By Andreas VouA Gustavo Manduca penalty handed APOEL their first point of in Group F of the Champions League in an enthralling 1-1 draw against Ajax at the GSP Stadium on Tuesday night.The Cypriot champions had their fair share of chances to grab all three points but so did the Dutch champions and a point a piece was a justified result.Giorgos Donis surprisingly left Argentine playmaker Tomas De Vincenti out of the starting eleven, instead preferring to go with 34-year-old Manduca, one of the key players from APOEL’s famous 2011-2012 campaignSummer signing John Arne Riise, despite playing in APOEL’s last two league games was also left out as he was deemed unfit to make the squad. Marios Antoniades, who played the full 90 minutes against FC Barcelona replaced the Norwegian in the lineup.APOEL have demonstrated weaknesses on their defensive flanks in Champions League qualifying and were again guilty of some slack defending in the early parts.Dutch legend Johan Cruyff spoke before the game about the impact that APOEL’s atmosphere could cause for Ajax. However, the Cypriot fans were subdued at the start of the game due to Ajax’s blistering start.Frank de Boer’s side created a golden chance after just two minutes; Antoniades was guilty of affording far too much space on the wing for Davy Klaassen. The young Dutchman picked out the unmarked Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in the box but the striker screwed his shot wide.Ajax’s early pressure eventually told. Lucas Andersen was on hand to stroke home into an empty net on 27 minutes after APOEL keeper Urko Pardo had done well to deny the initial effort on goal, it was the first goal that the Cypriots had conceded at home this season.The goal gave APOEL the push they needed to attack. The subdued home faithful were soon in full voice just minutes later as APOEL were awarded a penalty for a hand ball by Ricardo van Rhijn.Manduca scored four goals in APOEL’s last Champions League campaign and stepped up to calmly convert the ball past Dutch international keeper Jasper Cillessen.And just three minutes before the break, APOEL came agonisingly close to going into the break with a 2-1 lead. Manduca raced in behind the Ajax defence before crossing towards Cillian Sheridan, but the Irishman was just inches away from getting a toe to it.APOEL’s best chance came just shy of the hour mark as Sheridan, unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box, headed past the post with the goal gaping.It was not to be Sheridan’s night as, shortly after, a long punt up field from Urko went through to the Irishman who was taken out by Cillessen. The referee deemed that it was not a clear goalscoring opportunity with Ajax having a covering defender racing towards the line.APOEL continued to force the issue with Mario Sergio having a good effort saved by Cillessen on 70 minutes but Ajax also came close to grabbing the win.Like Sheridan for APOEL, Sigthrsson simply could not find the net despite having a number of quality chances falling at his feet. And though APOEL will be left ruing those missed efforts by Sheridan, they will also leave grateful as Ajax spurned a gilt-edged chance in injury time – Thulani Serero nipped in front of the APOEL defenders after a mix-up but drilled his effort wide with the goal at his mercy.Though a draw may not be enough for APOEL to have a realistic chance of reaching the knock-out rounds, APOEL once again showed that they do not look out of place in Europe’s elite competition.
By Toby DavisTottenham Hotspur reached the League Cup final after suppressing a late uprising from third tier Sheffield United as Christian Eriksen struck twice to seal a 3-2 aggregate win on Wednesday night.Tottenham, who will face Chelsea in the final at Wembley on March 1, appeared to be cruising when they took a first-half lead through Eriksen’s stunning free-kick which took their aggregate advantage to 2-0.Sheffield United teenager Che Adams came off the bench, however, to turn the tie on its head with two goals in two minutes to give his team a 2-1 lead and level the scores over two legs.Eriksen ensured four-time winners Spurs avoided playing extra-time when he found space on the edge of the lower league side’s box with two minutes remaining and calmly slotted home. “Sheffield United definitely gave us a big fight. They gained confidence after they scored their first goal, the second one was a bit lucky but we came back at the end,” Eriksen told Sky Sports after the final whistle.“This season when we have been in front we have given stupid goals away and it is something we need to stop doing. Chelsea will probably want revenge in the final but I am really looking forward it.”
