Dhaka, Sept 25 (UNB) – Bangladesh U-18 Women’s Football team leave here for Bhutan on Wednesday to participate in the six-nation South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Women’s Championship beginning on Friday (Sept 28) at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu keeping their bird eyes on the final.
India will play hosts Bhutan in the inaugural match on Friday at 4 pm (local time) while Nepal will encounter Pakistan at 7 pm (local time) at the same venue in the other opening day’s fixture.
Bangladesh, which were placed in Group B with Pakistan and Nepal, will play Pakistan on September 30 and face Nepal on October 2. India, the Maldives and Bhutan were put in Group A of the meet.
Two top teams from each of the group will play in the semifinals on October 5 while the final match will be held on October 7.
In a pre-tournament press conference, Bangladesh coach Golam Rabani Choton and newly appointed captain Mishrat Jahan Mousumi set their initial target to reach the final of the newly introduced SAFF U-18 Women’s Championship.
Thirteen players of the just concluded AFC U-16 Group F champions Bangladesh team like Maria Manda, Akhi Khantun, Monika Chakma, Tohura Khatun, Anuching Mogini, Anai Mogini, Sajeda Khatun and Shamsunnahar were included in the Bhutan-bound team.
Besides, comparatively senior players like Krishna Rani Sarkar, Sanjida Khatun, Ratna, Swapna, Mousumi who were excluded from the Bangladesh U-16 team due to over age, were also included in the U-18 team.
Bangladesh team finished runners-up in the SAFF U-15 Women’s Championship in Bhutan in last August.
Members of Bangladesh team: Mahmuda Akhter, Rupna Chakma, Ruksana Begum, Masura Parvin, Sheuli Akhter, Krishna Rani Sarkar, Sanjida Akhter, Ishrat Jahan Ratna, Sirat Jahan Shopna, Mishrat Jahan Mousumi, Marzia, Nazma, Ritu Porna Chakma, Nilufa Yesmin Nila, Maria Manda, Akhi Khantun, Monika Chakma, Tohura Khatun, Anuching Mogini, Anai Mogini, Sajeda Khatun, Shamsun Nahar, Razia Khatun and Sajeda Khatun.
Buenos Aires, Sep 25 (AP/UNB) — Lionel Messi will miss Argentina's friendly against Brazil on Oct. 16 in Saudi Arabia.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni said on Monday that Messi will not be called for the brief tour. He will also miss the other friendly in Saudi against Iraq on Oct. 11.
Scaloni, the interim national coach until January, said Argentina was focusing on blooding younger players.
Messi has made no public comments about his decision to be left out of the Argentina squad, which he hasn't played for since the World Cup.
Messi was also absent from Argentina's two-match tour of the United States this month.
London, Sep 25 (AP/UNB) — Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were far from the auditorium by the River Thames when Luka Modric broke their decade-long grip on FIFA's award for the world's best player.
Football's biggest individual accolade was handed to the 33-year-old playmaker on Monday night in recognition of a year when he led Croatia to its first World Cup final and won a fourth Champions League title in five seasons with Real Madrid.
"It is very important, because for such a small country to win the best player award, it's something amazing and that shows other small countries that everything is possible," Modric said. "You just need to believe and to work for it. And that all dreams could come true."
It required voters to be more imaginative and not just make the predictable picks of Ronaldo and Messi, who split the previous 10 awards. Messi voted for Modric, while Ronaldo and Modric each voted for Real Madrid's Raphael Varane.
Brazil's Marta did become a six-time winner, earning the women's honor for the first time since 2010.
Another Brazilian, Kaka, had been the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to claim the men's prize from FIFA, at the 2007 gala.
"We knew we were surrounded by two aliens that were just sharing these awards," Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos said. "But I think it is also very positive to recognize the work, the career and the season of players that are not just strikers. I am really happy for Luka Modric".
Modric has had to accept playing in Ronaldo's shadow during six years at Madrid even as the 1.72 meters (5-foot-8) technically-gifted Croatian's ingenuity on the ball and passing range made him as a key component in the team's European dominance.
Modric and Ronaldo on a third successive Champions League in May before achieving something far more unexpected: captaining Croatia to its first World Cup final.
