阿拉爱上海KZI

‘I’m saying goodbye’: Maria Sharapova announces tennis retirement

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, who announced her retirement from tennis on Wednesday, will be remembered in many corners of her sport with respect more than affection – and it will not worry her much at all.

The 32-year-old Russian who arrived in America from Sochi with her father in 1994 as refugees from the poison of Chernobyl – with $700 and not a word of English between them – won five grand slam titles and was ranked the highest earner in women’s sport for 11 years in a row. But it is her icy demeanour and failure to build on an early victory over Serena Williams that grab the imagination as much as those fine achievements.

Sharapova, who beat Williams to when just 17, then lost 20 of their following 21 matches, was never universally popular in the locker room. She cared little about courting popularity, but she had the professional respect of her rivals for her single-mindedness and fighting spirit. Petra Kvitova, who beat Sharapova to win Wimbledon in 2011, was one of her few rivals to give her warm praise on Wednesday, describing her as a, “big champion”.

The Czech, who was sidelined from tennis after a knife attack in her apartment in 2016 but has returned to the upper reaches of the game, : “I know how tough it is to come back and play. She has been injured a lot. Of course she wanted probably bigger success than … her body allowed her to have.” She added: “It was a pleasure to be with her on the tour, sharing the court with her. It was always great battles when we play together. So it’s been always nice to share the court with her and I do always have respect to her.”

More than most players on the tennis circuit, Sharapova divided opinion. There were many players who objected to her early return from a drugs ban in 2017, after she had . Sharapova, who protested her innocence, had her two-year ban cut to 15 months, but was never the same player in a comeback that stuttered from one disappointing setback to the next, on the court and off. Her last tournament win was in a low-ranked event in China three years ago.

Long-time problems with her serving shoulder recurred and, towards the end, she was losing to lesser players on a regular basis. There was a suspicion among some of her rivals and critics that she was playing merely for publicity to drive her many commr Kostas Manolas recognises they’re underdogs facing Lazio this weekend.Manolas admits Lazio are having an “extraordinary season”.“We’ll give everything we’ve got to pick up points. It’s a very complicated time for Napoli, but the only way out is tercial interests, although she claimed she played for the love of the game and the competition. That was certainly evident in her trademark screeching and her relentless pursuit of lost causes on court, mainly from the baseline and with a two-handed backhand that was among the best in tennis. She made the most of the weapons she had – including a powerful serve early in her career until injury struck on a regular basis – and was rarely found close to the net. Hers was a game of calculation rather than inspira the battle for exciting Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare.The youngster is rated among the best prospects emerging in French football.LOSC president Gerard Lopez is ready to sell land La Provence says a move to England is likely with United and Spution.

In her last match, a at the Australian Open in January, Sharapova was ranked 373 in the world, a long way from her five separate reigns as world No 1, the first of them in 2005. It was her third first-round exit from a major in a row.

However, five grand slam titles – encompassing all the four venues, on clay, grass and hardcourt – and career earnings of $38.7m tell a story of longevity and persistence, which Sharapova regarded as her greatest asset.

Her rivalry with the younger of the two Williams sister was fierce but doomed – and it defined Sharapova’s struggle. Their last encounter – in the first round of the 2019 US Open, when Sharapova needed pain killers to get on court and could win only two games – summed up the physical decline of the Russian.

“Behind closed doors, 30 minutes before taking the court, I had a procedure to numb my shoulder to get through the match,” , her chosen platform to confirm her retirement. “I’ve had multiple surgeries – once in 2008; another procedure last year – and s missing Champions League qualification is a frustrating blow.The Gunners missed their chance after being beaten by Chelsea in the Europa League final.Asked if it was painful to be in the Europa League again, Arsenal midfielder Xhaka said: “Yeah, of pent countless months in physical therapy. Just stepping on to the court that day felt like a final victory, when of course it should have been merely the first step toward victory. I share this not to garner pity, but to paint my new reality: My body had become a distraction.”

It always was. Sharapova regularly turned back questions about her looks as irrelevant, and protested that her many fashion shoots did not form the centrepiece of her career.

“Behind the photo shoots and the pretty tennis dresses, [the courts] exposed my imperfections – every wrinkle, every drop of sweat,” she wrote. “They tested my character, my will, my ability to channel my raw emotions into a place where they worked for me instead of against me. Between their lines, my vulnerabilities felt safe.”

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

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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.

Wayne Rooney scores stunning goal from beyond halfway line for DC United

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continues to add to his highlight reel in Major League Soccer. On Wednesday night he scored for DC United from beyond the halfway line for one of the best goals of his long career.

The goal came in the 10th minute of DC’s game against Orlando City. Rooney picked up the ball in his own half and say Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe well off his line. He proceeded to drive the ball over Rowe, and was promptly mobbed by his teammates. It proved to be the only goal of the game.

