Arsenal Ladies 1-0 Chelsea Ladies

 Posted by at 10:53 PM
May 142016

Media playback is not supported on this device

Highlights: Arsenal Ladies 1-0 Chelsea Ladies

Danielle Carter’s goal delivered a record 14th Women’s FA Cup trophy for Arsenal as they dominated holders Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.

Carter, who clipped a first-minute chance onto the roof of the net, gave the Gunners a deserved early lead with a fine solo run and curled finish.

Asisat Oshoala then spurned three good chances to double Arsenal’s lead.

Fran Kirby wasted Chelsea’s best opening in front of a record Women’s FA Cup final crowd of 32,912.

The England striker lacked direction with her first-half strike after running through, allowing goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal to save at the near post.

Ji So-Yun also went close after the break, shooting wide following their first corner after 70 minutes but the Gunners were excellent value for the victory.

Relive Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea

The crowd at Wembley on Saturday beat last year’s record final crowd of 30,710

Midfield mobility

Arsenal’s greater mobility, movement in midfield and high-pressing was key to their fast start.

Jordan Nobbs, Fara Williams and Carter were key in denying space and stopping the supply line to Chelsea’s front four.

Holding duo Katie Chapman and Drew Spence were constantly harassed and crowded out, meaning last year’s Wembley matchwinner Ji was starved of possession.

Carter class

The high-tempo approach set the tone for Arsenal’s impressive display and the margin of victory – against a Blues side who had won all seven of their matches so far this season – should have been greater.

Carter’s sensational first-half strike was a fitting way to win an intriguing final in front of a record crowd.

Some nimble footwork saw her cut inside Hannah Blundell and send a glorious strike curling into the far post.

But the Gunners wasted numerous chances to avoid a nervy finale.

The most notable opportunities fell to the otherwise excellent Oshoala, who wasted two good chances when through on goal, and Josephine Henning, who headed wide from a corner after the interval.

Chelsea goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl denies Asisat Oshoala, who was voted BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2015

Experience prevails

Ultimately Carter’s eye-catching goal was enough but Kelly Smith’s contribution was just as vital.

The England legend’s inclusion raised a few eyebrows but her composure and quality shone through.

The 37-year-old was increasingly influential, finding and creating space in the centre of the pitch and picking out willing runners time and time again.

At the other end Chelsea’s key player Ji, and her fellow attackers Kirby, Karen Carney and Gemma Davison were peripheral figures.

Kirby should have scored when Chelsea had their best spell just after going behind, and Davison made several dangerous runs, but the end product was lacking and Arsenal were not to be denied.

Player reaction

Arsenal and England defender Casey Stoney: “It’s probably the greatest moment in my career.

“I’m so proud of my team today, we stepped up and we won it.

“We got our tactics spot-on and we deserved to win it today.”

Arsenal club captain Kelly Smith: “The team were outstanding today, from the first minute to the last minute we really turned up.

“We wanted the cup back and we’re really pleased with how the performance went.

“This is the cup that we all want to be involved in and an occasion like this is an unreal experience and one I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed

May 142016
Rafael Benitez is believed to have a break clause in the three-year contract he signed with Newcastle

Rafael Benitez says he could continue as Newcastle manager after holding “positive” discussions with the relegated Premier League club.

The Magpies’ second relegation to the Championship in seven years was confirmed on Wednesday.

Benitez, 56, succeeded the sacked Steve McClaren in March, winning two of his nine league games in charge.

“If I’m here and discussing it, it’s because there is a chance, we have to keep talking,” said the Spaniard.

“It could take a couple of weeks maximum.”

The ex-Liverpool, Chelsea and Real Madrid manager is believed to have a break clause in the three-year contract he signed after McClaren’s departure.

The club were 19th when he took over, but he could not save them despite claiming 10 points from nine games.

They were relegated by local rivals Sunderland’s victory over Everton on Wednesday.

Former Magpies captain Alan Shearer said on Thursday he would be “amazed” if Benitez was still in charge next season.

But Benitez offered hope that he might stay when asked about his future in a news conference ahead of Sunday’s final game of the season against Tottenham.

“We will have more meetings. The things that have been said have been positive and we will continue to have meetings,” added Benitez.

“I want the same as the fans – a successful team, a strong team and to get promoted to the Premier League as soon as possible.”

Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed

Derby County 0-3 Hull City

 Posted by at 8:45 PM
May 142016
Abel Hernandez scored first for Hull, netting his 22nd goal of the season

Hull City took a big step towards the Championship play-off final with a convincing victory at Derby County in the first leg of their semi-final.

Abel Hernandez scored from 25 yards and Moses Odubajo’s effort deflected in off Derby’s Jason Shackell as the Tigers took control before half-time.

Andy Robertson added a third on the counter-attack in second-half stoppage time.

