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Gerrard joy as Reds edge a thriller

first_img At the final whistle Reds captain Gerrard looked to the heavens and burst into tears before gathering his team-mates around him into a huddle, no doubt to remind them that this title is not yet won despite this potentially pivotal result. Manager Brendan Rodgers insisted the result of this game would not decide the destiny of the Barclays Premier League title but the Reds have four matches to go and after a 10th successive victory are on a seemingly unstoppable roll. Chelsea, the other title-chasers, visit in a fortnight and a successful negotiation of that fixture would put Liverpool in the driving seat to win a first title since 1990. City still have two matches in hand but this defeat takes things out of their control as they are now seven points off the top. With the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster falling on Tuesday, floral tributes were presented to Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush by City’s Mike Summerbee, Joe Corrigan and Tony Book before the kick-off and there was a ’96 25 Years’ Kop mosaic for the impeccably observed minute’s silence. But the volume inside Anfield was soon cranked up to 11 and a clearly fired-up Luis Suarez was booked early for a late challenge on Martin Demichelis. The Uruguayan’s next intervention was out of the top drawer as his brilliant through-ball put Sterling up against Kompany, the City captain seemingly recovered from his injury scare in training on Saturday. Sterling showed remarkable composure and feinted right, moved left before switching back almost in the same movement and with such speed it left his marker and England goalkeeper Joe Hart so out of position that it created a big gap at the near post in which to drive the ball. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard cried tears of joy as his team moved a step closer to a first league title in 24 years with a thrilling 3-2 win over championship rivals Manchester City at Anfield. Press Association It was the first time City had conceded a Premier League goal inside the first 15 minutes and, after Sterling’s teasing ball had been guided wide of the far post by Daniel Sturridge, there were more good omens for the hosts when City’s star midfielder Yaya Toure was forced off with an injury apparently sustained ballooning a shot into the Anfield Road end. If City were all over the place before he departed they were almost clueless afterwards, allowing Gerrard a free header from a Coutinho corner which Hart superbly tipped over. It only delayed the inevitable as from the resulting Gerrard corner Skrtel easily lost Kompany, nipped in front of Gael Clichy and flicked a header over Hart and inside the far post. The speed of Liverpool’s attacks had City chasing shadows – unfamiliar territory for them – and Coutinho, Suarez and Sturridge combined to almost make it three. When City did pierce Liverpool’s defence Gerrard, excellent in nullifying the first-half threat of Silva, produced the perfect tackle to deny Edin Dzeko inside the area. However, Mamadou Sakho, who kept his place at the expense of a fit-again Daniel Agger, managed to get away with a less precise challenge on the Bosnian as they raced to the byline. Silva’s woeful free-kick driven straight into the wall appeared to suggest Gerrard had succeeded in smothering all the creativity out of the Spain international but, after Sterling and Johnson both cleared from under their own crossbar and Simon Mignolet saved Fernandinho’s volley, it was a different story in the second half. James Milner’s introduction for Jesus Navas five minutes after half-time produced a positive response with the England international combining to allow Silva to expertly round off an incisive passing move from close range. Silva, finding greater freedom, created the equaliser when he drifted left and drilled in a low cross which Johnson diverted past Mignolet. City were now in the ascendancy and Silva should have put them in front when substitute Sergio Aguero, making his first appearance for a month after a hamstring problem, skipped past Skrtel and crossed to him but the Spaniard guided his shot wide. It was to prove costly as a misjudgement by Kompany presented Coutinho with a first-time chance which he drilled past Hart with 12 minutes to go. Liverpool were hanging on going into five minutes of added time and fatigue played its part as Jordan Henderson lunged in on Samir Nasri and was shown a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg. They held on and the team huddle at the end, with Gerrard offering his words of wisdom accompanied by chants of ‘We’re gonna win the league’, certainly put a smile on the face of watching owner John W Henry. City now need favours from other teams to if they are to reclaim the title but the day finished in Liverpool’s favour – just. Philippe Coutinho’s strike 12 minutes from time settled a pulsating encounter, which went all the hosts’ way in the first half with goals from Raheem Sterling and Martin Skrtel. However, City showed their resolve to bring it back to 2-2 in the second half as David Silva and a Glen Johnson own goal pulled them level, but a sliced clearance from City captain Vincent Kompany fell kindly to Coutinho to rifle in the decisive fifth goal of the match. last_img read more

