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Nice striker Balotelli says Bastia fans racially abused him

PARIS (AP) — Nice striker Mario Balotelli says he was racially abused by Bastia fans who made monkey noises during Friday night's French league match. The Italian forward wrote a message on his Instagram and Twitter pages on Saturday describing the abuse he heard during the 1-1 draw at the 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari stadium in Corsica. 'Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noise (and) 'uh' 'uh' for the whole game and no one of the 'commissions discipline' say nothing?' Balotelli wrote, referencing the French league's disciplinary committee. 'So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport. Those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible!' Balotelli, 26, the son of Ghanaian immigrants to Italy, concluded his post by writing in French that what happened was 'une vrai honte,' or a total disgrace. Nice's official Twitter account shared Balotelli's message. The French league has yet to comment on the matter. Balotelli joined from Liverpool on a free transfer in August and has scored eight league goals in 10 games to help Nice challenge for the title. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 21st, 2017Related News

Memphis Depay hoping to bounce back with Lyon

 LYON, France (AP) — With a move to Lyon secured, Memphis Depay is ready to prove himself all over again. The Netherlands forward joined the French club from Manchester United on a 4½-year contract and will wear the No. 9 jersey. 'I just want to show everybody what I'm capable of. I did in the past and I didn't show it every time at Manchester,' the 22-year-old Depay said. 'I want to score goals and get that feeling back again, to play in a full stadium. It's a very nice stadium here and I'm so excited to play there.' br /> Depay was presented on Friday with club president Jean-Michel Aulas and coach Bruno Genesio by his side. br /> 'He can make the difference with his speed and technique and can be a real plus for the team,' Genesio said. br /> Aulas said Depay's fee was 16 million euros ($17 million), along with a further 6 million euros in incentives and another 3 million euros if he extends his contract. United also has a buy-back option of about 35 million euros. br /> The Dutch forward had a largely unhappy spell at United after joining from PSV Eindhoven in June 2015 for 31 million pounds (then $48 million). br /> Depay said 'a couple of other clubs were interested' in buying him but Lyon's enthusiasm persuaded him to join the seven-time French champions, who are currently in fourth place in the league. br /> 'It wasn't just the trainer who wanted me, but also the president and that gave me a really comfortable feeling,' he said. 'Don't forget that it's a big club with a big history.' br /> Depay has not played since coming on as a substitute in the Europa League against Feyenoord on Nov. 24. But he is hoping to play a part in Sunday's home game against Marseille. br /> 'I know Sunday's game is important,' Depay said. 'Physically, I'm good. I've been training hard.' br /> At United, Depay was given the club's iconic No. 7 jersey worn by George Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo, but failed to live up to expectations, scoring only seven goals in 52 games. He was hardly used by United coach Jose Mourinho, making only four league appearances from the bench this season. br /> At Lyon, Depay is likely to be used on the left wing, forming a formidable forward line with top scorer Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir. br /> 'We focused on Memphis because he corresponds to the style of play we want,' Genesio said. 'It was an extraordinary opportunity for us to get a player of international class from United.' br /> If Depay does well for Lyon, it could increase the likelihood of Aulas selling either Lacazette — who is rated at about 50 million euros — or Fekir after the season. br /> Mourinho, meanwhile, is hopeful that Depay's United career is not yet completely over. br /> 'He didn't succeed in 18 months (at United), I would say, but he is very young,' Mourinho said. 'We all wish that he plays very, very well at Lyon and why not to come back, because everyone here likes him.' br />   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 20th, 2017Related News

Defending champ Kerber advances to 4th round vs Vandeweghe

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber had a straight-sets win for the first time in her first Australian Open title defense, starting her 6-0, 6-4 third-round victory with an eight-game streak against Kristyna Pliskova on Friday. Top-ranked Kerber beat the other Pliskova twin, Karolina, in the final of the last U.S. Open to capture her second career Grand Slam title. Her first was here at Melbourne Park 12 months ago. Kerber marked her 29th birthday on Wednesday with a second-round win over fellow German Carina Witthoeft, but said she didn't celebrate much between matches and hoped to do more at the end of the tournament. She'll next play 35th-ranked CoCo Vandeweghe, who reached the fourth round in Australia for the first time with a -4, 3-6, 7-5 win over 2014 semifinalist Eugenie Bouchard. 'It will be tough,' Kerber said. 'I'm ready. I'm feeling good. I'm loving to play on this court.' Eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova was broken in the second and third sets when serving for the match before finally beating former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic 6-4, 5-7, 9-7 in a 3-hour, 36-minute match. Two-time major champion Kuznetsova will next play No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat No. 11 Elina Svitolina 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. Vandeweghe recovered from an early break in the third set in a tense win over Bouchard, who was ranked as high as No. 5 in 2014 when she reached the semifinals in Australia and France and the final at Wimbledon. Vandeweghe converted her only break-point chance to take the first set but Bouchard leveled the match with two breaks in a dominant second set. The 22-year-old Canadian broke to open the third set and appeared to be in control until Vandeweghe changed her approach. 'She started playing better and I got a little passive in my game plan and executing it — I was able to turn it around thankfully,' Vandeweghe said. After holding in the key eighth game of the third set, when she saved four break points in a game that went to deuce eight times, Vandeweghe had the benefit of serving first with no tiebreakers in the deciding set. She easily held for a 6-5 lead and then, after Bouchard had a game point, went on a roll to close with a big backhand winner on her first match point. Vandeweghe has reached the quarterfinals and the fourth round in the last two years at Wimbledon, but her run to the third round in Australia in 2016 was her best at any major not played on grass. 'It's just another opponent on the way to achieving my goal,' Vandeweghe said of her win. 'Anyway I could get it done — I just wanted to get the result. Achieved my goal.' Vandeweghe's new doubles partner, Martina Hingis, cheered her on throughout the match. Afterward, the American joked that Hingis might scold her for playing 'too long to be fresh for the doubles.' Bouchard has been gradually improving her ranking in recent months. She hasn't gone past the third round of a Grand Slam tournament since slipping and falling in the locker room during the 2015 U.S. Open .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 20th, 2017Related News

