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Month: November 2019

first_imgFast rising wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has signed a “three-year multi-crore” deal with cricket equipment manufacturers Sanspareils Greenland (SG).Over three years, Pant will be seen endorsing SG cricket equipment across all formats of the game, according to a statement issued by Professional Management Group (PMG).The former Under-19 star and current member of the Delhi Ranji and Delhi Daredevils squad recently created history when he slammed the fastest hundred in Ranji Trophy, amassing 100 runs in just 48 balls against Jharkhand.Only the third youngest Indian to score a First Class Triple Century, Pant is currently amongst the leading run scorers this domestic season.”SG has been providing quality equipment to players all over the world, and I am proud to be associated with a brand of this calibre,” said Pant.last_img read more

first_imgThe arrival of Jorginho from Napoli has equipped Chelsea with one of the best midfields around, according to Alvaro Morata.The Brazilian-born Italy international moved to Stamford Bridge last month, having been heavily linked with Premier League champions Manchester City. He has been joined in west London by his former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, who replaced Antonio Conte.  Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! And former Real Madrid and Juventus striker Morata feels Jorginho will prove to be a key acquisition as the Blues, champions in 2016-17, seek to improve on a disappointing fifth-place finish in the league last season. “We are lucky,” he told the Mirror.”We’ve made a very good signing, because he’s a fantastic player, a fantastic guy and because Manchester City wanted him! It would have been very bad for us if City has taken him.”He was one of the best signings of the last year for Chelsea because now, when we have the ball, he is the key.”Jorginho and Cesc Fabregas with the ball are two of the best midfielders around.”There are not too many midfields with this level with the ball – for the strikers it is fantastic.”Morata has also been wowed by teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi, who has been tipped to break into Chelsea’s first team during the campaign ahead. “I have never seen a player like him,” the Spain international said.”Ethan Ampadu and him, when you see them playing, it is like they are 25 and 26 years old – and they are 17! They work so hard.”Callum is lucky with Eden [Hazard], with Willian and all the strikers because they are good people and if he listens and watches Willian, he can be the best for the future.”last_img read more

first_imgLa Liga is to make history by staging its first games outside of Europe, with a 15-year partnership with entertainment group Relevent set to take games to the U.S. and Canada.A newly-formed organisation, called La Liga North America, is seeking to expand the reach of the Spanish top-flight and promote football culture beyond established borders.Competitive fixtures will form part of the agreement, offering a new audience the opportunity to catch superstar performers from Barcelona and Real Madrid – such as Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale – in action. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! The operation, which will accompany North America’s efforts building towards the 2026 World Cup , will include a number of other activities such as youth academies, coaching development, marketing agreements and exhibition matches.“This extraordinary joint venture is the next giant leap in growing soccer’s popularity in North America,” Stephen Ross, chairman and owner of Relevent, said in a statement released on La Liga’s official website .“This unique relationship will create new opportunities for millions of North American soccer fans to experience the most passionate, exciting, and highest level of soccer in the world.”La Liga president Javier Tebas added: “We’re devoted to growing the passion for soccer around the world.“This ground-breaking agreement is certain to give a major impulse to the popularity of the beautiful game in the U.S. and Canada.“Relevent has filled stadiums across the U.S. with the International Champions Cup, we’re thrilled to partner with them on a joint mission to grow soccer in North America.”Barcelona La Liga title trophy 2017-18The venture will have a dedicated team focused on enhancing the Liga brand, with new doors being opened to the clubs and partners of the Spanish top tier.“This partnership demonstrates La Liga’s vision and foresight to be the top soccer league in the world,” said Relevent CEO Danny Sillman.“Combining La Liga’s long tradition of excellence and unparalleled international reputation with Relevent’s expertise in this market will accelerate the growth and popularity of soccer in North America and La Liga’s global brand.”La Liga International Development Director Oscar Mayo went on to add: “Joining with Relevent to create La Liga North America is a major milestone in our international expansion strategy.“This agreement ensures not only a bright future for soccer in North America, but also for La Liga and our clubs.”While La Liga are delighted to have put a new partnership in place, the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) has hit out at a project it claims to have had no input in.A statement released by the AFE on its official website read: “In reference to the agreement made between La Liga and the company Relevent, which includes that an official league match will be played in the United States, the AFE strongly objects.“As per usual, La Liga has dispensed with the opinions of the players and has undertaken actions that only benefit them, regardless of the health or risks to the players, and even less the feelings of the following masses of the clubs who are being “forced” to compete in North America once a season.“Faced with such manifest arbitrariness, David Aganzo, president of the Spanish Footballers Association (AFE), has made his complaint public and points out that ‘footballers are not currency that can be used in business to only benefit third parties’.”last_img read more

