Manchester United’s summer transfer dash continued on deadline day with the signing of Dutch international Daley Blind for £14million. Press Association Blind has agreed a four-year deal with United and his versatility will provide options for Van Gaal, whose initial attempts to shift United to 3-5-2 have proved a struggle. Blind is comfortable across the back line, at wing-back or as a defensive midfielder. He told United’s official website: “It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United. “I have been at Ajax since I was seven years old and I will always have very fond memories of the club and of my time there. “Louis van Gaal is a tremendously talented coach, I have worked with him at Ajax and also for the Netherlands national team and I cannot wait to work with him at the biggest club in the world.” The United boss added: “I am delighted Daley has signed for the club. “He is a very intelligent and versatile footballer that can play in many positions. “Daley is a great reader of the game, he has played under my philosophy over a number of years and he will be a great addition to the team.” Blind, 24, had long been expected to join his former Holland boss Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford and the deal was finally signed off just over three hours before the end of the window. Blind’s arrival from boyhood club Ajax takes the Red Devils’ spending to around £150million on permanent signings, following the big money acquisitions of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Angel di Maria, the latter becoming Britain’s most expensive player having cost £59.7million from Real Madrid.
Ghana, seeking a first Cup of Nations title since 1982, will play Cameroon next Thursday in Franceville for a final place.It will be a sixth consecutive semi-finals appearance for four-time champions Ghana, who were runners-up in 2010 to Egypt and in 2015 to the Ivory Coast.They overcame DR Congo without captain and striker Asamoah Gyan, who failed to recover from a thigh injury sustained in a group loss to Egypt four days ago. “We corrected some mistakes at half-time and were a totally different team in the second half,” Ghana coach Avram Grant told SuperSport.“Both our goals were fantastic, as was the one scored by Congo, who were a well organised team.”Although Ghana had more possession during a goalless first half, it was DR Congo who came closest to scoring in a stadium surrounded by dense rainforest.Giant Hull City striker Dieumerci Mbokani featured prominently for the Congolese Leopards, and one of his attempts was foiled by the woodwork.A suicidal back pass from Ghanaian Harrison Afful was intercepted by Mbokani, who rounded goalkeeper Razak Brimah, but his scuffed, angled tap hit the post.Midway through the half, Mbokani retained possession under pressure from three Ghanaian Black Stars and passed back for Junior Kabananga to blaze over.A superb pass over the defence from Mpoku gave Mbokani a half-chance on 37 minutes only for his hurried shot to fly well off target.As half-time approached, Brimah got lucky twice as DR Congo continued to look the likelier side to break the deadlock.He dribbled across a Congolese attacker inside his box when a booted clearance would have been more advisable, and gentler on the nerves of Grant.The Spain-based goalkeeper then failed to grasp a Mbokani shot from outside the penalty area, but smothered the loose ball as a Leopard darted toward it.Ghana, who did not have a shot on target in the opening half, threatened as the second half progressed and it was no surprise when they took the lead.A misplaced Congolese pass was intercepted by Mubarak Wakaso, who set up Jordan Ayew to hold off one tackle and fire past Ley Matampi.But the advantage for the Ghanaians did not last long as Mpoku took aim outside the box and his swerving drive flew past Brimah into the right-hand corner.A rollercoaster game took another turn when Joyce Lomalisa fouled Christian Atsu and Andre Ayew sent Matampi the wrong way with his penalty kick.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 3 FT: Ghana 2 DRC 1; Morocco 0 Egypt 1Oyem, Gabon | Brothers Jordan and Andre Ayew scored for Ghana as they reached the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Oyem.Jordan opened the scoring after 63 minutes of a tight, bruising quarter-final in northern Gabon and Andre put Ghana ahead again from a 78th-minute penalty.They are sons of Ghana football legend Abedi ‘Pele’ Ayew, ranked among the greatest African footballers of all time.Between the Ayew goals, Paul-Jose Mpoku levelled for DR Congo on 68 minutes.
