Nokia 6.1 Plus, 5.1 Plus and Moto One Power get massive price cuts on Flipkart sale with no-cost EMI options

first_imgThe Flipkart Mobiles Bonanza sale is back and is offering substantial discounts on a number of smartphones. Consumers can take advantage of the discounts on some of the bestselling Android phones across various price points. Android One phones are also part of the sale and Flipkart is offering some great discounts on a bunch of Android One smartphones. If you were looking to get yourself a stock Android One phone, then this might be the right time to make your move. After all, Android One phones are guaranteed to get at least two major Android updates.Under the Mobile Bonanza Sale, Flipkart is offering a bunch of discounts on the Nokia 6.1 Plus, Nokia 5.1 Plus and Motorola One Power.The Nokia 6.1 Plus is available on sale at a price of Rs 13,999 for the variant with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The sale doesn’t list any discount on the other variants of the Nokia 6.1 Plus with more RAM and storage. The 6.1 Plus was launched last year to compete with the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The 6.1 Plus uses a Snapdragon 636 chipset and sports a 5.8-inch Full HD IPS LCD display with a notch on top. There’s a 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel dual camera setup at the rear while the 16-megapixel front camera takes care of selfies. The Nokia 6.1 Plus was one of the first few smartphones to get the Android Pie update and will get the upcoming Android Q update very soon.The Nokia 5.1 Plus, which is the more affordable variant of the 6.1 Plus, is on sale for Rs 8,999. Flipkart is only offering discounts on the base variant with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The Nokia 5.1 Plus was launched alongside the Nokia 6.1 Plus with a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset and came with a 5.8-inch HD+ display with a wide notch on top. The 5.1 Plus gets a 13-megapixel + 5-megapixel dual rear camera while the front gets an 8-megapixel selfie camera. The 5.1 Plus is already running on the Android Pie and will get the Android Q update soon.advertisementMoto One Power, which was Motorola’s first Android One device, is on sale for Rs 13,999, which is Rs 2,000 off on its original price. The Moto One Power is quite similar to the Nokia 6.1 Plus – Snapdragon 636 chipset and a 16-megapixel + 5-megapixel dual rear camera setup. However, where it differs is is the inclusion of a large 5000mAh battery and a robust metal body instead of a glass. The Moto One Power got the Pie update a few months ago and is expected to receive the Android Q update later.ALSO READ | WhatsApp to get dark mode and authentication feature soonALSO READ | Huawei P30 and P30 Pro premium phones launched, likely come packed with best cameras ever put in a phoneALSO READ | Redmi Y3 may launch as Redmi 7 Pro in some markets, which one will come to India?last_img read more

Josh Cooper Catch

first_imgIf you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers! Josh Cooper made a pretty sweet one-handed catch on a Seneca Wallace throw last night against the Lions.Weeden’s stats were pedestrian but head coach Pat Shurmur had the following to say: “I thought Brandon did a good job. It looked like the game was slow for him. He executed pretty well.”last_img

Breaking Down the 2015 Schedule (Part 2)

first_imgPart 1 hereFootball starts one week from tomorrow. One week. From tomorrow.That’s crazy.It also means we need to keep chugging along with the schedule. We got the boring stuff out of the way last time. Now, we can look at what to expect as OSU enters Big 12 play.Week 4 (at Texas): Texas won’t get my blood pumping until they find a QB that can get them inside the top 100 teams in the country in points per drive. The merry-go-round continues to go as Texas hasn’t found its QB1 since Colt took that hit in the Rose Bowl.AdChoices广告What followed has been nothing short of tumultuous. Texas’ four starting quarterbacks since 2010 — Gilbert, David Ash, Case McCoy and Tyrone Swoopes — have combined for 98 touchdowns and 84 turnovers in the past five years.As Mike Gundy has continued to point out, you’re only as good as your signal caller. Texas can keep going 8-4 until Bevo comes home, but that’s as good as things are going to get until a new Vince (or Colt or Major) arrives.Also, we should let Joe Wickline and Greg Adkins wrestle before the game at midfield for the $600,000 we’ve spent two years bickering over. Winner gets to choose between the cash and Mason Rudolph.2014 Points per Drive (offense): 1.61 (101st)2014 Points per Drive (defense): 1.51 (12th)Glenn Spencer anger level with a loss: Realizing Chick-fil-A is closes on Sundays on a SundayWeek 5 (Kansas State): This is finally the year when the wizardry crumbles, right? OSU has only played Kansas State in Stillwater twice in the last seven seasons and hasn’t lost to the Wildcats there since 1999. Here’s how the games against KSU this century have played out.2003: 38-34 win — The Sky Rylant game2007: 41-39 win2011: 52-45 win — The Kirk Herbstreit game2013: 33-29 winThat’s all four of them. Kansas State is yet another Big 12 team without a QB but I can’t put the cart before that Bill Snyder-shaped horse. Plus, the first Lockett brother probably has a son now who will have 12 catches for 198 yards and 3 TDs.2014 Points per Drive (offense): 2.65 (25th)2014 Points per Drive (defense): 2.02 (58th)Glenn Spencer anger level with a loss: Punches Gallagher-Iba brick, sets own hand in castWeek 6 (at West Virginia): If OSU is 5-0 going to Morgantown and somehow escapes that dungeon with a win, I’m going to load up on server space because November is going to get so wild.It’s hard to believe a Dana Holgorsen-coached team has produced any team outside the top 50 in points per drive on offense, but that’s what’s happened for two straight seasons.I’m not super convinced that’s going to change this season just because their not-Texas-sized QB is running sprints in a weighted vest, but I could QB WVU in Morgantown to at least a couple of wins. The reality is that this will be a monster test IF OSU can get through the first five unscathed.The silver lining is that this game comes in the middle of WVU’s OU-OSU-Baylor-TCU stretch in October. Cheers to that.2014 Points per Drive (offense): 2.09 (69th)2014 Points per Drive (defense): 2.03 (59th)Glenn Spencer anger level with a loss: Shuns plane, runs back to Stillwater While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img read more

Berizzo’s bizarre reasoning for sending off

first_imgUEFA Champions League Sevilla boss Berizzo’s bizarre reasoning behind his dismissal Russell Greaves Last updated 2 years ago 06:14 14/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Eduardo Berizzo Sevilla Liverpool Champions League Stu Forster UEFA Champions League Liverpool v Sevilla Philippe Coutinho Liverpool Sevilla The manager was dismissed in the draw with Liverpool and his reasoning behind his action is a strange one Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo explained the intriguing logic behind the actions that led to his dismissal in Wednesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Liverpool.Berizzo had already been warned by referee Danny Makkelie for throwing the ball away in the first half when he did the same again after the break, meaning he was sent to the stands.Sevilla 11/8 group winner Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing But he had his reasons for repeating his actions and he thinks the whole thing can be put down to a misunderstanding.”It was two different actions,” he said. “In the first half when we were winning, Liverpool were on the counter-attack and I did something that wasn’t right, I threw the ball away. I was trying to waste time, to stop Liverpool.”I realise that was a mistake. However, in the second half a similar thing happened when we were losing and I still decided to throw the ball away to try to make up for what I did in the first half.60′ | Eduardo Berizzo is sent to the stands @LFC 2-1 #SevillaFC #vamosmisevilla #UCL #LFCSFC — Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) September 13, 2017 “I was doing the sportsmanlike thing – it was the same action, different context. You could construe both as unsportsmanlike, but I was trying to make up for it.”I explained that to my counterpart [Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp] and he understood, but the only one who didn’t was the referee.”Berizzo’s side secured a point at Anfield after Joaquin Correa added to Wissam Ben Yedder’s early opener, which had been eclipsed by goals from Roberto Firmino – who also missed a penalty – and Mohamed Salah.The 47-year-old was satisfied to secure a share of the spoils against what he considers to be dangerous opponents.”It’s a good way to start the group stages,” said Berizzo. “We found it tough in the first half. We went ahead, but when we went behind we found it tough. They were very positive, very quick.”We were struggling either side of our defence to control the speed of their attacks.”Second half we managed to stop their progress down each side and we were very solid.”I think the result stands us in good stead for the group stage.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Kane vs Lukaku: The stats

