AUFA 17s Win Scottish Football League Championship

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Ayr United 17’s travelled away today for a lunchtime kick off against Livingston that ended up with the team winning the Academy’s first ‘major’ SFL League Title and trophy!

The Ayr players were facing the toughest game of their season and the their opponents provided a very competitive and close fought match played with a tricky wind. Ayr kicked off with a following breeze behind their backs and after two minutes showed their intent with Lee Lockhart shooting narrowly wide. Only a couple of minutes later the trialist forward was unlucky not to score after a great ball in from Lockhart.

Livingston put together some good passing movements and proved to be feisty opponents with both sides attempting to keep the ball on the deck but defences were on top during the opening exchanges. In 10 minutes the Livingston keeper had a great double save from Deci Milligan and  as the first half wore on, it became a tight and competitive game with Livingston missing two chances when they really should have been done better.

Milligan again found himself with a bit of room in the box on 25 minutes but the Livingston keeper made a good one handed save to block his goal bound strike. At the other end, James Kinniburgh hadn’t had a real save to make at this point with only a couple of crosses to take.

The game was proving to be a midfield encounter with neither team taking the ascendency at this point. Livingston made good progress on their right hand side with the overlapping runs of the full back causing Ayr some problems and just with half time approaching, the first real moment of controversy appeared when a cross to the back post bounced up and appeared to hit Ayr’s Steven Hutchison high on his arm.

The referee pointed to the spot which seemed a rather harsh decision as it was clearly a case of ball to arm rather than anything deliberate but with the clock showing 45+2, it wasn’t the ideal time to be conceding a goal. The penalty was struck low to James Kinniburgh’ s right corner but the keeper was equal to it getting his finger tips to it to put it onto the post which was immediately followed by the shrill of the referee’ half time whistle.

After a positive half time team talk by Head Coach Davy Adams the team responded well and started the second half really strongly taking the game to Livingston. With the positional change at half time of moving Cameron Barr into centre midfield and with Lockhart moving wide of Barr to giver a narrower three in midfield, Ayr were a different side and were very determined in the tackle.

Ian Aitken was holding the ball up well and Milligan began to cause problems for the Livingston defence. Scott Aitken was brought down at the edge of the box and the keeper saved well from Lockhart’s free kick. Pressure was building and Ian Aitken was just denied by the keeper when through on goal.

The Ayr side were pressing the ball and denying space to their opponents and in 60 minutes all the good work paid off.

From the right side of the field Lockhart played a great ball into the box which saw the Livvy keeper foul the brave Milligan and earn a penalty for his side. Milligan dusted himself down and slotted home a great strike, sending the keeper the wrong way to give Ayr a 1-0 advantage over Livingston.

Scott Aitken made way for Forsyth and Tyler replaced Milligan who was toiling with a chest condition. Forsyth then went close with a shot over the bar and the referee rightly waved away a Livingston claim for a penalty.

The rest of the second half was similar to the first half with both teams committed to winning the game however, United defended well all over the park and Ayr saw out the remaining minutes comfortably but the referee seemed to take forever to blow the final whistle, playing over 4 minutes injury time but the whistle did eventually blow and the Ayr 17s recorded their 12th win of the season and with this came another clean sheet.

After the final whistle sounded it became clear with the result at Alloa that Ayr had indeed clinched the league title as they discovered that Stirling had lost 3-2 away to Alloa which ensured that the league was won this very day and wouldn’t be decided with the Ayr v Stirling game next week.

Afterwards, Ayr’s Director of Football, John Crawford, who has took a coaching consultant’s role with the 17′s in the second half of the season said,”This was a very good Ayr performance with every player playing their part. That has been a main factor throughout the season with a terrific team spirit. Many good individual performances this week but it was the collective performance on the day which again counted.”

Trying to contain his joy of the team winning the league trophy, he continued,”Winning the 17’s SFL Youth League is a great moment for all concerned with the Academy as it is the first major trophy and league win the Academy have achieved. The team have now won 12 league matches and drawn one out of the total 13 league games played and they still have two to play. The team have scored 38 goals and conceded on just 8 occasions. A great achievement!”

