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Six Nations 2019: Ireland ‘muscled through’ Scotland win


Head coach Joe Schmidt says Ireland have to improve despite getting their Six Nations title defence back on track with a  dogged victory over Scotland.

A second-half try by Keith Earls saw the Grand Slam champions escape from Edinburgh with a crucial 22-13 win.

Conor Murray and Jacob Stockdale also scored as Ireland survived a first-half onslaught to rebound from their heavy opening-round loss against England.

“We just muscled our way through it to be honest,” said a relieved Schmidt.

“It wasn’t the prettiest game, we got a peach of a set-piece try and we got a couple of broken-field running tries and I think we restricted them to an intercept try so from that perspective (it’s positive).”

Scotland dominated the opening half at Murrayfield but Gregor Townsend’s side were unable to convert their pressure into points as Murray pounced on a mix-up between Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland to cross for the opening try. Stockdale then scored a superb training-ground move to push the visitors into a first-quarter lead.

The home side fought back to within two points through Sam Johnson’s score after Finn Russell intercepted a Joey Carbery pass but Scotland failed to profit from a sustained spell of pressure at the end of the opening half when the Irish defence repelled 25 phases before a knock-on allowed them to lift the siege.

Schmidt added: “In that first half, we were in our 22 for 34% of the time and in our half for about 72% of the time so that was a massive defensive effort and even the intercept was on our advantage so we went to sleep a little bit there and we’ve got to be better than that.”

England defeat demanded a ‘physical reaction’

The humbling defeat to England was Ireland’s first Six Nations loss in Dublin since 2013 and Schmidt issued a robust defence of his team’s style of play as the world number two side found themselves under pressure to produce a response on the field.

A poor first-half performance at Murrayfield eventually gave way to an improved display by the champions after the break as they held Scotland at arm’s length.

'We muscled our way to victory' - Schmitt on Ireland win over Scotland
‘We muscled our way to victory’ – Schmitt on Ireland win over Scotland

“We have a lot of belief in what we’re doing and how good a team we are,” insisted Ireland captain Rory Best.

“That was a really tough game and it was also tough mentally in the build-up to it, but we asked for a physical reaction that we probably didn’t get last week and by and large we got that.

“It maybe wasn’t the most spectacular game of rugby that was ever played but it was two teams that went hard at each other and we’re very grateful to win.”

In a game of tight margins, the Ulster hooker said his team’s ability to convert their opportunities was vital: “We had a couple of chances and we took them and we were quite clinical when we had the ball.

“We’ve obviously got a lot of improving to do as well but we had to wear them down, they’re well-organised in defence and we knew they would be very dangerous in attack, and by and large we fronted up to our task as we had to.”

Ireland will travel to Rome to play Italy in round three on 24 February.

Emiliano Sala search team recover body from plane wreckage


It is not yet known whose body was recovered from the plane wreckage

A body has been recovered from the wreckage of the plane which crashed with Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala and pilot David Ibbotson on board.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said specialist contractors joined the operation in “challenging conditions”.

It was carried out in “as dignified a way as possible” and the men’s families were kept updated throughout, it said.

The wreckage of the plane, which vanished two weeks ago over the English Channel, was found off Guernsey.

The Geo Ocean III, the boat carrying the body, arrived at Portland Port in Dorset on Thursday morning as it is the nearest part of the British mainland to where the plane was located.

Dorset Police said: “The arrival of the body into Dorset has been reported to the coroner for Dorset.

“The coroner will investigate the circumstances of this death supported by Dorset Police. A post-mortem examination will be held in due course.”

No formal identification has taken place, but the force said both families had been updated.

Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson
Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson

The Piper Malibu N264DB was en route from France to Cardiff, after the 28-year-old Argentine striker made a quick trip back to his former club Nantes two days after his £15m transfer to Cardiff was announced.

Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, was at the controls when the flight lost contact with air traffic controllers on 21 January.

An official search was called off on 24 January after Guernsey’s harbour master said the chances of survival were “extremely remote”.

