Friday, 30 January 2015

Weird! Premier League African Star Goes Missing While On AFCON Duty

West Ham United have had trouble finding the whereabouts of their Senegal international midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate after he went missing on international duty in the past two days, according to the Daily Mail.

Kouyate should be back at Upton Park after Senegal were knocked out of the African Cup of Nations by Algeria on Tuesday, but the club have had difficulty in tracking him down.

Sam Allardyce played down his no show though.

“We’ve had trouble finding him” he admitted.

“If you speak to all Premier League managers if they’re honest they will tell you the same thing.

“He should be back today after we’ve chased him down over the last 48 hours. He could play against Liverpool.”

This adds another dimension to the poor relationship Allardyce and West Ham have with the Senegal national team after the African side reported the Hammers to FIFA for not allowing Diafra Sakho to play in the African Cup of Nations, citing a back injury, but then playing him in January.

Today's Transfer Gist (30.01.15): Latest On Cuadrado, Mirallas, Khedira Plus More!

Liverpool have made a bid to sign Burnley striker Danny Ings, 22, and will loan the England Under-21 striker back to the Clarets for the remainder of the season. (Daily Express)

Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini says he is interested in signing Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, 31. (Sky Sports)

Valencia striker Pablo Alcacer, 21, says he was happy to sign a contract extension to stay in Spain despite interest from Liverpool. (Talksport)

Tottenham are still hoping to land Everton winger Kevin Mirallas, 27, before the transfer window shuts on Monday and are offering fellow winger Aaron Lennon, 27, in exchange. (Daily Mirror)

Manchester United and Chelsea have been alerted to the fact that Paul Pogba's agent claims the 21-year-old midfielder's long-term future does not lie at Juventus. (Daily Star)

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is close to signing Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado, 26, and will sell attacking midfielder Andre Schurrle, 24, to Wolfsburg to finance it. (Daily Mail)

Mourinho is also ready to make a £21m bid to sign Ecuador striker Enner Valencia, 25, from West Ham. (Sun - subscription required)

Turkish club Trabzonspor are favourites to sign Real Madrid's Germany international midfielder Sami Khedira, 27, who has interested a number of Premier League clubs. (Daily Star)

Tottenham are ready to offer captain and centre-back Younes Kaboul, 29, to Stuttgart in part exchange for 18-year-old forward Timo Werner. (Daily Mirror)

Out-of-favour midfielder Anderson, 26, could be on his way out of Manchester United with a move to Brazilian side Internacional under discussion. (Daily Telegraph)

Stoke City will allow defender Robert Huth, 30, to join Leicester on loan for the rest of the season. (Stoke Sentinel)

West Brom have been offered the chance to sign former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan, 35, on loan from Japanese club Cerezo Osaka. (Express and Star, Wolverhampton)

NFF President Amaju Pinnick Finally Speaks On Stephen Keshi's Future

Nigeria Football Federation President (NFF), Amaju Pinnick, has all but confirmed that the Federation have finally parted ways with Stephen Keshi. Pinnick confirmed the status of Keshi on Thursday via a post on his social network page

Getting a new coach and technical crew for the Super Eagles has been a sensitive issue though I will say that negotiations are on going and in a strict manner that sooner than expected a new coach and technical crew will be announced to the Nigeria public, he wrote.

Until this revelation by Pinnick, fans of the Super Eagles believed that Stephen Keshi and his crew, would continue to manage the team. This belief was reinforced when the Presidency reportedly forced the NFF to rescind their decision to sack the technical crew following the team’s inability to qualify for the Nations Cup.

 However, the NFF may have finally resolved to go for a new coach. Daniel Amokachi and Ike Shorunmu, the Super eagles assisitant coaches, have managed the team in the absence of Keshi, who until this week was holidaying in the US.

Source: Futaa

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Chelsea Owner Secretly Weds Girlfriend After Splitting From His Wife

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich got married in a secret ceremony six years ago, his wife has revealed.

 The oligarch met Dasha Zhukova in 2005, and she has been referred to as his girlfriend ever since. However, a Wall Street Journal Magazine article by journalist Tony Perrottet made a reference to the couple who “met in 2005 and were married a few years later; they have two children”.

