browser accessible – Observing The Sky Sat, 19 Mar 2022 17:37:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 browser accessible – Observing The Sky 32 32 Steven Gerrard: Aston Villa boss’ exchange with BT Sport’s Des Kelly in full after Arsenal defeat | Soccer News Sat, 19 Mar 2022 16:07:30 +0000

An ’emotional’ Steven Gerrard was involved in an exchange with BT Sport reporter Des Kelly after Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa to move four points clear of Manchester United in the race for Champions League qualification.

Bukayo Saka scored the only goal of the game in the 30th minute with a shot from the edge of the area.

The Gunners, who also have a game in hand on United, saw a five-match winning run ended by Liverpool in midweek but they completely dominated the first half at Villa Park.

Villa improved in the second half and hit a post through Ollie Watkins but they were unable to prevent a second straight defeat. Their final chance came in the last minute of injury time when Pepe fouled Douglas Luiz, and Philippe Coutinho at last forced Bernd Leno into a save with a free-kick from the corner of the area.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win at Aston Villa in the Premier League.

It was Villa’s first shot on target – coming in the 96th minute – and BT Sports reporter Des Kelly put the unwanted statistic to Gerrard shortly after the final whistle. Here’s the interview in full…

Kellys: Can you pick through the pieces of that? It has been a tough afternoon for Villa today…

Steven Gerard: I thought it was a tough first half because we allowed it to be tough. I thought we were indecisive in a lot of the things we tried to do, I thought our performance lacked belief and it wasn’t really until half-time that we showed that we could improve and be much better in the game.

But at that point you are obviously 1-0 down, you’re chasing it, you’ve obviously got to take a few gambles and a few risks that normally you didn’t want to do in the original game plan. But we were much better second half, first half we deserved to be behind. I thought we were second best.

Steven Gerrard was unhappy after the Arsenal loss
Gerrard during Aston Villa’s defeat by Arsenal

Kellys: They pinned you back for long periods. Were you giving them too much respect, perhaps?

Steven Gerard: Yes, I think individually and collectively we maybe done that. We wanted to be organized, we wanted them to have the ball in certain areas – ie with the centre-backs and going outside of our shape – but we set up today to be aggressive and in that shape I thought we didn’t.

I thought we lacked a little belief in what we were doing and I thought certain individuals lacked a bit of belief. It’s difficult to execute a game plan, what you want and how you want it to look, if not everyone believes in it. Second half I thought we believed in it a lot more, OK we went back to front a little bit quicker, we wanted to test the centre-backs and make it a little bit more about their defense second half.

Arsenal were dominant in the first half at Villa
Arsenal were dominant in the first half at Villa

But I think across the board we had more belief, we were less indecisive and off the back of that we created three or four interesting moments in the game. But overall, we certainly have no complaints in terms of the scoreline.

Kellys: I don’t think you got a shot on target until right at the death, there.

Steven Gerard: Yeah, that is exactly how I described the game to you, though, is it not? Not good enough first half and then improved second half. We pushed at the end, got some good crosses in, created some more interesting moments, and I thought the performance was a lot more positive second half.

But well done for spotting that.

Kellys: [Laughs] Since April you’ve made a lot of progress, but you’ve lost to Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal – so there is still that gap that you have to close…

Villa endured a frustrating afternoon
Villa endured a frustrating afternoon

Steven Gerard: Well done, Des, for recognizing that. If you asked me that question, I would say the league does not lie and I’d say that Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd, West Ham, Wolves, at the moment, are ahead of us for a reason and there’s a gap and that is what we are striving to do. But if we want to take one of them places, we’ve got to be positive, got to believe in it, can’t be indecisive, and we’ve got to go and grab it off them, we’ve got to believe what we’re doing, to keep learning and get support from up above and grab it.

I do like the way you work those things out pretty quick.

Of the Kellys: I think you’re aggressive in the interview, and you should tell your players to do the same thing (laughs).

Steven Gerard: I’ll tell you what I am in the interview, I am emotional, I care, I don’t like getting beat and I actually thought your questions would be a little bit more better, in all honesty. No disrespect, Des, I am not making it personal. But you’ve just said to me there’s a gap to Manchester United and City, blah blah blah and we know that. And you also said we had one shot on target towards the end of the game, that’s how I described the game as well.

Of the Kellys: Well, we both agree.

Steven Gerard: Cheers Des. All the best, fella.

Arteta hails ‘a big win’

Bernd Leno, Ben White and Rob Holding celebrate beating Aston Villa
Bernd Leno, Ben White and Rob Holding celebrate

The result saw the Gunners bounce back from defeat by Liverpool in midweek and move four points clear of Manchester United with a game in hand in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Mikel Arteta had complained about the scheduling, with Arsenal having to play at lunchtime having hosted Liverpool on Wednesday evening, and he said: “It was a big win.

“After the defeat against Liverpool we wanted to come here and play well first, which we did, and get the three points because we want to keep the momentum going. I think the team showed today a lot of personality to come and play the way we played. We dominated the game.”

Bukayo Saka scored the only goal in the 30th minute and shone during the first half before being substituted with 20 minutes left.

“He was really tired and after Liverpool he had an issue with his hip,” said Arteta. “He’s played a lot of minutes and you could tell. We don’t want to risk (anything). He needs to go with England now and we decided the best thing to do was to take him off.”

Analysis: Big step along the road for Arteta

Mikel Arteta issues instructions to his players
Mikel Arteta issues instructions to his players

Sky Sports’ Ben Grounds:

It was a sign of where the game was that Rob Holding replaced Martin Odegaard with five minutes to play. It is all about results for Arsenal at this stage of the campaign and there is no need to entertain. The prize is huge if they can finish in the top four after five years away from the Champions League and they strengthened that position at Villa.

Mikel Arteta needed holding back by fourth official Martin Atkinson as he continued to point at his players to track back during an attritional second half. After Leno clawed away one last fizzing free-kick from Coutinho, the final whistle was greeted elastically by Arteta as he embraced his assistant Steve Round on the touchline.

