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Ibrahimovic's late goal earns United 1-1 draw vs Liverpool

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic compensated for Paul Pogba's moment of recklessness by scoring Manchester United's late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against fierce rival Liverpool, a result that damaged both teams' Premier League title chances on Sunday. Ibrahimovic maintained his hot streak with a glancing header in off the crossbar in the 84th minute at Old Trafford, canceling out James Milner's 27th-minute penalty that was conceded by Pogba's handball. On the day United rolled out advertising hoardings displaying Pogba's new Twitter emoji, the player himself made a crucial mistake while jumping with his back to the ball at a corner. Liverpool ended United's nine-game winning run in all competitions — six of which had come in the league — but dropped seven points behind first-placed Chelsea. Sixth-placed United was 12 points off the leader. 'We get one point, but we were not on the top of our game. It was a hard fight, a hard game,' Ibrahimovic said. 'I think we did simple mistakes. We were not comfortable.' Wayne Rooney, needing one goal to surpass Bobby Charlton as United's outright record scorer, came on for the start of the second half but didn't have a genuine chance at a history-making goal in an intense, scrappy match between English soccer's two most decorated clubs. United's recent form had raised the possibility of a late run at the title, so this result was a setback. However, Mourinho's team got some reward with a more direct approach late in the game. Marouane Fellaini came on as a 76th-minute substitute and the tall Belgian made a difference — and played a key role in the goal. His glancing header from a left-wing cross struck the post and the ball eventually made its way to right back Antonio Valencia, whose return cross was met by Ibrahimovic for his 14th league goal of the season. He has scored 11 goals in his last 11 league games. 'They played long balls,' Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. 'It was a wild game.' Milner's penalty was Liverpool's only real chance in the first half, with United having more sight at goal — in particular one-on-one chances for Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Pogba skewed his chance wide and Mkhitaryan was denied by Simon Mignolet. Rooney's arrival in place of Michael Carrick meant the game became more open and disjointed, and Liverpool suddenly looked dangerous on the counterattack, especially after Philippe Coutinho came on as a substitute. 'We didn't reflect the qualities we have and Liverpool have but it was very emotional, intense, aggressive. We fought until the last second,' Mourinho said. 'We were the team that attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

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. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Klopp's decision to field youngest ever side backfires

br /> JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer   Juergen Klopp's decision to field Liverpool's youngest ever team backfired Sunday as the Premier League title contender was held 0-0 at home by fourth-tier Plymouth in the third round of the FA Cup. Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino also made sweeping changes, and was made to sweat as his side left it late to beat second-tier Aston Villa 2-0. Chelsea had an easier time, sweeping aside third-tier Peterborough 4-1, with Spanish forward Pedro scoring twice. With games coming thick and fast during the festive season and a midweek trip to Southampton looming in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals, Klopp made 10 changes from the team that drew 2-2 with Sunderland on Monday. But instead of keeping players rested for other competitions, the Liverpool manager now faces an unwanted replay at Plymouth. 'It's my responsibility, the whole thing, the lineup and performance. We could have done better,' Klopp said. 'If you want to see it (the result) in a bad way then I am 100 percent responsible, I have no problem with that.' Liverpool is in second place in the Premier League and well positioned to challenge for the title. Plymouth is second, too, but in the far less glamorous League Two. Despite this it still seemed a risky move by Klopp to select a team with an average age of 21 years, 296 days. 'There is a long season still to go and we need to change,' Klopp said. 'If you make that many changes, it doesn't make it easier for the boys.' The 17-year-old Ben Woodburn — Liverpool's youngest-ever scorer — made his full debut alongside 19-year-olds Ovie Ejaria and Sheyi Ojo in a three-man attacking midfield supporting lone striker Divock Origi. Trent Alexander-Arnold made only his second Liverpool start. Attacking midfielder Adam Lallana, forward Roberto Firmino and England striker Daniel Sturridge were on the bench. Woodburn and Ojo went close early on as Liverpool dominated. But for all of its possession, Liverpool struggled to create further chances. 'We started well but then we lost patience too early,' Klopp said. Klopp brought on Sturridge shortly after the hour mark, and he went close almost immediately with a low shot past the right post. Sturridge then clipped another shot narrowly wide as Liverpool continued to push forward. But even with the introduction of Lallana and Firmino late on — and six minutes of injury time — the winner never came. There were no such frustrations at Stamford Bridge, with Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi and Brazil midfielder Willian getting the other goals. Defender Ben Davies put Tottenham ahead and South Korea forward Son Heung-min scored for Tottenham in the last 20 minutes, while Middlesbrough eased past second-tier Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. Also, 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon scored Fulham's winner in a 2-1 win at Cardiff — a match pitting teams from the second-tier Championship. Defending champion Manchester United crushed Championship side Reading 4-0 on Saturday, but Premier League Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Stoke lost to lower-league opponents, while Arsenal needed a late winner against Preston to reach the fourth round. ___ CHELSEA 4, PETERBOROUGH 1 Striker Michy Batshuayi got a rare start and welcome goal for his club while Spanish forward Pedro made it three in three games. After Pedro put Chelsea ahead in the 18th minute, Batshuayi made it 2-0 shortly before halftime. Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek expertly cushioned a cross from the right into Batshuayi's path, and he drilled in a low shot into the bottom corner for his fourth goal of the season. Since joining from French club Marseille for a reported fee of 33 million pounds (around $40 million), Batshuayi has struggled to get games and he had not scored since netting twice in the League Cup on Aug. 23. Pedro set up Willian's goal in the 53rd for 3-0 and — after John Terry was shown a straight red card for hauling back Lee Angol — forward Tom Nichols scored for the visitors. With 15 minutes left, Pedro's curling shot completed a comfortable win. ___ TOTTENHAM 2, ASTON VILLA 0 Defender Ben Davies' first goal for the club was a timely one after second-tier Aston Villa frustrated the home side. Mauricio Pochettino made nine changes from the Tottenham side that beat Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday and fans at White Hart Lane had to wait until Davies headed home in the 71st minute. South Korea forward Son Heung-min turned in a cross from France midfielder Moussa Sissoko with 10 minutes left. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 3, SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 0 Central midfielder Grant Leadbitter put the Premier League side ahead with a free kick in the 58th minute, and Spanish forward Alvaro Negredo showed his alertness to make it 2-0 shortly after. Negredo charged down goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith's attempted clearance, and the ball went off Negredo and into the net. Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon wrapped up the win against the Championship side in injury time. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