"I would change all my individual trophies for that trophy of World Cup champion," Modric said, reflecting on the 4-2 loss to France in the final in July.
Modric, who joined Madrid from Tottenham in 2012, received 29 percent of votes from the coaches and captains of national teams, reporters and fans.
Ronaldo, who left Madrid in the offseason to join Italian champion Juventus, was second with 19 percent. He captained European Portugal to a round-of-16 exit at the World Cup.
Mohamed Salah was third with 11 percent after scoring a record 32 goals in a 38-game English Premier League season for Liverpool, which reached its first Champions League final in 11 years.
France forward Kylian Mbappe was fourth and Messi fifth with just under 10 percent of the vote. Messi scored 45 goals for Barcelona, which won the Spanish title, but only netted once at the World Cup as Argentina was eliminated in the round of 16.
Messi and Ronaldo skipped the ceremony at London's Royal Festival Hall and sent no messages of congratulations to Modric on their social media accounts, which have hundreds of millions of followers.
"Two guys we don't know," actor Idris Elba, who hosted the show, said after highlighting the absence of Messi and Ronaldo.
Former Croatia captain Zvonimir Boban, now a FIFA deputy secretary general, cried after being lauded by Modric from the stage.
"At this particular moment, I would like to mention my footballing idol and captain of Croatia generation 1998," Modric said, referring to the team that finished third in the nation's first World Cup appearance 20 years ago. "He was my big inspiration and that team gave us belief that we could achieve something great in Russia. Hopefully we can be the same for next generations."
Marta won after leading Brazil to Copa America Femenina glory. The 32-year-old also scored 13 goals as Orlando Pride reached the NWSL playoffs.
"It was worth all the sacrifices," the striker said.
No French player was among the finalists but Didier Deschamps was voted manager of the year after becoming only the third man to win the World Cup as a player and coach.
Reynald Pedros, the Frenchman who led Lyon to French league and Champions League glory, became the first club coach to win the women's game award, previously exclusive to national-team managers.
Salah didn't leave empty-handed, earning the Puskas Award for his goal in the Merseyside derby last December. Salah's goal in Liverpool's 1-1 draw against Everton was a mixture of strength and footwork. Receiving a pass from right back Joe Gomez, Salah shrugged off Cuca Martina, twisted inside Idrissa Gueye and curled a left-footed shot around Ashley Williams and into the top corner.
Thibaut Courtois added the FIFA goalkeeper award to the Golden Glove he collected in Russia for helping Belgium to third place with three clean sheets. Courtois left Chelsea for Madrid after the tournament.
Paris, Sep 24 (AP/UNB) — Neymar was whistled off the field on Sunday but showed he held no grudge against Rennes fans by giving his shirt to a young boy who ran across the pitch to hug the Brazil star.
With PSG leading 3-1 in the French league game, Neymar slowly walked back to the Paris Saint-Germain bench in the 90th minute at Rennes — as coach Thomas Tuchel made his final substitution — when the boy escaped security and ran toward the striker.
The boy burst into tears when he reached Neymar and pointed at his shirt. Neymar took the boy under his arm and walked back to the sidelines, gesturing toward security guards to indicate everything was okay.
Neymar then took off his shirt and gave it to the boy, who was taken away by stewards.
Neymar had a mostly anonymous performance before the incident, with a mediocre display in Brittany. Five days after slumping to its first loss this season in a 3-2 Champions League defeat at Liverpool, PSG struggled in the first half but came from behind to win 3-1 and remain perfect in the French league with a sixth consecutive win.
PSG remains five points clear at the top.
Playing without the suspended Kylian Mbappe, the defending champions faced strong resistance from an inspired home side that defended well and destabilized PSG on the break.
PSG conceded early when Adrien Rabiot scored a clumsy own-goal. Tuchel's side managed to turn things around with goals from Angel Di Maria, Thomas Meunier and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting.
Rennes played with three attacking players and applied early pressure on Gianluigi Buffon's goal. Mbaye Niang and Ismaila Sarr tested the Italian 'keeper before Rabiot inadvertently sent the ball into Buffon's net from a corner after a header from Niang ricocheted off his shoulder in the 11th minute.