first_imgJamie Vardy’s decision to step back from England duty is a sad outcome according to Leicester City manager Claude Puel.Vardy has withdrawn himself from the selection frame due to the unlikely prospect of dislodging Harry Kane as Gareth Southgate’s preferred centre-forward and a desire to spend more time with his family.The 31-year-old believes the time is right for younger players to be given an extended opportunity, although he could still add to his 26 caps in the event of an injury crisis. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! Leicester are poised to benefit from the lighter demands on their key striker, but Puel remains uncertain about his player’s decision.”We discussed it about two or three weeks ago,” the Foxes boss told reporters after beating Fleetwood Town in the Carabao Cup second round.”He took his decision and we have to respect it.”I’m just a little sad about his decision because for fans of the national team it was a fantastic feeling to see him playing.”But we have to respect his decision and now he dedicates his time to his club and will continue to give his best and hopefully win a trophy.”Vardy admitted it was difficult to walk away from his country but felt it was the right time to do so.Talking to The Guardian, he said: “To be honest with you, this has been on my mind for a while.“I’m not getting any younger and you can see, to be fair to the gaffer [Gareth Southgate], he wants to make it more youthful, which obviously had its benefits during the World Cup – we got to the semi-finals and finished fourth, which is equal to the furthest we have ever been on foreign soil.“So I just said to Gareth that I think it’s probably best from now on, especially with the way he wants to go, to bring youngsters in who he thinks have got the ability and start nurturing them into international football.”Vardy will sit out the Premier League clash with Liverpool on Saturday as he serves the final match of a three-game suspension.last_img read more

first_imgRoyal Challengers Bangalore fans were left shocked and dazed when stand-in skipper Shane Watson had dropped Chris Gayle against Kings XI Punjab in the third match of their IPL 2017 campaign. (RCB vs MI Blog | Scorecard)Many questioned the wisdom of that move further when RCB imploded despite a breathtaking, unbeaten 89 from AB de Villiers. The South African ace found no support from anyone else in the line-up as KXIP restricted them to a modest total and then chased it down without fuss. (Points Table)However, parity seems to have been restored in the Bangalore order with the return of Virat Kohli, who had missed the first three matches due to a shoulder injury sustained in the Ranchi Test against Australia last month.Gayle has 3464 runs in 94 matches and all five of his hundreds have come for RCB. He had a coupe of bad games this year, prompting Watson to drop him for the clash against KXIP.However, Watson himself did not set IPL 2017 on fire with only 43 runs in three matches. Kohli is known to be in awe of Gayle and the two are great friends.So it was no surprise when the first thing Kohli did was to get Gayle back in to the line-up at the expense of Watson.Kohli also included West Indian leg-spinner Samuel Badree for another Australian Billy Stanlake.So, that’s what Kohli has done immediately after taking charge – two West Indians in, two Australians out. On a lighter note, didn’t Kohli say he was no longer friends with the Aussies?advertisementlast_img read more

first_imgApril 18, 2008: A new beast was about to take the cricketing world by storm and no one had any idea what kind of impact it would have on the game. Yes, India had won the World T20 and the cricket-loving public here wanted more of this razzmatazz format.  Would it be a hit? Or would the IPL peter out despite the big moneys and the glitz?The questions were answered by a Kiwi from far ashore . Brendon McCullum was signed up by the star-studded Kolkata Knight Riders , who took on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match of the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, exactly nine years ago. (Also read: Royal Challengers Bangalore suffer major blow: AB de Villiers ruled out vs Gujarat Lions)New Zealand, it must be remembered, had been exposed to the frenetic world of T20 cricket, a lot before the concept had hit home here in India. Riding on experience and sheer skill, Baz took apart an RCB attack that was led by two very able India pacers – Praveen Kumar and Zaheer Khan. The legendary Jacques Kallis was tonked for 48 runs in his four overs while Australian leg-spinner Cameron White conceded 24 runs in one horror over.The other KKR batmsen just played a supporting role around McCullum as he blazed 10 fours and 13 sixes in a 73-ball 158 not out. Two of world cricket’s giants – Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting, two of McCullum’s four batting partners that evening at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, were mere spectators. (Also read: April 18, 2008 – Brendon McCullum 158* brings Royal Challengers Bangalore to their knees in IPL opener)advertisementDavid Hussey, who batted at No.4, stayed on for 12 balls to merely take singles and had the strike back to McCullum so he could do more carnage on an already battered bowling line-up.What happened to some of the stars involved in the inaugural IPL clash:- Following the onslaught, RCB were shot out for 82 to crash to a 140-run defeat. The team underwent a major revamp and soon turned into one of the most dangerous units in the IPL.