Claudio Ranieri joked he “preferred to be called a wily old fox when I was young, as it’s a little too close to home now” after a Sampdoria debut on his 68th birthday. The native Roman made his first appearance on the Blucerchiati bench in a 0-0 draw with his hometown club Roma this afternoon. “The lads worked very well in training, but you can only tell so much in that situation,” the Coach told Sky Sport Italia. “Roma are a good team, they keep possession, but we wanted to push them towards the wings, as they are above all dangerous through the middle. We weren’t that interested in possession.” Ranieri celebrates his 68th birthday today and joked when asked about his surprise pick of Andrea Bertolacci. “I preferred to be called a wily old fox when I was young, as now it feels a little too close to home! Maybe you think I’m going senile… “I told Bertolacci to play as long as he could and then I’d bring in Albin Ekdal, who arrived very tired after international duty. I was satisfied with the midfield, combining experience with youth. I had wanted Bertolacci in a more advanced position, closer to Quagliarella, but after a while there were too many gaps and I asked him to remain back there to protect the defence.” Eusebio Di Francesco had said that the confused club ownership situation, with President Massimo Ferrero recently abandoning takeover talks. “I’ve been through a lot in my career, but the important thing is what happens on the field. The players and I need to show no interest in what is going on off the pitch. The fans were supporting us with a positive wind in our sails and that is what we needed.” Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
PSG might turn back to Mattia De Sciglio and tempt Juventus to make a swap deal by including Thomas Meunier in the transfer, it’s reported. The versatile full back was wanted by the Parisians also this summer and Goal Italia now report that Leonardo might try again already this January. Juventus decided to stick with De Sciglio after letting Joao Cancelo leave this summer, whilst Leonardo Spinazzola went to Roma the same window. Paris Saint-Germain are claimed to be looking for an alternative who can play on both sides of the defence and De Sciglio fits the bill for the Ligue 1 champions. The rumours say an offer of €10m or a direct swap with Meunier involved might be the solution to get hold of the Bianconeri defender. Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Benevento won the top of the table clash with Crotone, allowing Pordenone to surge into second, as Pescara stalled and Empoli coach Roberto Muzzi debuted with a draw. Click here for the full Serie B section, including results, fixtures and tables. Benevento 2-0 Crotone Viola pen 11 (B), Improta 94 (B) Juve Stabia 2-0 Salernitana Cisse 7 (JS), Canotto 95 (JS) Sent off: Migliorini 84 (S) Livorno 1-2 Trapani Pettinari 35, 45 (T), Mazzeo 48 (L) Pescara 1-1 Cremonese Galano 80 (P), Migliore 90 (C) Pordenone 3-0 Perugia Gavazzi 55 (Po), Ciurria 62 (Po), Mazzocco 87 (Po) Empoli 1-1 Venezia Mancuso 5 (E), Aramu pen 86 (V) Ascoli-Cosenza To be played on Sunday Cittadella-Pisa To be played on Sunday Spezia-Frosinone To be played on Sunday Chievo-Virtus Entella To be played on Monday
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £11.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://subscribe.premiersports.tv/ Inter are waiting for test results after Nicolò Barella limped off with a sprained right knee during tonight’s match with Torino. The Italy international suddenly went down after attempting a backheel flick and seemed to be in extreme pain. It occurred just before half-time at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino under driving rain. Barella immediately told Nerazzurri medical staff he “felt the knee go click.” A statement from Inter confirmed Barella has a sprained right knee and more tests will be performed over the weekend to ascertain the extent of the damage. It is not the news that Antonio Conte wanted, having already lost Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini, Kwadwo Asamoah, Matteo Politano and Alexis Sanchez.