Pochettino, Guardiola confounding expectations in EPL

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer   LONDON (AP) — In one dugout at Etihad Stadium on Saturday will be a manager enjoying a six-match winning streak with his second-place team. In the other, a manager reeling from the biggest loss of his career and down in fifth place. Few at the start of the English Premier League would have predicted it would be Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino with the edge over struggling Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola. But the top of the standings is confounding expectations in the second half of the season. City hosts Tottenham with Guardiola's side trailing the second-place London club by three points and leader Chelsea by 10 points. Having already ruled City out of the title race, Guardiola is now in a scrap just to secure Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four as he endures a difficult first season in English soccer. It was against Tottenham in early October when Guardiola experienced his first setback at City, with Pochettino ending the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach's winning league start. Last weekend, he was humbled by a 4-0 loss at Everton, a career low for the Champions League-winning coach. Has Guardiola lost the Midas touch? 'The coach has to adapt with the players, the players have to adapt with the coach,' Eric Abidal, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, told The Associated Press on Thursday. 'Tactically, and the methodology of Pep Guardiola is methodology from Barcelona ... he needs time. They will win trophies. 'I spoke with some players from (City), tactically they learn a lot,' Adibal added at a Barcelona event on Thursday in Singapore. 'But when you have a good coach and good players, a lot of teams want to beat you. So it's not easy, every weekend, and we know the intensity of English football.' City racked up six successive wins in the league before losing 2-0 at Tottenham on Oct. 2. Since then City has dropped 18 points, winning seven of its 14 games as the shortcomings of the brittle defense and shaky goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has been exposed. City's attacking options have been reinforced with Gabriel Jesus completing his move from Palmeiras in time to feature against Tottenham. 'Gabriel is a technically gifted player who was chased by some of Europe's biggest clubs and we are delighted he decided to join City,' director of football Txiki Begiristain said. 'He has the potential to become one of the best attacking players in the game.' And for the 19-year-old Jesus, Guardiola played a big part in deciding his next destination. 'He was the only manager who called me so I was very pleased,' Jesus said. 'One thing I've noticed is that, like me, he is mad about football. He lives football 24 hours a day. I'm like that, too. 'When I'm not playing, I'm watching, or playing a video game, doing something linked to football. This is very important, that I'm the same as him, and I hope to learn.' Tottenham could move six points clear of City by completing the double over Guardiola's side. And for Pochettino it's not just about securing a second successive season in the Champions League but delivering the north London club's first domestic title since 1961. 'We have to try to show that we can be real contenders for the Premier League, that's the real challenge,' Pochettino said. 'It's more important that we can show ourselves, rather than show Manchester City. 'We need to show ourselves we are capable of dealing with that pressure, and to try to win games to achieve big things.' Tottenham has received more positive news on defender Jan Vertonghen's ankle injury. After initial fears the center back could be out for three months, Tottenham now expects him back in six weeks. Here are some other talking points around the Premier League: ___ PAYET PREDICAMENT West Ham travels to Southampton on Saturday with the fate of star player Dimitri Payet still uncertain after the France midfielder told the club more than a week ago he wants to leave to rejoin Marseille. Payet would not play against Crystal Palace last weekend, according to manager Slaven Bilic. 'Is his departure inevitable? I don't know,' Bilic said. 'We are not going to sell our best players on the cheap just because someone wants to sign them or even because they want to go home. 'I left it with the chairman and I'm sure he's going to do the best thing. The ball is in Marseille's court. They are the ones who expressed interest. Now they should act ... like everybody, he has his price.' AT THE BOTTOM Two of the teams in the relegation zone have tricky trips to top-four opposition. Paul Clement takes Swansea to third-place Liverpool on Saturday for a daunting second league game in charge of the bottom-place team. 'It does not look hopeless,' the former Bayern Munich assistant coach said. 'We are one point behind the team outside the relegation zone and not far behind the teams just above that as well.' Sunderland, which is above Swansea on goal difference, is at West Bromwich Albion. Hull is a point further up the standings going into Sunday's game at leader Chelsea. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

