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

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

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

Ex-Man United manager Van Gaal says he may not coach again

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Former Manchester United, Barcelona and Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal may never return to coaching. The 65-year-old Dutchman has not led a team since being fired by Manchester United in May. That disappointing two-year tenure followed one of his greatest triumphs, leading the Netherlands to the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Van Gaal, coaching for more than 30 years, was taking a break after being axed by Manchester 'but now I don't believe I will return to the coaching profession,' he told Dutch daily De Telegraaf in a story published on Tuesday. Van Gaal led Ajax to the Champions League title in 1995 and led Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and AZ Alkmaar to domestic league titles. He says he has nothing left to prove. 'I actually wanted to stop after the (2014) World Cup,' he said, 'But then suddenly an offer came from England and that was an amazing country that was missing from my CV.' Van Gaal said that since his departure from Manchester United he could have gone to coach in China, but decided to stay in the Netherlands for family reasons. The outspoken coach also criticized the recent decision by FIFA to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, saying the new format 'will be terrible for the best teams and the worst teams that have to play each other.' .....»»

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

Patriots face different Steelers team with healthy Big Ben

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

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

Texans left with QB questions after divisional playoff loss

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

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

Jokic scores career-high 30, Nuggets beat Magic

em>By Pat Graham, Associated Press /em> DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored a career-high 30 points, Emmanuel Mudiay dished out a career-best 13 assists and the Denver Nuggets followed up their 'home' win in London with another at the Pepsi Center, beating the Orlando Magic 125-112 on Monday (Tuesday, PHL time). Jokic also grabbed 11 rebounds and Kenneth Faried scored 20 points for the Nuggets, who certainly packed their surging offense with them when they returned home from London. They routed Indiana 140-112 last Thursday (Friday, PHL time) in England and remained on that sort of shooting streak, hitting a season-high 58.4 percent from the floor. They also had 33 assists. Elfrid Payton scored 20 points and had 12 assists as the Magic fell to 1-4 on their current six-game trip. Denver arrived home from London late on Friday (Saturday, PHL time), took Saturday off (Sunday, PHL time) and then went through an intense practice Sunday (Monday, PHL time) designed to shake any sort of lingering jet lag. 'Now, it's mental,' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said before the game. 'Can you push all that tiredness and fatigue and jet lag out of you mind?' They certain did. Up 69-63 early in the third quarter, the Nuggets pulled away with a 16-2 run. The Magic cut into a 22-point deficit, but Faried put the game way with an emphatic dunk with 1:28 remaining. The officials operated with a two-person crew after Nick Buchert was a late scratch for personal reasons. It really didn't seem to be an issue for Tom Washington and Justin VanDuyne, who were never really out of position. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Magic: /strong> /em> G/F Evan Fournier was out with a bruised right heel. C Nikola Vucevic scored 17 points, and the Magic had seven players in double figures. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> G Gary Harris suffered a sprained right ankle early in the first quarter and didn't return. X-rays were negative. Jokic had five assists. He entered the game averaging 3.9, which is fourth-best among centers. strong>ALL-STAR ATTENTION? /strong> Although Jokic is averaging 13.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists, Malone doesn't expect his big man to be in All-Star consideration just yet. That has to do with Denver's sub-.500 record and not his play. 'Unless you're winning, I don't think you're going to be in the conversation,' Malone said. 'With that being said, everybody in the NBA knows Nikola and what he brings to the table. He's probably one of the most fun players to watch.' strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Magic: /strong> /em> At New Orleans on Wednesday night (Thursday, PHL time) for the sixth and final game of this trip. em> strong>Nuggets: /strong> /em> At Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). The Nuggets are 1-6 in the second game of a back-to-back this season. .....»»

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

I'll have the usual: Patriots advance to AFC title game

JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — Short nights and short offseasons. It's the Patriot way. New England has advanced to the AFC championship game for a record sixth year in a row and the 11th time in 16 seasons. With one more win, the Patriots (15-2) would play in their seventh Super Bowl since 2001. To find out who was still in their way, they had to wait for the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 18-16 on Sunday. That's also something they've grown accustomed to in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. 'It was a long night — or a short night, however you want to look at it,' Belichick told reporters on Sunday, about 13 hours after beating the Houston Texans 34-16. 'We have people on our staff that work on our next opponent, just like we always do. This one's a little tougher because we're working on two teams instead of one, but they've just worked harder and gotten it done.' Brady completed 18 of 38 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns in the divisional-round victory over Houston, but he also threw two interceptions — as many as he had all season. Dion Lewis had three touchdowns — one running, one on a pass reception and a 98-yard kickoff return — but fumbled another return and helped the Texans stay in the game. So the Patriots don't have to look too far to find things to work on this week. 'There are some things I could do a lot better on, protect the ball. I put my team in jeopardy,' said Lewis, who is the first player in the Super Bowl era to score on a run, catch and kickoff in the playoffs. 'We have a lot of work to do. We made a lot of mistakes. I'm glad we got a win, but in order to advance next week, we've got to play a lot better.' Brady was also focusing on improving. 'I think we've just got to learn from it,' he said. 'It was a lot of things, and then when you add our poor execution on top of that, then you add our turnovers on top of that, it doesn't feel great because we worked pretty hard to play a lot better than we played. 'I give them a lot of credit, but we're going to have to play better on offense. We expect to go out and have a good week and try to fix the things that we saw tonight, and then try to play better next weekend.' Brady, 39, overcame his four-game 'Deflategate' suspension to propel himself into the Most Valuable Player discussion while throwing for 28 touchdowns in the regular season and just two interceptions — the best ratio in NFL history. He has not missed the playoffs in a healthy season since 2002, and his 11 appearances in the conference title game is a record for any player. Saturday's win gave Belichick the record for coaching appearances in a conference championship, his 11th, breaking a tie with Dallas' Tom Landry. 'It's really a testament to this organization,' said New England defensive back Duron Harmon, who had one of three interceptions of Houston's Brock Osweiler. 'The work we continue to put in, how hard the coaches continue to push us. It's just a testament, it's very rarely done, and I'm just excited to be a part of something like this because there's not too many places that win like this.' .....»»

