Beaten Alonso congratulates Vettel

first_imgFerrari’s Fernando Alonso congratulated Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel on his fourth successive Formula One world title on Sunday but reserved judgement on where the German stood among the greats.Alonso saw his faint chances of keeping the championship battle alive evaporate when Vettel completed an Indian Grand Prix hat-trick to become Formula One’s youngest quadruple champion.“Congratulations to Sebastian. Obviously a very, very strong season, dominating specially the second part of the year with many many wins. Well done to him and to the team,” Alonso, who finished 11th, told reporters.“Hopefully next year we can make things more difficult.”Alonso went into Sunday’s race trailing Vettel by 90 points and the German sealed the championship with the ruthlessness that has become the hallmark of his sustained domination in the past four years.The 26-year-old’s success has left many wondering if Vettel might be the greatest modern Formula One driver but numbers alone would not convince Alonso, who is widely regarded as the sport’s most complete driver even if his car is currently inferior.“Different opinions for different people and all of them we need to respect,” Alonso said.“Many people think Ayrton (Senna) was the best ever. He won only three championships, compared to people who have won more.“Some people think Michael (Schumacher) is the greatest. If you see the numbers, he should be the best because he has 91 victories, seven titles.“His (Vettel’s) driving performance is big with numbers, being four-times champion. In 2011, I remember him winning 14 or 15 races, this year he will win, I don’t know many. Now it’s 10, he will win maybe 13 races.”Alonso would not hazard a guess whether he, given an equally fast car, could beat Vettel and preferred to focus on mounting a stiffer challenge next year.“I’m not here to guess…today is the day to congratulate him and for him to enjoy the championship and it’s the day for us to start working even harder.“They have been very strong, dominating for the last four years. We need to do something better than what we did in the last four years because it’s clear that it’s not enough. So we will start immediately.”For the time being, Alonso was happy trying to ensure Ferrari finished second in the constructor’s championship after being overtaken by Mercedes.“For me, it makes a difference to have the team happy. They, at the end of the month, pay me…you need to make happy (the person) who gives you food,” he said.last_img read more

Ermis suffer Europa League exit from Young Boys

first_imgBy Andreas VouErmis Aradippou have been knocked out of the Europa League following a 0-2 defeat (0-3 aggregate) at the hands of BSC Young Boys at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium on Thursday night.Their excellent campaign last season, in which they finished fourth in the league and came runners-up in the cup final, earned them their first ever qualification to a European competition.However, Nicos Panayiotou’s side were unable to reverse the 1-0 deficit from the first-leg of the third qualifying round in Switzerland, losing comfortably to a far more experienced team in Cyprus to put an end to their debut campaign on the continent.A 36th minute header from Young Boys midfielder Renato Steffen meant Ermis had to score three goals to be in with a chance of progressing. Any slim hope of a comeback however was further reduced when Paulinho was sent off early in the second half.Young Boys capitalised on their numerical advantage and made it 0-2 through Michael Frey who sealed the tie just past the hour mark.Omonia, on the other hand, defeated Metalurg 0-1 away from home to add to their 3-0 lead from the first-leg. A solitary goal from Nuno Assis capped off a comfortable tie and the Nicosia club will join Apollon and AEL in Friday’s draw for the play-off round.last_img read more