After good start, time for Balotelli to score away from home

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — It is about time for Mario Balotelli to start scoring away from home. The Italian striker's return from suspension is much needed for Nice, which faces a difficult match at Bastia on Friday after losing ground last weekend. Nice unexpectedly dropped points by drawing 0-0 against struggling Metz, and Balotelli's absence — through suspension — was felt. The draw played into the hands of free-scoring Monaco, which moved to the top on goal difference, and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, now only three points behind. Nice will be stronger with Balotelli leading the line, considering he averages nearly a goal a game since joining on a free transfer from Liverpool in the offseason. But the worrying statistic for Nice is that his eight league goals — and nine of the 10 he has scored overall — have all been at home. When Nice plays at home, it often dominates possession through its slick midfield and Balotelli, with his outstanding ability to hold the ball up, is regularly involved in the quick and neat approach play. It's a different story away from home, where Balotelli often drifts in and out of position as he roams for space to create opportunities out of nothing. Nice coach Lucien Favre needs Balotelli to be at his disciplined best on Friday, rather than in improvisational mode. Balotelli, who has a long history of controversy on and off the field, will also have to keep this cool. Although Bastia is only one place above the relegation zone, the Corsican side is always fiercely motivated at home, where the passionate locals at the compact 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari Stadium reserve their most vitriolic and hostile welcomes for southern clubs Nice and Marseille, and for PSG. Because of the seething animosity between Bastia and Nice fans — there have been violent clashes in the past — France's Interior Ministry decreed a ban on travelling fans. Any daring Nice fans trying to circumnavigate the ban will be prevented from trying to reach the island of Corsica either by sea — via the ports of Nice, Marseille and Toulon — or by air. Nice deplored the ban, which it says 'automatically deprives its fans of passion for the umpteenth time.' Favre, who took charge in the offseason after leaving German side Borussia Moenchengladbach, is bracing himself for a heated encounter. 'There's always something special about this game, so I've been told,' said Favre, who replaced Claude Puel after he joined Premier League club Southampton. 'In football, you always have commitment, headers, tackles. It's part of the game, if it's fair. It's up to us to react properly. You must control your emotions.' ___ GOALS GALORE Lorient's players can hardly be looking forward to the trip to play Monaco, given how many goals the French leaders are scoring. Last weekend's 4-1 rout of Marseille made it 60 league goals in 20 games — comfortably more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues — and 86 in 33 games overall this season. Bad news for Lorient, which is languishing in 19th place and has conceded 39 goals — more than any other team in the league. Monaco must be relieved it did not sell Colombian striker Radamel Falcao after he spent two unsuccessful seasons on loan at Manchester United and Chelsea as he fought back from a serious injury. Falcao has been an inspirational captain, scoring eight in the past seven games and 17 in all competitions this season. Behind him and strike partner Valere Germain, the midfield quartet of Tiemoue Bakayoko, Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva is striking a good balance. Bakayoko and Fabinho do much of the holding work, thus freeing up the skillful Lemar and the quick Silva to roam free. They were unstoppable against Marseille, with Lemar scoring an audacious lob and Silva netting twice. ___ A TIGHTER DEFENSE PSG is looking for a fifth straight win when it travels to play Nantes on Saturday. Following a rocky spell just before the mid-season winter break, PSG has won its two league games and two cup games since without fuss and without conceding a goal. But Nantes could be a different proposition, especially given how well the team is playing under coach Sergio Conceicao. Wednesday's 1-0 win over Caen was the sixth in seventh games since the former Portugal winger took charge in early December. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Emmanuel Macron gains traction as France yearns for change

Emmanuel Macron gains traction as France yearns for change.....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 19th, 2017Related News

Air France searcher recalls defeat s pain as MH370 hunt ends

SYDNEY — Searchers' frustration over Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is difficult to overstate, from the monstrous waves that battered search crews in one of th.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: WorldJan 17th, 2017Related News

France says UK ‘improvising’ on Brexit

France says UK ‘improvising’ on Brexit.....»»

