Ander Herrera believes Jose Mourinho is right to complain about Manchester United’s pre-season preparations, labelling it the “strangest” he has experienced at the club.United have been without the likes of World Cup participants Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini during their tour of the United States, while Anthony Martial left the squad early to attend the birth of his child.Mourinho has been vocal about his frustration with his thin squad and admitted he is worried ahead of the start of the new Premier League campaign, with his side winning just one of their four matches in the USA. 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 Herrera says the coach is right in his review of their preparations so far, as they have found it difficult to work on tactics.”It’s true, and I agree with him,” he told reporters. “It must be difficult for him to work with a group of players, maybe 50 per cent of whom he’s not going to have in the future.”You can’t really work tactically, because the guys you’re working with could be leaving, going on loan or going to the second team, so it’s difficult for him.”It’s also difficult for us, but we knew in advance before coming that it was going to be like this. This is my fifth pre-season here and it’s the most strange pre-season so far.”Although the 55-year-old seems cynical in his press conferences amid his complaints over the Red Devils’ lack of transfers, too, but the midfielder insists he is different around the squad. “I can just say that with us he’s very positive, he wants us to fight for the titles, he wants us to perform to our best, he wants us to work as hard as possible,” Herrera added.”But probably he’s not frustrated about the club or the market, he’s probably frustrated because he’s not able to work with the players that he’s going to have for the season.”Also you have the situation with Matteo Darmian, he’s playing now every game but probably he’s going to leave. And then some kids, they’re probably going on loan.“So I can understand the manager and if I put myself in his position, I would be in the same situation. You want to fight for the titles but you don’t have the team with you to work for it right now.”With United’s league campaign starting on August 10 against Leicester City, Herrera feels the season should have been delayed to give players more of a rest after the World Cup.”I think the most intelligent thing would have been to postpone the start of the season by maybe one week,” he said.”But we have to accept what’s coming and luckily we’re going to have some players that are now on holiday. We’re going to have them back one week before the start of the season so they can also help.”I think we’re suffering the most, because we had the most players in the semi-finals and final of the World Cup.”But this is football and sometimes it’s like this. It’s really difficult for the manager to now prepare the team because he likes to work tactically and he’s not able to do it.”The only thing we can do now is be positive and try to be as fit as possible for the start of the season. The work we’re not able to do now, we’ll do it in the last three or four days before the start of the season.”We’re in this situation because we have so many good players — fantastic players who have reached the [World Cup] semi-finals and the final.”
Eden Hazard may struggle to match the goalscoring exploits of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but Cesar Azpilicueta believes the Chelsea forward is capable of becoming “the best”.The Belgium international has enjoyed a stunning start to the 2018-19 campaign, finding the target five times in as many games – with that haul including a hat-trick against Cardiff.Maurizio Sarri has already suggested that the 27-year-old could be considered the finest player in Europe, while also challenging him to net 40 times this season. 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! Azpilicueta believes reaching that target will be tough in the Premier League, but is convinced that Stamford Bridge’s talisman can join the global elite at the very top of the game.The Spanish defender told the Daily Mail: “I know Eden, we came here together and I played against him in France so I have seen him for a long time but, yes, I’m sure he can be the best.“He has that quality of eliminating defenders. It’s amazing.“But this season he is adding goals and assists. Sometimes he was playing very good but maybe not selfish; he always gives passes to team-mates.“Messi, Cristiano, they score 50 goals a year and that is very difficult in England. But from his point of view, if he’s more aggressive in the box by scoring goals and making assists, he will be the top of his game.“In normal play he can create chances. It looks very easy. He goes quick, he scores with both feet.“Eden has all the qualities to be the best. And his personality as well, the way he behaves.“He’s the best player in the team but the way he respects everyone, he’s a normal person. That’s amazing to have the best player and his behaviour and everyone loves him in the club. That’s as important as his work on the pitch.”Hazard has helped Chelsea to burst out of the blocks in the current campaign, with 15 points collected from five Premier League outings to date.It is hoped that those standards can be maintained, with Azpilicueta looking for the Blues to avoid slipping far behind Manchester City again and land him a third English top-flight title.He added: “The gap was very big and obviously it was a disappointing season in the Premier League because we missed out on the Champions League.“It’s up to us to close that gap. We have to work hard and if we keep working the way we are doing, we can be close to City.“We have to show it on the pitch. Off the pitch it’s silly to talk about. Two years ago, when we won the title, it was opposite. We were top of the table and they couldn’t get us.“Mentality is key in winning the league. It’s a very tough league and you have to fight against very good teams. No team give you any gifts. The moment to tell about this is on the pitch — and in May.”Chelsea are back in Premier League action on Sunday when they travel to West Ham, with victory by at least two clear goals required in that contest to life them back above Liverpool at the top of the table.
