It didn’t take long for change to take hold at Manchester City.“We had a lot of staff members from Thailand, they were the ones who welcomed me when I signed for the club,” remembers Vincent Kompany, who arrived from Hamburg on August 22, 2008. “From one day to the other, they were all gone and Robinho was in the dressing room. That’s when you realised things were changing.“We went away for international games around that time and they changed everything. 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! “It was like those shows where they’re building stuff and next thing there’s a reveal. I can’t even describe it. Probably like a before and after picture. Everything changed within two weeks. We came back and the standard was set.”Bernard Halford, City life president, continues the theme: “The marker in the sand came with the signing of Robinho on deadline day. For Manchester City to pay £32 million for a player, crimes! If you go back five years before that you’d have wanted an entire team for that.”After all, this was a club that could not afford Wayne Rooney. When he was a child.“Honest truth I went and asked for £300,000 to sign Wayne Rooney and the board said we’re not paying £300,000 for a 14-year-old,” says Halford. “End of story. We hadn’t got the money. We had about £1m to run the academy and then we were begging for money to buy a player.”City thought they had found their saviour in Thaksin Shinawatra in 2007, but the Thai politician’s assets were soon frozen and his plans hit the buffers. City were only kept going thanks to former chairman John Wardle, who “paid the staff and kept the club running,” paving the way for Sheikh Mansour and the Abu Dhabi United group.Since September 1, 2008, Manchester City has been transformed, from top to bottom.Kompany remembers a coffee machine as one of the most immediate difference-makers in those early days of the new era – “it was being used that much it needed to go in for maintenance after two weeks” – but that was nothing compared to what was to come.The arrival of Yaya Toure and David Silva in 2010 helped deliver the club’s first trophy, the 2011 FA Cup, and City broke their transfer record again that summer to bring in Sergio Aguero as they strived to consolidate their position as one of England’s leading clubs.Off the pitch, former Barcelona officials Ferran Soriano, as CEO, and Txiki Begiristain, as director of football, were brought in to drive new projects (and eventually lure Pep Guardiola), while 2014 marked the opening of the club’s state-of-the-art City Football Academy training ground, and the establishment of the City Football Group. The CFG initially owned not just City but clubs in New York and Melbourne, as well as a stake in Yokohama F Marinos, and have since branched out to Girona in Spain and Uruguay’s Atletico Toque, with further links in the United States, the Netherlands and Venezuela.In 2015 the capacity of the Etihad Stadium was increased from 48,000 to 55,000 to meet the surge in demand for tickets on the back of the club’s success on the pitch.City’s rise has affected everybody within the club. In the 1990s the groundstaff could get away with telling former manager Peter Reid that they had cut the grass to his specifications, when in reality they hadn’t, but they are now responsible for the maintenance of seven training pitches that are identical to the one at the Etihad Stadium – cut exactly to Guardiola’s requirements. And while City could not afford £300,000 for the 14-year-old Rooney they now boast competitive youth teams full of homegrown and global talent, and if they are sent out on loan to continue their development they are monitored and supported by a dedicated team of 10, including 2011-12 Premier League winner Joleon Lescott. For comparison’s sake, Chelsea, the club most famous for establishing a ‘loan army’, have a team of three.City’s transformation has inevitably led to scrutiny. Major investment in the transfer market was necessary to enable the club to challenge at the top of the Premier League in the first place, while another wave, last summer, helped kickstart the Guardiola era. The club’s rise has not sat well with some of Europe’s established order and Spanish league chief Javier Tebas has been one of the most prominent critics, alleging recently that the club’s various Emirati sponsorships are artificially inflated. Uefa, who found City in breach of their Financial Fair Play regulations in 2014 and are themselves no huge fans of the club, insisted an investigation was not necessary.“What is fair?” argues Kompany. “The status quo? Should City be in the third division and say we’ve got awesome fans with 30,000 in the stadium but we’re never really allowed to have success? What is fair then? That’s always been my question.”Any kind of investment that’s been made by City over the years is to overtake 20 years of an advantage by any other club. Of course if you take a lens at it and you say, ‘Well City have invested in the last five or 10 years,’ of course, because you’re trying to avoid 20 or 30 years of dominance from another club.”The last thing I’m going to say is that nobody can convince me that Manchester City has not had a tremendous benefit to Manchester as a city, the north west as a region and the Premier League as a league.”As well as running community projects in every continent, City’s expansion through their CFA training base has led to an impressive regeneration of east Manchester, and there are few better-placed than Brian Kidd, a local lad who’s worked alongside Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Guardiola since 2009, to sum up the effects.“I was born in Collyhurst, a mile away, when you see what they’ve done to the area, the community, it’s unbelievable,” he says. “Collyhurst, Ancoats and New Islington, when you were a kid you wanted to get out of the area, now they’re paying a million pounds for an apartment, they want to get back in there! My dad, God rest his soul, he’d be laughing in his grave if I was to say there’s apartments going for a million pounds, he’d say never in a million years.”Part Two, looking at the next 10 years, will be published on Sunday. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Barcelona scored twice in the last three minutes to edge past lowly Rayo Vallecano 3-2 and open up a four-point lead at the top of LaLiga.A third straight league win moves Ernesto Valverde’s side clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid, but their advantage will be reduced back to one point if Alaves beat Eibar on Sunday.Luis Suarez put the visitors ahead in the 11th minute, but Vallecano looked like they would record just their second win of the season as Jose Pozo and Alvaro Garcia netted either side of the interval. 