Milan claiming victory in the race to sign M'Baye Niang


SOCCER SHORTS:AC Milan claim to have won the race to sign French starlet M‘Baye Niang, with stories on their official website suggesting the highly-rated 17-year-old is poised to join them ahead of Everton.

Two separate articles on the Italians’ official site made reference to the Caen striker, who has already represented France at under-21 level, saying he dined with vice-president Adriano Galliani last night and is set to undergo a medical today.

“Adriano Galliani flew into Milan last night and immediately went to a restaurant with new signing M’Baye Niang,” read

“Today he will have to pass his medical.”

Everton have been heavily linked with Niang, but it appears that Milan have persuaded him to head to Italy.

Niang has been with Caen since he was 13, but only turned professional last season.

Milan also said Galliani had declined to make a move for Real Madrid midfielder Kaka — a former world player of the year during his time at the San Siro.

Skilful Republic too hot for Azerbaijan

Republic of Ireland 3

Azerbaijan 0

The Republic of Ireland began their season last night on a winning note by cruising past Azerbaijan at Milebush Park in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Manchester City midfielder Jack Byrne opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 13 minutes after being taken down inside the box by Nasirov Budaj.

Ireland, in manager Tom Mohan’s first match at the helm, controlled the game.

Conor Dimaio extended Ireland’s lead on the hour before substitute Cody Mulhall added the third in stoppage time with a close-range finish. The nations meet again tomorrow at the same venue (noon)

REP OF IRELAND:Burke (Sunderland); Dempsey (Aston Villa), Baba (Castlebar Celtic), Cleary (Liverpool), Rainey (Bonagee Utd); Donnellan (College Corinthians), Dimaio (Sheffield United), Byrne (Manchester City); O’Halloran (Fulham), Stokes (Leeds United), O’Hanlon (Liverpool).

Subs:Confey (St Kevin’s Boys) for Stokes, Toland (Swilly Rovers) for Donnellan, Galvin (Ipswich Town) for O’Hanlon, Mulraney (Notts Forest) for O’Halloran (all 56 mins), Moseley (Birmingham City) for Rainey, Mulhall (Stella Maris) for Dimaio (both 75 mins).

Uefa hand PAOK  a suspended ban

Uefa handed PAOK Salonika a suspended one-year ban from European competition yesterday after the Greek side’s fans invaded the pitch during a Europa League play-off tie at home against Rapid Vienna last week.

The European soccer body’s control and disciplinary panel have accepted the recommendation of Greece’s sports prosecutor, which also included a punishment of playing three matches behind closed doors and a fine of €150,000.

The one-year ban is suspended for three years and allows PAOK to continue playing in this season’s Europa League but the side will be suspended immediately, should any similar incidents occur within that timeframe.

However, should they qualify for the group stages of the competition, PAOK will play their three home matches behind closed doors. PAOK won the play-off first-leg tie 2-1 last Thursday, ahead of this week’s return fixture, but the victory was soured by clashes between rival fans before the game. Trouble ensued after PAOK fans spilled onto the pitch at the Toumba Stadium in response to flares thrown at them by Rapid supporters.

Troubled Barton's hopes of a move to Marseille dashed

Joey Barton claims his reported move from QPR to Marseille has fallen through. The 29-year-old midfielder is currently without a squad number at Loftus Road having been served with a 12-match Football Association suspension following his sending off at Manchester City last season.

Manager Mark Hughes also stripped the one-time England international of the captaincy and, as a result, talk of a surprise move to France surfaced.

But it now appears the transfer may have hit the rocks after Barton tweeted yesterday: “Doesn’t look like this Marseille thing is gonna happen now. Whatever doesn’t kill you make you stronger’ #heartbroken. Why can’t things just be simple.”

Having criticised Hughes and been ostracised from the first-team squad, Barton will now return to training with Rangers but he could find himself in further hot water after adding: “Been forced to go back training with the kids and fellow Taliban members at 2pm today. . Maybe this is time to dumb down and be dishonest. It seems to take you a long way in this game . . . . ”

QPR declined to comment.

Ferdinand ruled out of action for a  few more weeks

Rio Ferdinand has been ruled out until after the international break as Manchester United’s central defensive crisis continues. Alex Ferguson had raised hopes the 33-year-old would be back for Sunday’s trip to Southampton.

But it is understood the earliest he will return now is United’s meeting with Wigan Athletic at Old Trafford on September 15th. Ferdinand is suffering a groin injury that has caused him to miss United’s opening two games of the season.

While Jonny Evans returned to the bench for Saturday’s 3-2 win over Fulham and may be ready to partner Nemanja Vidic at St Mary’s, Ferdinand is joined by fellow central defenders Chris Smalling (foot) and Phil Jones (back) on the injured list.

Guardian Service

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