By Andreas VouMarcos Baghdatis is through to the second round of The Indian Wells Masters after his opponent, Jiri Vesely, retired early in the second set and will now face top seed Novak Djokovic in the second round.The Cypriot star began brightly against the young Czech player who was evidently suffering at various points throughout the early exchanges. Baghdatis took the first set 6-3 which was when Vesely took his first medical timeout. The 21-year-old was said to be suffering from the flu prior to the match and was seen coughing and pointing to his glands upon completion of the first set. Then, after just two games had been equally shared at the start of the second set, Vesely indicated that he could no longer continue, thus handing Baghdatis passage to the second round of the tournament.It was the third ever meeting between Baghdatis and Vesely and the Cypriot has come out on top in each of them, including a first round three-sets win in Delray Beach last year.Now ranked world no.61, Baghdatis faces an almighty challenge against Djokovic whom he has faced seven times and is yet to defeat the Serbian. The last time the two met was in late 2012 in the Miami Masters when Baghdatis made a positive display but eventually lost out 6-4, 6-4.It was Baghdatis who retired in rather strange fashion in his last appearance. Against 18-year-old Borna Coric in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship late last month, after spurning two golden chances to seal the game in the final set, Baghdatis threw in the towel with just a few points left to play for due to suspected cramps. This is Baghdatis’ eighth trip to Southern California to take part in the Indian Wells, a place where he played some of the best tennis of his career in years gone by. One of the most famous wins of his career took place in this tournament back in 2010 when he defeated Roger Federer. With his latest victory over Vesely, his overall record in the tournament now stands at 9-7, while his best run in the competition was when he reached the quarter-final stage in 2006.
The crowning of this year’s Cyprus football champions has been delayed for at least another week following Apoel’s draw with AEK, while in the relegation scrap, Doxa Katokopias’ win against Karmiotissa means that the third team to be relegated will be decided on the final day of the season, with four teams now somewhat involved.The eagerly-anticipated game between Apoel and AEK was dominated by the two defences, with neither side willing to commit too many players forward. In 90 minutes of action, both sides were unable to carve out a clear goal-scoring opportunity.AEK were by far the better side in the first half, but despite their possession and good build-up play, they were always lacking in the final third of the pitch. Ivan Trisckovski looked rusty up front, after being out of competitive play for almost two months, while nippy winger Tete was more concerned with his defensive duties rather than providing strikers Florian and Triscovski with any good service.Apoel were a shambles in the opening half with their players chasing shadows for large periods. Their forward Pieros Sotiriou hardly got a kick in the opening 45 minutes, and this despite manager Thomas Christiansen’s decision to beef up his midfield and deploy three defensive midfielders. At the start of the second half Apoel brought on speedy winger Stathis Aloneftis and the balance of play changed. The home side got more of the ball and forced AEK to retreat. However Apoel’s play was predictable and the visitors’ defence, expertly marshalled by Katala and Murillo, had little problems in coping with anything that was thrown at them.The visitors hardly ventured forward in the second half and seemed (surprisingly) happy with a point.Christiansen was the happier of the two managers as the title is still in their hands, with Apoel needing one win from their final two games to be crowned champions.In the other Championship Group game, Apollon kept their slim chances of the title alive with a convincing 3-0 over much maligned Omonia who had their goalkeeper Panayi to thank for stopping an even more embarrassing scoreline.Apollon opened the score four minutes before the break through Anton Maglica and after weathering Omonia’s pressure early in the second half added two more through an Alex da Silva penalty and Vinicius.Doxa Katokopias continued their Houdini act with a memorable 2-1 away win over Karmiotissa. The two teams are now level on points but Doxa hold the advantage as they have a better head-to-head record.Gulon and Eniful gave the visitors an early two-goal lead with Karmiotissa reducing the arrears through Polianec before the break.Doxa could have wrapped up the game in the 64th minute but Fofana was unable to beat Karmiotissa keeper Kyrenios.In the final 20 minutes Karmiotissa pressed forward for the equaliser but poor finishing and some excellent saves by Doxa’s Negri denied them a goal.In other games, Ermis defeated Nea Salamina 3-0 while Ethnikos Achnas and Aris shared the points in a 1-1 draw.As things stand, Nea Salamina, Aris, Doxa and Karmiotissa can all still go down depending on the results of their final two games.In the final match of the round on Monday night, AEL beat Anorthosis 2-0 at the Tsirion stadium, with Ismail Sassi scoring both goals.HIGHLIGHTS