Liverpool's pursuit of Chelsea frustrated; Man City and United win

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's pursuit of English Premier League leader Chelsea stalled on Monday as Juergen Klopp's four-match winning run ended at Sunderland. Liverpool's 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side gives Chelsea the platform to open up an eight-point lead by beating Tottenham on Wednesday. Twice Liverpool led in northeast England — through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane — but on both occasions Jermain Defoe scored penalties to draw Sunderland level. Mane's hand-ball was responsible for conceding the second spotkick. 'I must be honest, it doesn't feel good and it's not because of the point, it's because two penalties in a game,' Klopp said. 'Usually what you have to do to get a penalty, to get two, that was harsh, very hard to accept. 'But obviously I have to accept it, so I will do it.' ___ MAN CITY 2, BURNLEY 1 A victory for City but Pep Guardiola was still tetchy after the game, even suggesting he might not have long left in management. Halfway through his first season at City, the 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said: 'It might be one of my last teams.' English football is proving far tougher for Guardiola than Spanish or German. After losing at Liverpool on Saturday, City started badly against Burnley when captain Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a two-footed lunge on Johann Gudmundsson. City held off Burnley with 10 men and seized the lead in the second half through Gael Clichy. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second, ensuring Ben Mee's goal for Burnley would only be a consolation. City regained third place ahead of Arsenal, which is at Bournemouth on Tuesday, and Tottenham. ___ WEST HAM 0, MAN UNITED 2 United reeled off a sixth successive league victory in a match that turned on Sofiane Feghouli being harshly sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones in the 15th minute. Even with a man advantage, United took until the 63rd to score when substitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata combined. Mata turned Rashford's pullback past goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 17th goal in his first season with United. ___ EVERTON 3, SOUTHAMPTON 0 Everton scored three times in the last 17 minutes to ensure manager Ronald Koeman emerged victorious against the club he left in the offseason. Enner Valencia was the game-changer, coming off the bench to score the opener in the 73rd minute and then winning the penalty that Leighton Baines converted. Romelu Lukaku contributed the third as 10th-place Southampton lost a third match inside a week. Everton is seventh. ___ WEST BROM 3, HULL 1 Hull is now without a win in nine games and three points from safety after throwing away the lead at West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass' opener was canceled out by Chris Brunt before Gareth McAuley and James Morrison put the hosts in front. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 0, LEICESTER 0 With Islam Slimani and Danny Drinkwater out injured and Jamie Vardy suspended, Leicester was satisfied with a point and a second successive clean sheet. It's all about avoiding a relegation dogfight for struggling champion Leicester, which is six points from danger. 'Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed,' Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Liverpool's pursuit of Chelsea frustrated; Man City and United win

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LONDON (AP) — Liverpool's pursuit of English Premier League leader Chelsea stalled on Monday as Juergen Klopp's four-match winning run ended at Sunderland. Liverpool's 2-2 draw against a relegation-threatened Sunderland side gives Chelsea the platform to open up an eight-point lead by beating Tottenham on Wednesday. Twice Liverpool led in northeast England — through Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mane — but on both occasions Jermain Defoe scored penalties to draw Sunderland level. Mane's hand-ball was responsible for conceding the second spotkick. 'I must be honest, it doesn't feel good and it's not because of the point, it's because two penalties in a game,' Klopp said. 'Usually what you have to do to get a penalty, to get two, that was harsh, very hard to accept. 'But obviously I have to accept it, so I will do it.' ___ MAN CITY 2, BURNLEY 1 A victory for City but Pep Guardiola was still tetchy after the game, even suggesting he might not have long left in management. Halfway through his first season at City, the 45-year-old former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said: 'It might be one of my last teams.' English football is proving far tougher for Guardiola than Spanish or German. After losing at Liverpool on Saturday, City started badly against Burnley when captain Fernandinho was sent off in the 32nd minute for a two-footed lunge on Johann Gudmundsson. City held off Burnley with 10 men and seized the lead in the second half through Gael Clichy. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a second, ensuring Ben Mee's goal for Burnley would only be a consolation. City regained third place ahead of Arsenal, which is at Bournemouth on Tuesday, and Tottenham. ___ WEST HAM 0, MAN UNITED 2 United reeled off a sixth successive league victory in a match that turned on Sofiane Feghouli being harshly sent off for a late challenge on Phil Jones in the 15th minute. Even with a man advantage, United took until the 63rd to score when substitutes Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata combined. Mata turned Rashford's pullback past goalkeeper Darren Randolph before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 17th goal in his first season with United. ___ EVERTON 3, SOUTHAMPTON 0 Everton scored three times in the last 17 minutes to ensure manager Ronald Koeman emerged victorious against the club he left in the offseason. Enner Valencia was the game-changer, coming off the bench to score the opener in the 73rd minute and then winning the penalty that Leighton Baines converted. Romelu Lukaku contributed the third as 10th-place Southampton lost a third match inside a week. Everton is seventh. ___ WEST BROM 3, HULL 1 Hull is now without a win in nine games and three points from safety after throwing away the lead at West Bromwich Albion. Robert Snodgrass' opener was canceled out by Chris Brunt before Gareth McAuley and James Morrison put the hosts in front. ___ MIDDLESBROUGH 0, LEICESTER 0 With Islam Slimani and Danny Drinkwater out injured and Jamie Vardy suspended, Leicester was satisfied with a point and a second successive clean sheet. It's all about avoiding a relegation dogfight for struggling champion Leicester, which is six points from danger. 'Middlesbrough pushed a lot but we were so solid and I am pleased with the spirit we showed,' Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri said. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 2nd, 2017

