Second-half latest: Chelsea 1 Stoke 0 – Blues heading towards three points

first_imgChelsea remain on course for victory over Stoke City thanks to Bertrand Traore’s brilliant first-half strike.Traore, playing up front because of a tendon injury to Diego Costa, turned sharply 25 yards from goal following a Nemanja Matic pass and crashed the ball in to the far corner from the edge of the box.Stoke came close to levelling soon after the restart when Marco Arnautovic tested Thibaut Courtois with a fierce shot from distance, while the Belgian keeper also saved well from Xherdan Shaqiri’s low strikeAt the other end the impressive Eden Hazard – on his 200th Blues appearance – fired an attempt across goal following a swift break by Willian.And as the game opened up and became increasingly frantic, both sides went close.Shaqiri had a fizzing effort saved, while the outstanding Willian almost set up a second home goal on several occasions and Oscar had a strong claim for a penalty waved away by referee Mark Clattenburg after a push by Marc Muniesa.The only goal came on 39 minutes with Chelsea well on top, but Stoke had started brightly and created three good chances on the break.Courtois made a decent save from Ibrahim Afellay’s long-range strike and Mame Diouf twice wasted good shooting positions.But Chelsea started to threaten more regularly after the half-hour mark, mainly through the recalled Willian, who blasted an effort narrowly wide and also saw a shot blocked after a fine run by Hazard.The Blues and the Potters are both chasing a fourth consecutive Premier League victory. A Chelsea win would take them above Stoke in the table and could take them up to seventh place in the table.Chelsea: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Baba, Ivanovic, Cahill; Matic, Mikel; Willian, Hazard (Loftus-Cheek 63), Oscar; Traore (Remy 68).Subs: Begovic, Miazga, Clarke-Salter, Fabregas, Pato.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Jesse Lingard: Manchester United’s own finally shining at the big stage

first_img‘Manchester City have money, they have bought big players’ — Jose Mourinho has been harping the same tune for a while but there’s an unsung hero who is finally raising his game in the time of need.Jesse Lingard is the man, who is finally rising above his ‘potential talent’ tag to a ‘performer’ for Mourinho’s United.Mourinho has been very vocal in the recent weeks about how teams like Manchester City have spent millions to get a team that is becoming hard to beat. He has been stressing on the fact that the club has spent money on important players like Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku but nothing like the amount on a collective level like City. Jose’s statements had an undertone of ‘I need more money to bring better players’But despite all the talk and subtle demands his best player at the moment is the one who cost the club nothing.WATCHUnited, who pride themselves on having one of the best youth systems in the country, finally have a true Mancunian, who has been flourishing on the big stage.Lingard, now has scored his seventh goal in his last nine Premier League appearances to aid United’s 2-0 win against Everton on Sunday. The win was crucial as it ended United’s run of games without a win.7️ goals and 2️ assists in his last 9️ @PremierLeague [email protected] is on �??� and he has been speaking to #MUTV…�?�️ Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 1, 2018After breaking into the first-team squad quite early in his career, he was sent on loans at Leicester City,  Birmingham City,  Brighton and Hove Albion and Derby County. He finally returned to United in 2015 and played a decent role under Louis Van Gaal. That followed suit under Jose and this year, he has finally stitched together a series of key performances that has seen him start more games than the much fancied Armenian in Henrikh Mkhitaryan.advertisementMuch like Harry Kane at Tottenham, Lingard — a locally born player — has taken a meandering route to his current position as one of the form players in the Premier League. Yes! He’s nowhere near as deadly or prolific as the Tottenham goal-machine. Lingard’s ability to run at defenders with pace and continue trying has definitely caught Mourinho’s eye and he has been rewarded. The pocket-sized midfielder has scored some scintillating goals on his own — latest being the one against Everton on New Year’s Day but has missed some sitters as well that has costed United some crucial points.But his manager is unfazed by that and feels he has finally arrived at the big stage.”These boys, they jump or they don’t jump,” United manager Jose Mourinho said. “One thing is to be a talent, another thing is to be a very good player. Some players are not capable of making that jump, some players go from that…to normal players.”I think Jesse has made that jump. He has been more consistent, adaptable, he understands the game, the different positions. He is going in a good direction.”He has scored 10 goals this season but it is not just the number of goals Lingard is scoring that is impressive, it’s the quality of his strikes, too. His latest goal at Goodison Park a curling 25-meter (yard) shot that found the top corner. Few weeks back, he made a solo run from his own box against Watford, twisting and turning defenders before finally slotting past Heurelho Gomes to seal the game for his side.Ten goals already this season for @JesseLingard, but he’s not finished yet! �??? Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 1, 2018A difficult festive period for United had threatened to get worse on Monday. With Liverpool edging past Burnley 2-1 earlier thanks to an injury-time winner, a defeat for United at Everton hours later would have dropped Mourinho’s team below its arch rival to fourth place.But thanks to him and Anthony Martial, United climbed to second place, 12 points behind Manchester City, whose game in hand is against Watford on Tuesday.Lingard’s future at United as a first-team player is not under doubt but if Jose indeed decides to jump into the market and get an attacking player, his role as a starter will definitely be under the cloud. But as of now, the 5’7” tall attacker rolls on and will hope that his form not only helps United gain the lost touch but also book his ticket to the flight in Russia for the Three Lions in the summer.advertisementALSO WATCH:last_img read more