But an online appeal started by Sala’s agent raised £324,000 (371,000 euros) for a private search led by marine scientist and oceanographer David Mearns.

Working jointly with the AAIB, his ship and the Geo Ocean III, began combing a four square mile area of the English Channel, 24 nautical miles north of Guernsey, to make best use of the available sensors.

Mr Mearns said the plane was identified by sonar, before a submersible with cameras was sent underwater to confirm this.

Footballers and fans pay tribute to Emiliano Sala at Cardiff City Stadium
A minute’s silence was held for Sala and Mr Ibbotson ahead of Cardiff’s home game against Bournemouth
Fans place flowers and T-shirts with messages in tribute of Emiliano Sala before Cardiff's Premier League match against Bournemouth at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday
Cardiff fans left a sea of flowers outside the Cardiff City Stadium in tribute to Emiliano Sala

The AAIB used a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to aid the search, with no divers involved.

The body was moved first, and separately from the wreckage, to maximise the chances of it being successfully brought to the surface.

It said efforts to recover the crashed plane as a whole proved unsuccessful, before being abandoned due to poor weather.

“The weather forecast is poor for the foreseeable future and so the difficult decision was taken to bring the overall operation to a close,” the AAIB said in a statement.

However, the AAIB said video footage captured by the ROV would provide “valuable evidence” for its safety investigation.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Sala’s former club, French Ligue 1 side Nantes, has demanded Cardiff City pay his £15m transfer fee.

Sala, 28, was Cardiff’s record signing but never played for the club.

The fee was due to be paid over three years but Cardiff have withheld the first scheduled payment until they are satisfied with the documentation.

A supporter stands in front of flowers placed in front of a giant portrait of Emilianio Sala outside La Beaujoire stadium before Tuesday's French Cup match between FC Nantes and Toulouse FC
Supporters in Nantes have also been paying tribute to Sala

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Briton held in UAE in Qatar football shirt row”:


A Briton has been arrested and detained in the United Arab Emirates after reportedly being assaulted when he wore a Qatar football team shirt to a match.

Ali Issa Ahmad, 26, from Wolverhampton, is said to have been unaware of a law against “showing sympathy” for Qatar – brought in amid a diplomatic dispute.

His friend says he was held after telling police he had been attacked.

The UAE embassy in London said Mr Ahmad has been charged with wasting police time and making false statements.

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Responding to earlier media reports, a UAE official said he was “categorically not arrested for wearing a Qatar football shirt”.

The Foreign Office said it is providing assistance to a British man and is in touch with the UAE authorities.

The UAE and four other countries in the region are currently engaged in a political and diplomatic stand-off with Qatar after they accused the state of supporting radical and Islamist groups.

On its website, the Foreign Office warns travellers to the UAE of a June 2017 announcement “that showing sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence.

“Offenders could be imprisoned and subject to a substantial fine”.

‘Loved sport’

Mr Ahmad is said to have travelled to the UAE for a holiday. He was arrested after watching Qatar play Iraq in an Asian Cup match in Abu Dhabi on 22 January.

Speaking to the BBC World Service programme Newshour, his friend Amer Lokie said Mr Ahmad had called him from a police station on 30 January to tell him about the arrest.

Mr Lokie said: “After he left the stadium he was followed by a couple of people and they assaulted him.”

Mr Ahmad had been wearing a Qatar football shirt and was holding another one in his hands, he said.

“They took away his T-shirt and he went home. Afterwards he went back to police station to report the assault and they held him,” Mr Lokie said.

Asked whether Mr Ahmad had indicated whether the people who attacked him were members of the public, police or security officials, Mr Lokie said: “I was trying to ask him to clarify but he could not clarify because his time was limited.”

“He was just a person who loved sport so much,” Mr Lokie added. ” I don’t think he knew he could get into problems for wearing a T-shirt or supporting a particular team.”

‘Self-inflicted injuries’

The UAE embassy in London initially said it was unable to comment specifically on the case, adding “allegations of human rights violations are taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly investigated”.