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

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer br /> KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

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

Steelers hold off Chiefs on Boswell's 6 field goals, 18-16

BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer   KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Who needs to reach the end zone when you have Le'Veon Bell chewing up yards and the clock, and Chris Boswell setting an NFL playoff record with six field goals? Throw in a stingy Pittsburgh defense for most of Sunday night, and a multitude of mistakes by Kansas City, and the Steelers' 18-16 victory sent them into the AFC championship game. The Steelers (13-5) needed to hold off a last-ditch threat by the Chiefs (12-5) before advancing to face New England next Sunday night for a spot in the Super Bowl. The Patriots won at Pittsburgh 27-16, but Ben Roethlisberger was injured and didn't play. Spencer Ware's 1-yard touchdown run took Kansas City within 18-16. The Chiefs at first converted the 2-pointer to tie it, but tackle Eric Fisher — the first overall selection in the 2013 draft — was penalized for holding. The next try failed. With 2:43 remaining, Justin Gilbert misplayed the kick return and was tackled at the Pittsburgh 5. Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 7 yards on third down and Pittsburgh then ran out the clock, securing a ninth straight victory for the Steelers. The Chiefs have not won a home playoff game since 1994, losing five in a row. The scoring started furiously in the opening minutes, then the game became a kicking exhibition by Boswell, who also had six field goals in the regular season against Cincinnati. And Bell put on a virtuoso running performance, patiently finding holes and then exploding through them. He added a team-record 170 yards rushing to the 167 he had in a win over Miami last week. The Steelers became first team to win a playoff game without a TD since eventual Super Bowl champion Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC divisional round at Baltimore. Using a no-huddle attack almost to perfection early on, the Steelers drove deep into Kansas City territory. But they bogged down inside the 5 and Boswell made a 22-yard field goal. The Chiefs were just as efficient on a six-play march capped by receiver Albert Wilson lining up in the backfield, then slipping uncovered into the end zone for a 5-yard score. Pittsburgh's answer came on a 52-yard heave to All-Pro Brown, who somehow was covered by linebacker Justin Houston. That led to Boswell's second field goal, a 38-yarder. He added a 36-yarder to cap a 14-play drive on which Pittsburgh again barely huddled. A clean game up until then turned to, well, turnovers, on successive series. Bud Dupree pounded Alex Smith, whose pass shot high into the air and was caught by linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Steelers got to the Kansas City 5, where Frank Zombo leaped to deflect Roethlisberger's throw, and All-Pro safety Eric Berry — burned for 26 yards on the previously play — picked it off in the end zone. Boswell's fourth field goal, from 45 yards, made it 12-7 at the half. His 43-yarder, setting the franchise record for a postseason game and tying the league mark of five, came on Pittsburgh's first series of the second half. A 43-yarder midway in the fourth quarter gave Boswell the NFL record. Kansas City's Cairo Santos got in on the kicking act with a 48-yarder to make it 15-10. At that point, 10 seconds from the end of the third quarter, the Chiefs were outgained 333 yards to 150. .....»»

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

Liverpool frustrated with FIFA over Matip eligibility

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guardiola virtually concedes title after heavy loss for City

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

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

Storm beats McIlroy on 3rd playoff hole to win SA Open

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Graeme Storm beat Rory McIlroy on the third playoff hole to win the SA Open at the Glendower Golf Club on Sunday. England's Storm held a three-shot overnight lead but was caught by the Northern Irishman who shot a 68 in the final round to finish joint top on 18-under-par 270. Jordan Smith of England was a shot back in third ahead of a trio of South African players. Dean Burmester was fourth on 273, one stroke ahead of Thomas Aiken and Trevor Fisher, Jnr. .....»»