Patriots clinch home-field advantage

The Associated Press br /> MIAMI GARDENS, Florida (AP) — Tom Brady threw for 276 yards and three scores Sunday as the Patriots clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Dolphins 35-14. New England took a 20-0 lead in the first half, and turned away Miami's comeback bid with the help of a 77-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Julian Edelman and a 69-yard fumble return by linebacker Shea McClellin. The Patriots (14-2), already assured of a first-round bye, became the ninth team since 1972 to go undefeated on the road during the regular season. The Dolphins (10-6), beaten for only the second time in the past 11 games, had already earned an AFC wild-card berth. They play their first postseason game since 2008 next weekend at Pittsburgh. STEELERS 27, BROWNS 24 PITTSBURGH (AP) — Steelers backups assured the Browns of the top pick in the 2017 draft. Landry Jones hit Cobi Hamilton with a 26-yard touchdown with 2:57 left in overtime. The Browns took a lead on Cody Parkey's 34-yard field goal with 7:17 remaining in the extra session. Jones, who started while the playoff-bound Steelers rested Ben Roethlisberger, took the Steelers 75 yards in nine plays. The last was a pretty lob to the end zone that Hamilton hauled in to give Pittsburgh (11-5) its seventh straight victory. Jones finished with 277 yards passing and three touchdowns and one interception. Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 152 yards for the Browns (1-15), who finished with the worst record in franchise history. JETS 30, BILLS 10 EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes in what was likely his final game for the Jets. Despite a 5-11 record, the Jets are making no changes in leadership, meaning both coach Todd Bowles and general manager Mike Maccagnan will remain with the team next season. Bowles is 15-17 in his two-year tenure with New York, which hired him in January 2015 after firing Rex Ryan. Maccagnan is also in his second season with the Jets, and had also been criticized for the team's roster, which likely faces an overhaul this offseason. The Bills (7-9) also face some uncertainty this offseason after firing Ryan earlier in the week and elevating offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn to the interim role. Two other people with direct knowledge of the situation told the AP before the game that Lynn is the clear favorite to take over the job permanently. TITANS 24, TEXANS 17 NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — A concussion that sidelined quarterback Tom Savage could have the biggest impact coming out of the Texans' loss. Savage started for the AFC South champions, left in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and was cleared. He took a snap to kneel down on the final play of the first half and was diagnosed with a concussion after being re-evaluated at halftime. That left Brock Osweiler, benched for Savage last month, running the offense. He threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a 1-yard TD on fourth-and-goal in the fourth quarter. Houston (9-7) will host Oakland next weekend, possibly with uncertainty at quarterback. DaQuan Jones recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter and the Titans never trailed to finish with their first winning season since 2011. EAGLES 27, COWBOYS 13 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tony Romo threw his first touchdown pass in nearly 14 months as the playoff-bound Cowboys played it safe. The Cowboys (13-3) had already locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs so Dak Prescott played only two series and Ezekiel Elliott watched from the sideline. Carson Wentz tossed two TD passes to Zach Ertz to help Philadelphia finish with a two-game winning streak. Prescott was 4 for 8 for 37 yards before giving way to Romo, who hadn't played in a regular-season game since Thanksgiving 2015 when he broke his left collarbone for the second time in less than three months. Romo broke a bone in his back in the third preseason game against Seattle this season, paving the way for Prescott to have one of the best years by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. BUCCANEERS 17, PANTHERS 16 TAMPA, Florida (AP) — Jameis Winston threw for 202 yards and one touchdown as the Buccaneers broke up Cam Newton's 2-point conversion throw in the closing seconds for their first winning season in six years. Winston threw a 10-yard pass to Mike Evans to snap a fourth-quarter tie and became the first player in NFL history to start his career with consecutive 4,000-yard seasons. But the Bucs (9-7) were eliminated from playoff contention, not getting the help they needed in other games for their first berth since 2007. Winston's franchise record-setting 28th TD pass put the Bucs ahead 17-10 with 3:10 remaining. Newton, however, moved the Panthers (6-10) right down the field, with help of a 47-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin and two fourth-down completions to set up a 5-yard scoring pass to trim Carolina's deficit to one with 17 seconds left. VIKINGS 38, BEARS 10 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Sam Bradford concluded his first season with Minnesota with three first-half touchdown passes. Bradford went 25 for 33 for 250 yards and one interception, finishing with a 71.6 percent completion rate to set an NFL single-season record. Kyle Rudolph caught 11 passes for 117 yards and a score for the Vikings (8-8), who started 5-0 before stumbling out of their bye week and never recovering. The Bears (3-13) wound up with their fewest wins in a non-strike year since 1973 after turning the ball over five times. Everson Griffen returned one of their three lost fumbles for a touchdown. Jordan Howard, the lone bright spot, rushed for 135 yards on 23 carries to break Matt Forte's franchise rookie record and finish with 1,313 yards for the season for Chicago. COLTS 24, JAGUARS 20 INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Andrew Luck threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 9 seconds left. Indy (8-8) went 75 yards in 84 seconds with no timeouts to avoid its first losing season since 2011, sending retiring linebacker Robert Mathis out with a win in his final NFL game. Jacksonville (3-13) matched the second-worst record in franchise history after blocking a punt with 1:54 to go and breaking a 17-17 tie with 1:33 left. Instead, Luck took the Colts right downfield for the score. Mathis extended his league record of strip-sacks to 41 in the fourth quarter, two days after announcing he would retire. BENGALS 27, RAVENS 10 CINCINNATI (AP) — Andy Dalton completed his first 10 passes, one for a touchdown, and Rex Burkhead ran for a pair of scores in the Bengals' fifth straight win at home over the Ravens. The Bengals (6-9-1) missed the playoffs for the first time in six years. Coach Marvin Lewis says he'll return in 2017. Baltimore (8-8) failed to reach the playoffs for the third time in four years. The Ravens played their final game as if they were emotionally hung over from a last-minute loss at Pittsburgh last Sunday that eliminated them. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 1st, 2017