I think Mahendra Singh Dhoni is past his best: Roger Binny

first_imgNEW DELHI: Former India cricketer and selector Roger Binny feels wicket-keeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni is past his prime now and that is evident from the way he has been playing cricket in the last two seasons. Dhoni last played for Team India in the semifinal of the 2019 ICC World Cup in Manchester where they sufferred a heartbreaking 18-run defeat against New Zealand.”He (MS Dhoni) has lost a bit of fitness. There are younger players coming through the system. He was good enough to pass on the gloves to the younger players which is good of him but yeah, I think he is past his best,” Binny said during an interaction on Sportskeeda’s Facebook page. “Seeing him the last couple of seasons, he is easily past his best cricket which he has played, which we have seen him capable of doing,” he added. Dhoni was gearing up to take part in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League in March, knowing a good performance in the cash-rich league for Chennai Super Kings could help him seal a place in the squad for T20 World Cup Down Under. IANS Also watch: The Mores: Let’s Talk Lifestyle & Fashionlast_img read more

Edmond Ajoge: After 5 Years of International Tennis Tournament, I’m Better…

first_imgIt has been five years since what started as an experiment international tournaments in Abuja with over 40 African and other foreign players hitting the courts of the Abuja Stadium. Each year the foreigners spend at least three weeks in Nigeria competing for the much-needed points that could take them to greater heights in the game of tennis. It was exciting speaking with Edmond Ajoge who took time out to go down memory lane and the joy of having a stadium ‘homeboy’ compete and take on a much-established European players to three sets for points before bowing out gallantly. Stanley Nkwazema brings excerptsHow is the journey so far?This is the 5th edition and the journey has been very interesting. Of course, it’s been one challenge or the other but so far so good it’s been good and nice. I have said it, every opportunity I have had, I actually got into this because of the fact that I saw a tournament in Abuja that I felt was not properly organised. It was a local championship. And I felt the standard wasn’t good enough, that we could do better than that. That was how I got involved in it and we have done our bit in the last five years to showcase how good we are as a people. How things could be done properly in a country like ours and the kind of support and encouragement we have had from all the players I have been visiting is always very encouraging and so far, so good we have achieved our aims. First it was Tombim, then Dayak and now GSL is in its third edition, are we moving forward?It is such an amazing experience I won’t lie to you because when I started five years ago, I was not even sure we were going to come this far. We thank God this is the 5th edition, this year Dayak will be having the 4th edition too and GSL the 3rd edition. That shows there’s been consistency and quite a few people are talking to us too that they want to do theirs. The support and encouragement from friends and tennis lovers have been very encouraging and high and that’s one of the reasons why we have had successful tournaments in the last five years. We have lots of volunteers that are our friends and some of them are our well-wishers. They all come around and give their little support here and there which makes the tournament according to the players, their parents and some of the coaches as one of the best tournaments in the circuit.Attitude of local players; they lack discipline but the motivation is there they don’t want to cash in on the support they’ve been getting from people who are tennis enthusiasts and even people from outside the tennis environment. Does it not sadden you that we have not gotten anyone who has reached the finals after all these years we’ve been hosting this competition in Abuja with all the encouragement and with all the facilities we have turned around.Let’s be frank here. The truth is, as a human being you can’t have it rosy in every facet of your life. Like you know because you are a tennis player too, we have done our bit. We brought the tournament here for Nigerian players to have opportunities to earn themselves points. Some of them took advantage of it. Most of them are not doing that. But inasmuch as we are not happy with their attitude, we won’t stop doing what we are doing because we know a lot of people are benefitting, good tennis for people to watch, it helps our people to relax and it makes the younger ones look up to some people and feel that okay, maybe, someday I could be this good. I could get as far as these guys in ATP tennis.But you see there is one particular thing that happened this year that has been a good thing. Something we can all celebrate. Five years ago, when we started one of our ball boys then Musa Mohammed played this year, so far, that has the best match of the championship. By the best I mean a match that was very tough. It had every spectator in the stadium abandon all the other matches including the foreign players were all glued to the match being played by Musa. The support Musa had was because he’s one of the indigenes of the stadium. What I mean by indigene of the stadium is that this guy may not have been born in the stadium but has lived all his life in the stadium. So, for one of us to get as far as that is something worth celebrating. He got a wild card and made very good use of it. Thirdly, we are hoping and praying that I will give him more opportunities to exhibit his skills and all. All the officials were glued to his match. That goes to show you how interesting that match was even though he lost at the end of the day but he gave a very good fight. It was not a straights loss as they played the third set before he bowed out.How about turning around dilapidated and abandoned facilities?Outside the players and the investment on the coaches and officiating officials, we have turned around the courts and every year before the tournament started to commit a lot towards making it one of the best courts we can think about, to meet at least the required standard for this kind of courts. We are of the opinion that government should not be part of sports. Individuals and corporate organisations should take over sports and run it the way its run everywhere else in the world. We have not been getting the kind of support we are expecting but as far as I am concerned every single year we try to invite one or two government persons here and a few of them that have been here were actually encouraged and full of praises and they appreciate the fact that we are giving our country a very good name because every single player that has been here has always had something good to say about Nigeria. Which is something we are very proud of because it’s always very sad and heartbreaking when you go anywhere else in the world and you hear them talk about Nigeria. We are all Nigerians and there is nothing we can do about that. This is our own little quota to change the wrong impressions they have about our country and we have been doing that and doing it well. Yes, the few government persons that have been here have as far as we are concerned, supported us and are supporting us.What are you doing about changing the face of officiating?I think it is the case of changing the way we do things because as they usually say if you are doing something in a particular way and getting a particular result and you keep doing it you will always get the same result. But if you want to change it you have to do it differently so that you can get a different result. We have done what they were doing in officiating for so long and we were not getting the right results, so we sat and agreed that we should get more educated people, more people that are doing well in their chosen careers, we should get them into officiating and see how it works. And I think it was a very good decision that we took by bringing in these people, we have a Group Captain in the Nigerian Airforce as one of the officials, We have a PhD holder, we have captains of industry, we have all manner of people now officiating and that is why everything is changing. People are more confident; they are not looking at the money anymore they are just looking at adding value to what is being done and to me that is the ultimate and that’s why we have the caliber of officials we have now. Going forward they have seen the advantage of this and I am sure they are going to do more of that by getting people that are educated into officiating in Nigeria and the same thing we are trying to push into coaching.We have been talking about it when opportunities come now and they have to train coaches we are thinking they should look at people who have gone to school, graduates preferably so that it is easy for them to learn and know the rules of the game, adapt to the dynamics because when you have people who are not educated as coaches, they find it very difficult to understand what the rules are saying and unfortunately for all of us, the rules change every day. So, you need people who are up there so that when the rules are changing, they can always change too and get to know what the new styles are so that they can impart that knowledge in their players. But like they say, Rome was not built in a day. We will keep trying and hopefully we’ll get there somedayAre you tired of what you are doing?I enjoy it because it gives me happiness. Even though we have not been able to achieve some of the things we set out to achieve, we are planning and hoping that we will grow bigger next year. We are hoping that we will getShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Beat writers predict outcome of Scott Shafer’s last game as head coach against Boston College