The Spaniard is striving to take Arsenal back to where they feel they belong – and here you could sense the importance of this victory in one of the more awkward hurdles that remained this term.

Bukayo Saka performs acrobatics to celebrate his opening goal
Saka performs acrobatics to celebrate his opener

This was an off-day for Villa, as Gerrard slumped back into his seat during the closing stages. Arteta never stopped gesticulating. He has got his players set up in his image now – “he knows exactly what we need” goes the song from the jubilant Arsenal fans – and while trips to Tottenham and Chelsea still lie ahead, there is nothing flaky about Arsenal anymore.

Only Arsenal have regularly fielded a starting XI whose average age is under 25 – but they are growing in experience with each passing week. This was another big step for Arteta and his side.

Ramsdale to miss England matches

Aaron Ramsdale
Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale will be sidelined with injury

Arteta has revealed Aaron Ramsdale will not be fit enough to play for England in the upcoming internationals against Switzerland and Ivory Coast due to a hip injury.

The 23-year-old was absent from Arsenal’s squad to face Aston Villa on Saturday and faces a spell on the sidelines.

Before the game, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta told BT Sport: “He’s got an injury, he had an injury in his oblique muscle and he will be out for a few weeks.”

Ramsdale has been an ever-present for the Gunners in the Premier League since his arrival from Sheffield United in August. His injury will be another disappointment for Gareth Southgate after Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold also withdrew from his squad due to a hamstring issue.

Arteta later confirmed in his post-match press conference Ramsdale would be unable to feature in the Three Lions’ two friendly fixtures.

“Aaron won’t be able to play for England,” the Arsenal boss said after the 1-0 win at Villa Park.

What’s next?

Following the international break, Aston Villa return to Premier League action against Wolves at Molineux on Saturday, April 2; kick off 3pm.

Arsenal visit Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday Night Football on April 4, live on Sky Sports; kick off 8pm.

Liverpool strike force could trump Manchester City for Premier League title, says Gary Neville | Soccer News Wed, 16 Mar 2022 10:11:42 +0000

Liverpool’s attacking wealth would have taken them over the line at Crystal Palace, unlike Manchester City – and the Reds’ firepower could be the difference in the title race, says Gary Neville.

Premier League leaders City’s goalless draw at Selhurst Park saw Palace become the second team to prevent Pep Guardiola’s side from scoring home and away in a Premier League season, after Manchester United in 2020/21.

The stalemate ended an 18-game Premier League run where City had found the net, dating back to Palace’s 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium in October, and meant the champions – who are four points clear top after playing one game more than Liverpool – had failed to score for the fourth time this season.

By contrast, Liverpool have only had one blank this season, with Neville highlighting the abundance of attacking talent available to Jurgen Klopp compared to Guardiola.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Crystal Palace’s goalless draw with Manchester City in the Premier League.

“If Liverpool play this game [at Palace]they win this game because they have better attackers and finishers,” he said. Monday night football. “They are more ruthless and there are more, five players you would bet your money on.

“While at City there are more wide players playing in those positions. Phil Foden is a midfielder but he plays centre-forward. Jack Grealish could be a midfielder, but he plays on the left of a three in front.

“City have exceptional players in this squad, fantastic players, but as brilliant as they are, they’re not the most ruthless or clinical in front of goal.

“The difference at the end of the season could just be because Liverpool have more strikers who are clinical and goal-scoring. We know all season with City, the only thing that could let them down, that’s it. “

Joao Cancelo shows his frustration at Crystal Palace
Man City had 18 shots without scoring against Crystal Palace, their highest goalless tally in the competition since their 18 effort against Tottenham in August 2021.

Neville continued: “City are top of the league but they haven’t scored four times this season. Liverpool have failed to score in a game once. Could that make a difference? Of course It could. Both teams are at the top level so you talk about what the difference could be.

“Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are all at Liverpool and they will score goals. City are a brilliant team and could still win this league, but it could be the difference.

“Liverpool are really dangerous. I look at those five forwards they have. They go into the last part of the season knowing they can win a lot of football games with those five forwards. City don’t have the same luxury in attack areas.

Carra: City should have chosen Kane over Grealish

Jamie Carragher believes City display the characteristics of a side without a proven striker and pointed to Harry Kane’s protracted and unsuccessful chase last summer as the root cause.

“When a team doesn’t have a striker, they often play better football because they will have more players who want to take the ball, will miss, and the teams won’t be able to take the ball away from them,” he said. he declares. “But there will be times when you need this guy to put the ball in the back of the net.

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Pep Guardiola says his Manchester City side had enough chances to win the game but weren’t clinical enough in front of goal.

“Would Harry Kane have made a difference? I always said this summer I was surprised they didn’t spend the money they spent on Jack Grealish on Harry Kane.

“I didn’t think City needed Grealish in particular; he’s obviously a quality player but with Foden, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling able to play there, it probably wasn’t the right choice.

“But let’s not forget that City can still win a treble this season. They missed chances [at Palace] that any player – midfielder or defender – should score. Not having a striker could make a huge difference, but City’s position in the league – and every competition – shows its quality.”

Neville thinks the positioning of Champions League fixtures could have a huge impact on the title race
Neville thinks the positioning of Champions League fixtures could have a huge impact on the title race

Will Liverpool take the lead at Arsenal?

As City drop points at Selhurst Park, the door is left ajar for Liverpool to take the lead in the title race on Wednesday’s trip to Arsenal, live on sky sports.

Although City and Liverpool have nine and 10 games to play respectively, Carragher believes Liverpool can deliver a psychological blow ahead of a series of crucial encounters that could well determine who gets their hands on the title.

Wednesday, March 16, 7:30 p.m.

Kick off 8:15 p.m.

