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Batistuta open to managing Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough
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Leeds UnitedLeeds United
Derby CountyDerby County
2
4
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 3 - 4Derby County advances.
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Derby CountyDerby County
Leeds UnitedLeeds United
0
1
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Leg 1
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West Bromwich AlbionWest Bromwich Albion
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1
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West Bromwich AlbionWest Bromwich Albion
Aston VillaAston Villa
(3) 1
(4) 0
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Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 2Aston Villa wins 4-3 on Penalty Kicks.
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Manuel Pellegrini leaves Hebei China Fortune after win amid West Ham links

Former Hebei China Fortune coach Manuel Pellegrini
Manuel Pellegrini has left Hebei China Fortune amid links to a move to West Ham United.

Manuel Pellegrini has left Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune as the former Manchester City manager moved a step closer to replacing David Moyes at West Ham United.

Hebei made the announcement on their social media channels on Saturday evening, once Pellegrini led the club to a 2-1 win over Chongqing Lifan before the league takes a two-month break for the World Cup.

Pellegrini joined Hebei in August 2016 having led Manchester City to the Premier League title two years before, and guided them to fourth place in the Chinese Super League in 2017, his only full season at the club.

"As a result of friendly negotiations between Mr. Manuel Luis Pellegrini Ripamonti and us, we have reached an agreement that effective May 20, Mr. Pellegrini will be relieved of duties as the manager of Hebei China Fortune FC," the statement read.

"Hereby, we want to sincerely thank Mr. Pellegrini's contributions to building our club. We wish him all the best in the future."

Pellegrini has been linked with a move back to the Premier League following Moyes' departure from West Ham at the end of the season. He leaves with Hebei in eighth in the Chinese Super League standings.

The statement came after an own goal from Ding Jie gave Hebei a 2-1 win over Chongqing to leave them sitting eight points adrift of leaders Shandong Luneng.

Elsewhere, Beijing Guoan moved to within a point of leaders Shandong as goals from Jonathan Soriano and Cedric Bakambu sealed a 2-0 win over Changchun Yatai, and Guangzhou R&F were held to a 1-1 draw by Henan Jianye.

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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