- RCB stormed to the final next year when the IPL was held in South Africa- KKR won the title twice in 2012 and 2014- Jacques Kallis later moved to KKR and was an integral part of a successful outfit. He is their present coach and wields enormous influence in the team- Ganguly, Ponting, Zaheer, Rahul Dravid, Hussey and Sunil Joshi retired from international cricket since that iconic IPL opener.- Zaheer is now captain of the Delhi Daredevils where Dravid is coach- Mark Boucher’s (RCB wicketkeeper for the inaugural edition) career came to an abrupt end when he was hit by flying bails in a tour match in England.- Most importantly, a 19-year-old, who walked out to bat at No.3 for RCB, that evening, is the biggest superstar in world cricket today. Virat Kohli, who was yet to debut for India, had made 1 before being done in by Ashok Dinda. Kohli, has since, peaked new scales for India and only last year, hit a record-smashing 973 runs and four hundreds in the IPL. He is currently India and RCB captain.McCullum also quit international cricket after leading New Zealand to the 2015 World Cup. He played for Chennai Super Kings and was bought by Gujarat Lions in 2016.In a quirky coincidence, McCullum and Kohli will face off again later on Tuesday when Gujarat take on RCB, nine years down the line from that surreal evening in Bengaluru.last_img read more

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first_imgBritain’s Andy Murray continued to lead the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) world singles rankings released on Monday.Serbian Novak Djokovic came in second, followed by Swiss Stan Wawrinka and compatriot Roger Federer, respectively.Spaniard Rafael Nadal remained in fifth place, while Croatian Marin Cilic jumped to seventh after winning the Istanbul Open final on Sunday.Japanese Kei Nishikori fell to the eighth spot.The current ATP rankings and point scores are as follows:1. Andy Murray (Britain) 11,270 points2. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 7,0853. Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 5,6854. Roger Federer (Switzerland) 5,1255. Rafael Nadal (Spain) 4,3756. Milos Raonic (Canada) 4,1357. Marin Cilic (Croatia) 3,7258. Kei Nishikori (Japan) 3,6509. Dominic Thiem (Austria) 3,61510. David Goffin (Belgium) 3,055Serena maintains lead United States tennis player Serena Williams continued to lead the Women’s Tennis Association world rankings released on Monday, with 7,010 points.German Angelique Kerber remained in second place, followed by Czech Karolina Pliskova in third.Spanish Garbine Muguruza jumped two spots to fourth position, while Romanian Simona Halep dropped down four places to eighth position.The current WTA rankings and points are as follows:1. Serena Williams (US) 7,010 points2. Angelique Kerber (Germany) 6,9453. Karolina Pliskova (Czech) 5,9464. Garbine Muguruza (Spain) 4,6275. Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) 4,4756. Johanna Konta (Britain) 4,4257. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) 4,2558. Simona Halep (Romania) 4,2069. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 4,06010. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 3,955.last_img read more

first_imgRishabh Pant was caught napping on the field as brilliant Suresh Raina shattered the stumps of the Delhi Daredevils batsman in their Indian Premier League clash on Wednesday.The incident happened on the final delivery of the second over in Delhi’s chase of 196 against Gujarat Lions.Plenty of action happened on that ball. Left-arm pacer Pradeep Sangwan got a full length ball to nip back into the batsman from middle and off, Pant failed to work it around and was hit on the pads and the ball rolled behind towards Suresh Raina at the first slip. There was a loud appeal from the bowler and some Gujarat fielders to which umpire denied. (Dravid’s greatest gifts to Indian cricket this season)Pant, meanwhile, turned to tell his partner Karun Nair to stay at his end but didn’t realise that he himself was out of his crease. The ever active Raina realised that and was quick to react as he fired a direct hit at the striker’s end.They appealed in unison and the decision was referred to the third umpire, who gave it out. The replays showed that Pant was well outside the batting crease.This was not the first time that the 19-year-old batsman showed lack of awareness on the pitch. During the U-19 World Cup final in 2016 against West Indies, Pant was stumped in a similar way. He left alone a ball from Alzarri Joseph and was outside the crease when the keeper fired in the throw to find him short of the crease. (Hundred don’t matter, winning important: Iyer)advertisementThough Delhi were dented early in a massive chase but thanks to Shreyas Iyer’s superlative 96 off 57 balls, they managed to register their sixth victory.last_img read more

first_imgIndia off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Wednesday won the coveted International Cricketer of the Year award at the CEAT Cricket Rating (CCR) International awards 2017.The award was presented to Ashwin by former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar and Harsh Goenka, Chairman of RPG Enterprises, at a function held at the Cricket Club of India.Ashwin was the wrecker-in-chief during the home season, where India won 10 of their 13 Tests played against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.Ashwin has taken 99 wickets in the past 12 months.Meanwhile, young batsman Shubhman Gill won the Young player of the year award for his superb performance during the India-England U-19 ODI series, played in Mumbai.Speaking on the occasion, Ashwin recalled that his first autograph which he had taken was from Gavaskar at the Chepauk stadium in Chennai.Ashwin also praised Tamil Nadu offie Washington Sundar for his impressive show in the IPL while playing for Rising Pune Supergiant.”Washington did really well in the Vijay Hazare trophy. I had heard from a couple of people that he is doing well. He has got good idea of how to bowl in T20s and to ball with the new ball is a massive challenge.”The first scar which you will inflict will always have value and he initially bowled well. The pace and the length which he hit was very very critical,” said Ashwin.last_img read more