first_imgHarry Kane Kane vs Lukaku: The numbers behind the most prolific strikers in the Premier League Goal Last updated 2 years ago 14:00 10/4/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Kane Lukaku Harry Kane Romelu Lukaku Morata Sergio Agüero Manchester United Chelsea Manchester City Tottenham Hotspur Premier League Goal takes a look at the numbers behind the most prolific forwards in the English top flight as we head into the international break After seven Premier League fixtures, one player sits top of the goalscoring charts — Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.The £75 million Red Devils striker has found the back of the net on seven occasions so far this term in 630 minutes of top-flight football.Kane 5/2 1st goalscorer for England Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. Three players sit behind Lukaku in the goalscoring rankings with six goals — Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, and Tottenham’s Harry Kane, who has netted seven goals in his last three outings across all competitions.Kane vs Lukaku statsBoth Kane and Lukaku have scored a single header each, the latter scoring four with his right foot and two with his left, with the former scoring three with his right and two with his left.Kane has had more shots than his United counterpart — 44 to 31 — with Lukaku’s 22.6 per cent conversion rate outweighing the England international’s 13.6 per cent. Lukaku has averaged a goal every 90 minutes, while the Spurs star comes in with a goal every 103.5 league minutes.LukakuHarry Kane TottenhamKane’s overall Premier League record is superior to Lukaku’s, however, by virtue of scoring a goal every 115.9 minutes to the Belgian’s 159.9, and converting 18.4 of his strikes to the former Everton man’s 16.1. Overall, Lukaku’s goal tally in the English top flight stands at 92 goals in 193 games, with Kane on 84 in 123.The ex-Chelsea forward is the more creative of the two — Lukaku has created 220 chances compared to Kane’s 128, and 12 to eight this season, with one assist to his rival’s zero.The battle of the 24-year-olds is set to resume on the other side of the international break, both in the Premier League and Champions League — the two have struck seven goals between them in the opening two European games — as Spurs and United continue their push for the title.PREMIER LEAGUE STRIKER STATS PL 2017-18 Harry Kane Romelu Lukaku Games Played 7 7 Minutes Played 621 630 Goals 6 7 Total Shots 44 31 Shot Conversion Rate (%) 13.6 22.6 Mins/Goal 103.5 90 Assists 0 1 Chances created 8 12last_img read more

Hafizul: It’s a must not lose game in HK

first_imgMalaysia Hafizul pining hopes on continued presence in goal Ooi Kin Fai Last updated 2 years ago 09:30 10/6/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Hafizul Hakim, Malaysia FAM Malaysia Asian Cup Qualification Hong Kong v Malaysia Hong Kong Perak The hero against Hong Kong, Perak’s Hafizul Hakim doesn’t want his run in the first XI to end just yet. It was the final minute of the home match against Hong Kong back in September and with the score at 1-1, Malaysia were set to lose the match in the final seconds of the second half after Hong Kong were awarded a penalty kick.However, Perak’s Hafizul Hakim dived correctly to block out Alessandro Leornado’s spot kick and thus earned Malaysia their first point in this final group stage of the 2019 Asian Cup qualification.  Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. The 24-year-old custodian only started the match in Melaka due to illness to Khairulazhan Khalid but having tasted competitive international match, yearns for more chance to show that he is ready to step up.Hafizul first made the national team squad when he was called up by Datuk Ong Kim Swee prior to the start of the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup. That trust was then passed on to Eduardo Vingada, who has kept faith with Hafizul in all three of his call-ups thus far.”I don’t know yet [if I’ll retain my place]. For me, that game [versus Hong Kong in Melaka] was in the past. It depends on the coach. If he decides I’ll stay in the starting XI, of course I’ll do my best.””If I get to play, I will have to be more in control of my box because it’ll be a new set-up in front of me. Maybe Matt Davies and Keon [Khairul Helmi] will come in there. I will have to be more vocal to ensure our defence stay strong,” said Hafizul to Goal.Despite having two of his club team mates in Nazirul Naim and Shahrom Kalam forming the rest of the defence, he knows that defence is one department where changes from match to match is not looked upon favorably by the players.A defence that requires everyone to be in-synced and coordinated to ensure that no gaps are left open to be punished by the opponent. Familiarity breeds understanding and that will only come with minutes gained together as a unit on the pitch.Hafizul is reluctant to look beyond the Hong Kong match and is treating it as the only one that matters. A defeat there would further complicate matters as Malaysia will continued to be consigned to the bottom place in the group.”It’s not impossible yet [if we happen to lose], we still have a chance. But we will fight there to get all three points. Even if we don’t, then we still need to get the one point. Anything can still happen but more important is for us to keep believing,” added Hafizul.Hong Kong plundered four goals past Laos in an international friendly played on Thursday night but will find Malaysia’s defence to be a tougher one to breach, particularly if the confident Hafizul gets his second consecutive start for the Malayan Tigers.last_img read more

Advantage Wydad in CAF CL final

first_imgAl Ahly 1 Wydad Casablanca 1: Bencharki cancels out Zakaria’s stunner Iain Strachan 02:55 10/29/17 footballs - cropped Getty Images There is everything to play for in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final after a 1-1 draw between Al Ahly and Wydad Casablanca. Wydad Casablanca will take a narrow advantage into the second leg of the CAF Champions League final after coming from behind with a potentially vital away goal in a 1-1 draw at Al Ahly on Saturday.The hosts led inside just three minutes through a stunning strike from Moamen Zakaria at the Borg El Arab Stadium.Achraf Bencharki’s well-taken header got the away team back on level terms, though, and neither side proved capable of forcing a second goal throughout what proved to be a cagey but gripping encounter in Egypt. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Wydad will now seek to capitalise on home advantage with the aggregate score level going into the return fixture in Morocco next weekend.Al Ahly, eight-time winners of this competition, took the lead in spectacular fashion when Zakaria received Abdalla El Said’s pass on the edge of the area and took a touch that saw the ball sit up invitingly. The Egypt international swivelled and unleashed a brilliant dipping volley that flew past Zouhair Laaroubi and into the top-right corner.جول جول جوووووووووول #مؤمن_زكريا#الأهلي ١ – ٠ #الوداد#RoadToNinth#YallaYaAhly pic.twitter.com/eM8jsVTERZ— Al Ahly SC (@AlAhly) October 28, 2017The hosts should have doubled their lead five minutes later, as Walid Azarou was played in on goal but could only lift his effort narrowly over while under pressure from a covering defender and the onrushing goalkeeper.Instead it was Wydad who hit back against the run of play in the 16th minute. Mohammed Ounajem got to the byline down the right side of the penalty area and crossed back to the top of the six-yard box, where Bencharki climbed highest and nodded a header just inside the far post. The visitors suffered a blow 10 minutes later, when dangerous winger Ounajem had to be replaced by Abdeladim Khadrouf.Junior Ajayi should have restored Al Ahly’s lead two minutes before the break, somehow heading harmlessly high and wide after being picked out unmarked at close range. Ah Ahly went close twice in quick succession nine minutes into the second half, Zakaria mistiming one effort before seeing a second blocked following Ajayi’s clever backheel from the byline.One of Wydad’s few chances of note in the second period saw Ismail El Haddad’s long-range shot saved comfortably by Sherif Ekramy after a good Bencharki pass.They will nevertheless return home happy to remain on level terms, Al Ahly substitute Emad Moteab having sent a strike from just outside the box whistling narrowly wide of the near post in stoppage time.last_img read more

The most expensive defenders of all time

first_imgTransfers Van Dijk, Mendy and the most expensive defenders of all time Goal Last updated 1 year ago 07:25 12/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jurgen Klopp, Virgin van Dijk Getty Transfers Premier League Serie A Ligue 1 Primera División Bundesliga Primeira Liga The Dutch defender tops the list after his record-breaking move to Liverpool, beating out a trio of Man City playerslast_img