PNG Billiards and Snooker Vice President, John Chan said nomination and registration fees are K150 per player.The tournament is scheduled to be held from May 24-28. Forty players will take part in the tournament.The tournament will be held at the Lamana Q Club, Dragon’s Den, Laguna Hotel and Aviat Club – registration forms can be picked up from the four venues.“Nomination and registration for players out of Port Moresby will close on May 18 and for those players in Port Moresby, it will close on May 23,” said Chan.He said registration and briefing will be held at 5pm on Monday May 23 at the Dragons Den. “The tournament will start on Tuesday and end with the finals on Saturday May 28,” Chan said.“We are looking at 40 players again this year and being the National Championships, preference will be given to ranked players. But in saying that, there will be enough spot up for grabs,” said Chan.“We are grateful to the four venues management and staff for the use of their facilities and hosting this premier women’s event.Chan added the tournament director will be Richard Whitchurch and an announcement by naming rights sponsors NGCB is expected to made early next week.“This will be the second year NGCB has supported women in snooker in PNG and I thank them for their continued support,” said Chan.
A document uncovered by Harvard’s student newspaper included ratings of the attractiveness of female players as well as sexually explicit comments.University President Drew Faust called the behaviour “appalling”.The team, currently in first place in the Ivy League, will forfeit the rest of its games this season.In what reports indicate may be a yearly tradition, male soccer players at Harvard circulated documents with pictures of their female counterparts, rating their attractiveness from one to 10 and giving reasons for their decisions.They also noted which sexual position they thought the women in question would prefer.Until recently, the Harvard Crimson newspaper reports, documents from 2012 were publicly accessible through a former team’s Google Group.’Not isolated’Ms Faust said an investigation had found that the tradition had continued to the current season.She wrote that she “was deeply distressed to learn that the appalling actions of the 2012 men’s soccer team were not isolated to one year or the actions of a few individuals”.Ms Faust added in a statement: “The decision to cancel a season is serious and consequential, and reflects Harvard’s view that both the team’s behaviour and the failure to be forthcoming when initially questioned are completely unacceptable, have no place at Harvard, and run counter to the mutual respect that is a core value of our community.”Last week after the original story came out, the female players in question said they were “appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance”.In an opinion piece published in the Crimson, they said: “More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives.”The university’s director of athletics, Robert Scalise, said: “It’s very disappointing and disturbing that people are doing this.”Any time a member of our community says things about other people who are in our community that are disparaging, it takes away from the potential for creating the kind of learning environment that we’d like to have here at Harvard.”The men’s soccer coach Pieter Lehrer wrote in a statement to the Crimson that the team was “beyond disappointed that our season has ended in this way, but we respect the decision made by our administration”.
The Mozzies’ assistant coach, Douglas Lai, was all praises for the High Performance Sport PNG team for providing professional assistance, which is something they have not had before.“Identifying the injuries…advising them what to be done on the injuries, you know all those kinds of advice coming from HP are professional opinions I’d say.“They are well educated in the field and what we got out of HP is professional opinion and professional guidance.“It’s good for the team definitely.“It will take care of the injuries; take care of our mental preparations, plus physical preparations.“Everything that we have taken out of HP is professional, I can say,” said Lai.Lai said the challenge for the team is to defend the cup as the 2014 IC champions.“We are the defending title holders so we have to go defend the cup.“We’ve prepared well, like I’ve said with HP, which we haven’t had in the past.“All we’ve done in the past is train as a team with the local and coaches but now HP has come on board, to guide us.”The men’s and women’s teams have also been assisted by HP staff Malosi Ila as the trainer for the men’s while the Flames have been assisted by physiotherapist Hendriella Vilosi.The sixth International Cup will be held in Melbourne from Saturday August 5 to Saturday August 19, 2017. The carnival will include both men’s and women’s competitions.