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 Catalan giants produced a stirring last-gasp comeback, though, with Ousmane Dembele drawing them level in the 87th minute and then Suarez delivering the decisive blow three minutes later.It’s all over in Vallecas!Comeback and three points!Rayo Vallecano 2-3 FC BarcelonaPozo and Álvaro / @LuisSuarez9 (x2) and @DembouzStill top! pic.twitter.com/SU5lybmSur— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) November 3, 2018Any hopes Vallecano had of containing their illustrious opponents – 5-1 El Clasico victors last weekend – were obliterated after just 11 minutes.Jordi Alba latched onto Ivan Rakitic’s stunning cross-field pass and pulled the ball back for Suarez to slot in his eighth league goal of the campaign from six yards.The hosts should have drawn level just after the half-hour mark, Pozo firing wide from 10 yards after a blistering counter-attack had torn Barca’s backline apart.The former Almeria man made amends 10 minutes before the interval, however, whipping a wonderful strike in off Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s left-hand post from 25 yards.Barca came agonisingly close to restoring their advantage moments before the break when Suarez’s curled effort crashed off the outside of the upright.That near-miss was brought into sharp focus after 57 minutes when substitute Garcia powered home from close range after Raul de Tomas’ header had fallen kindly to him off the post.Vallecano were unable to hold on for a famous win, however. Dembele pulled Barca level with a crisp half-volley from Gerard Pique’s headed knockdown before Suarez stole in at the back post to prod past goalkeeper Alberto Garcia for a dramatic late winner. What it means? Barca show fighting spiritIt was not pretty, but Barcelona showed enough grit in those final stages to maintain the momentum of their stunning win over Real Madrid. It is five wins on the spin in all competitions now for Valverde’s side and with Lionel Messi set to return imminently, it looks ominous for their LaLiga rivals. Vallecano, meanwhile, remain rooted in 19th after just one win all season.Suarez the difference againFresh from his hat-trick against Madrid, Suarez was once again the talisman for his side. The Uruguayan now has nine league goals this season and is showing no signs of slowing down in front of goal.Rafinha proves ineffectiveThe Brazilian had a game to forget. Moments after flashing well wide from a good position early in the second half, he was replaced by Dembele, whose fine finish late on set up a remarkable finale.What’s next?Barca travel to Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday where they will hope to welcome back Messi from his broken arm, while Vallecano’s next match is at home to Villarreal next Sunday in LaLiga. read more
Massimiliano Allegri has called on Juventus to bounce back swiftly from their first defeat of the season as they prepare to face AC Milan.The Bianconeri were beaten for the first time since April as Manchester United scored two late goals to turn a dramatic Champions League contest on its head.Yet head coach Allegri is keen not to spend too much time mulling over the loss, with another crunch clash against old foes Milan in Serie A on Sunday. 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! “We have to keep doing what we are already doing,” Allegri told a pre-match news conference. “We were upset on Wednesday as we are not used to losing, it had not happened since April.”But we lost a game that might be less important in terms of the group and now it is Milan against Juventus. Every once in a while, a step backwards can help you move two forward.”They are always balanced matches [against Milan] and San Siro will push the Rossoneri on. It will be a technical and physical match, with Milan in great form.”Gonzalo Higuain left Juventus for Milan in the close-season and Allegri, while a great admirer of the Argentina international, has no regrets.”Higuain is a player who has given so much to Juventus, who was so decisive in our victories,” he said. “Decisions were made on both sides and Milan made a great signing. He is one of the best strikers in the world.”Allegri is now hopeful a change of approach will see Cristiano Ronaldo thrive in Higuain’s absence.The coach added: “This year we have scored less goals but conceded less. We are only in November; there are still seven months until the end of the season but we are on the right track.”It will be nice to see Higuain again – he was important for us – but we have Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the best striker in the world. We have to work to his strengths.”
Robin Uthappa, who hit a 39-ball 68 to help Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs on Saturday, said the team now wants him to bat at No.3. (Scorecard)After a shaky start being put in to bat by visiting captain David Warner, Uthappa stemmed the rot with a brilliant 68 to help KKR post 172/6. Sunrisers Hyderabad could reach 155/6 in their allotted 20 overs with Kolkata bowlers putting on a commendable performance.”The team requires me to bat at No 3. I have taken that challenge on. It’s a very important position as well. It’s an important wicket and we need someone who is experienced and can handle that pressure to make sure that you don’t lose another wicket immediately,” Uthappa, who usually opens the batting for the men in purple, told reporters at the end of the match. Uthappa was adjudged the man-of-the-match. (KKR vs SRH: Highlights)”I wouldn’t say that the experiment is not working, because it’s just one game,” the Karnataka batsman said of opener Sunil Narine who failed on Saturday managing just six.”He is hitting the ball really well. I think it’s important for us to back him. If we don’t back players in this tournament, they trend to breed insecurity and we will back Sunil all the way. He is going to repay that faith.” (Robin Uthappa, spinners star as Kolkata Knight Riders beat Sunrisers Hyderabad to go on top)KKR were always in control of the game, Uthappa said.”At no point, we were out of the game. They never had the upper hand. We kept the momentum really well and after not getting wickets in the first six overs I thought we did really well to keep the momentum,” he pointed out. (Kolkata Knight Riders can take a lot of confidence especially after this win: Gautam Gambhir)advertisementAsked if KKR were a few runs short, Uthappa said: “We did end up with a little less than we intended to. But credit should be given to the bowlers for the way they bowled. Bhuvi bowled really well at the death and he is an extremely good death bowler. We did out best and had faith in our bowlers.”
