Former Man United star Zlatan Ibrahimovic targets Galaxy debut in first-ever LA derby

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[Photo credit: @Ibra_official/Twitter]

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could make his LA Galaxy debut as early as Saturday depending on how he fares in his first training session with the club on Friday.

Saturday’s fixture is a historic one, the first-ever LA derby as the Galaxy face LAFC, who are in their first MLS season.

Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid has said the team will monitor Ibrahimovic, who joined from Manchester United last week, during Friday’s training session before taking a call on his availability.

“We’ll see how he is when he arrives, obviously he gets here on Thursday and then we have to see how he is physically and everything else,” Schmid said after training on Tuesday.

“I think there’s a chance he can play a part in the [LAFC] game. I don’t think he’s going to play 90 minutes, but we have to evaluate once he gets here. It’s a long flight and [we have to] see how he feels.

“Friday is a pretty easy practice the day before the game. We just expect him to be able to be a part of the group and start to introduce himself to the group.

“It’s all about team and he knows that, he’s been part of successful teams and he knows what it takes to be able to compete, so it’s just the first step.”

Schmid says there are no concerns over a knee injury that has kept Ibrahimovic out of action since the end of December.

“We’re not concerned because we’ve gotten the reports from the doctors and from the physical people at Manchester and physically they said he was fine and was able to train and that maybe it was a little more of a coach’s decision than anything else.”

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Former Man United, Man City and Juventus star Carlos Tevez allegedly injured in prison match

David Cooper 29/03/2018
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Carlos Tevez (c) won't be playing for Boca Juniors for several weeks after his alleged shock injury.

A kickabout at a maximum-security prison turned sour for star striker Carlos Tevez and he is set to miss up to a month of action for Boca Juniors with a torn calf muscle, according to Clarin.

Tevez, 34, is alleged to have got involved in a fiercely competitive 20-minute match when visiting brother Juan Alberto Martinez, who is currently serving a 16-year sentence for coordinating an armed robbery.

The incident is reported to have occurred last Tuesday when the ex-Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus attacker took advantage of the international break to travel to the facility in Cordoba, Argentina that houses more than 2,100 inmates.

Tevez rejoined his boyhood club in January for a third spell after he cut short an unsettled stint at Chinese Super League’s Shanghai Shenhua, subsequently labelling it a “seven-month holiday”. ‘Carlitos’ was reported to be earning £650,000 a week (Dh3.4m) in Asia, making him one of the world’s best-paid players.

A total of three goals have been scored by him in 11 appearances since heading back to La Bombonera. He could miss up to five matches in domestic and continental competitions.

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How Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco fared during the international break

David Cooper 28/03/2018
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Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia will represent the Arab nations at the World Cup this summer.

With less than three months to go until football’s greatest showpiece gets under way, here’s a look at how the Arab nations’ fared during the international break.

EGYPT

Liverpool star Mohamed Salah could only watch from the bench as a second-string Egypt side slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Greece on Tuesday.

Hector Cupert’s side opted to rest key players after the 2-1 defeat to Portugal and looked lacklustre for large spells of the contest as they fell to the Pirate Ship.

The Pharaoh’s were undone by a Nikos Garel goal in the first-half – where their defensive weaknesses were exposed once again – similar to the two head goals conceded against Portugal when Cristiano Ronaldo pounced with ease.

Although it might be viewed as a disappointing week after the highs of qualifying for the World Cup, Egypt still have a chance to gain some confidence when they take on Kuwait, Colombia and Belgium in May and June.

The key between now and the World Cup will be to keep Salah, Mohamed Elneny and Trezeguet injury free.

Egypt v Greece - International Friendly

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia will be disappointed with their disappointing finish to the international break, losing 4-0 to Belgium.

Romelu Lukaku (2), Kevin De Bruyne and Michy Batshuayi scored in the Red Devils’ commanding win over the Saudis.

Like Egypt, Saudi have plenty of defensive work to do before they get their World Cup campaign underway against Russia on June 14.

Much optimism fell from the 1-1 draw against Ukraine on Friday, with Levante’s Fahad Al Muwallad 38th minute strike cancelled out Artem Kravets early first-half goal.

Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side are preparing for their first World Cup appearance since 2006. The Saudis are still finding their feet under Pizzi after Bert van Marwijk was sacked in September – two weeks after leading them to the finals.

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TUNISIA

One of the best performing teams of the international break was Tunisia who cruised to 1-0 wins over Iran and Costa Rica.

Wahbi Khazri proved the hero for the home side as he soloed through unopposed to score a crucial 71st minute winner against Iran.

The North African giants, who share the same group with Belgium, England and Panama, should have scored a second but Khazri’s powerful close range effort was well saved.

The 27-year-old, may not have set the Premier League a light last season when he was on loan at Sunderland, but stepped up to show his class again against Costa Rica on Tuesday.

The skipper ran on to a ball over his head from his inside his half, fended off a player before striking it past Keylor Navas.

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MOROCCO

Morocco continued their fine preparations for the World Cup with wins over Serbia (2-1) and Uzbekistan (2-0).

Ajax midfielder Hakim Ziyech scored one goal and provided an assist for Khalid Boutaib as the Atlas Lions overcame a gallant Serbia side in Torino.

In their second match against Uzbekistan, Ayoub Kaabi and Hakim Ziyech scored to maintain Herve Renard side’s 100 per cent winning record from the international break.

Both victories were achieved without their star player Achraf Hakimi – the Real Madrid player withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

The 1976 African champions will launch their World Cup campaign against Iran in St Petersburg on June 15. Morocco have beaten Iran on two occasions – including one on penalties.

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