first_imgBy Bunty TyagiSirsa (Har), Aug 27 (PTI) The Sirsa administration has decided to provide buses for Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singhs followers willing to leave the sects headquarters.Dera Sacha Sauda followers had yesterday started leaving the sects headquarters in Sirsa, where they had gathered in large numbers before the rape conviction of the self-styled godman.”The district administration has decided to provide four to five Haryana Roadways buses to dera followers so that they can go home,” a senior official said.Army and paramilitary forces have appealed to dera followers inside the sects headquarters to vacate the area.The police and the administration have been making regular announcements through loudspeakers, urging those inside to vacate the sprawling premises, even as they maintained a strict vigil.The violence following the conviction of the Dera head by a special CBI court in Panchkula on Friday, resulted in four deaths and injuries to 58 Dera followers in Sirsa.An estimated one lakh people, including women and children, are present in the sect headquarters. The sprawling campus is spread over nearly 1,000 acres and is a township on its own, with schools, sports village, hospital and cinema hall. PTI BUN GJS SMNlast_img read more

first_imgAurangabad, Oct 31 (PTI) Qualifier Sandesh Kurale of Kolhapur toppled eighth seed Vishwesh Patel to enter the boys singles quarter finals of the MSLTA-Yonex Sunrise under 14 National Tennis Tournament today.Kurale carved out a 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 victory in a two hour match to enter the prequarterfinals of the tournament being organised by Endurance Marathwada-MSLTA Tennis Center (EMMTC) at the divisional sports complex here.In another upset Manav Jain ousted 15th seed Hasith Gummuluru 6-2, 6-4 while in the girls event Riya Bhosale of Pune stunned Sai Bhoyar 6-4, 6-3 to enter the third round.Results: Boys (2nd round):Krishan Hooda(1) bt (Q)Daksh Agarwal 6-2, 6-1; Ronin Lotlikar bt Akarsh Gaonkar 6-1, 6-3; Ajay Singh(11) bt (Q)Arjun Premkumar 6-3, 6-0; Dhanya Shah(7) bt Faiz Nasyam 6-2, 6-2; Sanmay Gandhi(14) bt Pranav Heggere 6-1, 6-1; Anup Bangargi bt Farhaan Patrawala 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4; Chirag Duhan(4) bt Jasmeet Duhan 6-0, 6-2; (Q)Sandesh Kurale bt Vishwesh Patel(8)6-0, 5-7, 6-2; Yashraj Dalvi(10) bt (Q)Sahil Tambat 6-1, 6-3; Manav Jain bt Hasith Gummuluru(15)6-2, 6-4.Girls (2nd round):Sudipta Kumar(1) bt (Q)Anya Jacob 6-0, 6-1; Saniya Masand(13) bt Hetvee Chaudhari 7-5, 6-1; Renee Singh(9) bt Nandini Dixit 6-4, 6-3; Renne Singla(6) bt (Q)Harshita Bangera 6-4, 6-2; Sanjana Sirimalla(3) bt Kashish Bote 6-0, 6-0; Riya Bhosale bt Sai Bhoyar(16)6-4, 6-3. PTI SSR NRB RDSlast_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi, Nov 6 (PTI) FIFA President Gianni Infantino has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, congratulating India for successfully hosting the U-17 World Cup last month.The FIFA chief also expressed regret that he could not meet Modi, who graced the the opening ceremony here on October 6.”The FIFA delegation has now returned to Zurich with a host of unforgettable memories and having made many warm- hearted new friendships during our stay in Kolkata for the final matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and the FIFA Council Meeting,” Infantino said in a letter to the PM.”I would like to congratulate your government on its role in your countrys successful hosting of FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 and express my gratitude towards Local Organising Committee, to your government, and to all those who worked so hard to organise this competition in the host cities of New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Guwahati and Kolkata. They all contributed immensely to a wonderful and memorable event,” he said in the letter.The contents of the letter was made available by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in a release. Infantino regretted that he could not attend the opening ceremony and meet Modi but mentioned that hell look forward to meeting him in future to exchange ideas about “the approaches to developing football” in India.”Unfortunately, much to my regret, I was not able to attend the opening ceremony of the competition and to meet you in person in New Delhi, due to other prior commitments,” he said.advertisement”I am however convinced we will have the opportunity to meet in the future to exchange ideas about the approaches to developing football in your country, as well as our visions on the important role that football plays in breaking down cultural and social barriers, making it a game accessible to everyone.”Infantino also praised the AIFF for its “remarkable work and efforts”.”I would like to praise the remarkable work and efforts of the AIFF to implement new plans for the development of our sport in your country, such as the Mission 11 Million and the construction of AIFF National Centre of Excellence in Kolkata. I would like to reiterate my thanks for your contribution towards supporting football development and promoting the values of our sport in your country,” he said.”I can assure you that our stay in your country has given me fresh determination to provide any assistance from FIFA and the international football community that could be helpful in the realisation of these developmental projects.” PTI PDS AH PDSlast_img read more

