Jury still out on David Moyes at Manchester United

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MANCHESTER — David Moyes didn’t get off to a winning start in his first game in charge of Manchester United at Old Trafford.

And quite frankly, his team never really looked like getting it done.

Moyes has a lot of work to do to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford, he probably knew that already. But although he got a good reception from United’s fans when he strolled onto the pitch before the game, the 50-year-old Scotsman waved off the warm applause he received.

“I want to earn the reception I got in the future,” Moyes said. “I want the claps to be because I’ve won things and I’ve got a good team here. I want to be getting the plaudits because of what I’ve done in the future.”

(MORE: Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea; Stalemate at Old Trafford)

But throughout the game, there were no real chants of adulation towards the stoic Scot from the famous Stretford End behind the goal. True, United’s fans didn’t have much to sing about. But when they did open up their lungs to sing loud and proud into the warm late-August air, they chanted about Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and their beloved United.

There was no mention of Moyes.

Of course, all that will come with time but first impressions count for a lot in the soccer community. Moyes’ first audition in front of the Old Trafford crowd wasn’t a resounding success but it wasn’t a disaster. The noise from the terraces, or lack there of it, showed concerns from United’s fans that their side won’t be playing the swashbuckling soccer they’ve come to expect from 28 years of Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm.

(MORE: David Moyes tight-lipped on Gareth Bale link to Manchester United)

Moyes is his own man and his own manager, Ferguson’s shadow will hang over him until he brings repeated success. A first major trophy should get the fans on his side, but playing attractive soccer may do it faster. At Everton his sides weren’t known for being too adventurous in attack but on Monday night Moyes’ team certainly were the more offensive side, as Chelsea lined up without a recognized striker and settled for a point. Yet United never got in behind Chelsea’s defense and never really forced the issue.

United’s new manager praised his sides application and felt on another day, his team would have taken all three points.

“I think we we were going for it from the opening period. We tried to win the game,” Moyes said. “I said from the start, we just maybe lacked a real good pass through or a top cross that might have made the difference tonight. It may have been an individual moment of brilliance that win games like that, which we’ve seen in the past. We just couldn’t quite get there.”

But as silence reigned down on Old Trafford during a dour second half and chants of “Rooney, Rooney” filled the air… no chants for Moyes emanated from the 75,000 plus Mancunians packed in the stands soaring to the skies.

(MORE: Wayne Rooney dazzles for Manchester United, is this the end of the saga?)

Quietly watching over Moyes from the grand structure that has risen from the illustrious past and success of Moyes’ predecessor Ferguson, United’s fans remained silent.

Judgement hasn’t yet been passed in the Premier League’s supreme court (Old Trafford). However fans of Manchester United warmly welcomed Moyes into the family in his opening home game.

Now it’s time for him to make them scream and shout his name in adulation. Moyes knows only too well, that’s the hard bit.

UCL wrap: Napoli, Celtic win big; Nwakaeme volleys beauty (video)

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A day after three of five road sides felt good with their work in first legs of the UEFA Champions League playoff round, it was the hosts time to celebrate good results.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s UCL first legs ]

Home sides in Italy, Scotland, Greece, and Israel posted wins. Spanish side Sevilla did manage a road win.

Napoli 2-0 Nice

Chances and even possession was at a premium for the visitors, and Napoli found its breakthrough from one of the more overlooked gems in the world. Dries Mertens scored in the first half, his sixth career UCL goal, and Jorginho converted a second half penalty to give Napoli a foot in the group stage.

Adding insult was a pair of red cards in the 80th minute, the first to Vincent Koziello for a dangerous tackle (it was a harsh call) and Alassane Plea was given a second yellow for protesting the sending off.

Mertens’ goal was smooth as silk:

Celtic 5-0 Astana

A pair of Scott Sinclair goals joined an Astana own goal as the Bhoys went a long way towards avoiding the tight tie that made the last round tricky.

