上海品茶FLV

Can the Las Vegas Raiders replace the fanaticism of the Black Hole?

content_img

Mark Acasio says he and his gorilla suit are joining the Las Vegas Raiders this fall. Acasio, a long-time fan from Brentwood, California, known far and wide as Gorilla Rilla, has shelled out $3,500 for home-game tickets and $8,500 for a (PSL) for a front-row seat at Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ posh new home.

Acasio has not missed a Raiders’ home game in 25 years. Just because the Raiders will now be a one-hour flight from his home instead of a one-hour drive, he is determined to stay loyal to the team and to his comrades moving to Vegas from the Black Hole, the NFL’s most infamous cheering section, at dingy Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

“On the other hand, many other friends of mine have not, and will not, step foot in ,” Acasio tells The Guardian.

They won’t because Las Vegas is not exactly around the corner from the Bay Area, and because tickets in the sections at Allegiant Stadium envisioned as a New Black Hole are about double what they were in Oakland – $218.75 in Vegas, up to $110 in Oakland. There was a PSL in , but as far as anyone can remember, it was not much more than $500.

But that is only half of the issue. Oakland had the Raiders twice: from 1960 until 1982, when they moved to Los Angeles for 13 years, and then again from 1995 through last season. The Raiders won two Super Bowls in their first stinter Danny Murphy has slammed the work of Arsenal boss Unai Emery.Murphy reckons the Gunners would be better off with another man at the helm – and has suggested there is a lack of faith in Emery among the Arsenal players.He told talkSPORT: “[Granit] X in Oakland and another in Los Angeles, but the second stay was pretty bleak, .

Although they knew that Mark Davis, the Raiders’ owner and son of Al Davis, the legendary former Raiders’ coach and owner, had tried in vain for years to replace the obsolete Coliseum, many of the team’s long-suffering fans were enraged that the team abandoned the Bay Area again – and that Davis was hardly nostalgic about Oakland.

“I have a football team, but it’s going to be the Raiders,” Wayne Deboe, a fan for 60 years and the president of the Oakland Raiders Booster Club, tells the Guardian. “They’re called the now, but they’ll always be just the Raiders to me.”

The Black Hole had consisted of four lower-deck sections at the Oakland Coliseum where fans dressed up in freaky silver-and-black outfits and loudly cheered the Raiders: “positive fanaticism”. The Black Hole is also a global fan club with thousands of members.

But the Black Hole is, well, :

We are a STATE OF MIND. Our state of mind has united the entire Raiders Nation over the years. We have grown from a few friends to a worldwide family made up of generations of fans young and old, from all ethnicities, races, and sexes. If you bleed SILVER and BLACK, then we are connected and you are spiritually part of us.

Rob Rivera, a resident of Hayward, California, who is the president and co-founder of the Black Hole, tells the Guardian, “The move has broken our hearts, pissed us off. They proved loyalty is a one-way street in the .”

Deboe was not a Black Hole denizen: “They stand up too long for me,” says Deboe, who is retired and lives in Castro Valley, California. But he feels burned, too. Like Rivera, Deboe figures he will go to one or two Raiders’ home games per season in Las Vegas, probably using tickets purchased by a season-ticket holder (with a PSL).

Deboe is sure he won’t become a San Francisco 49ers’ fan. “That’s definitely out of the question,” he says, laughing. “Nobody will do that.”

The Raiders did not return several emails from the Guardian about duplicating the Black Hole in Vegas. Marc Badain, the team president, : “A lot of the folks that sit in the Black Hole in Oakland bought tickets in the south end zone at Allegiant. Whether that happens organically, we’ll see what happens.”

Deboe, for one, is Champions League winner Harry Kewell says they’re a striker short.Rather than look to strengthen their attacking options in the summer, Liverpool opted to hand Divock Origi a new deal, shortly after he scored the goal to seal victory in the Championsnot optimistic that will happen. He says that is “because Las Vegas is a destination city. A lot of people take trips there from all over the country. Fans of other teams will see a road game in Vegas and will want to make a weekend of it. Oakland was a sold-out stadium of locals.”

There is a Black Hole chapter in Las Vegas, a good start. The chapter president is Cisco “Kid” Ortega, whose job was relocated from the Bay Area to Vegas before the Raiders made Mundo Deportivo says La Real sports chief Robert Olabe is seeking a new left-back and is prioritising Monreal.The former Osasuna defender enjoys great support inside the board room of La Real, where they have been trying to bring the 32 year-old backtheir move. Ortega says the team has not been in touch with him, but when asked about a Black Hole II, he says “We are going to do our best to duplicate that.”

The chapter threw a Super Bowl party at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas just to get the ball rolling, although the coronavirus pandemic scuttled plans for the NFL to host its draft in Las Vegas in April, denying the Black Hole club some inevitable TV screen time and valuable publicity. Ortega is still optimistic for success in Vegas, though he understands the challenges.

“I know I can speak for many of us Oakland fans when I say this second relocation will always hurt,” he says. “Many of us, including myself, will not wear any Raider gear that says ‘Las Vegas’. However, what’s done is done, and we, The Black Hole, have to continue on with what we’ve built in the past 25 years.”

When plans for Allegiant Stadium were revealed, Raiders fans were horrified to note that an area in the stadium outside the north end zone that would be ideal for another Black Hole was taken up by club seating. But the Raiders said there could be a Black Hole at the other end. About 15% of the season tickets in Vegas were sold to fans from northern California.

But will the Black Hole, or can the Black Hole, really ever be the same? Gorilla Rilla will be there, and he is determined to make the place look and sound like Oakland. All the team has to do, whenever or however the NFL season starts, is to win more games and give whoever shows up at its new stadium more to cheer.

“I will continue pounding my chest to the Silver and Black among our Raider Family from Vegas to around the country,” says Acasio, ever the noble warrior to the cause. “I’ve visited 30 stadiums and have stepped foot in Mexico City, London and Germany, and I have always represented my Black Hole Banner and Raider Nation.”

Houston Astros cheating probe widens to almost 60 witnesses, 76,000 emails

content_img

Major League Baseball has interviewed almost 60 people and obtained tens of thousands of electronic messages in its investigation into allegations the broke rules by using a television camera to steal signs.

Former Houston pitcher Mike Fiers sparked the investigation when he told the Athletic last month the Astros had used the camera to steal signs in 2017 during the team’s run to its first World Series title.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said last month MLB was investigating Houston’s conduct for the past three seasons, and he hoped to complete the inquiry before the start of next season.

“I think that this is probably the most thorough investigation that the commissioner’s office has ever undertaken,” he said Wednesday at the winter meetings. “I think we’ve interviewed already nearly 60 witnesses, 76,000 e-mails, a whole additional trove of instant messages.

“That review has caused us to conclude that we have to do some follow-up interviewing. It is my hope to conclude the investigation just as promptly as possible, but it’s really hard to predict how long something like that is going to take.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch and Boston manager Alex Cora, the Astros’ 2017 bench coach, said they had spoken with investigators, and Hinch said he had been involved in several sessions. New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán, a Houston player in 2017, refused to say whether he had been interviewed.

“At this point in the investigatArsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi says the club have enough “ammunition” to secure transfer targets this summer.The Gunners will lose Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck and Petr Cech after letting their contracts expire.But Sanllehi is confident thion it would be wholly inappropriate for me to speculate about what types of discipline might be in play,” Manfred said. “I’m going to get all the facts in front of me and make a decision as promptly as possible on discipline.”

MLB strengthened its rules against electronic sign stealing before the 2019 season, and Manfred said the rules are reviewed eacise on teammate Raheem Sterling.Sterling, insists Delph, now belongs at the top tier of today’s stars.“I joined City with Raheem, so for me to see Raheem’s ­development as debut in Major League Soccer.He was playing for FC Cincinnati for the first time since joining the club temporarily in the January transfer window.Locadia netted in the 71st minute, only seven minutes after he came off the bench for Cincinnati.His nd to push him, to be that voice in his ear, I still felt very much part of ih offseason to determine whether more alterations are warranted.

Is Jameis Winston the most baffling player in the NFL?

content_img

Jameis Winston, once again, started a game on the worst possible note. For the fifth time this season – and the 10th time in his career – he threw an interception on the game’s opening drive, this one to the Detroit Lions’ Jahlani Tavai. It looked like it was going to be one of those Jameis Winston Games, but it ended up being the other kind: he bounced back to throw four touchdowns in a 38-17 victory for the . It was yet another chapter in the up-and-down career of a quarterback who continues to show tantalizing flashes of being an elite signal-caller while also showing a frightening predisposition for ugly turnovers.