In summing up he said,”Congratulations go to all the players for their efforts over the season and to the coaching staff of Davie Adams, Mark Pringle and Stuart Galloway who have helped immensely with developing the players.”
“Congratulations should also go to Allan Paul for his efforts in coaching the team over a 4 year period and to the Sports Science and Physio input . Thanks also to all the Academy coaches over recent seasons who have worked hard to help with the development of the players. This proves that the hard work has borne fruit.”

Today’s squad:
Kinniburgh, Hutchinson, Muir, Marlow, Marshall, Barr, Brown, Lockhart, Aitken, A. Trialist, Milligan, Wylie, March, Campbell, Forsyth, McCormack and Smith

Ayr United 19s Face Rangers in Scottish Youth Cup 1/4 Finals

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19′s Draw Rangers in Scottish Youth CupAfter the almighty efforts made last week by the Ayr United Football Academy 19′s team at Somerset Park in reaching the quarter finals of the Youth Cup, the only thing that was left to be decided was who their opponents were going to be.

The draw was made on Friday at Hampden with Ayr being drawn out as another home tie with the visitors being the winner of the Rangers v Hamilton match.

Rangers and Hamilton played out their match at Murray Park on Saturday morning with the home side ending up victorious by the scoreline of 3-2 and this sets up a glorious match for Ayr as they face up to SFL Performance level side Rangers who have made the Youth Cup final for the past five years, only being beaten by Celtic last year.

To be the best, you have to beat the best and that’s what Ayr will have to do to progress in this competition but they have the talent so why not?

The match is scheduled for Sunday 13th February 2011 at Somerset Park, KO time to be arranged

Atlas Remain Top of Apertura Despite Loss But Only Just

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Atlas remain top of the Mexican Apertura table despite their first loss of the season, a 2-0 home defeat by Club America.

Vicente Vuoso and Angel Reyna were the scorers for Club America.

Toluca sit second in the table, one point behind Atlas, after Carlos Esquivel scored the only goal against Tigres Monterrey.

Christian Benitez and Carlos Quintero scored as Santos Laguna won 2-1 away to Jaguares, Omar Flores netting the consolation for the home side.

Efrain Cortes was on target as Queretaro defeated Necaxa 1-0 and Atlante beat Puebla 2-0 with an own goal by Yasser Corona and a second from Christian Bermudez in a game which also saw Jose Joel Gonzalez sent off for Puebla.

Hugo Droguett, Julio Cesar Dominguez Juarez, Alejandro Castro and Cesar Villaluz Martinez were on target as Cruz Azul won 4-0 at Pachuca.

Melbourne Victory Close In on Playoffs in A-League

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Melbourne Victory closed in on a place in the A-League play-offs as Danny Allsopp scored in each half to overcome Gold Coast United 2-0 at AAMI Park.

Allsopp opened the scoring with a 25-yard strike after 25 minutes before turning John Curtis and firing home 11 minutes into the second half to seal the points.

Dylan Macallister's 20th-minute goal saw Wellington Phoenix move into the top six with a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

Macallister poked home midway through the first half to overcome Jets, who had Ryan Griffiths sent off in the 66th minute.

Kenny Miller Scores on Bursapor Debut

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Second-placed Bursaspor moved within two points of Super Lig leaders Trabzonspor today thanks to a 2-0 home win over ten-man Galatasaray.

New signing Kenny Miller, who completed his move from Rangers last week, opened the scoring after 37 minutes and Gokcek Wederson doubled the hosts' advantage on the stroke of half-time. Gala had Ayhan Akman sent off after 64 minutes and could find no way back.

The result kept Bursaspor hot on the heels of Trabzonspor, who can re-establish their five-point cushion by winning at Fenerbahce tomorrow.

Serie A Breakdown 30 January 2011

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Inter Milan delivered a stunning second-half fightback to wipe out a two-goal deficit and get the better of Palermo in Serie A. Fabrizio Miccoli gave Palermo an early lead and, when Antonio Nocerino made it two, the odds looked to be stacked against Leonardo's men.

Debutant Pazzini gave Inter hope, but they still had to survive a missed penalty from Javier Pastore before they wrapped up a 3-2 win with Pazzini's second and a Samuel Eto'o penalty.

Cavani put Sampdoria to the sword as Napoli kept the heat on Serie A leaders AC Milan with a 4-0 win. The Uruguayan scored a hat-trick with Marek Hamsik also on target for the hosts as Napoli closed the gap on Milan to four points.

