Man City snap Liverpool winning streak to reignite title race

first_imgSane threatened first with a pacey burst down the left and rising drive that Alisson Becker parried.But City recycled possession and Aguero beat Dejan Lovren to Bernardo Silva’s cross before firing into the roof of the net to score for the seventh time in seven home league games against Liverpool.Despite a combination of nerves and fatigue at the end of a gruelling festive period, the game truly came to life in a pulsating second-half.City had claims for a penalty waived away when Raheem Sterling tumbled under a challenge from Andy Robertson before the Scot was to play a vital part Liverpool’s equaliser.One Liverpool full-back picked out another as Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross was met perfectly by Robertson to square for Firmino to head into an empty net.Pep Guardiola had his head in his hands when a slack pass from Sane set Liverpool free on the counter-attack moments later, but within seconds the German showed what he is capable of as he latched on Sterling’s pass before firing in off the far post.Alisson demonstrated why Liverpool spent a then world record £67 million for a goalkeeper in July to bolster their title chances with a brilliant save from Aguero as the Argentine tried to round him at the end of a blistering City counter-attack.Seconds later it was the turn of his understudy in the Brazil side to make a huge save as Ederson denied Salah as tempers flared with Guardiola furious a free-kick wasn’t awarded City’s way before the Egyptian broke clear.Sterling then wasted a great chance to ensure City didn’t have to see out a tense five minutes of stoppage time, but the hosts held out to put the title back up for grabs.Share on: WhatsApp Manchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Manchester City inflicted Liverpool’s first Premier League defeat of the season to breathe new life into their title defence with a 2-1 victory at the Etihad on Thursday.City now trail Jurgen Klopp’s men by just four points thanks to Leroy Sane’s winner 18 minutes from time after Roberto Firmino had cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s first-half opener for the hosts.A run of nine straight league wins had given Liverpool a commanding lead at the top of the table as they edged towards a first top flight title since 1989/90, particularly after City suffered back-to-back shock defeats to Crystal Palace and Leicester to begin the festive season.With no more league meetings between the sides to come, Liverpool’s destiny is still in their own hands, but they will now have the pressure of having a City side that romped to the title with a record 100 points last season on their tails.Jurgen Klopp had predicted a “thunderstorm” of a start from the champions to match the Champions League quarter-final second leg between the sides last season when City roared into an early lead before Liverpool fought back to win 2-1 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.However, despite City’s dominance of possession, it was Liverpool who looked the more assured in the early stages.And only the finest of margins denied the visitors the lead on 19 minutes when Sadio Mane burst onto Mohamed Salah’s pass and saw his shot come back off the inside of the post.John Stones then smacked his panicked clearance into City goalkeeper Ederson but the England international redeemed himself by clearing just before all of the ball had crossed the line.City were also handed a reprieve by referee Anthony Taylor when captain Vincent Kompany only saw a yellow card for a wild two-footed lunge on Salah.At the other end Virgil van Dijk was again justifying his tag as the world’s most expensive defender to keep City’s array of attacking talent quiet with he Dutchman standing tall to block David Silva’s effort.However, a Liverpool defence that had not conceded twice in the same game all season in the league before kick-off was breached when City managed to free Aguero from Van Dijk’s shackles.last_img read more

Continue reading

Ronaldo avoids jail but hit by hefty fine for tax fraud in Spain

first_imgRonaldo is one of several footballers to have fallen foul of Spain’s tax authorities in recent years.Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, once Ronaldo’s big La Liga rival, paid a two-million-euro fine in 2016 in his own tax wrangle and received a 21-month jail term.The prison sentence was later reduced to a further fine of 252,000 euros, equivalent to 400 euros per day of the original term.His former Real Madrid team-mate Xabi Alonso appeared at the same Madrid court on Tuesday on a separate tax evasion charge.Public prosecutors are seeking a five-year jail sentence and a fine of four million euros.The trial was suspended while the court considers whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case.– Accused of rape in US –The recent crackdown on high-profile footballers follows the removal of a tax exemption in 2010. Known as the “Beckham law” after former Madrid player David Beckham, it had allowed footballers to curb their taxes.Ronaldo is also facing accusations in the United States where a former American model accused him of raping her in Las Vegas in 2009.Police in the US city recently asked Italian authorities for a DNA sample from the footballer.Ronaldo has always denied the accusations.In a New Year’s Eve interview with Portuguese sports daily Record, he said he had a “calm conscience” and was “confident that everything will very soon be clarified”. Madrid, Spain | AFP | Cristiano Ronaldo avoided jail on Tuesday but was ordered by a Spanish court to pay 3.57 million euros ($4.1 million) for committing tax fraud when he was at Real Madrid.The court sentenced him to a two-year jail sentence that it immediately reduced to a fine of 365,000 euros, which adds on to another penalty of 3.2 million euros, the sentence read.A court spokesman said he did not know whether this would be added on to the 18.8 million euros that Ronaldo had agreed to pay Spain’s taxman under a deal reached in June with the player’s lawyers.Ronaldo, who last year joined Italian champions Juventus, returned to Madrid for a brief court appearance which lasted around 40 minutes as the deal was officially presented to the judge.“I am very well,” the five-time Ballon d’Or winner told the crowd of reporters gathered outside of the court in northeastern Madrid as he left the hearing. He signed a few autographs before leaving in a black van.The presiding judge refused the player’s request to appear by video or to enter the building by car to avoid the spotlight.Ronaldo, 33, smiled broadly as he arrived at the court dressed in black trousers, a black turtleneck and dark sunglasses, holding hands with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez.He had played for Juventus on Monday night, missing a penalty as the Italian league leaders eased past bottom club Chievo 3-0.– Offshore companies –Madrid prosecutors opened a probe into Ronaldo in June 2017 and he was questioned in July that same year.“I have never hidden anything, nor have I had the intention of evading taxes,” he told the court then, according to a statement from the sports agency which represents him, Gestifute.Prosecutors accuse him of having used companies in low-tax foreign jurisdictions — notably the British Virgin Islands and Ireland — to avoid paying the tax due in Spain on payments for his image rights between 2011 and 2014.His lawyers said there had been a difference in interpretation of what was and was not taxable in Spain, and deny any deliberate attempt to evade tax.The deal between Spain’s tax authorities and his lawyers allowed Ronaldo to avoid sitting through a long trial that could have damaged his image and seen him handed a heftier sentence. FILE PHOTO: Ronaldo and girlfriend arrive in Madrid for court hearing. PHOTO AFP.center_img Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Continue reading