In Sunday’s win, Winston became the first quarterback in history to throw for at least 450 yards in consecutive games. He’s also thrown for over 4,573 yards on the season, which currently puts him ahead of the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott for the league lead, to go alongside his 30 touchdowns. Sounds great, right? Here’s the problem: the interception increased Winston’s season total for picks to 24, with many of those giveaways avoidable. He’s also incredibly sack-prone – he’s been sacked 43 times on the year – and has shown a frustrating inability to learn when he needs to throw the ball away. At no point during his pro career, has he shown any sign of improving all-important ball security.

Ultimately, as much as the Bucs must love games such as the one Winston gave them on Sunday, those strong performances may be making it more difficult for them to figure out what to do at the end of the season. Do the Buccaneers hand an extension to a young quarterback capable of putting up monster numbers? Do they place the one-year franchise tag on him and hope that he becomes more consistent in his sixth year as an NFL starter? Or do they let another team take up his services and find a replacement quarterback in free agency? It’s not like they have had a tremendous amount of success with Winston – he has yet to lead them to the playoffs.

Winston’s troubled history may make that third option more attractive. The Buccaneers drafted Winston out of Florida State University, where he was the subject of a high-profile sexual assault allegation, one that eventually ended with him coming to a (he was not charged over the allegations). There were also several other less serious incidents that occurred during his college career: a citation for shoplifting and a suspension for shouting vulgarities in the campus cafeteria. Tampa Bay took a risk with Winston but hoped that he would keep out of trouble once in the NFL.

He didn’t. In 2018, the NFL suspended him three games after he was accused of groping an Uber driver (Winston was never charged over the incident ). The NFL report : “As a result, the investigation had concluded that Winston violated the Personal C club great quit Roma last summer after feeling isolated in his front office role.”My withdrawal was a bit unexpected, but correct. Now I accepted it, but I needed two years, because it was not my decision. In any case, I never regretted my decisionsonduct Policy by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.”

The Buccaneers clearly have a conundrum. Winston can win games for the team, he can lose games for the team and there’s a chance that legal or personal issues could prevent him from taking the field altogether.

In a league where starting quarterback options are plentifuLoftus-Cheek has revealed how he has endured a tough season.The 24-year-old has been sidelined since May with an Achilles injury, but he has recently returned to first-team training.”Tough times are definitely hard to stay motivated,” he told the clul, it would be an easy decision for Tampa Bay to move on and let another team take on the risks. That doesn’t describe the modern NFL, however, where teams seem to be constantly installing and discarding proven mediocrities. Because of this, there must be an temptation within the organization to stick with the Devil They Know and hope that he keeps coming up with games like the one had had on Sunday.

. After Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has thrown at least one interception against 31 NFL teams. In other words, . In fact, in what was likely his last game at MetLife Stadium, he ended up throwing three to various Dolphins defenders. Manning also, however, threw two touchdowns and led his team to a 36-20 victory, which was well appreciated by the hometown fans who rewarded him with a standing ovation.

. Congratulations to every fantasy football player who had Drake on their roster: he managed to score four touchdowns in a 38-24 Cardinals win over the Cleveland Browns. As you can imagine, Drake also accumulated plenty of carries (22) and a ton of yardage (137) in an Arizona victory that essentially sealed Cleveland’s playoff fate.

“Walking in here with Stretch (assistant to the head coach, John Streicher) I said one idiot was going to ask me that question” – Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel, LeShaun Sims’ punt return at the end of the Titans’ 24-21 loss to the Houston Texans.

You can’t blame Vrabel for coming into the press conference a little bit heated. His team’s record, after all, fell to 8-6 thus putting the Titans in second place in the AFC South behind the 9-5 Texans. To be fair to the reporter in question, it wasn’t an entirely ridiculous question, as the Titans would have had better field possession, and slightly more time on the clock, had Sims not returned the punt during their final drive of the game. Vrabel, however, had a point by emphasizing that was hardly the key play in what ended up being a frustratingly close loss, one that puts their .

The Cincinnati Bengals’ execution – or lack thereof– on this onside kick was emblematic of their 34-13 loss to the New England Patriots. The Patriots improved to 11-3 thanks to the general ineptitude of the 1-13 Bengals, who are still successfully pursuing the No1 pick in next year’s draft. Given how poorly the Bengals have been playing all season, it feels baffling that the Patriots would decide that they would need to resort to underhand methods to defeat them.

Or, it would be baffling if this were any other football franchise we were talking about. Before the game, footage of a Patriots employee videotaping last week’s game between the Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. The videographer, who is heard sheepishly offering to delete the potentially-illicit footage, has been suspended. The NFL is currently investigating the incident and suggests that this story is not going away any time soon.

— The Oakland Raiders played their final game at Oakland Coliseum before the franchise relocates to Las Vegas next season. It was not the storybook ending that the hometown fans were hoping for. The Jacksonville Jaguars snapped a five-game losing streak with a 20-16 comeback win. Who knows, however, maybe there was something fitting about the Coliseum hosting .

— The Baltimore Ravens on the back of a ridiculous performance by MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson, who broke Michael Vick’s single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Jackson now has put together 1,103 yards on the grounds to Napoli on Sunday made it four winless friendlies in a row for the Reds.But Dutch star van Dijk believes the return of the club’s stars, including Mohamed Salah, Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Salah Mane, will be important for Sunday’s Community Sh to go along with his 2,889 passing yards and, frighteningly enough, he’s only in his second year in the NFL.

— Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears ended up doing the exact opposite of clinching on Sunday. With their 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, combined with the Minnesota Vikings’ 39-10 win over the increasingly hapless Los Angeles Chargers, the Bears were officially eliminated from postseason contention.

— The Philadelphia Eagles beat Washington 37-27. They now have a 7-7 record, which keeps alive hopes that whoever wins the NFC East – and gets home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs – could end up having a winning record at the end of the regular season. Their divisional rivals, the Cowboys, are also 7-7 after they beat the Rams on Sunday.

— Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner made this athletic grab to intercept Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen. It was among three interceptions that Allen gifted Seattle in the 30-24 Seahawks victory. It was a dazzling reminder of just how great a defensive player Wagner is, which made it even rougher when he later . There was better news for the Seahawks later in the afternoon, as the Atlanta Falcons’ 29-22 upset road win over the San Francisco 49ers meant that Seattle ended the day as the top seed in the NFC.

Angelique Kerber’s title defence ends but Serena Williams rallies to victory

content_img

It is well over two decades since any woman other than Serena Williams and Venus Williams successfully defended the women’s title at Wimbledon. Angelique Kerber, in such style 12 months ago, will not be joining them after she was ousted 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 by the American Lauren Davis in the second round.

Davis, at 5ft 2in one of the smallest players on the Tour, only got into the draw as a lucky loser. A brilliant mover, she chased down everything and made the usually rock-solid Kerber miss, with 31 unforced errors from the German telling their own story.

“I was trying to find my game the whole match, actually,” said Kerber, who will drop out of the world’s top 10 after . “I was not really feeling good from the beginning. I don’t know why. The energy was not there. I tried. She played well. She was going for it. She took the match in her hand. I was too defensive in the important moments. Of course I’m disappointed. It’s not the way I would like to finish here or to play here. But you have sometimes days like that. You have to accept it. You have to learn from it, try to forget this as soon as possible.”

Davis was ranked inside the top 30 just two years ago but injuries have dropped her down to her current mark of 95. Here, though, with Kerber off-colour, she took full advantage to take her place in the third round, where she will play Carla Suárez Navarro, the No 30 seed from Spain. Having lost in the final round of qualifying, it is almost like she’s playing with house money and she is enjoying the ride.

“It’s definitely been incredible,” she said. “I was super-disappointed, having lost last round of qualies. I found out less than two hours later that I got into [the] main [draw]. I was ecstatic about that. It’s honestly a dream being here. I played qualies last year, so I wasn’t able to come here. It feels amazing.”