Roor and RB Leipzig have undergone managerial change this season. Julian Nagelsmann took charge of the German club last July and turned them into Bundesliga contenders. Around four months later Jose Mourinho arrived ati Emery rather than a seek a transfer.Ozil has been frozen out by Emery, but will wait to see whether the Arsenal boss lasts beyond the end of this season before deciding on his future.The midfielder is Arsenal’s highest-paid player on £350,000 a we Spurs and galvanised them, taking ney joined last year with the club bottom of the Eastern Conference. He then inspired them to the playoffs. This season they currently sit third in the table.

Three former Manchester United players are now in MLS’s top-five scorers this season. As well as Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Nani are also in the top fivates after skipping out on them this weekend.Against AC Milan, Ronaldo was hooked on 55 minutes for the eventual matchwinner Paulo Dybala on Sunday and is said to have left the ground before the final whistle.Gazzetta dello Sport says Ronaldo did note.

Jets raise eyebrows by appointing Gase after 23-26 record with rivals Miami

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The New York Jets stayed in the AFC East to find their new head coach. The former coach Adam Gase agreed on Wednesday night to take the Jets job, according to multiple reports.

The hiring ends a 10-day, wide-open search for New York, which met with seven other coaches about their vacancy, including Mike McCarthy, Kris Richard, Jim Caldwell, Eric Bieniemy, Todd Monken, Matt Rhule and Kliff Kingsbury, who took the Arizona Cardinals job.

Gase was 23-26 in three years with Miami, including a playoff game in the 2016 season, before being fired last week. He’ll remain in the AFC East, and face the Dolphins twice every regular season as a rival head coach. Gase replaces Todd Bowles, who was fired after he went 24-40 in four seasons and no playoff appearances. Gase is the Jets’ first hire with previous full-time hs sports director Fabio Paratici is convinced he can bring Paul Pogba to Turin – and for an affordable price.The Manchester United midfielder continues to be linked with Real Madrid, with agent Mino Raiola confirming they attempted to engineer a moveead coaching experience since Bill Parcells’ three-year tenure from 1997-99. The 40-year-old is also the first offensive-focused coach since Rich Kotite in 1996.

Gase will be tasked with furthering the development of quarterback Sam Darnold and helping New York snap an eight-year postseason drought. While he had control over personnel in Miami, Gase will work cloPortuguese duo Pedro Gonclaves and Joao Dias have left Wolves.Both players have joined newly-promoted Portuguese top flight club Famalicao on permanent deals.Gonclaves made his first-team debut last season and impressed mightily for the club’s U23 side.Dias struggled to make a similar impact after joining the club last summer.sely in New York with general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was retained by team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, to put together a competitive roster around Darnold. The Jets are expected to have around $100m in salary cap space this offseason, and will be very active in free agency.

Those factors combined, Johnson insisted leading into the team’s search, made the Jets an attractive spot for a head coach to land. “If you can make it here, you’re a freakin’ legend,” Johnson said. “That counts for something.”

Gase was fired after this season as part of an organizational shake-up after the Dolphins finished 7-9 anr United need to sign a midfielder leader like Bryan Robson.The 46-year-old has struggled to make a huge impact in the transfer market, although Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have been welcome additions.And Solskjaer admits he needs to find anotd missed the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. There were also questions about whether Gase had lost the support of some players. Miami ranked 31st in the NFL in offense, a franchise worst, and 29th in defense, allowing a franchise-record 6,257 yards this season.

Gase’s Dolphins were particularly good in one-score games, going 7-1 in those situations this season and 20-6 in three years. Their record in games decided by more than one score was 3-20, including 0-8 this season. Miami also lost their last seven games on the road.

The hiring was met with some trepidation from frustrated Jets fans, many of whom were pulling for McCarthy, Monken or Rhule to be hired to turn the franchise around and end a Super Bowl drought that’s 50 years and counting.

Saracens front an American gold rush still seeking the nugget of success

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The American gold rush is showing no signs of slowing down. Last week the Champions Cup organisers were the latest to announce plans to plant a flag on American soil, the Pro14 is casting a covetous eye Stateside, the Six Nations and the British & Irish Lions too. Ireland return to Chicago this autumn, having largely based their bid to host the 2023 World Cup on a promise to break America.

The list goes on: in June, the Sevens World Cup took place in San Francisco in July and in the immediate aftermath, World Rugby encouraged the USA to bid for the 2027 World Cup. Premiership Rugby solidified its relationship at the start of this season when Gallagherce James says he grew up a Blues supporter.The 20-year-old has excelled since returning to west London after a spell on loan with Wigan Athletic.Discussing growing up with siblings Josh and Lauren, he told Chelsea magazine: “We all used to play every took over as its title sponsor. The American market, it seems, is considered an endless source of riches.

Look a little closer and the pitfalls of rugby’s search for Sutter’s Mill are all too evident. Wales’s victory over the Springboks was a washout. The Sevens World Cup generated huge revenues but considerable losses for USA Rugby, which has undergone an overhaul amid the financial plight of its commercial arm, Rugby International Marketing, in which the Rugby Football Union and were investors. There is always a danger of killing the golden goose.

