Rafa: Three points, stats the key

first_img Chelsea are bidding to consolidate their place in the top four and a Champions League qualifying spot by winning their game in-hand over Tottenham. Benitez said: “I haven’t wasted any second thinking about how many (points) we need. It’s just the next three points. I’m just thinking about the next game. I don’t waste time when you have so many games. You cannot be doing numbers all the time. It depends on the other teams.” Press Association Spurs and Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge on May 8 in what could effectively be a Champions League play-off. But Benitez, who takes Chelsea to his former club Liverpool in another key game on Sunday, anticipates the race to the top four will continue until the final day of the campaign. He said: “Hopefully we can be there. I don’t know who will be with us. The league will go until the end of the season. Hopefully I am wrong and we will be qualified before (then), but I think it will be until the end of the season.” Experience is key at this stage of the season, and Benitez added: “The head makes the difference. At the end of the season it’s more important to be strong mentally and approach every game with the belief you can win.” Chelsea have players with the requisite experience. Frank Lampard and captain John Terry are expected to return at Craven Cottage, having been unused substitutes in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City. Midfielder Lampard could be in the final months of his Chelsea career, with his contract expiring and the prospects of an extension uncertain, and is three short of overtaking Bobby Tambling as the club’s record goalscorer. “The main thing is the team,” said Benitez of Lampard, who last scored against West Ham. “I would like to see Frank breaking the record, for sure. (But) if I pick him it’s because I think that he’s a good player. I’m sure he can score goals. Hopefully he can score more than two and then he will break the record.” center_img Rafael Benitez normally likes statistics, but the Chelsea interim boss has had no time for numbers ahead of tonight’s west London derby at Fulham where three Barclays Premier League points is all that matters.last_img read more

Torres staying with Milan

first_img Press Association The deal does not rule out a return to Atletico in the upcoming transfer window. The Spanish champions have indicated they do not have the funds for a permanent deal themselves, but may yet sign him on another loan deal from Milan once he has left Chelsea. A return home could be what Torres needs to reignite a once sparkling career. The World Cup winner and double European champion scored 46 goals in 172 Chelsea appearances, but only 20 of those came in 110 league outings – a poor return when compared with the 65 Premier League goals he scored in 102 appearances for Liverpool. Torres moved to Stamford Bridge late on January transfer deadline day in 2011 for a then record British fee, but initial struggles soon appeared to be a crisis of confidence as he managed just one goal in 18 appearances before the end of the season. The following season he scored 11 goals, including a hat-trick against QPR and a vital breakaway goal against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, but still looked a shadow of himself. His best season in a Chelsea shirt came in the following campaign as he scored 22 goals across seven competitions, including the winner in the Europa League final against Benfica. He managed only 11 goals the following season, after which Jose Mourinho broke up his misfiring striking trio of Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba, all of whom left the club. His move to Milan has not exactly seen his form ignite, with only one goal in 10 appearances, but that has not prevented a deal being done. Fernando Torres’ Chelsea career is officially over after the Premier League leaders announced he is to make his loan move to AC Milan permanent next month.center_img Torres, 30, won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup in three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge, but never lived up to expectations after a £50million transfer from Liverpool, failing to replicate his once-prolific scoring record in the capital. He moved to Milan on a two-year loan in August and, although he had been strongly linked with a return to his first club Atletico Madrid in recent days, on Saturday Chelsea announced a deal had been reached for him to join Milan permanently from January 5. last_img read more