Udinese moved above Juventus and into sixth place with a 2-1 win over the Turin side. Claudio Marchisio gave Juve the lead on the hour but Cristian Zapata levelled seven minutes later and Sanchez won it five minutes from time. Leonardo Bonucci was sent off for Juventus in the 87th minute - and Sanchez was also dismissed a minute later.

Genoa break 2011 duck

Genoa won their first game of the year, 3-1 at home to Parma. Parma defender Gabriel Paletta gave them a hand, first by giving away a penalty in the 16th minute, which was converted by Rodrigo Palacio, and then by scoring an own goal after Hernan Crespo had brought Parma level. Kakha Kaladze's first goal for Genoa on the stroke of half time sealed all three points for the Rossoblu.

Cagliari defeated bottom club Bari 2-1 in a game of early goals and missed penalties. Alessandro Matri scored twice in the first 12 minutes, with Stefano Okaka pulling a goal back for the visitors two minutes later.

Bari were denied an equalising goal four minutes before half-time when Michael Agazzi saved Gergely Rudolf's penalty and follow-up, before Cagliari's Robert Acquafresca wasted a chance from the spot near the end.

Chievo took a significant step towards safety with a 3-0 win at struggling Brescia. Sergio Pellissier put the Flying Donkeys in front on the stroke of half-time, Davide Mandelli added a second two minutes into the second half and Pellissier struck again in stoppage time.

Cesena break Lecce hearts
Erjon Bogdani headed in an injury-time equaliser to earn Cesena a 1-1 draw at fellow strugglers Lecce. In a battle of strugglers at the Via del Mare stadium, Lecce were within seconds of claiming three valuable points in their fight against relegation after taking an 11th-minute lead through Daniele Corvia.

The visitors' Igor Budan saw his 81st-minute penalty saved by Lecce goalkeeper Antonio Rosati, before Bogdani struck to end their three-game losing streak.

The match between Bologna and Roma was abandoned after 17 goalless minutes due to bad weather. The pitch at the Renato Dall' Ara stadium was covered in snow and referee Luca Banti determined the surface was unplayable.

Celtic & Rangers Win To Make Co op Cup Final

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Rangers set up a mouth-watering Old Firm League Cup final against Celtic as they ground out a narrow 2-1 win over Motherwell at Hampden Park today.

Rangers took the lead against the run of play in the 20th minute through a Maurice Edu strike from distance. Motherwell deservedly grabbed an equaliser in the 66th minute when Keith Lasley drove the ball home from the edge of the box.

But as Motherwell pushed forward looking for a winner they were caught by a fast Rangers counter attack and Nikica Jelavic crossed for the unmarked Steven Naismith to head home with 15 minutes remaining.

Rangers manager Walter Smith was pleased to reach the first cup final of the season. "That's our fourth since coming back to the club so I'm delighted with that," said Smith. "We are happy to win what was always going to be a hard fought match."

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall, a former Rangers player, thought there was nothing between the sides. "It is mixed emotions really. I'm hugely disappointed because I thought the performance merited us at least to go to extra time but I'm really proud of them," he said. "It wasn't a backs-to-the-wall performance and thought we had good possession of the ball but it wasn't to be in the end."

 Celtic Ease Past Aberdeen

Kris Commons scored on his debut as Celtic steamrollered into the League Cup final with a 4-1 thrashing of Aberdeen at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Commons, who signed from Derby County yesterday, opened the floodgates in the sixth minute with a chipped shot from 20 yards before headers from Charlie Mulgrew and Thomas Rogne put Celtic 3-0 up with just 20 minutes gone.

Derek Young foolishly used his hand to block an Anthony Stokes free-kick in the box in the 34th minute and the Irishman converted the spot-kick as Celtic ran riot. Aberdeen improved after the break with Scott Vernon netting a consolation goal on the hour mark but their 11 year wait to make a national final continues. 

Celtic's win sets up a Old Firm final.

Messi Scores Two to Keep Barcelona on Top Of La Liga

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Hercules 0-3 Barcelona 

Spanish Primera Division 


0-1 P. Rodriguez 43'
0-2 L. Messi 87'
0-3 L. Messi 89' 

Lionel Messi scored two late goals as Barcelona beat ten-man Hercules 3-0 tonight to preserve their 100 per cent away record in the Primera Division and move seven points clear of Real Madrid at the top of the table.