first_imgSAN ANTONIO – With less than four minutes to play in a see-saw battle, Lebron James of the visiting Miami Heat hobbled to the bench as the San Antonio Spurs extended their razor-thin lead to a 31-9 run  for a 110-95 win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals – a rematch of last year’s battle between these two teams, which the Heat won in 7 games to capture their second straight title.It seems James’ body couldn’t withstand the intense heat as the air conditioning system failed, and cramped up. But with these two teams – arguably, and fittingly, the best in the league – so evenly-matched, it seems highly unlikely the Heat can succeed without him.  Not only is he their top weapon on both ends of the court, he is widely considered the best player in the league.Game 2 is on June 8, also in San Antonio. With the league’s best record, the Spurs have home court advantage.When it comes to overcoming adversity, though, the Heat are better than anyone. But they will have their hands full in Game 2, as they now trail in the series and all eyes are on their superstar.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgTEL AVIV— The Cleveland Cavaliers suddenly have far fewer fans in Israel after the firing of David Blatt.The shock announcement on Friday, despite the second-year coach leading the Cavs to the NBA Finals a year ago and to the top of the Eastern Conference this season, was taken personally by many fans in Israel, where the Boston-born Blatt made his name professionally, met his wife and raised his family.News of the firing topped all Israeli newscasts Saturday, knocking Middle East violence off the headlines.The provincial pride in Blatt was suddenly replaced with anger toward the Cavaliers and their perceived coldhearted send-off. Most of the venom was directed at LeBron James, the Cleveland superstar who had a rocky relationship with Blatt.“Finally I can go back to hating LeBron without feeling guilty. Hope he never sees a title in his life,” said Gil Eyal, a 38-year-old Israeli high-tech executive who typically supports the Boston Celtics.A Channel 10 talk news show ranked it the top story of the week, with panelist Aviv Bushinsky lamenting how Blatt’s amazing season had ended “because of one man: LeBron James.”The anguish was felt vividly online and in social networks, with one joke that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would blame the firing on President Barack Obama.The 56-year-old Blatt is possibly Israel’s favorite son, thanks to his winning record, outgoing personality and unabashed Israeli patriotism.Blatt grew up in the United States and played his college ball at Princeton but has called Israel home since 1981, when he first arrived to play for the U.S. at the Maccabiah Games. A solid playing career in the Israeli league followed, before an even more successful coaching career began in 1993. Over the next two decades Blatt developed his reputation as a top international coach and up-tempo offensive wizard whose stock surged dramatically after leading the Russian national team to a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics.He’s married to an Israeli woman, Kinneret, and raised his four children here, with the oldest two having completed their military service. He speaks fluent, albeit American-accented, Hebrew and is a popular pitchman for TV ads who has professed a desire to one day serve as an ambassador for the country.His signature coaching moment in Israel came in 2014 when he led Maccabi Tel Aviv to a series of upset wins en route to a dramatic Euroleague championship title — a run that paved his path to Cleveland. Their NBA games were broadcast live on Israeli sports channels and Israelis from all walks of life rose at dawn to catch a glimpse. Overnight, the Cavs became “Israel’s team” in the NBA, replacing traditional favorites like the Celtics, Knicks, Bulls and Lakers.Not now.“Last night, at 22:30, seven million Israelis, at least, sat in their living rooms and rooted for Cleveland. At 23:30 there were probably only about seven left. Tops,” wrote Sharon Davidovitch, a sports columnist for the popular YNet Website. “A magical, exciting journey that often lacked any sense of proportion came to an end for many Israelis who followed Blatt on his way to the top of the world. Or at least close to it.”____TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgBASEL, Switzerland (AP) — Spain did it again, Sevilla did it again and Liverpool could do little to turn the tide as a Europa League title slipped away on Wednesday.Sevilla’s thrilling second-half comeback in a 3-1 win ensured the club’s third straight Europa League title, and a fifth in 11 seasons.It also ensured Spain will sweep Europe’s club competitions for a third straight year, ahead of the Atletico Madrid-Real Madrid final of the Champions League on May 28.It was fitting that Spain’s former King Juan Carlos stood beside the Spanish soccer federation president, Angel Maria Villar, who presented the trophy as UEFA’s senior vice president to Sevilla captain and two-goal standout Coke.“Maybe we are not the ones who should say it,” Sevilla coach Unai Emery said when asked to explain Spanish dominance of European club soccer. “Maybe others should analyze what we do.”“I have my own theory,” Emery added. “We really compete and we have been able to win against teams that were better than us.”Liverpool certainly was better in the first half at rain-swept St. Jakob Park, tearing at the two-time defending title-holder in a strong end to the first half.Still, the high-intensity pressing game demanded by Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp yielded one goal — Daniel Sturridge’s beautifully curled shot with the outside of his left foot in the 35th minute.When Sevilla equalized less than 18 seconds after the restart, with Kevin Gameiro’s goal from close range, the tempo and flow of the game utterly changed. Coke struck with right-foot shots in the 64th and 70th minutes and Liverpool had little answer.The ferocious spirit Liverpool showed at Anfield in overhauling Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals and Villarreal in the semifinals was strangely muted.Defeat leaves Liverpool with no European football next season and potentially a tougher time to recruit players in Klopp’s first offseason at a storied club he joined just seven months ago.It also dealt the charismatic German coach a fifth straight loss in a cup final, including the 2013 Champions League final when he was at Dortmund.Klopp accepted he and his players reacted poorly after Sevilla’s fast start to the second half.