Romelu Lukaku extended his impressive FA Cup scoring record by netting twice in Manchester United’s 2-0 win at Huddersfield Town to send Jose Mourinho’s side through to the quarter-finals.The Belgian has scored in each of the three rounds United have played of this year’s competition and now has 11 goals from his past 10 FA Cup appearances.Lukaku’s first came after three minutes, and the striker scored again in the second half after United mounted a quick counter-attack against a side who beat them at the John Smith’s Stadium in the Premier League last October.Saturday’s fifth-round late kick-off also featured English football’s latest video-assisted referee (VAR) decision when United’s Juan Mata had a goal disallowed after being ruled fractionally offside before the interval.United’s midfielder Paul Pogba missed the game due to illness.West Bromwich Albion’s tumultuous week took a final turn for the worse as they were knocked out by Southampton, whose 2-1 victory at the Hawthorns secured the visitors a quarter-final berth for the first time since 2005.Defeat always seemed likely for West Brom, who are bottom of the Premier League and sacked their chairman and chief-executive on Tuesday.They then had four senior players interviewed by Spanish police over the alleged theft of a taxi from outside a fast-food restaurant in Barcelona.Two of those involved in the incident, Jonny Evans and Gareth Barry, both started against Southampton after issuing a public apology, although Evans was stripped of the captaincy by Albion manager Alan Pardew.“I felt I needed to make a little bit of a statement about the events,” Pardew said. “I was far from happy over them.”Evans could do nothing to stop Southampton taking the lead through Wesley Hoedt on 11 minutes, with Dusan Tadic adding the second after the interval.Salomon Rondon quickly countered for West Brom but Southampton held on to record their second win at Albion in two weeks.Brighton’s Jurgen Locadia scored on his debut in the 3-1 win over Coventry City who, after knocking out Stoke City in the third round, failed in their attempt to make FA Cup history by becoming the first fourth-tier side to beat two top-flight teams in the same season.There was never much chance of that with Brighton’s record signing Locadia scoring with his first shot on target after 15 minutes and Leicester City loanee Leonardo Ulloa, who is in his second spell with the Seagulls, rounding off the win after Connor Goldson netted his first goal in almost two years. Jonson Clarke-Harris scored Coventry’s consolation.The last time Brighton were a top-flight team they reached the FA Cup final in 1983 and might fancy their chances of a repeat this season although manager Chris Hughton’s decision to make nine changes in his starting lineup suggests the competition which he twice won as a player is not a priority.At Hillsborough, both managers bemoaned the replay after second tier Sheffield Wednesday and Swansea City shared a goalless draw, with Swansea’s Carlos Carvalhal suggesting everyone would have been happy to play on to penalties.“It’s a score nobody wants. I also believe (that’s the case) for Sheffield Wednesday – the same one more game. Maybe in the future we can think that if the managers and referee agree after the first game we can go to penalties and we can finish the game today,” said Carvalhal who was given a warm reception on his return to the club he managed for two and a half years.The replay is Swansea’s third in succession as they continue to juggle cup commitments with a Premier League survival battle that has become more difficult after impressive defender Alfie Mawson injured himself before kickoff and was subsequently seen wearing a knee brace. FA Cup quarter-final draw:Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City v Rochdale or Tottenham HotspurManchester United v Brighton and Hove AlbionLeicester City v ChelseaWigan Athletic or Manchester City v SouthamptonTies to be played Mar. 16-19
Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard will start for England in Saturday’s friendly against Nigeria at Wembley Stadium and manager Gareth Southgate believes there is no reason why he can’t play alongside Dele Alli.Lingard, who usually operates in an attacking midfield role, scored 13 goals for United last season in all competitions – his most productive campaign yet at Old Trafford.While some observers believe the 25-year-old is competing for the same spot in the England side as Tottenham’s Alli, Southgate says that isn’t the case.“I don’t see it as a straight contest between any individual, absolutely they could play together,” Southgate told a news conference ahead of the match at Wembley.“All of our attacking players have different attributes or strengths. Jesse is a fantastic player at recognising the space, working away from the ball, a great link between midfield and attack,” he said.But Southgate gave no clues as to who would start in goal for England with Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford and Nick Pope the three goalkeepers in the World Cup squad.“We know what we want to see in that area and we’re clear on what we think. There’s no need for me to say too much on that publicly,” said Southgate.“I’ve told the players what we’re looking for in these two matches and haven’t told them the team yet.”Southgate added that Manchester United central defender Phil Jones would miss the Nigeria match after he was allowed to leave the training camp as his partner is due to give birth.Much media attention in England has been focused on forward Raheem Sterling’s new tattoo which features an assault rifle and which was described as “disgusting” by anti-gun campaigners.Sterling said the tattoo had a “deeper meaning” adding that he would “never touch a gun in my life” and Southgate defended the player.“Tattoos are very personal. A lot of our players have tattoos and they are wrapped up in a lot of deep stories. I don’t see why we should be involved in policing that,” said the England manager.The Three Lions kick off their World Cup campaign in Russia against Tunisia on June 18 and also play Panama and Belgium in Group G.
