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Player ratings as Los Blancos suffer shock defeat

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Real Madrid suffered a blow in La Liga’s title race as they slipped to a 3-2 away defeat to crosstown rivals Rayo Vallecano.

It was an eventful night at the Estadio de Vallecas and one upon which Madrid failed to stamp their authority at any point, suffering their first league defeat of the season and now sitting two points behind Barcelona.

Rayo got off to the best possible start as Santi Comesana fired then into a fifth-minute lead with an unchallenged strike from the edge of the box.

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The game truly burst into life towards the end of the half. Firstly, Luka Modric levelled for Madrid from the penalty spot after Fran Garcia brought down Marco Asensio, and four minutes later Eder Militao brilliantly headed them into the lead.

At that stage, it looked like Madrid had weathered the Rayo storm and would go on to control the contest, but the hosts had very different ideas. Isi Palazon set up Alvaro Garcia to equalise on the brink of half-time, and it was all to play for again.

Neither team looked interested in settling for a point, and an unusually open contest ensued. It was Rayo who got the breakthrough, though, after Dani Carvajal handled the ball in his own box. Oscar Trejo’s initial spot kick was saved by Thibaut Courtois, but the penalty was ordered to be retaken for encroachment and no mistake was made at the second time of asking.

Madrid pushed on to try and salvage something, but despite seeing plenty of the ball they failed to carve out the quality of chances they needed and left Vallecas with nothing.

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Rodrygo Silva De Goes

Rodrygo short of his best / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Thibaut Courtois – 6/10 – Will de disappointed to have conceded three goals. Did well to save Trejo’s initial penalty.

RB: Dani Carvajal – 5/10-
Had his work cut out against Vallecano’s lively left-hand side and gave away a penalty, Tough night for him.

CB: Eder Militao – 8/10 – Powerful presence in both boxes, as illustrated by his goal.

CB: David Alaba – 6/10 – Did nothing wrong, but didn’t really stand out either.

LB: Ferland Mendy – 6/10 – Did okay, although not tested as Carvahal was.

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CM: Federico Valverde – 7/10 – Kept things ticking over nicely enough.

CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 7/10 – Reliable on the ball and combative without it.

CM: Luka Modric – 8/10 – Tucked away the penalty with customary cool and just generally quality throughout.

RF: Marco Asensio – 8/10 – The best of Madrid’s attacking trio.

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CF: Rodrygo – 6/10 – Failed to hit the target all night

LF: Vinicius Junior – 6/10 – Well short of his electric best.

SUB: Eduardo Camavinga (69′, for Tchouameni) – 6/10 – DIdn’t really make his presence felt to any notable degree.

SUB: Mariano Diaz (79′, for Modric) – N/A

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SUB: Nacho Fernandez (85′, for Mendy) – N/A

SUB: Lucas Vasquez (85′, for Carvajal) – N/A

Manager: Carlo Ancelotti – 6/10 – Managers always look bad after defeats, but probably need to give Vallecano credit here more than dishing out blame.

Rayo Vallecano player ratings

(4-2-3-1) GK: Stole Dimitrievski (6); RB: Ivan Balliu (7), CB: Florian Lejeune (6), CB: Alejandro Catena (6), LB: Francisco Garcia (7); CM: Santi Comesana (8), CM: Oscar Valentin (7); RM: Isi Palazon (8), AM: Oscar Trejo (8), LM: Alvaro Garcia (8); CF: Sergio Camello (7)

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SUBS: Unai Lopez (6), Pathe Ciss (N/A), Radamel Falcao (N/A), Salvi Sanchez (N/A), Pep Chavarria (N/A)



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EPL

Nottingham Forest announce signing of Andre Ayew

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed the signing of free agent Andre Ayew despite interest from Everton.

The forward has been heavily linked with a move to the Toffees in recent days, but Forest have swooped in to sign the Ghanian.

Speaking to the club’s official website after finalising the move, the forward said:  “It’s a great feeling to sign for Nottingham Forest.

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“I know how big the club is and I know how much the club means to the city and the fanbase. It’s always been difficult whenever I’ve played against Forest and at The City Ground and I love the stadium.

“Steve Cooper is someone who knows me very well and knows how to work with me both on and off the pitch. We have a strong relationship, he’s a special coach and a special human being and someone who I really look up to.”

“I know what I can bring to the team, I’m ready to give my all and make sure that we are able to stay in the Premier League.”



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Wolves vs Liverpool – Premier League: TV channel, team news, lineups & prediction

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Liverpool will be looking to make a statement with a Premier League trip to Wolves this weekend, having been dumped out of the FA Cup by Brighton last Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are without a league win in their last three attempts and have slipped as low as ninth in the table. Depending on what Chelsea do against Fulham on Friday night, the Reds could be 10th by the time they kick-off at Wolves.

Wolves are still yet to really find their groove under Julen Lopetegui, although at least remain out of the relegation zone on goal difference for the time being.

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Wolves team news

Wolves have no new injury concerns ahead of this one, with Pedro Neto, Boubacar Traore, Sasa Kalajdzic and Chiquinho all still sidelined.

Wolves predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): Sa; Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Bueno; Neves, Nunes; Traore, Sarabia, Hwang; Jimenez.

Liverpool team news

Centre-back Ibrahima Konate is the latest Liverpool player to join the injury list, ruled out until at least mid-February with a hamstring problem.

Virgil van Dijk is also still out, as are Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota. Arthur Melo is making progress but is a couple of weeks away from resuming training.

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Liverpool predicted lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Gakpo.

It’s certainly feasible that Wolves could continue to pile the misery on Liverpool.

The Reds had beaten Wolves in seven consecutive meetings until a recent FA Cup tie ended in 2-2 draw at Anfield. It was then only a single goal that decided the replay in the Merseysiders’ favour.

Prediction: Wolves 1-1 Liverpool

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Mason Greenwood releases statement after Greater Manchester Police drop all charges

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Mason Greenwood has released a short statement stating that he is ‘relieved’ after the Greater Manchester Police dropped all charges against the Man Utd forward.

Greenwood was charged with attempted rape, engaging in controlling and coercive behaviour and assault, allegations relating to the same woman last year and, following an investigation, GMP have confirmed that all charges have been dropped.

The GMP confirmed the news in a statement earlier on Thursday: “Given the significant media coverage of this case, it is only fair that we share the news that the 21-year-old man, who had been arrested and charged in connection with an investigation opened in January 2022, no longer faces criminal proceedings in relation to this.

“The investigation team has remained in regular contact with the legal team, providing any updates of note, and so understand the rationale for the discontinuation of proceedings at this stage, and that this decision has not been taken lightly.

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“Despite the media and public’s interest in this case, we have decided not to comment on it in any further detail.

“I would, however, like to use this opportunity to reiterate GMP’s commitment to investigating allegations of violence against women and girls and supporting those affected, regardless of their circumstances, throughout what can be a hard and upsetting time for them. An ever increasing number of officers are receiving specialist training and the force is more consistently utilising tools, available via the criminal justice system, to keep people safe and care for victims.”

Greenwood has now responded with a statement of his own, writing: “I am relieved that this matter is now over and I would like to thank my family, loved ones and friends for their support. There will be no further comment at this time.”

Manchester United are due to conducted their own internal investigation on the matter.

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