PSG defender Presnel Kimpembe set to avoid sanctions despite the referee incident against Brest

Presnel Kimpembe has come under immense criticism after the incident that saw the Paris-Saint Germain defender holding the referee’s arm and then pushing him quite violently in the game against Brest.

However, with RMC Sport reporting that Jérémie Pignard didn’t mention the incident in his post-match assertion, it is understood that there will not be any disciplinary actions taken against the French superstar.

The incident took place in PSG’s 1-0 win over Brest, with the 27-year-old starting the game as the captain of the Ligue 1 champions. Following a rash tackle on Brest’s Irvin Cardona, Pignard came forward to give the defender a piece of his mind and issue a warning.

But, as revealed by the Dimanche Soir Football show on Amazon Prime, the player was trying to escape the situation, subsequently saying to the referee, “Woah, don’t touch me, brother!” Why are you touching me? Don’t touch me!“

As Pignard didn’t make any mention of the incident in his follow-up match report, it is unlikely that Kimpembe will receive any sanction from the LFP disciplinary committee.

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Be like Mike: How the legendary Bulls are driving Cron’s Force

Western Force coach Simon Cron is turning to Michael Jordan and the 90s Bulls for inspiration as he looks to deliver a killer edge to the squad.Cron finally gets the chance as head coach of a Super Rugby side, returning from Japan after a stint with Toyota Verblitz.The former Norths boss was widely tipped as the next Waratahs coach-in-waiting during his time as an assistant under Daryl Gibson, before making the decision to head overseas in 2019 when Gibson was re-signed.Cron returns to Australia with a wealth of experience under Director of Rugby and former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.To get the best out of the side, he is channelling the energy of Jordan and one of the NBA's greatest dynasties in order to get the players to understand their roles.“One of the things for our boys is to understand what great looks like,” he explained. “The boys learn each week about things they’ve done and how they did it.  “In our team, we have those (Dennis) Rodman’s, (Scotty) Pippen’s, (Michael) Jordan’s so it’s about understanding your role in our team."The hallmark of those Bulls' sides was their ability to close out pressure games during their two three-peats. Think Steve Kerr's game-winner in game six of 1997 and Jordan's famous crossover/jumper in '98.It's a trait the Force missed in 2022, losing five games by less than a converted try.“I think we need to make sure we’re fit enough so we can go for 85 minutes and I think the boys are," Cron said on what's missing.“I think we also need to understand the big moments and what they do in them and a lot of that is just staying where your feet are, staying present and doing the job at that time.“That’s been the big work on for us, making sure we don’t get affected by scoreboard or time.”If Izack Rodda is the Jordan of their pack, former Rebels backrower Michael Wells will likely serve as his Pippen, named as captain on Monday.Wells is joined by Wallaby Folau Fainga'a (a character in his own right but void of any Dennis Rodman-like off-the-field traits or trips to Las Vegas), with Cron hopeful they can help complement a front row filled with internationals such as Tom Robertson, Feleti Kaitu'u and Santiago Medrano.“Wellsy adds that hard edge around expectations and where we want to go,” Cron believes.“He’s also very clear and crisp around communication on the field so that’s critical for our team.“Folau (Fainga’a) leads by action. He’s in great shape and I love him as a player and human so we’re enjoying him in this environment.”Click Here: South Sydney Rabbitohs jersey

Six Nations: Johnny Sexton declares himself fit for title showdown against France

Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton confirmed that he is fit and ready to play against France for the first time in three years ahead of the massive showdown on Saturday.

Sexton has passed a head injury assessment (HIA) and recovered from a dead leg in time for Saturday’s game, which could be definitive in the title race.

The playmaker has not played against France since Ireland lost 35-27 in 2020, where the veteran was frustrated for being subbed off during the game.

“No more hiccups”

The Irishman is looking for “no more hiccups” ahead of the massive clash and is looking forward to running out at the Aviva Stadium.

“I was saying this morning, the last two Wednesdays before France over the last two fixtures, I’ve ended up pulling out, so to get through today is great,” said Sexton.

“I can look forward to the game, hopefully no more hiccups.

“Obviously, the confusion around the HIA and stuff like that, there’s nothing I can control about that, but I’ll be ready to go for 80 this week if needed.

“It feels like a huge game. There’s no point in saying anything otherwise.