Ryan Giggs admitted that his Wales team were beaten by a Denmark side that “get the job done” in their Nations League clash.Wales missed out on promotion to the top tier of the Nations League as Denmark won a passionate contest 2-1 at Cardiff City Stadium.Nicolai Jorgensen gave Denmark a half-time lead and Martin Braithwaite’s superb volley two minutes from time doubled their advantage to seemingly end Welsh hopes.But Gareth Bale’s instant response as he slid home his 31st international goal after rounding Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, had the visitors hanging on at the end.“You are always disappointed when you lose, obviously, but I am proud of the players, I am proud of the performances they put in in two games against a very good team,” said Wales manager Giggs, whose team lost 2-0 to Denmark in September.“You saw tonight that Denmark are efficient, experienced and disciplined and get the job done, and we can learn from that.“Also, in both games we were more than a match for them. We are disappointed, but I told them they should be proud of themselves.“You can learn maybe more from defeats, and we will certainly do that. All the experience these players have had will stand them in good stead going into the Euro qualifiers (next year).”Giggs, meanwhile, said he felt that Ethan Ampadu had been the victim of “a cheap shot” following a poor high challenge by Kasper Dolberg.It saw Ampadu hit the advertising boards before it sparked a melee and prompted Giggs to voice his feelings to Denmark boss Age Hareide.“I just thought it was a cheap shot,” Giggs added. “You have got a lad just turned 18 who broke his leg when he was 17. It was a late tackle.“I realise we are not playing tiddlywinks. It is a competitive game, and there are going to be tackles, which is part of the game and I like that.“But for a young lad who has been injured badly recently, it was a cheap shot. That’s why I reacted, and I was proud of the players how they reacted, protecting a young player, which is how it should be.“It shows that they care and shows they are not going to be bullied, and I like that in a team.”Wales now travel to Tirana to face Albania in a friendly on Tuesday, with Paul Dummett and James Chester unlikely to recover from injuries that forced them off.Defender Chris Gunter, meanwhile, is set to break Neville Southall’s all-time Wales cap record when he makes his 93rd appearance.Denmark are also guaranteed a play-off to qualify for Euro 2020, should they fail to reach the tournament during the regular qualifying process, while a youthful Wales side should be better for this experience when the qualifiers start in March.Asked about Dolberg’s challenge, Hareide said: “If you knew him, he is one of the nicest kids you could ever think of. He wouldn’t harm a fly.“The boards were too close to the line. It wasn’t the knock from Dolberg, it was the boards that put him (Ampadu) to the ground.“Throughout 2018 we have been very, very stable with our performances, and we were very good today. It is a good hard-working side.“The players deserve a lot of credit for putting Denmark as high as possible in the world rankings.“This Welsh side is a very promising side. We have watched them a lot, and they have so many talented young players. They are good on the ball.“They have so much to look forward to, and I think they will have a really good European qualification.”