Chelsea gets 13th straight win, Liverpool maintains pursuit

ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer br /> LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Chelsea fought off a dogged Stoke for a record-equaling 13th successive Premier League win as Liverpool maintained its pursuit of the leaders with a victory over Manchester City. Thanks to Saturday's 4-2 win, Chelsea will enter the second half of the season holding a six-point advantage over Liverpool in Antonio Conte's first season in charge of the London club. Juergen Klopp is also satisfied with Liverpool's progress as he looks to deliver the club's first title since 1990 by chasing down Chelsea over the next 19 games. 'Can you imagine how annoying it is when you have won 13 games in a row and another team is only six points behind,' Klopp said after Liverpool's 1-0 win over City. 'It is unbelievably difficult this league.' It was Pep Guardiola with little to celebrate on New Year's Eve as City slipped 10 points behind leader Chelsea. ___ CHELSEA 4, STOKE 2 Chelsea has emulated Arsenal's 2002 side by reeling off 13 wins in a row in the same season and it's thanks to Willian's double. Goals from Gary Cahill and Willian were canceled out by Stoke duo Bruno Martins Indi and Peter Crouch. When Willian put Chelsea in front for a third time in the 65th minute, Stoke could find no way back this time and Diego Costa added a fourth. 'When you win a lot there is a great danger to be satisfied, to be relaxed, to think, 'OK, but we won a lot in the past, now if arrive the draw, if we don't lose, if we don't win it's not important,'' Conte said. 'No. My players showed me great will, great will to fight, great will to win, great will to take this great achievement for us. I'm pleased for them and they deserved this. I'm their coach, but they deserved this.' ___ LIVERPOOL 1, MAN CITY 0 Georginio Wijnaldum's eighth-minute header secured Liverpool's fourth successive league win. Wijnaldum will take the plaudits for providing his second goal of the season, but Adam Lallana's contribution underscored how the midfielder is an essential ingredient in the title bid. It was Lallana's seventh assist of the season — he has also scored seven — that set up Wijnaldum. The Dutch midfielder climbed above City defender Aleksandar Kolarov to meet Lallana's well-placed cross from the left flank before planting a header beyond goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. 'It was kind of a wild game,' Klopp said. 'It was intense. It's not about having a philosophy, it's about adapting to the quality of the opponent and in this case we needed to defend from a compact formation.' ___ MAN UNITED 2, MIDDDLESBROUGH 1 Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scored late goals in the 85th and 86th minutes to rescue a fifth successive win for Jose Mourinho's United. Grant Leadbitter had given Middlesbrough the lead but United gave the watching former manager Alex Ferguson the perfect 75th birthday gift. 'If the fans remember this not just for Sir Alex's birthday but for the kind of performance we had, I think it's a great tribute,' Mourinho said. United's in-house television channel received a shock after the game when nine-time Olympic Usain Bolt called in with his analysis. ___ LEICESTER 1, WEST HAM 0 Leicester moved six points clear of the relegation zone on Saturday after the struggling champions ended a three-game winless streak courtesy of Islam Slimani's header. Leicester moved up one spot to 15th. ___ SWANSEA 0, BOURNEMOUTH 3 Swansea's miserable form continued in the first game following Bob Bradley's firing. Benik Afobe and Ryan Fraser scored first-half goals and substitute Josh King completed a comfortable win for Bournemouth in the 88th minute. ___ SOUTHAMPTON 1, WEST BROM 2 In the final five minutes of the first half, Shane Long put Southampton ahead and Matt Phillips equalized. But Hal Robson-Kanu struck a second-half winner for West Bromwich Albion before Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the 88th for bringing down striker Salomon Rondon. ___ BURNLEY 4, SUNDERLAND 1 Burnley moved closer to mid-table safety powered by Andre Gray's hat trick against relegation-threatened Sunderland. ___ SUNDAY'S GAMES Fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham are both in action on New Year's Day. Tottenham is at Watford before Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2016