‘No accident’ if something happens to me – Stepanova

first_imgBy Jack Stubbs in Rio De JaneiroBRAZIL, Rio de Janeiro (Reuters) – The Russian runner who helped expose a system of state-backed doping in her country says she fears for her life and has been forced to move after hackers tried to find her location.The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said on Saturday Yulia Stepanova’s online doping management account had been illegally accessed. The doping scandal she lifted the lid on has rocked sport and cost over 100 Russians their place at the Rio Games.Stepanova has been in hiding in the United States with her husband Vitaly, a former Russian anti-doping official, after giving evidence that the Russian government for years facilitated widespread cheating across nearly all Olympic sports.Speaking to journalists on a video conference call just days before the 800 metres final in Rio, in which she has been barred from running following the suspension of Russian track-and-field from international competition, Stepanova said she had moved her family to another location after the hack.“The only reason somebody would hack an ADAMS account is to find out your exact location,” she said. “We decided it was safer to relocate.“If something happens to us then you should know that it is not an accident.”All athletes have to enter their details into WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) and register a time and location each day where they can be reached by doping testers for an out-of-competition test.Stepanova and her husband have repeatedly raised concerns about their safety in light of the doping scandal they helped ignite and criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not doing more to support whistleblowers.Vitaly Stepanov said he did not know who had hacked his wife’s account but said the couple were being watched by Russian authorities.After she initially fled Russia for Germany, Russian sports officials said they did not know about any threats against Stepanova or her husband that could have compelled them to seek refuge abroad. Stepanova said attending the Games – she and her husband declined an invitation from Olympic bosses to visit as spectators – would have left her particularly vulnerable.General worries about safety and violent crime have cast a pall over the Rio Olympics. Most recently, U.S. gold medallist swimmer Ryan Lochte was robbed at gunpoint by men posing as police officers.“Watching the Olympic Games and reading the news about what is happening there, on some level I’m glad that I didn’t go,” she said. “If someone wanted to hurt us, it would be very easy to do it there.”last_img read more

Indian Premier League IPL schedule: KKR gets relief, to play all home matches at Eden

first_imgNew Delhi: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will play all their Indian Premier League home matches at the Eden Gardens despite West Bengal going into polls during all seven phases of general elections. The BCCI on Tuesday released the full schedule of the round robin league matches starting March 23 till May 5. As usual, there will be a total 56 matches that will be played during the six-week tourney.Among the round robin matches there are 12-afternoon starts (4 pm matches) on the weekends.The IPL operations team has ensured that no team plays their home matches at the alternate venues as the general elections will be held in seven phases from April 12 to May 19.Even Kings XI Punjab, who had played a few of their home matches in Indore during earlier editions, will play all their matches in Mohali.“The biggest challenge was to ensure that KKR gets to play all their matches at the Eden Gardens as West Bengal is the only state which is going to polls on all seven dates. However, with Calcutta and adjoining areas going to polls on May 19, we have been able to sort the issues with help of the government and local police authorities,” a senior BCCI official said. For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

ACCESS GRANTED: Syracuse uses Grant to crack Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone, beat Eagles in nonconference finale

first_img Published on December 31, 2013 at 5:13 pm Contact Stephen: sebail01@syr.edu | @Stephen_Bailey1 Facebook Twitter Google+ On three straight possessions, Jerami Grant caught the ball in the high post and turned toward the exact same picture — nothing.Eastern Michigan center Da’Shonte Riley was camped out underneath the basket and all that separated Grant from the hoop was three strides.Layup. Three-point play. Layup.“They was leaving the middle open and that’s where I was,” Grant said, “so every time I touched it I knew I could get to the rack.”Grant was thrust from the bench and into the heart of a 2-3 zone on Tuesday — but it wasn’t Syracuse’s. The sophomore forward made his first start of the year, with center DaJuan Coleman out due to a left leg contusion, and keyed the Orange’s surgical disassembling of the Eagles’ defense. He finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting and eight rebounds as No. 2 SU (13-0) defeated Eastern Michigan (7-5) 70-48 in front of 20,306 in the Carrier Dome.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut in addition to his scoring, Grant showcased his passing ability out of the post as well as his ability to counteract various adjustments the Eagles made in attempt to slow him down. Facing former Syracuse assistant coach Rob Murphy, now the head coach at Eastern Michigan, the Orange knew to expect a near replica of its own sterling defense, and had its approach ready right away.Feed Grant and let him work.“Jerami Grant won us the game in the first five minutes,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Jerami got into the lane and made some really good plays.”Grant used his long legs and quick first step to beat EMU early and often, racking up seven quick points as SU ran out to a 9-3 lead 3:06 into regulation.Moments later, point guard Tyler Ennis found him with a behind-the-back pass, which he turned into two to push Syracuse’s lead to eight.“He’s just finishing,” Ennis said. “He’s going to be key for us with DaJuan out, for however long.”And when the Eagles came to double-team Grant in the post, he looked for Trevor Cooney and C.J. Fair on the wings. Both rimmed out two clean jumpers off feeds from Grant in the first half, but the passes were on point and in time.The Orange’s lead ballooned as wide as 30-10 with 7:08 left in the first half as Grant added another nice finish off an Ennis no-look pass and helped clean the glass on the defensive end.But the SU offense stalled out and EMU rallied to pull within 36-27 at halftime, and as close as 37-32 early in the second half.The Eagles had hung around with then-No. 3 Kentucky and then-No. 21 Massachusetts earlier in the season, and were threatening to give SU a run at an upset. They pushed their center up and pulled their guards back to prevent entry passes to Grant and Fair in the high post.That’s when Grant helped key the Orange’s counter adjustment. He slid to the right baseline while Cooney moved to the right corner as SU tried to crack the zone from the side.Getting Grant the ball there opened up lanes for cutters, like Fair.With 14:11 left, Grant flipped a pass between two defenders into the mitts of a slicing Fair, who swooped under the hoop and scored to extend the Orange’s lead to 48-37.“He’s a better passer than people think,” Ennis said. “Being able to have him find open guys, but also score the ball was big going against that zone.”Syracuse never led by single digits from there as the Orange rounded out its nonconference schedule with its 51st straight win against such opponents at home.Next up for Grant and the Orange is the start of Atlantic Coast Conference play. There won’t be many more zones to crack, but strong play from Grant in the high post will be crucial as the Orange pushes for ACC and NCAA Tournament championships.Said Boeheim: “I think at this stage what we’re concerned about is being ready for the league starting Saturday. We have some good practice days ahead of us that I think will help us.” Commentslast_img read more