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was there to watch in her second-round match against Kaja Juvan, an 18-year-old Slovenian who likes the philosophy of Socrates and Descartes. Her tennis wasn’t bad, either, as she took the opening set against a rusty-looking Williams but the American, trying to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 grand slams, pulled her game together when she needed it. Her 2-6, 6-2,abao Cup semi-final is evenly poised after the first-leg finished 1-1 at King Power Stadium.”I thought we played well,” Rodgers told LCFC TV. “In the first half, we were too slow both in attack and when we pressed the game. We were too passive.”They 6-4 victory sets up a third-round meeting with the 18th seed, Julia Görges of Germany. “It was definitely coming together as the match went on,” Williams said. “I’m just low on matches basically. I could feel it. But I’m getting there.”

She will get plenty of matches if she keeps going deep into the second week as she partners Andy Murray . While the media might like to claim credit for putting the pair together, W-1 defeat of Bournemouth.The Magpies made it successive wins in the Premier League wins thanks to goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark who helped cancel out Harry Wilson’s opener.Bruce admitted there was still room for improvement, he said: “Ifilliams said she and Murray had discussed it a few days before and were excited to get on the court together. “It made sendy on a six-month deal after he was released by Wolves.The 21-year-old Scot began his career with Rangers before moving to Spain with Real Murcia.He joined Bury in 2014 before a three-year stint at Molineux that included loan spells with Oldham, Ayr se for me because I really could use some matches at this point,” she said. “It made sense for him. We both want to do well. We both love Wimbledon. Playing with a British icon like Andy is going to be really exciting. I’m looking forward to sharing the court with him and maybe I can learn a thing or two from him.”

Petra Kvitova, meanwhile, continues to defy expectations as she battles the arm injury that forced her to miss the French Open. The Czech, whose two grand slam titles came here in 2011 and 2014, beat Kristina Mladenovic 7-5, 6-2, serving a whole game of aces early on and saving three set points before pulling away for victory. She will play Mandy Minella, of Poland, a surprise winner over American teenager Amanda Anisimova, who reached the semi-finals at the French Open last month.

Alabama and Georgia prevail to set up all-SEC national championship game

content_img

Nick Saban is back in his comfort zone. Let others run up the points. He’ll take a defensive slugfest every time. Especially when it gives Alabama another shot at a national title.

In a gametr Cech insists he is undecided on his future.The 37-year-old is expected to retire after Wednesday’s Europa League final loss to Chelsea, who have reportedly lined up the Czech to take over as sporting director next season.But Cech says he remains e where every yard was a struggle, the Crimson Tide defenders took matters into their own hands. They accounted for a pair of touchdowns just 13 seconds apart in the third quarter to turn an offensive slog into a 24-6 rout of defending national champion Clemson in the Sugar Bowl semi-final game Monday night.

“This game was about our identity as a team,” Saban said. “I don’t think anybody would doubt our relentless attitude out there. We had a warrior-like mentality.”

He was clearly pleased.

With Deshaun Watson off to the NFL, top-ranked Clemson (12-2) simply had no answer for the Tide’s latest group of defensive standouts, setting up an all-Southeastern Conference showdown for the national title – with Saban matched against his former defensive coordinator, Georgia coach Kirby Smart. “I’m proud of the job he’s done,” Saban said. “I’m sure it will be a great football game.”

only 10-6 after a turnover to start the second half handed Clemson a field goal, the fourth-ranked Tide (12-1) quickly snuffed out any thoughts of a repeat title for the Tigers.

It began with 308lb defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne picking off a wobbly pass after besieged Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was hit as he threw. Payne rumbled 21 yards on the return, shedding one would-be tackler with a deft open-field move and drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty when he was finally dragged down with a horse collar tackle.

After Alabama drove to a first down at the Clemson 1, Payne re-entered the game – presumably to add another big body for blocking purposes. Instead, he slipped open near the right pylon on a play fake and hauled in a touchdown pass, even managing to get both feet down before the celebration commenced.

“I’ve got gold hands,” quipped Payne, who was picked as the game’s defensive MVP.

Shell-shocked by that turn of events, Clemson was thoroughly demoralized after its next offensive play. Bryant’s pass deflected off the hands of Deon Cain and was intercepted by linebacker Mack Wilson, who returned it 18 yards for another TD. They could’ve called it right then.

“Just incredibly disappointed in our performance,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “But congratultract in 2020, is wanted by Real Madrid.Speaking ahead of Belgium’s European Qualifier against Scotland, Vertonghen told Sky Sports News: “Obviously when the transfer window starts there are a lot rumours, but there were rumours last year and everyonations to Alabama. They were the better team today. No doubt about it.”

The Tide, which began the season in Atlanta beating Florida State, will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium next Monday to face No3 Georgia and give Saban a shot at his sixth title, which would match Bear Bryant.

Clemson was held to 188 yards – 260 yards below its season average – and never reached the end zone. Bryant was sacked five times and the Tigers were held to 64 yards on the ground.

Alabama played it tough right to the end, denying Clemson on a fourth-down pass into the end zone with just over a minute remaining. Clearly, the Tide was still ticked off about the way last season ended, to hand Clemson the national title.

“This,” Saban said, “was a little bit personal for us.”

No3 Georgia 54, No2 Oklahoma 48 (2 OT)

After ending the first overtime Rose Bowl, one of the greatest Granddaddies of Them All, Sony Michel was swarmed by Georgia teammates as he broke down in tears. The senior tailback had gone from possible goat to all-time hero for Georgia, sending the Bulldogs to the national championship game with one last burst in a game full of them.

Michel raced 27 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No3 Georgia a 54-48 victory against No2 Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

Michel, who had a fumble in the fourth quarter returned for a go-ahead Oklahoma touchdown, ran for 181 yards and three scores for the Bulldogs (13-1), but none bigger than the last one.

“I made plays. I gave up plays. My team just had faith in me,” said Michel, who did all that damage on just 11 carries and got a hug from former Bulldogs great tailback Garrison Hearst after scoring the winning TD. “That’s what this team is all about. They showed true character today.”

In the final game of his great career, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a touchdown pass that gave the Sooners a 17-point lead with six seconds left in the first half. But the Heisman Trophy winner could not get the Sooners (12-2) into the end zone in the first overtime when a touchdown would have ended the game.

“It’s tough to describe right now,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “It’s a hell of a college football game. You know, an epic Rose Bowl game.”

The 104th Rose Bowl was also the highest-scoring, surpassing last year’s 5ted on AC Milan and Inter plans to build a new stadium.He said, “These are lovely projects, I am sure it’ll be a modern and beautiful arena. “We are fond of San Siro because we won everything there, every spectator gets a good view and I hope that 2-49 USC victory against Penn State. There was a lot more on the line in this one, the first CFP game to go to overtime as well.

After an offside penalty on Georgia gave Oklahoma a first down on third-and-five in the second OT possession, the Sooners stalled again and Austin Seibert came out for a 27-yard field goal. Leaping through the line, Lorenzo Carter got his outstretched hand on the kick and the ball fluttered down short of the uprights.

Any score would have ended it for the Bulldogs, and on the second play Michel slipped one tackle and was home free. The Bulldogs sprinted off the sideline and toward the corner of the end zone to mob Michel. Confetti rained down. Meanwhile, Mayfield stood motionless on the sideline for several seconds, bent over with his hands on his knees and head down.

“I can’t believe it’s over. It’s been a wild ride,” said Mayfield with a hoarse voice before he started to cry.

Michel and his roommate and running mate Nick Chubb were awesome for Georgia. Chubb ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including a 2-yarder on a direct snap with 55 seconds left in regulation to tie it. The Sooners had taken a 45-38 lead when Steven Parker returned Michel’s fumble for a TD with 6:52 left in the fourth.

“I told him that he had to keep running and trying to hit the corner,” Chubb said. “We had a long game and after the fumble, we went down and he made up for it with that run to win the game.”

Both teams settled for field goals in the first overtime. First, Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship hit from 38 to make it 48-45.

Then it was Mayfield’s turn. A touchdown would have sent the Sooners to Atlanta, but on a third-and-2 from the 17 Georgia All-America linebacker Roquan Smith nailed Jordan Smallwood a yard short of the first down.

Seibert kicked a 33-yarder and the Bulldogs and Sooners played on, but not for much longer.