Van Gaal’s United lose opener, Arsenal and Spurs win

first_imgBy Martyn HermanManchester United manager Louis van Gaal found no instant fix as a new era dawned in dispiriting fashion at Old Trafford where Swansea City’s 2-1 victory on the opening day of the Premier League reopened old wounds.United’s new captain Wayne Rooney had cancelled out Ki Sung-yueng’s neat goal for the visitors shortly after halftime but Gylfi Sigurdsson’s late strike condemned the Old Trafford side to their first opening-day top-flight home defeat for 42 years.“It was a disastrous start for us but we have to move on,” Rooney said. “We’re not happy, the manager’s not happy.“We’ll have to go through what went wrong during the week. We’ll do that. I thought today we didn’t play as well together as a team as we can do. We have to put that right.”Arsenal, tipped as serious title contenders this term, left it late to beat managerless Crystal Palace, with Aaron Ramsey pouncing in stoppage time to earn a 2-1 victory at the Emirates after the home side had slipped behind.Tottenham Hotspur, who finished one place above United in sixth last season, began life under new manager Mauricio Pochettino with a 1-0 win at London rivals West Ham United thanks to a stoppage-time goal from new signing Eric Dier.Promoted Leicester City twice battled back to draw 2-2 with Everton, while West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland also shared four goals – Saido Berahino scoring twice for the hosts.Queens Park Rangers were beaten 1-0 at home by Hull City on their return to the top flight, missing a penalty in the process, while Aston Villa earned a notable three points with a 1-0 win at Stoke City – Andreas Weimann grabbing the goal.Champions Manchester City visit Newcastle United on Sunday after Liverpool entertain Southampton while Chelsea will travel to promoted Burnley on Monday.LACK OF PACEA year ago almost to the day Manchester United enjoyed a comfortable victory at Swansea but it proved one of the few highlights for former manager David Moyes who was sacked in May.After a buoyant pre-season campaign, the fans arrived on Saturday hoping new boss Van Gaal would right the wrongs of last season but the problems, notably a lack of pace and invention, returned to haunt the 20-times champions who looked vulnerable.Van Gaal began with his favoured 3-5-2 system but changed to an orthodox 4-4-2 at halftime and on Saturday’s evidence there will be lots of tinkering to come for the Dutchman who has won league titles with Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.United dominated possession in the first half but offered little attacking verve against a Swansea side content to sit deep and wait for the occasional counter-attack.One such break saw Nathan Dyer flick the ball on to Sigurdsson down the right and the Iceland international burst forward before teeing up Ki to beat keeper David De Gea just before the half-hour mark.When Rooney hooked in Juan Mata’s corner in the 53rd minute to restore parity and then clipped the post with a curling free kick the home side looked set for a comeback victory.However, Swansea had other ideas and Ecuadorean substitute Jefferson Montero’s dangerous cross caused problems in United’s unfamiliar-looking defence and the ball eventually came to Sigurdsson, back at Swansea after leaving Spurs, to fire home.“It’s more than disappointing for the fans,” said Van Gaal, who was without Netherlands striker Robin van Persie through injury and the likes of defensive stalwarts Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, both of whom left in the close season.“They are expecting a lot because we have won every game in pre-season. Then you lose the first match. That’s disappointing for the fans, also for the players and also for me.“It’s a very bad day for us,” he added.SAVIOUR RAMSEYArsenal, with former Barcelona hitman Alexis Sanchez making his Premier League debut, were stunned by a Palace side reeling from the departure of manager Tony Pulis 48 hours earlier.Brede Hangeland’s glancing header gave Palace a 35th minute lead but Laurent Koscielny nodded home a free kick from Sanchez on the stroke of halftime to equalise.Palace seemed to have earned a point with a stubborn defensive display but Welshman Ramsey tucked in a rebound after Mathieu Debuchy’s shot was half-saved by Julian Speroni.Palace had been reduced to 10 men shortly before Arsenal’s late winner when Jason Puncheon received a second yellow card.Ramsey’s goal secured the day’s only Premier League home win with Arsenal’s relieved manager Arsene Wenger fully aware of the difficulties of winning the opening league fixture.“If you look at the (earlier) results today, no home team won, we were the only one so it shows in the first game it is not easy to win. Our desire got us through,” he said. Results from the English premier league matches on SaturdayArsenal 2 C.Palace 1Leicester City 2 Everton 2Manchester United 1 Swansea City 2Queens Park Rangers 0 Hull City 1Stoke City 0 Aston Villa 1West Bromwich Albion 2 Sunderland 2West Ham United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1last_img read more

Welbeck sinks United as Arsenal reach FA Cup semis

first_imgBy Martyn HermanDiscarded striker Danny Welbeck returned to haunt Manchester United by scoring the winning goal as Arsenal reached the FA Cup semi-finals with an enthralling 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on Monday.England international Welbeck, who joined the Londoners last summer after his United career stalled, pounced on a horrendous back pass by Antonio Valencia in the 61st minute to send the holders through.In a rip-roaring first half Nacho Monreal’s cool finish put Arsenal ahead in the 25th minute but Wayne Rooney’s diving header evened it up four minutes later.United, who will now ponder a second consecutive season without silverware, ended the match with 10 men after Angel Di Maria was red-carded for grabbing the referee’s shirt just seconds after being booked for diving.last_img read more