“City have been six points clear of Liverpool in recent weeks but they have the game in hand,” he added. “I think the game at Arsenal on Wednesday is absolutely huge. If Liverpool can do it at Arsenal, it would really hurt City psychologically.

“Bernardo Silva says City are still the favorites because Liverpool have to go to their stadium, and I absolutely agree with that. Arsenal and Manchester City away are the two big issues on Liverpool’s fixture list.

“But if Liverpool win at Arsenal and come within a point and then go on to beat Watford, the pressure will be on City at Burnley before the two teams meet at the Etihad in April.

“I know there are still games to be played, but I think City’s next three games and Liverpool’s next four games are the toughest and on us right now.”

Premier League managers such as Newcastle’s Eddie Howe can’t ignore ownership questions, say Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville | Soccer News Mon, 14 Mar 2022 22:19:00 +0000

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville believe Premier League managers must be prepared to answer tough questions about who owns clubs and where their money comes from.

Over the past week, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has handled questions about Roman Abramovich and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a ‘statesman’s way’, according to Neville .

But Eddie Howe, who was appointed as Newcastle manager by the club’s Saudi Public Investment Fund owners in November, declined to comment when asked if Saudi Arabia executed 81 people in a day after the his team’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Sunday.

Ask by Monday night football presenter David Jones on whether it’s fair that managers like Howe should be faced with questions about such matters, Carragher said: “Yeah, I think so, with the situation and the way everyone sees it and at how much a lot of people are against it – and that’s understandable.

“Thomas Tuchel handled the whole situation very well with what is happening with Roman Abramovich and what is happening in Ukraine.

“The question to Eddie Howe on Sunday, the tone was, ‘Eddie, what are you doing working for the Saudis, aren’t you aware of what they are doing?’

“It was the insinuation, and it’s a very difficult position for him.”

Carragher then asked Neville, himself a former manager, how he would have answered the same set of questions.

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Jamie Carragher stands by comments that Manchester United should try to bring Thomas Tuchel to Old Trafford, says some Chelsea fans are ‘a bit hypocritical’

“Eddie Howe is in an extremely difficult position,” Neville said. “Tuchel has been like a statesman over the past two weeks, getting up and finding the right balance between understanding that he’s working for the football club, but also that it’s not right. He’s risen in everyone’s estimates.

“I think Jurgen Klopp does that very well at Liverpool too. When social or political issues come into their world, they treat them with great honour.

“Eddie Howe is going to have to because these issues are not going to go away.

“In any other area of ​​life, we’d be very nervous about working for an organization that has money that isn’t particularly clean.

“Footballers for the last 20 years have been shunned away from this, thinking it’s not in the sphere of sport, rising above it and not accepting the link between sport, politics and sportwashing.

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Gary Neville says the situation at Chelsea is a “red flag” for football and expects an independent regulator to step in to oversee the sale of clubs in the future.

“But the sport is now scrutinized in ways you wouldn’t believe. It needs independent regulation and transparency.

“It’s too much for the Premier League executive at the moment. These are massive global issues knocking on our door.

“Eddie Howe is not ready to deal with them. He is ready for the job, but he has not joined Newcastle to answer massive political questions related to a war or mass executions in Saudi Arabia.

“He’s a footballer, but if you’re a football manager now, you have to answer these questions because one thing is certain and that is that journalists have to ask these questions.

“I have to say, Abu Dhabi, these questions are going to come to the people of Manchester City soon, Pep Guardiola is going to start asking these questions.

“It’s not going to go away. If in a year or two a regulator is put in place and it’s decided that you can’t have public money in football in this country, they will potentially have to reverse what has happened over the last 15 years in this country because the state money is already there.

“It will have to be looked at very carefully because it will set a huge precedent with what they are doing with Russia.”

Neville: We have to be responsible | I would be surprised if the Saudi-Chelsea deal is done

Neville continued: “Reporters have to ask the questions. We have to ask the questions.

“There was a time when we tried to stay away from these huge societal issues. We can’t anymore.

“We cannot sit here with a global game, a global brand, with sanctions imposed on our major football clubs by our government and foreign governments, and not comment on it. We have to be responsible.

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Roman Abramovich is set to face further sanctions from the European Union as it seems likely he will be added to a list of Russian billionaires sanctioned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

“If you look at the owners of the top six clubs in the country, it’s probably only Liverpool who are popular with the fans and have no moral issues.

“The other five clubs, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham are unhappy with their owners, and Manchester City and Chelsea have huge moral issues with their ownership.”

Neville added that he would be “astonished” if a £2.7billion takeover bid for Chelsea by the Saudi Media Group was cleared.

“There was a headline today that there was a £2.7 billion bid for Chelsea from the Saudi Media Company. I would be amazed if this Saudi Media Company was allowed to buy Chelsea on the back to what happened.

“I think there’s something that happens very quickly in terms of testing the fit and proper person who is not resilient or independent or transparent.

“We don’t know what criteria or hurdles the Saudis had to go through to enter this country.

“I was supportive of them coming, although I would reevaluate that after what’s happened over the last 10 days.”

British South Asians in football: Sky Sports and Sporting Equals team up to raise awareness and inspire | Soccer News Fri, 11 Mar 2022 09:02:25 +0000

Sky today announces a partnership with Sporting Equals to support the charity’s ambition to provide more opportunities for British South Asians in football.

The collaboration is part of Sky’s £30million pledge to tackle systemic racism and make a difference in communities across the UK and will see Sporting Equals receive a six-figure donation as part of the partnership initial.

The partnership stems from a shared desire to help tackle under-representation by addressing some of the barriers affecting the participation and progression of British talent in South Asian football, particularly in women’s football.

active lives survey data has consistently shown that South Asian women are the least physically active group in the country, and only 0.3% of players in English women’s football’s top division, the FA Women’s Super League, come from the British South Asian community.

Going forward, Sky and Sporting Equals will work together to raise awareness and educate the public on this subject, working with other stakeholders to create opportunities for talent to flourish and supporting participation in the game.