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) midfielder Marco Verratti’s agent has insisted that the Italian star will not leave the capital football club this summer, clarifying that his client is with an ambitious outfit.The 24-year-old, who is under contract at PSG until 2021, has been linked with several top European clubs like Juventus, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.Juventus are in the hunt for a top midfielder, while Barcelona and Bayern reportedly see Verratti has a perfect replacement for veterans like Andres Iniesta and Xabi Alonso respectively.Former Barcelona captain Xavi Hernandez earlier had also said that Verratti “would be ideal” for Barcelona.”Marco Verratti will remain at PSG. Marco is happy in Paris, he has a contract until 2021 and he will definitely stay there,” the player’s agent Donato Di Campli was quoted as saying by football-italia.net on Monday.”The will of PSG also has to be respected, it’s a club which loves him,” he added about the player who reportedly has a price tag of at least $75 million in the transfer market.”We’ll meet the directors, but only to understand the project because the club remains ambitious and wants to win the Champions League.”Di Campli also clarified that Verratti has no chance of returning to play in his home country.
By Natasha ChakuMelbourne, May 26 (PTI) An Indian-origin man here has organised an exhibition showcasing portraits made by him of 50 well known Australian personalities like cricketing icons Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting.The two-day long exhibition by Melbourne-based resident Sedunath Prabhakar was launched on Wednesday and opened for public by Parliament Speaker Colin Brooks, Multicultural Minister Robin Scott, Indian Consul General Manika Jain and other Indian community members.Paintings on 50-metre canvas include personalities of politics, sports to films depicting culture and history of Australia from 17th century to till date.Prabhakar, a painter-cum musician, said he was inspired by the deep culture and history of Australia and after an in- depth research he picked some famous personalities and other lesser known faces from the history.”I have put them to life in acrylic through my art work,” Prabhakar said.”It took me over 18 months to complete all the paintings and it is an effort to narrate Australian history through art and also to carry Australians down the memory lane to appreciate the contributions of their great fellow men,” he said.Prabhakar, an alumni of Baroda School of Arts, said his favourite portraits among the series includes famous engineer John Monash and the longest serving and former Prime Minister Robert Menzies.Other personalities included in the exhibition are Eddie Koiki Mabo, Cathy Freeman, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Steve Irwin and Julia Gillard.Prabhakar has also been invited by the Indian Embassy of Oman to exhibit his new paintings at the Fine Arts Aociety of Oman in November this year which will cover the rich traditions of the country. PTI NC AJR AKJ AMSadvertisement
Barcelona were given a triple fitness boost in defence on the morning of their King’s Cup final against Alaves as the club announced Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Aleix Vidal have all been declared available.Spain centreback Pique missed Barca’s final two games of the Liga season with stomach pains while Mascherano was absent from the 4-2 win over Eibar with a hamstring problem.The return of Vidal is the biggest surprise as the right-back had been ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a serious ankle injury in the 6-0 win over Alaves back in February which required surgery.Striker Luis Suarez and defender Sergi Roberto are suspended while Jeremy Mathieu and Rafinha are still out injured.Barca are seeking a record extending 29th King’s Cup triumph in coach Luis Enrique’s final game in charge of the club, against an Alaves side playing their first domestic cup final.
Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem got his French Open campaign off to a quickfire start on Sunday, beating an out-of-sorts Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-0 6-2 as he embarked on a bid to go one round better than he did last year.After a tight first set, the 39th-ranked Australian won just two more games as, looking to keep the points short on a hot and fast Court Suzanne Lenglen, he sprayed the ball long and wide in his quest for winners.In all he made 33 unforced errors to Thiem’s 10, while the ace count was 11 to three in the Austrian’s favour.”I am happy I had a good start,” Thiem said courtside after the match, though in truth he might have preferred a tougher workout in keeping with his ambitions for the tournament.Speaking before Sunday’s match Thiem, a semi-finalist in 2016, put himself in the category of “players who can go very deep here (and) …make big surprises” behind clear favourite Rafa Nadal.The Austrian and the Spaniard have met three times so far in 2017, including the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters, where 23-year-old Thiem became the only player to beat Nadal on clay this season.DIMITROV GOES PAST ROBERTBulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov eliminated French Stephane Robert from the French Open first round here on Sunday.Dimitrov defeated his French rival 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to reach the second round of the tournament, reports Efe.The Bulgarian victor is to play the second round against the winner of the duel between Spanish Tommy Robredo and Briton Daniel Evans.advertisement(With inputs from IANS)
Pune, Aug 2 (PTI) The Recognition and Reward (R&R) Panel of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) have awarded the prestigious Above Group Standard Rating to the AITA for Indias Davis Cup match against New Zealand conducted by the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association in Pune. This was decided last week after a meeting of the Rating Panel which reviewed all the Davis Cup ties across the world between February and April. In a communication, sent to the All India Tennis Association ( AITA ) after the Rating Panel meeting, the panel stated:”We could see that both the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) and the town of Pune relished the opportunity to host this 1st round Davis Cup tie against New Zealand, and worked hard to put on a spectator and player-friendly event which ultimately proved very successful.” “The panel also understood that a considerable amount of time and money was invested in the promotion of the event and also observed the efforts to involve and endorse the local community with the initiatives such as the children?s clinics with free gifts and refreshments, and transporting players in chariots to the draw,” the letter stated Therefore, whilst they were not surprised that the stadium was almost at full capacity each day because of these efforts, they felt it was also worth noting that you also enjoyed the highest attended tie of this round. “The Panel feels that a grade of Above Group Standard was thoroughly deserved,” the communication from ITF mentioned. The R&R panel, which announces awards for the Davis Cup ties makes its decisions on various parameters, which includes reports and feedback from ITF supervisors, umpires, players and the visiting nations National Federation. The AITA secretary general Hiranmoy Chatterjee said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate the entire team of MSLTA and everyone, who were involved with the conduct of this tie and for earning this award. It is indeed a job very well done.” The President of MSLTA Bharat Oza said: “We would like to thank the ITF for the prestigious recognition and it is truly a reward for the entire MSLTA and PMDTA teams that put in hard work to ensure a super successful Davis Cup after a gap of 43 years in Pune.” The MSLTA secretary Sunder Iyer said: “The award and recognition gives us confidence and energy to promote the sport of tennis in Maharashtra with vigour and enthusiasm.” PTI AT KHS KHSadvertisement
(Eds: With more inputs, additional quotes) By Philem Dipak Singh London, Aug 13 (PTI) Irony was at its cruellest as Usain Leo Bolt pulled up hurt in his final competitive race to end, in a cry of pain and agony, a decade of dominance that is unrivalled in the history of track and field. Bolt failed to finish the mens 4x100m relay race of the World Athletics Championships here after he pulled a hamstring at the home straight. The astonishing turn of events marred what was expected to be a golden farewell. Running the final race of his career, the 30-year-old Bolt, after taking the baton from his Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake, suffered cramps on his left hamstring as he tried, in vain, to chase down the British and American rivals in the last lap of the race. Needing to make a lot of ground, Bolt began his familiar initial long strides but could not produce the trademark explosive burst of speed and suddenly stumbled, hobbled a few strides before falling on the track in pain and agony. “Its cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race. The last three weeks have been hard for him. We hope for the best for him,” Jamaican team doctor Kevin Jones said later. It was a terrible sight at the Olympic stadium, the theatre of his three gold winning exploits in the 2012 Olympic Games. Bolt went down on his knees with hands on his head in dejection and was then lying alone on the tracks for a while before Blake and the other teammates, Julian Forte and Omar McLeod, gathered around him. The towering Jamaican, who had dominated the sprint race like nobody else, was helped to his feet. As he limped over the finishing line, the crowd applauded him. The result sheet, however, showed DNF (Did Not Finish) against the Jamaicans. The scene this weekend was more heartbreaking than last Saturday when Bolt was beaten by his long-time rival Justin Gatlin in the 100m dash in his last individual race. The last time, Bolt took a lap of honour to acknowledge the support and adulation of the crowd. But this time, there was no lap of honour and with Britain winning the gold, the crowd gave more attention to their home heroes and Bolt disappeared to the medical room. For that matter, there was no kissing of the finish