Arsenal have expanded their global partnership agreement with Japanese video game company Konami.The deal, which is in its second year, sees Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) continue as the club’s official video game partner.As part of the expansion of the arrangement with PES 2019, in-game graphics of both the club’s first team players and the Emirates Stadium will benefit from 3D scanning, while former club legends will feature in the game for the first time. 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! Konami provided a preview of the new aspects of the deal in the build-up to a recent exhibition match between Arsenal Legends and Real Madrid legends.Vinai Venkatesham, who has become the club’s managing director following chief executive Ivan Gazidis’ departure to AC Milan, said: “We are excited to be offering our fans the opportunity to experience both the players and Emirates Stadium so accurately within the game while also providing the opportunity to call on some legends in our proud history to bring the game to life.”Jonas Lygaard, senior director brand and business development at Konami Digital Entertainment, added: “Arsenal is one of the biggest and most successful clubs in world football, so we are thrilled to be continuing our partnership with them.”
Rafinha feels beating his old club Inter in the Champions League will give Barcelona a confidence boost for the upcoming Clasico.La Liga leaders Barca host rivals Real Madrid at Camp Nou on Sunday, with Los Blancos coach Julen Lopetegui reportedly on the brink of being dismissed.Barca warmed up for the Clasico with a 2-0 Group B defeat of Inter in the Champions League, Rafinha opening the scoring as he deputised for injured captain Lionel Messi. 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! Jordi Alba added a late second to ensure the scoreline reflected Barcelona’s dominance and, although Messi will not be fit to face Madrid, Rafinha says his team are in good shape.”I was absolutely thrilled to be picked in the starting XI,” Rafinha said to Movistar.”But also for the win, for the goal and for the intense motivation a night like this gives me.”We did very well against a team we knew would cause us difficulties all night. To win like this, Barca had to produce very good football.”This result is a great confidence boost for all of us and when Sunday brings the Clasico we’ll be so up for it.”We are very happy for the match, against a team that was going to make things very difficult for us, we played very well.”The Champions League is special for us, although the other competitions are also very important.”Barcelona currently occupy the summit in La Liga, a point clear of surprise challengers Espanyol and Alaves in what has been an open start to the Primera Division season. Madrid, meanwhile, are a lowly seventh, albeit just four points behind their arch-rivals, and the Merengue know that defeat is not an option at Camp Nou if they wish to stay in the title race.
Dani Alves says “it is not possible” that he will bring the curtain down on his illustrious career without taking in a spell in the Premier League.The Brazilian full-back has come close to making a switch in the past, with Chelsea having sought to acquire his services during Jose Mourinho’s first spell at Stamford Bridge.Pep Guardiola then attempted to put a reunion in place with his former Barcelona charge at Manchester City in the summer of 2017, only to see Alves head to Paris Saint-Germain. 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! At 35 years of age, the clock is ticking on a potential move to England, but an iconic figure of the modern era still hopes to take on such a challenge before hanging up his boots.“The idea that I might finish my career without going to the Premier League, it is not possible,” Alves told The Telegraph.“For sure, this is the most amazing football in the world. First, because of the respect for the players from the fans, and then because of the passion on the pitch.“If I can play, that would be perfect, but I will make it there one way or the other.”Alves admits he found it difficult to shun Guardiola’s advances as he prepared to head for the exits at Juventus, with the pair having previously enjoyed considerable success together at Camp Nou – even if their relationship in Catalunya ended on a sour note.He added: “We had some ups and downs in our relationship and, just before he left [in 2012], he said something that really hurt me.“But he phoned me to talk about it and we had a very special talk. And I like people that are able to say they need to be forgiven and to ask for forgiveness.“So turning him down was painful. In football terms, he was one of the most amazing people I have known, completely obsessed with his work, but how he treated people was special, especially me.”For now, Alves’ focus is locked on events at PSG, with the dominant force in Ligue 1 looking for sizeable investment in the transfer market to deliver tangible reward in Champions League competition.“At other clubs I have been, at Juventus, at Barca, we had two ‘ships’, one for the domestic league, and another for the Champions League,” said Alves.“Not many teams have better players than PSG, but they need to understand the competition they are playing in.“They are very comfortable in the French league, but they need to raise themselves for games against the biggest clubs.”PSG are yet to drop a point in Ligue 1 this season through 13 games, but they have claimed just one win from four European outings and are sweating on progress to the last-16. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