Capello slams Bayern stars over Ancelotti sacking

first_imgFabio Capello ‘They wanted him out!’ – Capello hammers Bayern stars & blames them for Ancelotti sacking Peter Hanson Last updated 1 year ago 21:07 12/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) carlo ancelotti - cropped Bongarts Bayern München Bundesliga Carlo Ancelotti The former Real Madrid head coach claims the Bavarian club’s players fought the Italian and wanted him to leave prior to his sacking in September Fabio Capello has slammed Bayern Munich’s players and accused them of forcing Carlo Ancelotti out of the club following his sacking back in September.Bayern coasted to the league title in Ancelotti’s first season in charge, but his tenure was blighted by rumours Die Roten’s key players were unhappy with his methods.An inauspicious start to this campaign culminated in a woeful showing in a 3-0 Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain and spelled the end of Ancelotti’s reign. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Veteran coach Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to the treble in 2012-13, returned to the Allianz Arena to take over until the end of the season and the club have lost just once in all competitions under his leadership.Capello suggested that it is no coincidence and believes Bayern’s squad simply did not want to play under his compatriot.”Heynckes is back on the bench and everyone wonders how he managed to get the team under control immediately. I think it was the players who took everything in hand,” he told Sky Germany.”The coach can do a lot of things, but if the players do not want to give that little extra, which they did not give to Ancelotti, you will not get an olive branch.”They fought him, they wanted him to fly out. And to show that Heynckes is the right one, they give everything.”Bayern are 11 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga at the mid-season break and resume their domestic campaign at Bayer Leverkusen on January 12.last_img read more

A-League 2017-18 season preview part one: the teams bubbling under

first_imgShare on Twitter Tony Popovic quits Western Sydney Wanderers on eve of A-League season Alan Baro, the former Melbourne Victory stopper, has joined the Mariners. Photograph: Jeremy Ng/Getty Images Facebook Facebook Twitter Wellington, Central Coast, Adelaide and Newcastle – if you support any of these teams you probably think what follows is a stitch-up or further evidence of some kind of bias. And the truth is, they could all equally go on to make the top four; this is Australian football we’re talking about after all, a universe about as reliable as a Trump administration spokesperson.Yet there also happens to be some logic behind the decision to include them. This quartet occupied the bottom four spots on last year’s ladder, three of them have been hanging around there for the past two seasons, a pair of them for the last three years, and in the case of the Jets, seven seasons on the trot. So, while each can look forward to improved efforts, they still have plenty of ground to make up on sides above them. One thing appears clear: the gap between the best and the rest should be a lot narrower this season compared to last. Three of last year’s bottom four have changed coaches, all have undergone significant squad overhauls, none look substantially weaker, and in most cases considerably stronger, hence why we’re calling this “bubbling under” and not “scraping the barrel”. These are welcome developments. Having an even spread of competitive games is essential for a league with so few teams. So often in recent years deadweight has become marooned at the foot of the ladder but the signs are encouraging that such mismatches will be avoided this season. Wellington PhoenixIns: Scott Galloway (Mariners), Goran Paracki (NK Istra 1961), Dario Vidošić (Seongnam FC), Daniel Mullen (Jets), Andrija Kaluđerović (Port FC), Ali Abbas (Pohang Steelers).Outs: Roly Bonevacia (Wanderers), Glen Moss (Jets), Kosta Barbarouses (Victory), Alex Rodriguez (Boavista), Vince Lia (United), Louis Fenton (Team Wellington).Nix fans, this is not the preview you were looking for. The fear is your club could be the best wooden spooners in A-League history.New coach Darije Kalezić arrives with plenty of experience, predominantly in the top two tiers of Dutch football, and Wellington’s fate this season rests on his ability to get the best out of a serviceable if uninspiring looking squad that on paper seems to be of only minor improvement on the group that finished seventh last season. Kalezić’s public comments have referenced patience, process, culture and organisation, suggesting this season may be one of groundwork with loftier ambitions reserved for next year. A three-match pre-season trip to NSW ended with a hat-trick of defeats, which when added to the earlier FFA Cup exit to Western Sydney does not bode well. Six of the players that have left in the transfer window played at least 20 games last season, so the starting XI – especially the midfield – will have a different look to it. As will the club’s uniform with one of the better rebranding exercises undertaken during the offseason. Five of the new signings wearing the smart new badge have A-League experience, though none of them set pulses racing. As ever, being the sole Kiwi representative has its benefits and drawbacks. Home advantage should guarantee enough points to avoid catastrophe, but All Whites call-ups will disproportionately disrupt the squad during international windows.Due to the pre-season improvements of last year’s other cellar dwellers, at this stage Wellington have to be considered contenders for the wooden spoon.Strengths: Judging by the recruitment policy and statements from the coach, expect Wellington to be well organised and tough to break down. Weaknesses: The Phoenix midfield looks a little lightweight following the squad turnover with plenty of responsibility falling on newcomer Paracki. Who to watch: There’s bags of potential in Wellington’s creative types with Gui Finkler, Vidošić, Roy Krishna and Michael McGlinchey all providing plenty of attacking threat. The latter of that quartet is due a return to form after an indifferent run and if he can replicate the trickery that helped the Mariners to silverware earlier in his career he could transform his side’s prospects.Predicted finish: 10th. Someone has to finish last and this prediction is based more on the improvement of teams around them rather than Wellington’s own failings. Central Coast MarinersIns: Tom Hiariej (Groningen), Alan Baro (Victory), Antony Golec (Bucheon FC 1995), Andrew Hoole (Jets), Ben Kennedy (Jets), Kye Rowles (Roar), Josh Rose (City), Daniel De Silva (Roda JC), Thomas Glover (Tottenham Hotspur – loan), Asdrúbal (Port FC), Wout Brama (Utrecht).Outs: Paul Izzo (United), Roy O’Donovan (Jets), Fabio Ferreira (PKNS), Ivan Necevski (Released), Nick Montgomery (Wollongong Wolves), Jacob Poscoliero (Glory), Jacques Faty (Released), Scott Galloway (Phoenix), Mickaël Tavares (Released), Michael Neill (Sydney United), Jake Adelson (Jets). As with neighbours Newcastle, things are finally looking up for Central Coast Mariners following a spell in the doldrums. Paul Okon’s arrival as head coach last year began a turnaround after they had degenerated into one of the poorest A-League teams ever. The next step in this process has been an overhaul of personnel with 11 new faces, including an entirely new roster of foreigners.This quartet of visa players – two from Spain and two from the Netherlands – hold the key to the Mariners’ season. Central Coast have lacked solidity and experience in recent years but if new skipper and former Melbourne Victory stopper Baro, along with Hiariej (ex-Groningen), Brama (ex-FC Twente), and Asdrúbal (ex-Las Palmas) can provide a solid spine, there’s plenty of young talent at Okon’s disposal to flourish around them.Despite falling prey to Blacktown City in the FFA Cup it’s been a positive pre-season for the Mariners, collecting the scalps of the Jets, Phoenix and Victory along the way. Encouragingly for the coaching staff, goals were conceded in only one of their nine friendlies, including most recently to a near full strength Sydney FC. The Mariners face a similar challenge to the resurgent Jets; coming from so far adrift of the leading teams, how difficult will it be to bridge the gap? They’ve won just 14 of their past 81 A-League matches, so optimism is welcome, but converting that promise into points will not happen immediately and there will be speed humps during the campaign. Improvement should be expected, but with most of the sides around them also strengthening, the finals still look at least another season off.Strengths: The recipe for midfield success in the A-League has recently come to mean a dual-pivot at the base of a three-man unit (think Josh Brillante and Brandon O’Neill or Mark Milligan and Carl Valeri) and the Mariners may well have bought first rate ingredients in Dutchmen Hiariej and Brama. “Last season when teams muscled up on us we struggled to go with them and now with Tom Hiariej and Wout Brama, they give us that steel in the midfield. Everyone else feeds off that which really helps,” Okon said after a friendly victory over Wellington.Weaknesses: A number of young Mariners have promised much in recent seasons without going on to reach their full potential. If the now solid Central Coast spine is going to allow the players around it time to play, it’s up to the likes of Connor Pain, Hoole and De Silva to deliver.Who to watch: De Silva will be one of the most scrutinised players in the A-League this season. After bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old at Perth Glory the now 20-year-old has not blossomed into the superstar playmaker as expected. His career has been stalled by an unsuccessful expedition to Europe, culminating in him returning to the A-League to resurrect his career. Playing under a coach who knows and believes in him, in a system designed to maximise his effectiveness, De Silva could be one of the stars of this year’s competition. Predicted finish: ninth. It may seem like the Mariners remain in the gutter, but they are definitely looking at the stars. Adelaide UnitedIns: Paul Izzo (Mariners), George Blackwood (Sydney), Ersan Gülüm (Hebei China Fortune, loan), Johan Absalonsen (SønderjyskE), Vince Lia (Wellington), Karim Matmour (1860 Munich), Daniel Adlung (1860 Munich).Outs: Dylan McGowan (Pacos Ferreira), George Mells (Released), Sergio Cirio (UD Ibiza), John Hall (Wanderers), Jesse Makarounas (released), Eugene Galekovic (City), Kim Jae-sung (Jaennam Dragons), Marcelo Carrusca (City), Iacopo La Rocca (City), Riley McGree (Club Brugge), Eli Babalj (Mladá Boleslav)It seems a fool’s errand to try and predict the fortunes of a side that has yo-yoed as spectacularly as Adelaide United. Two seasons ago they were unlikely premiers, last year they finished ninth, scoring only 25 goals in 27 games. Only four of that 2016 grand final squad survive to begin this campaign under new coach Marco Kurz. In a season of unknowns, Adelaide could finish anywhere.It’s a cliche, but Adelaide are another side whose success will be determined by their visa players. Captain Isaías is proven quality at the base of midfield and Baba Diawara showed in his short stint last season that he has goals in him. The three further visa signings are new to the A-League but former German Under-21 international Adlung, former Algerian international Matmour, and former Danish international Absalonsen all look to be well-scouted. If they settle quickly, which is never a given, United become a far more formidable prospect.Adelaide’s pre-season form has been good, most notably reaching the FFA Cup semi-finals after knocking out both the Jets and Victory. Twitter Facebook Central Coast Mariners All eyes will be on Dimitri Petratos this season. Photograph: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images Adelaide United Twitter Pinterest Reuse this content Strengths: United’s fitness levels have been remarked upon often during the pre-season. Kurz has been implementing double training sessions to ensure his methods take hold as soon as possible and the outcome is a preparedness that has seen Adelaide into the last four of the FFA Cup. Jordan O’Doherty said recently: “We’re going into games probably a lot fitter than the other sides which is good and it’s giving us that extra edge especially in longer games.”Weaknesses: Adelaide scored only 25 goals last season, the lowest in the competition. If Diawara doesn’t fire they could find themselves in a similar situation again. Who to watch: Covered in tattoos, persevering with the noughties fauxhawk, and sporting a bulging vein on the side of his forehead, Adlung is the kind of player the eye is drawn to. Judging by his very impressive hype reel, that’s no bad thing. Predicted finish: eighth. Close eyes. Throw dart. Eight? Yeah, eight’s a number between one and 10, that’ll do.Newcastle JetsIns: Daniel Georgievski (Victory), Mario Shabow (Wanderers), Roy O’Donovan (Mariners), Kosta Petratos (Glory), Glen Moss (Phoenix), Dimi Petratos (Ulsan Hyundai), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Hatta Club), Jake Adelson (Mariners), Ronald Vargas (AEK Athens).Outs: Andrew Hoole (Mariners), Morten Nordstrand (Fremad Amager), Joel Allwright (Adelaide City), Labinot Haliti (retired), Ben Kennedy (Mariners), Ma Lei Lei (Released), Daniel Mullen (Phoenix), Mateo Poljak (Astra Giurgiu), Kristian Brymora (Millwall), Aleksandr Kokko (Eastern).Of the clubs that missed last season’s finals, Newcastle have made the boldest moves to improve their status. The Jets have recruited as impressively as any side in the competition, and allied with the appointment of the been-there-done-that Ernie Merrick as coach, loom as this year’s bolter. Pinterest Pinterest center_img Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest A squad clearout was in order after a miserable season, the seventh in succession that ended without finals football. In the place of a host of underperformers come proven A-League quality in the form of Georgievski, Topor-Stanley, O’Donovan, Moss and Petratos. Venezuelan marquee Vargas has an exciting CV and we know Merrick has an eye for Latin forwards. Coming from such a low base expectations have to be managed but this is the most optimistic Jets fans can hope to have been in years. Strong pre-season form has fed this positive energy with O’Donovan in particular proving he packed his shooting boots on the short journey up the F3.Strengths: Knowing how Merrick likes his teams to play and the quality of recruitment in attacking areas, the Jets should be an exciting proposition going forward. O’Donovan proved himself as a quality goalscorer in a weak Mariners outfit, with a much stronger looking squad around him he should be in the Golden Boot mix.Weakness: Seven seasons is a long time to go without finals football and changing the mindset around the club and instilling a winning mentality will not happen overnight. The wheels have fallen off in recent seasons despite bursts of good form. Merrick has to ensure any run of bad results doesn’t return the project to square one.Who to watch: Petratos was blossoming into a star at Brisbane Roar before his ill-fated move to Korea midway through last season. Still only 24 the versatile ball-player is primed to assert himself as Newcastle’s primary creative outlet. Always looking for possession he has excellent footballing intelligence and under Merrick’s coaching should be given the freedom to express himself. Exactly the kind of player who could sneak into Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup plans (if Australia get there, of course). Predicted finish: seventh. If everything falls into place the Jets will be the feelgood story of the summer, playing swashbuckling football in front of packed houses rewarding a region desperate for a team to get behind. Read more A-League Marco Kurz, Adelaide United’s new coach. Photograph: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images Wellington Phoenix Newcastle Jets Facebook Share via Email features Twitter Pinterest Wellington Phoenix fans Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Share on LinkedIn Australia sport Topics Share on Messenger Share on Facebooklast_img read more

