Chelsea and City seek to restore home advantage

first_imgBy Steve TongueLast season’s top two, Chelsea and Manchester City, are keen to reverse the most striking statistic of the new Premier League season this weekend – and they are not the only ones.Of the 30 matches played in the opening three rounds, only six have resulted in home wins, with more than twice as many going the way of the visitors, while the other 11 have been drawn.Even at such an early stage of the campaign, leaders City are one of just three teams with a 100 per cent home record – Swansea City and Liverpool being the others – though each have played just one home match so far.Having beaten champions Chelsea 3-0 in their only game at the Etihad Stadium, City will be confident of seeing off Watford for their fourth successive win of the campaign (5pm), although Quique Flores’ promoted side are unbeaten in the league, having drawn all three matches.Chelsea, undefeated at home in winning the title last season, suffered an opening-day setback at Stamford Bridge this time when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was sent off and Swansea City held them to a 2-2 draw.Last weekend captain John Terry was dismissed at West Bromwich Albion, so he will miss the London derby with fifth-placed Crystal Palace (5pm).Swansea won their only home game to date, against Newcastle, but now face a tougher task with a visit on Sunday from Manchester United (6pm), who must hope there is no hangover from Wednesday’s Champions League qualifying rout of Club Brugge.Liverpool will be confident of beating West Ham (5pm), whose dreadful record at Anfield suggests their supporters should save the train fare – the Londoners have not won there since 1963, 42 games ago.Arsenal’s form exemplifies the unusual trend of home and away results. They go to Newcastle in the early Saturday match (2.45pm) after failing to score in two games at the Emirates but having won their only game on the road.Equally unexpected is the fact that Bournemouth and unbeaten Leicester City, both widely regarded as relegation material, have belied expectations ahead of their meeting on the south coast (5pm).West Brom manager Tony Pulis returns to one of his old clubs, Stoke City, for a meeting of two teams that have yet to win (5pm).Like West Ham at Liverpool, it is a trip that bottom-of-the-table Albion do not relish – a victory there in 2012 was their first for 30 years.The other teams hoping to improve the overall ratio of home wins this term are Aston Villa against Sunderland (5pm), Tottenham Hostpur versus Everton (7.30pm) and, on Sunday, Southampton against Norwich City (3.30pm).last_img read more

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APOEL ready for Rosenborg test in Champions League

first_imgAPOEL are in Norway to take on Rosenborg in the first leg of their third round Champions League qualifying clash on Wednesday night.After a routine 3-0 aggregate win over The New Saints of Wales, far more will be required from the Cyprus champions if they are to dispose of the Norwegian giants over two legs.APOEL go into the tie boosted by the double signing of Greek winger Giannis Gianniotas on loan from Olympiacos, who played for them last season from January, and veteran Belgian striker Igor de Camargo from Genk.The only slight concern is over full-back Zhivko Milanov, who was unable to start last Tuesday’s match and did not train towards the end of the week either. Other than that, manager Thomas Christiansen has a clean bill of health going into Wednesday’s encounter.APOEL’s head of communications, Nektarios Petevinos spoke to the press shortly before the side’s departure: “Rosenborg are very good at set plays and have a lot of quality up front. We have studied them enough to be prepared. In football, it is important to get a positive result in the first leg.”Rosenborg defender Jonas Svensson meanwhile gave his thoughts about the game to the club’s official website: “We must remember that the tie will be determined over two matches and that an away goal is hugely important to have going into the second leg,” he said, before adding that Rosenborg “are very strong at home”.APOEL go into the match on the back of last week’s 3-0 win over The New Saints, which saw them play at a much higher tempo than the 0-0 draw in Wales a fortnight ago.The Cypriots have played just two official matches, while Rosenborg’s domestic campaign has already begun having played 19 games so far.Kare Hedley Ingebrigtsen’s men thrashed Haugesund 6-0 over the weekend to maintain their six-point advantage at the top of the table.Rosenborg’s home form makes for uncomfortable viewing for APOEL. The Norwegians have won all nine of their league matches in front of their own supporters this season, while their last home defeat in the league came in May 2014, 35 matches ago.In Europe however, their last four games have resulted in three defeats and one draw in last season’s Europa League campaign.While they have lost their last six away group matches in European competition, APOEL have lost just one of their last seven Champions League qualifying games. Five have resulted in draws and their last victory came last season at the same stage as Wednesday’s game, incidentally against Scandinavian opposition in Danish outfit FC Midtjylland.However APOEL have a good record against Scandinavian teams in Europe. In eight meetings so far, they were eliminated just once, back in 1979.Given Rosenborg’s prolific attack, Christiansen may decide to abandon his much favoured 4-1-4-1 team formation for a more defensive 4-2-3-1 with Vinícius Oliveira Franco or Costakis Artymatas partnering Nuno Morais in the midfield holding position.The match will take place at the Lerkendal Stadion, which tends to gather around 15,000 supporters, and will kick off at 8.15pm Cyprus time.last_img read more