Source: Manilatimes_net Manilatimes_netCategory: NewsJan 17th, 2017Related News

Federer's 17 majors stack up nicely against everyone else

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The 64 players contesting second-round matches at the Australian Open on Wednesday have won a total of 36 Grand Slam singles titles. One guy, however, has nearly half of them. Of the 17 titles captured by Roger Federer, who plays American qualifier Noah Rubin at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, four have been at Melbourne Park. Although he hasn't lifted the trophy here since 2010. Venus Williams, who will play Stefanie Voegele to open play on Rod Laver — has seven major titles. Others in action Wednesday are top-ranked Andy Murray and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (3 majors each), defending champion Angelique Kerber and Svetlana Kuznetsova (2 each) and Marin Cilic and Garbine Muguruza, who have each won one major. Novak Djokovic, who has 12 Grand Slam titles of his own and is on the other side of the Australian Open draw, was quick to praise Federer as the Swiss star prepared to return from a six-month injury layoff. 'With Roger, you can always see a top level and quality of tennis ... that's what he brings,' Djokovic said last weekend. 'He brings this aura of a champion on and off the court. The sport definitely missed him. He's one of the most important people that ever held the racket.' ____ Here's a closer look at some of the second-round matches Wednesday: BIRTHDAY GIRL: Kerber, who plays fellow German Carina Witthoeft, will celebrate her 29th birthday on Wednesday. She is aiming to become the first player to defend the Australian Open women's title since Victoria Azarenka won in 2012 and 2013. ___ GOOD LUCK ANDREY: Murray plays Russian qualifier and 156th-ranked Andrey Rublev in a night match at Rod Laver Arena. The lowest-ranked player to beat Murray at a Grand Slam tournament is No. 91 Arnaud Clement at the 2005 U.S. Open. Overall, Murray has a 10-1 record against qualifiers at Grand Slam events. Still, Murray will be wary of Rublev. 'I know a little bit about him,' Murray said after his first-round win over Illya Marchenko. 'I never hit with him or played against him, but I've seen him play before and he goes for it. He doesn't hold back. He hits a big ball.' Murray has lost the Australian Open final five times in seven years, and never won the title. He hopes to have another chance this year to atone for his past defeats. 'I have had a lot of tough losses here, for sure,' he said. 'I have played some of my best tennis on hard courts here. But I keep coming back to try. I'll keep doing that until I'm done.' ___ AND GOOD LUCK NOAH: Federer has not lost to a player ranked as low as No. 200 Noah since losing to 249th-ranked Sergio Bruguera at Barcelona in 2000. In terms of Grand Slam events, the lowest-ranked player Federer has lost to was No. 154 Mario Ancic at 2002 Wimbledon. ___ LONGEVITY IN MELBOURNE: Venus Williams' match against Voegele comes in her 17th appearance at the Australian Open. She has never won the title in Melbourne, but was runner-up in 2003, losing to her younger sister, Serena. And for the record, her seven Grand Slam singles titles came five times at Wimbledon and twice at the U.S. Open. ___ ONCE A YEAR: Fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori plays France's Jeremy Chardy to open play on Hisense Arena, and their meeting has become an annual thing. Nishikori has a 4-2 edge in matches which they've contested once a year for the past six years. Nishikori is attempting to reach the third round at Melbourne Park for the seventh consecutive year. He lost to Grigor Dimitrov in the Brisbane International final two weeks ago. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 17th, 2017Related News

Danger matches Tuesday for Djokovic, Williams at Aussie Open

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Not much room for error: six-time Australian Open champions Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic face tougher-than expected first-round matches on Tuesday. Both are chasing records at Melbourne Park, where Williams is hoping to set an Open-era record by winning her 23rd Grand Slam title and Djokovic is striving to be the first man to win the Australian title seven times. Williams, who lost to Angelique Kerber in last year's final, has drawn Belinda Bencic, who was seeded 12th here last year and who beat her in Toronto in 2015. Their career record is 1-1, with Williams having beaten Bencic on clay at Madrid in 2014. Bencic advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park last year. 'I think it will be good for us both,' Williams said. 'She's done well here before. It's never easy for me. I didn't come here to lose in the first round, or the second round, or at all. If I can play the way I've been practicing, it will be fine.' Djokovic, meanwhile, faces veteran Fernando Verdasco, a man he's beaten nine times in 13 career meetings. Verdasco had an upset win over fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal last year in the first round. 'Fernando is a very complete player on any surface. In a given day, if things go right, he can beat really anybody on any surface,' Djokovic said. He's not overwhelmed by the occasion of playing on center court. I'm expecting a tough one, there's no doubt about it.' ___ BENCIC IS PUMPED: Bencic has a 9-2 record in first-round Grand Slam matches. Bencic found out about her first-round opponent when, she admitted, 'my Twitter was blowing up. I was like, What's going on? My first reaction was really happy. So I think I'm super pumped, like excited I get to play on the big court.' She thinks it's anything but back luck that she drew Williams: 'I think we're going to play on the big court. It's a big match ... it's what everyone's working for.' Williams has Bencic's record in first-round majors covered, and then some. She's 64-1 in Grand Slam first-round matches, her lone opening-round loss at a Grand Slam came at 2012 Roland Garros against Virginie Razzano. ______ RAFA READY: Rafael Nadal is coming off two lengthy injury layoffs last year, and his match on Rod Laver Arena against Florian Mayer will be the first between the pair since 2012, when Nadal won on clay at Rome. Mayer beat Nadal on hard courts at Shanghai in 2011. Nadal has reached the second round or better in all but one of his 12 previous trips to Melbourne Park — the one failure coming last year when he lost to Verdasco in the first round. Mayer is hoping to end a seven-match losing streak at the majors and record his first Grand Slam match win since he reached the round of 16 here in 2014. ___ CAN KONTA DO IT AGAIN?: Last year, Sydney-born Johanna Konta was a surprise semifinalist at Melbourne Park, and the British player is now in the top 10 and coming off a victory in the Sydney International last week, where she overwhelmed third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska in the final. She'll play Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium to open the day session on Margaret Court Arena. 'I played her (Flipkens) last year in Monterrey, she beat me there. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play her again. She's a great player. She's a Wimbledon semifinalist (2013). She's been around the tour for a long time. That's by no accident.' Konta has won only five of her 12 first-round Grand Slam matches. ___ RAONIC FAVORED: Last year's semifinalist and No. 3-seeded Milos Raonic plays Dustin Brown of Germany in the second match on Margaret Court. Brown has never won a match at Melbourne Park, and he's only beaten a top 10 player once in a Grand Slam. Advantage to the Canadian. They have played once before, when Raonic beat Brown in the first round at last year's U.S. Open. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 16th, 2017Related News