Muguruza has belief and skills to topple Serena

first_imgBy Pritha SarkarA fresh-faced Spaniard who has a love-hate relationship with grass will be eager to prove in Saturday’s Wimbledon final that the mighty Serena Williams is as human as the next person with blood, and not ice, pumping through her veins.‘Nerves’ and ‘Williams’ are words that are not usually linked such has been the total dominance of the world number one who is gunning for her fourth successive grand slam title to complete the ‘Serena Slam’ for the second time in her career.But 21-year-old Garbine Muguruza has already proved that she has the power and intelligence to reduce the all-conquering American to a nervous wreck when she subjected Williams to a 6-2 6-2 pummelling at last year’s French Open.“It (the Roland Garros win) is really important because it makes you see and realise that she’s also a person. She also has feelings. She also gets nervous,” Muguruza said on the eve of her maiden grand slam final when she will be bidding to become the first Spanish woman in 21 years to win Wimbledon.“She knows that I can win against her, that I’m not afraid. I don’t think she’s really used to this.”While that triumph gave Muguruza the belief that she was capable of competing with the best, Williams also credited that result for her own recent success.“It was an eye-opening loss for me. Some losses you’re angry about, and some losses you learn from. That loss I learned the most from in a long time,” said the 33-year-old, who last held all four titles concurrently in 2003.“I got so much better after that loss. I was able to improve a lot. I worked on things.“I don’t like losing. I really hate losing. So I’m that kind of person that will work harder than anybody else to make sure I don’t get that. If I do, I learn from it better.”If Williams thinks aspects of Muguruza’s game look familiar, she will only have herself to blame because the Spaniard grew up studying the American’s game under a microscope.“She was an inspiration to me because when I was watching her play finals on TV… it’s one of those moments you want to learn how she plays and try to see what you can do to play like her,” the Venezuelan-born Muguruza said.But Williams has only lost three times in 41 matches this year, prompting the Spaniard to say: “She’s world No. 1 for something. It’s going to be the hardest challenge on Saturday.”Beating Williams at this year’s Wimbledon has been beyond the capabilities of former world number ones of the calibre of her sister Venus, twice Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and five-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova.Having toppled the celebrated trio in her last three matches, Williams declared she was at the stage in her career when she had nothing left to prove.“I’ve won so many grand slam titles. I’m at a position where I don’t need to win another Wimbledon. I don’t need any titles to make it.” said Williams, who is chasing a 21st grand slam title 16 years after winning her first.Muguruza knows that adopting a positive attitude is essential to help her pull off a feat most people think is beyond the Spaniard.Asked if she can win, Muguruza smiled and said: “Yes, I think I can. I’m playing good. It’s true that it’s a very difficult match. But I have to believe I can do it.”last_img read more