Kieron Pollard’s poor show, the return of NFL and a Gaelic football curse

content_img

1) Kieron Pollard attracted ire for bowling an in the Caribbean Super League, denying St Kitts’ Evin Lewis a chance at a century. Pollard’s no-ball sealed defeat for his Barbados team, leaving Lewis stranded on 97. Back in 2010, Sri Lanka’s Suraj Randiv was banned for one match for to Virender Sehwag.

2) This weekend sees a true Super Sunday, with the return of NFL and a long evening of becoming one with the sofa. The game of week one is Seattits that it would be a challenge for the club to keep Dwight McNeil if top teams come calling.The England under-21 midfielder is being linked with a move to the likes of Manchester United following his impressive displays this season.They want to keele at Green Bay, who memorably met in the 2014 NFastle United striker Ayoze Perez is a target for Napoli.The Northern Echo says sources in Napler a promotion at Chelsea.Chelsea are set to clear the decks for Frank Lampard with Maurizio Sarri’s entire coaching staff set to be released or reshuffled.The Chelsea-remove-Sarris-ENTIRE-coaching-team-Frank-Lampard-set-bring-Jody-Morris.html”>Daily s suggest the Italian giants have been watching Perez over the second half of the campaign.And apart from being near the top of Napoli’s wishlist, he is alC Championship Game. That comeback overtime win for the Seahawks involving , , , and will be hard to top. Red Zone has us covered if the Carolina Panthers utility back (montage warning) gets going, or Cincinnati Bengals punter Kevin Huber . Finally, and the worst of pre-season:

3) It’s been a big week for sports that may not actually be sports. There was the and a in – where else – Germany. Central Europe is also the spiritual home of Kaninhop, or rabbit show jumping. That’s right. Enjoy , and even .

4) T20 Blast finals day threw up some stunning catches. Perhaps the best was from Birmingham captain Grant Elliot to dismiss Glamorgan’s Colin Ingram with a . Birmingham eventually lost the final to Notts as Samit Patel to their second white-ball trophy of the season:

5) In Ireland, the GAA season is reaching its climax. In the All-Ireland hurling final, for their first title since 1988. In the Gaelic football final, Mayo will take on Dublin looking which has seen the county lose eight finals since 1951. Last year, they in a draw with Dublin, then lost the replay – so maybe there’s something in it. And if you think that’s unbelievable – here’s Chris Kamara in County Tyrone.

6) Syria’s brave bid to reach the World Cup looked over with the side 2-1 down in Iran – but a late equaliser saw the war-ravaged nation into a play-off with Australia, and it all .

1) In 1964-65, newly promoted Leeds made a surprise title bid, but because there was no TV gantry at Elland Road, they didn’t appear on Match of the Day . Leeds won 2-1 but lost the title to Manchester United, and Norman Hunter was on the receiving end of some very un-Arsenal language (at 38.35, should you want to avoid it).

2) Ali Mabkhout and Ahmed Khalil score two beauties for UAE in their World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia:

3) Guy goes surfing … .

4) Here’s a nice way to .

5) And finally, New Mexico State’s wide receiver Jaleel Scott makes an .

StuartRG, whobroughtoranges, BlackCaeser, garethr,

Guardian YouTube sport channel

NFL weekend preview: Beckham and Giants to push past sinking Eagles

content_img

Some people just never learn. People like me, apparently. Despite being caught out by a tied game in week seven, neither I nor anybody else taking part in our Pick Six contest thought to predict one in week eight. So that’s no perfect scores for anybody. Honestly, what weken aim at Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.Walsh sold Lukaku, now of Inter Milan, to Manchester United and recalled offering former United manager Jose Mourinho a warning about the Belgian.He told The Athletic: “It is not about collecting players, it isre we thinking?

Still, it couldn’t happen three weeks in a row … could it?

This feels like a pivotal moment for both teams in the NFC East. The losers will drop to 4-4, and almost certainly finish the weekend three games back of the Cowboys (currently 6-1, and set to face Cleveland on Sunday). Recent history favours the Eagles, who have won four straight against the Giants and five out of six showdowns at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010. But could a bye week tip things in New York’s favour? Odell Beckham Jr claims that his injured hip feels “10 times better” for the rest, and his participation in practice has increased. On the other side of the ball, the Giants are finally seeing signs of life from their pass rush – with five out of nine sacks arriving in the last two games. The Eagles have had a harder time protecting Carson Wentz since right tackle Lane Johnson was suspended.

In what is starting to feel like an annual tradition, the Steelers are sweating on the status of Ben Roethlisberger ahead of a meeting with Baltimore. The quarterback has missed seven games against the Ravens over the course of his career (curiously, he has never missed one against another division rival – Cincinnati) and his team has usually suffered as a result. The Steelers are 11-9 against Baltimore when Roethlisberger plays, and only 1-6 when he does not. So this is a tricky pick to make on a Thursday, with his status still very much up in the air.

But I think I might take the Ravens in any case. There is something about this matchup that brings the best out of John Harbaugh’s teams, and they swept the series last season despite finishing 5-11. Baltimore also recovered two key offensive linemen – left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Marshal Yanda – from injury during the bye week.

Both teams have three wins on the season, after recording back-to-back victories in the past fortnight. Both teams made hard work of beating the Cleveland Browns. But only one team, Miami, has Jay Ajayi. The London-born running back has caused quite the stir by rushing for more than 200 yards in consecutive games, and now has a shot to become the first player ever to do so in three straight. That will be easier said than done against the Jets, who boast the stingiest run defense in the league – giving up just 74 yards per game and 3.3 per attempt. But if the Dolphins can oblige their opponents to stack up all their resources against Ajayi, then Ryan Tannehill is a capable enough quarterback to exploit a sparse secondary. It is no coincidence that his two most efficient performances of this season have arrived in the past fortnight as well.

A long road trip for the Panthers, but at this rate owner Jerry Richardson might want to consider swapping coasts on a more permanent basis. His team is 2-0 this season against opponents from the NFC West, and 0-5 against everyone else. It is hard to know whether last week’s win over the Cardinals marked a return to form, or Carolina simply felt the muscle memory kick in against the team that they crushed in last year’s Conference Championship Game. Having Jonathan Stewart back in the lineup certainly seemed to help, but the greatest gains were made by a defense that almost doubled its sack tally for the season in a single afternoon. If Star Lotulelei and company can repeat that performance, this this one might not be close.

Don’t look now, but the Titans are only one game out of first place in the AFC North. Three wins in four weeks have elevated them to a .500 record at the season’s midway stage. Marcus Mariota has thrown 10 touchdowns against just a single interception in the past month – giving him a quarterback rating (120.7) that is second only to Tom Brady (133.9) over the same stretch. So is it too much to believe that they could beat San Diego on the road? The Chargers, for all their talent, are a banged up 3-5 team, whose top three reception leaders – Travis Benjamin, Tyreose Mourinho says he is willing to wait for the right opportunity despite being “full of fire” ahead of a return to management.The Portuguese has been without a job since December after being sacked by Manchester United.And Mourinho insists he will cll Williams and Hunter Henry – all missed time in practice this week. For a group that already lost Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and Danny Woodhead, it feels like a lot to take.

If that old maxim about offenses winning games and defenses winning championships holds true, then this round ought to go to the Raiders. Averaging 26.9 points, and more than 400 yards, they rank among the most explosive teams in the league. Derek Carr is being mooted as a potential league MVP, and Oakland’s offensive line, despite () its ill-discipline, has been dominant. But this is a different order of challenge to what they have faced so far. By Carr’s own estimation, Dare set to hold shock talks with Arsenal over a potential deal for Mesut Ozil.The MLS club will lose Wayne Rooney in January after the former England International agreed a switch to Derby County.The Mirror says DC have identified Ozil as their next enver’s cornerback pairing of might be the best tandem in the NFL. Even if that line does succeed in keeping Von Miller and company off his back, the quarterback may still have a tough time finding guys open downfield.

LeBron James put on the kind of show we’ve been craving from Steph Curry

content_img

If I wanted to be a real jerk, I’d say I predicted most of th Athletic boss Lee Bowyer is disappointed by Chelsea recalling Conor Gallagher.The midfielder is now set to join Championship rivals Swansea City.Bowyer told the club’s official website: “I’m disappointed. I didn’t see this coming if I’m honest, whis. in my finals preview column, but in truth, this series has gone beyond prognostication. Have any of us actually been right even once? I wouldn’t call any of the six games in this NBA finals series a classic, in the traditional sense, unless your idea of a good time is thorough do the ordeal of conceding eight goals to Manchester City.The Hornets were embarrassed away from home by City on Saturday, losing 8-0 in the Premier League.City were five up with less than a quarter of the match played.And Foster believes they are goodmination and .

