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Sporting Kansas City waive Spanish midfielder Uri Rosell

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Sporting Kansas City have announced they’ve waived midfielder Uri Rosell, bringing his second spell at the club to an end.

Rosell signed a two-year contract with SKC back in December 2021 and went on to make appearances across all competitions last season, taking his total number of games to the club to 77, scoring two goals and providing two assists.

However, Rosell will not complete his contract after being waved by SKC, who have 27 players under contract at present for the 2023 season, including new signing Nemanja Radoja, who will likely start in the defensive midfield position.

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Rosell’s two stops at SKC came either side of a 73-game, four-year spell with fellow MLS side Orlando City, while the Spaniard also enjoyed time in Portugal with Sporting CP, Vitoria, Belenenses, and Portimonense.

Now 30-years-old, Rosell is a product of the Barcelona youth system and played six Spanish second tier matches for the Catalan giants’ B team back in the 2011/12 campaign.

Without Rosell, Sporting Kansas City will look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2023 after finishing 12th in the Western Conference last season. Peter Vermes’ side open the new campaign away at the Portland Timbers on February 25.



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EPL

RB Leipzig End Liverpool’s Hopes of Early Naby Keita Move

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Naby Keita will not be allowed to ditch Leipzig for ​Liverpool in January, regardless of progression to the knockout stages of the Champions League, according to Leipziger Volkszeitung.

It was announced during the summer that Liverpool had met Keita’s release clause and the Guinean midfielder would move to Anfield at the end of the 2017/18 season. 

However, recent speculation suggested that die Roten Bullen could be persuaded into letting Keita leave the club during the winter transfer window.

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“Even if we should not reach the knockout stages of Champions League, it would make no sense to allow Naby to join Liverpool earlier,” said RB Leipzig sporting director, Ralf Rangnick.

“We want to qualify for Europe again, and we need Naby for that.”

Leipzig have won just one Champions League game this season, with defeats to FC Porto and Besiktas making progression to the knockout stages a difficult task this year.

Following their impressive maiden season in the Bundesliga, in which RB Leipzig finished ahead of Borussia Dortmund, the Red Bulls will be desperate to make sure their Champions League status continues next season.

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The 22-year-old has struggled to replicate the incredible form he showed last year since the announcement of his move next summer. 

Questions about Keita’s disciplinary record have also arisen this season, the midfielder seeing three red cards for club and country in less than one month.



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Player ratings as Mbappe injury mars routine win

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Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Wednesday night was marred by Kylian Mbappe limping from the field with a suspected hamstring injury.

The Frenchman wandered off down the tunnel after just 21 minutes, which will no doubt concern PSG’s supporters less than two weeks before the Parisians are due to lock horns with Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Mbappe’s absence didn’t affect the result of the game, as Fabian Ruiz, Lionel Messi and Warren Zaire-Emery bagged second half goals for PSG, but the Frenchman did have a rather eventful night despite being on the field for less than a quarter of the game.

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After Sergio Ramos was hauled down in the area, Mbappe saw his ninth minute penalty saved by Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte, only for VAR to determine that he’d come off of his line too soon.

But Mbappe missed the second spot kick as well, with Lecomte again denying him, before he sunk to the turf 10 minutes later clutching his hamstring.

Messi had a goal chalked off by VAR for offside before the half-time interval as PSG dominated, and it was deja vu eight minutes after the break when Achraf Hakimi also had an effort ruled out by the officials.

PSG weren’t to be denied though, and they took the lead through Ruiz after some good smart build-up play involving Vitinha, Hakimi and Mbappe’s replacement, Hugo Ekitike.

Spanish midfielder Ruiz then produced a sublime assist for Messi’s goal 15 minutes time, linking up nicely with Ekitike before sliding a perfectly weighted pass through to the Argentine. He, inevitably, did the rest by dinking the ball past the impressive Lecomte.

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Montpellier scored in stoppage time to reduce the arrears when PSG could, and should, have been out of sight, and almost levelled the game when the visitors were caught dozing moments later.