Conor McGregor has turned into what he once condemned: a bully and a bum

first_img Since you’re here… comment MMA … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Play Video Conor McGregor attacks bus backstage at UFC event – video Watching Conor McGregor racing through the loading dock at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, throwing dollies at a bus like some crazy-eyed hooligan, I could only think of John McCain.It was the US senator who years ago denounced the UFC as “human cockfighting”, affixing a label of lawlessness on mixed martial arts that pushed them into the corners of what was considered acceptable adult behavior. The UFC has worked for years to combat this image, with brain safety and doping mandates that helped attract a corporate buyer and led McCain to reconsider his opinion. Share on Facebook Topics Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn Read more John McCain Share via Email Two years ago, back when he still came off as clever, McGregor once sat in a pre-fight press conference with Nate Diaz and said Diaz had “a bully mentality”. He then mocked Diaz’s mentors – some of whom are MMA royalty – as “bums.” As he said this, McGregor wore a fine plaid suit. He looked elegant. And even though he tussled with Diaz on stage, he still came off as regal, the fighter with an uncanny ability to describe exactly how he would win his fights. For this he became known as “Mystic Mac”.But there was nothing mystical or magical about the man bellowing through Barclays with a posse of sycophants, scampering from security, flinging anything not bolted down at a bus filled with other fighters. When he threw the dolly through the bus window, he allegedly injured lightweight fighter Michael Chiesa and flyweight Ray Borg enough that both were pulled from Saturday’s UFC 233 card. McGregor came off as the very things he once decried: a bully and a bum.Maybe, in a way, this was some kind of extravagant fight promotion. The real target of McGregor’s ire was supposedly Khabib Nurmagomedov, the rising lightweight star whose fight with Max Holloway on Saturday night was for the belt McGregor was stripped of for not fighting in the UFC since November 2016. McGregor was once a master of hype, building hysteria for his fights with profane tirades. What happened Thursday was no masterful stroke of promotional genius. McGregor’s act has grown tiresome in recent months as his star has peaked and he almost seems to have developed a compulsion to be outrageous. He looked tacky and obnoxious in his pre-fight tour with Floyd Mayweather before their fight last year and in dragging his gang of hangers-on to charge a bus under an arena two days before a big fight night was stupid. There’s no honor in getting arrested for potentially damaging the careers of other fighters. McGregor, a man obsessed with money, should understand that. With Chiesa and Borg’s withdrawls and UFC president Dana White’s removal of Artem Lobov (who was with McGregor on Thursday), he may have cost the UFC three fights on Saturday’s card. When Holloway was declared medically unfit to fight on Friday morning, the UFC was left with a shell of an event. “This is the last stunt on earth that we’d ever pull,” White told ESPN.“This is embarrassing for the sport and obviously for the UFC. This is the furthest thing from a stunt. This is bad. Times have changed. This isn’t the old anything-goes UFC. The work White and others did to polish the organization’s image resulted in a $4bn sale to WME-IMG. The modern UFC is not the renegade UFC. They are a huge corporate entity desperate to appeal to the mainstream. What McGregor did on Thursday might draw a knowing smile from a fight fan who will shrug the whole thing off a part of “fighting”. But it doesn’t appeal to the broader world that puts people like McGregor and former female star Ronda Rousey on magazine covers and television commercials. “It’s out of character for Conor McGregor and any of my fighters,” White said in his ESPN interview, looking shaken by what happened. “Listen, crazy things happen in sports. … In the history of the UFC, this is definitely the worst thing that’s happened. This is not Conor McGregor. This is not the Conor McGregor that I know.”UFC executives have been frustrated with McGregor ever since he knocked out José Aldo in 13 seconds back in UFC 194. The win propelled McGregor to new fame, making him almost bigger than the organization himself – something he exploited to become increasing more difficult to control. They put up with his behavior because, for a time, it made them money. But this time McGregor crossed a line. White is right, the McGregor of recent months, the McGregor on Thursday, was nothing like the one who became the UFC’s greatest star. He has to make a choice now. Does he want to be a champion or a bully and a bum, throwing it all away to throw trashcans at buses?center_img New York Share on WhatsApp Share on Pinterest US sports “The MMA cleaned up their act, they really did,” McCain told me in 2016. “When it first started they were able to do things that are now prohibited. I don’t have a problem with the MMA.”Now the UFC’s biggest name, their star who burst into the mainstream, landing on magazine covers, luring many to a sport they’d never might have never considered, has been charged with assault and criminal mischief. One of these counts is a felony. And it does far more than any bloody brawl or failed doping test to destroy the credibility the UFC has built in recent years. The videos of the organization’s most visible fighter raging across concrete corridors, hurling garbage cans, project to the world an image that confirms McCain’s original impression.What does it say about the UFC when the only fighter to hold titles in two of its divisions at once starts acting a common hoodlum? Conor McGregor charged with assault following UFC backstage melee in New York Share on Twitter UFC 1:24 Sportblog Reuse this content Share on Messenger Conor McGregorlast_img read more

