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Neymar set to mark 100th game with Brazil

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press SAO PAULO (AP) — Ahead of his 100th game with Brazil, Neymar is adamant that he still deserves special treatment in the national team despite never having won a major title in his nine years wearing the famous yellow shirt. The 27-year-old forward will reach the century mark in a friendly against Senegal in Singapore on Thursday, and defended his status as the team's biggest star even though Brazil won this summer's Copa America without him. "I was always one of the main figures and one of those carrying it all on my back," Neymar said at a news conference Wednesday when asked about getting special treatment. "I never ran away from that. I always played my role in the national team very well. When a player reaches that level it is normal that there is a different treatment." "I was in places that had players with more history than me and I had to respect what coaches did for them," the Paris Saint-Germain striker added. "Messi has a different treatment at Barcelona. Is it because he is better looking? No. It is because he is decisive. He earned it. I don't say that only about myself, but I say it about everyone that has performances at that level. That is normal in soccer." Neymar's comments come at a time when some Brazil fans have accused coach Tite and the Brazilian soccer confederation of being too lenient with the striker over his problems off the pitch. Those include his altercation with a fan after the French Cup final in April; his insistence that his father-agent was allowed into Brazil's dressing room during a pre-Copa America friendly; and a rape allegation that was recently closed by police. Neymar is currently at odds with PSG's fans as well after trying to force a return to Barcelona during the offseason. And in Brazil, he remains the country's most polarizing player. His statistics with the national team are impressive: 61 goals and 42 assists in 99 games so far. That puts him one goal behind two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo, who is in second place on Brazil's all-time list of top scorers with 62. Pele tops the list with 77. With Neymar in the team, Brazil has 70 victories, 19 draws and 10 defeats. But aside from the 2013 Confederations Cup, no titles. At the 2014 World Cup at home, Neymar injured his back in the quarterfinal win over Colombia and the team was humiliated 7-1 by Germany in the semifinals without him. At least year's World Cup in Brazil he was far from his best after recovering from a foot injury, and made little impact as Brazil lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarterfinals. And this summer he had to miss the Copa America because of an injury he sustained shortly before the tournament. Asked about his best memories with the national team, Neymar picked his debut, his World Cup debut in 2014 and the goal he scored in the opening game of the tournament against Croatia. "There is a positive balance, but it isn't all about victories in the life of an athlete," Neymar said. "There are many disappointments, defeats and mistakes. But if you fight for it, in the end, you make up for your mistakes. I am very happy to reach that mark of 100 matches. Not even in my best dreams I thought this could happen.".....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 9th, 2019

Neymar, Mbappe and Icardi score as PSG beats Montpellier 3-1

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi used their individual brilliance to compensate for a poor team performance as Paris Saint-Germain recovered to beat Montpellier 3-1 in the French league on Saturday. The match was briefly interrupted toward the end after PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas was hit by a projectile thrown from a stand with Montpellier fans. Navas appeared uninjured and carried on until the final whistle. In front of a capacity crowd at La Mosson stadium, PSG struggled to develop its threats for most of the match despite an impressive attacking line. After Montpellier took the lead from a corner in the first half, the turning point came in the 72nd minute when the hosts were reduced to 10 men. Pedro Mendes was sent off for a foul on Neymar close to the penalty area and received a second yellow card. The Brazil star, who lost possession 32 times in the game, took the subsequent free kick and curled the ball into the top right corner to silence the home fans. The goal boosted the visitors' morale and PSG demolished Montpellier’s solid defense in less than 10 minutes. Following his superb free kick, Neymar turned provider two minutes later, setting up Mbappe down the left with a through ball. The World Cup winner fired a precise low shot past goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli. Icardi sealed PSG’s win at the conclusion of a fast counterattack. Perfectly set up by Neymar, Mbappe found himself alone on the left of the area. With the outside of his foot, Mbappe sent in a precise cross for Icardi, who volleyed the ball into the net. The win extended PSG's lead at the top of the table to eight points over second-place Marseille. PSG lost two important players as defender Presnel Kimpembe was forced off in the 19th with an apparent leg injury as he tried to recover the ball from Damien Le Tallec. That was only five minutes before coach Thomas Tuchel brought in Tanguy Kouassi in place of the injured Idrissa Gueye. Montpellier imposed a high pressing game but failed to break through until Leandro Paredes inadvertently hand balled into his own net from Montpellier playmaker Teji Savanier’s corner in the 41st. "The pitch is very difficult, here, the crowd is very hostile and they play very well,'' PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. ‘’It's a great result." BEN YEDDER ON TARGET Following a poor start, Monaco increased the pace after the hour mark to secure a 3-0 win over struggling Amiens. France international Wissam Ben Yedder broke the deadlock with a right-footed volley in the 61st minute, Guillermo Maripan made it 2-0 and Keita Balde completed Monaco's second consecutive win. That lifted the Principality club to ninth place, 15 points behind PSG. NIANG SCORES TWICE Forward Mbaye Niang scored a goal in each half as Rennes moved to fourth place with a 2-1 win over Angers. It was the third straight win for Rennes, which has a game in hand. OTHER RESULTS Nice beat Metz 4-1 with a brace from Wylan Cyprien and Strasbourg defeated last-place Toulouse 4-2......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 8th, 2019

Brazil draws 1-1 with Senegal as Neymar reaches 100 caps

SINGAPORE (AP) — Brazil was held to a 1-1 draw by Senegal on Thursday in a friendly in Singapore that marked Neymar's 100th match with the national team. Roberto Firmino opened the scoring in the eighth minute with a lob over the goalkeeper, but Famara Diedhiou equalized from the penalty spot just before the end of the first half. It was Brazil's third consecutive match without a win. After lifting the Copa America title in July, Brazil has drawn 2-2 with Colombia and lost 1-0 to Peru. It will have a chance to end the winless streak on Sunday in a friendly against Nigeria, also in Singapore. "If I said this doesn't bother us, I would be lying," said defender Thiago Silva. "In the last three matches we could not play our best. Today we had the best opportunities, but we failed in the details, in the last passes to score." Veteran Dani Alves blamed the long flight and the jet lag for the poor performance. "I am not trying to find excuses, we could have done better, but it is a trip that wears us out," he said. "We need to win to have tranquility in the preparations for World Cup qualifiers next year." Brazil coach Tite acknowledged that his team's performance was below par against Senegal, the second African team he has faced since he joined in 2016. "We also had difficulties in the 1-0 victory against Cameroon in November. African teams want contact, they are compact and they are strong in the air. We are still finding the best way to play against African teams," Tite said. Neymar started the game, played in a half-empty stadium, but could not add to his career haul of 61 goals for the national team. The 27-year-old striker is only one goal behind two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo, who is in second place on Brazil's all-time list of top scorers......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 11th, 2019