Mourinho left to pick up pieces from Rooney hotel incident

STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer br /> MANCHESTER, England (AP) — It has been another fraught, headline-grabbing spell away with England's national team for Wayne Rooney. Once again, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho mus.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 18th, 2016

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. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

Wenger concerned Chinese wages become benchmark for players

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping the high quality of competition in Europe will keep players from leaving for the financial gain in China. Wenger is facing regular questions about the future of both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and the big money on offer in the Chinese league can complicate negotiations. Argentine striker Carlos Tevez joined Shanghai Shenhua last month in a deal worth $40 million over two years. 'The danger (is) that the Chinese offers become the benchmark for Europe,' Wenger said Thursday. 'You cannot compete with that, but I still think that, when you're a footballer, the first thing is that you want to play against the best players in the best teams.' Wenger said players that want the best compensation for playing in the best quality league need not look to Asia. 'I think that combination is the best in England at the moment, so I don't see why the players should leave the English Premier League,' Wenger said. Wenger, whose team is fourth in the standings, has made only one signing in the January transfer window, picking up defender Cohen Bramall from non-league club Hednesford. Arsenal has also decided to keep captain Per Mertesacker for another season. Wenger announced Thursday that the club has taken up a one-year option to extend the contract of the 32-year-old German, who has not played this season because of a knee injury sustained during a friendly in July. Mertesacker faces a fight to get back into the team because Shkodran Mustafi, an offseason signing from Valencia, has built a strong partrnership with vice captain Laurent Koscielny at the heart of Wenger's defense .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 19th, 2017

LUCKY STRIKE: Tacagni slots title-clinching goal for San Beda

Filipino-British Connor Tacagni came through with a 'lucky' goal late in extra time as San Beda College edged College of St. Benilde, 1-0, Tuesday to emerge as the league's winningest seniors football team in the 92nd NCAA tournament at the Rizal Memorial Football field. Tacagni, 23, attempted a cross from the left flank but went straight to the top right part of the net and past St. Benilde goalkeeper Jake Allen Vicen that proved to be decisive as San Beda hung tough to preserve the crown. The Red Booters thus clinched their 22nd title, the most in the league today ahead by one over former member La Salle's 21. And they did it via 13-match sweep. 'We cherish this win because it came against St. Benilde,' said San Beda coach Michael Pediamonte. Tacagni, who hails from Manchester, England but whose mother is a Filipina, said he was just lucky. 'I was just trying to get into the box but it went in. I guess I was a little bit lucky,' he said. San Beda also completed a double celebration as its juniors squad smashed last year's titlist La Salle-Greenhills, 5-1, to capture its 17th title.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Lazaro, Gumabao to star in a new team

A week after Michele Gumabao left Pocari Sweat, the former De La Salle star is set to banner a team that is expected to break the barrier between two of local volleyball’s most heated rivalry. Gumabao will team up with former Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagle star libero Denden Lazaro as the main stars of new team United VC that will see action in the Philippine Superliga All-Filipino Conference. Though sponsorship of the squad is yet to be ironed out, team manager Joshua Ylaya said that the team will definitely play in the tournament.        Gumabao left the V-League two-time champion Lady Warriors after some issues with the management last week while Lazaro last played for BaliPure in the same league.  For the longest time Gumabao and Lazaro has been on rivals starting from their UAAP days. Gumabao won three straight UAAP titles from Season 73 to 75 while Lazaro got two UAAP crowns from Season 76 to 77. The two faced each other in two UAAP Finals series with Gumabao winning both.   “The main reason why we called the team ‘united’ is because we wanted to show that we can play together despite our differences in the past,” said Ylaya, who represented the team in the league’s team owners’ meeting Tuesday. “At the end of the day, it’s just one sport and we can play competitively together.” Angeli Tabaquero, an Adamson co-assistant coach of Gumabao, former DLSU player Wensh Tiu and another ex-Pocari Sweat volleybelle Erika Alkuino are all expected to join the squad while there are reports that Mae Tajima and setter Jem Ferrer will also suit up for the team.           --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Patriots face different Steelers team with healthy Big Ben

KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — The New England Patriots got a break by not having to face Ben Roethlisberger during their regular-season win over the Steelers in October. The Patriots' coaching staff is expecting to get his best this time around with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake. The 27-16 home loss to New England was the only game the Steelers' 34-year-old quarterback missed due to injury this season. He was away less than a month after undergoing surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee Oct. 17. He was also among several Pittsburgh players that sat out the regular-season finale against the Browns to rest. Backup quarterback Landry Jones was serviceable in just his third career start in Roethlisberger's absence. The Steelers outgained the Patriots 375-362, but were 1 for 4 in the red zone and Jones finished with only one touchdown and an interception. Pittsburgh is expecting, and will need a stronger performance from the quarterback position this time around. Coach Bill Belichick said Monday that Big Ben's return makes the Steelers' primary offensive options — running back Le'Veon Bell and receiver Antonio Brown — only that much harder to contend with. Bell rushed for 81 yards in the first meeting and Brown had seven catches for 106 yards. 'They're a tremendous offense. Kansas City was able to make some plays in the red area, but I mean (the Steelers) could've easily been up in the 40s,' Belichick said. 'They do a lot of things well; can run it, can throw it. Brown's the main guy, but all of the receivers, tight ends, backs, I mean they're all a problem.' The Chiefs may have planted the seed for how to keep Roethlisberger out of the end zone, however. The Steelers were held without a touchdown in Sunday's 18-16 divisional-round win over Kansas City. They also ranked 12th in the NFL during the regular season in red zone efficiency, scoring a touchdown on 59 percent of the trips inside the 20-yard line. They were 0 for 5 in their trips against Kansas City. Roethlisberger had 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions in the red zone in 14 regular-season games. But so far in the playoffs, Big Ben has just two total passing touchdowns and three interceptions. Still, the Steelers coaching staff's trust in him to throw the deep ball is something that will be a point of emphasis this week, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. In particular he said Roethlisberger's calm in the pocket and his offensive line's ability to protect him helps him buy time to improvise. 'If those plays can get extended or prolonged, that's when it becomes really difficult,' Patricia said. 'I think Roethlisberger right now (is) very mobile, very healthy, a guy that showed even again (Sunday night) that just a slight bit of movement or a slight bit of ability to maybe evade the rush, or stand in there just a little bit longer gives his guys enough time to get open in those situations.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Texans left with QB questions after divisional playoff loss