Anthony Joshua admits he still fears losing to ‘that one punch’

first_img … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Read more As for Fury’s chances against Wilder, Joshua said: “He knows how to spoil a fight. He can definitely spoil that fight.”Joshua also revealed he fought with the lingering effects of a heavy cold. “I got hit by a cold [Friday of the previous week]. I had it over the weekend but I thought by Wednesday I should be good. My throat cleared up [on Friday]. But it was still there, a head cold.“I’ve been through this feeling a million times in training camp. I sparred 15 good rounds, and felt worse. But I thought I’ve got one geezer in the ring with me, so I’ve just got to get on with it.” Boxing Tyson Fury Share via Email Share on Facebook Kevin Mitchell Since you’re here… Read more Joshua, who got up from the floor to stop Wladimir Klitschko in the same ring 18 months ago, was wobbled early by Povetkin but finished his sixth defence in style with two knockdowns in the seventh round.Only Joseph Parker has interrupted Joshua’s run of early finishes and the champion was pleased to win by stoppage for the 21st time. Wilder, who is scheduled to defend his WBC title against Tyson Fury at a venue yet to be decided in the US on 1 December, has gone the distance once in 40 fights and owns what is regarded as the single most powerful right hand in the division.But Joshua feels no need to go knockout for knockout with Wilder. “I’ve got no worries in the ring any more. I haven’t found that perfect style but I’ve found a style that is working at the minute. If people say: ‘Do you want to make it exciting?’ Yeah, for sure. I’m still learning but I’m good enough to get the outcome I want, as well.“Every fight is scary. You don’t want to lose everything you’ve got – especially this one – this was a banana-skin fight because of what’s to come. As with the Parker fight, I didn’t want to take any risks.“I’ve got to look forward, whatever it is – if it’s Dillian Whyte, if it’s Tyson Fury, if it’s Wilder, if it’s Luis Ortiz, if it’s Jarrell Miller. I can’t be bothered any more, worrying about Wilder. If he wants it, let’s get it on. He’s a good fighter, he’s a good champion. He has stepped up. But to step up against me, I don’t know.” Reuse this content Share on Messenger Deontay Wilder Anthony Joshua resumes knockout run against Povetkin to retain titles Share on Pinterest Anthony Joshua admits as he edges towards a seemingly inevitable heavyweight unification showdown with Deontay Wilder that, although he is unbeaten in 22 fights and holds three of the four recognised belts, he still lives in fear of losing to “one punch”.Joshua ignored a lingering head cold to stop the obdurate but ageing Russian Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round at Wembley Stadium on Saturday night to keep safe his IBF, WBA and WBO titles.“I always think about that one punch,” Joshua said. “No one can beat me skill-for-skill, I don’t think. But it’s that one punch: I’d hate for that to be the reason why I lose. One punch. And that’s what they’re all looking at.” Anthony Joshua Share on Twitter Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder could temporarily end title anarchy Support The Guardian Topics Share on WhatsApp news Share on LinkedInlast_img read more

Rock-solid John Stones shows quiet magnificence for Manchester City

first_imgReuse this content Facebook Topics Stones when you don’t notice Stones: this is the best Stones, a player whose grace on the ball will always catch the eye but who is at his best when he blends into the players around him. There was a good example around the hour mark on Sunday, as United pressed and the weather briefly threatened to shift.City had dominated possession from the start, had scored two dreamy goals, and had spent the last hour oozing around the static red shirts like a sky blue surge tide. The introduction of Romelu Lukaku offered another challenge. It was his run in behind City’s defence that earned United a penalty. Lukaku had found space behind Stones as he pushed up, a small mistake transformed into a significant one by Ederson’s decision to hare out and clatter into the Belgian’s ankles.Moments later Lukaku dropped deep, flicking a high ball on beyond Stones. On this occasion, though, there was cover, Fernandinho sprinting back with neurotic caution to cover the space. A few moments later Lukaku again held the ball up in the centre circle. This time Stones came haring in with real aggression, so tight to the back of his man he seemed to be trying to form a rugby union-style rolling maul. Stones’ partnership with Aymeric Laporte has dynamic potential. Photograph: Michael Zemanek/BPI/REX/Shutterstock Twitter Share on WhatsApp Kevin De Bruyne set to be back for Manchester City earlier than expected John Stones Read more Share on Facebook Oh wait, and here is another one. Right now Stones has the highest pass completion rate of any player in the Premier League, no small thing given the risks City take playing out from the back, not to mention …hang on. There is another one too. Chuck in that annihilating home derby win and two years into his City career Stones has never – repeat, never – lost a Premier League game when he has played a full match at the Etihad Stadium.What does it mean? Does it mean anything? There are of course caveats in any such run. City have become a steamrollering domestic force. This is above all a genuine team, to the extent you could prop up a stained-mahogany Victorian hatstand in the middle of that defence most weekends and it might have a fair chance of making the Premier League team of the season on the bare numbers alone.For all that, Stones was quietly magnificent against United – all long striding authority, aggressive when required, and with a familiar calmness on the ball. Twice in the second half he carried the ball out of defence and feinted and weaved past three United players, an ease in possession that instantly shifts the shape of the game, allows his team to re-gear itself, to take a breath, to retake its starting positions.It is a significant turn of form for a player whose career has been marked out by periods of turbulence, and whose style is by its very nature often a little close to the edge. Two years ago Stones was eviscerated by television pundits after an error-prone performance during the 4-0 defeat by Everton. Stones has improved under Pep Guardiola’s guidance. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters There is a reason Pep Guardiola gave that famous press conference praising the stones of Stones, insisting his man would continue to play fearlessly in possession. The system demands it, and the system will win games, even with the occasional rick at the back. Concede the odd goal from a mistake: but help make four times as many at the other end by drawing opponents on and preventing counterattacks by refusing to punt it long. This is the formula of profit and loss, a system that works beautifully when Stones performs as he has for the last few weeks.It is of course about more than one man. City’s resilience in their last few games is a function of the central three-man unit Guardiola has settled on in Nicolás Otamendi’s absence. As a defensive pairing Stones and Laporte look right: one left-footed, one right- footed; both tall and athletic; both quick enough to play to a high line; both good enough on the ball to step into midfield. Twitter Sportblog Pinterest Manchester City In January this year he was singled out as a false note again after another rickety show in the Carabao Cup semi-final.Even at the end of a fine World Cup he was blamed for Croatia’s winning goal in the semi-final, failing to track Mario Mandzukic’s goal-bound run towards the end of extra time.This is the Stones equation, a balance of marginal gains and occasional setbacks; a divvying up between his ability to play the Guardiola style and the fact he is far from a pure marker, the traditional defensive leech for whom such mistakes would negate everything else they bring to the team.center_img Share via Email Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. What Manchester United must do to end stagnation under José Mourinho John Stones didn’t make much of an impression in the Manchester derby: didn’t register on the headline stats, wasn’t singled out in the post-match montage, didn’t come steaming across to launch a heroic goal-bound siege-tackle, or head the ball away with a conical white bandage twined around his bloodstained brow.This is usually a good sign when it comes to Stones, a player who only ever seems to get picked out when he makes a mistake, and whose recent run of form in a reconfigured defence provides another convincing argument City may just be ready to reach down and hit a deeper gear this season. The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. comment Pinterest The interaction with Fernandinho on Sunday confirmed this feeling of solidity, and of an agreeably Pep-style fluidity. Guardiola likes Otamendi because he wins “the duels” and he likes Vincent Kompany because, well, he’s Vincent Kompany. But if we assume the league looks fairly winnable whoever City play in defence, it is easy to feel encouraged by the more dynamic potential of Stones-Laporte, the possibility that when it comes to the Champions League City might go Full Guardiola from back to front, with a genuine ball-playing defensive pair.From here Stones and Raheem Sterling will join up with England, Guardiola’s gifts to the national team, and along with Harry Kane and Harry Maguire the most improved players in this new England generation. After which City have a run of ten winnable games, with a trip to Chelsea in the league sandwiched in the middle. What heights this team can reach in the process will depend to a degree on the fine form of Laporte; and on Stones retaining that light touch, a star defensive turn who is never quite as good as those times you barely notice him. David Silva sparks Manchester City’s precious derby victory over United Facebook Share on Twitter Read more And steadily things settled. City adjusted on the hoof, Stones, Fernandinho and Aymeric Laporte operating in those few minutes as a single compound brain, altering their positions, marking a little tighter in the clinches, covering Lukaku’s flicks with his back to goal.Stones even managed to avoid giving away a foul for that full body grapple in the centre circle – a significant moment in itself. Here is a good Stones stat: he is on a run of five Premier League games without committing a foul. And here is another good Stones stat. Since he returned to the starting XI against Liverpool in early October City have yet to concede a goal from open play. Read more Share on Messengerlast_img read more

