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Ligue 1: Monaco win again, now five points clear in title race

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PARIS (AP) French league leader Monaco prepared for its Champions League showdown with Manchester City by beating Bordeaux 2-1, a win overshadowed by an injury to top scorer Radamel Falcao on Saturday.

Falcao, who has 24 goals this season, went to ground clutching his ribs late on after a heavy challenge from Bordeaux defender Nicolas Pallois.

The striker got back up, only to go straight down to his knees again. Although he did not need the stretcher that went on for him, preferring to hobble off, it was unclear if the injury will rule him out of Wednesday’s last-16 return leg.

“He received a violent blow to his right side,” coach Leonardo Jardim said. “I hope it’s not serious.”

Monaco’s win moved it five points clear of Nice and – although Monaco’s formidable goal tally reached 123 this season – it was a labored win against a resilient side chasing a place in the Europa League.

Teenage striker Kylian Mbappe pounced midway through the second half with his fourth goal in three games and midfielder Joao Moutinho scored a brilliant curling shot.

After good work from Falcao, the 18-year-old Mbappe finished with a crisp low shot from just inside the penalty area in the 68th minute for his 16th goal of the season.

Six minutes later, Moutinho collected a pass from Portuguese compatriot Bernardo Silva some 25 meters out to the right of the penalty area and curled a superb first-time shot into the top left without breaking stride.

“I saw it coming, but it was magnificent. The ball dipped at the last moment,” Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso said. “Sometimes you just have to appreciate a great goal.”

Moutinho’s goals for Monaco are as rare as they are for Portugal, and this was only his eighth in 117 league games.

Next week in the Champions League, Monaco has to overturn a 5-3 deficit from the first leg to advance, and will need goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to start concentrating again.

He let in a sloppy goal against City three weeks ago and an even worse one on Saturday – gifting Bordeaux a lifeline with six minutes left.

After a Monaco attack broke down, Bordeaux hopefully lofted the ball forward. There was no immediate danger as defender Jemerson collected the ball near the halfway line. But his hurried back pass was under-hit and forced Subasic to come out of the area to clear it.

But the goalkeeper waited too long. When he did clear, the ball struck Bordeaux striker Diego Rolan and then bounced back off Subasic’s face into the path of Rolan, who ran through and tapped into an empty net.

Jardim refused to criticize him.

“I said to Suba: `How many important saves have you made for us?'” Jardim said. “A lot, so stop thinking about it.”

Monaco is six points clear of third-placed Paris Saint-Germain. The defending champion travels to last-placed Lorient on Sunday.

There were plenty of goals elsewhere.

Guingamp moved up to eighth place with different scorers on target in a 5-0 home romp against relegation candidate Bastia.

Striker Emiliano Sala netted a last-minute winner as Nantes won at Montpellier 3-2 to move up to 10th.

Another late winner from midfielder Rony Lopes earned Lille a 2-1 win at Nancy, easing the club’s relegation fears. But Nancy dropped to 18th.

Ninth-placed Rennes drew 1-1 at home to Dijon.

Leicester City record massive earnings from UEFA Champions League

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Leicester City’s UEFA Champions League campaign may have ended without a trophy, but the Premier League side pipped the European champions in the bank account.

UEFA announced on Friday that Leicester City earned $96,167,125 during the Champions League run that ended in the quarterfinals, the farthest of any Premier League club. Real Madrid, the back-to-back champions, earned a slightly less $95,385,679. Much of the difference comes from TV rights deals in England, which pays out more to teams compared to the TV rights deal in Spain.

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Juventus, the Italian giant, earned the most of any club in last year’s Champions League, making a whopping $129,965,357, mostly thanks to the TV rights again.

Mourinho: Ibrahimovic could return in December

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Dare to Zlatan? It could be only a couple of months away.

That’s according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who said the veteran striker could return from his torn ACL before the end of the calendar year.

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“Zlatan is here, he’s working here and under our control,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s working as you would expect so, so, so hard. But he’s not to be back in the next week or next couple of weeks. Do I believe he’ll be back in 2017? Yes, I do. But it’s just a feeling.”

The big Swede scored 28 goals for Man United last year in all competitions, proving that he’s still got it at the age of 36, but it’s going to be tough for him to find his old form coming off an ACL injury at such an old age. After suffering the injury last April, it’s been a long road to recovery for Ibrahimovic.

However, with the play of Romelu Lukaku up top, Ibrahimovic would only play from time to time, which could help in his recovery both from the knee injury and just the general recovery between games.

Manchester City quartet called up by Brazil for friendlies

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Brazilian National Team coach Tite has decided on calling up a full-strength squad for November’s upcoming friendly matches in Europe, including four Manchester City players in his 25-man squad.

Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo and Ederson all made the squad as Tite looks to develop more chemistry among his side ahead of the 2018 World Cup, which Brazil breezed into after Tite took over in 2016.

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Luckily for Manchester City and the other European-based players in the squad, Brazil’s friendly matches will be played in Western Europe. The Selecao first faces Japan in Lille, France on November 10 before taking on England at Wembley Stadium on November 14.

The call-ups may be a tough pill for Guardiola to swallow though. As of Friday, Manchester City has 17 games remaining in the calendar year, and surely he would prefer for some of his starters to get a two-week break in November to preserve some energy instead of play in friendly matches.

Everton announce lifetime ban for fan involved in altercation with Lyon player

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On a night when UEFA unveiled a new campaign for respect, there wasn’t enough of it shown both on and off the field.

Everton has followed up on UEFA opening up disciplinary proceedings against them by banning a fan from Everton matches after the fan was seen to punch at an Olympique Lyon player in the second half of Lyon’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park.

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“Club Officials have reviewed the footage of an incident that occurred in the 64th minute of the game against Olympique Lyonnais where supporters towards the front of the lower Gwladys Street End became involved in a confrontation between players,” Everton said in a statement. “We have identified one individual whom action will now be taken against. This will include a ban from attending future Everton fixtures and the Club registering a formal complaint with Merseyside Police.”

The video below shows a fan – amazingly, holding onto a small boy in one arm – throwing some punches at Lyon players after a fracas on the field.

The punch and ban is yet another dark moment for Everton, which has just one point from its first three Europa League matches and sits in 16th place in the Premier League with eight points from eight games.