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Barcelona Are Back! Xavi’s Masterplan Comes To Life In Clasico Crushing Of Real Madrid | Football/Soccer

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The Blaugrana ran out 4-0 winners at Santiago Bernabeu, and should have scored plenty more, in what was a dominant display at the home of their rivals.

Everybody could see it happening, piece by piece, but nobody fully believed it, until now.

Xavi Hernandez has resurrected Barcelona; Barca are back.

Their 4-0 destruction of Real Madrid at a broken Santiago Bernabeu will go down with other historic results, like the 6-2 in 2009 or the 5-0 in 2010, but perhaps it will prove most similar to the Blaugrana’s 2-1 win in the Spanish capital in 2004.

Xavi scored that night for Barcelona, who did not win the league, but did help Valencia overtake Real Madrid to claim La Lig. More importantly for the Catalans, it kick-started a new era.

After years of suffering at the hands of their eternal rivals, Barca made that night a turning point. Great success followed, but even before the trophies began flooding in, supporters understood how big it was.

Around four thousands fans headed to the airport to greet the team on their return from Madrid, sensing a profound change was coming.

This victory, humiliating for the league leaders but not likely to be damaging to their title hopes given their nine-point advantage on second-place Sevilla, feels similar.

Barcelona had lost their last five Clasicos, four in La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup clash in January, their worst run in the fixture since the 1960s.

That defeat in Saudi Arabia felt significant, a turning point, one which was greeted as such by president Joan Laporta, who praised the team effusively, despite losing.

It was understandable, given the improvement was obvious, albeit still frustrating to lose to your most bitter rivals. Frenkie de Jong, who was stellar at the Bernabeu on Sunday, noted that Barcelona should never be content to lose a Clasico.

It spoke not only to his high standards, but those of Xavi and his team, constantly seeking to improve performances and correct mistakes.

The remarkable thing is how quickly Xavi has breathed life into a Barcelona that managed just two goals in their six Champions League group-stage games and were relegated to the Europa League, while also languishing ninth in the table.

There have been numerous steps forward since Xavi returned ‘home’, with big wins over Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Valencia particular highlights, as well as a general acknowledgement that the team are improving with every game.

The players are increasingly capable of following the system Xavi has set up and the automated moves he wants them to be able to pull off in their sleep.

No longer do Barcelona look blocked and incapable of mentally taking on a game of this size.

Just as they came from behind against Galatasaray in a fiery Istanbul atmosphere on Thursday, they strolled at the Bernabeu, turning it into their garden.

From the dynamic attacking of Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who combined brilliantly for the first goal, to Ferran Torres wandering through Madrid’s shellshocked defence at will, Barca dominated.

They won by four but eight would not have been unfair or unrealistic. This was a ‘baño’ – a bath – for the hosts, and players who looked washed up for Barcelona months ago, the veterans like Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, were elite again, from start to finish.

Xavi is playing a game that suits them, bringing back Pep Guardiola-style football, and suddenly Barca’s elder statesmen look rejuvenated.

Even with the team comfortably dominating the game, Xavi screamed from the touchline, demanding perfection.

He got the decision right to start Ronald Araujo at right-back, with the centre-back handling the electric Vinicius Junior well and netting at the other end to double Barcelona’s lead.

Torres’ movement continues to delight, and even though the Spain international’s finishing has been variable, he brilliantly whipped home the third from Aubameyang’s backheel, before the Gabon international netted the fourth with an exquisite chipped finish.

On top of Xavi’s work, sporting director Mateu Alemany got his calls right in January to bring in the dynamic striking duo, along with Dani Alves and Adama Traore.

Madrid were without Karim Benzema, but even if the Frenchman was fit, the gap between the two sides looked seismic. Ancelotti had changed to a diamond midfield, which may have thrown his players, but Xavi’s Barcelona look capable of beating whoever is put in front of them.

He became the first Barcelona coach to win his first Clasico in La Liga by four goals since Helenio Herrera in 1959, and four felt fitting, given Xavi famously provided four assists in the aforementioned 6-2 win over Madrid in 2009.

Xavi dominated Madrid as a player in that game, and now he has done it again from the technical area. And he’s only just beginning.

This match, though, was a chance for Barcelona to send a message to their rivals. But instead of dropping it through the letter box, they knocked down the door.