Kevin De Bruyne says quadruple ‘nearly impossible’ for Manchester City

first_imgShare on Facebook Share on WhatsApp Kevin De Bruyne has said Manchester City have been “figured out” but he still believes they can win three competitions and so better last season.City, in Germany for Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against Schalke, won the Premier League last season with a record 100 points and also claimed the Carabao Cup. This season they are still in contention for a quadruple and, though De Bruyne described this as “nearly impossible”, he is unfazed by City having to adjust their play to beat teams. Asked to compare last season’s side with the current one, De Bruyne said: “I think it’s the same. In the league we lost a few more but we are still fighting on all fronts. I think other teams figure out what we do a bit better. They have better squads, we just added one player [Riyad Mahrez].”In the league City have 65 points and lead Liverpool on goal difference, though the Merseyside club have played a match fewer.De Bruyne said: “The way we play is always going to be the same with Pep [Guardiola] – we’re not going to change. We’ve a lot of points and are still setting a high standard, maybe not the same as last year but maybe we’ll win more titles. If we win three titles, we will have done better than last year.“Titles are the most important thing. We also do different things. We have main guidelines for what we always do but we try to adapt. We also know if teams do other things we must try something else as openings come in a different way, we try to adapt and dominate games. Sometimes in games that are more difficult we try to win in another way.”The midfielder added: “I think the goal is not to win the four competitions. The goal is to win every game and the further you progress, you want to win the next game. You cannot say at the beginning we are going to win four.”The next stage of this starts on Wednesday at Schalke. “We want to progress to the quarter-finals and be closer to winning it,” said De Bruyne. “But to win all four and set that standard is nearly impossible.”When City’s run of only five wins in their last 11 matches in Europe was raised, De Bruyne said: “First of all, the level of Champions League is still higher than in the Premier League, that’s why only the best teams play.“Second it doesn’t matter how many games you lose – you want to win as many as possible – but in the end it’s about winning the trophy and trying to perform the best.”John Stones and Gabriel Jesus were unable to travel because of injury and Guardiola said City’s punishing schedule was the reason why. “John has a groin problem and Gabriel finished the game in Newport with a hamstring problem. They are not big ones, the doctor told me, but enough of a problem not to be here. That’s normal when you play every three days for three months. We played 25 games in three months.”He then aimed a dig at the European and world governing bodies. “We are going to finish the season and we will give them three weeks [off]. Then we are going to China to play big clubs in Europe [pre-season] and push them [the players]. Maybe Fifa or Uefa are going to organise another competition for these three weeks we have off.” Share on Twitter Champions League Share on Pinterest Share on LinkedIn Manchester City Reuse this content Kevin De Bruyne De Bruyne’s season has been blighted by two serious knee injuries, two months early on and then another six weeks in late autumn. While this means he is fresh, the Belgian believes constant football is of more benefit. “When you’re in the flow you don’t have to think, when you come back from injury you try to do the same but you are not quick enough, you have to think quicker,” the 27-year-old said. “It comes natural [when playing regularly] because you are mentally conditioned to play.”Although Schalke are 14th in the Bundesliga, Guardiola remains wary of them. “If you want to go through, you have to be yourself every minute and after we will see. I want us to be ourselves. It’s a challenge and I’m delighted to face it,” he said. Manchester City set to add third-tier Chinese club to global portfolio Read more Share on Messenger Topics Schalke Read more Manchester City would not sell Jadon Sancho to us, claims Jürgen Klopp news Share via Emaillast_img read more

Six-wicket Jack Leach spins Somerset to innings victory over Nottinghamshire

first_img Since you’re here… news Somerset Surrey Share on Messenger County Championship Division Two Sign up to the Spin – our weekly cricket round-up Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Topics England spinner Jack Leach’s six for 36 inspired Somerset to their second successive victory of the season. Leach, playing in his first match of the year, started the enchantment with his sixth ball of the day as Ben Slater was tempted forward into a prod and was stumped. He then squeezed a ball through Joe Clarke’s defences – out for two – and with guile tickled out the rest, as Nottinghamshire slumped to 126 all out, defeat by an innings and 14 runs. Notts lost their last eight wickets for 60, with Jack Brooks, who moved from Yorkshire over the winter, finishing with four for 22.Somerset’s next county championship game is against last year’s champions Surrey, whose game against Essex at the Oval seemed to be meandering towards a draw. Essex were not intimidated by Surrey’s powerful seam attack, though there was disappointment for Dan Lawrence who fell seven short of a century in the morning sun. But the Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate’s 130 and a quickfire 41 from Peter Siddle gave their side a first-innings lead of 53. By stumps, Rory Burns and Mark Stoneman had given Surrey a small lead.There was last-session bedlam at Southampton as Hampshire, following on, finished on 54 for five, still 198 behind Yorkshire. Steve Patterson caused panic in the top order, taking three for nine, including James Vince for 11 and Sam Northeast for a duck. Northeast had earlier been the glue holding Hampshire’s first innings together until, alas, after being stuck in the nineties for 14 overs, he edged Duanne Olivier behind for 99. The South African Olivier finished with three for 89.Warwickshire too were in trouble following on, losing four late wickets as they crawled along, still 79 behind Kent at the close. Dom Sibley’s 132 in the first innings, brought up with a straight drive for four and a leap of delight, was the fifth century in five consecutive first-class matches for the former Surrey batsman. Support The Guardian Cricket Essex Nottinghamshire Share via Email County Championship Division One Share on LinkedIn The Observer Read more Down in Division Two, rain truncated play at Lord’s where Lancashire’s Rob Jones made the highest score of his Championship career. He was hit on the helmet by a ball from James Harris when on 69 but, nonplussed, batted on, reaching his century with a four off Steven Finn. He was eventually out for 122, one of Tim Murtagh’s five wickets. Dane Vilas chipped in with 68. There was no joy for Finn or Toby Roland-Jones. Nick Gubbins made a five-ball duck as Middlesex’s second innings started badly.Leicestershire started the day batting, and finished it batting, but not in a good way. A painstaking innings by Ateeq Javid was not enough to reach the heights of the follow-on against the sharp bowling of Worcestershire’s Josh Tongue and Ed Barnard. Fifty from Hasan Azad steadied the second-innings ship – at stumps Leicestershire were 132 for four, still 119 runs behind Worcestershire’s gargantuan first effort.A slow day at Bristol as Gloucestershire build up a first-innings lead of 59. Gareth Roderick was out for 98 and Ryan Higgins 74. Derbyshire lost two quick wickets in their second innings but had limped into a lead by the close.The run-glut at Sophia Gardens showed no sign of ending as Northamptonshire’s Rob Newton scored the fifth century of the match in a record-breaking partnership with Ricardo Vasconcelos, who batted on to 184 before finally falling lbw to Marnus Labuschagne. Rob Keogh finished 73 not out and by stumps more than a thousand runs had been scored, and many bowlers chastened, in three very long days.At the Riverside, a run chase! Sussex, chasing 212 to win against Durham, were 144 for three at the close, with an unbeaten 66 for Stiaan van Zyl. Share on WhatsApp Reuse this content Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Spectre of World Cup continues to cast shadow over Super Netball season