Volleyball: Wild first set propels Wisconsin past Michigan in three sets

first_imgIn the media room after the match, the Wisconsin volleyball team cracked jokes and looked relaxed after a convincing three-set win over Michigan.But during a first set that saw opportunities for both sides to get a big opening victory, there was little room for humor on the court.In what seemed to be the makings of an epic barnburner between two top-25 foes, Wisconsin (17-6, 9-4 Big Ten) upended Michigan (16-8, 6-7 Big Ten) in straight sets after a back and forth first set.The Badgers continued their recent streak of hot play, extending their winning streak to five matches behind an outstanding performance from junior Haleigh Nelson.Nelson was particularly effective in the first set with nine of her 14 kills in a rally ending 32-30 in the Badgers favor. Nelson later finished with an outstanding hitting percentage of 54 percent.With their backs against the wall, head coach Kelly Sheffield called a time out with Wisconsin facing a 21-17 deficit and Michigan looking to draw first blood. But Sheffield’s well-placed time out calmed his team and allowed them to burst out of the break with six consecutive points.“He told us that we weren’t hitting the shots that we were supposed to be hitting, and that’s why we weren’t scoring,” Nelson said. “Then, four swings out of the next six went to the zone we were going for and we were able to come back. Follow the game plan and then we started rolling.”After the Badgers came out from the first set marathon victorious, they asserted their dominance and had their way with the Wolverine defenders.Lauren Carlini dissected the Michigan defense and fed Nelson, Lauryn Gillis (14 kills) and Kelli Bates (10 kills) for a well-balanced Wisconsin attack.Wisconsin capitalized on their big first set victory, which set the tone for the rest of the match.“I think it fired us up,” Carlini said, “I don’t know if it deterred them at all, but I think we started switching up our serving zones and keeping them off balance. I think that was one of the main factors in game two and why it seemed kind of lopsided there for a while.”Sheffield knows the ups and downs that come with big time volleyball and was pleased his team could finally come out on the positive side of an intense match.“We’ve got it taken to us by some teams at times in some sets, and we’ve taken some other teams,” Sheffield said. “We’ve been on both ends of it. I don’t think that had a lot to do with them. It was just the crazy game of volleyball.”last_img read more