“In this moment we lost faith in our style of play,” he said. “We have 44 minutes to strike back, so where is the problem? The reaction was the problem.”Victory lifted Sevilla back into the Champions League group stage with Europe’s elite next season.“Sevilla and its fans love this competition. We want it so much,” Emery said. “Now we want to take the step toward the Champions League.”Klopp suggested his side had no luck with potential handball and offside decisions that went against his team.The third Sevilla goal was furiously disputed by Liverpool after an assistant signaled what at first seemed an apparent offside against Coke, then lowered his flag.Still, that goal — and Gameiro’s earlier — exposed defensive errors by former Sevilla player Alberto Moreno on the left side of Liverpool’s defense.Sevilla caught Liverpool cold after Moreno’s poor header gifted possession to Mariano Ferreira. The right-back then broke too easily through a Moreno tackle to pass the ball across the goalmouth for the unmarked Gameiro to score.Coke soon struck a sweeping shot from the edge of the penalty area, after Vitolo played two return passes and broke through a tackle. Coke then exposed Moreno’s lack of attention by firing low into Mignolet’s goal.Liverpool had led when its three forwards linked together for the first time. Brazilians Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho passed across the Sevilla defense to find Sturridge to step forward and strike a sweet shot.Liverpool fans far outnumbered Sevilla supporters in the 35,000 crowd and fights broke out 30 minutes before kickoff in a poorly divided area behind one goal. Only then did a line of police and stewards stand between the two groups of fans.Most Liverpool fans had long left the stadium when Sevilla players danced in the rain on the field with the silver trophy that was theirs yet again. TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — Phil Jackson is out as New York Knicks president after he oversaw one of the worst eras in team history and feuded with star Carmelo Anthony.Days after Jackson reiterated his desire to trade Anthony and said he would listen to deals for Kristaps Porzingis, Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan reversed course and cut ties with Jackson on Wednesday.“After careful thought and consideration, we mutually agreed that the Knicks will be going in a different direction,” Dolan said in a statement. “Phil Jackson is one of the most celebrated and successful individuals in the history of the NBA. His legacy in the game of basketball is unmatched.”But his work as a first-time executive was awful. The winner of an NBA-record 11 championships as coach, Jackson couldn’t engineer one playoff berth while running the Knicks. The team was 80-166 in his three full seasons, including a franchise-worst 17-65 in 2014-15. His departure was quickly welcomed by Knicks fans such as film director Spike Lee, who posted a picture of himself on Instagram in a celebratory pose after it was first reported by The Vertical.The move comes less than a week after Jackson led the Knicks through the NBA draft and on the eve of free agency that opens Saturday. Dolan said general manager Steve Mills would run the day-to-day business of the team in the short term.Jackson was a Hall of Fame coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, delivering titles with some of the game’s biggest stars like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. He also played for the Knicks when they won NBA titles in 1970 and 1973.He was welcomed back to the organization to huge fanfare in March 2014, but it soon became clear the transition would be a poor one. His first coaching hire, Derek Fisher, lasted just 1½ seasons, and Jackson’s trades and free agency moves also failed to improve the club.“I had hoped, of course, to bring another NBA championship to the Garden. As someone who treasures winning, I am deeply disappointed that we weren’t able to do that,” Jackson said. “New York fans deserve nothing less. I wish them and the Knicks organization all the best — today and always.”The turbulence he created off the court may have led to his departure more than the Knicks’ record on it.Jackson wanted to trade Anthony, the All-Star forward who has two years left on the five-year, $124 million deal that Jackson gave him shortly after taking the job. Anthony has a no-trade clause and has said he wants to stay in New York, and the stalemate that hung over the team for much of last season threatened to linger throughout the summer.Then he said before the draft that he was listening to offers for Porzingis, the 21-year-old forward from Latvia whom Jackson drafted with the No. 4 pick in 2015 in one of his few successful moves.Jackson believed the Knicks would compete for a playoff berth last season after he traded for Derrick Rose, signed Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee and hired Jeff Hornacek to coach. But after a solid start, they quickly spiraled toward their familiar position at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and finished 31-51.Despite all that, Dolan said during an ESPN Radio interview in February that he would allow Jackson to finish his contract, and the sides picked up the mutual two-year option on Jackson’s contract.But the instability involving Anthony and Porzingis threatened to damage the team’s ability to lure free agents and may have spurred Dolan’s decision. Though he had been intent on keeping Jackson, the dysfunction within the franchise showed no sign of ending even as Jackson, 71, largely stayed out of sight.He never spoke to the media last season after vowing openness upon taking the job and refused to provide Anthony with the communication he sought.