For a moment, this looked to be a simple coronation. The won Game 1 by 15 points and Game 2 by a massive 33 points. The mood in Oakland was about as light as possible for a championship round. After Game 1, people were dancing and repeating yelling “Warriors!” at anyone who walked by, like it was a threat or something – maybe if you say it three times, Festus Ezeli appears and boxes you out. Maybe I should have known this was going to turn after all that celebrating. You’re thumbing your nose at the basketball gods, and they’re a vengeful lot. But I also probably should blame the city of Oakland for expecting a parade. Fans of the Warriors had gotten used to it looking easy, like the delicate swish of a mMiguel Almiron amongst the goals.Almirón’s brace against West Brom in the FA Cup on Tuesday night saw the Paraguayan establish himself as the Magpies’ leading goalscorer this season, taking over the mantle from Jonjo Shelvey.“We’ve played him in hade Steph Curry three-pointer. Nothing was easy in Game 6, which will forever be remembered for Curry’s insolent tossing of his mouthguard into the stands after fouling out of the contest.

Yeah, Steph Curry fouled out. The Steph Curry who is so accustomed to galavanting around the court, miraculously finding space, and heaving up heat check shot after heat check shot. Sure, Curry was a major part of the Dubs easing their way back into the game after a stunningly awful 11-point first quarter, but the sight of him truly losing his cool (and then the meltdown his wife, Ayesha, had on Twitter) has to have shaken the confidence of this team. The champs are rattled. LeBron James coaxed a Game 5 suspension out of Draymond Green. Harrison Barnes, so vital to Golden State’s balanced offense, imploded last night – a woeful 0-8 that allowed Cleveland to ignore him on defense. Their superior bench, which I have been hyping up for the majority of this series, did just about nothing, save for 14 points from Leandro Barbosa.

Sure, the Cavs’ bench sucked too, but does it matter when they have a player of LeBron James’s caliber? I suppose that’s the one thing we should have been able to predict. LeBron was going to will his team back into this series. As much as his detractors his alleged lack of “clutch” he nearly single-handedly pushed the Warriors to six games last year, despite having no Kyrie Irving. This year, his handicap has been the presence of Kevin Love, rather than anyone’s absence. Irving’s emergence in Games 5 and 6 have given James the sidekick he so badly needed last year.

As much as I, and countless other basketball critics, have gleefully pointed to Cleveland’s lack of depth, they possess a weapon that nullifies all of that. James’s back-to-back 41-point performances will surely go down in history as some of the best basketball to ever be played in the Finals. If he is able to drag these Cavaliers to a championship and avenge 2015, his legacy will truly be undeniable. No team has ever come back from down 3-1 to win the title. He will have vanquished what many were calling the greatest team of all time. And he will have done it playing absolutely sublime basketball.

It’s the kind of performance we’ve been craving from Steph Curry. Whether it’s injuries, fatigue, stress, or some combination of those factors, he’s seemed decidedly mortal. His defense in the last two games has been rough, especially on pick-and-rolls. His finishing at the hoop is average. It seemed too obvious to make this a battle of Curry and James. What a tidy, simplistic narrative that is. Well, it’s exactly what will likely decide Game 7. Can LeBron put together a third MVP-caliber performance? Will Curry respond to the pundits saying he’s not up to the challenge? Like I said, I’m not even going to bother trying to understand this series anymore. I could make myself crazy attempting to unravel Game 7. These situations defy expectation and usually come down to some unholy combination of luck and fate and bloody momentum. The only thing I know for sure is that, like Jon Snow, I know nothing.

St Louis confronts blight with proposal for $1bn investment in football stadium

content_img

Inside the sprawling Peabody opera house, a stream of St Louis Rams fans made their impassioned cases on Tuesday that it was worth a $1bn-plus investment to build a new publicly subsidized stadium and keep their team in town.

“The thought of not having our Rams in St Louis anymore goes beyond sadness,” said Dan Palen, an emotional father of three who drove 225 miles to the meeting from his hometown of Springfield, .

In January, Rams owner E Stanley Kroenke announced plans to build a nearly $2bn stadium close to downtown Los Angeles, and abandon St Louis, where he maintains a year-to-year-lease. For nearly two hours, fans in a room of 1,500 who support an open-air stadium proposal they hoped would convince Kroenke to stay in town came to the podium one by one.

But the fan enthusiasm was punctured by a counter movement, who argue that a new stadium is the last thing St Louis can afford to spend public funds on, in what has now become the murder capital of the US.

“The stadium deal has already cost taxpayers over $6m,” Basmin Nadra said.

Nadra said the north side of St Louis has continued to struggle with deteriorating conditions – a beleaguered school district, violent crime and what she perceives as a lack of racial justice in the community.

The proposal – backed by Missouri’s governor and the city’s mayor – comes at a precarious time for St Louis. The city has been struck by a recent believed to be arsons; the region continues to reel from the community upheaval after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in nearby Ferguson; and St Louis recently overtook Detroit as the highest homicide total per capita in the nation.

While Rams fans clamor to keep St Louis a football town, critics of stadium subsidies will be watching, as another US city attempts to use sports as an economic tool for revitalization.

Nationally, proposals to infuse public cash into new stadiums have come under fire for delivering questionable benefits in return for a mammoth public expenditure.

As the big-ticket deals became more commonplace over the last quarter-century, municipalities have persistently appropriated more funds in the name of sports – drawing the ire of activists, economists and even Barack Obama. The Obama administration’s budget this year called for reining in the use of tax-exempt bonds issued for stadiums, : the “current structuring of government bonds to finance sports facilities has shifted more of the costs and risks from the private owners to local residents and taxpayers in general.”

That general risk is what concerns St Louis comptroller Darlene Green, who’s tasked as a watchdog over city taxes. Following the release of the new finance plan for the project in St Louis, Green said the city would be forced to spend more than it currently does on the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams have playeility of being a national team manager.Wenger is still searching for his next role after leaving the Gunners more than a year ago.He has admitted that international football is an option and that he may be present as a coach at the 2022 World Cup in d since 1995.

‘Fund schools, not football’

Inside Tuesday night’s fan meeting, the room turned tense as Nadra, a critic of the stadium proposal, questioned why officials were committing public money to the project withd in Holland that a deal is closed for the end of the season, with Van de Beek having agreed personal terms with Real Madrid, which will pay €55m for his transfer.However, after victory over Sparta Rotterdam, Van de Beek denied the claims.He statedout funding “40 years of neglect on the north side”.

“This isn’t the stage for that,” one fan shouted. “What made you so important?” went another, as jeers rained down from across the room.

Nadra continued. “Is the NFL interested in doing anything to promote the racial justice that has been misaligned here?”

Whatever the answer from NFL senior vice-president of public policy Cynthia Hogan may have been, few likely heard it. A group in the back had begun to chant: “If we don’t get it, shut it down,” while unveiling a banner that read “Fund Schools, Not Football.”

In response, the team’s fans repeatedly roared back: “Let’s go Rams.”

Nadra and her cohorts were escorted out of the room and almost arrested. As the group was whisked away, Deborah Castillo, a member of the group Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, said a man in the audience told her of the brief protest: “If I had known you were going to do that, I would have fucked you up.”

“As long as we’re speaking the truth,” Castillo said, “they’ll try to shut us down.”

Following a tense exchange with officers in Peabody’s lobby, an officer released the group out the front door and onto Market Street in downtown.

Nay’Chelle Harris, a St Louis resident who was briefly held by an officer in the lobby before walking free, said too many voices have been left out of the debate on the stadium.

“It was important for us to be here because there are a lot of experiences and opinions that aren’t being represented in this deal and its negotiation,” Harris said.

“Specifically, people who are developing the stadium keep using [the line]: ‘We are helping the people of color of the minority community in St Louis or helping the people on the north side.’ And yet I have not heard anything about a meaningful engagement with people on the north side.”

Time may be running out for St Louis to make a final decision on the stadium, but with an imminent vote by the city’s aldermanic board on whether to approve the public financing for the project, many questions remain unanswered – the least of which, perhaps surprisingly, is if Kroenke even wants the subsidized facility.

