World Sports News in Brief

Villa into playoff final after shootout win over West Brom

Wednesday, 2019-05-15 07:27:06
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Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and John McGinn celebrate after winning the penalty shootout - Championship Play-Off Semi Final Second Leg - West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa - The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, Britain - May 14, 2019. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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Aston Villa beat Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion 4-3 on penalties to reach the Championship playoff final on Tuesday after the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate.

Tammy Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, scored the decisive spot kick to send Villa into a Wembley final against either Derby County or Leeds United with a lucrative spot in the Premier League up for grabs.

* Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder beat off competition from Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp to win the League Managers Association manager of the year award on Tuesday. Wilder, 51, led United to second place in the Championship behind Norwich City, whose German manager Daniel Farke was also on the shortlist, to earn promotion to the Premier League.

* Jurgen Klopp says he will put his Liverpool players through a two-week "pre-season" ahead of their Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur. The players have been given a few days off to recover from a gruelling Premier League campaign in which they pushed Manchester City to the final day in the title race, eventually losing out by one point.

* Wolverhampton Wanderers are to install rail seats at their Molineux stadium to allow fans to stand next season. Standing at grounds in the top two tiers is banned but the Premier League club said they were taking advantage of new safety guidelines which allow clubs some flexibility.

* Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will be part of Argentina's provisional squad for the Copa America. Aguero, who scored 21 Premier League goals in 33 appearances for Manchester City this season, has been in international exile since after last year's World Cup in Russia, when Argentina crashed out in the last 16.

* Francisco Rodriguez has confirmed that he will be leaving his post as coach of Sociedad Deportivo Huesca at the end of the current season. Rodriguez arrived at the club in October with Huesca bottom of the table in their first ever season in La Liga, and although he has been unable to save them from relegation, his arrival saw a big improvement in results and performances at the club with the lowest budget in Spain's top flight.

* Former Bayern Munich and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz has been recalled to Paraguay's preliminary squad for the Copa America in Brazil. Paraguay head coach Eduardo Berizzo also named former Benfica forward Oscar Cardozo for the continental tournament, to be played in Brazil from June 14 to July 7.

* Bulgaria have appointed former international midfielder Krasimir Balakov as coach, the Bulgarian Football Union said on Tuesday. Former Sporting Lisbon and VfB Stuttgart playmaker Balakov, a key member of the Bulgaria team who reached the 1994 World Cup semi-finals, signed a contract until November, 2021.

* Slovenia's Damir Skomina will referee the all-English Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on June 1, UEFA said on Tuesday. The 42-year-old Skomina, an international referee since 2002, has taken charge of four Champions League matches and two Europa League games this season.

* The Dutch Grand Prix will return to the Zandvoort circuit in 2020 after a 35-year absence from the calendar, Formula One announced on Tuesday. The race is sure to be well attended with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, 21, boasting a huge following as his country's most successful driver and Formula One's youngest ever race winner.

* Combative AS Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi will end his playing career after 18 years at the Serie A club during which he made 615 appearances and scored 63 goals in all competitions. The club confirmed in a statement that Roma's final game of the season - at home to Parma - would be De Rossi's last for the club he joined as a teenager in 2000.

* Referee Yoshimi Yamashita and assistants Makoto Bozono and Naomi Teshirogi are set to make AFC Cup history on Wednesday by becoming the first all-female trio to officiate a match at the tournament. The three Japanese women will take charge of Yangon United's final Group F match against Cambodia's Naga World after passing a fitness test similar to the one required for male officials, the Asian Football Confederation said.

* Winger Riyad Mahrez has said he will not seek a move away from Premier League champions Manchester City in search of more playing time after helping Pep Guardiola's side win their second successive title over the weekend. Mahrez, who became the club's record signing last year at a reported 60 million pounds, started only 14 league games this season as Guardiola opted for Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane on the wings.

* Tottenham Hotspur's forward Son Heung-min has said losing their first Champions League final would be painful for a very long time as he prepares to make sure that does not happen when they face Liverpool in Madrid next month. Son would not speculate on the outcome of the June 1 match against a side who have already beaten them twice in the Premier League this season but said Spurs must work hard to overcome a team that just missed out on the domestic league title.

* The success of English clubs in European competition this season points to the current strength of the Premier League, but may cause a headache for England coach Gareth Southgate as he prepares to lead the national team into the final four of the UEFA Nations League. England are due to play the Netherlands in Guimaraes, Portugal on June 6 in their Nations League semifinal, just four days after Liverpool and Tottenham go head-to-head in the Champions League final in Madrid.

Reuters, Xinhua