Ligue 1 2019-20: PSG set to dominate once again

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — After winning its sixth French championship in seven years last season, Paris Saint-Germain is expected to continue its dominance in what at times can look like a one-team league. For the Qatari-backed PSG, the minimum requirement remains the same: win the French league. PSG's ultimate goal is also unchanged: win the Champions League after years of repeated failures. With its 500-million euro budget — more than five times that of last season runner-up Lille — huge sponsorship deals and top-class players, PSG simply has no rival in a league lacking strength in depth. On paper, Thomas Tuchel's team looks even stronger than last season, when it was crowned champion with five games to spare despite a late dip of form. Amid persistent rumors that Neymar will leave the club and return to Barcelona, PSG remains a formidable attacking force with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria. It also strengthened its backline this summer with the addition of Dortmund defender and France Under-21 international Abdou Diallo, while recruits Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera and Pablo Sarabia will provide midfield stability and experience. Sarabia, Herrera and Diallo were included in Tuchel's starting XI last weekend as PSG sealed a seventh consecutive Trophee des Champions — the French equivalent of the Charity Shield — with a 2-1 win over Rennes. PSG took pride in the win, insisting on the importance of the trophy, the 40th since the club's inception back in 1970. But in reality, the only title that really matters in the French capital is the Champions League. Success in Europe's top competition has so far proved elusive for PSG, which has never been beyond the quarterfinals since Qatari backers QSI started funding the club with huge investment eight years ago. In the past three seasons PSG has gone out in the Round of 16, twice wasting strong first-leg leads. The last time it was against Manchester United in March, when PSG became the first team to be eliminated from the competition after winning the away leg 2-0. "We need to carry on in the league, we need to extend our domination," Mbappe said. "We lost two national Cups (last season), we will try to recover them. And there is the Champions League. We have come to a halt in recent years, it's up to us to find a solution and reach a new milestone." More than the offseason recruits, Leonardo's return as sporting director could be the decisive ingredient that was missing in PSG's quest for European glory. Leonardo, who became PSG's sporting director for the first time in July 2011 and held his role until May 2013, has been given full powers by club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. At a club where star individuals often appear more important than the team itself, Leonardo's return will mark a change of style in the players' management. A disciplinarian, Leonardo has warned Neymar that he would not let him go unless a juicy offer arrived and has reportedly criticized the Brazil star in front of his teammates after he reported late for PSG's pre-season training. "I don't have the key that is going to open the door to the Champions League," Leonardo said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper. "Who has it? Not me. I just want to be clear about our goal: the club is THE great institution at the heart of the entire project." PSG starts the defense of its title on Sunday at the Parc des Princes against Nimes. Lille hosts Nantes, Marseille plays Reims at home and Lyon travels to Monaco on Friday night in the season's opening game. NO MONEY, BIG GOALS After a calamitous season, Marseille's main goal is to return to the Champions League under new coach Andre Villas-Boas. Three years after American billionaire Frank McCourt pledged to revive the 1993 Champions League winners, Marseille failed in its bid to qualify for Europe's top competition and did not even get a spot in the Europa League. Villas-Boas subsequently replaced Rudi Garcia and, despite very limited funds to spend on new players, has promised to deliver quickly in his bid to restore Marseille's past luster. "I don't want to lose time with excuses," he said. "I'm hoping for a podium finish." Villas-Boas has lured 29-year-old forward Dario Benedetto from Boca Juniors and hopes he will be able to keep Valere Germain, Florian Thauvin, Dimitri Payet and Luis Gustavo at the southern club. "We don't have money, it's a shame but it's a reality," Villas-Boas said. "We have some problems related to Financial Fair Play regulations. Now I'm waiting anxiously for the end of the English transfer market because that could change everything for the other teams." STARS' EXILE Nicolas Pepe and Nabil Fekir have become the latest big names to depart the French league as the talent exodus to foreign clubs continues. After scoring 22 league goals for Lille, Pepe left for Arsenal while World Cup winner Nabil Fekir joined Real Betis from Lyon. Lyon's new coaching setup of sporting director Juninho and coach Sylvinho have yet to find a replacement for Fekir, who left in the wake of other top players including Tanguy Ndombele and Ferland Mendy......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 7th, 2019

In appreciation: Kobe Bryant, a life defined by hard work

By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer It was April 14, 2016. It was the first full day of Kobe Bryant’s new chapter as a retired NBA player. All he had done the night before was score a mind-boggling 60 points in his farewell game, not getting out of Staples Center until around midnight. His staff at Kobe, Inc. were certain they would beat their boss to the office that morning. They were wrong. He beat everyone there by two hours. “We have a lot of work to do,” Bryant told them. Even in retirement, Bryant found no substitute for hard work. Kobe Bean Bryant was many things: one of the greatest players in basketball history, a five-time NBA champion, Olympic gold medalist, a fluent speaker of multiple languages, a resident of the world, an Oscar winner, the self-described Black Mamba that started as a nickname and became his brand, someone so good he had two numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. And he never stopped. Basketball was his obsession for 20 years in the NBA. Storytelling was the obsession for the rest of his life. Tears, as would be expected once the news broke of Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday, flowed freely in the NBA world. LeBron James was inconsolable when he got the news, a day after passing Bryant for No. 3 on the all-time scoring list. Doc Rivers struggled when he tried to put feelings into words. Even from the normally beyond-stoic Kawhi Leonard had his eyes well up when he was talking about Bryant. But the pain was obvious elsewhere: Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu didn’t hide her anguish when she said she was dedicating the rest of her season to Bryant’s memory, soccer’s Neymar held up a “24” with his fingers after scoring a goal for Paris Saint-Germain, and marquees at the Super Bowl in Miami were lit up in the Lakers’ colors of purple and gold as a tribute. The elite ones, the ones like James and Leonard and Ionescu and Neymar, were all like Bryant. Driven. Obsessed with their craft. Those are the sort of people Bryant enjoyed most. He didn’t have much patience for anything else. Teammates were never immune from his criticism; not even Shaquille O’Neal, a fellow all-time NBA great, could avoid clashes with Bryant. O’Neal was half-a-foot taller and probably an easy 100 pounds heavier than Bryant. Didn’t matter. Bryant wanted to fight one day in practice, so they fought. His toughness was legendary; Bryant blew out his Achilles on a play in 2013 where he’d been fouled and made the two free throws knowing that his season would be over a few seconds later. It was against Golden State; the Lakers trailed at the time, and Bryant — who hyperextended a knee in that same game and played through it because the game was so important in the playoff race — swished both shots. “We were down two. Had to tie the game first,” Bryant said years later, when asked why he stayed in the game. His commitment was legendary; there was a game in 2011 in Miami where the Lakers lost by six, and Bryant was so displeased with how he played that he went back onto the court for 90 minutes of uninterrupted shooting that went on until after midnight. His teammates were on Miami Beach for dinner. Bryant was working instead. “It’s my job,” Bryant said. His swagger was legendary; during the FIBA Americas tournament in 2007, Bryant was less-than-impressed with how Brazil thought it had a chance to beat Team USA. So, he tasked himself with guarding Leandro Barbosa, who until that point had been the leading scorer in the tournament. With Bryant blanketing him — making it difficult for him to even dribble at times — Barbosa made one shot all night. The Americans won by 37. “Looking at a great white shark is one thing,” Bryant told teammates, “but jumping into the pool with one is another thing.” He played in Los Angeles, but he was a star everywhere. Everywhere. At the Basketball World Cup in China this past summer, Bryant was on the court for a game during the medal round. He said a few words in Mandarin and the fans in Beijing screamed in more delight than they had for the guy who had taken the floor just before Bryant, a fellow by name of Yao Ming. He was as driven in his storytelling life as he was in his playing days. Kobe, Inc. wasn’t just a cool name. It was his world. He wanted to inspire kids through books that combined the worlds of sports and fantasy. He was toying with the idea of taking his stories to Broadway. He won an Oscar for “Dear Basketball,” a short animated film in 2018 that had been converted from a poem that he penned when he decided it was time to retire from playing the game. He had a podcast for kids and families, not with him blathering on about whatever he wanted to talk about but with characters talking about how to be a good teammate. He had a franchise of shows called Detail, where he broke down the nuances of basketball and had other huge names from other sports do the same thing. He wasn’t kidding around when talking to his staff on April 14, 2016. Kobe Bryant still had a lot of work to do. He was just getting started. And now he’s gone. The tributes will continue, though eventually fade away. The legacy will be forever. ___ Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 27th, 2020

ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS Results: Filipina Denice Zamboanga impressive in ONE debut