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

Texans couldn't avoid mistakes in 34-16 loss to Patriots

JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer br /> FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts (AP) — Jadeveon Clowney arrived at his stall in the visitors' locker room on Saturday night to find a swarm of reporters talking to fellow defensive lineman — and former Patriot — Vince Wilfork next door. 'Excuse me!' Clowney shouted, over and over again, unable to get a television camera to move out of his way before he uttered an expletive and found another place to change out of the uniform he won't need any more this season. It was that kind of a day for the Texans, who made their presence felt but couldn't stop New England from winning 34-16 to advance to the AFC championship game for the sixth straight year. 'We held our own for a while,' Houston offensive lineman Duane Brown said, noting that the Texans trailed by four points at halftime and eight heading into the fourth quarter. 'We had a lot of self-inflicted mistakes that cost us.' Brock Osweiler threw three interceptions , the defense allowed Tom Brady to throw for 287 yards on a night he was picked off twice, and the Patriots also scored on a 98-yard kickoff return to move one win from their seventh Super Bowl appearance since 2001. The Texans return to Houston with an AFC South title and a first-round victory over Oakland but also a measure of how far they have to go to compete with the conference's best. 'Any time you don't end your season with a Super Bowl championship, you're going to be disappointed. And I'm certainly disappointed,' Osweiler said. 'The one thing I will say is that I think it's easy to point out the negative, especially on offense, of what has taken place this year. But I think there was also a lot of great things that took place that we can certainly build on in the future.' Houston coach Bill O'Brien said after the game that he had no intention of leaving, despite rumors that he is at odds with management. 'I'll be back next season. I'll be the Texans coach. I have a five-year contract. This is Year 3,' he said. 'But, like I've also said, I've got to do a better job. ... It starts with me. I don't point fingers; I look in the mirror. I look right, square in the mirror.' The Texans sacked Brady twice, with Clowney hitting him several times — always a bit too late, and once drawing a flag for roughing the passer. Brady's two interceptions were as many as he threw all season. 'That was the game plan going in, to try to hit him as much as possible,' defensive end Christian Covington said. 'At the end of the day, it didn't count for anything.' Wilfork, 35, had openly discussed retirement and received a farewell cheer from the opposing fans when he was shown on the scoreboard in the final seconds. He responded with a wave, then struggled to get off the field as one Patriot after another came to wish him well. But afterward, Wilfork said he hadn't decided yet whether he was done. 'I will take my time and think about it. I think I have played my last NFL football game,' he said. 'It doesn't change the fact that I enjoyed every bit of my career.' Wilfork spent 11 years in New England and the last two in Houston. He won two Super Bowls with the Patriots and made the playoffs in all but one season of his career. Asked if it was a special moment to get a going-away cheer from the Patriots fans, he said, 'It's never special to lose.' .....»»

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

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

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

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

Packers confident facing Cowboys without injured Nelson

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

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

2-time Ryder Cup captain John Jacobs dies at 91

div>VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) — John Jacobs, the captain of the first European Ryder Cup team and a tour official on the continent, has died. He was 91. /div> div>  /div> div>The European Tour announced the death of its 'founding father' on Friday. A cause was not provided. /div> div>  /div> div>Jacobs played for Britain at the 1955 Ryder Cup in California and was instrumental in later bringing together Europe and Britain. /div> div>  /div> div>In 1979, Jacobs was captain of the first Ryder Cup team that included players from continental Europe, including Seve Ballesteros. /div> div>  /div> div>Jacobs championed the expansion of golf, and the first European Tour event was staged in 1972. /div> div>  /div> div>Jacobs was also one of the most popular golf teachers. The tour said Jacobs revolutionized coaching 'through his innovative philosophies based on ball flight, club face alignment and swing path.' /div>.....»»

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

Man United says Lyon bid for Memphis Depay not reasonable

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

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

Guardiola: Kompany could return, Jesus transfer not complete

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

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

AC Milan beats Torino to set up Cup meeting with Juventus

MILAN (AP) — AC Milan came back from a goal down to beat Torino 2-1 on Thursday and set up a meeting with Juventus in the Italian Cup quarterfinals. After Andrea Belotti put Torino ahead, Juraj Kucka and Giacomo Bonaventura responded for Milan in a three-minute span of the second half. 'We were slow in the first half. In the second we accelerated and the pace of the match slowed down, enabling our quality to emerge,' Bonaventura said. Milan has beaten Juventus twice this season, once in Serie A and more recently on penalties in the Italian Super Cup last month, while Juventus defeated Milan in last season's Italian Cup final. Juventus eliminated Atalanta 3-2 on Wednesday. It was a tale of two halves at San Siro Stadium. Torino dominated the opening period and Belotti finished off a swift counterattack, beating Milan's 17-year-old goalkeeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, with one touch. It was a measure of revenge for Belotti, who had a penalty saved in stoppage time of a 3-2 loss on the Serie A opening weekend in August. Shortly after the hour mark, Kucka equalized by redirecting in a cross near the far post and then Bonaventura connected on a volley from the center of the area to beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart. Hart was playing with his head in a bandage by that point, having taken a boot to the face from Milan forward Gianluca Lapadula. Donnarumma restored order with Belotti by denying the Italy forward of a potential equalizer with his boot in the 69th, and Torino ended with 10 men when Antonio Barreca picked up his second yellow. Lapadula dribbled past Hart in added time but had his shot cleared off the line by Torino defender Emiliano Moretti. On Monday, Milan visits Torino in Serie A. .....»»

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