All of which Sport says an offer worth £8.9million has been lodged to commence the bidding on Benrahma.Brentford are braced for a number of clubs showing an interest in the 23-year-old Algerian.In his first year at Griffin Park, Benrahma smashed 11 goals and 17 brings us to the Stoop. Harlequins play Saracens at 7.30 on Saturday night as the first Premiership match to be screened live on NBC’s main channel. There will no matcA coach. The club announced the decision midday Monday. Franc Artiga, from Juvenil B, takes over the role.Valdes’s dismissal was a widely known ‘secret’ since Friday. The coach had an argument with Patrick Kluivert, the head of youth football and thah staged in the US this season, despite a four-year deal agreed last May – the next is likely to be in 2020 – so this is Rugby’s day in the sun. A chance to cement its place in the American landscape.

Ordinarily Premiership Rugby is shown on NBC Sports or Gold service but Saturday’s match is the first club fixture on free-to-air TV in the US. It will be shown at 2.30pm ET and the hope is that – with NBC demonstrating a commitment to broadcasting rugby, having acquired Six Nations and World Cup rights – viewing figures back up the optimism that abounds. “It’s a massive opportunity for us to cast a wider net,” says the New York-born former England international since 2016. “We’ve had a good two-year base, growing our ex-pat, traditional audience but now we have the opportunity to showcase the Premiership brand to a wide audience and pull in new fans – that’s our big emphasis here.”

This is a big deal for Premiership Rugby because of the huge reach NBC possesses – 116 million homes according to the former Bath, Leicester and USA No 8 Dan Lyle, who broadcasts alongside Corbisiero. On both a domestic and international level, administrators have talked plenty recently about unlocking commercial opportunities and unquestionably, this is a shop window for Premiership Rugby. “It’s about organic growth but we’re hoping it will accelerate our curve a little bit and the proof will be in the coming weeks,” says Lyle, the director of the promoter AEG Rugby. “Hopefully, if we get good numbers we can have more windows in the future.”

Rugby may have been identified as the fast-growing team sport in the US but it must be said that short-termism, and with it attempts to make a quick buck, have hindered progress. As Corbisiero says: “If you look in the past, there are some examples where people have been guilty of that but when you’re starting in a market from scratch, there is no best practice or the right way to do it. Sometimes we’ve had to make some mistakes and experience growing pains to get where we are now.”

Premiership Rugby says it is in for the long haul. If its success is to measured by attendances at matches hosted in New York (2016) and Philadelphia (2017) it has been a failure but Dom Hayes, the Premiership Rugby commercial director, argues otherwise. “We’ve tried to be the opposite of the flash in the pan scenario,” he says. “In Philly, everyone focuses on the crowd size but in the week leading up to that we had coaching programmes up and down the eastern seaboard and referee groups coming in to share expertise and best practice. We’re at the very beginning of the journey.”

The quality of the product will determine how well it sells and another try-fest on Saturday, in keeping with the start to the season, should help. “People recognise who are as the defending champions,” Corbisiero says. “There’s almost a Patriots-esque vibe to them. It’s a great story to tell.” There are few better placed to tell it, provided the audience is listening.

Froome case has ‘damaged credibility of Wada’, says Usada chief Tygart

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The handling of is “another shard that has damaged the credibility” of the World Anti-Doping Agency, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency has warned.

Travis Tyga Kante out of his squad.Blues chief Frank Lampard wants his midfielder Kante to have a proper rest after a knee injury and sprained ankle so far this season.And ex-Chelsea anchorman Deschamps has agreed to leave the 28-year-old out of next month’s Eurt, who led the fight to bring the US cyclist Lance Armstrong to justice, also criticised the lack of transparency over Wada’s decision to clear Froome this month.

“The question is whether justice was truly served or did a star get an undeserved break,” Tygart said. “Unfortunately it’s another blow to the perceived credibility of the global anti-doping movement.”

and cycling’s governing body, the UCI, have only released some details about why Froome was given the all‑clear, after he was tested for double the permitted limit of salbutamol at the Vuelta a España last September.

In an interview with the BBC Tygart insisted that was unfair to Froome, who he said faced the “worst-case scenario” where he was “caught” between being seen as having benefited from his high profile yet could also have been “unfairly tarnished”.

“Athletes should not be accused or it be inferred that they’re not clean until proven through the established process and that didn’t happen here and he deserves the benefit of that presumption of innocence.”

Tygart also claimed that in nearly 75,000 drug tes Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake on their shopping list.The Holland international is viewed at Napoli as an alternative to Roma stopper Kostas Manolas, says Corriere dello Sport.Napoli are pushing to sign Manolas this week – and will turn to Ake if tts conducted by Usada since the salbutamol rule was updated in 2011, the organisation did not find “a single athlete” in any sport that exceeded the maximum permitted amount.

In response, a Wada spokespeited title winner Robin van Persie has likened himself to whizkid Mason Greenwood.Although he did feature fleetingly last season, Greenwood has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford in 2019/20 as he’s scored seven goals in 19 appearances inrson told BBC Sport: “Mr Tygart’s assessment appears uninformed, is unconstructive, and quite frankly is surprising given that Usada has itself previously taken the decision to close a salbutamol case where the athlete exceeded the threshold without a controlled pharmacokinetic study being conducted.

