Socceroos news: Mitch Duke and Tony Vidmar added to Graham Arnold’s set-up ahead of Korea Republic clash

Western Sydney Wanderers attacker Mitch Duke has been called up to Australia‘s national team squad for an upcoming friendly against the Korea Republic. 

Duke replaces Perth Glory attacker Chris Ikonomidis in the Socceroos side with recent scans revealing he needs surgery on a shoulder injury.

While a blow for Ikonomidis, Duke now has a golden chance to play for the green and gold again after a six-year absence.

The 28-year-old last played for Australia in 2013 against Brazil with coach Graham Arnold confident that break between appearances won’t hold him back after his recent club form.

“Mitch has shown us what he is capable of since returning from Japan in January,” Arnold said.

“He made a big impact at Western Sydney Wanderers, scoring four times in 10 appearances.

“He is no stranger to the national team set up and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do during this camp.”

Joining Duke in Australia’s friendly set-up is former Melbourne City assistant coach Tony Vidmar.

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Arnold jumping at the chance to add the ex-Socceroo to his coaching staff after Vidmar’s recent departure from City.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Tony’s experience join us in South Korea,” Arnold said.

“As soon as I heard he was available, I called him and he jumped at the opportunity.” 

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Leeds United’s Qatar takeover talks confirmed in the FT

Marcelo Bielsa

Leeds United & Qatar takeover talks

A potentially massive story was broken by the Financial Times on Saturday night regarding Leeds United.

It’s been a frustrating season for Leeds as they failed to win promotion back to the Premier League.

Leeds’ promotion hopes were finally ended by Derby County in the playoffs.

However, as Leeds prepare for another season in the Championship, rumours of a takeover are swirling.

According to the Financial Times – a news outlet that comes with the highest reputation – Qatar are in talks about investing in the Elland Road club.

What do we know about Qatar’s Leeds interest?

The FT confirm that the Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) have been in talks for “months” with current Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani.

Moreover, the FT carried a quote from an unnamed “person familiar with the talks” about the scope of the takeover talks:

Qatar Sports Investments will be entering English Football, and Leeds is the club of their choice.

Qatar has been looking into the prospects of entering English Football for the past two years.

Of course, the QSI group are already the owners of PSG.

So will QSI invest in Leeds United?

It’s still too early to tell.

The FT report that Leeds could be speaking to up to six possible investors.

In another important note, the FT confirm that Leeds owner Radrizzani is keen to only sell a minority stake in Leeds.

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Also see: Manchester United are ‘very close’ to signing Ajax’s Matthijs de Ligt.

Champions League final tickets: Prices double a week before Tottenham vs Liverpool.

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Costly mistakes halts Perak’s mini revival

Perak suffered their second home defeat of the Super League season after calamitous defending gifted three points to Melaka.

Perak‘s 7-game unbeaten run came to a crashing end following a 3-2 reverse at Perak Stadium at the hands of Melaka. The defeat sees Perak dropping two places from sixth to eighth in the Malaysia Super League standings that will see them head into an international break in the bottom half of the division.

Littered with defensive mistakes throughout the game, it was Khairul Amri’s inability to hold onto Safiq Rahim’s shot in the 75th minute that proved to be the vital mistake. Melaka’s Patrick Reichelt was quick to pounce on the rebound to notch his eighth league goal of the season to seal a memorable win for his team.

Head coach Mehmet Durakovic was left feeling disappointed not to see his team take any points from the match as they have created plenty of goal scoring oppotunities despite the blunders in the defensive side of their game. The Australian will be heading into the break looking to not only piece together broken confidence but also to recharge his tiring side.

“We created so many chances but couldn’t take them. We make a few mistakes and they punished us for it. We win as a team and we lose as a team. I don’t blame nobody even though there were individual mistakes. It’s just one of those days where had we scored, we would have won the game. 

“Of course I’m disappointed because we’re playing at home and you always want to win at home. At the moment, the table is very close. One or two points, you go down. One or two points, you go up. We played so many games in Ramadan, it’s not easy for my players,” said Durakovic in the post-match press conference.

The arrival of Raianderson de Costa Morais and Ronaldo Henrique Silva has seen a upturn in fortunes for the team, who has been struggling to win matches all season. Five goals have been scored between the two of them in the last three matches that Perak has played prior to this defeat.

However the problem on the night could also be pointed at the midfield where Brendan Gan was without his usual partner in Leandro dos Santos. Firdaus Saiyadi is a capable replacement but does not quite offer the same solidity in the centre that the experienced Leandro does.

After the two weeks break, Perak will face PJ City FC and Terengganu FC before a crucial semi-final encounter against Pahang in the FA Cup.


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Reichelt fires Melaka into Top 4

Melaka picked up their 6th win of the MSL season after emerging 3-2 victorious in ding-dong battle against Perak in Ipoh.

Melaka head into the international break on a high after recording a slim win on Perak territory as Filipino Patrick Reichelt grabbed a brace to shoot to the top of the goal scoring charts in the 2019 Malaysia Super League as well as helping his team climb to fourth spot, ahead of Selangor.