In a later statement issued through the embassy, a UAE official said Mr Ahmad was a dual Sudanese-British citizen.

The official said Mr Ahmad had gone to a police station to say he had been harassed and beaten up by local football fans for cheering the Qatar team.

“Police took him to hospital where a doctor who examined him, concluded that his injuries were inconsistent with his account of events and appeared to be self-inflicted,” the official said.

They said Mr Ahmad was charged on 24 January, adding: “We are advised that he has since admitted those offences [wasting police time and making false statements] and will now be processed through the UAE courts.”

The tiny oil- and gas-rich Qatar has been cut off by some of its powerful Arab neighbours – including the UAE – over its alleged support for terrorism.

The continuing rift meant there were very few Qatar fans in attendance during its Asian Cup matches.

When Qatar knocked the UAE out in the semi-final, objects and shoes were thrown at their players.

Qatar went on to win the tournament, defeating Japan 3-1 in the final on 1 February.

Six Nations: Wales should stick with Gareth Anscombe – Jamie Roberts



Six Nations: Wales beat France in comeback in opening game
Video captionSix Nations: Wales beat France in comeback in opening game

Six Nations: Italy v Wales
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Saturday, 9 February Kick-off: 16:45 GMT
Coverage: Live on S4C, BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Bath centre Jamie Roberts says Wales head coach Warren Gatland should keep faith with half-backs Gareth Anscombe and Tomos Williams against Italy.

The Cardiff Blues pair started in Wales’ Six Nations opener against France in which Gatland’s side came back from 16-0 down to win 24-19.

Anscombe was not at his best in wet conditions, but Roberts believes he deserves to retain the number 10 shirt.

“I think he’s a quality player,” he said.

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“Gats has spoken openly about backing Gareth because he did very well in November, let’s not forget that.”

Gatland will name his side to play Italy on Thursday.

Fly-half Anscombe was preferred to Northampton’s Dan Biggar and scrum-half Williams was given the nod ahead of Scarlets’ Gareth Davies at the Stade de France.

Tomos Williams
Tomos Williams made his first Six Nations start in the win over France

Williams scored Wales’ opening try in Paris with Anscombe successful with two conversions, while his second-half replacement Biggar added a penalty and conversion.

“I’d back the lads again,” Wales international Roberts told BBC Wales’ Scrum V Six Nations special.

“It was wet at the weekend and it was a shame we couldn’t see the best of Anscombe.

“It was greasy, and for him and Tomos Williams, it was difficult to judge them on that performance, I think.

“Hopefully it’s a dry track in Rome and I’d go with those lads again.

“That’s not saying anything about Gareth Davies and Dan Biggar, I thought they were magnificent when they came on.

Wales have ‘plenty to improve on’ - Owens
Wales have ‘plenty to improve on’ – Owens

“What a great selection headache for Warren Gatland.”

But former Wales captain Gwyn Jones believes Biggar should start against Italy in Rome on Saturday.

“In dry weather with us going forward, I think Anscombe is a wonderful 10 and can rip teams apart,” Jones said.

“But in those [wet] conditions I don’t think he’s the man for us. He’s prone to good highs but very low lows.

“I think Dan Biggar gives you eight-and- a-half every week at least and gives you a couple of things Anscombe doesn’t give you.

“He gives defensive solidity, and he’s probably our best player in the air.

“If these aerial battles are going to define these games, then let’s get our very best guy at catching the ball in the air on the pitch and he gives fantastic kicking.”

Chelsea 5-0 Huddersfield: Gonzalo Higuain & Eden Hazard both score twice


Higuain scored eight goals in 22 games while on loan at AC Milan earlier this season

Maurizio Sarri says Gonzalo Higuain and Eden Hazard are “suitable” to play with each other, as the pair both struck twice in Chelsea’s dominant victory over Huddersfield, which moved the Blues back into the top four.

It was Higuain’s first goals since signing on loan from Juventus in the January transfer window.