“A lot of other cities have found that having an NFL stadium does not help local economies,” said Harris. “It drains the city’s resources. And St Louis, as the world has seen, has a lot better things to do with its money than, as mayor Slay said, have a football team.”

‘The sweetest deal in the league’

From the outset, there were protests over the stadium deal, continuing through the summer after a judge voided a 2002 city ordinance calling for a public vote over the use of taxes for sports facilities.

“If you want your public money spent that way, OK, that’s the reason we had set up a public vote, so those people who felt that way could have a chance to go to the polls and vote,” said Fred Lindecke, a member of the coalition against public funding for stadiums, which supported the effort behind the ordinance.

A new bill to require a public vote was recently , after several said they received outraged calls from constituents about spending tax dollars on sports without their approval.

“If anything like that ever goes to a vote in the city or county it’s going to go down,” Lindecke said.

The debate over contributing public funds to a wealthy team owner isn’t foreign to Missouri.

Two decades ago, state and local officials cobbled together a plan to construct an NFL stadium – even before the city secured a home team.

Officials gave the Rams what some have called the “sweetest deal in the league”, charging low rent and agreeing to renovate the facility on an as-needed basis to ensure it remains in the “first tier” of the NFL. It seemed like a fair deal; whatever St Louis contributed – $6m annually– would be recouped by event-day taxes, officials said.

After a new contract dispute was settled by an arbitrator, the agreement became a year-to-year lease, freeing the Rams’ owner to consider other options.

“In fairness, our folks didn’t think they’d leave,” said Ray Hartmann, co-owner of St Louis Magazine and founder of the local alt-weekly Riverfront Times. The problem? The definition of “first-tier” vastly expanded as the number of new NFL stadiums proliferated in the intervening years.

So, last November, concerned by the prospect of losing the team, Missouri governor Jay Nixon appointed a taskforce to produce a plan for a new NFL stadium. The taskforce and some local officials are convinced the long-term deal would be fruitful for the city.

“I think St Louis is [deserving] of an NFL team, one of the cities most deserving of an NFL team,” said Lewis Reed, aldermanic president.

Though Reed is intent on his commitment to keep the Rams in the city, the 53-year-old also has concerns about the structure of the finances behind the deal.

“I think that’s where we’re at that point where we’re trying to strike that balance between public/private,” Reed said. “What’s reasonable to ask of the taxpayers, right? And, what basis are we building that on?”

The yearlong process has been fraught with legal challenges, amid concerns from local aldermen who believe St Louis is simply in no position to help finance another sports stadium.

According to the current financing proposal, the city would commit to pay increasing annual amounts from $4.5m to $9m – a virtual extension of its current obligation to the debt for the Edward Jones dome, totalling roughly $234m. The city would receive an average of 34% of game-day revenues, but the NFL team would keep the rest.

Without a deal, the city’s obligation would otherwise expire in the coming years, allowing those funds to be used elsewhere.

Supporters and opponents have battled over whether projections of game-day revenue at the new stadium versus other costs yield a net benefit to the city.

“Even with their high projections, it would put the city in a hole,” said Tom Shepard, chief of staff for Reed. When the final bill was unveiled late Wednesday, mayoral staffers told the St Louis Post-Dispatch that city revenues wouldn’t cover expenses – officials said St Louis would pay $6m in the first year, but receive only about $2m in tax revenue on game days – but they believe the initial revenue generated by the construction of the stadium would offset any shortfall.

Compounding concerns is the well of evidence that sports stadiums fail to yield positive results for a local economy.

Roger Noll, an economics professor at Stanford University who has written about tax breaks for stadiums, said a $200m subsidy – currently about what the city is expected to pay – is better than “the norm” of $400m.

“On the other hand, that is a fairly large amount for a city of just over 300,000,” Noll said. “A city resident should ask whether having an NFL team is worth $2,000 per household.”

Rather than using money to fund a stadium that is traditionally perceived to boost a city’s economy, some economists have said it would be better used on public infrastructure or education, despite the civic pride that comes with a professional sports franchise. And studies have suggested cities wouldn’t be financially devastated by the loss of a professional sports team, as fans simply tend to spend their money elsewhere on entertainment in town.

In St Louis, alderman Antonio French took aim at the plan with other city needs in mind.

“The city currently pays $6m a year for the dome stadium,” French, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, tweeted last week. “That ends in 2021, freeing up that money. $6m would pay for 120 new cops.”

A promise of ‘revitalization’

Stadium backers see the financial obligation as a risk worth taking. The proposed site for the new stadium is situated along the Mississippi River, an area some officials view as blighted and wholly underused.

The location touches three wards, and “two of them are heavily African American”, said Maurice Green, the alderman board’s director of community affairs.

“With the unemployment rate of African American males in those areas, we have the opportunity to [create an] impact … where the people in that area have to have a job; you have to hire those people to develop the stadium,” Green said.

“There’s nothing in that area right now – and it would be a total revitalization.”

The premise that the Riverfront would be revitalized almost instantaneously thanks to a $1bn investment is “specious” at best, said Michael Allen, director of the St Louis-based Preservation Research Office.

“There is no other state-driven proposal to spend [$1bn] on an alternative plan for the riverfront,” Allen said. “So it’s not as if the city has even had the opportunity to weigh the merits of two or three different approaches to the site.”

He added: “The condition of the Riverfront as underpean is far down the pecking order at the Cherries, which is why he wants a move done before September 2.The European transfer window is still open, meaning Begovic could move to a club outside England for regular first team football. He has only playerforming, as undesirable, is rhetorical justification for the expenditure. And this happens with major development projects.”

One of the businesses in the project’s footprint is Shady Jack’s, an internationally known biker bar. Owner Jack Larrison said he supports the plan, as “St Louis needs something.”

“If Lewis and Clark came down the river, they’d know exactly where they landed last time because nothing’s changed,” Larrison said. Despite the praise, the grizzled, lanky native of St Louis believes a public investment should produce benefits for the entire city.

“Maybe it might be good for all of us,” he said, “but it’s definitely going to be good for a handful of people.”

On Friday, the board of aldermen will vote on whether to support the stadium proposal. If 15 of 28 members vote in support, the decision will move to the NFL, where Kroenke will need the support of 24 team owners to move the Rams elsewhere.

The NFL has several alternatives. A proposal to house the Rams at Kroenke’s stadium in Inglewood, California, may be considered by NFL owners, along with another privately funded stadium in Carson, California, where the owners of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders want to share a location.

“You’ve got to remember, we’re probably not going to get a team anyway,” said Hartmann. “We’ve spent a tremendous amount of emotional energy on this, and it’s still a long shot.”

Andy Murray warms up for US Open by reaching Cincinnati semi-finals

content_img

After a week playing in the dark, with thunder and lightning for occasional companions, burst into the warm midwest sunlight on Friday afternoon and heads for New York this week with renewed vigour and a smile on his face.

The glow of victory was still hard won, Richard Gasquet delaying by a set Murray’s progress into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters, but the Scot looks good for a shot at his third title here.

Less than 16 hours after that finished closer to midnight than he would have liked, 10 days before the US Open – – Murray overcame early jitters to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in just over two hours.

If Murray reaches Sunday’s final, he will squeeze out Roger Federer from the second seeding and that will considerably boost his chances of adding to his 2012 breakthrough major at his favourite tournament outside Wimbledon. He won that with a bad back, against a rampaging Novak Djokovic; after surgery and a long recovery period, Murray is as fit now as he has ever been. His odds, surely, have shortened since then. It could be his time again.

“I think I did well to come through that one,” said Murray after the game. “I wasn’t feeling great last night. I had a much shorter warm-up today [after his late finish against Dimitrov]. I only hit fs of the Carabao Cup after beating Burton Albion.Despite making nine-changes to the side that beat Southampton 9-0 on Friday, the Foxes were dominant against the League One outfit.Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring after seven minutes, with Youri Tor like 50 minutes.

“It’s important in terms of seeding for the US Open. That would be nice, to have that locked up, knowing I’ll be on a separate side of draw to Novak and possibly Roger. It could still turn out I don’t have to play either of them, as I may notthis summer.The Mirror says Bournemouth are eying another raid on the Championship for Leeds midfielder Phillips.The Cherries have already signed defender Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City for £13m and are keen to add Phillipfailing to qualify for the Champions League this season.Tuttosport says Juve are eager to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin this summer and are concerned by reports the Frenchman is prepared to now stay and sign a new deal at Old Trafford.However, whiles, 23, to their rostrum of r make the semi-finals. I don’t take anything for granted. But if you do get there it’s slightly easier if you don’t have to come up against one of those two.”