The visitors fell behind to a Brendan Gan long range strike before Nazrin Nawi replied with his own version from a free kick. Right before the half time whistle, Reichelt scored his first when he turned Nazirul Naim inside the box and placed the ball beyond Khairul Amri in Perak’s goal.

Perak roared back into contention as J. Parthiban capitalised on Khairul Fahmi’s meek punch to score in the 57th minute. But Melaka had the last laugh as Amri also spilled a catch to allow the alert Reichelt to grab the winner 15 minutes before the end to leave Zainal Abidin Hassan a very happy man heading into the break.

“In the first half we had very good movements with the inclusion of the two new imports. Even though we went behind, the boys showed tremendous fighting spirit and discipline. Again in the second half when Perak got their equaliser, we still created plenty of chances and we looked different from recent games.

“The players did their job well. Just that the fitness levels of the new players maybe aren’t there yet as well some of the understanding to other players. But they did well today. They’ve only been here a couple of days, so there’s a need for them to acclimatise with the whole thing here,” said Zainal in the post-match press conference.

In the match, Melaka paraded their new captures in midfielder Dominic Balic and striker Davy Claude Angan. While still in the initial stage, Balic looked to have started off on the right note in his partnership with the experienced Safiq Rahim at the centre of midfield in this away win.

Immediately after the 2-week break, Melaka will welcome teams lower than them in the league standings and will fancy their chances of picking up more points to continue the positive momentum they’ve built. Terengganu FC at Hang Jebat Stadium will be the first opponent on June 16 before traveling to face Kuala Lumpur on June 19.


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Wayen Rooney salvages draw as D.C. United moves top of the Eastern Conference

The capital side sits a point clear atop the East after earning a draw on the road against the New England Revolution

Wayne Rooney helped D.C. United claim a dramatic late draw in MLS on Saturday, while the Philadelphia Union suffered a surprise loss.

Rooney’s 90th-minute penalty saw D.C. secure a 1-1 draw against New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

New England goalkeeper Matt Turner was sent off in the 56th minute after a heavy challenge on Rooney, but the home side still took the lead through a Juan Agudelo header.

However, Rooney stepped up to convert a late spot-kick as United took a one-point lead atop the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia could have moved top, but suffered a 3-1 loss at home to the Portland Timbers.

Brian Fernandez scored a first-half brace, heading in an Andy Polo cross before completing a wonderful team move for his and the club’s second. 

Diego Valeri’s brilliant curling strike from 20 yards sealed Portland’s win after Kacper Przybylko had pulled a goal back for the Union.

The defeat ended Philadelphia’s six-match unbeaten run.

Elsewhere, the New York Red Bulls stretched their unbeaten streak to four games by beating Cincinnati 2-0, though they left it late. 

Kaku opened the scoring 78 minutes in with Omir Fernandez​ putting the match to bed in stoppage time. 

Minnesota United edged the Houston Dynamo 1-0 thanks to a Romain Metanire strike and the Vancouver Whitecaps overcame Dallas 2-1 and the Chicago Fire drew 1-1 against New York City.

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Nicolas Mezquida’s late goal lifted the Colorado Rapids to a 3-2 victory over Columbus Crew in what proved to be a thrilling final match of the night. 

Tommy Smith and Pedro Santos traded goals in the first half hour with Jonathan Lewis netting just before halftime to send the Rapids to the break with a 2-1 lead. 

Gyasi Zardes​ pulled the Crew back level before the hour mark only for Mezquida​ to net the winner in the final minutes of regular time. 

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Liverpool news: Liverpool want to be winning multiple trophies like Man City – Jordan Henderson

The midfielder is eager to see the club start winning numerous trophies every campaign to match the likes of Pep Guardiola’s side

Jordan Henderson wants to see Liverpool emulate Manchester City and start winning multiple trophies every season.

Liverpool face Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on Saturday looking to secure their first piece of silverware since 2012.

City claimed a domestic treble this season, including the Premier League, a campaign after winning two trophies.

Henderson, whose side were beaten in last season’s Champions League final, is eager to see Jurgen Klopp’s men become similarly successful.

“City have won three trophies this year, and that’s where we want to be,” the Liverpool captain reporters.

“We don’t want to be going for just one cup or title, we want to be winning more and more each year.

“If you look at City, they don’t stop at one trophy, they are picking up two or three a season, and that’s something this club should really be doing. That’s the aim, anyway.”

City denied Liverpool in the Premier League this season, despite the Reds securing 97 points.

Henderson insisted his team had moved on and he hopes they can make the most of their European chance at the Wanda Metropolitano.

“We can’t change what happened in the Premier League now, but we can change what we do in the final,” he said.

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“I think we were all disappointed for a couple of days, but football changes so quickly and so does your focus. And there’s nothing better to make you focus than a Champions League final.

“This is obviously a big opportunity for us – and we really want to finish this season with a trophy.

“If that doesn’t happen, it will be really hard to take, but at the same time we can still look forward to what comes in the seasons ahead.”