“Higuain is improving,” said Sarri. “He wasn’t physically at the top when he arrived, because he had a back problem and wasn’t involved, so only played a few matches.

“He is a great player. Apart from the goals, he is really very suitable to play very close to Eden.”

Argentina international Higuain opened the scoring in the 16th minute at Stamford Bridge.

N’Golo Kante played him in with a delightful reverse pass to beat the offside trap and the striker finished first time, lashing his shot in at the near post.

Just before half-time Elias Kachunga nudged Cesar Azpilicueta over and referee Paul Tierney awarded a penalty, although replays suggested the foul occurred outside the penalty area.

Hazard stepped up to smash in the penalty and score his first league goal since 26 December.

The Belgium international made it 3-0 on 66 minutes, rounding Terriers keeper Jonas Lossl and slotting in from a tight angle.

And just three minutes later Higuain got his second, curling in a shot from the edge of the area, with the help of a deflection.

David Luiz added a fifth in the closing minutes, with a powerful header from a corner that was deflected into his own net by Kachunga.

The win ended a troubled week for Sarri, following Wednesday’s 4-0 loss to Bournemouth – their heaviest league defeat in 23 years.

Chelsea are now fourth, three points ahead of Arsenal, who play Manchester City on Sunday (16:30 GMT).

But it is an 11th defeat in 12 league games for the Terriers, who remain bottom of the league and 13 points from safety.

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Goals finally flow for Chelsea

Chelsea came into the game having lost successive league matches against Arsenal and Bournemouth.

In recent weeks Sarri has questioned their motivation and Wednesday’s defeat led to an angry dressing room inquest.

His players gave the perfect response against Huddersfield, with a free-flowing attacking performance in what felt like a must-win game.

Chelsea had failed to score in three of their past four league games going into Saturday’s match, which was why Sarri brought in Higuain.

The 31-year-old, who had scored just eight goals in 22 appearances for AC Milan in the first half of the season, showed Chelsea exactly what he can bring to the side with clinical finishing.

Higuain played under Sarri while at Napoli in 2015-16, equalling the Serie A goalscoring record with 36 goals.

He continued his remarkable scoring record under Sarri on his home league debut, with his 37th and 38th goals in 37 league games for the Italian.

Sarri has previously said Hazard “has to do more” and the 28-year-old put in a performance to please his boss.

He was a constant menace in attack, terrorising the Terriers’ defence as he was given the run of Stamford Bridge and taking his goal tally to 15 for the season.

Sarri said: “Today is all positive, we played a full 90 minutes, defended very well, so it was a very good match but we need consistency now, we have to continue to play with the same mentality in all the matches.

“I hope in the future we will not need to lose a match to find the right mentality.”Sarri wants consistency from Chelsea

Blunt Terriers fail to fire again

This was Jan Siewert’s first away game in charge since succeeding David Wagner as Terriers boss and he was able to welcome back Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing.

But a change in manager has not solved their biggest problem, which is a lack of a goalscorer.

Stuck on just 13 league goals this season, they never looked like adding to that tally at Stamford Bridge, registering just two shots on target from five attempts.

Mooy had the best effort, heading over in the seventh minute, but that was as good as it got.

They also struggled in defence and were outclassed by Hazard, Higuain and Kante.

With just two wins all this season, they seem destined for a return to the Championship.

“I don’t feel well at the moment because we lost 5-0 and we cannot compete with Chelsea,” said Siewert.

“I think when you look at the game we had the first chance then conceded early and the penalty came at the wrong moment. I’m not sure if it was a penalty.