Olympiacos 2-1 Rijeka

Heber gave the visitors a halftime lead in the 42nd minute, but Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe equalized in the 66th minute to minimize the damage for Olympiacos, who would go on to win.

Istanbul Basaksehir 1-2 Sevilla

Remember Eljero Elia? The Dutchman’s on his eighth club and third since leaving Southampton after just a half season, but he’s given his Turkish side hope against mighty Sevilla after Sergio Escudero gave the Spanish side an early lead and Wissam Ben Yedder nabbed the winner.

Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2-1 Maribor

Goals from Anthony Nwakaeme and Shir Tzedek boosted the Israeli hosts to a come-from-behind win.

In the case of the former, it was a beauty:

Brighton breaks transfer record (again) with Izquierdo (video)

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Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Brighton and Hove Albion have broken its transfer record.

A week after setting a new club standard with the signing of Davy Propper from PSV Eindhoven, the Gulls have signed electric Colombian attacker Jose Izquierdo from Club Brugge for over $15 million.

[ MORE: Matuidi medical at Juve ]

Izquierdo averaged a goal every other match for Brugge last season and broke through to the Colombian national team with two caps this summer, scoring in a friendly against Cameroon.

With Propper and Izquierdo, manager Chris Hughton has two more playmakers who can better set the table for a strike corps that has been questioned at the Premier League level.

Brighton lost to Man City 2-0 on Saturday and next faces Leicester City at King Power Stadium.

Matuidi having a medical at Juventus ahead of move from PSG

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TURIN, Italy (AP) Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Blaise Matuidi was having a medical at Juventus on Wednesday ahead of a potential move to the Serie A club.

Juventus said that Matuidi arrived at Turin airport in the afternoon and was undergoing tests.

Juventus will reportedly pay PSG 20 million euros ($23 million) plus bonuses for the 30-year-old Matuidi, who had a year left on his contract with the French club.

[ MORE: Wenger issues updates on Alexis, Ox, Wilshere ]

PSG, which is also trying to balance the books after buying Neymar for 222 million euros, could not afford to lose Matuidi on a free transfer.

Matuidi played nearly 300 games for PSG in all competitions after joining from Saint-Etienne in 2011.

After a difficult first season, he quickly became an integral part of the team for successive managers, Carlo Ancelotti and Laurent Blanc.

He flourished from a largely defensive midfielder to a robust, tireless runner with an eye for goal and an enormous work-rate.

Overcoming some technical deficiencies in his game, Matuidi gradually earned himself a place in the France lineup and became a key player at the 2014 World Cup and last year’s European Championship.

At the beginning of last season, after Blanc was fired and replaced by Unai Emery, he expressed a desire to leave PSG and already wanted to join Juventus. But the club blocked his move, considering him too important to leave, and he stayed for another season.

Altogether, Matuidi has scored 33 goals for PSG in 295 appearances, becoming a well-respected player among fans and teammates alike, often taking a public stance when others would not and when tensions arose within the club.

In all, Matuidi has won four league titles, three French Cups and four League Cups with PSG.

This story has been corrected to show that Neymar’s fee was 222 million euros, not 220 million euros.

Furious Cristiano Ronaldo responds to five-game ban

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Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at the Spanish soccer federation after his five game ban for pushing a referee in the back was upheld.

Ronaldo, 32, pushed the ref after he was shown a second yellow card in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at Barcelona on Sunday.

It capped an eventful El Clasico for Ronaldo who arrived in the second half as a sub, then scored a stunner to put Real 2-1 up.

He received his first yellow for taking off his shirt and holding it up to the Nou Camp crowd to mock Lionel Messi for doing the same in a goal celebration in April at the Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo then received a second yellow for going down in the box under a challenge.

In an Instagram post the Real Madrid forward had the following to say about the decision which sees him banned for the second leg ag the Bernabeu on Wednesday as well as Real’s next four games.

“It seems to me exaggerated and ridiculous, this is called persecution.”