Kanouté 'safe and well' after Mali death threats

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The Independent Football

Frederic Kanoute yesterday returned to London and assured Tottenham Hotspur fans that he was "safe and well". Mali fans threatened to kill the striker when their pitch invasion ended a 2006 World Cup qualifier against Togo on Sunday.

Frederic Kanoute yesterday returned to London and assured Tottenham Hotspur fans that he was "safe and well". Mali fans threatened to kill the striker when their pitch invasion ended a 2006 World Cup qualifier against Togo on Sunday.

Mali, for whom Kanouté plays, were a goal up until the 83rd minute when Togo scored two quick goals that looked certain to win the match for them.

However, some of the 70,000 crowd then rioted and stormed on to the pitch demanding: "Give us Frédéric Kanouté and Mamadou Bagayoko. We are going to kill them."

Kanouté, 27, is expected to be back in training for Spurs today.

Manchester United face competition to sign the highly rated Lyon midfielder Michael Essien. The 22-year-old Ghanaian has been impressive during Lyon's charge to the Champions' League quarter-finals.

However, according to his agent, Fabien Piveteau, Essien is being watched by Bayern Munich, Barcelona and at least one other Italian club.

Chelsea yesterday put the finishing touches to their defence as they prepare for tomorrow's disciplinary hearing at Uefa headquarters in Switzerland. Chelsea are accused of making false accusations against the referee Anders Frisk.

Mourinho, his assistant Steve Clarke and security officer Les Miles claimed that Frisk met with the Barcelona manager, Frank Rijkaard, during half-time of theChampions' League first leg match at the Nou Camp.

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