This statement is thought to have had the approval of Zhukova, but she has not commented any further on the matter.

FanZoneBlog: Where Are The Super-Subs?

 Whilst thinking about Man Utd's current malaise the other day, it struck me that one of the vital things they lack at the moment is is a game-changing super-sub.

 Back when Sir Alex was in charge, if a game wasn't going his way, he could bring on a Solskjaer/Hernandez/Owen and win the game in Fergie time. Even Macheda did the job on occasion. How many times over the years have Man Utd won in the dying moments thanks to a bit of magic from a super-sub?

 Lots. One of their major issues this season is that they struggle to turn draws into wins (see Cambridge), because they have no-one on the bench who can come on and do a job. Putting Fellaini up top and hoofing it up to him is no substitute (sorry) for bringing a proper matchwinner off the bench. Good subs make a good team.

When Chelsea's bench consisted of Torres last year they struggled - now they have the much-more-fearsome Drogba and Remy to call upon. Tottenham super-sub Harry Kane was so good he forced his way into the first team - they'd probably be mid-table now if it wasn't for him and Eriksen.

Conversely, if your bench is rubbish it's a major disadvantage: Liverpool got knocked out of the League Cup partly because their not-so super-subs were the lumbering Lambert and Balotelli. Seriously, when West Ham boast better options on the bench you know something must be seriously wrong with Man Utd and Liverpool.

So yeah, the key to Man Utd's and Liverpool's recent problems is not their defence or their formation, but because they've got crummy attacking options on the sidelines. These teams don't need a Cavani or a Benzema to go straight into the first team, they need a Shane Long or Claudio Pizzaro to warm the bench until the 78th minute.

Transfer Gist: Super Eagles Joins Premier League Club

Shola Ameobi agreed to join Crystal Palace in a deal that will see him reunited with former Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew.

The striker left Turkish club Gaziantep in December and Selhurst Park has been his preferred destination for a Barclays Premier League return despite interest from West Bromwich Albion.
Ameobi scored 79 goals in 397 appearances for Newcastle before leaving St James’ Park last year after 14 years.

Shola Ameobi has agreed to join Crystal Palace ahead of his potential Premier League return

The former Newcastle United striker left Turkish club Gaziantep in December and has been looking for a clubPalace next face Everton at home on Saturday and Pardew hopes to secure the services of Ameobi as soon as possible.

The forward has been tracked by Hull as well but he always hoped to play under his ex-boss.Ameobi scored four goals in 11 games for Gaziantep but the club suffered financial difficulties and had to cut his stay short. As a free agent he can join a club even after the January window closes

REPORT: Chelsea Agree Deal For Cuadrado As Schurrle Heads Back To Germany

Chelsea have agreed to cash-in on Andre Schurrle to free up the funds to sign Juan Cuadrado.

The move for Colombian Cuadrado, 26, could even be completed in time for him to to play in Saturday’s top of the table game against Manchester City, with Chelsea eager to register him.

MailOnline Sport has learned that the deal – with almost £60million exchanging hands - moved closer in the last 24 hours.Andre Schurrle appears to have played his last game for Chelsea after they agreed to cash-in on the forward

Chelsea have asked for more than £30million for Schurrle, 24, and Wolfsburg have been leading the way, with Borussia Dortmund also keen.Jose Mourinho is not a fan of the Germany international, but recognises his value in the transfer market. The World Cup winning attacker is also keen to return home.

Bizzare! Atletico Madrid Arda Turan Escapes A Red Card Despite Attacking The Linesman

Barcelona's visit to Atletico Madrid was always going to be a feisty affair, but not many fans inside the Vicente Calderon would've expected to see a player launch his footwear at an official. 

That's exactly what happened in the second half when, after having his boot removed in a tackle, Atleti midfielder Arda Turan decided to pick it up and chuck it at one of the game's two linesmen. 

The Turkish international missed his target but, despite his intent being clear to everyone inside the stadium, referee Jesus Gil only showed him a yellow card.