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Scott Shafer is coaching his last game as Syracuse’s (3-8, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) head coach against Boston College (3-8, 0-7). The Orange take on the Eagles at 12:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.Here’s how our beat writers think Shafer and his staff will be sent off:Sam Blum (7-4)Syracuse 17, Boston College 14Stand with ShaferSyracuse might not be the more talented team on the field today. They might not be the more talented team on the field most days. But the Orange is winning on Saturday for Scott Shafer.Jesse Dougherty (8-3)Boston College 27, Syracuse 17Closing timeAdvertisementThis is placeholder textSure, it would be nice and probably even logical that Syracuse comes out guns blazing to honor its coaches. But don’t you think we would have already seen that kind of buckle-down, there’s-no-tomorrow grit if the players had it in them? I’m not saying they won’t play hard in Scott Shafer and staff’s final game, but I’m saying that it ultimately won’t matter. On an emotional day, the Orange loses nine straight by being the same team that lost eight straight.Matt Schneidman (9-2)Syracuse 28, Boston College 17Final standThis game isn’t about Boston College’s top-ranked defense in the ACC. Nor is it about a Syracuse defense that has struggled mightily all season. It’s Scott Shafer’s last game as head coach along with all his assistants. And most of SU’s contributors were recruited by current staff. The Orange comes out with a win not to salvage a fourth victory on the season, but to send the coaches that brought them here out on top.Paul Schwedelson (10-1)Syracuse 27, Boston College 13Good ‘ole rump kickingSyracuse does to Boston College what Scott Shafer said his wife does to him when he’s not enthusiastic enough — kick them in the rump. On Saturday, SU’s players “fight the good fight” — whatever that means — and the Shafer era ends on a much more positive note than the rest of his time as SU’s head coach. It’s the players that have been a part of the last two recruiting classes – see Jordan Fredericks, Ervin Philips and Steven Clark – that carry the Orange to victory. Comments Published on November 28, 2015 at 10:56 amlast_img read more