Rampant Monaco goes top of league with 4-1 win at Marseille

JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   PARIS (AP) — Free-scoring Monaco moved to the top of the French league on goal difference by crushing Marseille 4-1 Sunday, tearing the home side apart with lightning counterattacks that took its season's tally to 60 league goals in 20 games. No other side in Europe's top five leagues has scored as many times as Monaco, which plays in a league often known for its tight defenses. This was the eighth time this season Monaco has scored at least four goals, with four of those matches away. 'We wanted to put in a big performance tonight,' Monaco forward Valere Germain said. 'We have quality players and we know we can do something special this season.' Nice, which drew 0-0 at home to Metz earlier Sunday, is in second place. Defending champion PSG is third, three points behind both Nice and Monaco. PSG and Monaco are involved in both domestic cup competitions and the Champions League, while Nice has only the league to play for. Marseille's tactical approach of all-out attack backfired as Monaco's speedy and nimble midfielders, Thomas Lemar and Bernardo Silva, made the most of the space on offer, as did top scorer Radamel Falcao. All three were on target, with Silva getting two and Falcao netting his eighth goal in the past seven games and 17th in all competitions. The 21-year-old Lemar, recently called up to the France squad, scored with a moment of audacious brilliance in the 16th minute. Challenging for the ball with Japanese defender Hiroki Sakai on the left flank, he headed the ball over Sakai, turned and then let the ball bounce before angling an exquisite lob over goalkeeper Yohann Pele. Falcao continued his scoring streak with another excellent finish five minutes later, running onto right back Djibril Sidibe's pass, drawing Pele off his line and feigning to curl the ball around him before dinking it inside the near post instead. Marseille rallied and Portuguese center half Jorge Rolando rose to powerfully head in 19-year-old midfielder Maxime Lopez's free kick in the 29th. But Monaco could have had further goals before the irrepressible Silva started and finished a move, timing his run perfectly to head past Pele from close range just before the interval. Shortly after the interval, Silva smacked a fierce shot in off the crossbar after Pele had saved a shot from Brazilian midfielder Fabinho, who was at the heart of another superbly orchestrated counterattack. 'It's a pleasure to play with great players like Falcao,' Lemar said. 'It helps young players like me.' Marseille lost the corresponding fixture 4-0 in Monaco and it was only slightly better this time. 'They were better than us in every department,' Marseille striker Bafetimbi Gomis said. 'There was a difference in class between the teams and you could see it.' ___ NICE 0, METZ 0 With star striker Mario Balotelli and creative midfielder Younes Belhanda both unavailable through suspension, Nice lacked its usual invention against resilient Metz, which played far better than expected from a 19th-placed team. 'We can live with a point,' Nice coach Lucien Favre said. 'Both teams could have won it.' Having completed his suspension, Balotelli will be back to lead the line against Bastia on Friday, Favre said. Nice striker Alassane Plea went close to scoring midway through the second half, when his angled shot flew just wide of the post. Nice conceded ground to PSG, which won 1-0 at Rennes on Saturday — with new signing Julian Draxler scoring a superb winner on his league debut. ___ CAEN 3, LYON 2 Alexandre Lacazette scored twice to take his season's tally to 15 league goals, but it wasn't enough as Lyon lost ground on PSG. Although fourth-placed Lyon has a game in hand, it is eight points behind PSG after losing for only the second time in 14 games. Croatian striker Ivan Santini starred for Normandy side Caen, scoring a penalty and the winner from a header after creating the first goal when his cross was turned into his own net by Lyon forward Maxwell Cornet. Lyon midfielder Lucas Tousart hit the crossbar with a rasping shot as Lyon went close to equalizing. 'We made too many basic errors,' Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons said. 'We're going to have to play much better if we want to achieve our objectives.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 15th, 2017Related News