“We will not talk about these decisions because we lost 5-0 and this doesn’t feel good. We had the first chance and had several moments but missed our shots. We have to be more aggressive in the box to go for our goals.”Huddersfield cannot compete with Chelsea – Siewert

Man of the match – Eden Hazard

Hazard has now been directly involved in 201 goals in his top-flight league career (117 goals, 84 assists), with 130 of those coming for Chelsea

Stats – Stamford Bridge becomes a fortress

  • Chelsea have only lost one of their past 16 home Premier League games (won nine, drawn six)
  • Huddersfield have failed to score in a league-high 13 different Premier League games this season.
  • Chelsea scored five goals in a Premier League game for the first time since December 2017, when they beat Stoke 5-0 at Stamford Bridge
  • Higuain became the first Chelsea player to score twice on their home league debut for the club since Mario Stanic v West Ham in August 2000
  • Kante provided two assists in a single league match for the first time in his top-flight career.

What’s next

Chelsea travel to reigning champions Manchester City on Sunday, 10 February (16:00 GMT), while Huddersfield host Arsenal next Saturday (15:00 GMT).

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England in West Indies: Tourists collapse again as hosts seal series win..,


West Indies captain Jason Holder bowled superbly in claiming 4-43

Second Test, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua (day three)
England 187 (Moeen 60, Bairstow 52, Roach 4-30)& 132 (Holder 4-43, Roach 4-52)
West Indies 306 (Bravo 50) & 17-0
West Indies won by 10 wickets

England collapsed in dismal fashion yet again to lose the second Test by 10 wickets as West Indies sealed the series with a match to spare.

After West Indies were bowled out for 306 – a lead of 119 – the tourists slipped from 35-0 to 132 all out, with Kemar Roach and Jason Holder taking four wickets each in Antigua.

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With West Indies chasing only 14, John Campbell wrapped up victory with a six.

A three-day victory gave them a 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

It is West Indies’ first Test series win over England since 2009 and their first at home against a side other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since 2012.

Holder’s impressive team have a chance to secure a whitewash when the third Test in St Lucia begins on 9 February.

Woeful England fail to learn

A reverse angle of England batsman Joe Denly getting bowled by West Indies bowler Alzarri Joseph after leaving the ball
Opener Joe Denly was one of four England batsmen to be bowled

This England side are not blessed with prodigious Test-match batsmen – only captain Joe Root and Ben Foakes average more than 40 and the latter has played just five matches.

But neither are West Indies, yet the hosts were able to adapt their game to eke out a vital lead on a challenging pitch, epitomised by Darren Bravo’s defiant 50 off 216 balls.

Bravo batted for 342 minutes – the third slowest fifty in Test history by time. England’s second innings lasted 270 minutes, the tourists having failed to learn from both their previous collapses in this series and the approach of their determined hosts.

Rory Burns cut a ball that was too close to him straight to third slip to depart for 16 and fellow opener Joe Denly – who was dropped on nought – was bowled for 17, leaving a delivery from Alzarri Joseph to end a nervy innings full of ill-advised shots.

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Jonny Bairstow made 14 before he was bowled through the gate trying to drive Holder down the ground. He has been bowled in nine of his past 18 innings and 29 times this decade – the most of any batsmen in Tests.

In total, four England batsmen were bowled, Ben Stokes dragging on when playing too far away from his body and Moeen Ali missing an attempted drive down the ground off a very full delivery, both off Roach.

Of the recognised batsmen, only Root, Foakes and perhaps Jos Buttler were undone by fine deliveries. The rest were down to poor decision-making.

Holder leads superb side in fine style

West Indies captain Jason Holder holds up a stump in celebration after beating England in the second Test
Holder’s side are the first West Indies team to win two Tests in a series against England in 21 years

England had the better of the morning session, bowling well to take the last four West Indies for 34 runs before Burns and Denly battled through to lunch.

With opening bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Roach dropping too short, Holder brought himself into the attack and struck with his first ball to remove Burns before dismissing Bairstow shortly after.

Joseph bowled beautifully in tandem with Holder, claiming 2-12 in a splendid seven-over spell, made all the more powerful given the 22-year-old was playing after his mother Sharon died in the early hours of Saturday.

Touching 90mph and finding sharp bounce, he knocked over Denly and had Root caught behind after Holder’s shrewd decision to call for a review, despite Joseph thinking it had only hit Root’s hip and not the glove as well.