line nor the celebrated “Lightening Bolt pose, which fans around the world got used to all these years. The showman actually did not turn up on this night. In fact, it looked like the lap of honour he took while winning the bronze in the 100m dash on August 5 would be his final farewell to the crowd. But it is learnt that the IAAF and local organisers have decided to arrange a lap of honour on the final day of the championships. Britain won the gold in 37.47 seconds while United States (38.01) and Japan took the silver and bronze respectively. Bolt would have had his task cut out, if he did not suffer the injury, to fight his way into the gold medal picture, as he was some three meters behind the British counterpart when he took the baton from Blake. Gatlin, who was booed by the London crowd for snatching the gold medal from Bolt in the 100m, paid a tribute to his rival. “Usain Bolt is a great athlete. I am sorry he got this injury. I think it was the elements. But he is still the best in the world,” said Gatlin. “You cant let these championships define what he has done in the past. He has done amazing things. Hes still the man, you know. The was his farewell race and we wish him the best and hope he recovers soon,” added the American who ran the second leg in the relay race. “Usains name will always live on,” Bolts team-mate Omar McLeod, who ran the first leg, said. Bolt ended the World Championships in disappointment by collecting just a bronze but he will still be considered the greatest sprinter of all time and saviour of a sport for long mired in doping controversies. No man has ever dominated sprint like Bolt since he won a gold each in the 100m and 200m in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and for nearly 10 years, he strode like a colossus with his running prowess and charisma. He has won eight Olympic and 11 World Championships gold medals before coming here. He has won three gold each in all three Olympics he has taken part, but returned the gold he won in 4x100m relay in Beijing after team-mate Nesta Carter tested positive for a prohibited substance. He has won three gold in all World Championships from 2009 till this edition, except the 100m event in 2011, when he false started to be disqualified. He has also won a silver each in 200m and 4x100m relay in the 2007 Osaka World Championships. Taking into account the bronze in 100m here, he has won 22 medals in Olympics and World Championships taken together, with 19 of them gold. The Muhammed Ali of Athletics, as christened by world athletics body boss Sebastian Coe, Bolt is one of the most charismatic athletes across all sports and he would be remembered as someone who has brought more fans to athletics at a time when public cynicism of the sport was on the rise due to doping controversies. The latest — and the biggest — controversy to hit athletics was the Russian scandal in which the country was accused of systematic state-sponsored doping programme. Despite these scandals, Bolt kept the fans intact, his exploits and charisma brought more youngsters to the sport, a fact Coe has admitted. Bolts successes are unprecedented and all the short sprint records are his. He holds the 100m (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19 seconds) world records — both of them set during the 2009 Berlin World Championships. Since 2007, he has run 54 100m races (excluding heats) and won all but six. In 200m races since 2008, he has lost just one out of 30. He emerged as a prodigious talent for the first time by winning the 200m as a 15-year-old in the 2002 World Junior Championships at his hometown Kingston. He then won another 200m gold in the World Youth Championships in Canada. Bolts young career was, however, rocked by injuries for a few years, but he came back stronger in 2006. Bolt was initially thought to be more suited to run in 200m and 400m as he had difficulty in smoothly starting out of the blocks but, in 2007, his celebrated coach Glenn Mills, who has been with him since 2005, allowed him to run the 100m. In his native Jamaica, he is the most well-known athlete — and possibly the most famous public figure. Thousands turned out in his domestic farewell event in Kingston earlier this year. His exit from the competitive stage — though the IAAF wants him to be associated as global brand ambassador — will bring shudders to athletics bosses. Bolts clean image has been a contrast to his long-time rival Gatlin, who is considered the opposite of the Jamaican. And the IAAF has banked on the Jamaicans clean image to shield the dope-tainted sport. One of the richest sportspersons in the world, he reportedly earns more than USD 30 million a year, mostly through endorsements. The greatest entertainer that athletics — perhaps all sports — have known, Bolt, unlike Ali, has rarely given opinions on issues beyond sport. But the Jamaican wants to coin superlatives about himself like the boxing legend, and fans and media lapped up the idea. Just before this championships, he had demanded that the world write one last headline about him — “Unbeatable. Unstoppable”. Just after his 200m triumph at the 2012 London Olympics, he had declared, “I am a living legend. Bask in my glory!” The world will continue to bask in his glory! PTI PDS AH AHadvertisementadvertisementadvertisement
Fifth seed Caroline Wozniacki capitalised on 41 unforced errors by Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu to cruise to a 6-1 7-5 win in their first round meeting at the U.S. Open on Monday.The 29-year-old Buzarnescu, who was playing in her first-grand slam match, was overwhelmed by the Dane’s powerful baseline game in the first set.She came out with more energy in the second and the two exchanged service breaks to get to 4-4.However, the Romanian became frustrated as she struggled with accuracy and the lefty sent a two-handed backhand long to hand Wozniacki a trip to the second round.”The first round is always difficult, you just want to get into the tournament,” Wozniacki said in an on-court interview.Wozniacki, who calls New York home, said being able to sleep in her own bed was an advantage for her at a tournament where she is a two-time finalist.”It’s awesome because we stay in hotels every week,” she added. “My mom is here and she cooks so that’s nice. It makes it very comfortable.”The win was the former world number one’s 100th grand slam match victory.