With Commonwealth Games (CWG) organising committee (OC) chief Suresh Kalmadi coming under increasing fire from all quarters, it is now trying letter diplomacy. It has written a letter to the Members of Parliament trying to come clean on the raging controversies over the Games. The six-page letter, which is in the form of a note and does not carry anybody’s signature, states that there is an effort to defame the Games and the OC chairman. The letter gives a detailed clarification on the corruption charges levelled against the OC and seeks support of all the MPs in making the Games a success. The timing of the letter clearly suggests that Kalmadi has been feeling the pressure. It comes a day after all the Opposition parties, cutting across party lines, targeted the government on the floor of the Lok Sabha on Monday over corruption in CWG. Kalmadi who is being held responsible for the CWG mess was present in the House and preferred not to speak during the debate. The government had a tough time battling the Opposition charge and promised a comprehensive probe into all corruption allegations once the Games were over.
Golfers continued to struggle with the gusts of wind and the dry DLF Golf and Country Club course, and overnight leader Anirban Lahiri was no exception in the third round of the DLF Masters.Lahiri, however, held on to lead, but a two-over 74 card was not something his fans would have expected.Jyoti Randhawa, second overnight who started the day two strokes behind the leader, also fell victim to the unfriendly scoring conditions and slipped two rungs after a poor four-over 76.A two-time champion, Randhawa is at two-under 214, four behind than Lahiri, in a tie with Deepinder Kullar who squandered a good start to end up with a 75.While Lahiri and Randhawa failed to grab attention, Himmat Rai (71) survived the challenges of the course to jump from fourth to sole second with a total of 212. However, the golfer who left the fans spellbound was Noida’s Gaurav Pratap Singh who overcame the odds to produce a scintillating six- under 66.Five strokes behind the leader, Gaurav is in a tie for sixth place with SSP Chowrasia (73) and Ashok Kumar (69).As Lahiri said, the gusting wind left him confused about the club to use for his shots.”It was nearly impossible to make a judgement about clubs because the wind wasn’t consistent. It was dead but as soon as I played my shots a gust of wind would come and changed the direction of the ball,” he said.The frame of mind reflected in his game as he dropped shots on the second and fourth holes. He managed six pars in a row but faltered again on the 11th for a bogey. He picked up his first birdie on the par- 5 14th, sinking a 25-footer, but a bogey on the next spoilt the good work.advertisementHowever, he made a birdie on the final hole and retained the lead.Rai started the day five off the pace, but jumped to second with birdies on fourth, sixth and eighth holes. He lost momentum and dropped to third spot with bogeys on the 12th and 13th, but parred all the remaining holes to rise to second place again.”I am happy with the way I stuck to the basics and played today. The wind caught me on the 13th hole but I regained my game to prevent further damage,” Rai said. “The wind is affecting the game of most of the golfers so the key to win here is to hit straight.” Gaganjeet Bhullar carded a 71 on day three to be placed tied 22nd at four over 220.WHEN the swirling wind was making ball control difficult and pins were tucked in devilish spots at the DLF Golf and Country Club, Gaurav Pratap Singh took the course by storm to shoot an impressive six- under 66 to be tied sixth at the DLF Masters in Gurgaon on Friday.Gaurav’s round was decorated with seven birdies while a bogey on the fifth hole was the only blot on his card. “I putted very well and made both short and long putts today. I sank a 20- footer on the third. I also sank a 50-foot parputt on the seventh,” said the Noida pro.With a 66, he catapulted to the tied sixth spot with Ashok Kumar (69) and SSP Chowrasia (73) with a round to go.Gaurav dealt with the wind as if it did not exist. “A lot of golfers are complaining about wind but I found no difficulty. It hardly affected my game and the scorecard itself tells the story,” said Gaurav, the 2009 ONGC Open winner.With an aggregate of one-under 215, he is five strokes behind leader Anirban Lahiri and hoping to end the tournament on a high.