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - The largest global sports media property in Asian history, ONE Championship™ (ONE), closed 2019 on a high note, giving fans another thrilling evening of world-class martial arts action. The Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur played host to ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS, featuring the absolute best in global martial arts talent. In the main event, Muay Thai legend Sam-A Gaiyanghadao made history by becoming a two-sport and two-division World Champion by defeating China’s “Golden Boy” Wang Junguang by unanimous decision to become the new ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Champion. In a five-round back-and-forth bout, Sam-A’s speed and experience shone through as he outstruck and outmaneuvered Wang for the majority of the contest. In the end, it was Sam-A who prevailed, capturing his second World Championship in ONE.  In the co-main event, Alaverdi “Babyface Killer” Ramazanov of Russia survived China’s “Muay Thai Boy” Zhang Chenglong to become the new ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion. Ramazanov started out strong, using his reach to connect on Zhang, leading to a knockdown in the third round. Zhang came to life in the later rounds, looking to swing the momentum in his favor. After five rounds of striking action, it was Ramazanov who earned the decision and finally realized his dream of becoming a ONE World Champion.  Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga of the Philippines was impressive in her ONE Championship debut, edging out hometown favorite Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan by unanimous decision. Zamboanga was relentless in her takedown attempts as she was able to take Radzuan down at will and control her on the ground in the first two rounds. Radzuan tried to bounce back in the final round, throwing up submission attempt after submission attempt, but in the end, it wasn’t enough to sway the judges, as Zamboanga came away victorious. Malaysia’s own Agilan “Alligator” Thani had the hometown crowd on their feet after scoring an exciting split decision win over American newcomer Dante Schiro. Thani was able to control Schiro on the ground in the opening round, but the American rallied in the second and nearly finished the bout with a deep rear naked choke. Thani, however, was more effective with his game plan all throughout the contest. After three rounds of action, it was Thani who walked away with a razor-thin decision win.  Former ONE World Title challenger Reece “Lightning” McLaren of Australia returned to the winner’s circle in spectacular fashion, submitting Indian rising star Gurdarshan “Saint Lion” Mangat in the first round. McLaren put on a grappling clinic as he took Mangat down and imposed his will on the ground early. Towards the closing moments of the first round, McLaren was able to get to the mounted position and seamlessly transitioned into a rear naked choke, forcing Mangat to tap out with just seconds remaining.  Andrei “Mister KO” Stoica of Romania recorded the biggest win of his kickboxing career, knocking out Brazilian star Anderson “Braddock” Silva in just the first round. Stoica did well in keeping his distance from the hard-hitting Silva before uncorking a massive right hook of his own that had the Brazilian on unsteady footing. Stoica put Silva down with a thunderous right jab that spelled the beginning of the end for his opponent, who tried to answer the count but was visibly too rocked to continue.  Highly-touted South African standout Bokang “Little Giant” Masunyane announced his arrival to ONE Championship with a dominant unanimous decision win over ONE Warrior Series contract winner Ryuto “Dragon Boy” Sawada of Japan. Masunyane’s grappling was simply too much to handle, as he was able to take Sawada down and keep him grounded. After three rounds of action, Masunyane walked away with the clear-cut victory.   In a ONE Super Series Muay Thai contest, Elias “The Sniper” Mahmoudi of Algeria authored a masterful performance, trumping Thai legend Lerdsila Phuket Top Team across three tough rounds. Lerdsila was aggressive, showcasing his trademark power kicks from start to finish. Mahmoudi, however, was long and stayed mostly out of range with his reach. From the outside, Mahmoudi sniped Lerdsila with his combinations. Although the bout was close and both men had their moments, it was Mahmoudi who emerged the victor in the end with all three judges scoring the bout in his favor. China’s “The Ghost” Chen Rui came forth with a virtuoso performance against Malaysian hometown bet Muhammad “Jungle Cat” Aiman, bagging a unanimous decision for his efforts across all three judges’ scorecards. Chen stormed out of the gates in round one, pushing the pace with his aggression. Chen had Aiman hurt on the back foot on a couple of occasions, but the Malaysian was able to recover well. Action continued much the same for the rest of the bout, with Chen landing a handful of big shots while Aiman played defense and was a shade behind the majority of the contest. Myanmar’s “The Dragon Leg” Tial Thang came out to a thunderous chorus of cheers, as he made his walk to the ONE Circle with teammates ONE Light Heavyweight and Middleweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, and ONE Featherweight World Champion Martin “The Situ-Asian” Nguyen. Thang certainly did not disappoint, putting together a noteworthy performance against game challenger “The Kid” Kim Woon Kyoum of South Korea. Thang was aggressive all throughout, doing some good damage both on the feet and on the ground. Kim stood right in front of him, but was slightly a step behind for the majority of exchanges. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Thang to win by unanimous decision. South Korea’s “The Big Heart” Yoon Chang Min turned in another dominant performance, battering Filipino opponent Rodian “The Redeemer” Menchavez on the feet before finishing him with a submission. Yoon picked Menchavez apart methodically in the first round, wearing the Filipino down with pinpoint accurate strikes. In the second round, Yoon continued his dominance, beating Menchavez to the punch on every occasion. Not long after, Yoon locked in a Ninja Choke to force the tap, notching his fourth straight victory in ONE. In a Muay Thai contest, former Shoot Boxing Super Bantamweight Champion Taiki “Silent Sniper” Naito of Japan continued his unbeaten run so far in ONE Super Series, defeating former WKA European Champion Rui Botelho of Portugal by unanimous decision. Naito unleashed a bevy of leg kicks and body attacks to keep Botelho off center for the duration of the bout. Although Botelho would try his best to remain competitive, Naito was far too slick and accurate. In the end, all three judges scored the bout in favor of Naito. ONE Championship newcomer Rayane Bastos of Brazil made a triumphant promotional debut, finishing the highly-regarded Sovannahry Em via first-round submission to kick off the festivities at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS. After a brief exchange of strikes on the feet, action hit the mat, giving Bastos an opportunity to showcase her ground skills. Not long after, Bastos caught Em in a guillotine choke in full mount, forcing the tap. Official results for ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS ONE Strawweight Kickboxing World Championship: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao defeats Wang Junguang by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship: Alaverdi Ramazanov defeats Zhang Chenglong by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 5 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Denice Zamboanga defeats Jihin Radzuan by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Welterweight: Agilan Thani defeats Dante Schiro by Split Decision (SD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Flyweight: Reece McLaren defeats Gurdarshan Mangat by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:35 minutes of round 1 Kickboxing Light Heavyweight: Andrei Stoica defeats Anderson Silva by Knockout (KO) at 1:57 minutes of round 1 Mixed Martial Arts Strawweight: Bokang Masunyane defeats Ryuto Sawada by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Muay Thai Flyweight: Elias Mahmoudi defeats Lerdsila Phuket Top Team by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Chen Rui defeats Muhammad Aiman by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Bantamweight: Tial Thang defeats Kim Woon Kyoum by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Catchweight (77 KG): Yoon Chang Min defeats Rodian Menchavez by Submission (Ninja Choke) at 1:45 minutes of round 2 Muay Thai Flyweight: Taiki Naito defeats Rui Botelho by Unanimous Decision (UD) after 3 rounds Mixed Martial Arts Atomweight: Rayane Bastos defeats Sovannahry Em by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:40 minutes of round 1.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 9th, 2019

Neymar plays only 12 minutes as Brazil held by Nigeria

By The Associated Press SINGAPORE (AP) — Neymar limped out of Brazil's friendly against Nigeria in Singapore on Sunday after only 12 minutes of play. The game ended 1-1, marking Brazil's fourth straight match without a win. The 27-year-old striker was replaced by midfielder Philippe Coutinho after feeling an injury in his left thigh. Brazil doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said Neymar stopped feeling any pain after the match and will go through more tests in France when he's back with his club Paris Saint-Germain. Nigeria midfielder Joe Aribo opened the scoring in the 35th minute after dribbling past Marquinhos in the penalty box. Brazil leveled in the 48th through a shot from midfielder Casemiro after he got to a rebound from a header that hit the bar. Neymar walked normally to the dressing room. He threw a shirt to fans and gave them a thumbs-up as he left. Neymar missed this year's Copa America because of a right ankle injury. He only returned to action two months later. The Brazilian also had a right foot injury in January playing for PSG. The problem in his fifth metatarsal kept him off the field for almost three months. Neymar struggled with injuries ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia which affected his performances in the tournament. The friendly in Singapore could have marked Neymar's rise to second all-time Brazil top goal scorer. He has 61 goals, one less than two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo. After lifting the Copa America title in July, Brazil drew 2-2 with Colombia, lost 1-0 to Peru and tied 1-1 with Senegal on Thursday. "This is a time in which we need to test (new players)," said Brazil defender Marquinhos. "But we have to find our pattern as soon as possible." Coach Tite had tried to use Neymar in midfield, replacing Coutinho, but the striker's injury made him quickly change plans......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 14th, 2019

