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Lincoln boss: Beating Burnley in FA Cup was “a one in 100 chance”

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For the first time since 1914, a non-league club is through to the quarterfinal round of the FA Cup.

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That club is National League (fifth-division) side Lincoln City, who pulled off the Cupset of all Cupsets on Saturday, knocking off Premier League side Burnley thanks to an 89th-minute winner headed home by Sean Raggett.

Following the full-time whistle — and you’re not going to believe this — everyone associated with the club, from manager Danny Cowley, to assistant manager (and brother) Nicky Cowley, to the goalscorer himself, remained in a state of utter shock at their “one in 100 chance” achievement — quotes from the BBC:

“We said it was a one in a 100 chance and thankfully we got that opportunity. The last eight of the FA Cup sounds pretty good. We work hard on our corners and our free kicks and we are mightily proud of the players.”

“It is a fantastic day, just brilliant for the supporters, the players and their families. You have to believe and dream big, we had fantastic results against Oldham, Ipswich and Brighton but coming to a Premier League ground was a new challenge and it is unbelievable.

“From the view we had it was difficult to see if it was over the line and you are just willing the referee to point to the centre circle and it was a great moment when it happened. We are a humble down to earth group.”

“An unbelievable feeling, I’m a little bit lost for words. It shows this group of players is special. What a win.

“I knew it was in but the [linesman] didn’t look like he was going to give it for a minute.”

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Burnley manager Sean Dyche was, predictably, in less of a partying mood — quotes from the BBC:

“I’m only gutted in the sense that could happen, I was on the other side of it as a player [at Chesterfield], you don’t want to be part of it for the wrong reasons.

“They used everything they needed to use. They played our pitch well, played resolutely with their back four not going anywhere and they got the ball forward. You have to work, be diligent and believe you will get another chance. I think they only had one chance, credit to them.”

Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea

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Chelsea FC will have another Spanish international leading the front line, with Diego Costa likely on his way out of town.

The club announced that Alvaro Morata has completed a transfer from Real Madrid, signing a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge. The BBC reports the transfer fee at nearly $78 million.

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“I am so happy to be here,” Morata said in a statement. “It’s an incredible emotion to be part of this big club. I am looking to work hard, score as many goals as I can and to win as many trophies as possible.”

Morata emerged as an option to replace Costa after Romelu Lukaku decided on joining Manchester United over his former club Chelsea. Morata, who was a Manchester United target at first, then turned his sights on London after becoming disillusioned in Madrid, playing second-fiddle to Karim Benzema.

Despite not being first-choice up top, Morata scored 15 goals in 26 La Liga games and another three in the UEFA Champions League, which Real Madrid went on to win over Morata’s former club Juventus. Morata started for Juventus the last time the club had been in the Champions League final.

Despite being just 24, Morata is emerging as one of the world’s top forwards. He has nine goals in 19 games for the Spanish National Team and now is the right time for him to experience the challenge of the Premier League, where the games come thick and fast and the pace of the game is a step up from what he’s experienced in Spain and Italy.

However, the tactical knowledge he’s learned in both places should help him in England, where he can position himself between the opposing centerbacks.

 

Report: Neymar tells Barcelona teammates he’s off to PSG

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Brazilian star Neymar isn’t keeping his future plans under wraps, at least when it comes to his current club teammates.

According to a report in French newspaper Le Parisien, Neymar has started telling his Barcelona teammates that he’s intends to join Paris Saint-Germain. Spanish publication Marca meanwhile is reporting that Neymar’s teammates are trying to persuade him to stay in Catalonia for the season.

The Le Parisien report adds that certain officials at Barcelona believe the transfer is imminent and are resigned to losing one of their stars this summer. The report also said that it was a “decisive step” that Neymar was on board with the deal, going along with his father and agent.

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Rumors intensified over the past few days as reports emerged in Spain that Neymar had agreed on a contract with PSG, and all that was awaiting was PSG exercising Neymar’s release clause, worth nearly $260 million (€222 million). On paper, PSG’s Qatari owners can probably afford that tremendous sum but it still remains to be seen whether PSG will see this move over the line.

Should Neymar move, it would break transfer records for the price of the deal as well as shock the world, as Neymar seemed settled and happy in Barcelona playing alongside the likes of fellow South Americans Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Neymar and Barcelona are currently in New York training ahead of the club’s friendly match in the International Champions Cup against Juventus Saturday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Liverpool complete signing of Hull’s Robertson

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Liverpool has added to its defensive depth with the signing of one of Scotland’s bright young stars.

The club announced the signing of left back Andy Robertson for a reported $10.4 million, which can rise to $13 million with add-on clauses.

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Robertson made 33 appearances for Hull City last season in the Premier League, scoring a goal and assisting on two others. While Robertson is joining Liverpool, midfielder Kevin Stewart is heading the opposite direction, joining the Championship club for a reported $5.2 million.

Robertson will likely compete with Alberto Moreno for the starting left back position, and with Liverpool competing in the Premier League plus three cup competitions, depth at every position will be crucial when injuries and fatigue sets in.

Report: FIFA president Infantino in hot water

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The more things at FIFA change, the more they stay the same.

According to a bombshell report from The Guardian, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was under investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee before the president disbanded the committee in May. The report states that Infantino spent around $1.16 million on his election campaign, despite declaring publicly he had only spent around $583,000 on flights around the world to meet with national FA presidents.

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The report claims Infantino was also being investigated by then committee chairman Cornel Borbely over whether he influenced the election of a new president in the Confederation of African Federations, or CAF.

FIFA rules state that presidential candidates must declare campaign expenditures publicly.

The latest bad press on FIFA follows the arrest of Spanish Football Federation president and UEFA vice president Angel Maria Villar and his son among other national and regional officials on charges of corruption and improper management.

Villar appeared in court on Thursday, and a judge denied he and his son bail.