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La Liga: Valencia sack coach Celades

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Valencia fired coach Albert Celades on Monday after a run of bad results culminated with a defeat by the La Liga club’s bitter local rivals Villarreal at the weekend.

Valencia have picked up a meagre four points from a possible 15 since the restart following the coronavirus lockdown, dropping to eighth in the league, eight points off the Champions League qualifying spots.

“Valencia have informed Albert Celades of his immediate release,” a club statement said.

Former caretaker coach Voro has been called in again as a temporary replacement for the sixth time.

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Celades took over at the Mestalla last September after the surprise sacking of previous boss Marcelino, who had led the club to back-to-back fourth-place finishes.

But Celades has failed to last the season after Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Villarreal left Valencia with just two wins in 13 matches in all competitions.

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Valencia were also knocked out of the Champions League by Atalanta in March after an 8-4 aggregate defeat in the last 16.

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Paul Onuachu tests negative for Coronavirus

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Paul Onuachu

Nigeria forward Paul Onuachu will feature in a friendly game for Belgian Pro League club KRC Genk against Excelsior on Friday after he tested negative for Covid-19.

Paul Onuachu tested positive for Covid-19 last week after returning from a short break in Nigeria.

Paul Onuachu was then quarantined for a week after the test.

“By Friday he will just train with the group,” Genk coach Hannes Wolf told Het Nieuwsblad.

“Paul can also compete against Excelsior on Friday in the test match.”

The rest of the Genk squad including Nigerian duo, Cyriel Dessers and Stpehen Odey also tested negative for coronavirus.

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Obafemi Martins to replace Odion Ighalo in new Shanghai Shenhua signing

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Shanghai Shenhua have completed the signing of former Inter Milan and Nigeria forward Obafemi Martins, who returns for a second stint after playing for the Chinese Super League side between 2016 and 2018, Goal reports.

The 35-year-old forward rejoins the team as a replacement for compatriot Odion Ighalo, whose loan deal at Manchester United has been extended until 2021.

On Wednesday, Obafemi shared a video of himself on Instagram, wearing Shenhua kit with the rest of the squad, and a source close to the player has confirmed to Goal that he has been re-signed in a playing capacity.

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Having left Seattle Sounders in 2015, Martins scored 32 goals in 59 games across all competitions for the Chinese heavyweights, while playing a key role in the Hongkou Football Stadium giants’ Chinese FA Cup success in 2017.

However, he left the Shanghai-based team in 2018 after suffering a hamstring injury, and has been without a club ever since.

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Ighalo was loaned to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils on a temporary loan deal on the final day of the January transfer window as a replacement for injured Marcus Rashford.

Having impressed in his eight appearances before lockdown and the subsequent postponement of football – scoring four goals in three starts – the club extended his loan until January 2021.

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Martins’ return will strengthen Choi Kang-hee men’s attack ahead of the resumption of the Chinese Super League.

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Liverpool errors in loss to Arsenal were too big to overcome – Klopp

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Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said his side’s errors in their 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday night were simply too big to come back from, despite his side having dominated the game.

Having gone a goal down in the 20th minute, Arsenal pounced on a clumsy back pass from defender Virgil Van Dijk and later a miskicked ball out from keeper Alisson to score twice, ending the Reds’ hopes of breaking the record point tally for a Premier League season.

“When you make these kinds of mistakes you cannot win a football game – or you need to be really lucky to win a football game. We were not lucky today. All the mistakes were too big,” Klopp told reporters after the match.

“Scoring and going 1-0 up, and then taking kind of a break. We’re all humans and maybe it’s just a misjudgement of the situation,” he said.

Since winning the title with seven games to spare, Liverpool have dropped eight points in five games. Prior to that they had dropped only seven points all season.

“I’m disappointed with the result of course,” Klopp said.

“The numbers I saw was 24-3 (shots on goal), 70% to 30% possession, all for us – that’s exceptional. But the result is the truth, and we accept that and we are responsible for that result.”

“We have to make sure things like this will not happen again,” he said.

Liverpool have 93 points and can stretch that to 99 if they win at home to Chelsea and beat Newcastle away in their last two games. Manchester City notched a record 100 points for a season in 2017-18.

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