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The world united on August 5 to witness Usain Bolt run the very last individual race of his glittering career. People from all time zones waited with bated breath to see a gold medal hung around the neck of the greatest sprinter of all time.But Justin Gatlin had other plans. Bolt could not ensure a fairytale ending as he could only manage a bronze at the World Championships in London.Gatlin, who has been banned for doping twice, scooped the gold medal while his countryman Christian Coleman won the silver and Bolt, eight-time Olympic champion and 11-time World champion, failed to end his superlative career on a high.The fact that Bolt could not bow out as the World Champion changes nothing in his career and the stadium applauded the champion just like millions sitting in front of TV did.Bolt mentioned later that he raced for the final time for his fans who wanted him to stay for another season.”No regrets,” Bolt insisted, long after a result that stunned a pumped-up crowd into near silence. “It was always going to end, no matter what happened — win, lose or draw. It doesn’t change anything in my career.”Bolt is unlucky to not have a fairytale ending to his immensely clean career but he isn’t the only one.Here are some of the sporting greats who had to suffer heartbreaks during their farewell:DON BRADMANReuters PhotoDon Bradman is widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman of all time. He made his Test debut as a 20-year old against England on November 30, 1928 and wrote the greatest chapter of cricketing history.advertisementIn the 52 Tests that he played, he scored 6996 runs, 29 centuries, 13 fifties and 12 double hundreds.Bradman scored 19 centuries in Ashes Test, more than any other batsman but his last Ashes game, which was also his last game, ended tragically.In his last Test, against England at The Oval on August 14, 1948, the Australian great was just four runs away from averaging a 100 in Tests but got out on a duck, bowled out by Eric Hollies.Despite having a career that is remembered and reverred even today, Bradman did not have an ideal farewell.MUHAMMAD ALIReuters PhotoMuhammad Ali is regarded as one of the most celebrated sports figures from the 20th century. Not only as a boxer, Ali created an impact with his social stance as well.At a mere age of 22 in 1964, Ali won the WBA, WBC and lineal heavyweight title from Sonny Liston. Till today, he remains the only boxer to be the three-time lineal heavyweight champion, having won the title in 1964, 1974 and 1978.Despite being a champion on and off the ring and nicknamed “The Greatest”, Ali did not have the greatest of finishes to his powerful career.Ali initially retired in 1979 but came out of retirement and announced his comeback fight against Larry Holmes. It was around this time that Ali started facing vocal stutters and trembling hands. Holmes dominated Ali in such a ghastly manner that boxing writer Richie Giachetti called the fight “awful… the worst sports event I ever had to cover” and Ali lost the match by a knockout, his only knockout loss.Ali did not stop at that. Even after the Holmes fight that is said to have contributed to his Parkinson’s syndrome, Ali fought one last time in 1981 against Trevor Berbick and lost a ten-round decision.Thus, a massively successful career ended in an immensely tragic manner.DIEGO MARADONAReuters PhotoDiego Maradona is widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time along with Pele. He was the joint FIFA Player of the 20th Century with Pele.Maradona was a classic number 10 and shattered the then world record transfer fee twice when he went to Barcelona for 5 million euros and then to Napoli for 6.9 million euros.Despite the success and beauty of Lionel Messi’s game, Maradona is still considered the greatest Argentinian footballer mainly because he led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup final against West Germany.Maradona also has to his credit an iconic ‘Hand of God’ goal and ‘The Goal of the Century’, his 66 yard dribble past five England players, which was voted so in 2002 by FIFA.com.Despite being such a successful footballer, Maradona had an ugly end to his playing days.In 1990, he was suspended after he tested positive for doping after a match between Napoli and Bari and then his career hit rock bottom when he was tested positive at the 1994 World Cup.SPECIAL MENTION — ZINEDINE ZIDANEadvertisementReuters PhotoZinedine Zidane is considered to be one of the most decorated and gifted footballers in the history of the game. He is famous for his sharp tactics, his flair and passing skills.An attacking midfielder by trade, Zidane has won France the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship two years later.Zidane is also a three-time Ballon d’Or, having won it twice with Juventus in 1998 and 2000 and once with Real Madrid in 2003.Zidane had a beautiful career — one that is still looked at awe with — yet his final international game was about everything but his game.It was the final of the 2006 World Cup between France and Italy and the game was tense. The match was nearing the end of extra time and all hopes were rested on the duo of Zidane and Thierry Henry.Suddenly around the 110th minute mark, Zidane turned back at Marco Materazzi and headbutted him.As the crowd stood stunned, Zidane got sent off and his magical career ended with a red card.