“In leading the fight against doping in sport, Wada is sometimes forced to make difficult decisions. This is one of those occasions. Wada is convinced that, in view of the complex and unique circumstances of Mr Froome’s case, the UCI reached a correct and fair outcome.”

Celtics crush Cavaliers in Game 1 of NBA Eastern Conference finals

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Jaylen Brown had 23 points and eight rebounds, Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 boards, and the Boston Celtics scorched the 108-83 on Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

The Celtics ran off 17 consecutive points in the first quarter and never allowed the Cavaliers within single digits again. Boston led by 28 when Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue pulled LeBron James for good with 7:09 left. Kevin Love had 17 points and eight rebounds, and James finished with 15 points, nine assists and seven boards. The Cavaliers missed their first 14 three-point attempts of the game and shot just 32 percent in the first half.

By that time, Boston led 61-35 the biggest half-time playoff deficit in James’ career. With injured stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving on the bench in street clothes, the Celtics continued their stunning run this season with what may have been the most surprising turn of events yet. A year after dropping the first two games at home against Cleveland in a five-game East final, the Celtics pounced on James, and the favored Cavaliers were never really in it.

The Celtics took the floor to a hype video that began with the broadcast of Hayward’s injury in the first quarter of the first game, at Cleveland. A variety of commentators predicted the team’s demise, including Hall of Famer Charles Barkley saying: “Their season’s over.”

As more players went down to injury, the prophesies grew even gloomier. But there the Celtics were, back in the Eastern Conference finals against the Cavaliers for the second year in a row with Hayward, Irving, Daniel Theis and Shane Larkin all injured and coach Brad Stevens down to an eight-man rotation.

It was more than they needed.

Morris, starting in place ofncelotti has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal that runs until the end of the 2023/24 season.He is attending today’s Premier League match against Arsenal at Goodison as a spectator prior to meeting the plgend Alan Shearer believes Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood is ready to be a regular starter.The 18 year-old struck in last night’s 4-1 win over the Toon last night.“The early signs that we’ve seen of Mason Greenwood have been exceptional.ayers and taking up his new role from Sunday. Aron Baynes, backed up his boast that he could cover James better than anyone except Kawhi Leonard and helped pester James into seven of Cleveland’s nine turnovers. (James had eight in the entire four-game, second-round sweep of the Raptors.)

Cleveland scored seven straight points early in the third and finished the quarter with six in a row to make it 78-64. But Boston made the first three baskets in the fourth and, after running off nine in a row to make it 96-68 with 7:0t to make an opening offer for Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff.The Mirror says United are ready to test Newcastle’s resolve to keep Longstaff by making a £30million bid for the midfielder.United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made Longstaf9 left, the Cavs conceded.

Game 2 is on Tuesday night in Boston.

Tiger Woods in contention at Valspar Championship after birdie binge

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A last-hole bogey failed to take the gloss off a superb performance from as the former world No 1 continued to impress on the latest leg of his improbable comeback in the Valspar Championship.

Woods showed flashes of his brilliant best in an opening 70 in what is only his fourth event since undergoing spinal fusion surgery– his fourth back operation in three years – last April.

And thhip revenue fall €55.2 million (US$60.6 million) to €75.3 million (US$82.9 million) for the 2019/20 season, reports, /.The Serie A giants pocketed €130.5 million (US$143.6 million) in sponsorship over the 2018/19 campaign, but a new public filie 14-time major winner surged to the top of the leaderboard for the first time since August 2015 before having to settle for a share of second place on four under as the Canadian Corey Conners fired a round of 69 to go into the weekend on six under par.

Starting on the back nine of the testing Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort, Woods recovered from a wayward drive on the 10th to make par and also parred the next before holing from five feet for birdie on the 12th. A superb approach to the 13th set up another birdie from a similar distance and, after a run of six straight pars, another gain on the second took Woods into a share of the lead.

Woods enjoyed a stroke of good fortune on the par-five fifth when his hooked drive appeared to hit a cart path and bounce back on to the fairway. And the 42-year-old took full advantage by finding a greenside bunker with his approach, splashing out to four feet and holing the birdie putt to take the outright lead.

The last time that happened was during the third round of thedfielder Matty Longstaff is in the sights of England U21.Aidy Boothroyd and assistant Lee Carsley have both watched Longstaff, whose thunderbolt downed Manchester United on debut last weekend.Friday’s friendly in Slovenia and Tuesday’s European Champ Wyndham Championship in August 2015 and the last time Woods led outright after a PGA Tour round was after his last win in the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone.

The prospects of the outright lead disappeared with a bogey on the ninth when he pushed his approach right of the green and it finished up in a female spectator’s handbag. After taking a free drop, Woods caught the pin with his chip but was unable to hole from six feet for par, leaving him to sign for a 68 and share of the lead on four under par.