Holder proved adept at using the decision review system again to help a revitalised Roach dismiss Foakes lbw for 13 – a ball that ducked in appearing to be sliding down in real time but shown on ball-tracking to be hitting leg stump.

Roach then trapped Stuart Broad in front and Holder had James Anderson caught by a diving Joseph at mid-on before raising his arms and yelling in celebration.

Holder dedicated the victory to Joseph and his family, a unified, spirited West Indies hoping this stunning series win is the start of a welcome resurgence.

‘England have a lot of uncertainty still’ – reaction

England captain Joe Root: “We’ve been outperformed once again and that’s quite hard to take. Scoring under 200 isn’t going to win you many games of cricket.

“West Indies know these conditions well and they’ve exploited them to their advantage. They’ve played some really good stuff at times and made it very difficult. They’re fully deserving of winning the series.”

England coach Trevor Bayliss on Sky Sports:“Our batting has been poor. Some of our shot selection was well below par. The first two dismissals today were very loose shots. That doesn’t set a great example for guys coming in.

We’ve got to be harder to get out. It’s a case of applying ourselves a little better. Our concentration and will to bat for a long period of time is the way forward.”

West Indies captain Jason Holder: “It’s difficult to describe my emotions.

“We wanted to do it for Alzarri’s mother. For him to come out, play and bowl the way he bowled, was a credit to him. This win is for him and his family.”

Man of the match Kemar Roach, who took 4-30 and 4-52: “It’s a special award. A series win at home against England, the third best team in the world, is fantastic. I’m proud of the guys.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew on the BBC’s The Cricket Social: “This West Indies team is full of character – their resistance, the bravery, the stubbornness, the discipline to play for 131 overs compared to the way England went about their business. You couldn’t blame the pitch for many of England’s dismissals.”

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Peter Crouch: Stoke City striker poised for Premier League return with Burnley



Substitute Crouch volleys Stoke level against Shrews
Substitute Crouch volleys Stoke level against Shrews

Stoke City striker Peter Crouch, who turned 38 on Wednesday, is set to return to the Premier League at Burnley as part of a deal which will see Sam Vokes go the other way.

Championship club Stoke will pay a fee for Clarets striker Vokes, 29.

Crouch has made 462 Premier League appearances for six different clubs, scoring 108 goals.

Emiliano Sala’s family view search area off Guernsey

The former England forward was part of the Stoke side relegated from the Premier League last season.

Crouch has also played in the top flight for Tottenham, Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool and Portsmouth.

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Vokes, who played for Wales at Euro 2016, has been at Burnley since July 2012 and has this season started 10 league games for the Clarets, who are 17th in the Premier League.

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Most headers & most sub appearances – Crouch’s Premier League record

Crouch was handed his Premier League debut at Aston Villa by Graham Taylor – at the age of 21. He started in a 3-2 defeat against Bolton in March 2002 and his team-mates included Peter Schmeichel, Steve Staunton and Gareth Barry.

Crouch’s club-by-club Premier League career
Team Games played Minutes played Goals Assists
Stoke City 202 12690 45 18
Liverpool 85 4575 22 12
Tottenham 73 4231 12 12
Portsmouth 38 3361 11 5
Aston Villa 37 1755 6 5
Southampton 27 1780 12 6

A veteran of 42 England caps, Crouch has scored the most headed goals in the Premier League and made 152 substitute appearances – the most in Premier League history.

Most headed goals in Premier League
Player Premier League goals Headed goals
Peter Crouch (Aston Villa, Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tottenham, Stoke) 108 53
Alan Shearer (Blackburn, Newcastle) 260 46
Dion Dublin (Man Utd, Coventry, Aston Villa) 111 45

Of the 28 players to score 100 Premier League goals or more, Crouch is the oldest. He brought up his century playing for Stoke against Everton on 1 February 2017 – two days after turning 36.

Crouch 'really pleased' to get to 100-goal milestone
Crouch ‘really pleased’ to get to 100-goal milestone

He has also scored for each of the six clubs he has played for in the Premier League.