New Delhi, Aug 25 (PTI) Abhinav Bindra, Indias only individual Olympic gold medallist, today stressed on the need to “aggressively” work towards creating a sporting culture in the country and “clearly define” its aspiration. “We should aggressively work towards creating a sporting culture in the country, encourage weekend sporting activity rather than going for, say movies. We need to indulge in sporting activities. You dont need to play competitively. And this has not happened,” Bindra said. The five-time Olympian, who called time on his decorated shooting career after the Rio Games last year, was in the capital for a talk chaired by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. Going back in time, Bindra said he had wanted to stay at home but had to go abroad because of lack of infrastructure and coaching, and sports secretary Injeti Srinivas said they are trying to reverse that trend. “My plan A was to train at home but had to switch to plan B,” he said. As part of the eight-member Olympic Task Force – constituted to plan a roadmap to improve Indias performance in the next three Olympics – Bindra has given his recommendations to the sports ministry. Bindra remains the only individual gold medallist at the Olympic Games in a country of more than one billion. “We must understand what Olympic sports mean to us, we need to clearly define our aspirations. For China, it was very important for them to make a statement and Olympic Games is one way of doing that,” Bindra said. Grassroots and nutrition figure in Bindras priority list. “We need systems in place, we still have a lot to do in grassroot level. “We all talk about medals in multinational events, criticise after the Games but we dont pay enough attention to grassroot,” he said. Regarding nutrition, he said in many places, especially in villages and small towns, it is way below the required level and there are lots of challenges that needed to be addressed. “That is a very vital element going forward,” Bindra said on the importance of nutrition. Bindra, who said taking a call on retirement was easier than winning the gold medal at the Beijing Olympic in 2008, is optimistic about the future of Indian shooting, saying there is a lot of depth now. “Indian shooting has a lot of depth in talent. Its important to nurture their path, training them in the four- year Olympic cycle and I am sure that Olympic success will come if we follow this path.” He talked about the role played by culture, information and infrastructure in helping develop champion athletes. PTI AH SSC SSCadvertisement
Virat Kohli invited the Indian cricket team to dine at his restaurant Nueva at Delhi’s RK Puram.Team India is currently in Delhi, Kohli’s home town. The Men in Blue will take on New Zealand in the first of three T20 Internationals at the Feroz Shah Kotla.The Indian team, in the middle of another hectic home season, however, made the most of a night out in Delhi which is gearing up to welcome the winter.The likes of MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Jasprit Bumrah and coach Ravi Shastri were seen at the fine dining restaurant which specialises in authentic South American food.Great fun with the boys at Nueva. ?????And a very Happy Anniversary to Jatt ji @SDhawan25 and Aesha. ???@BCCI #StumpedAtNueva #TeamIndia #SouthAmericanCuisine pic.twitter.com/LNFaWerGVb- Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) November 1, 2017Kohli has been in top form throughout 2017 and is the leading run scorer in ODIs this year. He has also hammered six hundreds and has led India to series wins over England, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand.Besides, Kohli also oversaw India’s journey to the final of the Champions Trophy final which they lost to Pakistan.India will play New Zealand at the Kotla on Wednesday evening.India, 2007 World T20 champions, have never won a T20 match against New Zealand. The two sides have played five matches so far and the Black Caps have emerged victorious in all those games.India and New Zealand had last clashed in the shortest format during the World T20 last year.advertisement
Mumbai, Dec 6 (PTI) National badminton coach, Pullela Gopichand, today expressed happiness at the performance this year of Indian shuttlers and termed Kidambi Srikanths feat of winning four Super Series titles as “phenomenal”.”Its been a great year. I think all the players have done well. At the beginning of the year if you had said this is what you would get this year, I would have taken it very happily,” said Gopichand here.”In the big events – World Championships or Super Series events, we have done well. Also varied people have done well. Last year was, may be, (P V) Sindhus year. This year mens singles has come off (well). Three of them winning Super Series titles, winning GP gold level – (HS) Prannoy and Sameer (Verma) winning. Overall it has been a good year. Now hoping for a good finish in Dubai (Super Series finals) to what has been a great year already,” he remarked.”We have a pretty cramped calendar in the world level. Considering that, what we have been able to manage has been good. Its a good stepping stone for the next year as well,” he noted.”To win four Super Series titles and becoming runner-up at one and, at the end of the year, reaching a ranking of world no. 2 is phenomenal. Not many players in world badminton (have achieved that). The only players who have achieved what he has achieved – we call them legends of the sport across time,” said Gopichand on Srikanths brilliant run this year.advertisementSrikanth had started his brilliant title-run by clinching the mens singles title in the Indonesian Super Series and followed it up by winning the singles Super Series crowns in Australia, Denmark and France.In between, the Hyderabad shuttler also finished runner-up to compatriot B Sai Praneeth in the Singapore SS and was a losing quarter finalist in the World Championships.”Hes 24 and has many more years to compete. (With) Lee Chong Wei at 34 and Lin Dan at 33 (still