The second leg will take place at Hull’s KCOM Stadium on Tuesday.

Derby were the only team to win a Championship game at Hull during the regular season, and must be victorious there again to stand any chance of reaching the play-off final at Wembley on 28 May.

Derby’s day to forget

Derby must overcome a three-goal deficit to reach a second play-off final in three seasons

The Rams lost in the last minute of the 2014 Wembley final and missed out on a top-six spot on the final day of the season a year later.

A tepid display in the home leg of their semi-final, against a Hull team over whom they completed a league double in 2015-16, left them with little chance of reaching the final.

For all of their early pressure, Derby were unable to test Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic – a late addition to the starting line-up after Allan McGregor suffered a back injury in training on Thursday.

Bradley Johnson gave away possession in the build-up to Hull’s first goal, while the second came with a degree of poor fortune as goalkeeper Scott Carson was powerless to keep out Odubajo’s hugely deflected shot five minutes before half-time.

Jacob Butterfield’s tame shot from distance was Derby’s first effort on target – with 10 minutes remaining – and was greeted by ironic cheers from the home supporters, who booed loudly as Robertson’s excellent finish almost put the outcome of the semi-final beyond doubt.

Hernandez hits form

Abel Hernandez has scored in five of his last six appearances for Hull City

Hull’s top scorer Hernandez scored his 22nd goal of the season to put his side ahead in their semi-final first leg.

The Uruguay international went through a lean spell, going nine appearances without a goal between February and April, but has returned to form in recent weeks.

Four goals in his last five outings of the regular season helped Hull finish fourth in the table, and the 25-year-old striker netted for his fourth game in succession to take the Tigers closer to an immediate return to the Premier League following relegation last term.


Steve Claridge, ex-Leicester striker, on BBC Radio 5 live:

“I am absolutely stunned. I thought this was going to be a close tie. Everything Hull have done has worked perfectly; everything Derby have done has just not worked.

“Hull are the team that have looked the more dangerous going forward. At 3-0 you fear for Derby in the second leg; there is nothing for them to play for.”

Manager reaction

Media playback is not supported on this device

Wassall on Derby County v Hull City

Derby head coach Darren Wassall: “It’s not the result we wanted and certainly not the result we expected, considering how well we’ve played at home over the last few weeks.

“We’ve got two choices – we can either throw the towel in now, which is not what we’re going to do, or we can regroup, show some character and resilience and dust ourselves down and go again on Tuesday.

“That is what we’re going to do because we can’t end the season on a performance like that.”

Media playback is not supported on this device

Bruce on Derby County v Hull City

Hull manager Steve Bruce: “In big games you want your big players to turn up and I thought today our experience certainly showed.

“It was a really, really good performance from start to finish – which in a big game is great to see.

“We know we’re capable of that but what we have got in our locker is complacency, and we’ve got to guard against that on Tuesday.”

Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed

May 142016
Scala was confirmed as Fifa’s audit and committee chairman in 2013

Domenico Scala, Fifa’s head of auditing and compliance, has resigned in protest at reforms at the governing body of world football.

Scala is angry the new Fifa council will have the ability to appoint and sack those in charge of its committees, including auditing, ethics and finance.

The council replaced the Fifa executive committee in the aftermath of a corruption scandal at the organisation.

Committees had been “deprived of their independence”, said Scala.

The Swiss added it would now be possible for the council to “impede” investigations by either dismissing committee members or “through the threat of a dismissal”.

This, he added, “undermines a central pillar of the good governance of Fifa and destroys a substantial achievement of the reforms”.

Scala has played a key role in pushing through reforms after the scandals that prompted the departures of former Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa counterpart Michel Platini.

Blatter, who had led Fifa since 1998, stood down last year and was later suspended from football for six years for breaching ethics guidelines.

Platini announced earlier this week he would be stepping down after failing to have a six-year ban from football overturned by a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel.

The first Fifa congress led by new president Gianni Infantino, who succeeded Blatter in February, took place in Mexico City on Thursday and Friday.

During the congress, Fifa elected its first female secretary general with the appointment of Senegal’s Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura.

She succeeds Jerome Valcke, who in February was banned from football-related activity for 12 years.


BBC sports editor Dan Roan

“This is the last thing Gianni Infantino needed less than three months into his presidency.

“Domenico Scala has established himself as the architect of Fifa’s crucial reform programme and his decision to quit is a severe blow to the new leadership’s attempts to show the organisation has learned from the corruption crisis that led to Infantino’s election, and is finally serious about improving its governance.

“Scala is furious a surprise vote on Friday at the Fifa congress in Mexico City means he and other key corruption watchdogs who chair independent committees are now able to be sacked by the new-look Fifa council.

“This body was meant to be a less powerful version of the infamous executive committee it replaced, but the measure has actually given it even more clout than before.”

Powered By | Full Text RSS Feed