first_imgTopics Tracey Neville to leave England role after Netball World Cup to start family Support The Guardian Read more Share on Twitter Since you’re here… Share on Messenger Share on Facebook Netball Share on WhatsApp Diamonds Share on Pinterest Guardian Australia sport newsletter: subscribe by email features Netball World Cup 2019 The 26-year-old played every minute, picked off three intercepts and affected three deflections which resulted in a gain. She also didn’t give away a single obstruction, impressive for a wing defence. The 40-Test veteran was instrumental in getting her injury-ravaged and winless side the draw.While the game was drawn, the Firebirds walked away with four points; two bonus points for winning the first and last quarters and two premiership points for the draw. The Fever got three, after winning just one quarter. It’s believed to be the first time a side has “won” a draw, points-wise, in Super Netball.Also on Saturday, Vixens goal keeper Mannix, who was overlooked in favour of 24-year-old Klau, and her captain Moloney, who didn’t make the cut in the midcourt, shone in their side’s 62-52 win over the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Queensland.Mannix started on Ugandan Peace Proscovia and had two important intercepts before the main break, by which time the Lightning import was benched.Also a member of the most recent Quad Series squad and seen as an understudy for Courtney Bruce, Mannix recorded two deflections resulting in a gain and a rebound and only had one obstruction. She was instrumental in causing several held balls, working seamlessly with Jo Weston.Moloney, playing on Kiwi superstar Laura Langman in her 200th match, had 27 feeds and 20 goal assists, but it was her defensive pressure, which netted two intercepts and caused five general play turnovers from Langman, that stood out. Her lead-from-the-front style also played a key role in the win.Putting their names on the “well and truly justified their inclusion” list were Tippett and Klau – both named MVPs in their matches – and Hadley.In her side’s draw with the Fever, Tippett continued her extraordinary run of form, shooting 35 from 36 to take her season tally to 192 from 196, for a mind-blowing 98% accuracy. … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. It was always going to be this way. From the moment it was revealed how the 2019 Super Netball season would be structured to accommodate July’s World Cup , it was inevitable certain individual performances would be viewed through the prism of the global tournament.The quadrennial World Cup, to be held in Liverpool, is one of netball’s pinnacle events and its spectre has loomed large over the world’s best league since round one. The season will pause after round nine is complete on 23 June and re-start on 27 July for five more rounds, before finals. She was again the most accurate shooter across the competition for the round and continues to be unfazed by pairing with Abigail Latu-Meafou, who the Firebirds brought in just two weeks ago to cover for an injured Romelda Aiken. Surely the number of people doubting Tippett is dropping as her form trajectory goes in the opposite direction.A clearly-elated Klau had her best game yet in the Swifts’ 16-goal win over Collingwood. She had a round-high four intercepts and affected three deflections which resulted in a gain. And she did it all while looking like she was having the time of her life.With first-string Diamonds keeper Courtney Bruce appearing to re-injure her arm in the last quarter in Fever’s match against the Firebirds, Klau might be seeing more court time in Liverpool than many expected.Her teammate Hadley swung between centre and wing attack in the Swifts’ thumping of Collingwood, but regardless of the bib, the result was the same – dominance. She had 42 feeds, 19 goal assists and a deflection. As the play maker and pace setter, Hadley worked in beautifully with Helen Housby, who dominated at goal attack.Along with most of their teammates, Brazill and Ravaillion had games they’d rather forget against the Swifts as coach Rob Wright – like Kristy Keppich-Birrell before him – tried and failed to get a team of champions to beat what increasingly looks like a champion team in the Swifts.Were their performances influenced by the disappointment of missing out? Do they now have something to prove? Will a long mid-season break do them the world of good? Will teammate Kelsey Browne star in Liverpool and come home revitalised?Those questions – and yet many more – remain to be answered in season 2019; a season truly like no other. Read more How Australia match up to the main pretenders to their Netball World Cup crown Read more Share on LinkedIn Reuse this content Australia sport Share via Email Historically, the elite domestic competition has been moved forward or back to make room, so when it was announced last year, the unorthodox format prompted many questions and quandaries.Would an Australian star or any of the internationals who play in the league, from New Zealand, England, Jamaica, Uganda, Trinidad or South Africa, injure themselves pre-Cup and ruin their nation’s chances?Would the measly six-day break between the final day of competition in the UK and round 10 hurt one franchise more than another? What about the psychological weight of potentially losing the final and having to front up for domestic duties for the rest of the season?Would players be rested before or after, with an impact on results? Or would players pick up season-ending injuries in Liverpool?The constant speculating has been the underlying theme of the season. And never has the shadow of the World Cup been longer than in round six last weekend, which began 48 hours after the Diamonds squad was revealed by coach Lisa Alexander.Looking through an Australian lens, it was impossible to miss three scintillating individual performances – from Firebird Gabi Simpson and Vixens Emily Mannix and Kate Moloney, who all missed out – which could comfortably be filed under “How do you like me, now?”.Standout games from another Firebird, the polarising Gretel Tippett, and NSW Swifts duo Sarah Klau and Paige Hadley should have silenced any doubters questioning their inclusion. And less-than-stellar minutes from Magpies Ash Brazill and Kim Ravaillion in their side’s 68-52 thrashing by the Swifts might just have validated their exclusion.The biggest shock of the squad announcement was the dropping of Simpson, who was vice-captain in the Diamonds’ most recent Quad Series. Most pundits had her in the 12, despite a few niggling injuries, but on Thursday, her name was missing, with Alexander favouring Jamie Lee Price.Simpson, however, wasn’t missing on the stats sheet for her side’s 62-all draw with the West Coast Fever in Brisbane on Saturday night. A clearly fired-up Simpson, already one of the game’s most animated characters, looked like a woman on a mission from the first whistle.last_img read more

Channel 4 in talks with Sky over screening Cricket World Cup final – if England qualify

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Television industry Since you’re here… Sky plc (Media) news Sky plc (Business) ECB Share via Email Support The Guardian Sports rights Share on Facebook Liam plunkett (@Liam628)🤷🏼‍♂️😄😄😄😄😄July 5, 2019 Cricket World Cup 2019 The Cricket World Cup final will be shown on a free-to-air platform if England qualify, with Channel 4 understood to have opened talks with rights-holders Sky over sharing coverage from Lord’s.Sky announced on Friday that if England come through their semi-final against either India or Australia then it would “ensure as wide an audience as possible is able to watch the game”, which takes place on Sunday, 14 July.International cricket has been behind Sky’s subscription paywall since 2005 when the England and Wales Cricket Board sold Sky the exclusive rights. The ECB has continually argued that the money raised has helped to grow the game, but it has faced increasing pressure for at least some matches to return to free-to-air television.It is understood that Channel 4– who are already screening highlights of the tournament – are the likeliest terrestrial TV partner at this stage, with a proposal that could see it broadcast the final live along with Sky’s Main Event and Cricket channels and Sky’s Youtube channel.The only issue could be that the match clashes with the British Grand Prix from Silverstone, which Channel 4 also holds the rights for. It is believed that More4 could be used as a second channel during the race, although it is unclear which sport would be screened on the alternative channel.The debate on the tournament’s visibility intensified after England’s defeat to the USA in the football Women’s World Cup became the most-watched British television broadcast of the year, drawing a peak audience of 11.7 million.The Guardian revealed last month that Sky was considering showing the final on a free-to-air platform, but Sky declined to comment publicly on it.On Friday Sky’s UK and Ireland chief executive, Stephen van Rooyen, said: “We are proud to be the broadcaster for a home Cricket World Cup, one of the world’s biggest and most exciting sporting events. Our aim has always been to celebrate what could be a once-in-a-generation moment of a home team in a big final on home soil.“So if England reach the final we will make the match available to everyone so the whole country can be part of a rare and special big sporting moment.”The former England captain David Gower said it was “a very noble gesture”. He said: “There’s been a lot of pressure to do something like this and they weren’t necessarily obliged to do this by the terms of the deal they struck. But having worked with them for 20 years, I’m fully aware of how good the coverage is and everything Sky has done for cricket in that time.“It will be fantastic all round, first of all having them in the final and having that match watched by the largest audience possible.”The England bowler Liam Plunkett threw his support behind the final being screened on a free-to-air platform. When the viewing figures to date were put to Plunkett on BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: “We feel like we’ve built something special here as a team. It would be nice to go all the way and to have big numbers watching that final if we get through and win. That would be huge.” Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Plunkett later praised Sky in a tweet that claimed he had been misquoted, highlighting just how sensitive the topic is at Sky and the ECB.England qualified for their first World Cup semi-final since 1992 when they beat New Zealand in Durham on Wednesday. Topics Share on Pinterest England cricket team Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Inter flop Gabigol closing in on Santos return