KRISTIE RIEKEN, AP Sports Writer br /> HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans overcame the loss of J.J. Watt to reach the divisional round of the playoffs. But mistakes by Brock Osweiler doomed Houston in a loss to the New England Patriots and leaves questions about whether he'll be the starter next season. The Texans signed Osweiler to a $72 million contract in the offseason in hopes of upgrading the position after Brian Hoyer accounted for five turnovers in a 30-0 loss to Kansas City in the wild-card round of the playoffs last season. Instead of being the answer to their longtime woes at quarterback, Osweiler struggled throughout the season and was benched before returning for the postseason. He was turnover-free in a wild-card win over the Raiders before throwing three interceptions in the second half on Saturday to allow New England to pull away for the 34-16 victory . Less than 48 hours after the loss, coach Bill O'Brien wasn't ready to make any proclamations about who will start next season or say if Osweiler will have to compete with Tom Savage for the job. 'Before I talk about those types of things, I have to evaluate it myself,' he said. 'I have to talk to our coaching staff and get their input, our personnel people and get their input. I wouldn't be a good head coach if I stood up here and told you, 'Hey, this is what we are planning to do.'' O'Brien also refused to discuss whether the Texans would consider drafting a quarterback in April after Osweiler threw more interceptions (19) than touchdowns (17) this season. 'We're so far from — absolutely so far removed from even answering that question ... we evaluate everything we do. Then we get with the personnel people,' O'Brien said. 'We talk about all the things we need to do to improve — coaching, playing, everything. So that's not even a question I can begin to answer.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Liverpool frustrated with FIFA over Matip eligibility

  LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp expressed his frustration on Sunday that FIFA has failed to make a swift decision about the eligibility of defender Joel Matip. Matip withdrew himself from consideration for future selection for Cameroon's national team in September 2015, but his country tried to call him up for the African Nations Cup that started this month. Although Cameroon finalized its squad for the tournament more than a week ago, without Matip in it, Liverpool says the Cameroon Football Federation has failed to confirm he can play for the club during the African Nations Cup. The Premier League team has sought clarification from FIFA about the issue, but hasn't been given a decision by world soccer's governing body and did not feel it could take the chance on playing Matip against Manchester United on Sunday. He was therefore withdrawn from selection for a game that finished 1-1 at Old Trafford. 'We, the club, did everything we had to do to make this clear but until now we could not get the response we need to be 100 percent sure that he can play,' Klopp said. 'It's pretty difficult and pretty frustrating, to be honest. He's been in training for five days and would have been in the squad, 100 percent, maybe on the pitch today, so I don't think it's fair. But we cannot do more and are still waiting on the decision. We could not take the risk.' Liverpool believes Matip has followed all the correct procedures and considers he should be available for selection during a busy period for the club, which is playing Premier League, FA Cup and League fixtures this month. 'We need to get an answer as quickly as possible because on Wednesday we have the next game (an FA Cup third-round replay at Plymouth) and then another game and another game. We cannot wait forever,' Klopp said. 'It is public now, we have this problem and we are not the only team with this problem.' Fellow Premier League club West Brom has faced a similar situation with defender Allan Nyom, who has not played in the team's last two matches because it has not had similar clarification from FIFA. FIFA has the power to ban players it feels have not correctly acceded to the request of their national association. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

City sunk 4-0 at Everton for Guardiola's biggest league loss

  LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Pep Guardiola endured the heaviest league defeat of his coaching career as Manchester City was thrashed 4-0 by Everton in the Premier League on Sunday to plummet further out of title contention. Two weeks after a 1-0 loss at Liverpool, City had more misery on Merseyside following goals by Romelu Lukaku, Kevin Mirallas, 18-year-old midfielder Tom Davies and 19-year-old debutant Ademola Lookman. City has now lost three of its last four matches away, with the latest setback for Guardiola coming at the hands of a team managed by his former Barcelona teammate, Ronald Koeman. The team had dropped out of the top four — into fifth place — following wins for Tottenham and Arsenal on Saturday, and is now 10 points behind first-placed Chelsea. 'It is awful for my players,' Guardiola said. 'I said to the players 'be positive' because they have made fantastic things in this season.' The title is looking out of reach for City now, though, just when things appeared to be looking up after a 5-0 win at West Ham in the FA Cup last week. It was another poor defensive display, summed up in injury time when John Stones — a former Everton player — tried to clear the ball for a throw-in only to see it ricochet off Everton defender Seamus Coleman to set up Lookman. Signed from Charlton this month and on as a late substitute for his Everton debut, Lookman completed City's misery by shooting through Bravo's legs. 'Pep Guardiola knows it is a project at Manchester City,' Koeman said. 'Of course, maybe they expected better results and a defeat like this is really strong but Pep has the experience to turn it around. I don't doubt it.' Lukaku sidefooted home a square ball from Mirallas to put Everton ahead in the 34th, with the move sparked by Davies intercepting Gael Clichy's ball forward from left back. Starting for a second straight game, Davies was everywhere — even clearing Bacary Sagna's header off the line just before halftime at Goodison Park. Ross Barkley slipped in Mirallas to score with an angled shot in the 47th before the best goal of the match, Davies dinking the ball over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and inside the near post to crown an impressive individual display. 'The consequence of the game is an example of many that has happened this season,' Guardiola said. 'In football, you sometimes don't need to do many things to score. They arrive once and score a goal. It is not today, it is almost all the season and it is tough for the players to handle that situation.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Guardiola virtually concedes title after heavy loss for City