“It’s like a total train wreck ,” tennis great and Knicks fan John McEnroe told The Associated Press last week.“I mean, he’s known as the Zen Master, like a master talker, and then he’s not talking to anybody,” McEnroe said of Jackson. “So this whole thing seems to have gone completely off the rails.”There was also incessant debate about Jackson’s insistence that the team employ the triangle offense, which potential incoming players were schooled on during the run-up to last week’s NBA draft. The Knicks wound up taking 18-year-old French point guard Frank Ntilikina, who spoke highly of the triangle and Jackson’s belief in the scheme.“I think I can definitely fit with this system,” Ntilikina said on draft night.Not even a week later, the triangle is probably gone, and the Knicks will start anew.Rose, the 2011 NBA MVP, will be a free agent. Noah — whom Jackson gave a puzzling four-year, $72 million contract last summer — will start the season by finishing out a 20-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. He averaged 5.0 points and 8.8 rebounds in his first season in New York, shooting just 44 percent from the foul line.___BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball WriterAP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgAs the Champions League opened with a series of one-sided games, Jose Mourinho was blunt. For the Manchester United manager, it wasn’t the Champions League at all.“For the Real Madrids, Barcelonas and Bayerns, the Champions League starts in February. Now is just the warming up,” Mourinho said after a routine win for his Manchester United team over Swiss club Basel. “Let’s qualify, let’s make the points to qualify for the knockout phase. When we do that, let’s enjoy playing against the big guys.”United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich all cruised to easy wins on Tuesday, scoring 17 goals between them and conceding none.Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Juventus was something of an exception, if only because the Italian team — last season’s defeated finalist — had been expected to put up more of a fight.In the event, Lionel Messi started another European campaign in imperious fashion with two goals against an injury-depleted Juventus side.___GROUP AManchester United’s players didn’t have to exert themselves too much to see off Swiss side Basel 3-0, as Romelu Lukaku scored his sixth goal in six United appearances.Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford’s goals completed the win for United.In a worrying sight for United fans and coach Mourinho, captain Paul Pogba hobbled off with a possible left hamstring injury.In Lisbon, Benfica let slip a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to CSKA Moscow, with substitute Timur Zhamaletdinov scoring the winning goal four minutes into his Champions League debut.___GROUP BTwo woefully uncompetitive games saw Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich post easy wins.PSG’s expensively assembled forward line of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani ran riot against Celtic in a 5-0 win, scoring four between them. A Celtic own goal ensured a night to forget for the Scottish champion.Bayern seemed rustier in its 3-0 win over Anderlecht, leading by just one goal at halftime despite Anderlecht having a man sent off in the 11th minute.The red card allowed Robert Lewandowski to score from the penalty spot, before Bayern wasted a string of opportunities. Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich added to the scoreline in the second half.___GROUP CDavide Zappacosta’s stunning long-distance goal from the right flank impressed the Stamford Bridge faithful, but Chelsea needed nothing special to thrash Azerbaijan’s Qarabag 6-0.A poor Qarabag defense also conceded goals from Michy Batshuayi, Pedro Rodriguez, Cesar Azpilicueta and Tiemoue Bakayoko. There was also an own goal by Maksim Medvedev.Atletico Madrid sees itself as a contender to win the Champions League, but poor finishing made it look well short of that standard in a 0-0 draw with Roma.___GROUP DLionel Messi started the new European season with yet another game-winning performance for Barcelona, while the Catalan club’s record signing Ousmane Dembele made his debut.Still, Barcelona’s three-goal winning margin against a weakened opponent was slight revenge for its loss to Juventus in last year’s quarterfinals.On Tuesday at the Camp Nou, Juventus was missing defender Giorgio Chiellini, forward Mario Mandzukic and midfielder Sami Khedira through injury, while Juan Cuadrado was suspended.Sporting Lisbon won 3-2 at Greek side Olympiakos, taking the lead after just 69 seconds through forward Seydou Doumbia, on loan from Roma.JAMES ELLINGWORTH, AP Sports WriterTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgSYDNEY (AP) — Ashleigh Barty broke Simona Halep’s serve in the final game to beat the No. 1-ranked Halep 6-4, 6-4 in a second-round match Wednesday at the Sydney International.It was Halep’s first match since October after a lengthy layoff due to a herniated disc in her back. Halep won last year’s French Open and lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the Australian Open final.“I think it was a great match after almost four months since I played one full match, the U.S. Open,” Halep said. “I think I played a good level of tennis. She played really well. Her slice was great today, so she deserved to win this match.“But also I was very close to win. I had so many chances to break her and to take advantage, but I couldn’t.”Halep said she was pain-free but would wait to see how she pulls up on Thursday before declaring that she is over the back injury.