England’s fabulous wingplay, Rhian Brewster’s goal and Spain’s switch to an all out attacking game by leaving spaces in the defence towards the end did them in, a crestfallen Spain coach Santiago Denia said after losing the Under-17 FIFA World Cup final here on Saturday.”Our forwards played well first 40 minutes, then the England goal really hurt us,” Denia told mediapersons at the post match presser.”England took a step forward by pressuring us up front that forced us to play possession game and they are very good at transition game. We had open spaces at the back and we did have some chances. But we did not have as much control as we would have liked,” the coach said.Denia said his team was confident of victory going into the break with a 2-1 lead. The Spaniards considered the match open even when England went up 3-2 in the second session.”Until 3-2 it was an open game but after that we had to go forward and leave spaces behind and we conceded goals. We had a very clear chance when it was 3-2 but after that England made it 4-2 and we lost the game at that stage,” the former Atletico Madrid player said.Asked why Spain failed to stop England’s wingplay, he said: “We had prepared a plan to curb England’s wingplay by deploying the left and right back with the midfielders to help them. As you guys saw, they (England) have very good technical players who can play inside. And Foden also cut in from the right. We knew that but we didn’t lay well.”advertisementDenia said he was broken after the defeat but still proud of the work the team has done over the past two years,”That goes beyond the result of final. We have accomplished as a team. We are runners up, we are Euro champions. I am proud of that,” he said.”England are a very good team and they played better than us. I am happy with the way we played but this result… we have to accept it.”Lauding England playmaker Philip Foden, Denia said he had a great future ahead.”He is a great player and has a great future ahead. We tried to defend him but he played well”.He did not think Spain were at a disadvantage having to play at four different venues. In contrast, England played six of their seven games in Kolkata.”No, that is something we cannot control. We are happy to play in four venues. We have been trying to adapt to the conditions in the first two-three days. But it wasn’t enough. Today, that is clear”.
(Eds: Repeating after making correction in heading)Hyderabad, Oct 31 (PTI) In the best form of his life after winning four Super Series titles in five months, star India shuttler Kidambi Srikanth today said that the days of domination of Lin Dan or Lee Chong Wei are over and the tournaments are more wide open than ever.Srikanth, who became the first Indian and only fourth mens singles player in the world to win four Super Series titles in a calendar year, said not a few but many players, including him, are capable of winning top tournaments these days.”For a long time I think (Malaysian) Lee Chong Wei and (Chinas) Lin Dan have dominated badminton. And now it has become more open. Me, Viktor (Axelsen) and even other Indian players are winning tournaments. It has become more wide open and its always good for the sport when you have so many champions,” he told reporters here.Srikanth was felicitated at the P Gopichand Academy here after his recent victories at Denmark Open and French Open. He won Indonesia Open and Australia Open in June and then bagged the Denmark Open and French Open this month.”These days, there are many players who are playing really well and anybody can beat anyone on their given day. So, its always important to be at your best against anyone,” he said.Asked if he thinks Lee Chong and Lin Dan are nearing the end of their careers, he said, “I cant really say thats their end. They have played at the highest level and really have the experience to come back. One cant really take them lightly. Lin Dan played in the final of World Championship. They definitely are tough every time you play them. But, we need to believe in ourselves that we can do well.”advertisementSrikanth might be inching towards the World No. 1 sport after winning the French Open last weekend but he said he was not thinking too much about the rankings.”To be frank I dont really think too much about the rankings. I really did well in the last eight to ten months. I want to just keep playing tournaments and enjoy playing the sport,” he said.Asked if he will become World No. 1 if he wins the upcoming China Open, Srikanth said, “Thats how it is. If you do consistently well, rankings do follow and I dont want to run behind the rankings. I really want to play well in the tournaments.”Srikanth said he will be competing in the Nationals (next week), besides the China and Hong Kong Open and the BWF World Super Series Finals in Dubai in December.”I am very happy now. All the four Super Series are different. After I won the India Open in 2015, it took a long time to win the Indonesia title,” said Srikanth, who beat Axelsen in mens singles quarterfinals in the Denmark Open Super Series Premier.He said match against compatriot H S Prannoy in the French Open was also a tough one.”I was really thinking to play well because I played a great match against him (Viktor) in Japan Open but I lost with by just two-three points. I didnt want that to happen. I wanted to do better and luckily I was able to do it. I am happy with the way I played that quarter final match. He has been in a great form and that win gave me a lot of confidence,” Srikanth said.”Going into the French Open, it was a tough draw and with top players losing in initial rounds, there were so many thoughts running in my mind, but still I told myself that I will take it round-by-round. I fairly did well at the French Open,” he said. PTI VVK PDS PDS