Yankees beat Angels 9-1, claim 1st AL East title since 2012

By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — The resilient New York Yankees powered their way to the club's first AL East title since 2012, routing the Los Angeles Angels 9-1 Thursday night behind three RBIs each from old mainstay Brett Gardner and newcomer DJ LeMahieu. A day after wasting a chance to clinch first place, the homer-happy Yankees went ahead when LeMahieu hit a three-run drive in the second inning and breezed to their 100th win. Gardner added a solo shot in the fourth and then hit a two-run double in the sixth. Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier homered for good measure in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman struck out Albert Pujols to end it. Despite putting 30 players on the injured list this season, New York (100-54) wrapped up first place with eight games to spare and made Aaron Boone the first manager to win 100 games in each of his first two major league seasons. The Yankees open the playoffs on Oct. 4, likely against Minnesota, which leads the AL Central, or the wild-card winner. Masahiro Tanaka (11-8) allowed Kole Calhoun's homer leading off the fourth. The Angels had just four hits in seven innings off Tanaka, who struck out six and walked one. But the Yankees may go to the postseason without their winningest pitcher, Domingo Germán. The 27-year-old right-hander, who is 18-4, was placed on administrative leave under Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy earlier in the day. New York's 19th AL East title was its first following a run of 13 in 17 years that started in Derek Jeter's rookie season. Andrew Heaney (4-6) gave up six runs and five hits in five-plus innings. BRAVES 5, PHILLIES 4 ATLANTA (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. became the second-youngest player in baseball history to hit 40 homers in a season, Freddie Freeman also drove in two runs and Atlanta clinched at least a tie for first place in the NL East with a win over Philadelphia. The Braves hold a 9 1/2-game lead over the Washington Nationals, who have played three fewer games and were off Thursday. Atlanta can officially celebrate as soon as Friday with either a victory over the San Francisco Giants or if Washington loses at Miami. The Phillies trail Milwaukee by four games in the race for the NL's second wild-card spot. Mel Ott, who was 20 when he hit 42 homers for the New York Giants in 1940, is the only player younger than Acuña to post a 40-homer season. Aaron Nola (12-6) worked five-plus innings, giving up nine hits, two hits and all five Atlanta runs. Mark Melancon worked perfect ninth for his 11th save with Atlanta and 12th overall this season. CARDINALS 5, CUBS 4, 10 INNINGS CHICAGO (AP) — Matt Carpenter homered in the 10th inning against Craig Kimbrel in the All-Star closer's return, and St. Louis regrouped after blowing a late lead to beat Chicago. Emerging ace Jack Flaherty shut down Chicago over eight innings, and despite a tying three-run rally in the ninth, the Cubs dropped a game behind Milwaukee for the second NL wild card and four games behind St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo provided a jolt in his unexpected return from a sprained right ankle, homering in the third inning to tie the game at 1. But Flaherty was spectacular otherwise, pitching three-hit ball while allowing just the one run and striking out eight. Carpenter homered to deep center field off Kimbrel (0-3), who was activated from the injured list prior to the game after dealing with right elbow inflammation. Giovanny Gallegos pitched a perfect 10th for his first save in two chances. Andrew Miller (5-5) recorded the final two outs in the ninth for the victory. BREWERS 5, PADRES 1 MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lorenzo Cain homered before exiting with a sore ankle, Milwaukee pitchers combined to strike out 16 and the Brewers improved their playoff position by beating San Diego. Milwaukee moved within one game of Washington for the top NL wild-card spot. The Brewers are in the second wild-card slot and three games behind Central-leading St. Louis. Ryan Braun put Milwaukee ahead with an RBI double in the first inning off Joey Lucchesi (10-9). The Brewers added a run in the third when Keston Huira doubled and later scored on Lucchesi's wild pitch. Eric Hosmer' homered for San Diego. Freddy Peralta (7-3) struck out three of the four batters he faced for the win. Josh Hader picked up his 34th save in 40 tries, breaking a franchise record for left-handers previously held by Dan Plesac. TWINS 8, ROYALS 5 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit two of Minnesota's four home runs and matched his season high with five RBIs, igniting another impressive power display by the first-place Twins. The win over Kansas City kept the Twins' American League Central lead at four games — with nine games to go. Miguel Sanó homered and hit the tiebreaking RBI double in the fifth following the ejection of Royals starter Mike Montgomery, who started that inning by giving up a home run to Mitch Garver. The Twins trimmed their magic number for clinching the division to six. Lewis Thorpe (4-2) worked four innings for the win. Taylor Rogers recorded his 28th save. INDIANS 7, TIGERS 0 CLEVELAND (AP) — Mike Clevinger pitched six shutdown innings, Franmil Reyes homered in his return to the lineup and Cleveland moved into a tie for the second AL wild card with a win over Detroit. Francisco Lindor added three hits, and Cleveland matched idle Tampa Bay at 90-63. Both teams trail Oakland by two games for the top spot. The Indians trail Minnesota by four games in the AL Central. The Indians defeated the Tigers for the 17th straight time this season to match a franchise record set against Baltimore in 1954. Cleveland won 18 of 19 in the season series and outscored Detroit 116-38 Clevinger (12-3) allowed seven hits and struck out six. Starter Daniel Norris (3-13) allowed one run in three innings for the Tigers, who have the worst record in baseball at 45-107. The shutout was the 15th by Cleveland this season, and Detroit was blanked for the 14th time. RED SOX 5, GIANTS 4 BOSTON (AP) — Eduardo Rodriguez struck out 10 over six innings of two-hit ball, and Xander Bogaerts had a pair of RBI singles to lead Boston over San Francisco. Brandon Workman picked up his 15th save. Rodriguez (18-6) walked two and allowed one unearned run. Madison Bumgarner (9-9) lost in his first career start at Fenway Park, giving up five runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings while striking out seven. He allowed the first four Boston batters to reach safely and fell behind 2-1 after one inning. MARINERS 6, PIRATES 5, 11 INNINGS PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shed Long had three hits, two RBIs and scored the go-ahead run in the 11th on an unusual inning-ending double play as Seattle beat Pittsburgh. The Mariners swept the three-game series between last-place teams and sent the Pirates to their sixth straight loss. Long reached base on first baseman Jose Osuna's error to start the 11th and Omar Narvaez singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Austin Nola then hit a chopper to second baseman Kevin Kramer — rather than flip the ball to second, he ran at Narvaez, who alertly stopped and began to retreat. Kramer then threw to first, and Narvaez was eventually tagged in a 4-3-6-2 rundown as Long scored. Kramer likely would've had no chance to throw home at the start to get Long. Pittsburgh's Jake Elmore had three hits and two RBIs. Brandon Brennan (3-6) pitched one scoreless inning and rookie Erik Swanson worked around a walk in the 11th for his first career save. Clay Holmes (1-2) took the loss. BLUE JAYS 8, ORIOLES 4 BALTIMORE (AP) — Cavan Biggio homered and had three RBIs to offset a spectacular, homer-robbing catch by Austin Hays, and Toronto used a six-run seventh inning to beat Baltimore for a three-game sweep. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. also went deep for the Blue Jays, who earned their first sweep at Camden Yards since July 2010. After Biggio and Gurriel homered off Gabriel Ynoa (1-9) within a span of three pitches in the fourth inning, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sent a drive to center. Hays ran to the warning track, leaped to reach over the 7-foot wall and snagged the ball in the middle of his glove. Upon returning to the ground, Hays pounded his chest three times in succession and yelled with delight. Anthony Kay (1-0) earned his first major league victory. Trey Mancini had four hits for the Orioles, who have lost four straight and 15 of 19......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 20th, 2019

There s more to Bibiano Fernandes than just grappling, says Mark Sangiao`

Kevin "The Silencer" Belingon has more than grappling to worry about when he takes on ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano "The Flash" Fernandes in the final chapter of their storied rivalry. For years, opponents have feared Fernandes for his jiu-jitsu. But according to Mark Sangiao – Belingon’s head coach – a lot of people have overlooked the Bantamweight World Champion’s high-level boxing. The power of “The Flash” was evident in their recent encounter when “The Silencer” was rocked with an overhand right. And it is something Sangiao he hopes his protégé will avoid when he meets the Brazilian in the co-main event of ONE: CENTURY PART II.   “Kevin was close to getting finished the last time out,” Sangiao admitted as they gear up for their fourth encounter with Fernandes on 13 October at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.  “Bibiano faked going low before unleashing a wild right. That’s what I noticed in their last match.”  Fernandes' boxing goes hand-in-hand with his renowned ground game according to the Team Lakay mentor.  A well-rounded mixed martial artist, the AMC Pankration representative has perfected mixing up his offense and can attack from anywhere. “His boxing is always connected with his strategy when it comes to wrestling. When he throws something strong, expect him to come in,” Sangiao said.  “He’ll fake a shoot, then he’ll throw something strong. If you’re not ready for that then you’re in trouble.” After three previous bouts against “The Flash,” Sangiao and his 31-year-old apprentice are familiar with Fernandes – and the Filipino coach promised not to make the same mistake again. “Right now he has to be wary [about] defense,” Sangiao said.  “Kevin needs to tighten up his defense more. He also has to make Bibiano feel his power. That’s what we’re working on.”  As far as game plan and strategy, Sangiao vowed that Belingon is equipped for the test ahead of him.  “He’s in much better shape compared to last time,” Sangiao said. “Conditioning wise, I think he’s in better condition.”  Will Belingon end his rivalry against Fernandes as the winner? Find out at ONE: CENTURY on 13 October at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan. The Home Of Martial Arts brings fans 28 World Champions, four World Title bouts, three World Grand Prix Championship Finals, and four World Champion versus World Champion match-ups in the promotion’s two-part 100th event.    Download the ONE Super App to catch the action live and for free.   ONE: CENTURY will be available on multiple platforms for every Kapamilya viewer!  Catch ONE: CENTURY in it’s entirety on LIVESTREAMING on Sunday, October 13 starting at 8:00 AM (Part 1) and 4:00 PM (Part 2) via sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/one and on iWant Sports as well as on the ABS-CBN Sports Facebook Page and the ABS-CBN Sports YouTube Page! Catch ONE: CENTURY Part 2 LIVE at 6:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! ONE: CENTURY Part 2 will air on Friday, October 18 at 8:30 PM on ABS-CBN S+A channel 23! Read More From ONE Championship: First Bouts Announced For Momentous ONE: CENTURY Automatic Rematch Announced For Bibiano Fernandes And Kevin Belingon Kevin Belingon Is Competing For More Than A World Title At ONE: CENTURY  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 19th, 2019

2nd French game in 3 days halted after homophobic banners

METZ, France (AP) — A second French league game in three days was interrupted due to banners deemed homophobic as Paris Saint-Germain beat Metz 2-0 Friday. Referee Frank Schneider stopped the game briefly after the banners were unfurled in the first half. He then allowed play to resume some minutes later when they were removed. The latest incident came after Wednesday game between Nice and Marseille — also in the top tier — was halted for several minutes after Nice fans unfurled two banners with homophobic messages. Metz fans appeared to be responding to that incident by targeting the French league (LFP), showing a banner saying "I won't be on TV because my words are not very gay." More banners referenced the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, which has links to PSG through owner Qatar Sports Investments. The LFP is attempting to cut out homophobic chanting at games. Earlier this month, a referee stopped a second-division match between Nancy and Le Mans for about a minute after an initial appeal made over the speakers to stop homophobic chanting failed to have an effect. Responding to a slew of injuries, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel handed debuts in Metz to 19-year-old goalkeeper Marcin Bulka and 17-year-old midfielder Adil Aouchiche, who became the club's youngest player to start a league game. Bulka started in place of Alphonse Areola, who is reportedly on the verge of completing a switch to Real Madrid in a swap-deal for Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas. PSG's injury worries deepened ahead of its Champions League opening game against Real Madrid on Sept. 18, with Angel Di Maria and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting both picking up knocks. Choupo-Moting was coach Tuchel's only recognized striker available after injuries to Edinson Cavani (hip) and Kylian Mbappe (hamstring) last weekend, while Brazil striker Neymar remained unavailable and wants to move away from the club. Tuchel was also without the injured Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer, Ander Herrera and Abdou Diallo for the game at the Saint Symphorien stadium. Di Maria opened the scoring with a penalty in the 11th minute after Juan Bernat was unceremoniously upended in the area. The visitors had to wait till the end of the half before Choupo-Moting rose above the static Metz defense to head in Marco Verratti's free kick in the 43rd. Choupo-Moting had to go off toward the end. Di Maria needed treatment in injury time......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2019

Still no Neymar as PSG loses 2-1 at Rennes in French league

PARIS (AP) — Still missing Brazil forward Neymar, defending champion Paris Saint-Germain lost 2-1 at Rennes in the French league on Sunday. PSG, which beat Nimes 3-0 last weekend in the first round, went ahead in the 36th minute when Edison Cavani took advantage of a poor back pass by Rennes defender Damien Da Silva. M'Baye Niang leveled with a stunning effort shortly before the interval and Romain Del Castillo was left unmarked to head in what turned out to be the winner early in the second half. Neymar, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Barcelona, also missed the Nimes game with PSG coach Thomas Tuchel saying the Brazilian was not fit to play. Neymar became the most expensive player in the world when he moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros (about $250 million) in 2017. But his two seasons with the French champions have been disappointing compared to the club's huge expectations. Rennes beat Montpellier 1-0 in its opening match of the season. OTHER MATCHES Saint-Etienne came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to newly promoted Brest. New signing Denis Bouanga leveled seven minutes from time, firing home the rebound after his initial shot had been blocked by Brest defender Romain Perraud. Bouanga, who was signed from Nimes last month, almost snatched the winner but the Gabon winger headed narrowly over the bar in stoppage time. Julien Faussurier had given Brest the lead on the stroke of halftime. It was a second successive draw for the visitors, who also hit the post in the first period. Strasbourg drew 0-0 at Reims......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 19th, 2019

Fans call for Neymar s departure as PSG beats Nimes 3-0

PARIS (AP) — Fans expressed their anger at Neymar with chants and banners demanding his departure as Paris Saint-Germain started the defense of its French league title with a 3-0 win over Nimes on Sunday. Neymar, who reported late to training from his summer holidays and has been linked with a move away from PSG to Barcelona or Real Madrid, was not included in coach Thomas Tuchel's squad. Some PSG hardcore fans mocked Neymar's behavior with one banner at the Parc des Princes saying "Get lost Neymar". Neymar, who became the most expensive player in the world when he moved from Barcelona to PSG for 222 million euros (about $250 million) in 2017, has made clear in recent weeks that he wants to leave the club. In his absence, PSG dominated from the start and monopolized possession to camp in Nimes' half of the pitch. Edinson Cavani put the hosts in the lead from the penalty spot in the first half before Kylian Mbappe scored his 63rd league goal near the hour mark and then set up Angel Di Maria's goal. Mbappe was in superb form with his trademark dribbles and bursts of speed, while new signing Pablo Sarabia worked well with his teammates and delivered several good passes from the right flank which destabilized the visitors' defense. Nimes held out until Pablo Martinez was sanctioned for an unintentional hand ball in the box following a VAR review. Cavani took the penalty and beat goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni with a powerful strike in the 24th. Sarabia was dangerous again in the 34th with a fine volley at the far post that drew a spectacular save from Bernardoni, and Cavani missed an easy chance from close range with a poor touch from Mbappe's cross. Mbappe fired the ball into the top left corner in the 57th for 2-0 after connecting with a cut-back pass from Juan Bernat, and then delivered a perfect assist to the unmarked Di Maria inside the area. The Argentina forward, who came on as a substitute, controlled the ball and beat Bernardoni with a left-footed shot for his 40th French league goal. OSIMHEN SCORES 2 Lille forward Victor Osimhen scored twice on his French league debut to help the northern side to a 2-1 win over Nantes. Runner-up last season behind Paris Saint-Germain, Lille hired the Nigeria striker this summer to compensate for the loss of Nicolas Pepe, who joined Arsenal. The 20-year-old Osimhen, who scored 20 goals for Belgian side Charleroi last season after starting his professional career in the Bundesliga, showed both his athletic abilities and technical skills to put the hosts in the lead. After Nantes gave the ball away in Lille's half of the field, Osimhen collected a lofted pass with perfect chest control, pushed the ball forward with a fine touch, surged past a defender with a burst of speed and scored from close range with great composure. After Zeki Celik's own-goal put Nantes back in the game soon after the interval, Osimhen was decisive again with nine minutes left with a near-post finish from Celik's cross. Turkish international Yusuf Yazici also made his league debut for Lille after completing his move from Trabzonspor. Although he did not score, Yazici came off the bench as a replacement for Timothy Weah to add a dose of creativity in midfield and came close with a menacing free kick which went just over the bar in the 78th minute......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 12th, 2019

Host Brazil still looking for right balance in Copa América

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — After escaping an embarrassing elimination, Brazil is trying to find the right balance for the rest of the Copa América at home. Brazil has been playing solidly on defense from the start, but has struggled in attack against teams with tight defensive systems. It was the case against Paraguay on Thursday in their quarterfinal in Porto Alegre, where Brazil needed a penalty shootout to advance after being held to 0-0 despite playing most of the second half with an extra man. Without the injured Neymar, Brazil has already endured difficulties against Bolivia and Venezuela in the group stage, drawing boos from the local fans. The exception was the match against Peru in the final group game, when Brazil scored early to open up the defense en route to a comfortable 5-0 rout. That victory oosted the team's confidence and raised hopes that coach Tite had found a solution to end the attacking slump. But despite playing with the same attackers who impressed against Peru, including youngsters Gabriel Jesus and Everton, the team struggled to find the net again. "The ball wasn't reaching the forwards," Tite said. "They defended very well in the first half. We made some adjustments and started creating more opportunities, and after the red card we tried to take advantage of that." Brazil pressed nearly full-time after gaining the man advantage in the 58th minute, but couldn't find a way to break the Paraguayan defense and a good performance by goalkeeper Roberto "Gatito" Fernández. Tite said the poor field at Arena Grêmio also didn't help his more technical attacking players. Brazil's defense — led by Dani Alves, Filipe Luis and Thiago Silva — was solid again, and is yet to concede a goal after four matches. Colombia, which plays Chile in the other quarterfinal on Friday, is the only other team yet to concede. Next up for Brazil will be Lionel Messi's Argentina or Venezuela, which meet on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil also suffered against Venezuela in the group stage, being held to a scoreless draw in Salvador. Argentina could theoretically give Brazil a better matchup in the semifinals, as it's not likely to play as defensively as Venezuela did in the group stage. "(Argentina) is a team with great individual quality," said Tite, who is under pressure to win the tournament at home a year after Brazil's World Cup elimination in the quarterfinals. Coach Dunga, Tite's predecessor, was fired in 2016 after Brazil's elimination in the Copa América. "It's part of the job as a coach, (this pressure) it's inevitable," Tite said. "The most important thing is to keep working normally.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 29th, 2019

Brazil beats Paraguay in shootout in Copa América quarters

By Eric Nunez, Associated Press PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) — Facing early elimination in the Copa América at home, Brazil finally found a way to get past Paraguay in a penalty shootout. After two consecutive eliminations against its southern neighbor, Brazil came out on top on penalties on Thursday to avoid an embarrassing elimination in the quarterfinals of the South American tournament. Goalkeeper Alisson made a save and Gabriel Jesus scored the decisive penalty as Brazil defeated Paraguay 4-3 in the shootout to return to the semifinals for the first time since 2007. Alisson dived to his left to stop the initial penalty by defender Gustavo Gómez, and Gabriel Jesus sealed the victory to keep Brazil on track for its first Copa América title since 2007. Brazil will next face either Venezuela or Argentina, which play on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil had lost to Paraguay the last two times the teams met in the Copa América quarterfinals, in 2011 and 2015, both times in penalty shootouts. Derlis González also missed from the spot for Paraguay, while Roberto Firmino failed to score for Brazil. Both players sent their shots wide. González, who also missed a penalty in Paraguay's 1-1 draw against Argentina in the group stage, had scored the decisive goal in the 2015 shootout. He was one of the five players back from that team that eliminated Brazil. Willian, Marquinhos and Philippe Coutinho converted their penalties for Brazil, while Miguel Almirón, Bruno Valdez and Rodrigo Rojas netted for Paraguay. "My teammates did their part, they took on the responsibility and succeeded. That was crucial," Alisson said. "This was an important step toward our goal of winning the South American title." Gabriel Jesus had missed a late penalty in Brazil's 5-0 rout of Peru in its last group game, but calmly found the net with his shot from the spot as Paraguay goalkeeper Roberto "Gatito" Fernández went the other way, igniting the Brazilian crowd of more than 48,000 at the Arena Grêmio. "I was confident, I knew that if I took the penalty the way I'm used to taking it, I would have more chances of scoring," Gabriel Jesus said. "I was upset after the other match because I didn't take the shot my own way. This time I waited for the goalkeeper to move and just sent the ball the other way." Gatito had been key in regulation as the visitors held on to a 0-0 draw despite having a defender sent off in the 58th minute. In the Copa America quarterfinals, extra time is not played and the match proceeded straight to penalties. Paraguay played with 10 men after Fabián Balbuena was sent off for a foul that was initially called a penalty kick but was reversed after video review determined the foul happened outside the area. "We have to be proud of the character shown by this team," said Paraguay coach Eduardo Berizzo, an Argentine. "We could have been rewarded with a wonderful and heroic triumph in the penalty shootout, but that doesn't take anything away from my players' great performance." Brazil controlled possession but struggled to create scoring opportunities against Paraguay's solid defensive system. The visitors had one of the best chances of the first half when González's close-range shot was saved by Alisson. Brazil pressed nearly full-time after Balbuena was sent off, but couldn't capitalize on its many opportunities. Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho, Everton and Firmino all missed great chances in front of the goal. Fernández made a great reflex save on a close-range header by Alex Sandro near the end of the match, and in the 90th Fernández could only watch as a low shot by Willian struck the post. Brazil coach Tite said the poor field conditions didn't help Brazil's attack. "It's absurd to have to play on a field where it's difficult to exchange passes," Tite said. Despite reaching the semifinals in 2015 and finishing runner-up in 2011, Paraguay has won only one of its last 21 matches in the Copa América, taking advantage of penalty shootouts to advance. Paraguay reached the last eight this year with only two points, finishing as one of the two best third-place teams from the three groups. Paraguay and Brazil failed to make it out of the group stage in the 2016 Copa América. An eight-time South American champion, Brazil has won the tournament all four previous times it hosted the event, the last time in 1989. Brazil's Neymar, dropped from the squad because of an ankle injury sustained just before the tournament, watched from the tribunes at the Arena Grêmio......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

Copa America: Tite expected to make changes to Brazil s team

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press SAO PAULO (AP) — Under pressure after two lackluster performances by Brazil in the Copa America at home, coach Tite is expected to make changes to his squad ahead of its final group game this weekend. Brazil faces Peru on Saturday in Sao Paulo needing at least a draw to guarantee a place in the next round. Few doubt Brazil will make it through, as the Selecao can advance even with a loss, but only a convincing performance will satisfy the demanding Brazilian fans and relieve some of the pressure on Tite. The coach did not say who will start on Saturday but hinted he will not keep the same team from the first two games. "We have several athletes with different characteristics," Tite said on Friday. "Each one can help in different ways depending on the match." The coach's main changes are expected in the attack, which has been the team's primary weakness. David Neres, Richarlison, and Roberto Firmino, the trio that started the first two matches, are yet to score. In the 3-0 opening win against Bolivia a week ago, Brazil had two goals from Philippe Coutinho and one from substitute Everton. The second match was 0-0 against Venezuela on Tuesday. "We need to improve our precision in attack, we acknowledge that," Tite said. "We know that we need to be able to translate our superiority into goals." Brazil entered the tournament without Neymar because of an ankle injury, and none of the other forwards have been able to make up for his absence. Neymar was dropped from the squad before the tournament but showed up at the team's hotel on Friday to visit his teammates and support the team. Tite, who on Thursday completed three years as Brazil coach, said after the team's World Cup elimination last year he regretted taking too long to make changes to the squad, and that this time he would not make the same mistake. Brazil was jeered in both Copa America matches and many of the boos were aimed at Tite when he substituted defensive midfielder Casemiro with another defensive midfielder, Fernandinho, against Venezuela despite the team's inability to create scoring chances. The fans wanted him to use Everton, who played well coming off the bench in both games and is the player most likely to earn a starting spot against Peru. The quick forward helped open up the opponent's defense, allowing Brazil to improve and create more scoring opportunities. The other possible player to get a chance is Gabriel Jesus, who has also come off the bench twice. The Manchester City forward wasn't as effective as Everton, but did help improve the attack. He found the net in the second half against Venezuela, but the goal was disallowed after video review. Neres had decent performances playing in Neymar's position, but it was Coutinho who many felt should have taken over the leading role. Coutinho also had a goal disallowed by video review against Venezuela, but despite his decisive scores against Bolivia his performances have been below expectations. Fernandinho didn't practice with the rest of the squad on Friday because of a right knee ailment and will not play on Saturday. Midfielder Arthur also practiced separately on Thursday because of a foot injury, but he was back with the rest of the team on Friday and is likely to be available against Peru. Brazil and Peru are tied at the top of Group A with four points, two more than third-place Venezuela. Bolivia has no points after two matches. Venezuela and Bolivia meet in Belo Horizonte on Saturday. Peru eliminated Brazil from the 2016 Copa America with a 1-0 win in the final match of their group, handing Brazil its first group-stage elimination in the tournament since 1987......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 22nd, 2019

Brazil and Argentina eclipsed at start of Copa America

By Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Uruguay, Chile and Colombia impressed at the start of the Copa America, eclipsing hosts Brazil and embattled Argentina early in the South American tournament. In the first round of matches, the continent's top powerhouses showed signs of weakness, prompting early doubts about their title chances. Brazil was booed by its own fans after a slow start in the 3-0 win against Bolivia, while Lionel Messi's Argentina was dominated in a 2-0 loss to Colombia. Uruguay and Chile, meanwhile, comfortably won their matches 4-0, over Ecuador and Japan, respectively. Here's a look at how the top teams fared in their opening games in the Copa America in Brazil. TOP PERFORMANCES With Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez in form, Uruguay routed Ecuador in Belo Horizonte on Sunday. The first goal, by Nicolas Lodeiro, was one of the best of the tournament, with the midfielder controlling a pass from Suarez with his thigh before lobbing the ball over a defender and firing a shot into the net. The second, by Cavani, was also a beauty. The Paris Saint-Germain forward scored with an acrobatic volley from near the penalty spot after meeting a delivery into the area. Suarez later added the third goal before halftime, and the fourth was an own goal in the second half. Uruguay played well from the start at the Mineirao Stadium, though it was at a greater advantage after Ecuadorean Jose Quintero was sent off in the 24th minute. Two-time defending champion Chile also eased to victory over Japan, which has brought a young squad focused on the Olympic tournament at home next year. The veteran Chileans won Monday's match in Sao Paulo with two goals by Eduardo Vargas, one by Alexis Sanchez and another by Erick Pulgar. Colombia didn't have such an easy time against Argentina on Saturday in Salvador, but it showed its strength by closing out the match with two second-half goals by Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata. The first goal came thanks to a great long pass by James Rodriguez, who got the better of Lionel Messi in the opener at the Arena Fonte Nova. DISAPPOINTING FAVORITES Argentina, still trying to end its title drought, endured its first defeat in a Copa America opener since 1979. It was also its first defeat to Colombia in 12 years. Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria — the only remaining players from the teams that lost the finals of the World Cup in 2014 and the Copa America in 2015 and 2016 — couldn't lead the team to the opening victory in Brazil. Now the Argentines need a good result against Paraguay on Wednesday in Belo Horizonte to avoid the risk of an early elimination. Without the injured Neymar, Brazil managed to get the victory against Bolivia on Friday but the team was jeered by the home fans at Morumbi Stadium after struggling in the first half. Philippe Coutinho, taking over Neymar's leading role, scored twice early in the second half, including from a penalty awarded by video review. Substitute Everton closed the scoring late in the game. LOW ATTENDANCE The first round of matches was marked by low attendances. The biggest crowd was at Brazil's opener, when nearly 50,000 fans made it to the Morumbi. It was a disappointing crowd, though, as organizers had announced that nearly 70,000 fans were expected. The average attendance for the first six matches was about 25,000, but a couple of games had less than 15,000 spectators — Uruguay vs. Ecuador and Venezuela vs. Peru. BIGGEST DRAMA The 2-2 draw between Paraguay and Qatar was the most exciting match of the first round, with the South Americans squandering a 2-0 lead late in the second half. BIGGEST SNOOZE The least exciting match was the scoreless draw between Peru and Venezuela in Porto Alegre, in front of only 13,370 fans. Peru had two goals disallowed by video review. ___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report from Sao Paulo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 19th, 2019

Leonardo s PSG return could be welcome news for coach Tuchel

By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Leonardo's return as Paris Saint-Germain's sporting director could be welcome news for coach Thomas Tuchel after a difficult first season. PSG announced Leonardo's appointment on Friday as a direct replacement for Antero Henrique, who leaves after two years despite helping secure two marquee signings in forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Tuchel's working relationship with Henrique had become increasingly strained because of the need to strengthen an injury-hit squad and an awkward situation concerning homegrown midfielder Adrien Rabiot. Henrique said in a December interview that Rabiot would remain out of the side after refusing to sign a new deal, despite months of negotiations. He did not play again and is now out of contract, meaning PSG will get nothing for him as he reportedly negotiates terms for a move to Italian champion Juventus. But Tuchel is a fan of Rabiot's style of play and wanted him available, especially with injuries in midfield during a fraught Champions League campaign. The club's disciplinary stance remained firm. At the time, Henrique appeared to have the backing of club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, with the signings of Neymar and Mbappe doubtless contributing to his standing. An exasperated Tuchel also lamented a lack of signings in the winter transfer window and had to wait until January 29 — right at the end — before the club bought Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes from Zenit St. Petersburg. But Tuchel was reportedly not overly keen on signing Paredes, who made little impression. If their relationship was indeed a power struggle, it now seems like a victory for Tuchel over Henrique. Tuchel recently signed a one-year extension to his initial two-year deal. Leonardo's return offers the possibility of a more harmonious working relationship, one which the club hopes will end years of frustration in the Champions League. PSG has never been beyond the quarterfinals since Qatari backers QSI started bank-rolling the club with huge investment eight years ago. In the past three seasons PSG has gone out in the Round of 16 — twice blowing strong first-leg leads — and last season Tuchel's side failed to retain its domestic cups. FAMILIAR FACE While Henrique was unfamiliar with the club when he took the job, that's certainly not the case for Leonardo. He played for PSG in 1996-97 and was hugely popular. As an attack-minded defender or midfielder, he helped PSG reach the European Cup Winners' Cup final in '97. He won the World Cup with Brazil in 1994 and the Copa America in '97. He had spells as coach of AC Milan and Inter Milan, where he was also sporting director. Leonardo became PSG's sporting director for the first time in July 2011 and helped persuade Carlo Ancelotti to become coach in December 2011. It was a considerable coup considering Ancelotti's long-standing reputation in the game. "I'm extremely enthusiastic at the idea of coming back," the 49-year-old Leonardo said. "I've experienced some big emotions here." BITTER END Leonardo held his role until May 2013, when he was suspended for nine months by the French league for barging into a referee just outside the tunnel. Television images appeared to show Leonardo deliberately shoulder-barging Alexandre Castro after a home draw. Leonardo had been heavily critical of French referees that season, in particular launching one angry rant live on television after a draw at defending champion Montpellier. Following Leonardo's suspension, Ancelotti left to take charge of Real Madrid despite having one year left on his PSG contract. FUTURE DAYS Leonardo must quickly establish a strong and trusting relationship with Tuchel. The club is expected to be busy in the transfer market this summer, whilst fending off reported interest from Real Madrid for the prolific France forward Mbappe. PSG must also raise funds, and Leonardo's return coincided with the sale of 19-year-old forward Moussa Diaby to Bayer Leverkusen for a reported 15 million euros ($16.8 million). Fans want success but they also want to see local talents shine, and Diaby was one of the best players to have come through PSG's youth academy in recent years. If Leonardo persuades Rabiot to change his mind and sign a new deal, it would certainly please Tuchel......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 16th, 2019

Raptors a win away from first-ever championship

By Janie McCauley, Associated Press OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kawhi Leonard’s hot hand is sending the Raptors home to Toronto on the cusp of a startling upset for Canada. Leonard out-dueled the Splash Brothers for 36 points and 12 rebounds, and the Raptors moved within one victory of the franchise’s first championship by winning a second straight game on Golden State’s home floor, beating the Warriors 105-92 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time) for a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson made a strong return after missing Game 3 with a strained left hamstring and scored 28 points with six three-pointers in what might have been the final game after 47 seasons at Oracle Arena before the team’s move to new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. Stephen Curry added 27 points but shot just 9-for-22 and 2-of-9 from three-point range on the heels of his postseason career-best 47-point outing in a 123-109 Game 3 defeat. Serge Ibaka scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting in 22 minutes off the bench for the composed and confident Raptors, who for a second straight game found an answer to every Warriors threat at raucous Oracle — where home fans were stunned and silenced when the final buzzer sounded. A huge section of Toronto fans over, repeatedly singing “O Canada!” The two-time defending champions’ quest for a three-peat is suddenly in serious jeopardy. Toronto will take its first try at the title in Game 5 on Monday night (next Tuesday, PHL time) back at Scotiabank Arena. Golden State, still hopeful of injured star Kevin Durant’s return, must stave off elimination to guarantee one more game at Oracle. It would be next Thursday (next Friday, PHL time). Leonard’s 2017 postseason with San Antonio got cut short against the Warriors in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals after he re-injured his troublesome left ankle when Zaza Pachulia’s foot slid under his. He’s picked up where he left off in that game. Leonard’s two jumpers in the final 42 seconds of the third put the Raptors up 79-64 heading into the final 12 minutes. Fred VanVleet then dealt another dagger on the first possession of the fourth with a 30-footer. A bloodied VanVleet then went to the locker room with 9:35 left after being hit in the face by Shaun Livingston’s left elbow when the Warriors guard went up for a shot and VanVleet was just behind him. Replays showed a tooth in the middle of the key even after play resumed. These poised Raptors kept level heads again after falling behind by 11 points in the first half. Pascal Siakam scored 19 for Toronto. Two days earlier, Kyle Lowry was praised for staying calm when shoved on the sideline by Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens, who received a one-year ban by the team and NBA along with a $500,000 fine for the incident. Now, the Raptors as first-time finalists and in their 24th year of existence can bring Canada its first NBA championship. Toronto outscored Golden State 37-21 in the decisive third, a complete reverse of the Warriors’ dominance after halftime with an 18-0 run in the Game 2 victory. Draymond Green delivered another impressive all-around performance with 10 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Warriors coach Steve Kerr challenged his team to do a better job defensively and Golden State did so early but couldn’t handle Toronto’s depth. Kevon Looney, a key backup big man, scored 10 points for the Warriors after it was initially believed he would be out the remainder of the series because of fractured cartilage near his right collarbone. He was hurt in the first half of Game 2. Looney drew huge applause as he checked into the game at the 6:45 mark of the first. Danny Green, who hit six three's in Game 3, began 0-for-6 with five missed three's before finally connecting from deep midway through the fourth. His 48th three-pointer in the finals tied him with Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher for seventh place on the NBA list. TIP-INS Raptors: Toronto overcame being outrebounded 29-18 in the first half and a 42-38 deficit overall. ... The Raptors were 10-of-32 from deep after making 17 three's in Game 3, but converted 23-of-24 free throws Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Warriors: The Warriors’ streak this year of 19 straight postseason games scoring 100 points ended. It was 25 dating to last season’s run. ... Golden State fell to 4-2 this postseason in games following a loss. ... Livingston played in his 100th career playoff game with the Warriors, the fifth in team history to reach the mark. ... The Warriors held a closed pregame shootaround 2.5 hours before game time. ATTLES’ PRESENCE Hall of Famer Al Attles, the Warriors’ former general manager, coach and player, attended Game 4. It was the first game in approximately eight months for the 82-year-old Attles, who has had health issues. DURANT’S STATUS Durant missed his ninth straight game since the injury May 8 (May 9, PHL time) in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Rockets. Kerr is done providing every detail and step of Durant’s rehab progress. “We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6. And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire,” Kerr said. “There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not. So tonight he’s not playing.”.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 8th, 2019

MPBL: Wilson s endgame heroics give San Juan win in Game 1

John Wilson came alive late to save North top seed San Juan-Go for Gold from the clutches of eighth-seed Pasay, 75-74, drawing first blood in their 2019-20 Chooks-to-Go/MPBL Lakan Season Quarterfinals bout, Saturday at the FilOil Flying V Arena. With the scores locked at 71-all, Wilson drained a booming triple to give the Knights a 74-71 cushion with 1:31 left in the game. Jhonard Clarito bagged the game for good with a split from the charity line. Pasay's Ronnel Lastimosa, though, hit a buzzer-beating trey to settle the final score at 75-74. Wilson, who only had a point in the first half, scored eight of San Juan's last eight points. He finished with 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting along with eight rebounds and three steals. "Number one yung defense, nakakuha kami ng mga turnovers doon kay [Jaypee] Belencion, yung mga forced shots nila plus yung hustle ng mga player talagang hindi gumive up," said San Juan head coach Randy Alcantara on his wards' late fightback. Down by nine points, Wilson kick-started a 12-0 blast, 67-64, to give the Knights its first lead since the 4:05-minute mark of the opening salvo at 10-8. Mike Ayonayon topped the scoring charts for San Juan with 15 points, five assists, and two steals while Clarito chipped in 13 markers and nine boards. Pasay, meanwhile, was spearheaded by Axel Iñigo's 24-point performance founded on four triples. Elmar Moradas added 13 points off the bench while Jaypee Belencion poured all of his 11 points in the third quarter. Game Two takes place on Thursday at the AUF Gym in Pampanga. The Scores: San Juan 75 -- Ayonayon 15, Clarito 13, Rodriguez 11, Wilson 11, Estrella 8, Wamar 7, Isit 6, Aquino 4, Tajonera 0, Victoria 0, Pelayo 0, Reyes 0, Gabawan 0, Bunag 0. Pasay 74 -- Inigo 24, Moradas 13, Belencion 11, Ilagan 9, Reverente 8, Lastimosa 3, Chan 2, Lasquety 2, Pasia 2, Opiso 0. Quarterscores: 13-24, 28-36, 53-60, 75-74......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 16th, 2020

FIBA: Gilas planning to get one practice game before playing Indonesia

With their home game against Thailand to start the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Gilas Pilipinas is trying to maximize the extra few days added to its schedule. With a little over a week before Gilas takes on Indonesia on the road, the national team is planning on accommodating at least one tune-up game. The plan is to have it sometime next week with a PBA team. "I think we definitely wanna have a tune-up game," interim head coach Mark Dickel said after practice Saturday. "How we do it and when we'll schedule it, it'll be sometime next week," he added. The national team will leave for Indonesia on the 21st, giving them a good four days to schedule a game. Feb. 20 was the original date of the game against Thailand and that could be a window to make some arrangements happen. "I think we'll probably just have one [tune-up]," Dickel said. "We have such a tight timeline and we only have one game this window, it kinda makes more sense to get ready, have that game and replace that one [cancelled] game we were gonna play with that one [practice] game," he added.   — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2020

FIBA: Countdown starts for final Gilas 12 against Indonesia

Gilas Pilipinas should be getting close to figuring out who will make its final 12-man lineup to start the 2021 FIBA Asia Cup qualifiers. After another practice Saturday, interim head coach Mark Dickel says he and his staff are rounding out the first 15 players for the game against Indonesia next week. "I'm sure we'll go back-and-forth with the coaches tonight on who the 15 are and then start talking about combinations who should start," Dickel said. "I'm really trying to have an open mind about all the players here, let the team pick itself based on how they're performing. I didn't wanna come in here with preconceived ideas because then you don't give guys a real chance to force their way in," he added. At the very latest, Gilas Pilipinas has until the eve of a game to form a 12-man lineup. That gives the national team a full week to decide on the roster against Indonesia. However, Dickel and his coaching staff will have to put together a list very soon which will be subject to approval by FIBA and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas. "We haven't really thought too much on who's gonna make the 15 or the 12," Dickel said. "Over the next couple of days we gotta release it to FIBA for clearance reasons," he added. — Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsFeb 15th, 2020