Guardiola virtually concedes title after heavy loss for City br /> STEVE DOUGLAS, AP Sports Writer   MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The Premier League season is barely past the halfway point and already Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has virtually given up on winning the title. The world's most coveted coach can't have envisaged his first year in English soccer being this tough. It takes something special to overshadow a match between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool, but City's 4-0 loss at Everton on Sunday did just that. As he slumped to the heaviest loss of his career in a domestic league match, Guardiola — with his arms folded — was seen staring into space while he sat in the Goodison Park dug-out. At other times, he had his face in his hands. City has dropped out of the Champions Leagues positions, into fifth place, and 10 points adrift of leader Chelsea. Asked if the gap to first place was now too great, Guardiola said: '(To) the first one? Yes. Ten points is a lot of points. The second one is three points. We have to see.' A fifth loss of the league season was administered by a team managed by Guardiola's friend and former Barcelona teammate, Ronald Koeman. 'Pep Guardiola knows it is a project at Manchester City,' Koeman said. 'Of course, maybe they expected better results and a defeat like this is really strong but Pep has the experience to turn it around.' Man United kicked off less than an hour after City's drubbing but couldn't get a win that would have put the neighbors tied on points, drawing 1-1 with Liverpool at Old Trafford. After 21 of 38 games, City and United — the two pre-season title favorites — are outside the top four. Two high-profile managers were always going to have their reputation tarnished this season, with six big teams challenging for four Champions League spots. Few would have predicted they'd be Guardiola and Jose Mourinho. Here's a closer look at the top games that pitted Merseyside against Manchester: ___ EVERTON 4, MANCHESTER CITY 0 While there was misery for City at Goodison Park, there was jubilation for Everton after a win that was sealed by goals from two of the club's promising teenagers. Goals either side of halftime by Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas set Everton on its way before 18-year-old midfielder Tom Davies raced into the area and dinked a deft finish over goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, the ball landing just inside the post. It completed an impressive display by Davies, who has now started two straight games and is distinctive with his all-action style and mop of blond hair. The fourth goal was scored by 19-year-old debutant Ademola Lookman, four minutes into injury time. And it summed up City's sloppy performance. John Stones — a former Everton player — tried to clear the ball for a throw-in only to see it ricochet off Everton defender Seamus Coleman to set up Lookman. Signed from Charlton this month and on as a late substitute for his debut, Lookman placed his shot through Bravo's legs. 'How we played in the second half was really perfect,' Koeman said. 'In my opinion, it is impossible to play at a higher level, in every aspect of football. It was a perfect afternoon.' ___ MANCHESTER UNITED 1, LIVERPOOL 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized late for United to bail out teammate Paul Pogba in a frantic, intense match at Old Trafford between the two most decorated teams in English soccer. On the day United rolled out advertising hoardings displaying Paul Pogba's new Twitter emoji, the player himself made a crucial mistake by conceding a penalty for handball while jumping with his back to the ball at a corner. James Milner converted the spot kick but Liverpool was denied a win after Ibrahimovic glanced a header in off the crossbar in the 84th minute, moments after substitute Marouane Fellaini headed against the post. Liverpool ended United's nine-game winning run in all competitions — six of which had come in the league — but dropped seven points behind first-placed Chelsea. Sixth-placed United was 12 points off the leader. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Lewis scores 3 TDS, Pats advance to AFC title game 34-16

KYLE HIGHTOWER, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — The New England Patriots are headed back to a familiar spot: the AFC championship game. Dion Lewis had a 13-yard touchdown reception, a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, and a late 1-yard touchdown to help the Patriots hold off the Houston Texans 34-16 on Saturday night and advance to an NFL-record sixth straight conference title game. Lewis became the fifth Patriots player to score three touchdowns in a playoff game. He's also the first player in the Super Bowl era to score on a rush, a catch and a kick return in a postseason game. The Patriots survived a gritty effort by the Texans' top-ranked defense, which intercepted Brady twice. Houston's special teams also forced a third turnover. But the Texans couldn't find enough traction on offense to take full advantage of the Patriots' mistakes, settling for field goals on both of Brady's picks. New England led just 17-13 at the half, but pushed its lead to 24-13 early in the third quarter on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brady to James White. Houston's Brock Osweiler was intercepted three times after that, and the Texans managed only a field goal the rest of game. It was the first breakout game of the season for Lewis, who spent the first eight games of the season on injured reserve recovering from offseason surgery on his left knee. Brady finished 18 of 38 for 287 yards and two touchdowns and was showered with chants of 'MVP! MVP!' and 'Brady! Brady!' late in the game. Julian Edelman was Brady's most dependable target, catching eight passes for 137 yards. Osweiler was just 23 of 40 for 198 yards with the two turnovers. When New England did have the ball in the first half, it gave Houston a steady diet of Lewis early with LeGarrette Blount coming off an illness that limited him during practice this week. Without Blount to contend with, the Texans applied pressure to Brady. A.J. Bouye intercepted a slightly overthrown ball by Brady late in the first quarter on a pass that bounced out of the hands of receiver Michael Floyd. That led to a 27-yard field goal that cut New England's lead to 14-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Lewis coughed up the ball on a hit from Akeem Dent. Eddie Pleasant fell on it at the Patriots 12, and two plays later, Brock Osweiler hit C.J. Fiedorowicz from 8 yards out to cut the deficit to 14-13. Brady only threw two interceptions during the regular season. With his 28 touchdown passes, that was the lowest touchdown to interception ratio in NFL history. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Packers confident facing Cowboys without injured Nelson