Pedro gave Barça the lead two minutes before the interval, but the win was still in doubt until Messi's late intervention, with the Argentina forward bagging two goals - after Javier Farinos had been sent off - in the last three minutes to give the Catalans a comfortable victory. The win erased memories of Barça's surprise home defeat at the hands of the promoted side earlier on in the campaign and put them seven clear of Real, who visit Osasuna tomorrow.

Laure's late equaliser secured a dramatic 3-3 draw for Deportivo La Coruna after ten-man Sevilla had battled from two goals down to lead at the Riazor. Lassad Nouioui's superb strike lit up an otherwise dull first half and his second goal, soon after the 58th-minute dismissal of Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop, looked to have put the hosts on course to end their three-game losing run.

However, that sparked the visitors into life and two goals from Alvaro Negredo and one from Julien Escude turned the game on its head in a stunning second half. And there was still time for Laure to have the final word, shooting across substitute goalkeeper Javi Varas to salvage a point for Depor despite offside protestations from the visitors.

Sporting Gijon secured their first Primera Division away win of the season in emphatic fashion as they thrashed Real Mallorca 4-0 at the Iberostar Stadium to continue their recent revival. The Asturians had won their last two league games to climb out of the relegation zone, but had failed to win any of their away matches prior to this one. That changed with goals from Diego Castro, Roberto Canella, Andre Castro and Nacho Novo.

Levante climbed off the foot of the standings by ending a run of five successive league defeats with a 2-0 victory over Getafe. Two goals at the start of the second half set Levante on their way to only a fifth league win of the campaign, with Valmiro Valdo scoring in the 47th minute and Felipe Caicedo doubling their lead seven minutes later.

Both teams ended the match with ten men, Getafe's Manu del Moral and Xisco Nadal of Levante handed their marching orders following an incident between the two with 12 minutes to go, but it did not affect the home side as they held on for three precious points.

Goals from Jon Ansotegui and Raul Tamudo earned Real Sociedad the spoils in a 2-0 win over lowly Almeria in tough conditions at a rain-drenched Anoeta. Ansotegui opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time and then, with growing pools of water on the pitch making life difficult for both teams, Tamudo sealed the win with Sociedad's second 12 minutes from full-time. The victory means promoted Sociedad, who had lost five of their previous six games, are now 11 points clear of 18th-placed Almeria and the relegation zone.

A late strike from Florent Sinama-Pongolle saw Real Zaragoza complete a memorable comeback to win 2-1 at Malaga, securing their third straight Primera Division win to continue their recent revival under Mexican coach Javier Aguirre. Duda put Malaga ahead after 15 minutes, but Nicolas Bertolo equalised before Sinama-Pongolle's winner.

Suarez Passes Medical at Liverpool

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Uruguayan FIFA World Cup™ striker Luis Suarez passed his medical at Liverpool and also agreed terms on Sunday, paving the way for him to complete his £22.8m move from Ajax.

"Luis Suarez has successfully passed his medical and personal terms with the player have been agreed. We expect to complete the remainder of the paperwork tomorrow," said a Liverpool statement.

The 24-year-old has scored 111 goals in 159 games for Ajax. However, whether he will replace Fernando Torres or be a team-mate of the Spaniard at Anfield remains to be seen.

Chelsea had a bid for the 26-year-old Torres turned down last week, before the striker then had a transfer request rejected. The January transfer window closes on tomorrow.

£300 Million Manchester City Snatch Last Minute Equalizer Against Lowly Notts County

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Notts County 1 

Manchester City 1

(FA Cup 4th Round - 30/1/11)

1-0 Neal Bishop 59'
1-1 Edin Dzeko 80'
Edin Dzeko opened his goalscoring account for Manchester City as the Premier League side scrambled a late equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw with lowly Notts County in the FA Cup fourth round today. 

Bosnian striker Dzeko netted in the 80th minute to rescue City, who were left chasing the game after Neal Bishop headed the Magpies into a shock lead on 59 minutes at Meadow Lane.

City - who have spent more than £300m on players since their takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008 - are currently 58 places above Notts County, languishing in 18th spot of League One. But the gulf between Roberto Mancini's expensively assembled squad and Paul Ince's side was rarely obvious as a quagmire of a pitch acted as a leveller.