playing), we can expect that he has 8-10 years of badminton left in him. What he has achieved is phenomenal. What he can achieve, considering his potential, is unbelievable,” Gopichand gushed.On Sindhu, silver medal winner in womens singles at last years Rio Olympics, Gopichand said it was a fine display by the lanky shuttler to maintain such high levels the year after the sports spectacle in Brazil.”Sindhu has been good – Super Series wins in the India Open and Korea and finals of the Super Series in Hong Kong and the World Championship (silver) medal. To come back after an Olympic year and, in the next year, perform like that and finish off as world no. 2 is good.”She had problems with (Spains Olympic champion) Carolina (Marin), she beat her; with (Japans Akane), Yamaguchi, she beat her. She is improving as a player. I believe, the next year could be even better. She is just 22, young and has a lot of potential.”He also said that Saina Nehwal, bronze medallist in the 2012 London Games who has moved back to Hyderabad from Bengaluru after the World Championships, is showing what she is capable of after her injury last year during the Olympics.”We will have to work on a few aspects of her game. Its good that in the last few tournaments she had good performances – beating Carolina after a while and the match against Chen Yufei which she played. Overall she is showing that she is capable now. She needs to be fitter and also get back from her injury, as well as ensure she is physically stronger to win match after match,” said Gopichand.Looking ahead to next years Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, and the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Gopichand hoped that the shuttlerss display would be better than that at Glasgow, Scotland and Incheon, South Korea.”Every two years we have these big events – whether its Commonwealth Games, or Asian Games or the Olympics. We are hoping we will come out strongly. In 2014 there were good performances and hopefully we can better it.” PTI SSR NRB
KL Rahul had the best seat in the stadium as he watched Rohit Sharma slam the joint-fastest hundred in T20 Internationals in the ongoing second T20I against Sri Lanka in Indore.Rohit brought up the three-figure mark in just 35 balls, equalling South Africa’s David Miller’s record, who achieved the feat against Bangladesh at Potchefstroom in October 2017.India ended up with 260/5 in 20 overs after they were put into bat. This is the joint-second highest total in T20I history.Rohit’s innings was laced with 10 sixes and 12 boundaries as he ended up scoring 118 off just 43 balls, falling to Dushmantha Chameera in the 12th over. It was his second hundred in T20 Internationals, the first Indian to do so.”Nothing to beat Rohit’s batting. I was standing there and telling myself ‘That’s incredible man! You just cannot hit balls like that for sixes’,” Rahul said.Rohit and Rahul shared a 165-run stand for the first wicket which is the highest opening partnership for India in the shortest format of the game.Rahul himself was looking good for his second hundred in T20Is but was unfortunately dismissed for 89 off 49 balls. He smashed 8 sixes and 5 boundaries during his knock.Rahul also revealed that Rohit didn’t even realise when he reached the triple figures.”(Whether Rohit could have got a 200) I did tell him in the 11th over when he played a few dot balls, I told him that there is one more 200 for the taking and he just smiled. He wasn’t bothered at all about all that, didn’t even realize when he got to a 100,” the 25-year-old said.advertisementRohit brought up his half century off just 23 deliveries, sending medium pacer Asela Gunaratne over deep mid-wicket for a maximum before swiftly moving on to 97 when he took his Sri Lankan counterpart Thisara Perera to the cleaners four times, thrice consecutively as the over yielded 26 runs.The Mumbaikar brought up his century in the next over, lacing a length ball through the covers for a boundary off Angelo Mathews before belting two sixes and a four off Dushmantha Chameera, who finally managed to bring the curtains down on Rohit’s innings with a slower one.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter joked around the batting cage before the game at Angel Stadium, wondering which old guy would be the last to hit his first homer of the season.Even Roberts was a bit surprised to beat the captain in that competition, and he did it at a key moment for the New York Yankees.Roberts hit a tie-breaking solo homer in the ninth inning, and the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on May 6 for just their second victory in seven games.Roberts connected with two outs against Ernesto Frieri (0-3), putting his first homer with his new club into the elevated right field stands. After the game, the ball was nestled in the locker of the longtime Baltimore infielder.“Never hit a homer in any other uniform, so I’ll take it home,” said Roberts, who also had an early RBI single. “I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable. Sometimes, some things just click. It’s been nice to get something going a little bit.”After a slow start in pinstripes, Roberts is steadily improving at the plate, according to Manager Joe Girardi. The Yankees’ unassuming replacement for second baseman Robinson Cano now has the same number of homers as Cano has hit for the Seattle Mariners this season.Alfonso Soriano had a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth inning, and David Robertson pitched the ninth for his fifth save in an all-around encouraging effort by the Yankees.Hiroki Kuroda had his longest and best start of the season, allowing just one earned run and not walking a batter while striking out eight in 7 2-3 innings. The Japanese right-hander is winless in four starts, but he largely shut down the Angels.