Jonathan Licht, CEO of Sky Sports, said: “Sky Sports is proud to offer a platform to help inspire more opportunities for the South Asian community to get involved in football.

“Collectively, we are striving for greater equality in sport and, as Europe’s largest sports broadcaster, we are well placed to highlight under-representation in the game and use our platforms to drive change in this space.

“Building on the great work done by Sky Sports News over the past year, partnering with Sporting Equals is a further step in our commitment to ensuring that all audiences feel represented by our content. “

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Take a look back at our report on British South Asians in the English game

Sporting Equals Chief Executive Arun Kang OBE said: “Sporting Equals is pleased to partner with Sky on this important work, which is an important step towards engaging and celebrating South Asian communities in football, breaking down outdated and negative stereotypes to inspire the next generation of football players, coaches and administrators.

“Highlighting viable role models is essential, which we will do through this project by showcasing female football ambassadors, particularly South Asian women in community settings. This is particularly important as part of the problem with South Asian involvement in football is that few have made it into the elite lanes in the sport.

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Arun Kang says Sky Sports and Sporting Equals partnership is a fantastic opportunity for British South Asians in football

“This showcase of South Asian role models and ambassadors aims to inspire and connect with wider South Asian communities, so they too can feel like they belong in the sport.

“Part of this project will also seek to educate football organizations on the wide range of talent present within South Asian communities. There are still many negative and misconceptions about South Asians, their abilities and their talent. .

“With Sky’s support through this partnership, we will seek to address this issue and demonstrate the true capabilities of South Asians in football.”

Sporting Equals is an independent, not-for-profit charity whose aim is to promote ethnic diversity in the sport and physical activity sector.

Its mission is to make a lasting difference in the inclusion of all underrepresented communities in sport and physical activity in order to help increase participation and improve the long-term opportunities and health outcomes of these communities, as well as developing elite talent.

British South Asians in football

For more stories, articles and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.

Stephen Kenny extends Republic of Ireland contract until 2024 | Soccer News Wed, 09 Mar 2022 17:20:04 +0000

Stephen Kenny has signed a new contract as Republic of Ireland boss which takes him into the 2024 UEFA European Championship campaign.

The 50-year-old’s contract was due to expire in July but both sides had remained confident of a new deal.

Kenny has lost just one of his last 10 games as national team boss after 11 openers without a win after taking over from Mick McCarthy.

Kenny’s assistant Keith Andrews and behind-the-scenes staff Dean Kiely, Stephen Rice and Damien Doyle are also rewarded with new offers.

Kenny said: “I consider it the ultimate honor to lead my country and I am delighted to extend my contract. The players are incredibly proud to play for Ireland and in recent performances we have witnessed a a powerful bond between the team and the Irish supporters.

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Highlights from the European World Cup qualifiers between Azerbaijan and Ireland.

“The attitude of the players has been exceptional, we have seen the team grow and develop and, together with Keith Andrews and all the staff, I cannot wait to see the team fulfill their potential. With the recent return of supporters to stadiums, I would like to underline the importance of the passionate Irish fans both at home and away Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to Jonathan and the FAI Board for sharing our confidence in the international team.”

Welcoming the contract extension which begins with immediate effect, FAI CEO Jonathan Hill said: “On behalf of all members of the Association, I am delighted to announce this news today. The board has given me clear instructions to agree a deal that hands Stephen the next UEFA Nations League and Euro 2024 campaigns at a time when the future of this young and emergent arouses so much enthusiasm.

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Highlights from the World Cup European Qualifying Group A match between the Republic of Ireland and Portugal.

“Stephen and I have agreed this deal now and we look forward to working together as he seeks to guide Ireland to the next European Championship final.”

Having failed to qualify for next year’s Winter World Cup in Qatar, Kenny’s next competitive fixtures will be the Republic’s first four Nations League fixtures next June.

Ireland have been drawn in Group B1 alongside Ukraine, Scotland and Armenia, with their final two fixtures scheduled for September.

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Highlights from the European World Cup qualifiers between Luxembourg and the Republic of Ireland.

Before that, they will face friendlies with Belgium and Lithuania in March.

The Euro 2024 qualifying draw – which will take place in Germany – is due to take place in October.

Chelsea for sale: Up to 10 interested parties, most interest expected to come from US | Soccer News Mon, 07 Mar 2022 22:23:01 +0000

Up to 10 parties are considering making offers for Chelsea, with investment bankers working on the sale expecting most interest to come from the United States, writes Kaveh Solhekol.

Russian, Chinese and Middle Eastern money has been behind the acquisition of many English clubs over the past two decades, but that has all changed since the Chinese government’s crackdown on foreign investment and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Instead, the majority of potential Chelsea buyers, who will register their interest with investment bank The Raine Group, are expected to be based in the United States.

Current owner Roman Abramovich – who has an asking price of £3billion – wants to ensure the club is sold to someone or a group who will continue their policy of investing in the team with a view to redevelop Stamford Bridge or build a new stadium.

Abramovich has loaned Chelsea £1.5bn since buying the club in a £140m deal in 2003. Chelsea’s latest accounts show a turnover of £416m pounds sterling and a loss of £145 million after tax for the year to June 30, 2021.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wants to sanction Abramovich, but the National Crime Agency must prove a link to Vladimir Putin before the government can act.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win over Burnley in the Premier League.

Who are the potential bidders?

Todd Boehly-Hansjorg Wyss Consortium – Boehly tried to buy Chelsea in a £2.2billion deal three years ago and he still wants to buy a Premier League club. The LA Dodgers co-owner has teamed up with Swiss billionaire Wyss. They are unlikely to pay the £3billion asking price.

Hansjorg Wyss (right) is part of an American-Swiss consortium interested in bidding for Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea

Muhsin Bayrak – The Turkish businessman’s spokesperson has told Sky Sports News he has submitted an offer for Chelsea but his claims are being treated with caution.

