Doumbia denies making Toure remarks

25 October 2013 17:30

CSKA Moscow striker Seydou Doumbia insists he did not accuse Yaya Toure of exaggerating when alleging he was the victim of racist abuse.

UEFA have launched an investigation after Manchester City midfielder Toure claimed CSKA fans subjected him to monkey chants during Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League clash at Arena Khimki.

Doumbia was subsequently quoted as saying his fellow Ivorian had overreacted when he spoke out after the game.

But the 25-year-old has now denied speaking to the press after the Russian side were consigned to a 2-1 defeat by City.

A statement on Doumbia’s Facebook fanpage read: “I want to clarify my position after my Ivory Coast team mate and friend Yaya Toure accused CSKA fans of racism.

“I want to insist that I did not talk to any journalist about these facts so none of the quotes you read in the press came from me.”

UEFA president Michel Platini requested an internal investigation on Friday to discover why referee Ovidiu Hategan allowed the game to continue despite Toure claiming to have informed him of the alleged chanting.

The governing body have a three-step protocol that states that referees should halt the game if they become aware of racial abuse and an announcement should then by made over the public address system warning fans to “desist from such racist behaviour”.

If the abuse continues, the official has the power to then suspend and even abandon the match.

Coloccini close to Newcastle comeback

25 October 2013 17:06

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew has revealed captain Fabricio Coloccini could return from injury to face Sunderland.

Newcastle travel to the Stadium of Light on Sunday to meet their bitter rivals and will be looking to avenge a 3-0 defeat when the sides last met in April at St James’ Park.

Defender Coloccini missed last Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool after picking up a groin injury on international duty with Argentina.

It had been feared that the 31-year-old would be on the sidelines for eight weeks, but he could yet make a surprise return.

“Colo has had a really good week,” Pardew said.

“If he’s ready I’ve got no hesitation about putting him in.

“If not against Sunderland, against Chelsea or Manchester City.”

Coloccini’s prospective comeback would boost a defence already depleted by the suspension of Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who was sent off against Liverpool.

Steven Taylor is still struggling with a hamstring problem and Pardew will wait to decide whether to include the Englishman in his squad.

“Steven Taylor has trained and we are going to see whether he’s going to start on Sunday,” Pardew added.

“We will have to make the choice tomorrow (Saturday) or Sunday, whenever we think it’s right to make that decision.

“It will be touch and go for both of those guys (Coloccini and Taylor).”

Clarke: West Brom unfazed by Suarez, Sturridge threat

25 October 2013 17:02

Steve Clarke says his West Brom side are undaunted by the prospect of facing in-form Liverpool duo Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

The forwards have struck up a fruitful partnership for Liverpool, scoring ten goals between them in the Premier League this season.

Their combination continued in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw away at Newcastle United, with Suarez laying on Sturridge’s equaliser 18 minutes from time.

But West Brom are on a five-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, and will take confidence from the fact they have beaten the Merseysiders in their last three top-flight encounters.

And Clarke – a former first-team coach at Liverpool – says his charges will show no fear in Saturday’s encounter at Anfield, and will be ready for the challenge posed by Suarez and Sturridge.

“We will go to Anfield with confidence, being five games unbeaten,” he said. “We’re never daunted by going to the big grounds and we go to these places with the intention of winning the game.

“That’s the frame of mind you have to approach these games in. You have to know that you’re good enough to go to somewhere like Anfield and compete. If you go with an inferiority complex, you’re beaten before you even get there.

“It will be a difficult game. Liverpool are a different team to last season and have started this season well.

“Our games against them last season are good memories but are no reference to what will happen this season.

“Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez deserve all the praise they get. Having said that, I don’t think Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley will be losing any sleep on Friday night worrying about facing them.

“Our players will be looking forward to the challenge of keeping those players quiet.”

Juve chief denies Prandelli reports

25 October 2013 16:39

Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta insists the Turin giants are not lining up Italy coach Cesare Prandelli to replace Antonio Conte.

The Serie A champions are reported to be ready to offer Prandelli a return to club football after the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next year.

But Marotta has denied that Juve have any intention of parting company with Conte, who has guided the club to back-to-back Scudettos since his appointment in May 2011.

“The voices of Prandelli instead of Conte in the future are absolutely unfounded, are market rumours.” Marotta said at a shareholders’ meeting.

“Conte has a contract that expires in 2015, with whom we have a great relationship, we are very pleased with his job. So imagine that we are devoting ourselves looking for another coach is a thing out of all truth.”

Juve are third in Serie A, five points behind leaders Roma, and are also third in UEFA Champions League Group B after failing to win in their first three matches in Europe’s premier club competition.

Former Fiorentina coach Prandelli guided Italy to the final of the UEFA European Championships last year, but is reported to be ready to step down after the World Cup.

Ibrahimovic escapes punishment for ´gun gesture´

25 October 2013 16:33

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has escaped a ban for his controversial gesture during Paris Saint-Germain’s clash with Toulouse in September.

The Sweden international was accused of imitating firing a gun towards the Toulouse bench in the Ligue 1 clash, which PSG won 2-0.

Ibrahimovic’s actions were met with disapproval by the French game’s governing body, the LFP, who summoned the former Barcelona and Inter man before a disciplinary committee.

However, the 32-year-old has escaped any serious punishment, with the LFP opting to reprimand the in-form striker.

An LFP statement read: “Upon hearing the player’s representative Olivier Letang and Mr Roman Voillemot (Counsel) and reading the letter of explanation from Toulouse FC, the commission has sanctioned for Mr Zlatan Ibrahimovic a reprimand for his inappropriate gesture towards the Toulouse FC bench.”

The decision means that Ibrahimovic can travel with the squad for the trip to Saint-Etienne this weekend, to face a side who took four points off PSG last term.

Coach Laurent Blanc will hope that the Swede can continue his superb recent form as they look to cement their place at the top of the table.

Ibrahimovic has scored 11 goals this season, with six of those coming in PSG’s last two victories against Bastia and Anderlecht.