Colin Munro is showing some form and this could be great for him on a personal note ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions later in the month.The southpaw struck his third T20I hundred during New Zealand’s third T20I against West Indies at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.He is the only batsman to hit three hundreds in T20Is. Rohit Sharma, Brendon McCullum, Evin Lewis and Chris Gayle all have two to their name.Munro got to his third T20I hundred off 47 balls in the 17th over of the bowling off Ashley Nurse. Nurse bowled a ball full on middle and he calmly pushed it down to long on to move to 100.NEW WORLD RECORD!Congratulations Colin Munro on becoming the first player to score three T20I centuries! #NZvWI pic.twitter.com/YcV35VHUQZ- ICC (@ICC) January 3, 2018However, he couldn’t kick on from there as he finally fell for 104 from 53 balls in the last over to Carlos Brathwaite while trying to take New Zealand’s score past the 250-run mark. Bratwiate bowled a full ball on middle, Munro looked to swing this over long on but for once, his mistimed shot found the fielder, Hetmyer took the catch to hand Brathwaite his second scalp.WATCHNew Zealand finished with 243/5 from their 20 overs — their highest-ever total in T20s and the seventh highest overall. The Black Caps innings was studded with 12 fours and 17 sixes, out of which Munro hammered three and 10 respectively. The visitors were bowled out for 124 from 16.3 overs and lost the match by 119 runs.advertisementA storming series from @manuz05 sees him win the #NZvWI Player of the Series award.Would Munro be part of your ultimate T20I opening partnership? pic.twitter.com/dlJLBhV7Ra- ICC (@ICC) January 3, 2018Munro’s 47-ball effort is his fastest century in T20Is and the sixth fastest overall. Rohit Sharma and David Miller are joint fastest to hit hundreds in the shortest format of the game. Both reached the three figure mark in 35 balls. While Rohit’s ton came few days back against Sri Lanka at Indore, Miller smashed the Bangladeshis around the park at Potchefstroom on October 29, 2017.Munro’s other two hundreds came against India at Rajkot and Bangladesh in Mount Maunganui in 2017.Ã¯Â¿Â½??Yeh itÃ¯Â¿Â½??s going pretty well at the moment & it was nice to put on a partnership with Guppy.Ã¯Â¿Â½?Ã¯Â¿Â½ – the man of the moment Colin Munro #nzvwi pic.twitter.com/rV5JjMGbB7- BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) January 3, 2018This was also Munro’s third 50 plus score in a row. He smashed 53 and 66 in the first two T20Is respectively.The hosts won the three-match series 2-0 as the second match was washed out.ALSO WATCH:
TweetPinShare0 Shares MINEOLA, N.Y. — A former New York Yankees outfielder has been convicted of sexually abusing a young girl.Rosendo “Rusty” Torres was convicted in a Nassau County court of five counts of sexual abuse July 31. He faces up to seven years in prison on each count. Sentencing is Oct. 7.Prosecutors say Torres abused a girl younger than 11 while acting as a youth baseball coach for the town of Oyster Bay, 20 miles east of New York City. They say the abuse happened in spring 2012 during baseball practice sessions in nearby Plainview.Torres’ attorney says he plans to appeal. The 65-year-old Torres was acquitted of abusing another girl younger than 11.Torres played for five major league teams beginning in 1971. He ended his career in Kansas City in 1980. He had a .212 lifetime batting average.
BRISTOL, Conn. — Hours before his final game for the red, white and blue, Landon Donovan made no effort to hide his anger at Jurgen Klinsmann.The face of American soccer for more than a decade, Donovan had been counting on going to his fourth World Cup.And then after practice at Stanford Stadium on May 22, Klinsmann called in the 32-year-old forward and told him he wasn’t going to BrazilDonovan was stunned and livid.He recorded commercials poking fun at his exclusion, criticized Klinsmann’s tactics during the tournament and was reluctant to accept an offer from U.S. Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati to play a celebratory finale for the national team.Ultimately, Donovan accepted and made his 157th international appearance in an exhibition against Ecuador on Oct. 10th. He hit a post, left in the 41st minute and exchanged a handshake and a soft hug with the coach when he left the game that ended in a 1-1 tie.Looking back, Donovan thinks getting axed benefited him in an unexpected manner.“Although I didn’t agree with the decision and I still know I should have been there, it was also good for me to say, you know what, it’s not always going to go your way,” he said. “And it took time for me to get to that place. I’m human. I had some very real emotions after. But after a while I said: Maybe this is a going to be a good thing. And I wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow had it not happened. I certainly grew a lot more by that happening than if I had gone to the World Cup and played there, and in that way you can learn a lot from it.“I had the opportunity to feel what other players have felt in my career. A lot of times when I made a team I was so happy for me that I forgot about the guy who got cut, so for the first time it kind of put that in front of my face.”Gulati sat at Donovan’s side during a half-hour pre-game news conference on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight set, about 20 miles from Rentschler Field, and maintained his refusal to comment on Klinsmann’s decision.Without Donovan, the U.S. advanced from a difficult first-round group by defeating Ghana, drawing Portugal and losing to Germany. The Americans were knocked out with a 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium, and the Oct. 10 match was their first at home since leaving Brazil.“Three, four months ago, if someone asked if this day would happen, I would have said you’re out of your mind and you’re crazy,” Donovan said. “I give all the credit to Sunil for sticking with me through some hard conversations and understanding what was important and making it happen.“I believe this is a day I deserve. I believe this is a day my family deserves for all the sacrifices they’ve made.”Donovan anticipated 20 family members would attend, and he said the USSF had treated them “like kings and queens” this week. It helped to alleviate some of his vexation.” People forget, for those of us who weren’t selected this summer to play in Brazil, it’s not only difficult for us, it’s difficult for our families,” he said. “In many instances, our families had this amazing vacation trip of a lifetime planned, and that was taken from them.”The Los Angeles Galaxy forward, the American career leader in international goals (57) and assists (58), is retiring at the end of the Major League Soccer season.Donovan played in all 12 U.S. games at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups, scoring an American-record five goals. His stoppage-time winner against Algeria four years ago gave the U.S. first place in its group for the first time in 80 years and created one of American soccer’s iconic moments.Asked about his relationship with Klinsmann, all Donovan would say is: “You know.” It took him awhile to accept Gulati’s offer of a testimonial match.