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‘Optimist’ Niko Kovac praises Bayern for doing ‘great things’ to turn season around

The Bavarian club’s turnaround this season showed the their mental strength, according to their head coach

Niko Kovac hailed Bayern Munich for turning their season around after completing a double by winning the DFB-Pokal on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski’s brace and a Kingsley Coman goal saw Bayern secure a 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the decider.

After being under enormous pressure late last year, Kovac led the German giants to a Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal.

Asked if he thought Bayern would win two titles this season, Kovac praised his team and said he never gave up hope.

“If I said yes now, than you would say I am completely crazy,” he told a news conference.

“At Bayern you always go into a season with the goal to win titles. We were far behind but this team did great things later.

“The game against Benfica was the turnaround. We won 5-1 at the end of November. Since then we have only lost two matches, one against [Bayer] Leverkusen in the Bundesliga and one against Liverpool at home. So, you always have to believe.

“I am an optimist, not a dreamer. We needed to stabilise ourselves early in the season and we made it. If you give up, then you cannot achieve this. This is the strength of this team, of this club.

“But this also represents my character. I don’t know how to give up, even if it was that difficult. Giving up is the first way to fail. It does not exist for me.”

Kovac, contracted at Bayern until 2021, is set to remain at the helm after the double success, with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge comfirming as much after the match

The Croatian said he was looking forward to a break before beginning preparations for the 2019-20 campaign.

“I am happy that this year got a happy end. I am looking forward to the holidays. The season was tough,” Kovac said.

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“I’m not thinking about when the next season starts. Now I need two or three weeks to relax and get mentally ready again.

“We will work again to prepare for next season. We will plan our training and our transfers.”


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Eden Hazard could light up the field in Chelsea colours for one last time

The Belgian could be playing his last game in Chelsea colours as Real Madrid move is imminent ….

As London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea gear up for their biggest game of the season, Eden Hazard could be staring at his last appearance with the Blues.

The Belgian has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid and Chelsea might just have to accept the inevitable.

Hazard will be looking to ensure that the tears of sorrow running down the face of Chelsea faithfuls are mixed with that of ecstasy and nostalgia as he hopes to light up the field in Chelsea colours for one last time.

The 28-year-old has won everything in England with Chelsea – the Premier League in the 2014/15 and 2016/17 season, the FA Cup in 2018 and the EFL Cup in 2015. The Champions League has eluded the magician at Chelsea, but he now has a chance to finish things at the European level just how he started in his debut season – by winning the Europa League.

HD Eden Hazard Chelsea Premier League

The Blues last won the competition in the 2012/13 season but Hazard was not the cynosure of that team. However, currently, Hazard is the heartbeat of Chelsea.

Hazard has scored 108 goals from 351 appearances for Chelsea across all competition throughout the seven seasons he has been with the club. He is widely accepted as one of the world’s best playmakers and he has been on fire this season, providing 15 assists in the Premier League. No player in the top five European Leagues has provided more.

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Hazard has arguably been Chelsea’s best player this decade and he will be eager to top it by handing them the Europa League trophy while their fiercest rivals stand helplessly and applaud him for his wonderful career in England.

Having spent seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, Hazard will want to ensure that he bids adieu to the Blues with a title if the rumours of him moving to Madrid are true.

Here’s how to watch the Europa League final LIVE from SouthEast Asia

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‘My happiest day as a Valencianista’ – Marcelino & Parejo thrilled with Copa del Rey triumph

Valencia’s manager and skipper could not hide their delight after a 2-1 win over Barcelona handed the club their first trophy since 2008

Valencia manager Marcelino has praised his players’ togetherness following their 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday night.

The 53-year-old could not contain his joy after goals from Kevin Gameiro and Rodrigo proved enough to hand his side their first domestic honour since 2008.

Marcelino called himself the happiest man on the planet after his players hung on to deny Barca, who pulled a goal back through Lionel Messi, what would have been their fifth consecutive Copa del Rey triumph.

“I am the happiest man in the world at a professional level,” Marcelino told Teledeporte.

“This year we started badly, and (despite) that struggle, the players did not split. 

“Look at today – with the help of everyone, they gave me the opportunity to win a title, and the affection with the fans is mutual.”

Valencia captain Dani Parejo was also full of praise for the belief which carried the players through to victory, while the significance of the club winning the trophy in their centenary year was also not lost on the midfielder.

The 30-year-old, who made his debut for Spain in March last year, has been at the Mestalla Stadium since 2011, and was overjoyed to finally get his hands on a piece of major silverware.     

“It’s my happiest day as a Valencianista,” he told TVE. “I’m very happy, for me and my family. 

“I’ve been here for eight years and I’ve had a lot of bad times, but a club like this deserves a lot more joys like that. 

“It’s amazing, the people, the welcome … we have to give thanks to the people, to my teammates, to the club and to all of us.”

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He also acknowledged the achievement as the ideal way to mark the club’s 100th anniversary, saying: “We have made history in a very significant year.

“You cannot ask for more. The year was incredible whatever happened, and I thank the people, because from the beginning they always believed, and I always believed.

“The party is for everyone – it’s incredible.”

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