RedBird Capital Partners – The US private equity firm which last April paid £533m for an 11% stake in Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group. Premier League rules would prevent them from owning another club.

Thomas Rickets – The Chicago Cubs president is looking for investment opportunities outside the United States and was part of a consortium that tried to buy AC Milan in 2018.

Nick Candy – Property developer and Chelsea supporter who wants to form a consortium to buy the club.

Conor McGregor – MMA fighter and Manchester United supporter who claimed on social media on Friday that he was offering £1.5billion. We don’t think that’s the profile of the owner that Abramovich is looking for.

Dana White introduces Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor to the press and public for the first time with fans in attendance at the UFC 264 - Poirier vs McGregor 3 - press conference at T-Mobile Arena on July 8, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV , United States.  (Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
UFC fighter Conor McGregor surprisingly offered his name as a potential buyer

Sir Jim Ratcliffe – Britain’s richest man once considered buying Chelsea but is known to believe Premier League clubs are too expensive. I bought Nice and FC Lausanne instead. His spokesman ruled him out of a move to Chelsea.

Loutfy Mansour – The Egyptian businessman is a Chelsea season ticket holder but his spokesman said he was not pursuing an offer.

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Thomas Tuchel says now is not the time for further messages after some Chelsea fans chanted Roman Abramovich’s name during the pre-match applause for Ukraine.

Complicating factors

There are only a handful of billionaires who would be able to afford Abramovich’s asking price, but any potential sale is complicated by:

  • Unease about doing business with Abramovich as he faces the threat of being sanctioned by the British government.
  • With Russian banks under sanction, it could prove difficult for Abramovich to sell or open a bank account for the charitable foundation he wants to set up to distribute the net proceeds to war victims in Ukraine. Non-Russian banks and financial institutions may be unwilling or unable to become involved in a potential transaction.
  • Reluctance to enter into agreements involving Russians due to the invasion of Ukraine.
  • Lack of confidence in global stock markets due to the invasion.
  • In the past, there was a lot of interest in buying Premier League clubs in Russia, China and the Middle East. It is unlikely to be the case this time.
  • The British government is preparing legislation that would allow it to seize the assets of those sanctioned without having to pay them compensation.

Tuchel: No problem staying in charge despite Abramovich’s exit

Thomas Tuchel says he has “no problem” staying on as Chelsea head coach despite Abramovich’s plan to sell, insisting he “loves everything about the club”.

Tuchel, who was appointed under Abramovich’s ownership in January 2021, admits the owner’s decision to sell has created “uncertainty”, but is in no doubt about his own future.

Asked if he would have a problem staying at Stamford Bridge, the head coach replied: “No, the opposite of a problem staying here.

“I’ve said many times that I love working in the Premier League, I love being in England and feeling the tradition and love of sport in general and football in particular. It’s an amazing place.

“Chelsea are, for me, the perfect fit. I love being here, I love everything about the club and I hope that continues.”

Ukraine invasion: BBC suspends work of journalists in Russia after Kremlin passes law threatening jail for spreading ‘false’ news | world news Fri, 04 Mar 2022 16:07:30 +0000

The BBC is suspending the work of all its journalists in Russia after the Kremlin passed a new law meaning people who spread “false” information about the Russian armed forces could be jailed for up to 15 years.

The company said the safety of its staff is “paramount” and it is “not prepared to put them at risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their job”.

He confirmed that his news service in Russian will continue to operate from outside Russia.

Fears over fire-hit nuclear reactor bombed by Russia – Live updates from Ukraine

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Russian TV crew stops broadcasting after ban

BBC Director General Tim Davie said: “This legislation appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism.

“This leaves us with no choice but to temporarily suspend the work of all BBC News journalists and their support staff within the Russian Federation while we assess the full implications of this unwanted development.

“The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to put them at risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their job. I want to pay tribute to all of them, for their bravery, determination and professionalism.”

Mr Davie added that the BBC remained committed to making “accurate and independent information” available to the world and that its journalists in Ukraine and elsewhere would “continue to report on the invasion of Ukraine”.

The decision came after the new law passed on Friday, which will also issue public calls for sanctions against Russia a criminal offence.

“If the counterfeits lead to serious consequences, a prison sentence of up to 15 years threatens,” the lower house of parliament, the Duma, said.

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“Spread the truth about Russia’s crimes”

The new law appears designed to give Russia even stronger powers to suppress information about its invasion of Ukrainewhat the Russians call a special military operation.

Russia’s upper house of parliament also approved the law on Friday, and it could come into effect in the coming days after President Putin signs it.

People who spread so-called false information face up to three years in prison, but if there are “serious consequences” they could face up to 15 years.

Russian media has been ordered to only publish information from government sources and must describe the situation in Ukraine as a “special military operation” – “war” and “invasion” are banned by the media regulator Roskomnadzor.

With civilian casualties mounting, Ukraine killing thousands of Russians and huge international sanctions, the Kremlin is keen to present its own version of events.

Western sources such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Europe and others are also being blocked by the regulator for broadcasting “false” information, Russian news agency Interfax said on Friday.

Some independent Russian media have already had to close or suspend their service after opposing the government line, including the Ekho Moskvy radio station and the Dozdh television channel.

The Dozdh editor fled Russia and told Sky News the situation had become “more and more serious” in recent days and that he and his colleagues had been threatened.

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And – just two hours after the law was passed – the Znak news site said it was closing due to “a large number of recently emerged restrictions affecting media work in Russia”.

International tech and social media giants are also at the heart of the information battle.

Read more:
Russia is a cyberpower – does that mean a cyberwar is coming?
What is known about the Ukrainian power plant hit by Russia

Both Twitter and Facebook reported having their services restricted and deliberately slowed down for cracking down on Russian state-linked media sources.

Nick Clegg, Chief Policy Officer of Facebook said he refused orders from Russia to stop fact-checking and labeling of content public media companies.