“I’m up there,” Woods told PGA Tour Live. “I don’t think this will be leading [at the end of the day] but at least I’m there with a chance going into the weekend. Today was a good daBrad Smith admits Seattle Sounders were overawed in the opening stages of their 3-1 win over Toronto in the MLS Cup on Sunday. The Pacific Northwest club walked out to a record 69,724 crowd at Century Link Field and were thoroughly outplayed in the oy. It was cold early, then the wind started blowing a little bit – it was inconsistent and tough to get a bead on. Did a lot of guessing and guessed pretty good, also got fooled a few times.

“I keep getting a little bit better here and there, making these little subtle tweaks. I’ve done that from tournament to tournament, I just need to get a little bit more tournament time in and I think I’ve done that.

“I’m starting to get a better feel for it, I’m finding the rhythm of the rounds, I’m hitting shots, I don’t have a problem posting scores. I’m able to play more feel golf than just trying to figure out how to play golf again.”

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

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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.

Yankees’ Aaron Judge breaks Mark McGwire’s rookie home run record

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Aaron Judge broke Mark McGwire’s major-league record for home runs by a rookie, hitting a pair for the second straight day to raise his total to 50 and lead n.The striker missed Friday’s friendly against Kawasaki Frontale with tonsillitis but is fully fit again and determined to impress with the Blues this season having spent the past three years out on loan”I am more ready than ever for the season to stthe over the Kansas City Royals 11-3 Monday.

The 6ft 7in, 25-year-old slugger tied the mark with a two-run drive to right-center off Jakob Junis (8-3) in the third inning that put New York ahead 3-0. His solo shot over the visitors’ bullpen in left against Trevor Cahill in the seventh made it 7-3 and earned him a rare curtain call.

Judge has 13 home runs in September and six in five games, and he is second in the majors behind Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who has 57. Judge has four multihomer games this month and seven this season.

Judge was hitting .329 with 30 homers and 66 RBIs when he won the , then slumped to a .179 average with seven homers and 16 RBIs from the start of the second half through 31 August, striking out 67 times in 44 games. His September rebound boosted his average to .283 with 108 RBIs and an AL-leading 120 walks and a big league-high 203 strikeouts, putting himself back into MVP consideration.

McGwire hit 49 homers for Oakland in 1987, breaking the previous mark of 38 set by the Boston Braves’ Wally Berger in 1930 and matched by Cincinnati’s Frank Robinson in 1956.

Greg Bird added a two-run homer into the right field second deck in the sixth, his seventh home run this season and fourth in nine games. Gary Sanchez followed Judge in the seventh with back-to-back homers for the third time this year, raising his total to 33.

CC Sabathia (13-5) took a 6-0 lead into the seventh, when Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer and Mike Moustakas chased him by going deep four pitches later. Mixing sharp cutters and sliders, Sabathia improved to 9-0 in 11 starts this year after Yankees’ losses and 21-11 in his career against Kansas City. He allowed six hits in six-plus innings.

New York, which began the day five games behind AL East-leading Boston, needs one win or a Minnesota loss to clinch home field in the AL wild-card game on 3 October. Didi Gregorius had an RBI groundout in the first and scored on Matt Holliday’s double in the sixth.

Kansas City, starting perhaps its final week with potential free agents Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Moustakas, was pushed to the brink of postseason elimination. The Royals headed home from an 11-game, four-city trip trailing the Twins for the second AL wild card by six games with six games left. Kansas City went 37-44 on the road, three more wins than last year.

Junis gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He had been 6-0 ts he’s missed Benfica this season.The 20-year-old moved for an eye-waterrprised him this season.Juventus lead the table one point ahead of Lazio and Inter Milan.”The real surprise is that Juventus have 10 points less than in previous years, and that’s why their rivals are much closer,” Capello told Sky Italia.“They hading 127 million euros and has thus far been unable to show what he is capable of in a red-and-white shirt, but his best play to date has come with Benfica.”Now I see how happy Iin eight starts and two relief appearance since a June 29 loss at Detroit.

Kansas City returned to New York for a makeup of a 25 May rainout, and the ballpark was half-full on a warm autumn afternoon with the temperature in the mid-80s.

Stephen Curry named NBA MVP after helping Warriors beat Trail Blazers

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nailed a three-pointer in overtime and gestured to the crowd, exclaiming over and over: “I’m back! I’m back!”

Curry returned from a sprained right knee to score an NBA-record 17 points in overtime, finishing with 40 as the Warriors rallied to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals with a 132-125 victory ove Sanchez insists Inter Milan are capable of winning the Champions League.On-loan from Manchester United, the striker is ready to face former club Barcelona this week.He stated, “Every player would like to win a Champions League. You play to win it, nr the on Monday night.

And then on Tuesday, to no one’s great surprise, . Curry swept all 131 first-place votes, including 130 from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters and one from the fan vote. Curry is the 11th player to win back-to-back MVP awards.

“I love this game, I love playing and love competing. And really, really missed being out there with my team-mates,” Curry said. “To help our team get a win tonight and in that fashion, that was a good feeling in that moment to be back on the floor and playing.”