Only Craig Bellamy – for Coventry, Newcastle, Blackburn, Liverpool, West Ham, Manchester City and Cardiff – has scored for more.

Crouch has scored more Premier League goals (108) than Dennis Bergkamp (87), Fernando Torres (85), and Cristiano Ronaldo (84).

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M62 closed after man seriously hurt in collision


Football fans at Liverpool’s home match against Leicester have been told to expect delays

Police have alerted motorists after the M62 was closed in both directions following a serious collision.

A man was taken to hospital with “major trauma injuries” after the incident on the motorway in Merseyside, North West Ambulance Service said.

The crash happened between junction 7 (A57) and 8 (A574). North West Motorway Police attended the scene at about 19:48 GMT.

Motorists have been urged by officers to avoid the area.

A statement from police on Twitter said both carriageways “are still closed due to police investigation and will remain closed for foreseeable future please avoid area and find alternative route.”

Highways England warned football fans at Liverpool’s home match against Leicester, which kicked off at 19:45 GMT, to expect delays.

It said in a tweet that closures between junction 7 for Warrington A57 and junction 8 for Burtonwood A574 are in place.

“Likely to be in place for some time, be aware if leaving LFC vs LCFC,” the tweet said.

The injured man suffered “a head injury, leg injuries and chest injuries”, a spokeswoman for the ambulance service said.

She said two ambulances, an advanced paramedic and a rapid response vehicle attended the scene.

Arsenal look to Christopher Nkunku but Ivan Perisic & Yannick Carrasco deals unlikely…


Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic handed in a transfer request

Arsenal’s attempts to sign Ivan Perisic from Inter Milan or fellow winger Yannick Carrasco of Dalian Yifang look to be over.

However the Gunners are still working on a deal for Paris St-Germain midfielder Christopher Nkunku.

At the start of the transfer window, Arsenal made an approach to take Belgium forward Carrasco, 25, on loan.

The loan fee they proposed was deemed too low but there was optimism an agreement could be reached.

Emiliano Sala’s family view search area off Guernsey

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The idea of joining Arsenal appealed to Carrasco – partly because returning to Europe would have suited his family and the Belgium national team – and he was willing to accept a salary reduction.

As Arsenal considered their next move, there was internal upheaval within the club as it was announced head of recruitment Sven Mislintat would leave on 8 February.

Arsenal subsequently decided to focus their search for a wide player on Perisic, offering to take the Croatia winger on loan with an option to buy him at the end of the season.

Perisic, 29, handed in a transfer request Inter insisted he could only leave permanently or on loan with an obligation to buy.

Arsenal informed their potential recruits that they are not in a financial position to make permanent signings this month or commit now to doing so in the summer.

They are set to have a higher budget in the next transfer window but cannot guarantee to potential signings whether they will play in the Champions League or Europa League in 2019-20.

That uncertainty ended any realistic hope Arsenal had of recruiting Perisic, so the pursuit of Carrasco on loan was reignited.

However, their offer to Dalian Yifang for the former Monaco and Atletico Madrid player had not changed and was still considered unacceptable.

There has been no indication Arsenal will resurrect those moves.

They are still trying to sign 21-year-old Nkunku on loan with an option to buy, the same basis on which they have completed the acquisition of another midfielder, Denis Suarez from Barcelona.

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Emiliano Sala’s family view search area off Guernsey


GETTY IMAGES/DAVID IBBOTSON
Emiliano Sala (left) was on board a plane being flown by pilot David Ibbotson (right)

The family of missing Cardiff City footballer Emiliano Sala are planning an underwater search.

Family spokesman David Mearns told a press conference that a private search of the English Channel, paid for by fundraisers, also included fishing boats and other vessels.

The underwater search is expected to begin on Sunday.

Meanwhile the family has been taken on a plane to see the area that rescuers have been searching.

They left Guernsey Airport at about 09:30 GMT on a chartered flight with harbourmaster David Barker.