Zaire-Emery, aged just 16, sealed the deal to become PSG’s youngest ever goalscorer, but the main worry for Christophe Galtier will be whether Mbappe is fit to face Bayern when the Champions League returns to the Parc des Princes on Valentine’s night.

Warren Zaire-Emery is PSG's bright new star

Warren Zaire-Emery is PSG’s bright new star / PASCAL GUYOT/GettyImages

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6/10 – Statuesque as Arnaud Nordin pulled a goal back for Montpellier late on. Didn’t have much to do.

RB: Achraf Hakimi – 7/10 – Denied a fantastic goal by the assitant referee’s flag. There are few better full-backs to watch than Hakimi when he’s in full flow.

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CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – Passing accuracy was on point and seemed to be in full control until a late blip almost cost PSG dear.

CB: Sergio Ramos – 6/10 – Was doing pretty well, even winning a penalty, before an unfortunate clash of heads ended the Spaniard’s night.

LB: Nuno Mendes – 6/10 – Still working his way back to full fitness but got a good hour and a bit under his belt.

DM: Danilo Pereira – 6/10 – Slipped into the back four after Sergio Ramos went off injured – a role he’s becoming increasingly familiar with.

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RCM: Carlos Soler – 6/10 – A little quiet compared to those around him and was often outduelled.

CM: Vitinha – 7/10 – Again impressive in the heart of midfield, playing a key role in PSG’s opening goal.

LCM: Fabian Ruiz – 8/10 – Was in the right place at the right time to give PSG the lead, and then produced a fantasticly weighted pass for Messi’s goal.

ST: Lionel Messi – 8/10 – Denied by VAR in the first half but showed his class to put the game beyond Montpellier. The lead orchestrator of all things good, as per.

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ST: Kylian Mbappe – 4/10 – Missed two penalties and went off injured. Not a night for Mbappe to remember.

Substitutes

SUB: Hugo Ekitike – 7/10 – Gave PSG an outlet up front, and his hard work and endeavour allowed PSG to break the deadlock.

SUB: Renato Sanches – 6/10 – Helped PSG control proceedings after coming on for the injured Ramos.

SUB: Warren Zaire-Emery – 7/10 – Took his goal superbly to become PSG’s youngest ever goalscorer. A real talent.

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SUB: Juan Bernat – 6/10 – A steady but unspectacular 20 minutes or so for the former Bayern Munich man.

Player of the Match: Fabian Ruiz (PSG)





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Player rating as Red Devils seal passage to Wembley

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Manchester United secured their place in only a second major final in six seasons on Wednesday night with a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford.

Goals from Anthony Martial and Fred decided the game, bumping up an already comfortable aggregate lead from the first leg to 5-0, setting up a clash with Newcastle at Wembley this month.

The hosts had mild penalty appeals when Alejandro Garnacho went down under pressure from Neco Williams and Willy Boly. But nearly half an hour had passed before either side had a clear sight of goal, with a powerful Casemiro header saved by Wayne Hennessey’s outstretched right foot.

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Despite chasing an aggregate deficit, Forest had seen very little of the ball but probably should have taken the lead on a rare foray forward. A throw-in gave Brennan Johnson the chance to dribble his way through, but the pacey Welshman’s finish straight at Tom Heaton lacked conviction.

Antony’s cleanly hit strike from outside the box in the closing stages of the first half had Hennessey worried as he flew to his left, seeing the ball just rise over the crossbar.

Wout Weghorst then struck the post right before the interval after an otherwise quiet opening 45 minutes from the Dutchman, while Forest winger Emmanuel Dennis had his head in his hands when his goal-bound effort was inadvertently blocked by teammate Sam Surridge.

United had stronger penalty appeals not long into the second half when Weghorst nicked the ball in front of Forest defender Scott McKenna, whose attempt to clear then upended the forward. It was given the VAR treatment but the on-field decision surprisingly stood.

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Tempers flared a little around the hour mark, with tackles flying and Alejandro Garnacho involved in an ongoing fracas with Johnson and Williams on Forest’s right flank. The young Argentine forced Hennessey into a good save at the near post in one of his final acts before Ten Hag made a flurry of changes, including the return of Jadon Sancho after more than three months out.