“No pain at all. I’m happy about that. It’s a great sign,” she said. “I will recover now, and I will see how I wake up tomorrow morning.”Barty served five aces, no double-faults and broke Halep three times to reverse two previous losses to Halep last August.Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece plays a forehand to Guido Andreozzi of Argentina during their men’s singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)“I finally learned my lesson,” Barty said. “She gave me a belting in Montreal. I learned a little bit more in Cincinnati, but today I knuckled down and really thought about it and really gave myself a chance.“The biggest thing, I believed that I could I win. We’re both out here on the same court. Just very happy I was able to come out and execute.”The 27-year-old Halep will be at the Australian Open next week in Melbourne without a coach after parting ways with Australian mentor Darren Cahill, who can longer commit to Halep due to family reasons. Cahill had coached Halep for four years.In first-round matches, 10th-seeded Elise Mertens beat qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-2 and Anett Kontaveit defeated Monica Puig 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.In the second round, Timea Bacsinszky beat Samantha Stosur 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.In men’s play, Alex de Minaur beat American qualifier Reilly Opelka 6-4 7-6 (4) in a match suspended by rain after just one game on Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals against fellow Australian Jordan Thompson.“I think I got lucky today. Reilly’s an incredibly tough opponent,” de Minaur said. “I took care of my chances. I would have loved to get the break in the second. I had a couple of chances, but I did well to focus on my serve and I’m glad things went my way today.”In other second-round matches, top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Guido Andreozzi 6-3, 6-4, third-seeded Diego Schwartzman beat qualifier Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 6-3, Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-1 and No. 8 Andreas Seppi beat Martin Klizan 7-6 (2), 6-2.Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece prepares to serve to Guido Andreozzi of Argentina during their men’s singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

first_imgSALVADOR, Brazil — James Rodriguez got the best of Lionel Messi in the Copa America on Saturday, leading Colombia to a 2-0 win over Argentina in the teams’ debut in the South American tournament.Rodriguez set up Roger Martinez’s opening goal in the second half with a superb long pass across the pitch, and substitute Duvan Zapata scored late to seal the victory that allowed Colombia to end a 12-year winless streak against the Argentines.Roger Martínez cuts inside and fires in for the lead! Colombia takes a 1-0 lead over Argentina!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 15, 2019Messi couldn’t do enough to spark Argentina, which lost its first Copa America match since the 2007 final against Brazil. It was also the team’s first opening defeat in the tournament since 1979.“Our best player was the entire team,” said Colombia coach Carlos Queiroz. “The next match will certainly be more difficult, this is only the beginning.”Both Argentina and Colombia are trying to end title droughts, with the Argentines winless since the 1993 Copa America and the Colombians without a trophy since the 2001 edition.Argentina lost the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016, where it lost both of the latter in penalty shootouts against Chile.Colombia’s last win over Argentina was in South American qualifying for the World Cup in 2007.“It had been a long time (without beating Argentina),” Zapata said. “Everyone in Colombia is very happy, but there is still a long way to go in the Copa, we still have important matches ahead.”Messi and Rodriguez had a mostly quiet match in Salvador, but Rodriguez helped Colombia take the lead thanks to his great assist for Martinez’s 71st-minute opener.Colombia’s James Rodriguez greets fans at the end of the Copa America Group B soccer match against Argentina at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Saturday, June 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)The playmaker had the ball in Colombia’s own field before finding Martinez with a long pass toward the area. The forward picked up the ball and cut toward the middle before firing a mid-height shot toward the far corner to open the scoring.“We are disappointed because they scored a great goal when we were playing better,” Messi said. “It will take some time to accept this defeat, but we have to take the positives from today and move on to try to win the next match. We still have plenty of chances.”It’s 2-0!Duván Zapata doubles Colombia’s lead!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 15, 2019vZapata sealed Colombia’s victory five minutes after entering the match, completing a cross by Jefferson Lerma in the 86th minute.Argentina came closest to scoring with a close-range header by Messi that missed just wide in the 66th.Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and Colombia veteran Radamel Falcao also couldn’t do much to help their teams break through their opponents’ defense in a tense opening match in Group B.“We improved in the second half and created chances,” said Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who complained of the bad field conditions at the Arena Fonte Nova. “We still have two matches left and if we win them we will certainly advance.”Argentina will next play against Paraguay in Belo Horizonte, while Colombia will face Qatar in Sao Paulo.Paraguay and Qatar meet in the other Group B match on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.Earlier Saturday, Peru was held by 10-man Venezuela to a 0-0 draw in Group A, a result that left both teams two points behind host Brazil, which opened with a 3-0 win over Bolivia on Friday in Sao Paulo.By: Deborah Rey, Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more