Beat writers unanimously pick Syracuse to beat Liberty in season-opener

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on August 31, 2019 at 3:15 pm No. 22 Syracuse opens its season in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Orange, who are ranked in the preseason AP Poll for the first time since 1998, haven’t lost a season-opener since 2013, but faced a scare last season in the fourth quarter when they ultimately defeated Western Michigan, 55-42.  Here’s who our beat writers predict will win on Saturday.Eric BlackExtinguishedSyracuse 41, Liberty 20In arguably its most anticipated season in decades, Syracuse opens its schedule in Lynchburg at the home of a team that has only been a member of the FBS for one year. I don’t think that sits well with the Orange, who, with expectations as high as they’ve been in recent memory, should blow the Flames out from the get-go. This will be a nice tune-up game for Tommy DeVito and SU’s revamped offense, which will feature a handful of new starters at skill positions. And while Liberty’s offense is its strong suit, if Syracuse’s defense plays up to its potential the way it often did during training camp scrimmages, this one may get ugly. Andrew GrahamBurn it downSyracuse 38, Liberty 13AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse opens its 2019 campaign with one of the easiest games on its schedule — save for perhaps Holy Cross and Western Michigan — and should, barring surprises, cruise to victory. Head coach Dino Babers has warned his team of the unknowns with the Flames but the fact remains that SU is more talented, familiar with their schemes and has an advantage at the line of scrimmage. LU might have flashes in new head coach Hugh Freeze’s potent scheme, but it should be Syracuse torching the Flames on Saturday night.Josh Schafer‘Cuse didn’t start the fireSyracuse 42 Liberty 14 There are countless unknowns entering the first game of a new season. Because of that, there’s a scenario where this game is close but that’s a little too far into the guessing game. The bottom line is this is Liberty’s first full season in the FBS and Syracuse is the No. 22 team in the country. With a deep running back group, Syracuse should move the football consistently on the ground if Tommy DeVito has any slip ups in his first start. The Orange’s pass defense should be a strong point this year and that’ll be no different in Saturday, even against a Hugh Freeze-orchestrated offense. And if Freeze is truly coaching from the press box, it only furthers questions on how well this Liberty offense can execute Freeze’s new system. Commentslast_img read more

Star Sports unveiled as lead sponsors of the Towcester English Greyhound Derby

first_img Share Share Countdown to Cheltenham: Star Sports on why they ‘do not bet on an opinion’ March 10, 2020 UK independent bookmaker Star Sports has been unveiled as the new sponsors of the English Greyhound Derby, the world’s most prestigious greyhound race.The 2017 Star Sports Greyhound Derby will be run at Towcester, the UK’s newest greyhound track, for the first time on Saturday 1st July, with a winner’s purse of £175,000 and total prize-money of over £350,000, it is the richest greyhound competition in the world.Star Sports informs that iy will take the winner around 29 seconds to complete the 500-metre course for this historic prize that dates all the way back to 1927.Towcester’s Chief Executive Kevin Ackerman, commented on the sponsorship: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Star Sports as sponsors of the English Greyhound Derby here at Towcester.“It was extremely important for us to find the right partner who shares our ambitions for greyhound racing. Ben Keith and his enthusiastic team at Star Sports are hugely passionate about the sport and together we will put on the greatest greyhound show in the world.”Star Sports’ Founder Ben Keith, backed Ackerman’s commented stating: “As a lifelong greyhound racing fan, there is no bigger race in the sport than the Greyhound Derby and we are truly honoured to be sponsoring the first running of such a prestigious prize at Towcester.“We have been hugely impressed by Kevin and his team and admire what they are doing for the sport of greyhound racing.“This represents another exciting chapter in our history and a particularly special one for me as greyhound racing is in my blood. We look forward to working with Towcester to deliver a top class sporting event.” StumbleUpon SIS reintroduces Towcester service as it resumes full greyhound schedule May 27, 2020 Submit On-course bookies rail against ‘severe’ age-verification penalties January 29, 2020 Related Articleslast_img read more

Food packages go out to families during school closure

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisALPENA, Mich— Many school districts in Northeast Michigan are taking part in a school closure food program. Families packed the parking lot of Mio Ausable Schools this morning leaving no food left after just an hour.Over 1600 food packages were distributed to children 18 years old or younger. Packages consisted of seven nutritious breakfast meals and seven lunch meals.There was no cost for the packages and no pre-registration. Children did not have to be Mio students and parents were advised to stay in the car when picking up packages.Mio Ausable Schools Superintendent Paul Ciske says, “They will have more food and better preparation next week.”AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious Bay Athletic Club offers virtual workouts for members who can’t attend during coronavirus shut downNext Alcona couple teach mushroom workshoplast_img read more

Sundowns goalie Mweene grateful to Ghana

first_imgMamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene is delighted with the reception given his team during their pre-season session in Ghana.Sundowns are due back home on Friday after spending 12 days in Ghana to prepare for the 2013/2014 Premier Soccer League season.The Brazilians played high profile friendly matches against Hearts of Oak which they drew 1-1 and recorded 2-0 wins over Asante Kotoko and Ebusua Dwarfs respectively.Mweene who will return to Ghana in September with the Zambia national team for the final 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier says he enjoyed his stay and can’t wait to return.“The reception has been well, Ghanaians are very nice people and they did receive us well,” Mweene said.“We just look forward and come back for pre season here again because we had a nice time here in Ghana. For me was the reception was overwhelming.”last_img read more