Kone treble lifts Everton, Southampton win

first_imgArouna Kone grabbed a hat-trick as Everton piled on the Premier League relegation worries for Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland with a 6-2 demolition job at Goodison Park on Sunday.In the day’s other match, Ronald Koeman’s Southampton climbed to seventh in the table after first-half goals from Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle secured a 2-0 home win over south-coast rivals Bournemouth.Everton were 2-0 up inside 31 minutes against Sunderland thanks to Kone and Spanish forward Gerard Deulofeu.Kone sent a looping ball over the defence for Deulofeu to score the opener and the Ivory Coast international added a second goal following a one-two with strike partner Romelu Lukaku on the edge of the box.Jermain Defoe inspired a Sunderland rally, volleying their first goal in stoppage time before playing a part in Steven Fletcher’s headed equaliser five minutes after the break.The visitors, however, were always vulnerable to the counter attack and Everton made it 3-2 when Sebastian Coates prodded a right-wing cross from Deulofeu into his own net.Deulofeu also set up the fourth for Lukaku, with the Belgian rounding goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon to score.Another Everton counter-attack led to Kone planting the ball into the net with his left foot in the 62nd minute before the Ivorian completed the rout with a close-range header following a centre with the outside of his left boot from Lukaku.Everton’s victory lifted them to ninth with 16 points from 11 games while Sunderland remained second from bottom on six points. Southampton have 17 points, moving above Liverpool on goal difference.EXCEPTIONAL ATTACKING“I thought our attacking play was exceptional,” said Everton manager Roberto Martinez. “More than anything, the understanding of how to break down a defensive system.“Sunderland came here with a clear idea of being very difficult to break down and then try to hit us on the counter attack and I thought the way we coped with that was very impressive.”Martinez’s opposite number Allardyce disagreed, blaming his own team for their second-half capitulation.“If Everton had scored a wonder goal you can say ‘there’s not a lot we can do about that’, but the last four goals were all stoppable by us and there was nothing brilliant about Everton’s play,” said Allardyce.“We became so open and so easy to play through. We seemed to get carried away by the euphoria of getting the equaliser.”Southampton went ahead against fourth from bottom Bournemouth when a sweeping passing move ended with Ryan Bertrand crossing for Steven Davis to volley home from close range in the 31st minute.Pelle then made sure of the win with a towering header following a left-wing centre by Dusan Tadic.The only negative for Southampton was the late sending-off of Victor Wanyama for a second bookable offence.last_img read more

Europa League qualifying draw

first_imgCyprus Cup holders Apollon have been drawn against Swiss side Grasshoppers or KR Reykjavik of Iceland in the third round of Europa League qualifying after the draw was made on Friday.Should Omonia overturn a 1-0 deficit to Beitar Jerusalem in the second leg of their second qualifying round clash next week, they will then face either Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) or FK Jelgava (Latvia) in the third round.AEK Larnaca, who beat Cliftonville 3-2 in their second round, first leg clash on Thursday, have been drawn against Russian big guns Spartak Moscow in the third round.Europa League third qualifying round draw in full:last_img

Pini wins fourth gold

first_imgThis is Pini’s fourth gold medal in this Pacific Games.Pini clocked 24.58 sec beating his previous Games record of 24.39 sec.The silver went to Tahiti’s Stephane Debaere who clocked 25.06 sec.Another Tahitian Hugo Lambert took out bronze after clocking in at 25.35 sec.last_img

Hunters win first game at home

first_imgA crowd of 6, 950 turned up for the first home game of the season and four minutes into the game were treated to try from Stanton Albert. Ase Boas made no mistake converting to make it 6-0.With the wind in their sails, the Hunters continued to dominate possession in the quest for more points.Close to the line, the Hunters proved a handful for their opponents with Boas and the elusive Gahuna Silas directing play around the park.Out of dummy half, Silas attempted to bulldoze his way over to score but was held up after it took four Tigers players to deny him a four pointer.But the next play after brought the second try for the Hunters when Boas threw an inside ball to a charging Henry Wan to cross over.A mistake from the restart nearly cost the Hunters dearly.With a fresh set of six, the Tigers looked to have hit back through a try from Dean Britt.But the pass that put him into score was called forward by referee Jarrod Cole.It was the forwards scoring all the points for the home side in the first half, and the 30th minute witnessed the third try through David Loko who was put into a gap from some Boas magic.Boas added the extras to make it 3/3 and push the lead out to 18-0, which was the half-time score.A comedy of errors from both teams started the second forty minutes of play.The tide soon turned in favour of the visitors who got their first points from a try to Charlie Galo right under the posts.The Tigers were over the line again in the 66th minute through a try from Shane Neumann and after a successful conversion from Billy Walters, the score was now 18-12 with the game back in the balance.After a quiet start to the season, Hunters five-eighth, Israel Eliab made his presence felt in a big way firstly setting up Adex Wera with a perfect cut out pass for Wera to run in for the Hunters first try of the second half right on the 70 minute mark.Despite a double to Tigers centre Conor Carey, Eliab put the nail in the coffin in the 77th minute after a solo effort that saw him dance and step around some weary Tigers players and score to seal the win at home.The man of the match was given to Hunters prop, Henry Wan.last_img read more