Playing for the first time since he was injured in Game 4 of the first-round series against Houston, Curry was rusty for three quarters and sensational down the stretch after the Warriors trailed by as much as 16 points.

Originally expected to play about 25 minutes off the bench, Curry picked up a heavier workload in the second half after Shaun Livingston, who had been starting in his absence, was ejected in the second quarter after arguing a call and picking up two technical fouls.

The Warriors can win the series Wednesday night at home in Game 5. A news conference announcing Curry’s award is scheduled for 5pm ET in Oakland on Tuesday.

Curry was followed in the vote by Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio, LeBron James of Cleveland and Oklahoma City pair Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Curry’s Warriors team-mate Draymond Green was seventh.

Damian Lillard finished with 36 points and 10 assists for Portland.

Curry’s fast-break lay-up gave the defending champions a 120-118 lead with 2:21 left in the extra period. He followed with a three-pointer, strutting and pumping his fist in celebration.

“You knew he’d catch his rhythm eventually,” Klay Thompson said. “He’s probably the best player in the world, the best shooter of all-time. He was getting good looks. We’ll take those all day.”

Harrison Barnes’ layup extended the lead to 125-118 and Portland couldn’t catch up. Thompson finished with 23 for the Warriors.

Curry finally made his first three of the game to give the Warriors a 103-100 lead with 4:35 left in regulation, but Pesses in training.The striker could see action tonight against Chelsea.Arteta stated on Monday: “Well, it will depend on the circumstances: the players we have available, his performance, the way he trains, the impact that he makes every time he playortland was ahead in the final minute before Barnes tied it at 111-all with a three-pointer with 51 seconds left. Both Lillard and Curry missed to force the OT.

Curry led the Warriors to an NBA-record 73 wins in the regular season, a year after leading the team to its first NBA championship in 40 years. He averaged just over 30 points per game this season.

“Remarkable,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I mean, he looked fresh. He had his rhythm. He made tough shots, he made nice passes, he fought through screens. Obviously 17 points in overtime. It was a hell of a performance.”

The Trail Blazers narrowed the series to 2-1 on Saturday night when Lillard scored 40 points in a 120-108 Portland victory while Golden State was still without its star guard. The Blazers became the only team to defeat the Warriors twice this season.

Curry came off the bench with 5:56 left in the first quarter and Portland up 16-2. His only points in the quarter came off a pair of jumpers before he went back to the bench.

Livingston felt he was fouled just before halftime and was thrown out after arguing with referee Scott Foster. The 12-year veteran guard was averaging 12.1 points and 5.Oxlade-Chamberlain up and running in preseason.The 24-year-old managed just a pair of substitute appearances last season after suffering a devastating knee injury the previous April.Jurgen Klopp has described the England midfielder as a new signing a5 assists in the playoffs. He had started six of the eight playoff games while Curry nursed his knee injury.

Portland led 67-57 at the half, scoring a franchise playoff-record 41 points in the second quarter alone. Lillard led all scorers with 17 points.

Curry said his legs were sore after the game.

“To be expected,” he said. “I pride myself in the work I put in in the offseason to get through the 82-game schedule and be fresh for the playoffs. I was off my feet for a week and some change. You obviously lose a little bit but deep down when I got the work the last four days and broke a sweat and put the time in, that helped me get through these 38 minutes.”

Jarryd Hayne little used as 49ers win final game of season

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Jarryd Hayne’s historic season with the San Francisco 49ers has endis departure.In China with his new squad, Bruce sent a message to angry Wednesday fans.”I can understand the disappointment,” he said. “I enjoyed the three or four, five months I worked there.”But I’d like to put it out there that a manager’s contraced with a fizzle.

Hayne remained on the sideline throughout most of the 49ers’ 19-16 overtime win against St Louis Rams at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday, with the team opting to play DuJuan Harris, Kendall Gaskins and Mike Davis at running back and Bruce Ellington as punt returner.

49ers coach Jim Tomsula, who was sacked after the game, did use Hayne on the special teams defensive unit where he made a tackle late in the fourth quarter.

Hayne failed to make it on the field in the first half of the game.

Tomsula was been sacked just hours after his team completed their disappointing season.

ty star Ilkay Gundogan admits that he has not spoken with anyone at Borussia Dortmund about a possible move.It is rumoured that Gundogan could be out of the door at City this summer. The player has become a peripheral figure in the first tea Firmino is backing Newcastle United’s Joelinton for success in England.Joelinton moved to the Magpies from Hoffenheim for a club record fee in the summer.“We have already talked about this (game), because we are linked to the same representatives m, only s

The coach who gave his first taste of NFL action during the season, was ousted after his rookie season at the helm of the 49ers.

The 49ers produced a five-win, 11-loss season record and were well out of playoffs contention weeks before the end of the regular season.

Earlier, Hayne was jubilant after his first season in the NFL had ended with a 19-16 victory over the Rams at Levi’s Stadium.