Djokovic, , will still start as favourite at Flushing Meadows but he has to manage the sore elbow that inhibited him in Montreal and again in the third round here – which did not prevent him for defeat in the French Open final.

Djokovic has an unexpected opponent in the semi-finals, Alexandr Dolgopolov, whose quirky game was too much for the sixth seed, Tomas Berdych, the Ukrainian qualifier winning 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and a quarter.

• This article was amended on 25 August 2015 because Alexandr Dolgopolov is Ukrainian, rather than Russian as an earlier version said.

Safety is paramount but motor racing will never be run without element of risk

content_img

That Justin Wilson was aware of the dangers involved in motor racing does not make any easier to cope with. It does, as with all fatalities in the sport, however, raise again the question of how to best manage what will always be a fundamentally difficult proposition – that of making frail bodies safe in vehicles designed to run at high speed in close proximity to one another. Perhaps the most difficult part of coming to terms with such a tragedy is that the nature of motor racing means that goal is simply unreachable.

“You’ve got to know the risks and work out if those risks are acceptable – to me, it’s acceptable,” Wilson said, after breaking a bone in his back in an accident in 2011. “But I’m not going to stop trying to improve it. All the drivers, this IndyCar, we’re always trying to make it safer but at the end of the day, it’s a race car. We’re racing hard, we’re racing Indy cars and it’s fast. When it goes wrong, it can gntus.Juve and Milan drew 1-1 in the first-leg of their semifinal at San Siro on Thursday.Ante Rebic saw his opener cancelled out by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty in the final minute, while Theo Hernandez was sent off.“I told my lads to leave the pitcet messy.”

The 37-year-old British dri of Aleksey Miranchuk.Miranchuk scored in defeat to Juventus in this week’s Champions League clash, with the Bianconeri said be considering him for the January market.Asked about the rumours, Semin stated yesterday: “Miranchuk and Lokomotiv are verver had been in a coma after being hit on the head by a piece of debris at Pocono Raceway on Sunday and it was announced that he had died of his injuries on Monday night. Wilson competed in 16 races and achieved seven wins durinSterling’s development.Sterling scored 25 goals last season and has already has six to his name this term.Xavi worked under Guardiola at Barcelona and knows his methods inside and out, and he says the Spaniard’s close guidance has benefited Sterling.g 12 seasons of US open-wheel racing, which included two championship second places in the Champ Car series. He also won the Daytona 24 Hours in 2012. An investigation into the crash will take place and changes will likely be made, not least in IndyCar, which already has many critics over safety issues.

The previous driver to die in an IndyCar race was Britain’s Dan Wheldon, twice a winner of the Indianapolis 500, who was killed when his car went airborne and crashed into the catch-fencing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2011. The IndyCar of the next season was named after him as the DW12 and incorporated safety features designed to prevent a similar accident.

After Wheldon’s death, Wilson was a driver representative who liaised between competitors and the series organisers on safety issues. Yet only two years later, in the new car, Dario Franchitti suffered an accident similar to Wheldon’s at the Houston IndyCar Grand Prix, an airborne incident into the catch-fencing that broke his back and injured 13 spectators, after which he retired from racing. In this case one of the specific dangers the car had been designed to avoid had happened again. Three cars went airborne in practice for the Indy 500 this year.

There are technical ways of addressing that risk and IndyCar have being doing so but in Wilson’s accident he was also terrifically unlucky. He appears to have been hit by a piece of the nose from the car of Sage Karam, who had crashed at turn one. The debris was there because the cars are designed to break apart, to dissipate energy, in order to protect the driver. It worked for Karam but Wilson took a huge blow. Inches to the right or left and it may have missed him.

The concept of fitting canopies then will doubtless be raised again. It has come up before not least after Felipe Massa was hit by a spring at the Hungaroring in 2009. The FIA tested canopies in the aftermath but they were not brought in. Impact tests revealed that a hard polycarbonate version shattered and an aerospace canopy flexed too much. An alternative, placing a roll hoop in front of the drivers was rejected by the F1 strategy group as too ugly to implement. That, too, is a factor that cannot be downplayed – part of the appeal of open-cockpit racing is the open cockpit – many believe that is an integral part of the sport and thus a risk that must be borne.

Nor would they necessarily guarantee a driver’s safety. Such was the force of the crash in 2014 that ultimately led to Jules Bianchi’s death in July, the FIA concluded a cockpit canopy would not have saved him.

What then of tethering more parts to the car so heavy items such as the nose cone cannot cause further damage? It will, rightly, be looked into but again the forces involved mean no system is foolproof. Six days before Massa’s incident John Surtees’s son Henry was killed at Brands Hatch in a Formula Two race. He was struck by a wheel from another car that had broken its tether in an accident.

Nonetheless, the sport will always strive towards greater safety and lessons can be learned. A year after Massa’s was struck almost all of motor racing’s sanctioning bodies brought in mandatory improvements to helmet design. Wilson’s impact was too hard for them to make a difference but they may have been a factor when James Hinchcliffe was hit by debris at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis last year. He suffered only concussion.

Equally, in 2013, the deaths of Allan Simonsen at the Le Mans 24 Hours and Porsche Super Cup driver Sean Edwards at a private test in Australia were both due to sudden deceleration injuries when hitting barriers that did not have enough give – Simonsen from a tree behind the Armco and Edwards a concrete barrier behind a tyre wall. Circuit design can directly influence such accidents and the next year the Le Mans organisers ensured there were two separate tyre barriers before the repositioned stretch of Armco.

Yet, ultimately, there remain no guarantees. Changes in the interests of safety to the racing, the cars and the circuits have been going on apace since Ayrton Senna was killed in 1994 but as fatalities prove they have failed to take the risk out of racing.

Wilson’s team owner, the former driver Michael Andretti, called the accident “a perfect storm”, which does not make his death any more palatable but it does say something about the nature of the sport in which he adored to compete – one where sometimes the very nature of the beast means events are beyond your control. He knew that, as Andretti pointed out: “Motor racing is never going to be 100% safe.”

NCAA Tournament 2015: Wichita State roll past Kansas as No7 beats No2

content_img

No wonder Kansas never wants anything to do with Wichita State.

Behind another steady performance from Fred VanVleet and the hot shooting of Evan Wessel, the No7 seed Shockers rolled past the second-seeded Jayhawks 78-65 on Sunday, earning a trip to the Sweet 16 at the expense of the school that has caused them so much chagrin.

Tekele Cocht.Former City skipper Vincent Kompany became player-manager at the Belgian club in May and Sandler will be able to continue learning from one of Europe’s best defenders on a daily basis.He passed a medical yesterday ahead of the two clubs confirmintton led the way with 19 points for the Shockers (30-4). VanVleet finished with 17 aken aim at the Premier League’s foreign managers.Allardyce, 65, has been out of management since 2018, when he left Everton as the Toffees turned to Marco Silva.It was a similarWilliam Saliba’s agent has been spotted in the UK.The Saint-Etienne defender is being targeted by Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City.The Mirror says his agent Djibril Niang posted a photo on Instagram at the Ivy Asia in Manchester.The Ligue 1 outfit rate 18-year-old Saliba at £26M. tale at Crystal Palace in his previous job, having kept the Eagles in thnd Wessel hit four three-pointers to score 12, sending the Missouri Valley champions to Cleveland for the Midwest Regional semi-final against third-seeded Notre Dame.

Devonte’ Graham and Perry Ellis had 17 points each, and Frank Mason added 16 for the Jayhawks (27-9), who blew an early eight-point lead and never really threatened in the second half.

Wisconsin top Arizona to return to Final Four

content_img

Frank Kaminsky and the Wisconsin Badgers hung on to make the Final Four again.

‘Frank the Tank’ scored 29 points, Sam Dekker added his second straight career high of 27 and the West Regional’s top seed beat No2 Arizona 85-78 on Saturday to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history.

The Badgers (35-3) denied the Wildcats (34-4) a Final Four berth for the second straight year, having beaten them by one point in overtime in Anaheim a year ago when their seeds were reversed.