Real Madrid Stunned By Osasuna

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Osasuna 1-0 Real Madrid 

(Spanish Primera Division - 30/1/11)

1-0 Javier Camuñas 62' 
 Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho could not fault his players for their efforts but admits Sunday's 1-0 defeat to struggling Osasuna has left them in a "much more difficult situation" with regards their pursuit of Primera Division leaders Barcelona.

A second-half strike from Javier Camunas earned 17th-place Osasuna the spoils in a hard-fought came at the Reyno de Navarra stadium and consigned Madrid to only a second league defeat of the season. The defeat means Mourinho's men are now seven points adrift of in-form Barcelona - who have won 15 successive matches in La Liga - at the top of the table, and was a major blow to the capital club's hopes of winning a first league title since 2008.

Mourinho said after the game: "My players have done their jobs with dignity and I have nothing to reproach them for, they fought to the end. We lost three points that we didn't deserve to lose. Osasuna are a tough team and the crowd was fantastic. I don't think many teams win here. We had opportunities to score in both halves, but we haven't done it. And if the opponents score first it is very difficult. Congratulations to Osasuna."

Fulham Humble Tottenham Hotspur (highlights)

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Fulham 4-0 Tottenham Hotspur 

(FA Cup 4th Round - 30/1/11)

1-0 Danny Murphy 11'
2-0 Danny Murphy 14'
3-0 Brede Hangeland 23'
4-0 Moussa Dembele 45' +3' 

Arsenal Squeeze Past Huddersfield Town in FA Cup

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Arsenal 2-1 Huddersfield Town 

(FA Cup 4th Round 30/01/2011)

1-0 N. Bendtner 21'
1-1 A. Lee 66'
2-1 C. Fabregas (pen.) 86'

Red Card - S. Squillaci 42'

Pirates Get Ready for Regal Armada

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This time it's personal!

The Pirates line up for the second round of their local rivalry against a Regal side that is much changed from the last time the met.

Brendan and his band of Pirates will be hoping for a repeat of the 2 nil win they managed, but things will be much tougher this time around after the departure of top scorer Roy Hernandez to today's opponents in a mid winter switch that is akin to Torres' much talked about move to Chelsea this very weekend.

The Pirates will be hoping to continue the good work laid out two weekends ago when they managed a four point weekend against top team Tulsa Lobos.
A win or draw tomorrow at Maya Park will see the Galveston side go top and with Tulsa having a free weekend, its a great time to stamp their authority on the league and taking charge.

The Regals of course have another match on Sunday against Club America, a tough tie in itself, but they will have both eyes focused solely on Saturdays match and like last time, they will fancy themselves to be victorious.

The Pirate spirit is strong though, the players are focused, the coach is pumped.

The time has come for strong hearts and fighting spirit, now is the time, Maya Park is the place. Be a part of it!

Rangers Close to Deal For Sunderland Striker David Healy

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Rangers are closing in on a loan move for Sunderland striker David Healy. 

The Northern Ireland international, who recently completed a loan spell with Doncaster Rovers from the English Premier League club, is in advanced discussions with Walter Smith's team over a transfer to Ibrox until the end of the season.

The 31-year-old, who has scored 35 goals for his country in 84 appearances, hasn't played for the Black Cats since an appearance in an FA Cup match against Portsmouth in January 2010 and spent the latter part of last season on loan at Ipswich Town, scoring one goal in 12 appearances.

Healy's contract with Sunderland expires at the end of the season, paving the way for Rangers to sign the player on a permanent basis in the summer if he impresses.

The reigning SPL champions have been in the market for a replacement for Kenny Miller, who scored 21 SPL goals before departing for Turkish club Bursaspor earlier in the transfer window.

Healy, who famously scored the winner for Northern Ireland in a 1-0 win at Windsor Park against England in September 2005, spoke previously of his desire to move to Rangers last summer, saying his loyalties towards the club would attract him to Glasgow.

“If Rangers came knocking I would certainly not be saying no,” he told the BBC in June. “I have been linked with going to Rangers for four or five years now.

“It has been well documented that I grew up supporting Rangers and my dad is a big Rangers fan, but that does not mean I am ever going to end up playing there.”

Healy started his career as a youngster at Manchester United, making one appearance in an English League Cup game against Aston Villa in October 1999. He subsequently had loan spells at Port Vale and Preston North End, before switching on a permanent basis to Deepdale in 2001.