Barcelona Edge Out Atletico Madrid In Fiercely Battled Quarter Final Clash

Barcelona overcame nine-man Atletico Madrid in a fiery Copa del Rey quarter-final to seal a 4-2 aggregate victory.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, Fernando Torres drove Atletico level inside a minute but Neymar quickly swept home a Barca counter-attack.

Atletico led again through Raul Garcia's penalty but Miranda's own goal and a second for Neymar left the hosts needing three to progress at the break.

Gabi was sent off in the tunnel at half time and Mario Suarez saw red late on.

Their dismissals were in keeping with an ill-disciplined Atletico performance and when Neymar argued with home players on his way to the tunnel at the interval, he drew a cursory point of the finger from Gabi, who did not return for the second half.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Super Eagles Star Accepts And Is Happy With His New Bench Role

Super Eagles defender, Efe Ambrose has tacitly accepted life on the bench following his relegation to the reserves by his Scottish club, Celtic.

Despite dropping out of the starting XI since Belgian Jason Denayer’s return from injury, Ambrose insists he is happy in Glasgow. Quoted The former Kaduna United skipper was quoted as saying earlier this month

"I am still a Celtic player and I will respect my contract. If an offer comes and Celtic accepts, fine. But otherwise, I will keep doing my best for Celtic and hopefully we will win the league again."

Mediocrity at its peak!

You Gotta See This! Arsenal Stars Strike A Pose With "Old School" 1955 Gunners Kit [PHOTOS]

Arsenal's stars stepped back in time for a special photoshoot recently, donning the red-and-white kit worn by Gunners players way back in 1955. Theo Walcott, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini and David Ospina all took part to celebrate 60 years since the release of Citroen's DS car.

The four players posed with a 1961 DS in their retro strips and the recently released DS 5 in their current kits to commemorate the longevity of Citroen's popular model.

Manager Arsene Wenger even got himself into a picture when he appeared to accidentally photobomb his players as he walked around the club's London Colney training ground.

The original DS was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1955, but Arsena's current crop will be hoping for a more successful season than the Gunners squad of 60 years ago.

[A MUST READ] Diego Costa: Cynical Thug or Good Old Fashioned Centre-Forward?

Stamford Bridge new-boy certainly attracting attention.

It’s fair to say that Diego Costa took ‘ruffling a few feathers’ to a whole new level during Chelsea’s Capital One Cup clash with Liverpool on Tuesday night and unsurprisingly the Brazilian born Spanish international has garnered a fair bit of criticism for his overly-physical approach.

Is such criticism fair?

When biting, diving, brilliant Luis Suarez departed for Barcelona, the Premier League had a vacancy for a bad-boy striker to be revered and detested in equal measures. After a successful six-month probation period, you can safely say Diego Costa has landed himself the job.

The 26 year old has been an instant hit since moving to West London from the Spanish capital over the summer and he is arguably built to succeed in the rough and tumble Premier League environment.

Interestingly Costa is very much an good old-fashioned centre-forward but such has been the paucity of players of that ilk that even fans of the English game are strangely taken aback by his approach.

The way in which Costa seeks to rile up opposition defences with strong challenges and an aggressive attitude is now almost alien but that is perhaps more to the detriment of the Premier League than any failing on the Chelsea man’s part.

Costa is very much a Marmite player who rubs some up the wrong way though if we are honest we’d all want to see a player of his determination and ‘win at all costs’ attitude leading our side’s attack.

In that fashion he is not unlike a certain Luis Suarez, who adopted a similar approach to the game. You can’t argue with Costa’s effectiveness, 17 goals in 19 Premier League starts is a phenomenal start to his career at Stamford Bridge, and the £32m invested in the player seems almost a bargain.

No doubt Costa will be the subject of a great deal of media coverage and could well earn his fair share of punishment for his no hold barred style of play but if he continues to score goals with alarming regularity then Jose Mourinho and the Blues faithful won’t mind one iota.

Source: CaughtOffside

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Big Big News For Real Madrid And Manchester City Fans! [DETAILS]

As well as having it’s name behind one of European football’s biggest clubs Manchester City, Abu Dhabi now looks set to have its name in front of one of the world’s most emblematic stadiums – the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Arab Emirate that has bankrolled Manchester City entered into a financial partnership with Real Madrid last November and for around £15million a year over a reported 20-year period they have won the naming rights for the club’s stadium according to Diario AS.