Australian Open quotes: Rafael Nadal says no plans to retire

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal isn't planning to give up tennis anytime soon. Johanna Konta won't take too seriously her dominating win in the Sydney International last Friday. And Sam Stosur, who has never done well at her home Grand Slam tournament, isn't getting too down on herself after her preparation — or lack of it— for Melbourne Park. Following are some thoughts and impressions from players who spoke on Sunday, the day before the start of the Australian Open: ___ RAFAEL NADAL The takeaway: Rafa is not about to call it quits anytime soon. Nadal, a 14-time major winner, is coming off two lengthy injury layoffs last year, including 2 ½ months off after pulling out of the French Open before the third round with left wrist injury and another rest at the end of the season. Just don't ask him if he's ready to pull out a rod and reel, or a 9-iron. 'If I don't believe that I can be competitive, and when I mean competitive, is fighting for the things that I fought for during the last 10 years, I will be probably playing golf or fishing at home,' Nadal said. 'I am being honest ... I am here because I believe ... I can fight for the things that really motivate me.' Given his history with injuries, Nadal was asked if he was playing pain free. 'What do you mean 'pain-free'?' he said. 'I am not injured, no. Pain-free is a long time ago.' ___ JOHANNA KONTA The Sydney-born British player, a surprise semifinalist at Melbourne Park last year, won the Sydney International final against Agnieszka Radwanska last Friday, a victory so dominating that the Polish player, ranked third in the world, said: 'I can't remember playing someone like this on that level, that consistent for the whole match. I couldn't really say that I did something wrong. She was just playing amazing tennis.' Konta said Sunday she's not reading too much into those plaudits. 'Obviously to have beaten a player like Aga, I'm definitely very pleased with the level I played,' Konta said. 'But we all know that it's not a given. It doesn't decide how you will do in the next event. I'm taking it as a positive from the week itself, but I'm looking to, again, work hard here and really try to do the best that I can here.' ___ SAMANTHA STOSUR Competing in her 15th Australian Open, the highest-ranked Australian woman in the draw has never made it past the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Her preparation for her home major wasn't helped with first-round losses at Brisbane and Sydney 'I can't change it, it is what it is,' Stosur said of her early exits. 'I'm not going into my first round freaking out that I haven't had more than two matches. Like I said, I've done everything else that I can. Obviously it would have been really nice to have played more. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in that situation from the first two weeks of the year.' The 18th-seeded Stosur has a tough first-round match against Heather Watson of Britain. ___ SIMONA HALEP The fourth-seeded Halep lost in the first round last year at Melbourne Park. This year she'll have the distinction of opening play on the main Rod Laver Arena on Monday, against American Shelby Rogers. 'I hope is going to be better this year ... it's special to open the tournament on the biggest stadium. I'm not thinking very much at that thing. I just have to go there. I know the opponent pretty well.' Halep beat Rogers in straight sets in the third round at the 2015 U.S. Open in their only previous meeting. ___ TOMMY HAAS The 38-year-old German veteran has said 2017 will be his last year on tour — he's taking over as tournament director at Indian Wells. Haas, who plays Benoit Paire of France in the first round, wants to go out with some dignity after a career of injuries. He has been ranked as high as No. 2, won 15 ATP Tour titles, reached the semifinals of the Australian Open three times and Wimbledon once, and won a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. His career has been stalled by injuries since he had shoulder surgery two years ago and right foot surgery in the middle of last year. 'I think it's important to find that right time, or that moment for you when you feel it's over and it's time to do something else,' Haas said Sunday. 'For me it's very important just to be back on tour and back here at the Australian Open. It's been a while since I've played here and I'm excited to get the opportunity to go out on the court one more time and compete.' And to keep playing, hoping that his best is once again around the corner. 'When you are a dreamer, and a lot of us are, you obviously like to play at your best level again, maybe play against some of the top players somewhere on a big stage and play a great matches,' Haas said. 'Maybe get far in a tournament one more time.' .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 15th, 2017Related News

