in the end.

In the period that followed, Palace managed to gain more possession and move into City’s half with more determination, and in the 32nd minute they won a free-kick in a great position for a right-footed shooter, some 25 yards out. Milivojevic stepped up and hit the wall, not only wasting a good opportunity but also enabling City to recompose themselves and push his team back again.

However, Palace also seemed more focused towards the end of the half. They were very disciplined in their defending, and the creative spark of Manchester City, usually so hard to deal with, was now being stifled and the champions were forced to move along a wide circle and send crosses in. But after one such cross from the right by B. Silva, Jesus flung himself and headed in off the post, with Tomkins too slow to react and Hennessey unable to save it.

0-1.

The goal gave the visitors such a boost that they doubled their advantage within two minutes. De Bruyne pulled the ball forward, Jesus and Mendy were involved, and eventually Sterling lifted a beautifully lobbed pass over Tomkins for D. Silva to latch onto at six yards. The Spaniard made no mistake from there.

0-2.

There was some controversy in the 44th minute as De Bruyne caught Kouyate with a raised foot, and referee Anthony Taylor refused to book the Belgian despite Palace players urging him to, even though he had already booked Milivojevic for much less.

All these moments, the foul and the two goals shortly preceding it, took the sting off the Palace attacks and made them even more toothless than before, and even when City allowed them to move forward, they had no ideas.

The Second Half

The second period started with notable tension, and less than 60 seconds in, Sterling earned a yellow card after a sharp altercation with Ward. Soon after, Palace had a good chance to threaten from a set-piece again, but Milivojevic wasted another free-kick with a poor cross. It was a poor day’s work from the Serbia international.

City had a good chance to increase their lead further through Sterling in the 52nd minute, and even though his low shot from inside the box went just wide of the target, it became clear that the visitors were determined to settle the game beyond doubt as soon as possible. Sterling came close once more just three minutes later, but he missed the target again.

Hodgson’s first move of the game was to replace Schlupp, who simply wasn’t involved in the game at all in the second half, with Andros Townsend.

The game entered a calmer phase at that point, but that suited the visitors fine. They had the lead and took possession of the ball, weaving their passing game in their usual way and searching for gaps in the Palace wall they could possibly exploit. They also played their smart game off the ball, winning it back by forcing fouls from opponents; sometimes even successfully acting them out.

In the 62nd minute, De Bruyne broke into the box and went down after contact with Zaha and VAR was called into action to decide on a possible penalty, but it wasn’t given.

Five minutes later, a great combination between Jesus and Cancelo resulted with the Brazilian taking a shot from a great position inside the box, but Hennessey made a great save which he followed up with another one from B. Silva soon after.

But from the 70th minute on, Palace suddenly sprang into life and pushed City back into their own box. It prompted Hodgson to try and pile on the pressure and Milivojevic made way for Christian Benteke, and the big Belgian almost scored with his first touch of the game as he headed a corner on target, prompting a great save from Ederson.

However, City responded then to the change of pace and they created three great chances in quick succession, but first Hennessey denied Jesus with De Bruyne screaming at the Brazilian for not seeing him free on the far post, and then Sterling made a mess of a great team move by firing far from the target from close range, before De Bruyne’s header hit the post.

But City got what they wanted. They regained dominion and entered the final stage of the game not only with a two-goal lead, but also with a great level of control over the proceedings. With Milivojevic out, Kouyate and McArthur took over the holding role together in a 4-4-2.

The same thing was happening in the last minutes of the second half which happened in the last minutes of the first – Palace were losing their focus and they allowed City to create a few more good chances, but neither Cancelo nor Sterling managed to find the net. With two minutes to go, however, Zaha danced his way into the box and made Ederson work hard to save his shot, with Benteke failing to redirect it into the net from a tight angle on the rebound.

The referee added only three minutes and though Palace tried to make something happen, it was too late.

The Afterthought

The defending champions were the better team in this game, that much was clear. Their quality, street-wise approach and desire to win were all clear to be seen, but it still didn’t seem quite the same as the City team which won the last two Premier League titles with a combined total of 198 points.

They were obviously dominant, but it was more that they took advantage of quite a few things going wrong for the home side than anything else. It was certainly strange, the way the Eagles collectively performed in this game. It seemed as if they were awed by the formidable opponent, even though this season had already shown that they can be beaten; even though they beat that same opponent last season.

Be that as it may, Palace remain on 14 points which now leaves them in sixth place, and they will still be happy with that. City have now reduced the gap to league leaders Liverpool to five points, at least until the Merseysiders come to their town to face United on Sunday.

Match Report

CRYSTAL PALACE: Hennessey 8, Tomkins 6 (86′ Dann N/A), Cahill 6, Ward 6.5, Van Aanholt 6.5, Milivojevic 4 (76′ Benteke 7), Kouyate 6.5, McArthur 6, Schlupp 5.5 (56′ Townsend 7), Zaha 7, Ayew 6.5.

MANCHESTER CITY: Ederson 7.5, Fernandinho 7, Cancelo 7.5, Mendy 6.5, Rodri 7, Gundogan 6.5, De Bruyne 7.5 (90′ Foden N/A), D. Silva 7.5 (80′ Stones N/A), B. Silva 7, Sterling 8, Jesus 7.5.

GOALS: Jesus 39′, D. Silva 41′.

YELLOW CARDS: Milivojevic 13′, Sterling 46′,

REFEREE: Anthony Taylor.

DATE & VENUE: October 19, 2019, Selhurst Park, London.