With United already starting to turn the screw, those changes triggered the second half goals. The first went to Martial, capitalising on a rebound after fellow sub Marcus Rashford had seen an attempt blocked following an initial run by the Frenchman.

Sancho was then involved in the second goal not long after, feeding Bruno Fernandes on the right. The United skipper’s exquisite outside-of-the-foot ball to the far post was then put back across the box by Rashford for Fred to score an easy tap-in.

Heaton still had to have his wits about him late on to preserve his clean sheet, throwing a big hand up to parry a powerful drive from Danilo as Forest searched for a very late consolation. With the goal gaping, Surridge skied his own attempt on the rebound.

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GK: Tom Heaton – 6/10 – A deserved opportunity but hardly a busy night until a spectacular late save.

RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10 – Took up an interesting position relatively high up the pitch and often tucked inside that made it difficult for Dennis and made space for Antony.

CB: Lisandro Martinez – 7/10 – Commanded every situation.

CB: Raphael Varane – 7/10 – Always composed and in control.

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LB: Luke Shaw – 6/10 – Back after illness and can be satisifed with this performance.

CM: Casemiro – 8/10 – Another fine example of the type of performance that has really driven the whole team’s resurgence this season.

CM: Fred – 7/10 – Has been thriving alongside his fellow countryman and could play an awful lot more now that Christian Eriksen is out for a few months.

RM: Antony – 6/10 – Inches away from a great goal and posed a threat early on.

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AM: Bruno Fernandes (c) – 8/10 – Put in a star turn, especially after moving to the right in the seconc half. Went close to a goal of his own late on.

LM: Alejandro Garnacho – 7/10 – Becoming more and more at home in this team.

ST: Wout Weghorst – 6/10 – A quiet opening 45 minutes until hitting the post on the stroke of half-time. Probably deserved a penalty after the break.

Substitutes

SUB: Marcus Rashford (62′ for Garnacho) – 7/10

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SUB: Jadon Sancho (62′ for Antony) – 7/10

SUB: Anthony Martial (63′ for Weghorst) – 7/10

SUB: Victor Lindelof (80′ for Casemiro) – N/A

SUB: Harry Maguire (80′ for Varane) – N/A

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Manager

Erik ten Hag – 9/10 – Went with a strong side to avoid any slip-ups, but it was the substitutions and slight tweak in shape as Fernandes moved to the right that made the difference.

GK: Wayne Hennessey – 6/10 – Made a handful of saves to keep it 0-0 for at least a while.

RB: Neco Williams – 7/10 – Had his hands full with Garnacho but ultimately outlasted his imprssive opponent, before switching to the other side.

CB: Scott McKenna – 5/10 – Arguably fortunate not to give away a penalty for a swinging leg that caught Weghorst.

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CB: Willy Boly – 6/10 – Stood tall for long periods until the resistance finally broke.

LB: Renan Lodi – 5/10 – Barely touched the ball and had a tough night of defending.

CM: Remo Freuler (c) – 5/10 – Tough night against a very good United midfield.

CM: Orel Mangala – 5/10 – Similar story to Freuler, found it hard going.

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RM: Brennan Johnson – 6/10 – Should have done with a great first half chance that he created himself, having already done the hard bit.

AM: Gustavo Scarpa – 6/10 – Had promising moments just as in the first leg.

LM: Emmanuel Dennis – 5/10 – Late replacement for the injured Jesse Lingard and initially struggled to get into the game. Had one decent chance blocked by his own teammate.

ST: Sam Surridge – 5/10 – With little of the ball, frustrations got the better of him when he cleaned out Raphael Varane to pick up a yellow card.

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Substitutes

SUB: Alex Mighten (64′ for Johnson) – 5/10

SUB: Danilo (64′ for Freuler) – 6/10

SUB: Serge Aurier (65′ for Lodi) – 5/10

SUB: Oliver Hammond (86′ for Scarpa) – N/A

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SUB: Detlef Osong (86′ for Surridge) – N/A

Manager

Steve Cooper – 7/10 – Set up his side well and they did admirably to hold out for as long as they did.

Player of the match – Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd)



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