After 44 goals in 155 appearances during a three-and-a-half stay, during which time he had two loan spells with Norwich City, a move to Leeds United followed in 2004. A three year spell at Elland Road yielded 31 goals in 121 games, before a £1.5 million switch to the English top flight to play for Fulham in July 2007.

Thirty-four games and six goals later, Sunderland paid £1.2 for his services after a year at Craven Cottage. But Healy has failed to make a single Premier League start during his time at the Stadium of Light, scoring once in 13 league substitute appearances and scoring twice in eight cup outings.
But it is at international level Healy has earned a reputation for being a potent threat in attack, bagging 35 goals in 84 appearances for Northern Ireland. Aside from his famed match winning strike against England six years ago, the striker has also scored a hat-trick in a win over Spain, as well as scoring against the likes of Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

Kris Commons Signs For Celtic

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Scotland international Kris Commons has completed his move from Derby County to Celtic after agreeing a three-and-a-half year deal with the SPL club.

Commons was in Glasgow this afternoon to undergo a medical after Celtic agreed a fee with the English Championship club.

The move comes days after Old Firm rivals Rangers failed to agree terms with the winger although it has been voiced that the player didn't even speak to the Ibrox club.

Commons deal at Pride Park was due to run out at the end of this season and Derby had offered Commons an extension to his current contract but the player decided to talk to other clubs and has now committed his future to Celtic.

The player has, to date, earned seven international caps and scored his first goal in the 3-0 friendly win over the Faroe Islands at Pittodrie in November 2010.

Liverpool Sign £23 Million Ajax Man, Luis Suarez

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On his way: Luis Suarez is swapping Ajax for Liverpool in the January transfer windowLiverpool are set to sign £22.8m Luis Suarez as question marks hang over the future of Fernando Torres.

Ajax finally relented to sell Suarez to the Merseyside club and he becomes Kenny Dalglish's first signing since returning as manager.

The 24-year-old has yet to pass a medical and agree personal terms but those two issues are unlikely to be stumbling blocks.

A Liverpool statement read: 'Liverpool Football Club announced this afternoon that they had agreed a fee of up to 26.5million Euros with Ajax for the transfer of Luis Suarez, subject to the completion of a medical.

'The club have now been given permission by Ajax to discuss personal terms with the player and his representatives.'

Having argued over the Uruguay international's value for some time Liverpool's owners Fenway Sports Group have sanctioned their first major signing since buying the club in October.

However, last week chairman Tom Werner admitted they would be prepared to spend heavily on a star name if it benefited the club's long-term interest.

At 24, Suarez fits the profile of the type of player they have in mind, and he has been prolific in the Eredivisie, scoring 111 goals in 159 matches since joining the Dutch giants in the summer of 2007.

Torres Asks Liverpool To Consider Selling Him To Chelsea

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According to Sky Sports, Fernando Torres has asked Liverpool to consider selling him to Chelsea after a bid was rejected in the early hours of Friday morning. 

The Blues have been admirers of the Spain striker for some time and it has now emerged that they made an audacious attempt to sign him.

The offer, believed to be around £35million, was immediately turned down by the Reds, who insisted Torres 'is not for sale'.

Reports have claimed that Chelsea will return with an improved offer before Monday's deadline to further test Liverpool's resolve.

And Sky Sports' Spanish expert Guillem Balague understands Torres has asked Liverpool to listen to Chelsea's bid.

It is thought that Torres would like the opportunity to embark on a new challenge with the reigning Premier League champions after three-and-a-half years at Anfield.

No release clause

Liverpool have endured a disappointing past couple of seasons and Torres is keen to play for a club that is challenging for major honours.

The final decision will rest with the Reds though, with Balague insisting there is no release clause in Torres' contract following suggestions that an offer of £50million would trigger a transfer.

Liverpool have made their position clear and it remains to be seen whether Torres' apparent wishes will be taken into consideration.

The 26-year-old has cut a forlorn figure at times this season but appears revitalised under new manager Kenny Dalglish and is returning to something approaching his best form.

Chelsea are keen to partner him with Didier Drogba in what be a formidable strikeforce and Torres reportedly hopes the two clubs will start to negotiate.

South Koreas Ki Sung-Yeung Blames Scottish Fans For HIS Racism Taunts!

