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Allegri’s coaching stock should take a hit after Champions League dud

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Coming into Saturday’s Champions League final, Massimiliano Allegri had one of the fastest-rising coaching stocks in European soccer.

Following the 4-1 Real Madrid win, Allegri still remains one of the top coaches in Europe, but after being thoroughly out-coached by Zinedine Zidane in the second half, other top teams will most certainly take note.

With the score tied at 1-1 at halftime, Zidane – no stranger to taking obscene risks in important games – looked to spark his lethargic Real Madrid all-star squad by bombing both full-backs Marcelo and Dani Carvajal as far forward as possible. The two had 46 touches in the Juventus half through the 45 minutes; they racked up over half that in the 15 minutes after halftime alone.

The strategy worked, and immediately Juventus found itself pinned back in its own half – of the 5 chances created between those two players, four came between the 45th and 65th minute (only Carvajal’s assist on the first Madrid goal came outside that span).

With his team suddenly under siege, Allegri made no changes, tactically or otherwise. Likely, he hoped to take advantage of the counter opportunities presented by a suddenly relentless Madrid, but those opportunities never presented themselves. Juventus had a full 15 minutes to change tactics before the Spanish giants scored its quickfire double to put the game out of reach.

After a first half in which Juventus saw itself the better side, Madrid’s time was clearly coming, and Allegri most certainly had to be prepared for the eventual onslaught his team would face. Yet when it came to fruition, he had no response until it was too late, bringing on Juan Cuadrado with the scoreline now 3-1 and the game all but lost.

This is not to take away any credit from Real Madrid, who deserved to win the crown. Their squad is utterly loaded, potentially one of the best teams ever, and stopping them would be a tall task. Yet for a Juventus club that had conceded all of three goals the entire Champions League tournament, they were the most equipped of anyone to halt the Madrid machine, and they showed that through the first 45 minutes. Allegri froze when his team desperately needed some type of reaction. He quite simply came up small in the season’s biggest moment.

To make matters worse, after the match he criticized the squad for slumping mentally after Madrid’s second goal.

“We conceded that goal with a deflection and then let go psychologically,” Allegri said. “We should’ve reacted and defended with nails and teeth, but this is another step we have to take in [the] future to learn from this and mature. Even if Real Madrid had a very good second half and have excellent players who can change the game at any moment, that second goal knocked the wind out of our sails.” That’s a weak response from a man who should have shouldered much of the blame.

Max Allegri has no doubt guided Juventus through a fabulous campaign, and has proven a man who has squeezed the most out of this squad on numerous occasions. He should still remain a top coach among the European landscape as it stands. However, when prospective clubs down the road inspect his full body of work, this blemish should be one they inquire about. In a match that Juventus appeared up to the task, their manager went missing when they needed him the most.

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league

FIFA to send in emergency team to run Cameroon football

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.

The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.

FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.

CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.

FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”

Transfer Roundup: Tottenham complete signing of Sanchez, Clucas joins Swansea

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Tottenham reportedly broke the bank for its first transfer of the summer.

The North London club confirmed that it had completed a transfer with Ajax for defender Davinson Sanchez after the Colombian international passed a medical. According to The Telegraph, the deal is worth around $54 million, a club record. The deal is subject to acquisition of Sanchez’s work permit but given the transfer fee and him being in Colombia’s squad, it’s likely a mere formality at this point.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The 21-year-old defender brings speed and strength to Tottenham’s backline as well as a year of seasoning in the Eredivisie, which features plenty of attacking talent. Sanchez will battle with Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen for a place in Spurs’ three-man backline.

It’s a risk moving to a new club a year ahead of the World Cup, but Sanchez is hoping that with appearances in the UEFA Champions League and Premier League up for grabs, he can do well enough to keep his place in the Colombia National Team squad.

Here’s some more transfer news from across England:

(more…)

Liverpool bombard Hoffenheim with three-goal first half

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Liverpool got off to a flying start in the second leg of its UEFA Champions League tie with Hoffenheim.

With the loyal Anfield crowd behind the team, the Reds scored three goals in the first 21 minutes, two of them from Emre Can to put Liverpool well in control of the tie.

Can’s opener was followed by a goal from Mo Salah before the German international scored a wide-open goal at the back post to make it 3-0 and 5-1 on aggregate. Sadio Mane played a big role in both of Can’s goals.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann went to the bench right after the third goal and brought on Mark Uth, who promptly scored to bright a little hope back to the German club.

Here’s a look at the flying first half of goals for Liverpool.

Emre Can 10′

Mohamed Salah 18′

Emre Can 21′

Mark Uth 28′