Wisconsin and 67-year-old coach Bo Ryan head to Indianapolis next week hoping for another shot at undefeated and top-seeded Kentucky, who beat the Badgers by one point in the national semifinals last year.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley scored 17 points each for the Wildcats, who once again failed to deliver a firstg Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.The Manchester Evening News says City are monitoring Lo Celso’s situation this summer with the midfielder primed for a move away from Real Betis.City boss Pep Guardiola will assess the 23-year-old’s performanc-time Final Four appearance for coach Sean Miller. TJ McConnell added 14 points in his last college game and Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York had 11 each.

Just like a year ago, Kaminsky came up big for the Badgers. He sidestepped and slithered, pivoted and deked in eremier League Golden Boot.The England international took his tally to 11 in Wednesday’s win over Aston, leaving him second behind only Jamie Vardy on the scorers list.”He has the potential to go even higher,” the skipper said. “We know we are still iluding the Wildcats’ lockdown defense. Arizona tossed their biggest bodies on the seven-footer and he still found ways to score inside and out.

The Badgers hit 10 of 12 three-point attempts in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 30-3 from long rangs Perez’s departure for Roma was a “mutual decision”.Perez’s move is due to be confirmed in the coming hours.Setien said, “It was a mutual decision and really what I’ve discussed with the lad has been very clear.”The reality is that I don’t usually te.

Arizona pressured full court in the last four minutes, making for some perilous possessions by the Badgers as they darted and passed trying to safely get the ball down court. A long inbounds pass by Wisconsin was nearly intercepted before Josh Gasser grabbed it, was fouled and made both free throws to keep the Badgers ahead by 10 points.

The Wildcats twice got within five points in the last 2½ minutes, but both times Dekker dashed their hopes with arcing three-pointers.

Kaminsky led the Badgers’ offensive outburst to start the second half. He scored eight of their 14 points, working their inside-outside game to perfection in finding Dekker for a three-pointer to put Wisconsin ahead 44-36.

Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski picked up their third fouls and freshman Stanley Johnson left the game to have his contact lens adjusted, all in quick succession. It didn’t faze the Wildcats, who went on a 10-3 run to close to 47-46.

Dekker hit Wisconsin’s fifth three-pointer of the second half, launching a 10-2 spurt that gave the Badgers a 57-48 lead. Nigel Hayes added a three and Kaminsky scored on a reverse layup before getting called for his third foul.

Arizona led 33-30 at halftime after missing seven of eight field goals to start the game.

The Badgers jumped to a 10-2 lead to start the game, with Ashley going to the bench after two quick fouls. He soon returned, scoring six straight points that tied the game and gave the Wildcats a stronger presence in defending Kaminsky, who had 13 points in the half.

Tarczewski and Kaminsky were a tangle of arms and legs in the post, and their mouths were running too. Tarczewski dunked on Kaminsky, who scored on the next play and had something to say about it.

Bill Belichick surprise press conference steers Deflategate into the surreal

content_img

It was the day took a detour into the surreal.

Bill Belichick, the notoriously media-averse coach of the , called a surprise press conference on Saturday afternoon, then went on an unexpected offensive in the face of a football-deflation controversy that had led network TV newscasts for days.

He was 35 minutes late. He spoke at length about ball textures, equilibriums, rubbing processes and atmospheric pressures. He , a character from the 1992 Joe Pesci comedy My Cousin Vinny.

And then it got weird.

“I’m embarrassed to talk about the amount of time that I’ve put into this relative to the important challenge in front of us,” Belichick said, in a break from preparing his team for next week’s Super Bowl against the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona.

“At no time was there any intent whatsoever to try to compromise the integrity of the game or try to gain an advantage. Quite the opposite. We feel we followed the rules of the game to the letter.”

What followed – the meat of Belichick’s 23-minute remarks – was the coach’s most detailed and defiant respier League clubs coming in for youngster Bukayo Saka.The 18-year-old has been a rising star for the Gunners this season.He rose to prominence under Unai Emery and continued his excellent form under Mikel Arteta.The Arsenal-look-fend-Bukayo-Saka-securonse to a scandal that has turned the sports world on its head in the week since the Patriots were of tampering with game footballs in their over the Indianapolis Colts.

He said the team conducted an internal investigation by simulating a game-day situation in terms of the preparation of footballs.

Because science.

Belichick expounded, matter-of-factly:

Really.

Go on.

The inherent absurdity of the grumpiest man in sports giving a high-school physics lecture to a room of grown men and women aside, the content of the remarks was so breathtakingly insipid it left the observer wondering what they were doing with their life. It was more performance art than routine component in the news-gathering process.

Given that Belichick’s defense doesn’t hold up to the most casual scrutiny – why did it happen to the Patriots’ balls and not those used by the Colts – this was a master class in creating plausible deniability. Say what you want about congeniality (or the immutability of the laws of thermodynamics), Belichick’s obfuscation game is on 100.

That was not to say Saturday’s scene was unreal. Belichick’s detached sangfroid was tested more than once, certainly compared to the far more familiar monotone vagaries of . He even , an unimaginable prospect even an hour before. Beneath the bizarre theatre was a man defending the legitimacy of his entire body of work, speaking with a Jessupian vigor grounded in leviathan self-belief.

Saturday’s news conference means nothing, in the long run. The did not outline a timetable for its investigation in a statement on Friday and likely won’t move on it until well after the Super Bowl. Which made Belichick’s unnecessary decision to hold it that much more cryptic – and compelling.

Now the Patriots appear proactive. Deflategate isn’t going away – Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day should be fun – but once mortension.Following the news that Tim Krul signed a new contract, the Norwich Evening News suggests that Vrancic could be next.The 30-year-old was a key player for the team as they earned promotion, scoring 10 goals and managing seven assists in the Che Bill Belichick has outmaneuvered the NFL and hijacked the narrative to his presumptive ar Kalvin Phillips.The Mirror says Wolves and Bournemouth have joined Aston Villa in the race to sign Phillips.Villa have offered £11million for Phillips and now Leeds’ rising midfield star has attracted interest from Wolves and Bournemouth.Phillips,dvantage.

Caroline Wozniacki sets up semi-final with Serena Williams at WTA Finals

content_img

reached the last four at Singapore’s WTA finals and tied down the year-end world No1 ranking without hitting a ball on Friday.

Simona Halep, who inflicted Williams’ heaviest defeat for 16 years on Wednesday, tended the wound by stealing a set in defeat to Ana Ivanovic. That was enough to usher Williams through to the BNP Paribas event’s semi-finals, where she will meet .

Maria Sharapova botched three match points before regrouping to beat Angieszka Radwanska in three sets – but still failed to rlighted to wear the captain’s armband in his first appearance against senior opposition.The Gunners beaten 4-3 on penalties in the Leasing.com Trophy by Northampton Town on Tuesday night.Speaking after the game, Clarke said: “At under-18 level you neeach the last four come the end of Friday’s final n help Joelinton settle.Bruce was happy to have both on the pitch for their 1-1 draw with Brighton.He said, “On ‘Big Joe’, the burden of being a Newcastle United centre-forward is always going to be there and I think for any player who comes to the Pgroup-stage action.

Sharapova, the No2 seed, slipped out after dropping a set against Radwanska, in spite of her 7-5, 6-7, 6-2 victory. Radwanska sneaked through to meet Halep in the semi-finals, courtesy of Wozniacki’s victory over Petra Kvitova.

“She owes me a handbag,” Wozniacki said after helping Radwanska progress thanks to her 6-2, 6-3 win over Kvitova, before refocusing on facing Williams. “I believe in myself and believe in my skills. I’ve been playing well, so I believed I could beat anyone here.

“I obviously also knew that if I wasn’t playing up to my best, I could lose to all of them. But I’m really pleased about tays the Armenian is the Gunners’ fourth best-paid player but has flattered to deceive at the Emirates since his 2018 swap deal with Alexis Sanchez, who moved to Manchester United in Mkhitaryan’s place.The 30-year-old, who earns £180,000-a-week, is che way this week has gone so far.”

Halep, the only player to have qualified for the last four on Thursday, capped Friday’s play by taking the set off Ivanovic to secure Williams’ safe passage.

Ivanovic won out 7-6, 3-6, 6-3, but Halep securing the second set pushed Williams home.