Facebook11Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Oly Town ArtesiansReturning for the first time from an off-season injury, Oly Town Artesians goalkeeper JJ Olson made 26 saves and held the high-powered Bellingham offense to just two goals over the first three quarters on Saturday night, and was voted Western Indoor Soccer League Defensive Player Of The Week for week 10 by league coaches and club operators.The Saint Martin’s grad played a game for the ages. On The Pavilion’s small field that traditionally yields high scores and against the #2 team in the league both in record and in scoring who scored 14 goals on the Artesians earlier in the season, Olson held Bellingham to just one goal at even strength in a 5-4 loss. He made 26 saves despite facing constant pressure while Oly Town’s offense struggled to keep possession in the second half. Eventually, the Hammers took advantage and scored two power play goals and scored once with a man advantage after pulling their goalkeeper to add a sixth attacker.This is Olson’s second WISL Player Of The Week award. The Lakeville, Minnesota native took home the prize last season with a big 7-5 win over the Tacoma Stars Reserves. In his fourth season with the Artesians, Olson has started the most games at goalkeeper and has the most wins of any goalkeeper in club history but was only able to play in one game this season. Injuries beset Oly Town keepers this season. Ryan Perkins and Bradley Hanson both suffered season ending injuries early on. Defender Ryan Fakkema was converted into a keeper and played admirably in five games.This was the third Player Of The Week award for the Artesians this season. Eli Boatright was named Offensive POTW for his game tying goal in a 4-4 week nine draw in Snohomish. And Chris Pugh was also named Offensive POTW last week for his hat trick against the Oly-Pen Force.The Oly Town Artesians wrapped up their league schedule with Olson’s grand performance, but they will host one more game this Saturday night with Austin Kelley Night, an annual celebration of soccer in memory of friend and teammate Austin Kelley. First kick in the friendly between the Artesians and the Oly Legends is set for 6:30 at The Pavilion at The Evergreen State College.Stay up to date with the Artesians during the off-season and heading into the 2019 Evergreen Premier League season by visiting the Oly Town Artesians website, following them on Twitter, and liking them on Facebook.
By Charles Hoffmann |Hat…check. Gloves…check. Scarves…check. Wetsuit? Check!It’s bitter cold on the beach and the wind is howling. The flags are whipping loudly. Deal beach is nearly empty, with the precious few people around bundled up and layered from head to toe. A reasonable person would long for a warm coffee and an electric blanket today, however local surfers Zach Yates of Little Silver and Frank Massa of Shrewsbury are right at home despite the Arctic-like conditions.Changing their hats and gloves for a wetsuit and boots is natural for them as they prepare to “paddle out” for their afterschool surf session. As for their ritual, Massa said, “It’s hard to put into words why we like it so much, but we just do.”The two Red Bank Regional seniors are not easily affected by Mother Nature and her cold, vicious wrath. It may seem like a bizarre activity, surfing through the brutal Jersey winters, but committed wave riders won’t be hanging up their wetsuits anytime soon. This pair of adrenaline junkies are committed to surfing 12 months of the year, regardless of the temperature.Photo by Charles HoffmanAs Massa and Yates talked about their passion for surfing in the warmth of a nearby pizzeria, their faces illuminated the dreary November day. “We love to get away from the ‘everyday,’ ” Yates explained. “When we are out there, it’s like nothing else is going on in the world.” Remarkably, the intimidating weather hardly fazes the duo. “Even on an ice-cold day with snow on the ground, I just can’t say ‘no,’ ” said Yates with conviction.“Paddling out can be pretty hard with a thick, heavy wetsuit in the winter, but it’s definitely worth it,” agreed Massa.While teens are often criticized for their time spent in front of the TV and on the computer, surfing steers far from that stereotype. It is a healthy, exhaustive activity that requires every muscle in the body to perform. Plus, it’s not only fun, it is essentially free – not including some surf wax and the post-surf session burrito. The enjoyment is obvious as the hollers and congratulatory yells can easily be heard beachside.It is certainly moving to see their youthful, carefree mentality. The sport has been overwhelmingly impactful to these two youngsters over the years. Both credit their supportive parents, who have been taking them to the beach year-round since they were kids. Mazza’s father would often photograph the beach scenes while Yates’ father would be happy to join him in the water.Surfing is clearly shaping their future paths as well; both are heading to college next fall and neither will end up far from the beach. They are each looking at schools in California and Florida.This article was first published in the Dec. 7-14, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.