Indian players celebrate after winning the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos.The tension was palpable. Fifty-eight seconds remained of the 70-minute regulation play between India and Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy final on September 11 at Ordos, China. Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran had the ball. The Indian team’s forwards lined,Indian players celebrate after winning the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos.The tension was palpable. Fifty-eight seconds remained of the 70-minute regulation play between India and Pakistan in the Asian Champions Trophy final on September 11 at Ordos, China. Pakistan captain Muhammad Imran had the ball. The Indian team’s forwards lined up like chess pieces on the centre line. In the previous match, Malaysia had scored with seven seconds remaining, destroying Japanese hopes of clinching a bronze medal. With 39 seconds remaining, Imran knocked the ball to the left-half; the left-half sent it back to Imran. The Pakistan captain looked at the clock. At that very moment, India knew they had the upper hand. Pakistan were backpedalling, afraid to move into Indian territory. Psychologically, the war had been won.In 15 minutes of extra time, both teams remained overly defensive, foiling the few sharp chances that came their way. In the shoot-out, skipper Rajpal Singh, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki and Sarwanjit Singh beat Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah, while Gurvinder Singh Chandi was unsuccessful in his attempt. Muhammad Rizwan and Waseem Ahmed sounded the board for Pakistan but Indian goalkeeper S. Sreejesh pulled off two brilliant saves. Suddenly, a team that was expected to do no better than finish fifth or sixth was the champion.On China Air flight CA 947, Indian coach Michael Nobbs smiled, happy to see his young boys laughing and enjoying themselves. A few beers were tossed around. If you were an athlete, you would know this team was a winning one. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that,” said Nobbs, switching off his iPad after watching a penalty corner variation. “I admit I didn’t expect them to win in Ordos. I expected success probably a few months down the line. I am happy and pleasantly surprised. We can achieve much more in the months to come.”advertisementThe team had trained for four-six weeks for the Asian Champions Trophy when disaster struck on August 23 with two players, Sandeep Singh and Sardara Singh, walking off citing family issues and problems with the team. Though the team management doesn’t openly say it, it was a turning point. A team official not wanting to be quoted said, “If those two were in the team, I don’t think we would have won.”This is a happy bunch and obviously enjoying their success. Goalkeeper Sreejesh played in the final at a level not seen often; he even took some time out to heckle a Pakistan forward, “Let me see how you win.” Defender Manjit Kullu, a newcomer, played with confidence that could unnerve any striker in the world. V. Raghunath, making a comeback into the team, played as if each and every match was a final. Walmiki, Sarwanjit, Chandi and Mujtaba roamed opposition striking circles as if they owned them. It was a team that didn’t have the word ‘lose’ in its lexicon.It is a team that still needs plenty of work. As Nobbs says, “It’s a work in progress.” Mohammed Riaz, who was part of the team that won the 1998 Asian Games gold and is now assisting Nobbs, says India need a good midfielder. “Let’s forget this win,” he says. “We won and it’s over. The important thing is to carry on winning and raise the bar. We need to find a good midfielder. We have none as of now. But who knew about a player like Kullu or the forwards that we now have? If we look tap into college and university hockey, we just might find a centre-midfielder,” he adds.”Two-three years with these boys and we will be among the world’s top four and picking up a medal in the 2016 Olympics,” says Nobbs. The former Australian Olympian hopes India qualify for the London 2012 Olympics. “It’s tough and I know everybody expects us to make it after winning the Asian Champions Trophy,” he says. “We will give it our best shot.”ON THE ROAD TO CROWNING GLORYThe Indian team needs to build on success in China to retain the edgeIncrease fitness levels to match that of teams like Germany, Australia, Holland and England.Play at least 20 international ties before heading for the olympic qualifiers in Auckland this december.Recall Sardara Singh and sandeep singh, handed out two-year bans for citing personal reasons and deserting the national camp on august 23.Give David John, the australian fitness trainer of the team, more support staff, ideally a psychologist.Get good playing kits for the side. players currently have just one pair of shoes.advertisementMake India Coach Michael Nobbs a voting