“When Kuroda pitched the way he did, you need to win those games,” Roberts said.Mike Trout tripled and scored the tying run on Albert Pujols’ two-out single off Shawn Kelley (1-2) in the eighth inning for the Angels, who had won five of seven on their nine-game homestand.Erick Aybar and Trout drove in runs with consecutive sacrifice flies in the third inning for the Angels, but their combustible bullpen let them down again after eight solid innings by C.J. Wilson.Frieri had been pitching well since losing his job as the Angels’ closer, and Manager Mike Scioscia isn’t discouraged.“(Frieri) just made one mistake tonight,” Scioscia said. “He just yanked one pitch to Roberts, but give Roberts credit. He was ready for it.”The Angels couldn’t reward Wilson, who yielded seven hits and struck out five in just his second non-winning start since April 1.Wilson hit Jeter with a pitch to open the eighth, and Carlos Beltran’s seeing-eye grounder up the middle sent Jeter to third. Jeter was tagged out after Mark Teixeira’s grounder, but Soriano’s single to left easily scored Beltran.“This is a lineup that typically goes up there and swings for damage,” Wilson said of the Yankees. “But today they made a concerted effort to put the ball in play and make contact. I didn’t have a lot of strikeouts because they were just fighting pitches off and stuff. They did a really good job of that.”Trout snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a two-out triple off the top of the right-field wall in the eighth, barely missing a tying homer. Trout has never gone more than 14 at-bats without a hit in his major league career, but he had something close to a slump when he struck out on a pitch in the dirt to end the fifth, stranding two runners.“We all know how good a hitter he is,” Kuroda said through a translator. “At that moment (in the eighth), I tried to just attack him and see how it goes. I don’t feel bad about it.”The hit chased Kuroda, and Pujols worked a full count from Kelley before delivering a clean single to left-center.(GREG BEACHAM, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
NEW YORK — The first momentous thing Chris Young did the night of Sept. 11th was spoil Alex Cobb’s bid for a no-hitter, saving the Yankees some embarrassment.Then, he gave them a scintillating victory.Young doubled in the eighth inning for New York’s first hit and launched a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth that rallied the Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the stunned Tampa Bay Rays.“It feels like you’re floating on a cloud. I don’t even remember it, to be honest with you,” said Young, swarmed by happy teammates and doused with an orange sports drink during his postgame television interview. “All I remember is hitting the ball and being at home plate.”Pinch-hitter Martin Prado connected for a two-run shot immediately after Cobb was pulled in the eighth, and the Yankees took two of three in the series by climbing out of a four-run hole for the second consecutive night — the only times they’ve done that all season.Young homered off closer Jake McGee with one out to win it. Clinging to slim playoff hopes, the Yankees finished 5-4 on their penultimate homestand to move within four games of Detroit for the second AL wild card with 18 remaining. Three other teams are between them and the Tigers.Yunel Escobar homered twice and drove in four runs for Tampa Bay.Young’s one-out double ended Cobb’s attempt to become the first visiting pitcher to throw a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium since Virgil Trucks did it for the Detroit Tigers in 1952. Six pitchers combined on a no-hitter for the Houston Astros in the Bronx on June 11, 2003.“Wow. I don’t think it’s actually set in yet,” Cobb said.He was lifted after Young’s opposite-field drive up the right-center alley on his 102nd pitch. The right-hander with the funky windup, on quite a roll lately, received a warm hand from a crowd of 32,627 that included former Yankees great Mariano Rivera.“It was tough to break it up at that point,” said Cobb, who was a little surprised to be taken out. “At that point I was still in game mode. I looked up at the video board and saw that it was a pretty decent pitch, so I wasn’t too upset about it.”Prado, on the bench because of a sore hamstring, homered off Brad Boxberger to trim Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-2.Moments later, Derek Jeter was hit by a pitch in the left elbow and bent over in obvious pain. Jeter stayed in the game, and X-rays were negative. He said he was fine.New York got a bigger scare in the ninth when Chase Headley was struck on the chin by a 98 mph fastball from McGee (4-2). Headley stayed down on his back for a couple of minutes as he was attended to by two trainers.With blood trickling down his chin, Headley sat up and walked off the field with both trainers. He was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.“It doesn’t appear he will need stitches. His teeth are all there. I still think you have to get his jaw X-rayed,” Manager Joe Girardi said, adding that Headley would not travel with the team to Baltimore but could join the Yankees there at some point Sept. 12.Ichiro Suzuki followed with a double and Young, released last month by the crosstown Mets after a season-long slump, drove an 0-1 pitch to left field for his latest big hit in pinstripes this week.He’s made three starts for the Yankees, all as an injury fill-in during the Tampa Bay series, and finished a triple shy of the cycle Wednesday night.“He’s done an awful lot. They said he was a talented player who had a rough year this year,” Girardi said. “It’s amazing how things can turn around for a player. … That’s a huge hit for us.”Shawn Kelley (3-5) got two outs for the win.Cobb hasn’t yielded more than two runs in any of his past 12 starts, a club record and the longest active streak in the majors.Escobar connected twice off starter Michael Pineda, including a three-run shot, for the first multihomer game of his career.