The Associated Press br /> The Green Bay Packers were better prepared to play without Jordy Nelson after the star receiver was ruled out of the NFL divisional playoff against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. br /> Nelson had an NFL-high 14 touchdown catches in the regular season as quarterback Aaron Rodgers' top target in the Packers' prolific passing attack. But he suffered broken ribs in a tackle as the Packers beat the New York Giants 38-13 in the wild-card round last weekend, and still wasn't right on Friday. br /> The offense struggled to hit big plays in 2015 while Nelson was sidelined for the entire season with a knee injury, but Green Bay proved last week that it can win without him, scoring all their points after he left. br /> With Rodgers, the league's best quarterback over the past two months, connecting regularly even on desperation passes, the Packers have won seven straight games. br /> And in Nelson's absence, Rodgers still has Randall Cobb, who caught three touchdown passes against the Giants, Davante Adams emerging as a playmaker, and Jared Cook as an athletic target at tight end. The Packers should do their share of scoring against a Dallas defense that ranked 26th against the pass. br /> Then again, sensational Cowboys rookies Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott, operating behind the best offensive line in the NFL and complemented by Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, also should supply points. br /> Elliott and Precott are the third rookie running back-quarterback starting tandem in the playoffs in the Super Bowl era. Of note, the other two pairs lost their playoff debuts. br /> The Cowboys and Packers share an NFL postseason history that dates back five decades. Dallas holds a 4-3 edge, but since they beat the Packers three years in a row in the 1990s, they haven't been back to the NFC Championship game in 21 years. br /> All four home teams this weekend are tipped to win, especially the New England Patriots, who are 15 1/2-point favorites over the visiting Houston Texans, just the sixth time in 50 years that a team has been favored by at least 15 points in a playoff game. br /> New England has won its past four meetings with Houston at Gillette Stadium by a combined 150-49, but the Patriots say they aren't taking anything for granted against the NFL's top-ranked defense. But how does Houston, which lost 27-0 in September to a Patriots team without Tom Brady, go about beating a team that the odds-makers say is one of the most unbeatable in playoff history? br /> Running back LeGarrette Blount has taken a lot of pressure off Brady's arm this season, rushing for a New England single-season record 18 touchdowns and career-high 1,161 yards. And the defense has been creating turnovers at a high rate during their ongoing seven-game win streak. br /> That walking boot being worn by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after Pittsburgh's win against Miami last weekend is very worrisome to the Steelers. But Roethlisberger tends to always show up in the playoffs, and he's expected to perform against the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday. br /> The Steelers eased past the Chiefs 43-14 on Oct. 2, but that was in Pittsburgh. Kansas City is better now than it was back then, although so are the Steelers. br /> If the Chiefs can get pressure on Big Ben and somewhat control Antonio Brown, the league's most dangerous receiver (and non-quarterback), and running back Le'Veon Bell, it can use its relatively conservative offense to its advantage. But will coach Andy Reid turn the reins loose a bit when the Chiefs have the ball? br /> The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game in 23 years. br /> Then again, the Atlanta Falcons are the only team among the eight left who have not won a Super Bowl. br /> Facing the Seattle Seahawks at home on Saturday is one of those prove-it games for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan and wideout Julio Jones. Which opponent to better prove that your offense, and an improving defense, are capable of a long postseason run than against the big kid on the NFC block? br /> The Seahawks bring superior experience, coaching, and swagger. br /> Seattle is as accomplished as any NFC playoff team, and many of the key contributors to its recent success remain on the scene: Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin. And now that Thomas Rawls seems healthy, there's a running game to complement Wilson, Baldwin and tight end Jimmy Graham. br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Man United says Lyon bid for Memphis Depay not reasonable

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United has rejected a bid from Lyon for winger Memphis Depay, saying Friday it was 'far from being reasonable.' br /> The 22-year-old Depay has been unable to secure a regular spot in the team since joining United from PSV Eindhoven in June 2015 for 31 million pounds (then $48 million). Since United manager Jose Mourinho took charge this season, the Netherlands international has only started one game in the League Cup. br /> 'The offer that we had is far from being reasonable for us,' Mourinho said. 'So in this moment he is our player and if in the end of the month nothing happens he is one more option for us.' br /> Both United and Lyon are pushing to break into the Champions League places in their respective domestic competitions. Lyon is fourth in its standings, five points behind Paris Saint-Germain, and determined to push through the deal for Depay. br /> 'It takes time, discussions, because buying a player now isn't easy,' Lyon coach Bruno Genesio said. 'I have made Memphis Depay my priority. He is a powerful player, strong, who is capable of scoring and making goals and good at free kicks.' br />   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017