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Anguish of a child detained in Moscow

The Reporters Without Borders group said that “the information war is in full swing in Russia” and that President Vladimir Putin needs all national media on “battle ground to justify the invasion of Ukraine”. .

Despite censorship efforts, it is extremely difficult to block the huge flow of information via social media and the internet.

Demonstrations have taken place in many Russian cities, but most are quickly dispersed, with police often taking people away in vans.

This week five children were among the detainees in Moscow after protesting at the Ukrainian embassy.

The Great Debate is Monday at 9 p.m.
The Great Debate is Monday at 9 p.m.

Russian Football Union to appeal UEFA and FIFA decisions to ban their national teams from CAS | Soccer News Thu, 03 Mar 2022 17:48:54 +0000

The Russian Football Union has announced that it will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against FIFA and UEFA decisions to ban Russian national teams from participating in international competitions following the invasion of Ukraine by the country.

The union said in a statement it would take legal action against the two governing bodies to demand that Russia’s men’s and women’s national teams be allowed to compete, including in qualifying for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. .

FIFA initially said that Russia could continue to play under the name “Football Union or Russia”, and without its flag or anthem being present at matches.

But world football’s governing body then issued a joint statement with UEFA on Monday announcing that Russian national teams, as well as its clubs, were banned from all competitions.

The statement from the governing bodies reads: “Following the initial decisions adopted by the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, which envisaged the adoption of additional measures, FIFA and UEFA have today decided ‘ It is agreed that all Russian teams, whether national representative teams or club teams, will be suspended from participating in FIFA and UEFA competitions until further notice.

“These decisions were adopted today by the Bureau of the FIFA Council and the UEFA Executive Committee, respectively the highest decision-making bodies of the two institutions on such urgent matters.

“Football is fully united here and in full solidarity with all those affected in Ukraine. Both presidents hope that the situation in Ukraine will improve significantly and quickly so that football can once again be a vehicle for unity and peace among peoples.”

Russia were due to face Poland in a World Cup qualifier later this month, with the winner of the tie facing either Sweden or the Czech Republic for a place in the final in Qatar, but the three nations have refused to face them.

A number of European football associations, including those of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, have also said they will not play the teams Russians.

Spartak Moscow, the only remaining Russian side in European club competition, were also expelled from the Europa League.

EA Sports will remove Russian teams from FIFA games

EA Sports has “initiated processes” to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from its FIFA products.

The video game developer says it is also “actively evaluating changes related to other areas of our games” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A statement from EA Sports read: “EA Sports stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and, like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine.

“In agreement with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products, including: FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online. We are also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games.

“We will keep our communities informed of any actions taken and thank players for their patience as we work on these updates.”

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Oleksandr Zinchenko and Vitaliy Mykolenko hug before Everton take on Manchester City as Goodison Park show unity in support of Ukraine.

Ukraine calls for Scotland’s World Cup play-offs to be postponed

Ukraine has asked FIFA and UEFA to postpone its upcoming World Cup play-offs with Scotland.

Their play-off semi-final was due to be played at Hampden Park on March 24, with the winner facing Austria or Wales in Cardiff for a place in this year’s World Cup in Qatar.

But now Ukraine has asked the tournament’s two international bodies to postpone the match, due to the ongoing invasion of the country by the Russian military.

Russia were scheduled to face Poland in the semi-finals, but were kicked out of the tournament by FIFA as punishment for the invasion.

Shevchenko’s message to Russia: You can stop this war

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Andriy Shevchenko sent a powerful message to the Russian people, urging them to play their part in ending the war.

Former Chelsea and AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko has said football ‘doesn’t exist’ for him amid the current invasion while speaking to Sky Sports News.

Shevchenko’s family refused to leave Ukraine and the 45-year-old remained in London during the conflict to help lead the appeal for humanitarian aid for his country.

“Football no longer exists for me,” Shevchenko said. “I don’t think about it. Now is not the time for that. I don’t watch anything, any sport, anything.

“All my focus, when I wake up, I think about how I can help my country, what I can do. I started calling my parents, my friends, keeping up to date with what’s going on. happening in Ukraine. For me, that’s my field, that’s my focus now.”

Hibernian 0 – 0 Celtic Mon, 28 Feb 2022 09:33:45 +0000

Ange Postecoglou was adamant he was happy with Celtic’s performance even though they struggled to create clear chances in a goalless draw at Hibernian.

The Hoops remain ahead of Rangers at the top of the Premiership cinch, but missed a chance to ratchet up the pressure on their City rivals with what was widely seen as a lackluster display at Easter Road.

However, manager Postecoglou insisted all his team lacked was a goal, even though they worked hard to open up a well-organized Hibs defence.

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Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou left frustrated after his side’s goalless draw at Hibernian

“It was a good performance,” he said.

“We dominated the game, we played it on our terms, but obviously we didn’t get our awards and didn’t get the goal we needed.

“But in terms of performance, I thought the players, in a tough place on a tough pitch with deep-seated opposition for the most part, were good.

“Yeah, it’s tough when the opposition is so deep. There are so many bodies in the box trying to find ways to get through.

“There were a few times when the ball just didn’t bounce in critical areas. But I thought the players’ efforts were excellent.”

How Celtic dropped points for the first time in 2022

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Celtic players look dejected at full time during a Premiership Cinch match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road on February 27 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey/SNS Group)
Celtic have dropped league points for the first time since the winter break

The leading Postecoglou side were looking for nine straight league wins but struggled to create clear chances against their well-organised hosts as they missed the chance to put further pressure on second-placed Rangers.

The result means Shaun Maloney’s side have taken seven points from their last three Premiership games and sees them slip past Dundee United to fourth place.

Hibs’ tally of two shots – neither of which was on target – showed how cautious the game was and they limited Celtic to a handful of chances.