Coca-Cola and Microsoft had both shown an interest in having their name on the Bernabeu but the race looks to have been won by the Spanish energy company Cepsa which in turn is owned by the IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Company) which is owned by the Abu Dhabi government.

Madrid-based Cepsa is Spain's fourth largest industrial group in terms of turnover, while IPIC, formed in 1984, has invested in 18 leading companies within the energy and related sectors across the globe.

 In November of last year when the three-year tie-up between IPIC and Real announced by Madrid, president Florentino Perez was caught on camera saying the stadium will be called ‘IPIC or Cespa, whatever they want’. According to the AS report the sponsors have settled for ‘Abu Dhabi Bernabeu

Chelsea Suffer Major Blow Ahead Of Crunch Weekend Tie Against Manchester City

Diego Costa looks set to miss Chelsea's huge game against Manchester City on Saturday after being charged for a stamp in the Capital One Cup semi-final win against Liverpool.

The striker clashed with Martin Skrtel and Emre Can during an ill-tempered affair at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday – actions widely condemned, although not by his manager, Jose Mourinho.

Costa has been charged by the FA as part of their fast-track procedure in relation to the Can stamp, but they will take no further action on the altercation with Skrtel.

TV cameras picked up the cases involving the 26-year-old who has the opportunity to accept or deny. Costa escaped punishment from referee Michael Oliver while Mourinho claimed the motions were accidental.

If Costa refutes the charge a three-man FA commission will review the evidence and make a judgement in time for the Blues' match against Manuel Pellegrini's City.

An FA statement read: 'The charge is in relation to an incident involving the Chelsea forward and Liverpool's Emre Can which occurred in the 12th minute of the Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge last night [Tuesday 27 January 2015].

'The player has until 6pm on Thursday 29 January 2015 to respond to the charge

Marquinhos To United And The 9 Transfers We Will Love To See Before The End Of January

With less than a week of the transfer window to go, clubs will be trying to tie up deals to get the players they want.

Here Sportsmail looks at 9 transfers all football fans want to see happen before the February 2 deadline.

Ezequiel Lavezzi - Paris Saint-Germain to Liverpool - £12m

The 29-year-old striker has reportedly fallen out of favour with PSG coach Laurent Blanc and wants a move away from France.

Liverpool sent scouts to watch the 1-0 win over St Etienne on Sunday but Lavezzi only played nine minutes after coming on as a late substitute. The only stumbling block to any potential move is the fact that Lavezzi wants to play Champions League football - something Liverpool can't guarantee.

 Yevhen Konoplyanka - Dnipro to Everton - £7m

 The 25-year-old winger is wanted by Everton and Tottenham, as well as Roma. Everton have asked but been told Konoplyanka is close to joining Spurs.
However, the London club want to wait until the summer for a deal when the player is out of contract and Everton may be able to steal him away if they offer Dnipro enough money in the next week.

Marquinhos - PSG to Manchester United - £60m 

Louis van Gaal is an admirer of the 20-year-old centre back and United have asked about his availability.

United value the Brazilian at £30m but PSG have told them to beat the £50m they paid for David Luiz from Chelsea.

With United's defence still adjusting to Van Gaal's tactics and the race for the Champions League heating up, the Dutchman may be tempted to put in a world-record bid for a defender to boost his chances of recording a successful first season at Old Trafford.

Paris Saint-Germain centre back Marquinhos has been linked with a move away from the French champions

James McCarthy - Everton to Tottenham - £25m 

Tottenham like the 24-year-old midfielder but will have to put in a mega offer to tempt Everton to sell a player Roberto Martinez brought with him from Wigan.

Arsenal were primed with a bid before January but realised it would take at least £25m and Tottenham have considered offering Aaron Lennon and Younes Kaboul plus money, but it still may fall short this month.

 Dimitar Berbatov - Monaco to QPR - £1m 

The former Manchester United and Monaco striker reportedly wants to leave France and return to the Premier League due to a lack of playing time.