Rennes could not build on the momentum and started to play deeper as PSG took control of the match and leveled just before halftime with a low-shot from Julian Draxler's cut-back pass.
Edinson Cavani hit the post at the start of the second half and Meunier scored at the end of a swift counterattack with a right-footed shot. Subsitute Choupo-Moting then celebrated his league debut with a goal in the 83rd from Meunier's pass.
Forward Bertrand Traore scored twice as Lyon carried its Champions League form into the French league with a 4-2 win over rival Marseille.
Just days after defeating Manchester City away, Lyon was the better team throughout and extended its unbeaten run at home against Marseille to 11 years.
Houssem Aouar and Nabil Fekir also scored for Lyon, which moved level on points with Marseille and eight points behind PSG.
Traore put Lyon back in the lead in the 51st minute, after Florian Thauvin's equalizer, and made it 3-1 before winning a penalty converted by Nabil Fekir. Clinton Njie also scored for Marseille, which was reduced to nine men after he picked up an injury and defender Duje Caleta-Car was sent off for a foul on Traore in the 83rd.
Bordeaux won 3-1 at last-place Guingamp.
Barcelona, Sep 24 (AP/UNB) — Lionel Messi set the record for the most Spanish league appearances by a non-Spanish player on Sunday, but the Argentine's goal couldn't prevent 10-man Barcelona from dropping its first points of the season in a 2-2 draw with Girona.
Messi, the league's all-time leading scorer, overtook former teammate Dani Alves of Brazil by appearing in his 423nd game.
Messi gave Barcelona the lead before Clement Lenglet was given a red card in the first half.
Girona striker Christian Stuani struck twice for the visitors before Barcelona salvaged a point through Gerard Pique's goal in the 63rd.
Referee Gil Manzano showed Lenglet a direct red card for elbowing Girona's Pere Pons in the face. Manzano made the ruling after consulting the video monitor to review the contact between the players.
"It's clear that the sending off swung the match," said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde.
Valverde took responsibility for not sending on center back Samuel Umtiti on sooner to fill the hole left by Lenglet that Stuani took advantage off to get his first goal just before halftime.
"You are planning to do something but you wait, and then ... you regret it all. I thought we had the match under control," Valverde said.
Barcelona had won all its previous four rounds of the Spanish league, its Champions League opener and the Spanish Super Cup.
Its first setback of the season left Barcelona level with Real Madrid at the top of the league on 13 points.
Messi put Barcelona ahead in the 19th when he used his left boot to stab in a pass from Arturo Vidal after the midfielder had won the ball.
Messi had already gone close to scoring what would have been a brilliant goal when he dribbled around three defenders, sending two of them to the turf, before his low shot was tipped wide by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
The Argentina forward also hit the cross bar with a free kick before Pique made up for his sluggish defending on both of Stuani's goals by heading Barcelona level.
BEN YEDDER HAT TRICK
Wissam Ben Yedder scored a first-half hat trick to lead Sevilla to a 6-2 rout at Levante, equaling the biggest winning margin away from home in the league for the Andalusian club.
It was the second big win for Sevilla in three days. Ben Yedder scored twice in a 5-1 home win over Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday.
Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik saved a penalty kick by Jose Morales that would have allowed Levante to pull level at 2-2 midway through the first half.
Pablo Sarabia also scored for Sevilla and set up three more goals.
Sevilla had gone three rounds without a win in the league.
Valencia is still looking for its first win this season after coach Marcelino Garcia and team captain Dani Parejo were both sent off with a half-hour to play in a 0-0 stalemate at regional rival Villarreal.
Parejo got a straight red card for a dangerous low tackle on Funes Mori, and Garcia was sent off moments later for protesting the dismissal. Both player and coach watched the rest of the match behind the glass of a stadium box.
Valencia hasn't scored in three straight matches, including a 2-0 loss at home to 10-man Juventus in the Champions League midweek when Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off.
"It's true we haven't won in several matches but we can't lose our cool," Valencia defender Jose Gaya said. "We still have to improve, but we also have to remain positive that the wins will come."
Real Betis needed goals from Marc Bartra and Sergio Canales to erase a two-goal deficit in a 2-2 home draw with Athletic Bilbao.