“You can’t just come in here and say ‘it’s just another game’ because it’s not, it’s one we’ve waited a long time for and I’ve read that they want this test – to come to the Aviva and try and overturn us. It’s a huge game.”

Fixing past memory

Sexton knows it is a big clash against their biggest title rivals this year and wants to set memories from years gone straight with a win on Saturday.

“They are always big weeks, often for me something comes out of the woodwork in French week and I’m expecting something later in the week,” he said.

“It’s always a big game; I grew up in an era of watching Ireland lose to France, heavily, to then sort of see the first teams beating them and then to be part of teams beating them has been amazing.

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“But you still have those memories from a young kid of France coming and demolishing Ireland. You probably naturally feel the underdog at my age, whereas the younger lads probably don’t. It’s a strange mixture in the squad.”

Favourites tag

France fly-half Romain Ntamack labelled Ireland as favourites for the clash, which does not bother Sexton.

“I don’t really mind, the favourites tag is not something we mention internally,” he said

“Being number one in the world, the public or the press will do it or the opposition will, but it comes down to the performance on the day.

“If we’re favourites, we’re favourites. It doesn’t really bother me if that’s what he says.”

Ousmane Dembélé expresses his desire to play more with Kylian Mbappé

From winning the World Cup for France to remaining winless in the last four UEFA Nations League games, Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembélé and Paris-Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappé have survived the peaks and valleys together, forming a formidable partnership in the process.

Speaking to the mics of RMC Sport, the 25-year-old Frenchman admitted that he would like to play more with Mbappé. Competing for a place in a France side full of talented players, Dembélé also elaborated on the need to be at his best to book a place in Didier Deschamps’ starting XI. He said:

“I would like us to play a little more together [with Mbappé]. In the field, we get along very, very well. I know his qualities, he knows mine. We played what, 4-5 games him and I together? And it went very well. I remember against England or against Italy before the World Cup. I want to do everything to work, to be in the eleven.”

Having made his international debut in 2016, Dembélé has just joined the French contingent for their upcoming UEFA Nations League matches in what appears to be his seventh call-up to the national colours. Deschamps’ men take on Austria on Thursday. In the international circuit, the former Borussia Dortmund man has scored four goals from 27 appearances.

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The Pape Gueye case hearing scheduled for February 2023

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has released the dates for the hearing of the disputed transfer of Marseille midfielder Pape Gueye.

L’Équipe report that the hearing of the case concerning the Senegalese has been scheduled for February 15 and 16, 2023. The examining body was initially expected to undertake the case in October. But as per the recent updates, the dates for the have been moved further, opening two scopes for the 23-year-old and the Ligue 1 side.

The report now understands that Gueye, despite being under threat of a suspension from FIFA, will be able to represent Senegal in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Furthermore, Marseille, subject to a possible sanction, will be able to sign players in the next January transfer window, meaning that they would be able to strengthen their squad in the anticipation of a possible transfer ban.

The CAS will look into Gueye’s “controversial” free transfer to Marseille in the summer of 2020 from Le Havre, where the player had signed a pre-contract with English club Watford a few months before moving to OM. Following the bizarre events, FIFA sanctioned Marseille with a transfer ban and suspended the player for four months.

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A Manchester United return? Angel Gomes may finally be ready for an elite club

This is the latest feature in our series counting down French football’s 20 hottest properties, those most likely to feature in elite clubs’ 2023 transfer plans. Look out for the next player tomorrow and follow the run down in full here on GFFN.

“We were at the dinner table and he’s come around speaking to everyone. He then looks at me and says: ‘I’m fucked with you!’” This was Angel Gomes’ cruel introduction to life at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho. Although such psychological ploys served the Portuguese coach well at the peak of his powers, the Special One wasn’t getting through to a then 17-year-old Gomes. “I was only young, so in my head, I was thinking: ‘Fuck, he hates me.’ I went back to my room and rang my dad. I was nearly crying.”

The Englishman has Mourinho to thank for handing him his United debut at the age of 16, coming on to replace his idol and United captain Wayne Rooney, but this was an outlier in a hopeless attempt to establish himself in a Manchester United team full of over-hyped and overpaid star names. His first team appearances were limited, a trend that didn’t change during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign.

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At the end of his contract in 2020, Gomes was confronted with a decision. Either he could remain at his boyhood club or try and blaze a trail in pastures new. Despite being offered a new deal by United, he chose the latter and has not looked back since. The boy from Salford had not envisaged leaving Manchester so soon but a five-year contract offer from Lille, then under the stewardship of famed sporting director Luís Campos, was too good to turn down.