 The enigmatic 33-year-old could provide the lift QPR need in their fight against relegation. Dimitar Berbatov is handsomely paid in the principality but is wanted by a raft of Premier League clubs

 James Milner - Manchester City to Liverpool - £8m

 Liverpool have predominately focused on bringig in younger players but Brendan Rodgers is a fan of the Manchester City midfielder, who is refusing to sign a new contract.

City are increasingly worried that the 29-year-old may leave at the end of the season on a free and could be tempted to sell this January.

 Kevin de Bruyne - Wolfsburg to Manchester City - £30m 

The former Chelsea man has blossomed since moving back to Germany, so much so that his international team-mate Vincent Kompany has urged City to buy him.

With their title challenge faltering, Manuel Pellegrini has splashed the cash on £28m Wilfried Bony but De Bruyne will provide added creativity from midfield that City have been lacking.

 Petr Cech - Chelsea to Liverpool - £7m 

Much of Liverpool's problems this season have stemmed from the mistakes of Simon Mignolet in goal and they have been linked with a host of keepers this window.

The 32-year-old Cech's agent certainly hasn't played down a move to Anfield, but with Mark Schwarzer having already left Stamford Bridge this month a deal looks more likely in the summer.

Liverpool need a keeper and can't afford any more mistakes if they want Champions League football next season, which may force them to act quickly.

Petr Cech looks helplessly on after conceding against Bradford during Chelsea's 4-2 defeat on Saturday

 Memphis Depay - PSV to Tottenham - £16m 

The Dutch winger shot to prominence after an impressive World Cup last summer and has also been linked with a reunion with Van Gaal at Manchester United.

Tottenham are keen to sign the 20-year-old before the end of the window, however, having missed out on him last year. Memphis Depay scores for PSV against SC Cambuur Leeuwarden earlier this month

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Regional Paper Talk: Koke Snubs Man United Plus More!

Chelsea are in a race against time to secure an agreement for Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado.

Roma are making a final attempt to sign Vlad Chiriches from Tottenham before the transfer window closes.

Kyle Walker is confident he can regain the England right-back spot after revealing national team staff had been in contact with him throughout his injury absence.

Iker Casillas has revealed he would like to play in the MLS amid Real Madrid's interest in Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

AC Milan have resumed talks with QPR over signing beleaguered midfielder Adel Taarabt, with city rivals Inter also interested in the Moroccan.

Manchester United will try to find a buyer for Nani this summer - despite the on-loan Sporting Lisbon winger claiming he has been given assurances about his Old Trafford future.

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo expects team-mate Paul Pogba to leave the Serie A champions eventually but doesn't expect him to return to Old Trafford.

Atletico Madrid's Spanish midfielder Koke has rubbished talk of a summer move to the Premier League, with Manchester United interested.

Revealed! Shocking Reason Why Mario Balotelli Was Dumped By His Fiancee

According to the Daily Mail Mario Balotelli was dumped by fiancee Fanny Neguesha as he didn’t want to see her in revealing photo-shoots with the Liverpool striker hating the idea of men ogling over her.
The Italian proposed to Neguesha at last year’s World Cup in Brazil, yet the relationship came to an early end with Balotelli reportedly ordering her to quit modelling.

However, the 22-year-old beauty didn’t like the forward’s demands, ending the relationship and returning his £25,000 engagement ring.

“He didn’t want to see me in photoshoots – or singing and dancing,” she said.

“I should have taken a bit more time and thought about it before I accepted his proposal.”

“In the end I returned the engagement ring to him. He was upset but we have both moved on now,” Neguesha continued.

Perhaps the Reds attackers’ troubles on the football pitch stem from his recent troubled love-life.

Transfer Gist: Super Eagles Star Heads To Poland

Taiye Taiwo has joined Polish outfit Legia Warsaw on trial till the end of the season.

The 29-year-old Nigerian has had a rich football career.

He has represented Bursaspor, Dynamo Kiev, AC Milan, Marseille and Queens Park Rangers.

Today's Transfer Gist: Latest On Chelsea's Move For Cuadrado And Costa, Ameobi, Pogba Plus More!