He was ecstatic he had completed a dream of joining the 49ers and against the odds playing in eight games.

“It is what it is,” Hayne replied when asked about his lack of time on the field against the Rams.

“Overall, the year I’ve had and to be here and part of the team has been incredible and more than what I could have imagined.”

Hayne had said he would like Tomsula to remain as coach.

Hayne flies back to Sydney on Monday (Tuesday AEDT).

NFL playoff previews: talented Chiefs to upset Patriots and Manning to spur Broncos

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We all have dreams. For some people, that dream might entail winning the lottery. For Rams defensive end Chris Long, to make it on to a local news broadcast as a person buying lottery tickets. Happily for him, but even more so for us, dreams sometimes come true.

But perhaps your personal dream involves winning an online predictions game? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. I can tell you that a whopping 49 people called all four games correctly in our Pick The Playoffs contest on wild card weekend, which is way too many to list up here, but I will post the overall standings in the comments section imminently.

Until then, it’s time to make your picks for the divisional round.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (Saturday 4.35pm ET/9.35pm GMT)

Cast your mind back to 29 September 2014. The Chiefs have just blasted the Patriots 41-14 in a game so lopsided that many of us struggled to make sense of it. if we were witnessing the beginning of the end of Tom Brady and New England’s era of dominance (but hey, ).

Bill Belichick and so did his team, guffawing all their way to another Super Bowl triumph. With hindsight, the lesson from that September game was not that the Patriots were slipping, but that Andy Reid has some good ideas for how to undermine them.

So you can believe Belichick when he says that these opponents present a “big challenge”. You can know that Brady is speaking from bitter experience when he praises the Chiefs’ ability to “force you into a load of bad football”. You can certainly buy that described Kansas City as the “worst possible opponent” for New England.

It’s not just that the Chiefs beat them so handily last time out. It’s not just that they are riding an 11-game winningderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany is interested in signing veteran defender Ashley Williams.Kompany is eyeing the veteran to bolster his struggling side, according to reports.The former Manchester City captain has overseen just one win this sea streak, or that they demolished the Texans 30-0 last week. In the end, what will make the Patriots wary is simply the fact that the Chiefs are a talented, well-coached football team. One that runs the ball effectively, comes after you on defense and owns the second-best turnover ratio (+14) in the league.

The bookmakers make New England a five-point favourite, and understandably so. This team is 14-3 at home in the playoffs with Brady at quarterback. The injury situation, furthermore, looks favourable.

A wildcard bye gave the Patriots time to get healthier, and Julian Edelman is scheduled to return, although Rob Gronkowski missed practice Thursday with a knee injury. The Chiefs are still sweating on Jeremy Maclin, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Spencer Ware – each of whom has missed practice time since playing in the win over Houston. Such uncertainty makes me wary of picking the upset. But I’m doing it anyway.

Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (Saturday 8.15pm ET/Sunday 1.15am GMT)

Some will call this a foregone conclusion. It is only three weeks since the Cardinals obliterated Green Bay 38-8 in Glendale, recording as many sacks of Aaron Rodgers as their opponents did points. There is a line of thought that says this gap is too wide to be bridged.

And perhaps it is. But then again, perhaps not. Did we not just watch the Vikings, beaten 38-7 by the Seahawks last month, come within one fluffed field goal of overturning the same opponents on wild card weekend? Granted, the second game was played in far more challenging weather conditions, but these were still the same teams.

The Packers have always been a resilient group under Mike McCarthy. They are one of only two teams – along with the Patriots – to have made the playoffs in each of the last seven years. Rodgers has endured a trying year amidst an offense decimated by injury, but in rallying the team from an 11 point deficit to rout Washington last weekend, he reminded us of why it is always unwise to write him off prematurely.

With all that being said, Arizona still have reasons to feel confident. No quarterback can orchestrate a victory when he’s lying flat on his back. If the Cardinals’ pass rush is even 50% as productive as it was in the last meeting, that would still be a significant upgrade on what Washington managed.

Green Bay are hopeful of having starting left tackle David Bakhtiari back in their line-up for the first time since week 15, which would be a major boost. I do think that this game is going to look drastically different to the previous meeting, and likely will be decided by one score. But I am still inclined to give the edge to the home team.

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (Sunday 1.05pm ET/6.05pm GMT)

It was a victory in Seattle last October that gave us the first real hint as to how good this Carolina team could be. Sure, they were already 4-0 before their trip to CenturyLink Field, but back then so were the Atlanta Falcons. It was one thing to beat up on mediocre teams, as the Panthers had to that point, quite another to overcome a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and defeat the reigning NFC champions on their own patch.

Cam Newton won over a few doubters that day, demonstrating that he had the composure to drag his team across the line in a hostile setting. It was a first big step on the way to establishing himself as the frontrunner to be named as this season’s MVP.

Voting for that award has already closed, so his performance in the postseason will not affect the outcome. But that does not mean he has nothing left to prove. Newton’s critics still argue that his postseason performances have been underwhelming thus far in his career. In three playoff games he has turned the ball over seven times, his only win arriving against an Arizona team featuring Ryan Lindley at quarterback.