Sala’s sister Romina and mother Mercedes arrived on the island on Sunday and a family spokesman said they were struggling for answers.

The family travelled on a twin-engine Dornier 228-212 plane which flew from Guernsey and circled the island of Alderney.

The plane leaving the airport
The family’s flight leaving Guernsey Airport

Mr Mearns told a press conference on Monday: “We would like to thank all the people and all the companies that have offered their help,” he said.

“We have been planning an underwater search as a next phase… there are still boats on the water… and people are still looking.”

Speaking of Sala and the football community’s reaction, Mr Mearns added: “He’s a really friendly person that people loved – from both clubs and any other clubs, and that’s where you see the breath of the football community coming together in an extraordinarily short period of time to raise this type of money.

“So, obviously the family appreciate that, but their minds have been in a different place this week.”

Burhou Island near Alderney
The family was shown the search area which included Burhou Island near Alderney

An official search for 28-year-old Sala and pilot David Ibbotson, 59, of Crowle, Lincolnshire, was called off on Thursday, with Mr Barker saying the chance of them being alive was “extremely remote”.

But, after a plea from his sister not to give up, more than £290,000 was raised for a private search to continue – which is being led by Mr Mearns, said to be a renowned shipwreck hunter.

High-profile donors to the GoFundMe page include France and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, former West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet and Leicester City winger Demarai Gray.

More than 4,000 people have donated to the page.

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Ms Sala said of her brother: “He’s a fighter, he started his football career from very little… He’s a very humble, family man.

“He was always joking, he was very keen to stay with the family all the time and we know he’s here somewhere and we are here to bring him back”.

Neil Warnock said he remembered Mr Ibbotson as a "fabulous pilot"
Neil Warnock said he remembered Mr Ibbotson as a “fabulous pilot”

Speaking for the first time since Sala disappeared, Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock said he could understand Sala’s family’s stance on keeping the search going.

“If it was my kid I’d want everybody looking forever,”he said at a press conference  on Monday.

“It’s by far the most difficult week in my career. Even now I can’t get my head round the situation,” he said.

“When I look at Romina and the family, it’s such a difficult time. I keep looking at my own children and thinking what I would be doing now, as well.”

Mr Warnock added he believed he had also been flown by Mr Ibbotson.

“I’d been on a couple of planes like that, but I think the ones I’d be on might have had two engines.

“But I’d been over the top to Nantes a couple of times, and I do think I had that pilot – who I thought was a fabulous pilot.

“So I just can’t comprehend it.”

Map showing location of Alderney and lighthouse
Emiliano Sala was on board a plane bound for Cardiff from Nantes when it disappeared from radar

Argentine striker Sala signed for the Bluebirds from Nantes on Saturday, 19 January and was flying back to Wales from France when the plane disappeared from radar last Monday evening.

At 19:15 GMT, Mr Ibbotson made a request to descend before losing contact with Jersey air traffic control.

Mr Mearns said they had travelled to Guernsey to be near where the plane was last located and to find out about the investigation and what happens next.

He said: “This is a family that has come from Argentina with this huge shock out of nowhere and is struggling with very, very few answers about an unexplained loss.”

He added the family “still have some hope”, saying: “They’re looking at this as a missing person, a missing plane and until they are satisfied, that’s the mode that we are in.”

Emiliano Sala's family arriving at Guernsey Airport
Sala’s family arrived at Guernsey Airport on Sunday

Emiliano Sala's sister Romina at Cardiff City Stadium
Romina Sala visited Cardiff last week and said she believes both Emiliano and the pilot are alive

Mr Mearns said the private search would entail “more investigative technical searches underwater” at some point.

The family have also thanked donors for their “exceptional generosity” after money was raised to pay for a private search.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has begun an investigation which will look at “all operational aspects,” including licensing and flight plans.

The PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft
The PA-46-310P Malibu aircraft Sala and Mr Ibbotson were on board

Tributes
Tributes have been left outside the Cardiff City Stadium

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