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Chelsea boss Poch apologises to Pep, officials after outburst



Mauricio Pochettino has apologised to Pep Guardiola and the match officials after his furious outburst at the end of Chelsea’s 4-4 draw with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

The Chelsea boss strode onto the pitch at full-time to argue with referee Anthony Taylor about stopping the game when Chelsea were searching for a match-winning fifth goal.

Pochettino failed to shake hands with City manager Guardiola and was booked for remonstrating with Taylor, before being dragged away by two staff members at the end of a pulsating encounter in which his team salvaged a draw through Cole Palmer’s 95th-minute penalty.

“I need to apologise to Anthony [Taylor] and the officials,” said Pochettino. “In this moment, I feel Raheem [Sterling] can go through to score the fifth. In this moment when we finish the game, I turn to Anthony and say ‘What the, you know, is going on? Why stop in this moment the action?’

“Then, I turned and said ‘I deserve to be booked’ because yes, I crossed the limit. I want to apologise because it is not a good image for me and for football, this type of behaviour.”

Pushed on ignoring Guardiola at full time, Pochettino said: “I want to apologise to him also. In this moment, I didn’t see him. I was only focused on the action. So I want to apologise to Pep also.”

Guardiola played down the incident when asked. “No problem,” he said. “It is not a problem. I don’t want to talk about that, it is fine. Everyone with the emotions, it happened to me sometimes. It’s fine, honestly. I don’t want you to misunderstand me, in the past it happened with Pochettino but its fine. Completely, completely fine.”

Erling Haaland’s 25th-minute penalty gave City the lead before Thiago Silva and Sterling struck for the hosts. Manuel Akanji equalised for City in first-half stoppage time and then Haaland bundled the ball home from close range to give the visitors a 3-2 lead on 47 minutes.

Nicolas Jackson equalised again with 67 minutes played before Rodri’s deflected 86th-minute strike appeared to give City all three points. But Rúben Dias fouled Armando Broja in the box and Palmer converted the resulting penalty against his former club.

City are a point clear at the top of the Premier League heading into the international break which Chelsea sit in tenth place on 16 points.

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European Leagues

Germany: Euro 2024 prize pot grows to €331 million




UEFA has released details of prize money distribution or the Germany 2024 European Championships that will be played from June 14 to July 14. The winning team will receive a maximum of €28.25 million – if they win all their games on the way to the title.

In total €331 million has been earmarked for prize money with every qualified team receiving a €9.5 million participation fee.

Teams will receive €1 million for a win and €500,000 for a draw in the group stages.

The final winners will receive an addition €8 million payment with the runners-up earning €5 million.

Euro 2024 prize money distribution

– Participating Fee: Set at €9.25 million

– Match Bonus: Comprising €1.0 million for a win and €500,000 for a draw

– Qualification to Stages:

– Round of 16: €1.5 million

– Quarter-finals: €2.5 million

– Semi-finals: €4 million

– Runners-up: Additional payment of €5 million

– Champions: Extra payment of €8 million

Women’s competitions approved

The UEFA executive committee, meeting in Hamburg at the weekend, also agreed modifications to its women’s competitions, including a revamped format for the UEFA Women’s Champions League which will introduce an 18-team league phase followed by knock-out rounds, while a second European competition for women’s clubs will be inaugurated starting from the 2025/26 season.

UEFA said that more details of the women’s competition in terms of format and qualification would be released this week.

UEFA also approved the match schedule and tournament dates for the Women’s EURO 2025.

The finals will be played across eight venues in Switzerland from July 2 to July 27, 2025, with matches hosted in cities in Basel, Bern, Geneva, Luzern, Sion, St. Gallen, Thun, and Zurich. St. Jakob-Park in Basel will host the opening match and the final.

The UEFA Women’s Futsal EURO for the 2024-25 edition was canceled, paving the way for a revised 4-year cycle, with the next tournament scheduled for 2027. The number of participating teams will grow from four to eight.

Latvia and Lithuania were designated as hosts for the final tournament of the men’s 2026 UEFA Futsal EURO, with matches scheduled to be played in Riga and Kaunas.

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European Leagues

Serie A: Inter Milan make title statement after beaten troubled champions Napoli 3-0




Inter Milan sent a warning to the rest of Serie A with Sunday’s convincing 3-0 win at Napoli which re-established their two-point lead at the summit and left the champions’ title defence on its last legs.

Beautifully taken goals from Hakan Calhanoglu, Nicolo Barella and Marcus Thuram pushed Inter back above closest challengers Juventus, who briefly held top spot after beating Monza on Friday.