first_imgTransfers Inter flop Gabigol closing in on Santos return Jamie Smith 21:35 1/11/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Gabigol Inter Getty Images Transfers Santos Internazionale Benfica Serie A Linense v Santos Paulista A1 Having failed to make the breakthrough in Serie A, while also struggling on loan at Benfica, the Brazilian striker could soon be heading home Gabriel Barbosa is keen on a return to Santos, the club’s president has confirmed, with the forward ready to end his European nightmare.Gabigol helped Brazil to win their home Olympics in 2016 and was considered one of the world’s hottest young strikers, earning a move to Inter for a reported €25 million.But the 21-year-old has flopped in Italy, scoring a single Serie A goal and failing to start any league games, while a loan spell at Benfica has failed to revive Gabigol’s career. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Santos president Jose Carlos Peres says talks between the club and Inter over a Brazilian return for Gabigol are now ongoing.”There’s a dialogue under way with Inter,” Peres told FPF TV.”We made our offer and now we’re waiting for a response. It’s all done between ourselves and the player.”Now it all depends on Inter, who are owned by the Chinese [Suning Group]. We’re moving toward an agreement.”Gabigol previously indicated he wanted to stay at Benfica and fight for his place, with the striker still hoping for an unlikely Brazil call-up for the 2018 World Cup.last_img read more

Klopp: I turned down Manchester United

first_imgLiverpool Klopp admits to turning down Man Utd before taking Liverpool reins Dom Farrell 22:36 1/13/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Getty Liverpool Manchester United Jürgen Klopp Liverpool v Manchester City Premier League The German coach was quickly accepted as a hero at Anfield, and his stock is likely to rise after revealing that he snubbed the Red Devils in 2014 Jurgen Klopp claims he turned down the chance to succeed David Moyes as Manchester United manager before taking the reins at Liverpool.Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers in the Anfield dugout in October 2015, four months on from stepping down at Borussia Dortmund.The 50-year-old’s celebrated tenure at Signal Iduna Park featured back-to-back Bundesliga titles and saw him become one of the most sought-after coaches in European football. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player In an interview with former Liverpool player Phil Thompson on Sky Sports, Klopp said he was approached to become United boss before they appointed Louis van Gaal for the 2014-15 season.”Yes, there was interest – Manchester United, yes, they were interested a year or a year and a half before, but it didn’t feel right,” he said.Jurgen Klopp Manchester United snub“I couldn’t say Man United is not my club, it didn’t feel right.”Klopp explained his intention to take a sabbatical from football after an underwhelming final season at Dortmund, only for the football romantic in him to heed Liverpool’s call.”Yes, I’m a football romantic,” he said. “I’m confident but not as confident as other managers, thinking this club will call, that club will call.”A lot of clubs called and I said ‘No, no chance, I need to make a break now’. Even my wife knew, if Liverpool is calling, I go.”When Liverpool called, I had no chance. It was actually too early for my plans. I said, ‘Wow, come on!'”But then coming here and feeling the spirit immediately, it was just, for me, a match in heaven.”All eyes on Anfield this weekend. pic.twitter.com/y4vDaL31mL — Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 13, 2018 Liverpool are on a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions and host undefeated Premier League leaders Manchester City in a mouth-watering Premier League clash on Sunday.Klopp’s men were beaten 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium in September, but were only 1-0 down and causing Pep Guardiola’s side plenty of problems before Sadio Mane was sent off for catching City goalkeeper Ederson with a high boot.That incident and the subsequent result had a shaping influence on both team’s seasons, according to Klopp, whose side are fourth and 18 points behind City.”When I think about the game on Sunday, I cannot forget the first we played against them,” he added. “It changed the season for City in a positive way and gave us a little knock for a few days and weeks.”That was unlucky, it was an open game. Nobody cares about that anymore but it’s the truth. We got a red card, which was the worst place in world football to be one down – wow! No chance that day.” Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the weblast_img read more

Can Rayados erase Liga MX final memories?

first_imgMonterrey Can a hot start erase Liga MX final loss memory for Monterrey? Jon Arnold Click here to see more stories from this author @ArnoldcommaJon 01:07 2/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Dorlan Pabon Alfonso Gonzalez Monterrey Ulises Ruiz Monterrey Liga MX Monterrey v León León After a painful defeat in the Liga MX final had the club rattled for weeks, have Rayados moved on from December’s defeat? Aviles Hurtado stepped up against his former teammate. He looked him in the eye, started a slow, bouncy run-up and took his penalty. The ball bounced before it arrived to the six-yard box, going wide instead of troubling Club Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. The kick looked more like one taken by a U-12 player learning to shoot from the spot rather than Liga MX’s reigning Golden Boot winner.For the second time in as many months, Hurtado had missed a penalty at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer.Rayados were frustrated to settle for just a point with Tijuana two weeks ago, but that was nothing compared with the rock-bottom feeling they had in their chests in December when Hurtado’s penalty miss played a key role in crosstown rival Tigres lifting the Liga MX title. It seemed clear that moment was still in the Colombian’s mind. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player How could it not be? Even actually raising a trophy on the same field where they’d just lost did little to lift the team’s morale. Just more than a week after losing to Tigres in the second leg of the final, the team topped Pachuca in the Copa MX final. It felt … still not satisfying.”To me it didn’t make up for anything. We wanted to win both titles. We lost in the final, the Clasico against Tigres and the only revenge is to meet them again,” manager Antonio Mohamed told Argentina’s La Nacion. “We’ve got a thorn in our side about it.”At the same time, we really enjoyed the campaign. We were the leaders of the tournament for a long time, the team with the most goals and the fewest allowed. Even so, it hurt a ton, a ton. For me, the most important thing is what’s coming. I always tell the players, if you lose a ball, the most important is the one to come because if you stay there feeling sorry about it the train passes you. Life passes you.”El Turco got deep there at the end, but it’s also the only option Monterrey has. The club and its players can keep moping about the loss in the Clasico Regio, or they can try to get back to the final – and hopefully for Rayados beat Tigres along the way.They took the first step last weekend with a 2-1 win against Chivas and this week return home. The typical fortress of the Estadio BBVA Bancomer might not feel as imposing now that Tigres have twice beaten Rayados there in the Liguilla. That feeling only has intensified with the draw to Tijuana two weeks ago and a stalemate with Morelia before that.This weekend when Rayados welcome Leon they’ll be looking for their first home league win of 2018. Leon also finds itself in its own head a bit, falling to Necaxa at home 4-0 in Jornada 4 and still waiting for its new signings to be fit. The matchup could be key for the teams to get into the right state of mind ahead of the push for the playoffs and the jockeying for positioning beginning.Perhaps in an effort to refresh after last tournament’s frustration, Mohamed has been using Arturo “Ponce” Gonzalez behind Rogelio Funes Mori and moving Carlos Sanchez to the bench. It’s a shift from the 4-3-3 that got Rayados to the final and no further on two occasions. The Argentine manager may not stick with that formation, though Gonzalez worked well against Chivas’ two defensive midfielders and could find space in the same formation.Either way, a home win for Monterrey would signal a return to normalcy. Rayados know better than anyone in the league that simply running away with the regular season means nothing in the long run. Yet sitting atop the table can do wonders for the mentality. The pain of the final will linger, but with more victories in the Clausura life goes on for Rayados.last_img read more