That being said, Liel Abada should have done better in the 14th minute when Jota played him down the right with an excellent pass that fired Matt Macey out of goal, but the winger could only kick off his effort away from the near post.

Macey came on the run in the 39th minute to stifle the ball at the feet of Daizen Maeda before knocking down Josip Juranovic’s free-kick in first-half stoppage time.

The second half followed a familiar pattern, with Celtic – who had won 18 of their last 20 Premiership matches – struggling to create plenty of openings.

Hibs got scared just after half-time when Ryan Porteous hacked in a Reo Hatate cross and his clearance just bounced away from his own goal, before Macey denied Abada with a superb save after Greg Taylor came off.

But that was about as threatening as Celtic got and they eventually resorted to swinging crosses – 40 in total – in the Hibs area in a desperate attempt to pressure their opponents.

Hibs managed to threaten himself before the final whistle when Josh Doig dribbled past from the halfway line into the Celtic area, but he could only scrape his effort away from the near post, after which he and his teammates kneeling to hold on. a well deserved point.

Nisbet left Easter Road on crutches after Hibernian's draw with Celtic
Kevin Nisbet left Easter Road on crutches after Hibernian’s draw with Celtic

It wasn’t good news for Hibs, however, as Kevin Nisbet – their second top scorer this season – was sent off in the first half after a tackle from Carl Starfelt, and the striker was pictured sitting in the stands with a brace on his knee in the second period.

Maloney: Nisbet’s injury doesn’t look good

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Hibernian boss Shaun Maloney was delighted with their performance after holding leaders Celtic at Easter Road

Shaun Maloney expressed concern for Kevin Nisbet when asked about the striker’s condition after the game, saying: “It doesn’t look good.

“It was not a good challenge. I understand that they try to stop the counterattacks very quickly.

“I really hope it’s not too serious, but at the moment it doesn’t seem too positive.”

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Hibs manager Shaun Maloney with injured Kevin Nisbet during a Premiership Cinch match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road on February 27, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group)
Maloney says Carl Starfelt’s tackle on Nisbet wasn’t good

The coach, however, was more optimistic about his team’s performance, saying: “My team showed an incredible fight. They had to dig in at the end, they had to defend extremely hard. Really, really proud of the game. team today.

“In the first half we played more, in the second half we had to defend for long periods and we had the character and the mentality to never give up. It was a big test today for a very young team and they made it.

“When you look at the substitutes and some of the work the strikers had to do, we would have liked to change things after 60, 65 minutes to go higher, but we had to keep the players on the pitch and they gave us almost everything. .

“It meant we were getting deeper and deeper. We still had a slight threat of a counter-attack, but maybe not as much as we would have hoped. But I can’t criticize anything, I thought my players were fantastic today.”

And after?

Celtic are at home to St Mirren on Wednesday night in a full Scottish Premiership card, Hibernian is out at Dundee.

EFL highlights and recap: Bournemouth and Fulham win | Soccer News Sat, 26 Feb 2022 18:38:17 +0000

Bournemouth staged a dramatic comeback to beat Stoke 2-1 and stay in the automatic Sky Bet Championship promotion places.

Stoke led Tommy Smith after 20 minutes but had Morgan Fox sent off before the break for shooting down Philip Billing.

The Cherries failed to find a way through their 10 visitors until Dominic Solanke equalized seven minutes from time.

Jamal Lowe offered a last-minute winner for Bournemouth to stay two points clear of third-placed Huddersfield.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship game between Bournemouth and Stoke City.

The Terriers extended their league unbeaten run to 15 games with a 2-0 win at Birmingham.

Levi Colwill, on his 19th birthday, and Lewis O’Brien scored the goals for Huddersfield in the first half.

Leaders Fulham stay ahead with a nine-point lead after their 1-0 win at Cardiff.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored four minutes before the break – his 34th goal of the league campaign – from a cross from former Bluebird Harry Wilson.

Blackburn beat QPR 1-0 to move above their promotion rivals into fourth.

Reda Khadra netted the winner with a free-kick in the 77th minute, Rovers’ first league goal in more than nine hours.

The victory was Blackburn’s first in six games and Tony Mowbray’s side are four points clear of automatic promotion places.

Luton advance to the final play-off position after beating relegation-threatened Derby 1-0.

Danny Hylton scored the winner for the Hatters midway through the second half.

Sheffield United drop to seventh after losing 1-0 at Millwall.

Jake Cooper’s second-half header gave the Lions a fourth straight win.

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Highlights from the Sky Bet Championship game between Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.

Nottingham Forest are also within striking distance of the play-off places after beating Bristol City 2-0.

Brennan Johnson and James Garner were on target either side of the break as in-form Forest picked up seven wins from nine home games.

Barnsley shocked the play-offs in pursuit of Middlesbrough with a 3-1 win at Oakwell.

Mads Andersen opened the scoring and loan signing Amine Bassi netted twice. Boro claimed consolation through Andraz Sporar’s penalty.

Blackpool fought back to beat Reading 4-1 as Paul Ince suffered his first loss in charge of the Royals.

Lucas Joao put Reading ahead after 17 minutes but Marvin Ekpiteta quickly equalized.

Second-half goals from Gary Madine, Shayne Lavery and Josh Bowler capped the Tangerines’ first victory in five games.

Coventry and Preston drew 1-1, with most of the action reserved for a dramatic final.

Preston defender Liam Lindsay was sent off with six minutes remaining and he was quickly followed down the tunnel by Coventry’s Fankaty Dabo.

Daniel Johnson put Preston ahead from the penalty spot in the final minute but Fabio Tavares equalized eight minutes into stoppage time for Sky Blues, just moments after being substituted.

Grant McCann’s second stint as Peterborough manager began with a 3-0 home defeat to former club Hull.

Tyler Smith opened the scoring and Keane Lewis-Potter scored twice in the second half for a Tigers side that only parted ways with McCann last month.