Lowly A’s Rally, Beat Yanks, 5-4

first_imgOAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics came out on the right side of a one-run game for a change.Ben Zobrist drew a bases-loaded walk from David Carpenter in the seventh inning to break a tie and the A’s rallied from a three-run deficit to beat the New York Yankees 5-4 on May 28.“We haven’t won many games like that this year,” starter Kendall Graveman said. “For them to battle back and put up runs late in the game and for our bullpen to a great job tonight, that’s a big confidence builder for us.”Billy Burns and Brett Lawrie homered off CC Sabathia (2-7) to start the comeback from a 3-0 hole and the A’s went on to beat the Yankees for the 10th time in their past 11 meetings in Oakland.The A’s won their first one-run game at home since last Sept. 6, ending a 12-game skid that was the longest in franchise history. The A’s were 2-15 overall in one-run games this season, a major reason why they have the worst record (18-32) in the American League.“We played the game the right way tonight,” Lawrie said. “Ben Zobrist with a great at-bat. That was pretty much the whole game right there.”Alex Rodriguez tied Barry Bonds for second place on the all-time RBIs list and Brian McCann homered in his third straight game for the Yankees, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.Evan Scribner (1-0) retired all five batters he faced for the win. Tyler Clippard allowed a two-out RBI double by Brett Gardner in the ninth before getting Chase Headley to fly out for his fifth save in six chances.Sabathia was cruising with a three-run lead in the fifth inning before Burns hit his second homer of the season just inside the foul pole in left field.Lawrie tied the game with a two-run shot in the sixth and the A’s knocked out Sabathia when Josh Phegley and Mark Canha reached to open the seventh.Carpenter, put into the game in a tight spot because of a tired bullpen, walked Zobrist with one out to force in Canha with the go-ahead run and Billy Butler added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.“Guys got to get it done,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s what we’re asking them to do, and sometimes it’s going to be like that. That’s part of the game. We just weren’t able to do it tonight.”Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly in the fifth made it 3-0 and tied him for second with 1,996 career RBIs. Hank Aaron has the record with 2,297. Babe Ruth drove in 2,214 runs, according to, but RBIs did not become an official stat until 1920 and the Elias Sports Bureau officially credits him with 1,992.“He’s one of the greats,” Rodriguez said of Bonds. “It is kind of special because he’s also a friend and I know him very well.”(JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Edgbaston Test: Too early to judge India’s batting failure, says Shaun Pollock

first_imgFormer South African pace bowler Shaun Pollock feels it will be cruel to start judging the failure of the Indian batsmen, except Virat Kohli, after the Indian innings collapsed twice in the first Test against England.Except for Kohli, the top-order managed a paltry 99 runs in two innings.However, Pollock said it’s natural for the sub-continent players to struggle early in English conditions.Nasser Hussain criticises Virat Kohli’s captaincy as India lose in Edgbaston”I think always going to be a challenge for Indian batsmen to play outside the sub-continental conditions. It is something which happens with England and South African batsmen too when they come here(India),” Shaun Pollock told Mail Today from Bengaluru.ICC trolls Virat Kohli with mic drop tweet after India lose Edgbaston Test”Technically, we don’t grow up on it so we eventually struggle against spinners. And it takes some adjustment for players to get used to the conditions. So they should be given a few more opportunities.”MATCH REPORT | HIGHLIGHTSPollock seemed pleased with the quality of Indian bowling line-up and said once the top-order starts firing, then they can win the England series.1st Test: Joe Root ‘thrilled to bits’ after England win cliff-hanger vs India”India has a very competitive bowling attack. They have a lot of spin and fast bowling options so all India needs is three or four of the batsmen to perform to have a strong chance of winning it.We need to give batsmen some space, says Ashwin after Edgbaston Test defeatadvertisement”The biggest challenge at the moment in Test cricket is to compete abroad. Most teams can win at home but it has been competitive away. That’s why India needs more than just Kohli to win matches away,” said Pollock, who is part of the Louis Philippe Celebrity Pro-Am Cup in Bengaluru.We need to give batsmen some space, says Ashwin after Edgbaston Test defeatPollock heaped praises on Kohli for his century in the first innings and was particularly impressed by the way he endured English pacer and World No 1 bowler James Anderson.”It was an impressive knock by Kohli. He played some great shots in those challenging conditions. Kohli fought hard against Jimmy Anderson and it is something you have to do in cricket sometimes, you have to fight through the hard period and once you do that, things become a bit easier.”His performance was particularly special after how people have been talking about his failure in England last time around and also during the one-dayers. It shows how he was keen to prove a point,” Pollock explained.Surprisingly, the South African legend is now an amateur golfer and is currently participating at the Louis Phillipe Cup in Bengaluru.”Golf has been a part of me for long. Even during my cricket days, I used to find time for teeing. I enjoy this sport because I can play it even in my 60’s,” Pollock concluded.last_img read more