 

Source: Goal.com

 

 

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CAF Maintains Decision To Host Champions League Final In Morocco | Football/Soccer

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The Confederation of African Football upheld its decision to hold the final match of its 2022 Champions League in Morocco.

The CAF response came amid a series of objections from the Egyptian Football Federation and the Ahly football club.

The objections emerged after the CAF announced its decision to hold the final in Morocco despite one Moroccan team being in the running to make it to that final.

While Al Ahly football club called on the continental football association to play the match in a ”neutral” country, CAF  said that it took notes of the complaint, stressing the need to stick to its commitment to holding the final in accordance with a decision taken by the previous board of directors in 2019.

CAF added that its rules fit within FIFA’s principles which do not allow changing the competition system.

CAF clarified that Morocco and Senegal met the criteria for hosting the final, whereas Egypt did not submit a bid to host the match.

Following Senegal’s withdrawal, CAF decided to choose Morocco to host the match.

Earlier this week, Al Ahly announced a decision to present an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against the CAF decision.

In a statement, Al Ahly said it hopes that the CAF will be ”keen not to disrupt justice and they will provide CAS with all the required documents that will help in achieving justice.”

Morocco is set to host the final for the second year in a row.

Source: Ghanasoccernet.com

 

 

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.

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Ghanaian Goalkeeper Fatau Dauda Claims Match-Fixing Forced Him To Leave Nigeria | Football/Soccer

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Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda claims that match-fixing is a common occurrence in the Nigeria Professional Football League and that it is the primary reason he left the country.

Dauda joined Nigerian giants Enyimba in 2016 but left after three years.

During his time in Nigeria, the former Black Stars goalkeeper observed that some of his teammates were happy to lose games because they had wagered against the team.

“There’s one particular reason why I finally decided to leave Enyimba FC. It’s all because of betting. Betting can completely destroy football. You know Nigeria is a big country. Sometimes, we can be on the road for two days travelling for an away game.”

“We will go and lose a game but when we come on the bus, you’ll see some players happy. You’ll see some players pressing their phones, and checking score lines of other league games. I later got to find out from one of our guys that some of the players in the team were betting on our matches.

“They were fixing the games. It was shocking. It was the reason I decided to leave because I can’t be part of this and it was a waste of time playing in games when some people have already planned the outcome,” Dauda told Angel TV.

Dauda was reacting to allegations of match-fixing in the Ghana Premier League. The Ghana Football Association has issued a strong warning, claiming that anyone found guilty will face severe punishment.

Dauda is currently without a club following his split from Legon Cities. Earlier this year, he was on the verge of joining Asante Kotoko.

Source: Ghanasoccernet.com

 

 

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2022 World Cup: Ghana FA President Confirms Imminent Appointment Of Otto Addo, Others | Football/Soccer

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Ghana FA president Kurt Okraku has finally confirmed efforts by the football body and other relevant stakeholders to secure the services of interim Black Stars coach Otto Addo and his backroom staff on a long-term basis ahead of the FIFA World Cup later this year.

Otto Addo has received admiration of all relevant stakeholders after successfully masterminding Ghana’s return to the World Cup at the expense of sworn rivals Nigeria in March this year.

Otto Addo, a former Ghana player himself took over the job from Milovan Rajevac on an interim basis after getting approval from the German side Dortmund where he is head of talents.

Now, with qualification secured the FA is happy to extend the contract of Otto Addo and his backroom staff made of the likes of Mas Ud Didi Dramani, George Boateng and Richard Kingston.

The FA president while rubbishing news that the FA wants to engage another person for the job said the long-term appointment of Otto Addo and his technical team is near.

On his Facebook page, he wrote, “Rumour mongering is becoming the order of the day in football…Just to be clear, I do not have a scheduled meeting with Chris Hughton. The FA, having assessed the work of the technical team of the Black Stars, and having engaged all relevant stakeholders, is working to keep Otto, Didi, George and Chris in their respective roles for all immediate assignments.

Official announcement expected shortly. Other need areas of the technical team that the Coach has identified is being addressed.”

Ghana will play Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup.

Source: The Finder

 

 

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Peacefmonline.com. Peacefmonline.com accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.

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