Sky Bet Ligue 1

Rotherham cemented their grip on top spot in Sky Bet League One by beating Plymouth 1-0 away from home to move nine points clear at the top.

The game’s defining moment came when top scorer Michael Smith netted his 18th goal of the season, slotting in the ball in the 63rd minute.

Wigan had started the day in second place but slipped to third as they lost 3-0 at home to Sunderland, who ended a poor run to cement their position in the play-offs and give boss Alex Neil his first Victoire.

The Black Cats led by just a minute as Alex Pritchard’s free kick was headed in by Bailey Wright.

Ross Stewart then doubled the lead from the penalty spot after being stumbled by Curtis Tilt, and the striker was on target again with four minutes left after a handball from Tendayi Darikwa.

The Wigan loss saw MK Dons move into second place, level on points with the Latics having played three more games, thanks to a 2-0 victory over Bolton.

Mo Eisa and Scott Twine scored either side of the half for the Dons’ third straight victory.

Oxford are within four points of the automatic promotion places after Cameron Brannagan’s late brace proved decisive in a 4-2 win over Cambridge.

The visitors led twice in the game as Sam Smith took his season tally to 17 with a brace, the first after six minutes and the second 11 minutes into the second half after Matty Taylor had equalized for Oxford.

But Brannagan’s first brought Oxford level with just over half an hour to play, Mark Sykes then put them ahead and Brannagan made sure in the last minute of the 90.

Sheffield Wednesday climbed above Plymouth and into the bottom of the play-off places with a 2-0 win over Charlton.

George Byers headed the Owls in front after just five minutes and Callum Paterson turned Marvin Johnson’s cross to double the hosts’ lead just before half-time.

However, Wycombe’s promotion charge remains stalled as they went seven games without a win, losing two leads on their way to a 3-2 defeat at Accrington.

Sam Vokes put the Chairboys ahead, only for Korede Adedoyin to equalize seven minutes later. Sullay Kaikai’s goal was canceled out by Ross Sykes early in the second half, before Harry Pell netted the winner for Stanley.

Dominic Gape hit the post for Wycombe late as the hosts finished with 10 men as Mitch Clark saw red deep in stoppage time for a late challenge on Gape.

Aiden O’Brien’s stoppage-time equalizer robbed Fleetwood of a win that could have eased their relegation worries as Portsmouth slipped from 3-0 to 3-3.

That keeps Fleetwood level on points with AFC Wimbledon, who blew a two-goal lead in the 2-2 home draw against Doncaster to stay two points above the drop zone.

Morecambe, who sit in 21st place, were denied victory late on as Wes Burns saved a point for Ipswich in a 1-1 draw.

Gillingham brought their survival push to life with a 2-0 win over fellow wrestlers Lincoln with goals from Vadaine Oliver and Ben Thompson.

Rock bottom Crewe ended their seven-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory at Cheltenham as Chris Porter netted a last-minute goal – although they remain eight points from safety.

Goals from Tom Bloxham and Matthew Pennington gave Shrewsbury their first win in 10 games as they won 2-0 at Burton.

Sky Bet League Two

Mark Hughes suffered defeat in his first game in charge of Bradford as Mansfield recorded a 2-0 away win.

The former Wales and Manchester City boss had been out of management since leaving Southampton three years ago before his surprise appointment on Thursday.

But goals in each half from Rhys Oates and Matty Longstaff condemned the Bantams to a fourth straight League Two defeat.

Leaders Forest Green suffered a second straight defeat as they were beaten 2-1 at Crawley.

Rovers, beaten at home by Walsall last weekend, found themselves trailing at the break as Ashley Nadesan and Jordan Tunnicliffe put Crawley in charge.

Although defender Dominic Bernard pulled a goal back 10 minutes from time, there was no late drama.

Rob Edwards’ men, however, remain 10 points clear after promotion rivals Northampton and Tranmere also both lost.

The Cobblers lost 1-0 at Rochdale, where Tahvon Campbell’s goal early in the second half proved the difference.

Tranmere were beaten 4-2 at Newport, who scored twice in the final three minutes.

Aaron Lewis’ goal early in the second half gave County the lead, which was followed by a Dom Telford penalty before the hour mark.

Rovers rallied as Josh Dacres-Cogley cut the deficit before an own goal from Newport defender Mickey Demetriou tied things at 2-2.

However, Finn Azaz struck with just three minutes left to put the Welsh side back in front before Telford wrapped things up in stoppage time.

Exeter also failed to make up much ground in the top three after being held 1-1 at Bristol Rovers.

Luca Hoole gave the hosts an early lead, with Jevani Brown equalizing midway through the first half.

Promotion hopefuls Swindon – who beat Walsall 5-0 on Tuesday night – were beaten 2-1 at home by Salford.

Harry McKirdy had put the Robins ahead early in the second half, but Liam Shephard equalized after the hour mark and Ryan Watson headed in a winner with four minutes to go.

Sutton are fifth after beating last club Scunthorpe 4-1.

Rob Milsom’s penalty was quickly followed by Will Randall’s strike on the half hour mark and Joe Kizzi added a third before halftime.

Randall got his second just after the hour mark, with a late own goal from Sutton substitute Harry Beautyman, offering little consolation for the Iron who are eight points from safety.

Carlisle won 1-0 at Leyton Orient without a manager to boost their own survival hopes with an early goal from Patrick Omar to give new boss Paul Simpson a perfect start to his second term in charge.

The O’s, who parted ways with Kenny Jackett shortly after the 2-0 loss to Bristol Rovers in midweek, had midfielder Theo Archibald sent off early in the second half for two early warnings.

Strugglers Colchester and Oldham drew 1-1, with an own goal from Latics defender Jordan Clarke canceling out Davis Keillor-Dunn’s opener for the visitors.

Elsewhere, Port Vale beat Stevenage 2-0, George Miller scored in each half as Walsall beat Hartlepool 3-1 while Barrow and Harrogate drew 0-0.