Pep Guardiola unveiled at Bayern Munich: “I accept this challenge without fear”

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After more than a year absence from the game, Pep Guardiola has been unveiled as Bayern Munich’s new manager.

It was said to be a “media frenzy” at the Bavarian club as journalists peppered Guardiola with questions as to how he expects to follow up on Jupp Heynckes’ incredible treble-winning season.

“I must accept the comparison,” said Guardiola in German, the language he has spent three hours per day learning for the last ten months.

“I have to be able to live with that. I am under pressure, of course, but I know this and I accept this challenge without fear and that is why I am the coach,” he said.

Guardiola, who won 14 trophies in four years at Barcelona, explained that he viewed his position at Bayern as a “gift” and a “blessing” and that there was nothing he could do about the fact he is joining a club that has won everything.

Sometimes you take over a team on the way down… like in my first year as professional coach.

This situation is completely different. It is a good thing it is different. I take over a team that played exceptionally in the last season. They won three titles. This is the situation. When you are Bayern coach you a always have pressure to play well.

To ensure Bayern stays on the cutting edge of world football, Guardiola’s first task will be to ensure his club possesses the talent to repeat as champions. He’s already brought in the highly-touted Mario Gotze from Dortmund, who will slot into an attacking role in Munich’s midfield and could prove a key cog if Franck Ribery’s prostitution trial goes bad in January.

Guardiola also has been heavily linked with a move for Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, who would come to the Bundesliga champions and provide major competition for Mario Mandzukic in the starting role. Lewandowski’s potential move would likely be the end to Mario Gomez’ stint at the Bavarian club, with Dortmund and Chelsea being his potential suitors.

One of the most difficult decisions Guardiola will have to make is whether to bring Liverpool’s Luis Suarez to Munich. The Uruguayan striker has voiced his desire to leave Anfield and Guardiola has noted his admiration, but whether Suarez’ prolific form is enough to off-set his mischievous antics remains to be seen.

STREAM LIVE: West Brom-Palace, Liverpool-Leicester in PL Asia Trophy

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It’s a incredibly early kickoff for the third place game of the Premier League Asia Trophy tournament, at least here in the States, where West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace duke it out at 6 a.m. ET. in Hong Kong.

West Brom lost to Leicester City in its semifinal when youngster Sam Field missed the side’s seventh attempt in penalty kicks. Jay Rodriguez scored the Baggies goal in regulation of a 1-1 draw.

[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]  

Palace fell 2-0 to Liverpool in its semifinal.

The final will be staged at 8:30 a.m. ET, when Liverpool will hope to build on a win paced by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke goals.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)