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Ki Sung-Yeung, the Glasgow Celtic playing South Korean, has blamed Scottish fans for his perceived racist celebration following his goal for South Korea against Japan in Tuesday's Asian Cup semi-final. He claimed his intention was in fact to highlight abuse in Scottish football.

Ki opened the scoring from the spot at Al Gharafa Stadium and celebrated by appearing to impersonate a monkey in an apparent derogatory reference to Japanese people that outraged sections of the country's media.

However, the Celtic midfielder revealed he was in fact trying to hit back against abuse suffered while playing in Scotland. Korea eventually lost on penalties to their regional rivals after the last-four encounter finished 2-2.

"The treatment he got from the Scottish league, especially in the away games, the people who made noises like the sound of the monkeys in Scotland when he played away games, that is something he wanted to highlight," a Korea Football Association spokesman said.

"Even though they call him a monkey as an Asian, he wanted to show how strong they are in Asia. That was the main intention."

As a Scotsman, I find this offensive that someone would say this about fans in this country. Now, I cannot speak for every single one of them but as I visit various stadia all over the country commentating on Scottish football matches, I feel I have the right to comment on this.

Over the past 12 months, I have been to over 150 Scottish football league matches and have NEVER heard a racist comment made to any player, regardless of his colour or race.

If he was caught doing something he shouldn't have, he should be a man about it, hold his hands up and apologise but what does he do, blame the Scottish fans. Scottish fans have their problems with abuse, most notably sectarianism within the old firm, but racism, no way man.

Never since the days of Mark Walters playing for Rangers back in the 80's have I heard a racist comment in Scotland and it irks me to hear someone saying that its rife in Scotland.

Hopefully his club will reprimand him over his comments but don't hold your breath but if the man has an ounce of sense, he will never set foot in Scotland ever again because the abuse will now follow him around the grounds in Scotland, not because of racism but because of who he blamed. He has now made a rod for his own back and when the monkey taunts are now directed to him, it won't be because of racism, it will be because he accused the Scottish fans of doing it to him.

Shame on you Ki Sung-Yeung, shame on you!

Spurs Deny £40 Million Inter Bid For Gareth Bale

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Gareth Bale's devastating performances against Inter have seen him linked with a number of top European clubsInter Milan official Ernesto Paolillo has denied a report in The Guardian which suggested the club are planning to offer £40 million for Tottenham star Gareth Bale in the summer.

The Guardian detailed how Inter were willing to pay a record fee for a British player in order to sign Bale, who memorably scored a hat-trick against the Nerazzurri at San Siro this season, before giving Maicon a torrid time in the return Champions League fixture at White Hart Lane.

The report regarding Inter's interest in Bale was published on Thursday evening but the Italian champions wasted little time in rejecting suggestions that president Massimo Moratti had decided to make Bale his key acquisition at the end of the season.

"It is incorrect," Inter chief executive officer Paolillo told Bloomberg. "It's not true."

Tottenham have repeatedly maintained that they have no interest in selling Bale, who over the past 12 months has been one of the leading players in the Premier League.

Liverpool Knock Back Chelsea in Torres Bid

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Liverpool have confirmed that they have rejected an offer from Chelsea for their star striker Fernando Torres.

Fernando Torres has been sporadically linked with a possible move to Stamford BridgeTorres is known to have long been a target for Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich but his attempt to recruit the World Cup winner in January has failed after Liverpool stated their intent to retain Torres' services.

"Chelsea have made a bid for Fernando which has been turned down," a Liverpool spokesman told The Times. "The player is not for sale."

Torres has scored 65 goals in 102 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, but only nine of those have come this season as he struggled with his form in the wake of a demanding World Cup campaign, and under the doomed reign of Roy Hodgson.

Prior to Hodgson's dismissal and the return of Kenny Dalglish, it was reported that both Torres and goalkeeper Jose Reina were seriously considering their futures at Anfield, with the club struggling to pull decisively clear of the relegation zone.

However, his performances have improved alongside an upturn in Liverpool's results, and the club have shown their determination to secure the future of the man who joined the club from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2007.

Blackpool Fined for Fielding Weakened Team

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 Premier League hits Blackpool with fine
Blackpool have been fined £25,000 for fielding a weakened side in their Premier League game against Aston Villa on November 10.

Having drawn 2-2 with Everton in their previous game, Blackpool manager Ian Holloway made ten changes to his side and saw his side lose 3-2 at Villa Park to a last-minute goal. 

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