Storm stays calm to lead McIlroy by 3 shots at SA Open

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Graeme Storm will take a three-shot lead into the final round of the SA Open as he bids for his first European Tour title in 10 years. The Englishman turned in a third-round 67, the same as Rory McIlroy, who moved into second to set up an intriguing fight on Sunday. 'I'd like to be a few shots better or at least a few shots closer to the lead,' McIlroy said. 'But hopefully, I can get off to a good start tomorrow and put a bit of pressure on Graeme and make it interesting.' Storm had five birdies on Saturday and extended his bogey-free run to 41 holes to leave him at 17-under 199 and on the verge of a second European Tour title after winning the Open de France in 2007. 'I have never played with Rory before and I know him really well so it will be a lot of fun,' Storm said. 'If he hits a good shot and pips me or beats me comfortably, or whoever makes a move from behind, I can't really control that. All I can do is control my golf ball. 'If I can shoot another score in the 60s I'll be pleased even if I don't win. I have come here as a big underdog so that is fine with me.' It would complete an amazing turnaround for Storm, who thought he lost his playing privileges by just 100 euros in October but was then handed a reprieve after Patrick Reed opted not to play the Final Series. 'I find myself now in a position that I have only been in a couple of times over the past few years,' Storm said. 'Things have been difficult and last year was a tough year but it has given me a new lease of life and I hope to continue playing well. 'I thought I had lost my card and all of the privileges that come from playing on the European Tour, and when that happens you realize that you can't afford to lose it.' McIlroy twice caught Storm at the top of the leaderboard with the help of a stunning eagle from 157 yards on the par-4 seventh and a hat trick of birdies on the back nine. But the second-ranked McIlroy, who almost pulled out of the tournament on Friday with a back complaint, bogeyed the 18th as Storm put in a consistent performance to extend his second-round lead by one shot. 'The back was a little tender this morning — I didn't really get much sleep last night,' McIlroy said. 'I couldn't get comfortable and I had to wake up in the middle of the night to take a couple of painkillers, but the physios did a good job on me this morning and strapped me up pretty well, and then gave me a couple of anti-inflammatories, which helped. 'It was a bit uncomfortable for the first five or six holes but then I took another couple of anti-inflammatories in the middle of the round and it actually felt pretty good on the back nine so hopefully it will continue to feel that way.' Storm has led a tournament three times after 54 holes on the European Tour, but hasn't converted any of those leads into victories. Jordan Smith (68) looked set to challenge Storm after four birdies and an eagle but bogeyed the final two holes to leave him four shots behind his compatriot, level with home favorite Jbe Kruger (69). Italy's Edoardo Molinari equaled the course record with a 63 — as Storm had done Friday — to surge more than 30 places up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth. Molinari is at 12 under, alongside South African duo Dean Burmester (67) and Jaco Van Zyl (68), French pair Romain Langasque (68) and Joel Stalter (65), and American Peter Uihlein (70). .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Africa, France battling same threat, Hollande says in Mali

Africa, France battling same threat, Hollande says in Mali.....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsJan 14th, 2017Related News

Guardiola: Kompany could return, Jesus transfer not complete

span style="font-size: 13px;">MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany could return at Everton in the English Premier League on Sunday but Gabriel Jesus may have to wait for his debut. /span> Jesus, the Brazil striker signed from Palmeiras in the summer transfer window, officially joined City this month but his registration is yet to go through. br /> 'When Palmeiras and the FA solve the problems he will be able to play,' City manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday. br /> Most of the paperwork has been done and the club is hopeful it will be completed soon, meaning Jesus could be available to face Tottenham next weekend. br /> One player who is in contention to face Everton is Kompany, who has been declared fit after two months out with a knee injury. br /> 'He has trained,' Guardiola said. 'The last two or three days he was a full part of the training sessions, so he is back.' br /> The 30-year-old Kompany has not played a full match since April, and has been hampered by problems in recent seasons, with his latest injury being his 35th since joining City in 2008. br /> The Belgium defender could need a run of games to prove he has a long-term future at the club, which is fourth in the Premier League. br /> 'Hopefully, he can play and be used for the second part of the season,' Guardiola said. br />   .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Troicki's three-peat won't happen after loss in Sydney semis

SYDNEY (AP) — There won't be a third consecutive Sydney International title for Viktor Troicki after the Serbian player lost 6-3, 7-6 (6) to Gilles Muller in the semifinals on Friday at Olympic Park. Troicki was trying to become the first player in the Open era to win three Sydney titles in a row, surpassing the feats of Americans Pete Sampras and James Blake, and Lleyton Hewitt, who did it twice. Muller was so sick last week in Brisbane he struggled to leave his hotel room. 'When I came here, I wasn't expecting anything because I didn't play really well in Brisbane and I wasn't feeling great,' Muller said. 'I was looking to have one or two more matches before the Australian Open.' The sixth-seeded Muller will play either Daniel Evans of Britain or Andrew Kuznetsov of Russia in Saturday's final. Kuznetov plays Evans in a Friday night semifinal. The women's final between Agnieszka Radwanska and Johanna Konta was scheduled to precede the men's semifinal. At Auckland, New Zealand, Jack Sock will play Joao Sousa in Saturday's ASB Classic final after posting semifinal wins. Sousa beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 7-5 while Sock defeated fellow American Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3. Sock, who lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the 2016 final, will play his sixth ATP final. 'It wasn't easy,' Sock said. 'Stevie's such a good player, he had such a good year last year and we know each other so well. We both had a good idea what we wanted to do out there. I was able to execute pretty well.' Sousa was impressive in beating the eighth-seeded Baghdatis in 72 minutes. He was on top from the beginning, breaking Baghdatis twice to take the first set in only 27 minutes. 'I've been playing better and better this tournament which has been a great thing for me,' Sousa said. At the WTA's Hobart International, Elise Mertens of Belgium beat fellow qualifier Jana Fett 6-4, 6-0 to advance to Saturday's final against Monica Niculescu. Mertens beat top-seeded Kiki Bertens in straight sets in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Earrlier, Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from her semifinal against Niculescu, handing the Romanian a walkover to the final. Tsurenko, who has viral illness, has been drawn to meet No. 1 and defending champion Angelique Kerber in the first round of the Australian Open. After withdrawing from the Brisbane International with a similar complaint, the 61st-ranked Tsurenko won three matches in Hobart. 'I'm really disappointed because I'm still not feeling well, and it is getting worse with playing more and more matches,' Tsurenko said. 'I'm taking some more medications and really hope to be better in Melbourne.' The Australian Open begins Monday, although Tsurenko might not have to play Kerber until Tuesday. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 13th, 2017Related News