With minutes in Ligue 1 also likely to be limited, Gomes was loaned out to Portuguese side Boavista to cut his teeth in the Primeira Liga. The move to Portugal had huge historical significance for the Gomes family. Angel’s father, Gil Gomes, was a Portuguese youth international, playing under former United coach Carlos Queiroz. Former Manchester United and Portugal winger Nani is also godfather to Angel through links to Queiroz and Gomes senior.

Registering six goals and six assists in the 2020/21 season at Boavista, the same year his parent club won Ligue 1, the move proved successful for both player and club. Last season, in a heavily revamped Lille outfit, Gomes was deemed old enough and mature enough to feature regularly for Les Dogues. He played 30 times across Ligue 1, domestic cups and Champions League fixtures, scoring in each competition. Finally, having just turned 22, Gomes was reaping the rewards of his decision to leave Manchester.

Compared to other young talents across Europe, Gomes rates highly. Of eligible under-21’s with the most through passes per 90 minutes last season, Gomes ranked fifth with 1.77. For context, this list also featured RB Leipzig’s Joško Gvardiol, Yacine Adli of AC Milan, and Barcelona teenager Pedri. Now often deployed in a deeper central midfielder role, that form has, so far, not been curtailed this term. A strong start to the campaign has seen the Englishman start every game bar suspensions, a fine goal and match-winning display against Montpellier on matchday six was a highlight. With no European football to intensify the calendar, Lille and Gomes can focus on making an impact on Ligue 1 following a disappointing tenth-place position in their title defence.

Having broken into England’s under-21 international fold under manager Lee Carsley, Gomes has become a regular starter alongside the likes of Conor Gallagher and Rhian Brewster, assisting a Brewster goal during the recent friendly against Italy. He shows no lack of ambition and, in a recent interview with SportsBible, he cited ambitions to play at a top club or perhaps make a return to his boyhood team: “I’d love to play for a team in Spain in the future. My ambition is to play for a top club. I’d love to play for United again one day.”

If this prophecy is to be fulfilled, Gomes will need to become more consistent. Bigger clubs in Spain and England will not come calling until he starts to pad his goals and assists tallies. Still only 22, the London-born midfielder has plenty of time to grow, however, which may include continuing to adapt to life in France for a while longer. Pressed on what he misses about his time in England, the simple pleasures sprung to mind: “I don’t know… there’s just something about nipping into Tesco’s,” he says. “I miss going to Sainsbury’s or going to wash my car because I know the people where I go to wash my car.”

For now, an Intermarché in the Hauts-de-France region will have to suffice, as the prodigious English talent finds his way at France’s top table.

Ciarán Brennan

PSG unlikely to take action against Kylian Mbappé for his Instagram post

Paris Saint-Germain locked horns with Reims in a Ligue 1 fixture on Saturday. It was expected to be another walk in the park for Christophe Galtier’s men. But with Sergio Ramos receiving marching orders in the 41st minute of the game, PSG lost track of their purpose and looked toothless offensively.

At the end of the ninety minutes, PSG and Reims shared the spoils, courtesy of a 0-0 scoreline. It was not a perfect night for Kylian Mbappé, who was lined up as a focal point in front of Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler. In the post-match press conference, Galtier called the French striker an “orphan” without the service of Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Mbappé, frustrated by a lacklustre outing, took the matter to his social media, posting a story via his Instagram handle that included a tag, “#pivotgang”. A report from L’Équipe suggests that the 23-year-old Frenchman used that “pivot” word to exhibit dissatisfaction with his role on the field.

While on international duty with France, Mbappé revealed that he would love to play as a second striker (a role he plays for Didier Deschamps’ side) rather than a centre-forward. Discussing the role, he elaborated:

“I have a lot more freedom here (in the national team). The coach (Deschamps) knows that there is a number 9 like ‘Olive’ (Giroud) who occupies the shields, and I can walk around and go into space, ask for the balls. At PSG, there is not that. I am asked to do the pivot, it is different.”

Despite his Instagram message indicating his displeasure with his current position for the club, PSG have decided against taking any action against the former Monaco striker as they don’t find the message either “insulting” or a “frontal questioning of the choices of Christophe Galtier”. When contacted by L’Équipe, Mbappé’s entourage did not wish to issue a response on this matter.