“The thought of being in this environment again didn’t seem all that appealing at the time,” Donovan said. “But at the end of the day I looked at the big picture and realized what a special day this could be. It’s almost like, if you care to believe this stuff, in many ways it’s meant to be. I think it’s no coincidence it’s 10-10 today.”Donovan took over the No. 10 jersey following captain Claudio Reyna’s retirement in 2006. But for all Donovan’s accomplishments, Klinsmann said he wished Donovan “could have done a bit more” and established a career with a European club rather than remain in MLS.“I think it’s easy for people to judge others in their career choices and their life choices,” Donovan said. “I’ve always tried to make decisions that were best for me and best for my family and best for my happiness. I realize that’s not always popular with people. I’m sure a lot of people wish my career had gone a different way.”Donovan took a four-month sabbatical from soccer after the 2012 season, a decision that strained his relationship with Klinsmann, who believes top players should train virtually year-round. Donovan needed time away — he has been open about his struggles with depression.“It’s human nature to have sad periods in life,” he said. “I would much rather feel than not feel things and to go through some of the things we as human beings go through. It’s normal to feel that way.”He’s not quite sure what awaits. Attending college and travel are among the possibilities. He’ll remain involved with the USSF, but how he’s not sure.Coaching intrigues him, but not pros. Perhaps the under-17 team, the level where he first gained world-wide attention in 1999.“I wouldn’t want to deal with male soccer egos. That’s a headache that I think nobody would want, even though some coaches take it on,” he said. “I think being able to really be hands on early in people’s careers would be helpful, because that’s where I needed the most help.”(RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — All that Alex Rodriguez had to show for his first time facing Matt Harvey was admiration for the young ace.Baseball’s top villain went hitless in four at-bats against The Dark Knight, and the rest of the New York Yankees had about as much success against a coolly efficient Harvey in an 8-2 loss to the crosstown-rival Mets on April 25 that evened the Subway Series 1-all.“That was fast!” said A-Rod, who struck out twice. “I mean, it’s so fun to see these great young pitchers come up. Actually, it’s not that fun, but he’s awesome. That’s what baseball’s all about. He challenged me with a 98 mph fastball and threw it right by me.”CC Sabathia couldn’t keep pace with Harvey, who rooted for the Yankees growing up. The 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner gave up seven runs and nine hits, including homers to Lucas Duda, Eric Campbell and Kevin Plawecki. The rough outing got Sabathia (0-4) booed as he walked off the field after allowing the first two batters to reach in the sixth inning.Juan Lagares went 4-for-4 with an RBI triple for the Mets, who got six of their seven RBIs from the Nos. 6-9 batters.“I just want to help the team win, and I haven’t been able to do that three of four times out, or whatever it’s been,” Sabathia said. “This stings a little bit more, because I didn’t give us a chance at all.”Harvey (4-0) and the Mets rebounded from having their 11-game winning streak snapped in the Subway Series opener and kept pace with the 1986 World Series champions for the best start in franchise history at 14-4.In the first Harvey Day at Yankee Stadium, the young ace from Connecticut didn’t disappoint. Coming off Tommy John surgery, he received a nice ovation from Mets fans when he took the mound for the ninth.With two outs, Harvey gave up just his fifth hit and second walk to push his pitch count to 107 and end his outing. He pointed at his chest and said “come on” as Manager Terry Collins came out to change pitchers.“I still felt good. I still felt strong,” Harvey said. “Once you get that close to it you want to finish, but I think he made the right call.”The Mets needed to wait an extra 1 minute, 4 seconds to celebrate their 12th win in 13 games as the Yankees challenged a close play at second for the final out.Harvey struck out seven and yielded Mark Teixeira’s third homer of the series, a leadoff drive in the seventh.Pitching with his balky left ankle taped, Harvey looked nimble fielding his position. He bounded off the mound and made a barehanded grab of a bouncer toward third base by Brian McCann in the second, then nabbed Rodriguez’s sharp shot up the middle with an acrobatic shuffle to end the third.The Yankees jumped out early April 24 in the opener of a much-anticipated series between first-place Big Apple clubs for a 6-1 win.In this late afternoon start, the Mets broke things open after the shadows passed the pitcher’s mound in the fourth inning to snap the Yankees’ four-game winning streak.Duda lined a flat breaking pitch with two outs from Sabathia just over the wall in right field to open the scoring in the first.Jacoby Ellsbury tied it in the third on a double-play grounder.The Mets got the lead right back against a fading Sabathia, scoring four times with two outs in the fourth, including Plawecki’s first career homer and RBIs. “It was a special day in many ways,” Plawecki said.(HOWIE RUMBERG, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
DENVER — The New York Mets roughed up the Colorado Rockies by the exact same 14-9 score for the second straight day, with Juan Uribe homering to start an eight-run burst in the third inning Saturday night.The NL East leaders got a season high-tying 21 hits, including 10 for extra bases. Every New York starter had at least one hit, with pitcher Jonathon Niese (8-9) delivering a two-run single in the big third.Coming off his first career shutout, Chris Rusin (4-6) went two-plus innings and allowed 11 runs and 12 hits, eight of them doubles.It was 14-3 in the fifth inning before Colorado began a comeback that fell short.TweetPinShare0 Shares