Manchester City’s treble-winning coach Pep Guardiola and England women manager Sarina Wiegman are among the finalists for The Best FIFA men’s coach and women’s coach awards, world soccer’s governing body said on Wednesday.

Guardiola is a firm favourite after City won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles last season while Wiegman — a three-times winner — is the current holder of the women’s coach award.

Wiegman led England to yet another major final when they reached the summit clash at the Women’s World Cup, where they lost to Spain.

Also up for the women’s coach award is Jonatan Giraldez, who led the Barcelona women’s team to the league title with just one loss all season while they also won their second Champions League crown.

Chelsea coach Emma Hayes is the third finalist after another successful season where they won the FA Women’s Super League and the FA Cup.

Hayes will be leaving Chelsea in May to take up the role of head coach of the United States women’s national team.

In the men’s category, Guardiola is joined by Simone Inzaghi who led Inter Milan to the Champions League final while they also lifted the Coppa Italia.

The third finalist is Luciano Spalletti, who ended Napoli’s 33-year Scudetto drought when they won the Serie A title with five games to spare.

The winners will be crowned on January 15 in London.

Referee made mistake by stopping play for foul on Haaland: Webb

Referees body (PGMOL) chief Howard Webb said the official in charge of Manchester City’s 3-3 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Dec. 3 made a mistake by not allowing play to continue after a foul on Erling Haaland.

With the game deep in stoppage time, City’s Jack Grealish was through on goal when referee Simon Hooper blew his whistle for a foul on Haaland in the build-up, having previously waved play-on.

Several City players surrounded the referee over his decision to halt play and the club were later charged by the FA over their conduct.

“Yeah, it is an officiating mistake,” Webb said on the Match Officials: Mic’d Up’ TV programme.

“On this particular occasion, (the referee) sees a pretty strong, reckless foul challenge by Emerson Royal on Haaland. It’s in midfield, and the ball comes backwards.

“He does the hard work, he just hesitates a moment to see if an advantage is possible. But he recognises in his mind, thinking it through, that it was a strong challenge, it was reckless, he is going to have to caution.”

Webb said Hooper was “devastated” over the mistake.

“At ground level, it’s not quite so easy to see the way that things are playing out as it is from an elevated view,” he added.

Turkish referee leaves hospital with a black eye 36 hours after on-field attack


The referee who was punched on the pitch by the head of a top-tier Turkish soccer club was released from hospital on Wednesday with a swollen eye but no other health issues, the chief doctor said.

On Monday evening at the end of a Super Lig match, referee Halil Umut Meler was punched in the face and then kicked while lying on the pitch. On Wednesday morning, TV footage showed him leaving the Ankara hospital and entering a black van.

Mehmet Yorubulut, chief doctor at Acibadem hospital, said the head fracture he suffered would heal in time. “The bleeding in Meler’s left eye has almost completely stopped,” he added.

The president of Ankaragucu club, Faruk Koca, was arrested on Tuesday for attacking Meler at the end of the match. Meler had earlier been quoted as telling police that Koca had also threatened to kill him during the incident.

The violence came at the end of Ankaragucu’s home match against Rizespor. Koca entered the field and hit Meler when the final whistle blew after Rizespor scored a 97th minute equaliser in the 1-1 draw.

The federation said Ankaragucu, its chairman, club officials and all those guilty of attacking the referee will be “punished in the strongest terms possible”. It also suspended all matches.

Yokohama beat Shandong to book Asian Champions League last 16 berth

Japan’s Yokohama F Marinos booked their place in the last 16 of the Asian Champions League on Wednesday after a 3-0 win over Shandong Taishan ensured Kevin Muscat departed the club on a high as former champions Jeonbuk Hyundai also progressed.

Muscat announced last week he was leaving after two-and-a-half years at the club and goals from Elber, Anderson Lopes and Yan Matheus gave Marinos the win they needed to top Group G and qualify automatically for the next round.

Shandong joined Yokohama in the last 16 despite losing to their hosts, Choi Kang-hee’s team pipping South Korea’s Incheon United to second place in the group with 12 points enough to claim one of the three best runners-up slots.

The Chinese team progress despite Incheon’s 3-1 win over Kaya FC-Iloilo from the Philippines in the other game in Group G, with that result meaning the top three teams in the group all accumulated the same number of points.

Yokohama topped the group due to their better head-to-head goal difference over Shandong and Incheon, with the same metric ensuring the Chinese side finished second.

Muscat’s team started the game in Yokohama in third place in the standings and, needing a win to progress, opened the scoring in first-half stoppage time when Elber slipped between defenders to steer Matheus’ through ball past Wang Dalei.

Anderson Lopes doubled the lead from close range 12 minutes into the second and Matheus completed the win in style seven minutes later with a brilliant lob on the run over the stranded Wang.

In Group F, Jeonbuk came back from going behind to an early Wanchai Jarunongkran goal to defeat already-qualified Bangkok United 3-2 and confirm themselves as another of the three best runners-up.

Jeonbuk’s win ended Melbourne City’s hopes of qualification for the last 16, with the Australians joining defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds as one of two group runners-up to miss out.

Wanchai put the visitors in front with four minutes on the clock but Moon Seon-min levelled a minute before the interval.

Two goals in two minutes from Lee Dong-jin won the tie for Dan Petrescu’s side, despite Rungrath Phumichantuk’s late second for Bangkok United.

Yokohama, Shandong, Ulsan and Jeonbuk join a last 16 line-up that also features Japan’s Ventforet Kofu and Kawasaki Frontale as well as Bangkok United and Pohang Steelers in the eastern half of the draw.

Saudi Pro League quartet Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad and Al-Fayha have qualified in the west alongside Uzbekistan’s Nasaf and Navbahor as well as Al-Ain of the United Arab Emirates and Sepahan from Iran.

The draw for the next round will be held on Dec. 28 with the first leg of the last 16 scheduled to be played on February 12-14 with the return fixtures on February 26-28.

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