Sunday’s thumping was a show of force from Inter who illustrated why they are favourites to win a 20th league title, still unbeaten away from home in all competitions after claiming a huge win at a ground where they have a dreadful record.

“It was a show of strength, of team spirit,” said Inter coach Simone Inzaghi.

“Winning like this in Naples is satisfying, but we’re only 14 games in and there is a very long way to go.”

Napoli are now 11 points off the pace and travel to Juve next weekend in a match which could end any realistic hope of the champions retaining the Scudetto before the calendar year is out.

To add insult to injury Napoli have dropped out of the top four, replaced by Roma who won 2-1 at Sassuolo earlier and sit in the last Champions League spot on goal difference.

Napoli recriminations

Returning Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri refused to speak after the match, sporting director Mauro Meluso expressing anger at referee Davide Massa for not stopping play for a foul before Inter’s opener and not giving a penalty for what he believed was a clear foul on Victor Osimhen while the home side trailed by a single goal.

“I don’t want to create an excuse for our team, who obviously still need to work on a few things, but we didn’t deserve that humiliation today,” said Meluso.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have won 11 of their 14 league matches so far this season and once Hakan Calhanoglu thrashed in the opener on the stroke of half-time they expertly dealt with a hyped-up Napoli.

Hosts Napoli were playing their first home fixture under Mazzarri, whose team are stuck on a paltry seven points from as many matches at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Barella doubled Inter’s lead just after the hour mark with his first goal of the season shortly after Yann Sommer pulled off a brilliant save to deny Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, one of three superb stops from the Swiss.

Italy’s Barella burst unopposed from midfield and after collecting Lautaro Martinez’s low pass skipped past Leo Ostigard and Natan before confidently finishing past Alex Meret.

And with five minutes remaining Thuram — who earlier had a goal ruled out for a microscopic offside — made absolutely sure of the points, tapping home his fifth league goal of a brilliant first season at Inter from substitute Juan Cuadrado’s low cross.

Paulo Dybala’s 76th-minute penalty and a wildly deflected strike from Rasmus Kristensen shortly afterwards earned Roma a win from their scrappy match with 10-man Sassuolo, who opened the scoring through Matheus Henrique.

The win at the Mapei Stadium came as coach Jose Mourinho is reportedly being investigated by the Italian Football Federation for saying that referee Matteo Marcenaro didn’t “have the emotional stability to referee at this level” ahead of the match.

The Portuguese blasted Marcenaro, 31, in a pre-match outburst on Saturday which the country’s refereeing association said “could lead to violence” against officials.

And despite having excellent Italian Mourinho insisted on only speaking in Portuguese in his post-match interview with DAZN.

“I am speaking Portuguese because my Italian is not good enough to explain certain concepts,” claimed Mourinho.

“When I spoke about emotional stability, I was talking about a quality that is necessary in both life and football in order to perform at the highest level.”

Fiorentina are a point behind Roma and Napoli in sixth thanks to a simple 3-0 win over the division’s bottom team Salernitana, while Bologna are a further point and place back following their 1-1 draw at Lecce.

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European Leagues

Big blow for Barcelona as captain set to undergo surgery




Marc-Andre ter Stegen has missed Barcelona’s last three matches against Rayo Vallecano, FC Porto, and Atletico Madrid due to a lower back problem.

The 31-year-old suffered the injury soon after joining the Germany national team camp last month during the international break and returned to the club without playing for them.

Initially, it was believed that the issue was nothing serious and that Ter Stegen would be back rather quickly. But things have not turned out that way, as the German ace’s recovery has been going much slower than expected.

Surgery a possibility
Now, SPORT’s Tomas Andreu is reporting that Ter Stegen could be forced to undergo surgery to fix his back problem.

Despite initially opting for conservative treatment and some optimism that the discomfort would subside, the goalkeeper is still unable to train normally with the rest of the squad and the German goalkeeper has now missed three games for Barça.

Xavi hinted that he will not be in the next game against Girona either, saying: “He has some discomfort and has not been able to train normally.”

That is why this Monday a meeting is scheduled between the coaching staff and the medical department to assess the situation and decide the next step to take.

Among the options being considered is the possibility that Ter Stegen may have to undergo surgery to solve his lumbar problems definitively.

Nothing has been 100% decided yet, but with conservative treatment failing to deliver the expected results, the time has come to consider other options.

Pena proving to be a reliable alternative
While surgery could mean a longer spell on the sidelines for Ter Stegen, Barcelona have found a more-than-reliable alternative in Inaki Pena.

The La Masia graduate has proven himself in the last three games and was one of the stars for the Catalans last night against Atletico Madrid.

So, Barcelona can afford to take their time with Ter Stegen and ensure that his recovery is complete and definitive, surgery or otherwise.

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