member of the National Selection Committee.Qualifying for the London Olympics has become tougher for India after the International Hockey Federation cited unhappiness about government intervention in hockey administration to move the Champions Trophy scheduled in December from the country to New Zealand. “We need to play tougher teams to analyse where the shortcomings lie,” says Nobbs. “When you win, everyone is happy. It’s only when you lose that you tend to look closely at the mistakes.”Nobbs believes India can reach the top by playing the ‘Indian style’. “It’s the best in the world,” he says. “Australia play it. India were the masters. They need to attack and get the goals.” The new approach was on view in Ordos in the match against South Korea, where India pumped in three goals in the first seven minutes. Nobbs’ standpoint is vindicated by Kim Sang Ryul, the former Korean coach who took his team to the 2000 Sydney Olympics silver medal and now coaches the Chinese women’s team. “I enjoyed watching India,he says. “Now you are playing like India and not copying other styles.”The Indian players also owe their newfound success to physiologist David John, a part of Nobbs’s support staff, the man responsible for keeping the boys fit. Players swear by him. “John has changed the way we perceive fitness,” says Indian captain Rajpal Singh.As the team touches down at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and emerges out of Terminal-3 to a raucous reception from fans awaiting their arrival, Nobbs soaks in the moment of success on his very first assignment as India coach. He smiles and says, “This is for the boys.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday termed Sahara’s pull out from sponsorship and the Pune franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as unfortunate and said it hasn’t received anything in writing from the corporate major.IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, also a senior member of the BCCI, said it was extremely unfortunate that Sahara decided to snap all ties with the board on the day of the IPL auction.”It’s unfortunate but we have not received any formal notice. But the show will go on. The marketing committee will take a decision. Dialogue will always continue,” Shukla told reporters in Bangalore during the break after the first phase of auction.The IPL chief executive said Sahara wanted flexibility in the rules, which they were denied.”It would have been unfair on our part to accept their demands. It would be unfair to other franchises if we bend rules for one team,” he said.Sahara on Saturday ended its more than a decade old association with the BCCI citing instances where it has been denied “natural justice” in IPL.”We really feel such one-sided emotional relationship cannot be dragged (out) any further. We are withdrawing from all cricket under BCCI,” Sushanto Roy, managing director, Sahara Adventure Sports Limited, said in a statement.Sahara’s current sponsorship deal with the BCCI is worth at $719,000 per match and will end December 31, 2013. Sahara bid $370 million to become owners of the IPL Pune franchise in 2010. The company has also invested $100 million in Formula One team Force India for a 42.5 per cent stake last year.advertisement
Cricketer Yuvraj Singh heaved a sigh of relief after the results of his first cycle of chemotherapy.”Got very good news from dr lawrence today! The tumor is almost way out of the system After reading my today’s scan ! Second cycle has started,” tweeted Yuvraj, who is undergoing treatment at the Boston Institute of Cancer Research.His tweet must have come as a big relief to his fans and the entire sporting fraternity.Yuvraj has gone bald during the treatment. The treatment will go on till the last week of March before the process of rehabilitation starts in April.England cricketer Kevin Pietersen and US cycling great Lance Armstrong have expressed their support for Yuvraj via Twitter. Pietersen tweeted: “great stuff pie chucker… Be strong champ!!! for the ailing southpaw, who has been spending his free time watching movies and his favourite team Manchester United in action.”Yuvraj has been reading about the sporting great Armstrong, who battled the disease to make one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of sports.Armstrong has been quick to wish Yuvraj a speedy recovery. “Yuvi, I want you to know that the entire LIVESTRONG team is here for you. We say it all the time, and truly believe in it: Knowledge is power, Unity is strength, and Attitude is everything. Please know that we are here to help you and your family in any way possible. Go Yuvi!!” Livestrong.Yuvraj has been out of cricket since taking part in two of three home Tests against the West Indies in November.advertisementMeanwhile, a noted folk singer from Bundelkhand has composed an ‘ Alaah’ (song for warriors) in praise of the cricketer with a hope that it will help him get better.