Schneiderlin leaves Man United for Everton

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — France midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin ended an underwhelming 18-month spell at Manchester United by sealing a move to English Premier League rival Everton for an initial fee of 20 million pounds ($24.5 million) on Thursday. Schneiderlin has signed a 4 1/2-year contract with Everton, where he will be reunited with manager Ronald Koeman. They were together at Southampton for two years, before Schneiderlin left for United in July 2015. 'There is a manager in place here that I know,' the 27-year-old Schneiderlin said. 'I know he can get the best out of me, I know his style and how he likes to play football.' Schneiderlin was told he could leave United after failing to establish himself in the team under Jose Mourinho this season, playing only 11 minutes in the Premier League. He was in and out of the team under Mourinho's predecessor, Louis van Gaal. 'Morgan is really hungry to show his qualities and to play because that is the best thing for a football player,' Koeman said. 'You are born as a football player to play games, not to sit on the bench or not be part of the team. But this is a new step, it's a new future.' The fee for Schneiderlin could rise to 24 million pounds ($29.3 million). Swansea signed Netherlands winger Luciano Narsingh from PSV Eindhoven for 4 million pounds ($4.9 million) as Paul Clement made his first move in the transfer market since taking over as manager from Bob Bradley. Narsingh penned a 2 1/2-year deal. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 12th, 2017Related News

Furyk named US Ryder Cup captain

Jim Furyk was appointed Wednesday as the US captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France, where his team will try to win on European soil for the first time in 2.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 12th, 2017Related News

Cafe France, Tanduay, Racal title favorites in 2017 PBA D-League

Cafe France, Tanduay, Racal title favorites in 2017 PBA D-League.....»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: SportsJan 12th, 2017Related News

Wozniacki's Sydney run ends again before quarterfinals

SYDNEY (AP) — Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki's streak of not advancing past the quarterfinals in her past seven Sydney Internationals was extended in stifling heat on Wednesday. In temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for much of the match, Wozniacki lost 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-4 to Barbora Strycova in a duel that stretched to 3 hours, 19 minutes. Both players were treated for foot injuries during a grueling second set on Ken Rosewall Arena. Wozniacki came back from 5-2 down in that set, and then 5-0 in the tiebreaker, to win it and force a third set. 'It was brutal out there ... but you just try and think like you're on a beach drinking pina coladas,' Wozniacki said. 'That's basically your train of thought. You know that it's the same for both players, so I was just trying to mentally just try and keep cool.' Strycova will meet the winner of the night match between second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska and qualifier Duan Yingying in Friday's semifinals. Former Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard continued her strong start to the year with a 6-2, 6-3 quarterfinal win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Bouchard had a breakout season in 2014, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and French Open before making the final at Wimbledon. But she has only gone past the fourth round at a major once since then and slipped to No. 46 at the end of last year. 'I feel more and more confident every day,' Bouchard said Wednesday. 'I feel like I'm getting back into the rhythm of things a little bit, but it's a long road ...' The Canadian's semifinal opponent will be Sydney-born Johanna Konta of Britain, who beat Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 7-5. Konta broke Kasatkina's service in the 11th game, helped by a double-fault to set up break point in that game. Last year at the Australian Open, Konta became the first British women to make a Grand Slam semifinal since 1983 before losing to eventual champion Angelique Kerber. In men's play at Sydney, two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki beat Paolo Lorenzi 6-3, 6-4. Second-seeded Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay defeated Nicolas Mahut of France 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. At Auckland, New Zealand, American John Isner narrowly avoided the fate of two former champions when he beat Tunisia's Malek Jaziri in a third-set tiebreaker to advance 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (6) to make the quarterfinals of the ASB Classic. Isner won his last three points with volleys at the net. 'The way I need to finish points is that if I can I have to try and finish them at the net,' Isner said. 'I did that three times in a row and I'm very proud of that.' Four former champions were scheduled to play second-round matches Wednesday but by the time the second-seeded Isner took the court, two had bowed out. Defending champion and No. 1-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut was forced to withdraw before play began because of a stomach virus, handing New Zealander Ruben Statham a place in the second round as a lucky loser from the qualifying rounds. The 2015 champion Jiri Vesely was due to play Bautista Agut and thought he had caught a break when the Spaniard withdrew and the 434th-ranked Statham took his place. But Vesely had a tussle on his hands before winning 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-3. Four-time champion David Ferrer was first up on center court and lost 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (4) to Robin Haase of the Netherlands. At the WTA's Hobart International, former French Open finalist Lucie Safarova was beaten 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 by Japanese qualifier Risa Ozaki. Ozaki will next meet Romanian Monica Niculescu. Top-seeded Kiki Bertens advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsJan 11th, 2017Related News