It is possible that Newton might not need to play the starring role for his team to win this weekend. Carolina’s defense is formidable, and the only Seahawk who consistently found holes in it during that first meeting – Jimmy Graham – is unavailable. Even the potential return (far from guaranteed, at this stage) of Marshawn Lynch should not be overstated. The Panthers held him to a measly 54 yards on 17 carries the last time they met.

On the other hand, this is not the same Seahawks offense that we saw back then. with the best series of performances in his career, and he did it by spending more time in the pocket. He remains a brilliant freelancer – as we saw on the broken play that became a vital 35-yard gain against the Vikings, but he has more ways to hurt a defense than he did in October.

With the forecasts calling for temperatures of around 50F, the Seahawks’ new aerial assault is unlikely to be disarmed by the weather – as occurred in Minnesota. And if this were to become a higher-scoring game than anticipated, I might favour the team and the quarterback who have been here and done it before.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (Sunday 4.40pm ET/9.40pm GMT)

Gary Kubiak did his best to nip any controversy in the bud, naming Peyton Manning over Brock Osweiler as his playoff starter more than a week ahead of time. But is a quick decision necessarily the right decision? Manning did a solid job as he returned to the field and rescued a win against the Chargers in week 17, but he has still not thrown a touchdown pass since November.

Would it not be fairer to give Brock Osweiler this chance after he steered Denver into the playoffs in the first place? Can we really blame injuries alone for Manning’s 17 interceptions in nine games to start the year? Then again, how could we overlook the fact that the Broncos went 7-2 in that stretch?

Overwhelmed by all these questions, local media seem to have given up altogether – of fourth-graders to offer a definitive verdict instead. The truth is that there might not be a right answer in this instance, since both quarterbacks’ performances have been imperfect. But with Osweiler missing practice due to a knee injury this week, Manning’s simple availability to prepare is a significant mark in his favour.

Either way, the Bro United.Di Maria was given the famous number 7 jersey when he arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid in 2014.But he failed to live up to expectations and was sold to PSG after just one season at the club.Di Maria told Ligue 1 on why he took the No.ncos might find themselves in a healthier position than Pittsburgh, for whom Ben Roethlisberger is hoping to start but presumably only if the team’s coaching staff can find enough duct tape to hold him together. This has been a bruising year for the Steelers signal caller, and even if he does make it through to Sunday he might have to do without top target (and, y’know, the league’s best receiver) Antonio Brown – who is working his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

There was optimism earlier in the week that DeAngelo Williamrs believe they will be counting Kylian Mbappe as a teammate next season.The France striker is a top summer target for Real Madrid and has also been linked with Manchester City in the French press this week.La Sexta says PSG players are convinced Mbas might at least return at running back, but that has receded in recent days. With all of these players healthy, I might have backed Pittsburgh, my preseason Super Bowl pick, to pull off another road win. But with so many key figures ailing, this feels like a bridge too far.

The gifs that keep on giving: Garrincha, Lionel Messi, Eli Manning and Willian

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Leave it all on the fieldLionel Mn Williams is ith victory over friendly opponents Inter Milan on Saturday.After coming off the bench to add plenty of passion and energy to the proceedings, thonship.Villa know they will face a tough task as they hope to maintain their newly achieved Premier League status next season.The Daily Mirrorsays they are hoping to follow up the signing of Wesley Moraes from Club Brugge with other bold moves.They ae Brazil international was happy to take three points from a difficult fixture in sweltering conditions.Mcapable of filling in for injured left-back Luke Shaw.Shaw has been out for two months and missed eleven games with a hamstring injury – and in his absence 19-year-old local lad Williams has looked a star in the making in the games heessi nutmeggedThrough the legs Great save, great save, great saveGarrincha ()Guess whoFace offTo the right (to the left)See you later…

will be out for between four and five weeks after

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second baseman told the Arizona Republic Tuesday that he is ready to face pitchers.Hill has hit off a tee and has done soft toss for two straight days. He was hit by a pitch on his left hand.Lazio will finish the season outside the top four, though have won the Coppa Italia.“We’ve ended the season by again showing who we are, qualifying for the Europa League and winning the Coppa Italia,” Parolo said after Monday’s 3-3 draw with Bolog in early April and has only played 10 games this season.”There’s no discomfort,” Hill said. “It’s not perfect, but I’m not having to change my swing. It feels good, so Manchester United fans concerned about the state of the club.The Red Devils are languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League, only two points above the relegation zone after eight games.While Solskjaer acknowledges recent weeks have not beenI’m just going to keep going with it.”

More News 06/30/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 06/24/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 06/18/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 06/14/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 06/11/2017 • by RotoWire Staff have themselves to blame for failing to qualify for the Champions League.The Rossoneri finished the season in fifth place, one point off the Champions League spots held by Atalanta and Inter Milan.“We’re sorry that we dropped so many points on the 06/07/2017 • by RotoWire Staff