Brazilian forward Douglas Costa, 24, has asked his Ukraine club Shakhtar Donetsk not to price him out of a move to Chelsea this January. (Daily Mirror)

Chelsea have agreed a deal with Juan Cuadrado but Fiorentina are holding out for €35 million (£26m). Source: Mediaset

Crystal Palace and West Brom are both vying to sign former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi. Alan Pardew is keen on the 33-year-old, who is a free agent, after failing to sign Blackburn forward Rudy Gestede. Source: Daily Mirror

Chelsea and Manchester United have been handed a boost in their pursuit of midfielder Paul Pogba, 21, after Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri admitted that a £75m offer would be hard to reject. (Metro)

Manchester United and Real Madrid are going head-to-head for the signature of Athletic Bilbao's 20-year-old central defender Aymeric Laporte. (Daily Mail)

Meanwhile, United's pursuit of Kevin Strootman, 24, looks to have been halted after the Roma midfielder picked up a knee injury against Fiorentina. (Sun - subscription required)

The agent of winger Adnan Januzaj, 19, has revealed that Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has halted a move to Paris St-Germain - or anywhere else - this winter. (Telegraph)

Valencia are set to hand striker Paco Alcacer a new deal until 2020 which will contain a £70m buy-out clause. Liverpool have been linked with a move for 21-year-old who has impressed this season. Source: talkSPORT

Southampton are considering making a move for Netherlands midfielder Jordy Clasie, 23, from Feyenoord. (Daily Mirror)

Andre Schurrle, 24, is expected to be missing from the Chelsea squad for Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool as Wolfsburg attempt to strike a deal to sign the Germany international forward. (Telegraph)

Tottenham are in talks with Roma over striker Mattia Destro. The Italian forward is desperate for playing time while the club want to bring in Luiz Adriano. Spurs centre-back Vlad Chiriches could be included as part of the deal. Source: SportItalia

Diafra Sakho Attacked By Senegal Fans After Scoring For West Ham But Missing At The African Cup Of Nations

West Ham striker Diafra Sakho has spoken of his 'sadness and anger' at criticism directed towards him for not representing Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations this month.

Sakho was ruled out of the three-week tournament with a back injury, but came off the bench to score the winner on Sunday as the Hammers beat Bristol City 1-0 in the FA Cup fourth round.

A number of Senegal fans vented their frustration on Sakho's official Facebook page by posting comments underneath a picture of him celebrating the goal at Ashton Gate.

One wrote: 'So you're not injured?' and another commented: 'Congratulations on your goal, I hope you never play for Senegal again, the Senegalese people feel betrayed.'

Sakho responded: 'I took the time to browse all your reactions on social networks. Very quickly my joy from scoring and rescuing my club has turned into sadness and anger.
'Sadness because some of your words touched me deep in my person and my heart and this, without you knowing what has really happened.

'And great anger, because after all my struggles day after day, season after season to finally wear the jersey of my homeland, and my family, the only nation that matters to me - you doubt my love and my patriotism.

'My absence at CAN 2015 (the Africa Cup of Nations), my first CAN, was not painless.
'The dream of contributing to the victory of my country got away from me this year, but it is not dead!

'Never doubt the lion sleeping in me, as I never doubt the passion that burns within you.'

Senegal accused West Ham of a 'lack of respect' when the striker withdrew from the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this month and threatened to consult FIFA and the Football Association to prevent the 25-year-old from playing during the competition.

Sakho, who has scored 10 goals since moving to Upton Park in the summer, suffered a recurrence of a back injury against West Brom on New Year's Day.

Senegal asked to carry out their own medical assessment on the striker, as is their right according to FIFA rules, but West Ham said Sakho could not fly and suggested Senegal's doctors came to London instead.

The Hammers also sent Senegal independent medical reports, as well as the club's own examinations, to prove the extent of the injury.

Sakho withdrew from Senegal's AFCON squad with a recurrence of a back injury earlier this month

Sakho could feature in two further games before the African Nations Cup ends, as West Ham play Liverpool and Manchester United before the tournament final on February 8.

Senegal are top of Group C and need only a draw against Algeria on Tuesday to qualify for the knockout stages.