(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The New York Islanders knew this would be a special day on Long Island when they first saw the schedule months ago.They felt it hours before the first puck dropped for their last home opener at Nassau Coliseum.It has been decades since the Islanders have been a hockey dynasty, and the club has reached the Stanley Cup playoffs only once since 2007. They hope to bring a little more glory to the old barn before they ship off to Brooklyn.John Tavares and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist, and the Islanders stayed perfect in the young season by beating Carolina 4-3 on Oct. 11 to sweep a two-game series from the Hurricanes.In the darkened arena before game time, the sold-out crowd illuminated the seating area with specks of white from cellphones they held up — creating a planetarium-type atmosphere.And the noise was deafening.“It was crazy,” said forward Josh Bailey, who scored the winning goal in the second period. “The last time we heard it like that was definitely in the playoffs. From the time we were getting ready here, we could hear it out there.”Tavares and Nelson powered the Islanders’ offense again after they filled the score sheet in a 5-3 win at Carolina on Oct. 10. Nelson had two goals and two assists in the opener, and Tavares had three assists to jump into 16th place on New York’s career scoring list.“It was exciting,” Nelson said. “I think everyone was looking forward to this date. We started the season yesterday, but coming back to the rink today, it felt like we were starting all over again.”Cory Conacher added a goal for the Islanders, who have been on Long Island since joining the NHL in 1972.Carolina’s Jiri Tlusty scored two power-play goals in the first period and completed his second NHL hat trick with 5:58 left in the third. Alexander Semin had two assists, and backup Anton Khudobin made 27 saves.It just wasn’t enough to keep Carolina from an 0-2 start. “I think we competed hard,” Tlusty said. “We did better things, but they have a real good power play. They took over the game.”Chad Johnson stopped 21 shots to earn his first win with the Islanders.After scoring two goals in the first period for the second straight night, the Islanders poured it on again in the feisty middle frame to grab a 4-2 lead.Nine penalties were called in the second — including a fight between New York’s Matt Martin and Carolina’s Jay Harrison.Nelson gave New York a 3-2 lead during a power play when he deflected in a lunging slap shot drive from inside the middle of the blue line by new defenseman Johnny Boychuk at 6:47. The Islanders then capitalized in the closing seconds to forge their first two-goal lead of the night.The Islanders nudged the puck into the Carolina zone, and Frans Nielsen spotted Bailey driving down the middle and hit him with a pass in the slot from the right circle. Bailey popped it past Khudobin with 3.5 seconds remaining to make it 4-2.“You have to execute with the puck, and we didn’t do enough of that,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said.The Islanders got on track quickly, scoring a power-play goal just 3:50 into the game when Tavares took a cross-zone feed from Nelson near the top of the left circle and slapped a drive past Khudobin for his first of the season and first since Feb. 8, just before his season-ending knee injury at the Olympics.“Every goal feels great,” Tavares said. “There is no feeling really like it. It was just nice to kind of hit my target. I got all of it.”The Islanders were quicker and more engaged early and threatened to jump ahead even more on their second power play of the game at 5:17.But the Hurricanes found their legs and killed that one, and then quieted the crowd and seemingly grabbed the momentum when Tlusty scored his first 36 seconds into Travis Hamonic’s hooking penalty with 5:47 left in the opening period.Before that goal could be announced, the Islanders grabbed the lead just 31 seconds later.Kyle Okposo let go a hard drive as he entered the Hurricanes zone at the left point, and Khudobin gloved the puck but fumbled it and dropped it. Tavares got it at the right post, spun and flung a pass across the front of the crease to Conacher, who was alone at the left post for an easy tap-in with 5:47 remaining.However, New York couldn’t carry the advantage into the intermission after Martin was whistled for tripping with 1:04 to go.Eric Staal took a pass from Semin in the middle of the right circle and sent a perfect pass to Tlusty at the left post for a redirect into the net with 15.5 seconds left in the first to tie it 2-2.(IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — When Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart got crunched into the boards early in the second period, the Jets woke up from their doldrums — and that was even before they made the New York Islanders pay on the power play.A sluggish start put the Jets into a hole, but they snapped out of it, withstood a comeback, and put the finishing touches on a 4-3 win when Andrew Ladd scored his second goal of the game in the third period Oct. 28.“It definitely feels like we’re kind of growing as a team,” said Bryan Little, who had three assists. “We’re learning fast from our mistakes and we’re doing a better job of kind of handling the game.”It turned 24 seconds into the second when New York’s Nikolay Kulemin slammed Stuart into the boards in front of the penalty boxes. Kulemin was given a major penalty and was ejected.The Jets grabbed a 2-1 lead and the momentum. “Getting two goals out of that and getting ahead and being able to play with the lead for a little bit definitely energized our bench,” Ladd said.The Jets coughed up a 3-1 lead and were tied going into the third, but a turnover by Kyle Okposo led to the winning goal. Ladd put in a rebound of Little’s shot to put Winnipeg ahead to stay at 3:31.“We didn’t go hard to the net enough to get it done,” said Islanders captain John Tavares, who got New York within 3-2. “You gave a team like that enough chances on the power play and they will hurt you.”Mikhail Grabovski got the Islanders even at 3 in the second, and Brock Nelson staked New York to a 1-0 lead in the first. Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots.Defensemen Paul Postma and Jacob Trouba also scored for the Jets, who began a four-game trip. Ondrej Pavelec made 18 saves.“We got our feet moving after the first period,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said. “The power play gave us some life and we responded well to them coming back on us and played our best hockey in the third.”Following Kulemin’s hit, Stuart laid on his stomach for several moments. He got up on all fours after being attended to by a trainer and skated off. He returned soon after.The Jets used the extended power play well as Ladd and Postma scored 2:52 apart during the advantage that generated six shots.Ladd made it 1-1 at 1:14 when he got to a rebound of Toby Enstrom’s shot and punched it past Halak for his third goal. Postma pushed Winnipeg in front with an unassisted goal. Of the defenseman’s six career NHL goals, three have been scored against the Islanders.“For some reason I get pucks to the net in this rink and they manage to go in for me,” Postma said.Winnipeg widened its lead to 3-1 when the teams played 4-on-4. Trouba took a pass from Stuart in the neutral zone, carried the puck into the New York end and snapped a wrist shot from the high slot that ticked off Halak’s glove and carried into the net.“We lost the game, and bottom line is I need to do better,” Halak said.The Islanders made the most of a minor boarding penalty by Mark Scheifele on Thomas Hickey when Tavares scored a power-play goal with 5:32 left in the second. Grabovski tied it 1:24 later.New York drew a hooking penalty on Blake Wheeler just 1:02 in and then capitalized on the power play 14 seconds later when Nelson netted his fifth goal. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk rocketed a shot from the left circle off the left post, and the carom came right to Nelson, who easily steered it into the net.But New York was only 2 for 5 on the power play, including an advantage in the game’s closing minutes. The Islanders mustered only 12 shots in the final two periods and now head out on a five-game Western trip.“We had some pretty good chances, but when you don’t move the puck well, you don’t deserve to win,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “It’s going to be a long road trip is we don’t figure it out.”New York had the better of the play throughout the first period, putting constant pressure on the Winnipeg defense and holding a 9-7 shots edge. “We tired them out in our end,” Maurice said with a laugh. “That was part of the plan.”(IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
THESSALONIKI – Greek basketball power Panathinaikos lost its second in a row in the Greek league, this time by a resounding 71-54 to the surging PAOK, which is now third behind the Greens in second and the leaders Olympiakos.In a game postponed from mid-November, PAOK was in control from the get-go although it allowed Panathinaikos to claw back to a 32-30 halftime deficit before running away.Playing a taut defense, the winners stifled the Panathianikos offensive game and were helped by poor three-point shooting from the losers.PAOK got 18 points from Marc Antonio Carter and 16 from Vangelis Margaritis while James Gist tallied 18 for the losers.The result gives Olympiakos a one-point lead on top with PAOK only two behind Panathiniakos now and also with a game in hand to make it up.TweetPinShare0 Shares
TweetPinShare0 Shares ATHENS – Panathinaikos’ violent-scarred 2-1 win over arch-rival Olympiacos was essentially nullified when the Greens were penalized three points.The disciplinary committee of the Super League issued the penalty and also hit Panathinaikos with further penalties, including playing two home games without fans and a fine of 100,000 euros.The verdict can be appealed and Panathinaikos is likely to do so because the decision pushed the Greens six points behind Olympiacos.The game had so much violence that the country’s sports administration first issued an indefinite suspension for the Greek first-tier professional soccer league but that was rolled back to only a week with promises by team officials to stop violence, which has never happened.In its win, Panathinaikos fans responded to the taunting by Olympiacos manager Vitor Pereira before the game by invading the field and attacking the rival players and rifled objects at Olympiacos President Vangelis Marinakis.Violence, and even deaths, happen often in Greek soccer, usually followed by vows of a crackdown which never happens and the games go on.
Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will stand at stud for $200,000, one of the highest prices for a horse in his first year as a stallion.The fee was set by Ashford Stud, which operates as Coolmore’s American breeding facility in Versailles, Kentucky.The colt’s breeding rights were purchased from owner Ahmed Zayat for an undisclosed amount earlier in the year, with reports putting the figure between $15 million and $20 million.A stallion typically books up to 200 mares in a year, which means American Pharoah’s first-year worth could be $40 million. The colt earned $8,650,300 on the track with nine wins in 11 races.Zayat has said he retains an interest in the horse, but would not disclose specifics.American Pharoah capped his spectacular career with a victory in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland on Oct. 31. Two days later, the 3-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile was vanned about eight miles to Ashford.After sweeping the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes, American Pharoah became racing’s first Triple Crown winner in 37 years and 12th overall.Pioneerof the Nile stands at nearby WinStar Farm, and his stud fee rose to $125,000 from $60,000 this year as American Pharoah kept winning races.Tapit is the leading sire in North America, and the 14-year-old stands at Gainesway Farms for $300,000.(RICHARD ROSENBLATT, AP Racing Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares