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Valencia fires coach Marcelino 3 games into season

Valencia fires coach Marcelino 3 games into season.....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnSep 12th, 2019

Valverde questioned after another late collapse by Barcelona

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona had once again played great, led through goals by Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, yet still managed to let it slip away. Barcelona squandered one of its best performances of the season by conceding two late goals to Atlético Madrid, falling 3-2 in the semifinals of the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Messi equalized after Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion scored for Atletico, and Griezmann put Barcelona deservedly ahead 2-1. But the goalkeeping of Jan Oblak, Atlético's star this season, kept Barcelona out for the rest of the way while Álvaro Morata leveled with a penalty kick in the 82nd minute and Ángel Correa completed the dramatic turnaround in the 86th. For Barcelona, the chance to add a minor trophy from a mini-tournament played thousands of miles away is not the main worry. The concern is Barcelona’s odd knack of losing control of games that look like a sure victory. Whether it's a question of overconfidence, a lack of fitness or just momentary lapses that cost the team dearly, the pressure is on coach Ernesto Valverde. Messi and other team leaders defended Valverde, whose very good overall record at Barcelona has been blemished by shocking defeats. “It’s normal that when you lose and don’t reach your objectives, and when our fans see that the team is not playing like they would like, that people talk and say things,” Messi said. “We have to be more united than ever, remain a strong group and get through this. “This year we will try to play like we did today (before the late goals) and not commit childish errors like those we committed.” But that didn’t stop the Spanish sports media reporting that Barcelona club officials met with midfield great Xavi Hernández to probe him as a possible replacement for Valverde either now or next season. Xavi left Barcelona in 2015, following 17 trophy-laden seasons, for Qatari club Al-Sadd, where he coaches. The speculation that he could soon be returning home led to Al-Sadd saying no move was imminent. “The issue of Xavi going to Barcelona is normal and expected because he will be at his club and it’s his first home and he must return there in the future, but as of today, Xavi is the coach of Al-Sadd.” Al-Sadd general manager Turki Al-Ali said in a statement on the club website. “Xavi and his team are focusing on tomorrow’s match against Al-Rayyan, and we know that a club with the size and professionalism of Barcelona will take to official channels to speak of such matters,” Al-Ali said. Barcelona’s loss at the King Abdullah Sports City on Thursday came five days after it conceded an 88th-minute equalizer at Espanyol in the Spanish league. The late goal by Wu Lei also came on a desperate counterattack similar to both of Atlético's late attacks that led to goals, when Barcelona’s backline was out of sync and let a pass through to a player with only goalkeeper Neto to beat. Wu’s goal ruined a superb match by Luis Suárez, who had scored with a fine touch and made a difficult pass for an assist. Suárez also backed Valverde on Thursday by taking the blame for the stumble against Atlético. “This loss shows we have room to improve,” the Uruguay striker said. “It shows us that there are mistakes that we can’t make because we were in charge of the game and we let them mount counterattacks … but the coach is not at fault. They were mistakes that we made.” Barcelona has drawn three of its last four league matches, but still lead the competition on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid. The team was leading before finishing 2-2 at Real Sociedad last month; lost 3-1 at Levante after Messi had put them ahead in November; and gave up a goal in the 81st in a 2-2 draw at Osasuna in August. Those setbacks would not be as worrisome for Barcelona if the team had not completely collapsed in the Champions League in recent seasons, most recently a humiliating 4-0 loss at Liverpool after winning the first leg of the semifinals 3-0. Valverde’s job was then in even more jeopardy at the end of last season after Barcelona lost the Copa del Rey final to Valencia, casting a shadow of doubt over the Spanish league champions. Club president Josep Bartomeu, however, has stuck by the former player who is known for his intelligence and unflappable attitude. Valverde is in his third season at Barcelona. He has won back-to-back Spanish league titles and one Copa del Rey final. A European Cup has eluded him. Valverde said he was used to the criticism as part of a job that was never secure. “We coaches always work with the idea of giving it our all to each match,” Valverde said. “We know how soccer is and that there is a permanent instability in teams when you are not getting good results or when you lose. Now that we have lost I suppose people will talk about it, but I remain focused on my job.” Valverde’s next job is to prepare for the visit of Granada on Jan. 19. In the meantime, Atlético will face crosstown rival Real Madrid in the Super Cup final on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 11th, 2020

Atletico rallies to beat Barcelona and reach Super Cup final

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A Madrid derby will decide the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Atlético Madrid rallied with two late goals to beat Barcelona 3-2 in a back-and-forth game on Thursday, setting up a meeting against city rival Real Madrid in Sunday's final at the revamped Spanish Super Cup. Real Madrid defeated Valencia 3-1 in the first semifinal at King Abdullah Sports City stadium on Wednesday. Atlético and Real Madrid only made it to the tournament this year because the Spanish soccer federation debuted a “Final Four” format as part of a three-year lucrative deal to play in Saudi Arabia. Previously, only the Spanish league champion — Barcelona last season — and the Copa del Rey winner — Valencia — participated. “We deserved it,” Atlético coach Diego Simeone said. “We knew we had to be patient, we were playing against a very good opponent. We had the feeling that if we could tie the game we would eventually win it, and that's what happened.” Barcelona was mostly in control throughout the match but Atlético opened the scoring less than 20 seconds into the second half with a goal by midfielder Jorge “Koke” Resurrección, who had come on at halftime. Barcelona started its comeback five minutes later with Messi equalizing with a well-placed shot after getting past two defenders inside the area. Antoine Griezmann then put his team ahead with a header in the 62nd from the rebound after Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak saved Luis Suárez's attempt. Barcelona kept playing better but Atlético threatened on counterattacks, and it equalized with a penalty kick converted by Álvaro Morata in the 82nd after striker Víctor “Vitolo” Machín was fouled in a one-on-one situation with Barcelona goalkeeper Neto. Atlético got the winner four minutes later following another fast counterattack, this time with Ángel Correa scoring with a shot that bounced off goalkeeper Neto before going in. “It was an intense match,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who will be under increased pressure back home after the loss. “It seemed we had it under control but they were able to rally.” A minute after Morata's equalizer, Atlético had loudly demanded another penalty after a handball by Gerard Piqué, but the non-call stood after video review. The VAR had already disallowed two Barcelona goals, one by Messi because of a handball just before Griezmann's goal, and another by Piqué because of offside in the 73rd, when Barcelona was leading 2-1. The first half ended with a small altercation involving players from both teams, including Messi and young Atlético forward João Félix. The mostly pro-Barcelona crowd at the 62,000-capacity King Abdullah stadium was much larger than in the game between Real Madrid and Valencia. The Spanish federation had said ahead of the match it was sold out. Less than 500 fans had been expected to make the trip from Spain for the matches in Saudi Arabia. The Spanish federation took the Super Cup to Saudi Arabia in a three-year deal reportedly worth 120 million euros ($134 million). It made the move despite criticism from human rights activists and advice from UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin for European soccer teams not to play in countries "where the basic rights of women are not respected.” On Wednesday, Amnesty International organized a small peaceful protest in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Madrid to call for the release of women activists who have been fighting for their rights in Saudi Arabia. The Spanish federation has praised the fact women are being allowed to watch the Super Cup games, something that was part of the deal when it accepted to play in Saudi Arabia. It said the agreement will help Spain in its attempt to host the 2030 World Cup in a joint bid with Portugal. The Super Cup was also played abroad last season, when Barcelona beat Sevilla in Tangiers, Morocco, in a single-game final......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 10th, 2020

Super Cup to start with little interest from fans in Spain

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — The revamped Spanish Super Cup debuts in Saudi Arabia this week with the Spanish federation trying to hype the competition but seeing few fans in Spain interested in it. The Super Cup’s new semifinals format begins with Real Madrid facing Valencia on Wednesday, then Barcelona taking on Atlético Madrid on Thursday. The Barcelona-Atlético game was sold out, according to the federation, and only about 10,000 tickets were left for Madrid-Valencia. All games will be played at the 62,000-capacity King Abdullah Sports City stadium outside Jeddah. More than 35,000 tickets were sold for Sunday’s final in the first 24 hours after being put on sale. “Success in attendance is guaranteed for an attractive tournament that has gained value thanks to its new format,” the federation said. It added the new competition has “triggered the illusion” of fans in Jeddah, becoming a “true mass phenomenon in Saudi Arabia.” It said the tournament “will have an exceptional atmosphere.” But few fans in Spain were enticed to make the trip to Saudi Arabia soon after the holidays. Real Madrid said only about 600 fans came to the club requesting tickets, and from those only 20 came from people in Madrid. The rest were mostly from members already outside the country. Barcelona said 300 tickets were sold by the club, though it wasn't clear how many of those fans were traveling to the match from Spain. According to the Spanish daily El Mundo, about 50 ticket requests were made to Atlético, and only 26 to Valencia. “Football evolves, whether we want it or not. We are thrilled to be here fighting for this title,” Valencia coach Albert Celades said. “We understand why the fans couldn't make the trip here. We will try to bring the trophy back home to them.” Some players didn't make it to Saudi Arabia because of injuries, including Real Madrid's Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. Atlético Madrid was without Thomas Lemar and Diego Costa, while Barcelona is missing Arthur, Ousmane Dembele and Marc-André ter Stegen. Valencia traveled with all of its players, including those injured. “We didn't come here for tourism, this is an important competition,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We are glad to be playing here and we will do everything to try to win.” This is the first year of a lucrative three-year deal -- reportedly worth 120 million euros ($134 million) -- reached by Spanish federation president Luis Rubiales to play the competition in Saudi Arabia. The federation said the deal will help Spain in its attempt to host the 2030 World Cup in a joint bid with Portugal. The decision attracted plenty of criticism from human rights activists, though, and went against advice from UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin for European soccer teams not to play in countries “where the basic rights of women are not respected.” Amnesty International has called for a peaceful protest in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Madrid on Wednesday to call for the release of women activists whom it says have been detained in the country. “I'm here professionally, and they welcomed us really well,” Zidane said. “Personally, it's different." The Spanish league also criticized the federation’s decision to play the Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, citing the country’s backing of a satellite company that is allegedly behind the piracy of European match broadcasts. The Spanish league also accused the federation of having double standards, as it has been against the league’s attempt to play a regular season match outside of Spain. The Super Cup was also played abroad last season, when Barcelona beat Sevilla in Tangiers, Morocco. Valencia, last season’s Copa del Rey champion, also complained about the change, as under the old format it would have a chance to win the Super Cup by winning one match instead of two. The Spanish Super Cup was always played between the Liga champion and the Copa del Rey winner at the beginning of the season, usually at a neutral venue. Now, the top two teams in each competition are participating overseas. The Liga is on its winter break. Barcelona is the most successful club in the Spanish Super Cup with 13 titles, three more than Real Madrid......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2020

Barca and Madrid lead in Spain at winter break despite flaws

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Even though Barcelona and Real Madrid have yet to dominate like in past seasons, the two heavyweights are at the top of the Spanish league for the winter break. Lionel Messi’s Barcelona will head into 2020 with a two-point advantage over second-place Madrid after completing 18 of 38 rounds. Barcelona got off to a slow start with only two wins in the first five rounds before newcomer Antoine Griezmann started to click with Messi and Luis Suárez, and the Catalan club ended the year without a loss in seven rounds. “There are times when you win the league by a wide margin and when everyone expects you to wrap it up months in advance that it loses excitement,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, who is seeking a third consecutive league crown with the team, said Tuesday. “It is better when you win the league on the last round and by one point.” Madrid has only one loss - a 1-0 defeat at Mallorca in October - but it has drawn seven games, including its last three. Its continued scoring problems since Cristiano Ronaldo left two summers ago have left it without a goal in five encounters. "We had difficulties at the beginning of the season, but now we are much better and strong defensively, improving every day,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said after Sunday’s 0-0 home draw with Athletic Bilbao. “Today we couldn’t score, but the important thing is to create the chances and we're going to turn this around in 2020 for sure.” A Sevilla side that has been revitalized by former Madrid and Spain manager Julen Lopetegui, and by the new players brought in by sporting director Ramón “Monchi” Rodríguez, is in third place at five points back. Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid has experienced trouble up front after losing Griezmann in the summer, but its revamped defense has kept it in fourth place, seven points behind Barcelona. PLAYER OF THE SEASON SO FAR Messi leads the league with 13 goals in just 13 appearances due to an injury that kept him out of the opening games. He is also credited with six assists by the league as he continues at age 32 to be the team’s best scorer and playmaker. An honorable mention goes to Karim Benzema for stepping up his play after the injury-hit Eden Hazard failed to make an impact since joining Madrid on a club-record transfer from Chelsea. Benzema is second in the league with 12 goals in 17 matches. SURPRISE OF THE SEASON The breakout player is Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard, who is playing at the Basque club on loan from Madrid. Odegaard has excelled as a precise passer and is leading one of the most attractive attacks in the league. Sociedad is in fifth place, just one point behind Atlético. Sevilla continues to introduce talented newcomers in powerful defender Diego Carlos and physical forward Lucas Ocampos, both of whom have stood out and are likely on the radar of bigger clubs. GOAL OF THE SEASON Suárez scored not only the best goal so far this season in Barcelona’s 5-2 rout of Mallorca on Dec. 7 but one of the best in his goal-studded career. The Uruguay striker wowed Camp Nou when he used an audacious strike with the back of his right heel to scoop the ball around the diving goalkeeper and just inside the far post from a tight angle. The goal put the perfect finish to a flowing passing combination between Frenkie de Jong and Sergi Roberto to break down Mallorca’s tightly packed defense. It unquestionably goes into the annals of Barcelona’s most beautiful goals. WHO'LL BE CHAMPION? With Messi, defending champion Barcelona is favored to edge a Madrid team that has yet to replace Ronaldo’s missing firepower. Messi has led Barcelona to 10 league titles in 15 seasons. “We haven’t reached our ceiling,” Griezmann said after scoring the opening goal in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Alavés. “I am feeling good before the holidays. Messi is the best in the world. We have a great squad, and when we need a push, Messi provides it.” CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFICATION While Barcelona and Madrid will surely get Champions League spots, Sociedad and a Valencia side that is coming on strong after a tumultuous coaching change could threaten Sevilla and Atlético for the other two berths. Getafe, which was in the running for a top-four finish last season until faltering late, cannot be ruled out despite its modest profile. WHO’S GOING DOWN? Espanyol earned Europa League qualification last campaign, but it has been in a mess since both top scorer Borja Iglesias and ex-coach Francesc “Rubi” Ferrer left for Real Betis in the summer. The Barcelona-based club is in last place after winning just two of 18 matches and it fired Pablo Machín, its second coach of the season, on Monday. Espanyol has yet to win at home in the league this season and its fans are asking for a goal-scorer - in addition to yet another coach - in the January transfer market. Leganés and Mallorca are likely to also feature in the relegation fight. Celta Vigo has been the biggest disappointment of the season so far and is also near the bottom. But with Spain striker Iago Aspas and former Barcelona midfielders Rafinha and Denis Suárez it has the talent to rebound if it shores up its defense......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2019

Real Madrid to face Manchester City in Champions League

NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Thirteen-time European champion Real Madrid will face a Manchester City team seeking its first title when the teams meet in the last 16 of the Champions League. The match, drawn Monday at UEFA headquarters, pits Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane against City manager Pep Guardiola. Zidane won three Champions League titles in three attempts with Madrid, while Guardiola has been seeking his third title for almost a decade after winning twice with Barcelona. Also, Liverpool was sent back to the stadium where it won the title last season, with a first leg at Atletico Madrid, while Barcelona will face Napoli with the first leg in Italy. In other matches: Chelsea will face Bayern Munich; Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel was paired with his former club, Borussia Dortmund; Lyon will take on Juventus; Tottenham will play Leipzig; and Atalanta will meet Valencia. All 16 teams play in the five wealthiest European leagues. The first legs will be played between Feb. 18 and 26, with the return games from March 10-18. The final on May 30 will be in Istanbul. ___ First Leg Feb. 18-19 or 25-26 Borussia Dortmund (Germany) vs. Paris Saint-Germain (France) Real Madrid (Spain) vs. Manchester City (England) Atalanta (Italy) vs. Valencia (Spain) Atlético Madrid (Spain) vs. Liverpool (England) Chelsea (England) vs. Bayern Munich (Germany) Lyon (France) vs. Juventus (Italy) Tottenham (England) vs. Leipzig (Germany) Napoli (Italy) vs. Barcelona (Spain) Second Leg March 10-11 or 17-18 Paris Saint-Germain (France) vs. Borussia Dortmund (Germany) Manchester City (England) vs. Real Madrid (Spain) Valencia (Spain) vs. Atalanta (Italy) Liverpool (England) vs. Atlético Madrid (Spain) Bayern Munich (Germany) vs. Chelsea (England) Juventus (Italy) vs. Lyon (France) Leipzig (Germany) vs. Tottenham (England) Barcelona (Spain) vs. Napoli (Italy).....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2019

Benzema scores on last kick as Madrid draws 1-1 at Valencia

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Karim Benzema scored with the final kick of the match to snatch a 1-1 draw for Real Madrid at Valencia in the Spanish league on Sunday. The draw wasted a chance for Madrid to take the outright lead. Second-place Madrid is level on points with league leader Barcelona before the teams meet in their "clásico" at Camp Nou on Wednesday. Thibaut Courtois played a key role in Benzema’s goal when the Belgium goalkeeper joined the attack on a corner kick five minutes into stoppage time. Thibaut rose to connect with a powerful header that his counterpart Jaume Domenech batted down into the crowded box, where it reached Benzema to smash it home. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane rested holding midfielder Casemiro, who has four yellow cards and would have risked a suspension if he had played. Federico Valverde took the Brazilian’s place and had the game’s first scoring chance when he combined quick passes with Benzema before forcing Domenech to get low. Madrid was also without injured left backs Marcelo and Ferland Mendy, and Zidane had to employ the little-used Nacho Fernández, a central defender, on the left side of his back line. Madrid dominated the first half hour, working several flowing passing combinations to get into firing range. Valencia held firm thanks to holding midfielder Francis Coquelin until playmaker Dani Parejo shifted the action into a back-and-forth exchange. Rising talent Ferrán Torres had a great opportunity for the hosts just after halftime on the break, only for Courtois to close in fast and snuff out his attempt. Zidane sent on Gareth Bale and Vinicius Junior with just over 20 minutes left to take advantage of the open space. But it was Valencia that broke the stalemate when Daniel Wass spotted Carlos Soler on a team break. Soler coolly fired in Wass’ pass after teammates had drawn off the backtracking defenders to take the lead in the 78th. STREAK OVER Villarreal ended Sevilla’s eight-match unbeaten run in the Spanish league with a 2-1 away win, leaving the hosts four points behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. Sevilla had equalized and was pressing for a second when Villarreal got its second goal against the flow of play. Moi Gómez responded to Manuel Trigueros' run behind the defense with a lobbed pass that the midfielder controlled with his back to the net. Trigueros then stayed calm as goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik rushed off his line before passing for the unmarked Toko Ekambi to get the 74th-minute winner. Munir El Haddadi had canceled out Raúl Albiol’s header for Villarreal when the Sevilla forward rifled in a cross from Sergio Reguilón in the 61st. The win was Villarreal’s first in seven rounds. BACK IN FORM Getafe got goals from Ángel Rodríguez and Marc Cucurella to beat Valladolid 2-0 and move past Atlético Madrid into fourth place. After only one win in its first seven games, José Bordalás has got Getafe back to its good form from last season. The modest Madrid-based club is in contention for a Champions League berth after seven wins, two draws and one loss in its last 10 games. STILL WINLESS Last-place Espanyol remained without a victory at its stadium in nine games after a 2-2 draw against Real Betis. Betis got its opening goal from Borja Iglesias. Both Iglesias and Betis coach Joan “Rubi” Ferrer helped Espanyol earn a Europa League berth last season before changing clubs. Despite remaining five points from safety, Espanyol coach Pablo Machín was pleased by his team’s fightback from an early deficit to take a 2-1 lead before conceding a second goal to Betis’ Marc Bartra. “The point has more value than just a number. Today’s match shows us the way forward,” Machín said. RELEGATION FIGHT Ante Budimir scored for Mallorca with seven minutes left to earn a 2-2 draw at struggling Celta Vigo. The point allowed promoted Mallorca to stay just above Celta, which is in the drop zone......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 16th, 2019

Barcelona s disputed draw adds fuel to upcoming clasico

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — A disputed decision not to award a late penalty may have cost Barcelona the Spanish league lead entering Wednesday's “clásico” against Real Madrid. Barcelona was held to a 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad on Saturday, giving Madrid a chance to go into the midweek match at Camp Nou Stadium with a two-point lead if it beats Valencia on Sunday. Barcelona was expected to file a formal complaint to the Spanish soccer federation over the non-call, which came after Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente appeared to pull down Gerard Piqué by his jersey in stoppage time. Neither the referee nor video review thought there was enough to award a penalty. Barcelona was especially upset because Real Sociedad's first goal came on a penalty awarded in a similar situation after Sergio Busquets grabbed Llorente's jersey in the first half. “The one on Gerard was clearer than mine,” Busquets said. “If the referee saw the first one, he had to see that one as well. I think he saw it, but didn't want to make the call.” Spanish powerhouses Madrid and Barcelona will meet for the first time this season in a match postponed from October because of a separatist rally in the Catalan capital. “We don't know whether we will still be leaders or not, that's out of our hands now,” Busquets said. “But we will enter the match with good momentum. We have been improving and we'll be playing at home.” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde didn't rest any of his top players, using Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann in the attack. Messi didn't play in the team's Champions League match at Inter Milan on Tuesday. Barcelona, which had won nine of its last 10 league games, was outplayed during most of the match at Reale Arena. Fifth -place Sociedad creating most of the scoring chances and restrained Barcelona, which was in control for short periods of the game but couldn't capitalize on its chances to seal the victory. “We are upset despite a draw against a team like Barcelona,” Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil said. “We did more than they did, we could have taken the three points.” Mikel Oyarzabal opened the scoring for the hosts by converting a 12th-minute penalty kick after Busquets was caught grabbing Llorente inside the area. Barcelona recovered with two fast breakaways, one late in the first half and another soon after the break. Griezmann equalized in the 38th by flicking the ball past goalkeeper Álex Remiro from inside the area. Griezmann, who played nine seasons with Real Sociedad, didn't celebrate his goal. “I have a lot of respect for those who have given me everything,” said Griezmann, who has scored three goals in his last five matches. Suárez put the visitors ahead in the 49th with a strike into the open net after a short pass by Messi. The hosts equalized in the 62nd with a close-range shot by striker Alexander Isak after Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen couldn't fully clear a cross. Oyarzabal had also scored the last time Real Sociedad beat Barcelona, in a league match back in 2016. Barcelona had won seven straight matches against Real Sociedad in all competitions. Real Sociedad has won only one of its last five league matches. It had lost its last five league games against Barcelona. ATLÉTICO MOVES UP Atlético Madrid beat Osasuna 2-0 at home to end a three-match winless streak in the league. Álvaro Morata and Saúl Ñíguez scored a goal each in the second half to lift Atlético back to fourth place, the last qualification spot for the Champions League. Diego Simeone's team had won only one of its last six league games. Tenth-place Osasuna had lost one of its last seven matches in the league. ATHLETIC STALLS Athletic Bilbao was held by Eibar to a 0-0 home draw in a match between two Basque Country teams. It was the second winless game in a row for sixth-place Athletic, which hadn't been held scoreless in four straight league games. Eibar, sitting in 16th place, had lost four straight league matches. LEVANTE REBOUNDS A late winner by North Macedonia midfielder Enis Bardhi gave Levante a 2-1 win at Granada, ending the team's two-game losing streak. Bardhi scored with a shot from outside the area in the 89th minute. Levante moved to 11th, one point behind Granada......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 15th, 2019

Mourinho back in Champs League, on charm offensive at Spurs

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press Jose Mourinho’s charm offensive has been in overdrive during his whirlwind first few days at Tottenham. He has lauded Tottenham’s training complex as being “second to none” and without comparison across Europe “at any level.” He says he has slept in the club’s pajamas at its on-site hotel which he rates as “six star,” with its “soft pillows, amazing duvet.” Now it’s time for a first taste of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium — “the best stadium in the world,” he has purred — as Mourinho continues his quest to win over fans who might still be skeptical about his appointment. Getting the team through to the knockout stage of the Champions League wouldn’t do him any harm in the ingratiation process. Three days after guiding Spurs to a Premier League victory at West Ham in his first match since replacing Mauricio Pochettino, Mourinho will take charge of them in a home match for the first time when Olympiakos visits Tuesday in the Champions League. A victory guarantees progress out of Group B alongside Bayern Munich with a game to spare. It would complete a decent week’s work for Mourinho as he attempts to rebuild his coaching reputation after a fractious, and ultimately disappointing, 2½ year spell at Manchester United that ended almost 12 months ago. The Portuguese coach hugged his players and kept a respectful distance from the traveling Spurs fans while he celebrated the 3-2 win against West Ham on Saturday. It might take some time for them to accept Mourinho and take him to their hearts, especially considering the work Pochettino did in raising standards at Tottenham — even getting the team to a Champions League final last season when it lost to Liverpool. Mourinho has done that with Porto and Inter Milan, winning the title match on both occasions, so is seeking to become the first manager to win European club soccer’s biggest prize with three different clubs — all from different countries. None of them could be classed as modern-day continental heavyweights, either, making that achievement all the more impressive. The closest he has come to winning the Champions League since that 2010 triumph with Inter was a trio of semifinal appearances — all with Real Madrid — in 2011, ’12 and ’13. He got Manchester United out of its group last season, only to get fired before the knockout stages even began. If he was happy to be back in the Premier League — his “natural habitat,” he called it — at the weekend, imagine how he will feel making a return to the Champions League arena. Three teams have already qualified after four of the six rounds of games: Bayern, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus. RESTED RONALDO Seeking a win to advance along with Juventus in Group D, Atletico Madrid is well aware of the dangers of a rested Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo took some time off before the second leg of the last 16 in the Champions League last season and responded with a hat trick against the Spanish team as Juventus overturned a 2-0 deficit. Ronaldo was rested again at the weekend, for Juve’s 3-1 win at Atalanta, as he continues to recover from a knee injury. Ronaldo showed little sign of any problem while playing for Portugal in the recent European Championship qualifiers, scoring a hat trick in one match and also netting in another. Juventus is looking to secure top spot in the group with a win on Tuesday. FAVRE UNDER PRESSURE Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has little room for error ahead of the side’s trip to Barcelona on Wednesday. A win would put the German side, which is a point behind first-place Barca in Group F, through to the knockout stage, but the manner of Dortmund’s performance will have a big say in Favre’s future. Dortmund fans reacted with fury after a 3-3 draw with last-place Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Friday, berating the players after their latest lackluster performance in a signal that their patience is wearing thin. Barcelona can seal first place in the group with a win. REAL REVENGE Real Madrid can qualify from Group A — and gain a measure of revenge — by beating PSG on Tuesday. PSG overwhelmed Madrid 3-0 in Paris in September, a result that left Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane under some pressure. “We’re in better shape,” said Zidane, whose team is only behind Barcelona in the Spanish league on goal difference. “We had a tough game in Paris, but that's in the past.” Group C leader Manchester City will advance by beating Shakhtar Donetsk at home on Tuesday. Liverpool has a one-point lead over Napoli heading into their meeting Wednesday in Group E, in which Salzburg is a further four points back before its game against out-of-contention Genk. In Group H, Ajax, Chelsea and Valencia are all on seven points. Valencia hosts Chelsea on Wednesday, when Ajax travels to Lille. In Group G, Leipzig and Lyon can advance by beating Benfica and Zenit St. Petersburg, respectively, on Wednesday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 25th, 2019

Anthony Davis has big 2nd half, Lakers beat Thunder

By The Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 130-127 on Friday night (Saturday, PHL time). Davis also had 11 rebounds and seven assists, and LeBron James added 23 points and 14 assists. The Lakers have won six in a row to improve the best record in the NBA to 13-2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points and Steven Adams added 22 for the Thunder. They have lost five of six. Los Angeles guard Rajon Rondo was ejected early in the fourth quarter after a kick to Dennis Schroder’s groin area. CLIPPERS 122, ROCKETS 119 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard hit a go-ahead jumper with 15 seconds remaining to finish with 24 points and lift Los Angeles over Houston. Russell Westbrook missed at the other end and Paul George got the rebound while getting fouled. He made both free throws with 1 second left to complete a wild finish and help the Clippers improve to 10-1 at home with their fourth win in a row overall. James Harden couldn’t get a shot off on the Rockets’ final possession as time expired. George scored 19 points in his second game playing with Leonard. Lou Williams led the Clippers with 26 — all in the second half. Montrezl Harrell added 18 points. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists for the Rockets. Russell Westbrook added 22 points before fouling out late, and Clint Capela had 17 points and 19 rebounds. MAVERICKS 143, CAVALIERS 101 DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 30 points and 14 assists with former Dallas teammate Dirk Nowitzki watching as a retiree for the first time. Nowitzki stayed away for the first eight Dallas home games after setting an NBA record of 21 seasons with the same franchise while finishing last season as the highest-scoring foreign-born player in league history. The big German got a standing ovation when shown on the video board in the first quarter from his courtside seat next to owner Mark Cuban. Rookie Darius Garland scored a career-high 23 points for Cleveland. NUGGETS 96, CELTICS 92 DENVER (AP) — Jamal Murray hit two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining and scored 22 points and the Denver beat Boston in a game overshadowed by a head injury to Celtics guard Kemba Walker. Walker collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye late in the second quarter, striking Ojeleye's abdomen area head-first and going down on to the court in a heap. In a tweet, the Celtics said Walker has been diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms and was transported to a hospital for further evaluation. Nikola Jokic added 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for the Nuggets. They improved to 8-0 this season when holding an opponent to fewer than 100 points. Jaylen Brown had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics. 76ERS 115, SPURS 104 PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Tobias Harris scored 26 points, Joel Embiid had 21 points and 14 rebounds and Philadelphia handed San Antonio its eighth straight loss — the Spurs’ longest under longtime coach Gregg Popovich. Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 10 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the 76ers. San Antonio last dropped eight in a row in November 1996 under coach Bob Hill. Popovich was the team’s general manager at the time. He fired Hill later that season and began his long run of success. DeMar DeRozan had 29 points for the Spurs. JAZZ 113, WARRIORS 109 SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points and Mike Conley had 27 to help Utah beat undermanned Golden State. About 15 minutes after the game ended, the arena was evacuated because of a suspicious package. Most fans had already left the building when players, coaches and reporters were instructed to leave immediately. Jazz players quickly headed for their cars in the parking lot — center Rudy Gobert was still in uniform as he left. Warriors players boarded their team bus. Salt Lake City police Lt. Carlos Valencia said the suspicious package was a shoebox discovered under a table at a restaurant in the northeast corner of the arena. He said the call came in from a uniformed officer working part-time at the game, and the sellout crowd was already starting to leave when the evacuation began. Arena bomb dogs went near the package and got a hit on it, Valencia said. Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points for the Jazz, and Gobert had 19 rebounds and seven blocks. Alec Burks scored 20 points for the Warriors. PISTONS 128, HAWKS 103 DETROIT (AP) — Andre Drummond had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Detroit had its highest-scoring first half since 1983. Detroit led 76-57 at halftime, and the Pistons reached 100 points with over 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. t was the most points in the first half for the Pistons since they scored 77 on Dec. 2, 1983, also against the Hawks. Atlanta has dropped five straight, and the Hawks allowed at least 120 points for the eighth game in a row. Blake Griffin scored 24 points. DeAndre’ Bembry led Atlanta with 22 points. WIZARDS 125, HORNETS 118 WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal had 30 points and 12 assists, Thomas Bryant added 21 points and 11 rebounds and Washington overcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Charlotte. Davis Bertans had 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers to help the Wizards win two in a row for the first time this season. Miles Bridges scored a career-high 31 points for Charlotte. HEAT 116, BULLS 108 CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 27 points against his former team and Miami beat Chicago for its fifth straight victory. Butler played for the Bulls from 2011-17. He was 7 of 10 from the field and had seven assists and five rebounds. Bam Adebayo added 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Kendrick Nunn scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter to help Miami improve to 11-3. Zach Lavine led the Bulls with 15 points. NETS 116, KINGS 97 NEW YORK (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points and Joe Harris added 22 in Brooklyn’s victory over Sacramento. Garrett Temple finished with 18 points, Jared Allen had 11 points and nine rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan added 10 rebounds. Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 18 points. Buddy Hield had 16......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 23rd, 2019

UAAP 82: Adamson rookie Sabandal feeling bittersweet his career-high came in a loss

ANTIPOLO - Adamson University has lost seven of its last eight games in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament. The latest of which was a close one as the Soaring Falcons bowed to University of Sto. Tomas, Saturday at Ynares Center here. Still, they had a silver lining in the form of rookie Joem Sabandal who scored a career-best 18 points to go along with ix rebounds in just 17 minutes of play. For the prized prospect, though, there was nothing to celebrate about his career game. "50-50 e kasi yun nga, best game ko, pero talo," he told reporters post-game. Without a doubt, though, the fact that Sabandal is getting into his groove is nothing but a welcome development for the San Marcelino-based squad. This, after frustrations personally piled up for him. "Sobra rin akong na-frustrate before this kasi nga nung preseason, ang ganda ng pinakita ko tapos after ng first game this season, injury na naman," he said, talking about the left hand fracture he sustained early in the tournament that kept him out for the rest of the first round of eliminations. He then continued, "Naniwala na lang ako kay Lord na okay lang yun at may plano siya sa akin. Magtratrabaho lang talaga ako." The 5-foot-11 guard did just that once he was cleared to return. "Paggaling sa injury, nagtrabaho talaga ako. As in, nagpapraktis kami ng umaga tapos nage-extra shots ako ng gabi para yung kundisyon ko, bumalik talaga," he shared. He then continued, "Yung pagiging aggressive ko sa loob, yun yung hinahanap ni coach Franz [Pumaren] sa akin. Nag-pay off naman." Indeed, together with Jerom Lastimosa, Sabandal showed just how fearsome the Adamson backcourt would be in the foreseeable future as they went toe-to-toe with the Growling Tigers' own awesome twosome of Mark Nonoy and Renzo Subido. Nonetheless, he is also well aware that he has a long way to go before being back to the player who made the Mythical Team in last year's UAAP Jrs. and led the Baby Falcons' return to relevance. As he put it, "Process pa rin 'to. Trabaho pa rin dapat." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 26th, 2019

Coach Franz: Adamson s still gonna make it to the UAAP 82 Final Four

Adamson University put up a fight, but ultimately bowed to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University last Wednesday. "I guess it shows there's no substitute for championship experience - Ateneo showed that today," head coach Franz Pumaren told reporters. "That's why they're on top - because they have poise down the stretch." Still, the fact of the matter is that the Soaring Falcons are just the second team to lose only in single-digits to the Blue Eagles. "(Our) effort was great today," their mentor expressed. At the same time, though, that effort was what was missing as of late for the San Marcelino-based squad which has now lost four straight. "If we would have played like that in the past games, I don't think we'd be in this situation," Coach Franz said. Nonetheless, Adamson remains upbeat about its chances - even though they stand at joint sixth in the standings. As their shot-caller put it, "If you look at the scenarios right now in the UAAP, almost all of the teams, except Ateneo, they're on par with each other." That is exactly why Coach Franz only has full faith that he will be guiding the Soaring Falcons in the playoffs for the fourth season in a row. "I think this is expected being a young team, pero I was telling them nga, we don't need to panic. This is just probably a hump that we have to go through," he shared. He then continued, "The way I look at it, we're still gonna make it to the Final Four. I'm confident about that." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 10th, 2019

Real Madrid stays top after 0-0 derby draw with Atl├ętico

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid stayed top of the Spanish league after a 0-0 draw with derby rival Atlético Madrid on Saturday. The lackluster encounter at Atlético's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium benefited two-time champion Barcelona, which won 2-0 at Getafe to move within two points of the leader. Real Madrid stayed one point ahead of Atlético and promoted Granada, which defeated Leganés 1-0 for its fourth win in seven matches. Real Sociedad can take the lead on Sunday if it defeats eighth-place Sevilla. There were few chances in the Madrid derby. Atlético's best opportunity came less than 10 minutes into the match when teenage forward João Félix went close following a counterattack. Goalkeeper Jan Oblak came to the rescue for the home side with a reflex save denying Karim Benzema's 75th-minute header. The result extended Atlético's four-year winless streak at home against Real in the league. Atlético has won only one of its last 19 home games against Real in the league, with the sole victory coming in February 2015. Real's 3-1 victory at the Wanda last season was Atlético's only defeat in its last 24 home games in the league. It was the first match between the rivals since Atlético stunned Real 7-3 in a friendly in the United States in July. TER STEGEN ASSIST Barcelona overcame the absence of the injured Lionel Messi to beat Getafe, with Luis Suárez scoring off a long pass from goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen. Junior Firpo also netted for Barcelona, which had defender Clement Lenglet sent off for a bad foul on 82 minutes. Ter Stegen set up Suárez's opening goal in the 41st after leaving his area to stop a breakaway. He controlled the ball with his chest before sending it up field to leave Suárez in a one-on-one situation against Getafe goalkeeper David Soria. The Uruguay striker then calmly lobbed Soria for his third goal of the season. "Let's not fool ourselves, I saw him, but not that clearly," Ter Stegen said with a smile. "It was perfect timing and Luis took advantage of it. It was a wonderful goal." Firpo scored his first goal for Barcelona from close range in the 49th after being set up by Carles Pérez, Messi's replacement up front. It was the first away win for Barcelona, and its first league game without conceding. "It you want to win the league you need to win these difficult away matches," coach Ernesto Valverde said. Messi was out again after injuring his left abductor muscle in the first half of Barcelona's 2-1 win against Villarreal on Tuesday, his first start of the season following a long layoff because of a right calf injury sustained in pre-season. Valverde was also without Ousmane Dembele because of a muscle problem. Getafe, which dropped to 11th, had been unbeaten since a loss at Atlético in its league opener. ATHLETIC FALLS Valencia ended Athletic Bilbao's unbeaten streak with a 1-0 away victory. Denís Cheryshev scored for Valencia, which ended a three-game winless streak. Athletic and Real Madrid were the only unbeaten teams going into the weekend. Athletic hadn't lost at home in 14 consecutive matches. Valencia had conceded nine goals in its previous three league games. "I liked how the players responded," Valencia coach Albert Celades said. "We were coming off a sequence of very difficult matches. They put in a great effort.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2019

UAAP 82: Coach Franz hoping young Adamson follows lead of Chauca

Adamson University was at the wrong end of a statement win to start the season from defending champion Ateneo de Manila University. Still, in an 18-point loss, the Soaring Falcons had a ray of light. And it was a ray of light that seemingly came out of nowhere as one-and-done player Valandre Chauca fronted the effort for the San Marcelino-based squad with 17 points and four assists off the bench. That is exactly why Adamson remains upbeat about its chances even after suffering a setback to commence its campaign. After all, they were the grand winners in the so-called sweepstakes for the Filipino-Peruvian guard. "Actually, there were a lot of schools who were interested in him. He fell into my lap. He saw (our) games on YouTube so he wants to follow me," head coach Franz Pumaren said. He then continued, "We hit the jackpot (with) him. He's a one-and-done player that you can really invest in." Indeed, with the Soaring Falcons having trouble getting going, it was Chauca who energized and gave life to them, rallying them to as near as five inside the last five minutes. "Well, that's why he's here with us," his mentor said of his effort afterward. More than on-court production, though, coach Franz is actually leaning on the 24-year-old playmaker to steady the ship of this young squad. As he put it, "He can help the younger guys, he can nurture the younger guys. He can be their mentor so that's why he's a welcome addition to us." For reference, Adamson has nine first-year players in its 16-man lineup. Even better, Chauca will only be better moving forward. "He only started practicing with us (five) days ago to be exact. Prior to that, he was gone for two months, finishing his degree so it was just his (sixth) day coming from the States, but no jetlag," the Adamson shot-caller said. He then continued, "I'm expecting more of him in leading this team." --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 5th, 2019

NCAA 95: Nzeusseu, JVM save day as LPU shoos away Perpetual

Jayson David's assist, Mike Nzeusseu's basket, and Jayvee Marcelino's block all worked wonders as Lyceum of the Philippines University fought off motivated home team University of Perpetual Help, 87-85, in a thrilling tiff, Thursday at the latter's school gym in Las Pinas. The Pirates needed each and every one of those three plays to put a stop to the Altas furious fightback while also powering through to their fourth win in a row and fifth overall in six games in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament. "Jayson could have easily taken the shot and been the hero, but that's what's special about this team - everybody's just trying to make everybody look good," a beaming head coach Topex Robinson said post-game. The visitors actually looked like they were on their way to convincing victory, up by 13 at the end of three. Boosted by its home crowd, however, Perps got going in the final frame as Jeff Egan energized it into tying the tally at 85-all with two minutes remaining. "We have to give credit to Perps for showing school pride with the way they played. At the end of the day, it was a really nice game," coach Topex said. The two teams then traded defensive stops until, with under 10 ticks to go, Jaycee Marcelino tossed the ball to David in the baseline who then found Nzeusseu down low. The Cameroonian powerhouse then willed what proved to be the game-winner through Ben Adamos. No panic. Just automatic. This is the game-winner by Mike Nzeusseu as LPU edges out home team Perps! #NCAASeason95 pic.twitter.com/WDydkD9HWM — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) August 8, 2019 Perpetual still had 0.9 seconds left to make something happen, but Edgar Charcos' jumper was rejected by JVM. ????@jvcm19 tells Edgar Charcos! Marcelino seals the deal for LPU! #NCAASeason95 pic.twitter.com/G3LVbEKLkB — Normie Riego (@riegogogo) August 8, 2019 In the end, Nzeusseu topped the scoring column for LPU with 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds while JVM also added nine markers, four assists, three boards, and the biggest block of the game. Flanking them were Reymar Caduyac and JCM as the former finished with 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals while the latter ended with 13 markers, seven boards, and four dimes. For the Altas, Charcos showed the way with 16 points and six assists while Adamos also added 15 markers and six boards. Jielo Razon and Egan chipped in 13 points apiece which were still far from enough from preventing their fourth loss in the last five games after back-to-back wins to start the season. BOX SCORES LPU 87 - Nzeusseu 18, Caduyac 14, Marcelino JC 14, Marcelino JV 9, Tansingco 8, Valdez 8, David 7, Santos 5, Navarro 3, Guinto 2, Ibanez 0, Yong 0, Pretta 0, Remulla 0 PERPETUAL 85 - Charcos 16, Adamos 155, Razon 13, Egan 13, Aurin 7, Peralta 6, Barasi 4, Tamayo 3, Martel 2, Cuevas 2, Lanoy 2, Sevilla 2, Giussani 0 QUARTER SCORES: 25-16, 43-37, 74-61, 87-85 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2019

San Beda opens NCAA 95 title defense vs Arellano; LPU, Letran do battle

Games on Sunday at MOA Arena 2:00 p.m. - Letran vs LPU 4:00 p.m. - San Beda vs Arellano San Beda University's quest for a four-peat in the NCAA 95 Men's Basketball Tournament will commence opposite a familiar face. The Red Lions open their title defense on Sunday at MOA Arena against an Arellano University side now coached by Cholo Martin. Coach Cholo had been an assistant with the red and white for over a decade and will now guide the Chiefs who are looking to pull off a shocker at 4:00 p.m. The veteran mentor will have a hungry Kent Salado as well as Rence Alcoriza and Archie Concepcion at his disposal against a San Beda outfit now led by second-year studs James Canlas and Evan Nelle, but still also has Clint Doliguez, Calvin Oftana, and Donald Tankoua. As always, all of the action will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. Before that, though, there will be an early clash of the titans between Lyceum of the Philippines University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran at 2:00 p.m. The Pirates and the Knights both lost their dynamic duos in CJ Perez-MJ Ayaay and Bong Quinto-JP Calvo, respectively, but nonetheless remain heavyweights with the maroon and grey now led by the Marcelino twins and the blue and red now led by Jerrick Balanza and Larry Muyang. The first day of Season 95 of the first and oldest collegiate league in the Philippines will begin with a grand opening ceremony at 12:00 p.m. --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 6th, 2019

EAC turning over a new leaf for NCAA 95

HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 4-14, 9th YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: JP Maguliano, Jethro Mendoza WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Dom Dayrit, Marwin Taywan, Oliver Bunyi (coach) GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Juju Bautista, Maui Cruz, Jerome Garcia, Hamadou Laminou, Ariel Sison (coach) WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM EAC? The last remnants of the last EAC team to contend are no longer here – meaning Juju Bautista, Jerome Garcia, and Hamadou Laminou have all played their last games in red and white. The same goes for Ariel Sison, the Generals’ mentor for the last three seasons who has now handed over the reins to Oliver Bunyi, a coaching veteran who has valuable experience from his time as an assistant for the very first Gilas Pilipinas, the San Miguel Beermen in the ABL, and GlobalPort (now NorthPort) in the PBA. Without a doubt, EAC will be brand new for NCAA Season 95 – and that may very well be a good thing for a team that is yet to break through to the Final Four since joining the league in 2009. In this new era, coach Oliver will call on a couple of second-year contributors to take the next step and become the faces of San Marcelino. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but both JP Maguliano and Jethro Mendoza have long flashed glimpses they can be just that. WHO IS/ARE THE PLAYER/S TO WATCH OUT FOR FROM EAC? Maguliano memorably introduced himself with a 30-point, 17-rebound in EAC’s upset win against San Sebastian College-Recoletos last season. Since then, the 6-foot-3 forward has continued being a workhorse and opened even more eyes in the 2019 PBA D-League and then the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament. For his part, Mendoza was a seldom-used guard who nonetheless showed potential to be a scoring machine and in the developmental league and preseason, he top-scored for the Generals more than a few times. WHY SHOULD WE ROOT FOR EAC? EAC has been seeing action in the NCAA for the last decade and has only sniffed the playoffs a couple of times. If there is a long-suffering team in the first and oldest collegiate league in the country, that is none other than the Generals. “I’m very positive, but we’re not satisfied. I know that if we work together, there’s a possibility for us to win big games. I just expect my players to always give perfect effort.” – head coach Oliver Bunyi As they set off into a new era, they remain hopeful for that elusive breakthrough – and we will all be right there celebrating with them if and when they break through, at long last. WHERE WOULD EAC BE AT THE END OF NCAA SEASON 95? That breakthrough, however, will not be in NCAA Season 95 as EAC is still in the first phase of its rebuild. “Our best might not be enough against the others’ best this season, but I believe we’ll eventually catch up with them.” – head coach Oliver Bunyi The hope for the Generals, as of this moment, is to have more players join Maguliano and Mendoza as their building blocks for future contention. WHEN IS EAC’S FIRST GAME IN NCAA SEASON 95? EAC plans to gift coach Oliver with his first win in just his first game calling the shots when they go up against College of St. Benilde on July 9 at Filoil Flying V Centre. As always, the latest season of the first and oldest collegiate league in the country will be on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23, ABS-CBN S+A HD Channel 166, LIGA SkyCable Channel 86, LIGA HD SkyCable Channel 183, iWant and livestream. HERE’S WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE NINE OTHER TEAMS IN NCAA SEASON 95: Young guns to be wind beneath JRU’s wings for NCAA 95 --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 28th, 2019

Barcelona s fall highlights team s Messi-dependency

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — If Lionel Messi doesn't come to the rescue for Barcelona, no one will. The Argentina forward has saved Barcelona time and time again over his career, coming up with extraordinary goals and incredible assists that have led the club to dozens of titles over the years. And it was his remarkable performance in the first leg of the Champions League semifinals against Liverpool that helped Barcelona overcome an off-night by the rest of the team. Messi scored two goals last week to put Barcelona in position to make it to the final for the first time in four years. But when Barcelona struggled again collectively in the second leg, Messi wasn't able to turn things around. Liverpool reversed the 3-0 loss from the Camp Nou with a spectacular 4-0 win at Anfield, extending Barcelona's European title drought for yet another year. The loss highlighted Barcelona's dependency on Messi, who put in a solid performance but couldn't produce any more epic goals to keep the team in the tournament. "We shouldn't blame anybody," Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "We are a team in the good situations and in the bad situations. In the end, it's the coach who has to bear the responsibility." Catalan sports daily Sport called Barcelona's defeat "the worst ridicule in the history" of the club, saying the result in England was "unforgivable." A video reproduced online by Spanish media showed what appeared to be Barcelona fans verbally confronting the team's players at the airport in Liverpool after the match. Valverde rested Messi more than ever this season, knowing how crucial he could be in the decisive moments of the season. He had been key to the team in several occasions, either deciding games as a starter or when coming off the bench. The Argentina playmaker was rattled by Liverpool players from the start on Tuesday, at one point having his head shoved by defender Andrew Robertson as he prepared to get off the ground. Messi had a few good moments, though, including two great throughballs that Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez squandered in front of the goal. Philippe Coutinho also had an opportunity off an assist from Messi but couldn't capitalize on it. Messi missed a good chance himself, one that he would not normally miss, with the ball by his feet inside the area, but he couldn't get a shot on goal. Still, he had the most attempts for Barcelona, with two being stopped by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker. Barcelona had been mostly outplayed against Liverpool in the first leg, but Messi still scored twice to give his team the advantage. It was Ousmane Dembele who had the chance to add to Barcelona's result in that match, failing to score in a late counterattack that was started by Messi. The defense also faltered at Anfield, with Alba's mistakes being mostly to blame for two of Liverpool's goals. Barcelona also couldn't survive Messi's ordinary performance in the team's elimination against Roma last season, when it squandered a three-goal first-half advantage in the quarterfinals. "What hurts the most is that it has happened again," Valverde said. "I think it will take a long time for us to put this behind us." It had been a nearly perfect season for Messi and Barcelona so far, with the playmaker putting up some of the best numbers of his career and the club reaching the final stretch of the season with a chance to win the treble. Barcelona has already won the Spanish league, and it has a chance to win the Copa del Rey in a final against Valencia on May 25. But there will be no fifth Champions League trophy this year for Messi, who had promised at the beginning of the season "to do everything we can to bring that beautiful and coveted cup" back to Barcelona. Maybe next year......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Arsenal, Chelsea in strong positions in Europa League semis

By Steve Douglas, Associated Press The possibility of an all-English final in the Europa League grew likelier after Arsenal and Chelsea moved into strong positions in the semifinals on Thursday. Arsenal will take a 3-1 lead into the second leg against Valencia after coming from behind through two goals by France striker Alexandre Lacazette and a 90th-minute volley from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Emirates Stadium. Chelsea also rallied to earn a 1-1 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt, with Pedro Rodriguez scoring the potentially crucial away goal in Germany to extend his team's unbeaten run in the competition to 16 games — a record. Neither Arsenal nor Chelsea is guaranteed a top-four finish in the Premier League, which earns automatic qualification for next season's Champions League. Winning the Europa League also offers that reward, which is why the teams have taken the competition seriously. The final is in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29. It had previously been a disappointing week in Europe for English clubs, with Tottenham and Liverpool losing the first legs of their Champions League semifinals against Ajax (1-0) and Barcelona (3-0), respectively. MR. EUROPA LEAGUE A three-time winner of the competition with Sevilla, Unai Emery is on course for another Europa League final in his first season at Arsenal. He has his lethal strike partnership to thank for that. The potency of Lacazette and Aubameyang continues to make up for Arsenal's weakness at the back, which was exposed again when Valencia took the lead off a corner in the 11th minute. A delivery to the far post was headed back across the face of goal by Rodrigo, and Mouctar Diakhaby rose above Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka to nod in from close range. Arsenal has been saving its best performances for the Europa League of late — back-to-back wins over Napoli in the quarterfinals were followed by three straight losses in the Premier League — and the English team hit back almost immediately through Lacazette in the 18th. He played in Aubameyang with a superb through-ball and was then on hand to receive a squared pass from his fellow striker to stroke the ball into an empty net from the edge of the area. Lacazette made it 2-1 eight minutes later when his header from Xhaka's first-time cross could only be palmed over the goal line by Valencia goalkeeper Neto. Lacazette missed out on a hat trick by wasting two clear-cut chances in the second half, but Aubameyang gave Arsenal a two-goal cushion heading into the second leg next Thursday by volleying home at the far post from Sead Kolasinac's floated cross. "I hope that third goal will be important," Aubameyang said. "We started a bit nervous because we lost the last three games, I think that's normal. We are human, but after that we had a good reaction." LOFTUS-CHEEK IMPRESSES With Eden Hazard only starting on the bench, Chelsea needed another player to be its attacking inspiration and it proved to be Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The powerfully built England midfielder has had to bide his time this season, with Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley often starting ahead of him, but he has forced his way into the starting lineup in recent weeks and was Chelsea's best player in Frankfurt with his passing and runs from deep. Fittingly, it was Loftus-Cheek who set up Pedro's 45th-minute goal, shrugging off a couple of defenders and laying the ball off to the Spanish winger, who shifted it onto his left foot and swept in a finish from 15 yards (meters). That canceled out Frankfurt's opener from Serbia striker Luka Jovic, who glanced in Filip Kostic's cross for his ninth goal of this season's competition — a tally bettered only by Chelsea's Olivier Giroud. Chelsea defender David Luiz struck a free kick against the crossbar in the second half but the visitors were hanging on near the end, with Sebastian Rode heading over from close range and Giroud getting away with a handball in his own area. The video assistant referee system is not being used in this season's Europa League until the final. "I think, in the end, we deserved the win," said Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri, who is looking to win his first trophy in 29 years as a coach. "But 1-1 away is not so bad.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 3rd, 2019

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 3rd, 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 3rd, 2017