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PREVIEW | Sporting Lisbon v Marseille: Igor Tudor’s side looking to bounce back from Ajaccio defeat

At the halfway point, Marseille sit bottom of their Champions League. Their win against 10-man Sporting Lisbon last week kept their dream of qualification alive, but they’ll need to back that up in the return tie on Wednesday. 

Prior to last week’s 4-1 thrashing of Sporting, Marseille had shown two different sides to themselves. The side that was unbeaten in the league, and just two points behind Paris Saint-Germain, was a positive reflection of the early days of Igor Tudor’s reign. However, in European competition, they couldn’t emulate those performances. Despite a battling appearance against Tottenham Hotspur, they came away from London without any points. The larger disappointment was their loss at home against Eintracht Frankfurt. 

However, there was a role reversal last week. The win in the Champions League gave them their first points of the campaign, although it was insufficient to lift them off the bottom of Group D. In Ligue 1, their unbeaten run came to a surprising end with a 2-1 defeat at home to Ajaccio. 

Speaking in the pre-match press conference, Tudor reflected on his side’s chances of qualification: “The group is very strange. The team that won the first two matches (Sporting) lost against the team that lost their first two matches (Marseille). There are three finals, but not just for us, but for everyone. Everything is still possible in this group.” 

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Defeat would leave Marseille with a mountain to climb, although Tudor sought to play down the importance of the tie. “It’s not a question of life and death, it’s a sport. We have to believe in ourselves,” he said. 

The tie will see the returns of Jonathan Clauss and Matteo Guendouzi. The former came of injured in last week’s fixture against Sporting, whilst the latter missed last weekend’s game against Ajaccio. Both are in the squad for gameweek four of the Champions League. Marseille are without more long-term absentee Sead Kolasinac. 

Marseille predicted line-up v Sporting Lisbon 

Lopez – Balerdi, Bailly, Gigot – Tavares, Rongier, Veretout, Clauss – Ünder, Guendouzi, Sanchez. 

Terem Moffi to miss Lorient’s trip to Troyes

Lorient have announced that striker Terem Moffi (23) is set to miss this Sunday’s trip to Troyes due to an ankle sprain picked up during last weekend’s 0-0 draw against Stade de Reims. 

Moffi has been one of the breakout stars for Lorient during this campaign. The Nigerian forward has netted eight times already in Ligue 1 this season, putting him joint third in the goalscorer rankings, tied with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé (23). 

However, he won’t be able to add to his tally this week. Lorient currently sit second in Ligue 1, just three points behind leaders PSG. They will be looking to keep pace with the Parisian side when they visit Troyes on Sunday, but they will have to do with Moffi. 

The Nigerian striker will certainly miss Sunday’s tie, and in a communiqué, the club added, “the duration of his absence will ve specified in the coming days.” 

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PSG vs Maccabi Haifa in Champions League classified as “at risk”

Paris Saint-Germain host Maccabi Haifa in their fifth group-stage match of the Champions League 2022/23 season on Tuesday evening.

According to the print edition of L’Équipe, the game between PSG and Maccabi Haifa has been classified as a risky encounter for the spectator intending to attend the venue. The fans travelling from Israel are also concerned about their hospitality.

Several members of the Collectif Ultras Paris (CUP) have previously showcased their support for Palestine over the issues with Israel. On November 23, 2006, PSG were beaten by another Israeli team in Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the UEFA Cup (now the UEFA Europa League) via a 4-2 scoreline.

After the final whistle, Julien Quemener, a PSG supporter, was shot dead by a police officer, who was trying to protect a French Tel-Aviv supporter chased by the Parisien fans.

When PSG locked horns with Maccabi Haifa in Israel, Christophe Galtier’s side salvaged a 3-1 victory despite going 1-0 down early. Now, it’s Maccabi’s turn to visit the French capital in what is expected to be a hostile atmosphere inside the stadium for their players and the fans.

The National Directorate for the Fight against Hooliganism (DNLH) has classified the game as risk level 3 on a scale of 5. Eight CRS (Compagnies républicaines de sécurité) and French Gendarmerie forces will be present if the heat escalates within the Parc des Princes. As far as the reports are concerned, there will be 1,500 supporters on the away end, with 1,000 of them directly travelling from Israel.

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