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AEL the only side to make perfect start

first_imgThe top of the table has an unlikely tenant after two games with AEL the only team to have made a perfect start to this season’s Cyprus football championship. Apollon and Omonia both dropped points over the weekend while newcomers AEZ Zakakiou remain unbeaten.Four teams (APOEL, Anorthosis, Ethnikos, Doxa) have played just one game, while last year’s runners-up, AEK, have yet to start a game as their fixture against Ethnikos Achnas was postponed following their Czech travel ordeal.It seems that AEL coach Pambos Christodoulou has managed to build a team that will challenge for honours this year, and this despite bringing in 16 new faces.Against Doxa they were by far the better side, taking a two-goal lead before the break through Savane and Mezga. Doxa’s Peralta pulled one back but de Souza made sure of the three points for the Limassol team with a goal 13 minutes from time.The moans have begun early at Omonia following their 2-2 draw against first division newcomers Angennisi, who played the whole of the second half with ten players.Even the team’s press spokesperson Christodoulos Christodoulou seemed to agree with the fans, saying that “the players need to wake up, our fans’ patience is wearing thin.”For a second consecutive game Omonia looked frail at the back, sorely missing a leader. They conceded two goals in the first half hour and it could have been worse had their young keeper Panayi not made a couple of excellent saves.Omonia’s Matt Derbyshire, the only bright star in the team so far, got both goals to salvage a point.Champions APOEL got off to a winning start as they defeated Ermis Aradippou 3-0.The scoreline somewhat flatters the champions, who were run rugged in the second half by an exuberant Ermis who were let down by poor finishing.Nuno Morias had given the Nicosia side a half-time lead, with APOEL scoring two more in the final ten minutes through Gianniotas and Efraim.The two local derbies between Apollon and Aris, and Anorthosis and Nea Salamina both ended goalless.Apollon did everything but score in their game against Aris who had their Brazilian goalkeeper Golz to thank as he pulled off a string of fine saves with the most impressive and crucial one coming in the sixth minute of added time.Anorthosis were slightly the better team against Nea Salamina but they created few chances and with the exception of midfielder Rayos it was evident that they sorely lacked quality.In the final game of the weekend, AEZ Zakakiou and Karmiotissa played out a goaless draw with both sides missing chances to win the three points.Doxa 1-3 AELAnagennisi 2-2 Derynia OmoniaApollon 0-0 ArisAnorthosis 0-0 Nea SalaminaKarmiotissa 0-0 AEZAPOEL 3-0 Ermislast_img read more

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Fans denied at rugby 9s finals

first_imgTickets for today were all sold out by the morning. More than 100 supporters who tried to purchase tickets were disappointed. Among them, 17 year old Kratlie Kenneth said it was not fair that a lot of seats on the outer stands were still empty but all tickets had been sold out. People are still lining up outside, trying to get in. Ticket sellers are saying 15,800 tickets have been sold out for today. These include the packages as well.last_img

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Barras lose by 86 runs to Western Grit

first_imgFeaturing former Australian One Day International cricketer, Callum Fergurson, Western Grit batted first and posted a very competitive total of 244 for the loss of 7 wickets.Jake Lehmann (66) was the star with the bat, blasting a brilliant half century, while Sam Rapahel (43) and Cameron Valente (41*) also contributed.The Barramundis struggled with the ball, with Norman Vanua (2/23) the only bowler to take more than one wicket.In reply, the Barramundis got off to a brisk start before Tony Ura (9) was trapped Leg Before Wicket (LBW) when the score reached 19 in the fourth over.The Barramundis batsmen kept up with the required rate, before four quick wickets left the visitors at 5/74 after 18.2 overs.The Barramundis never recovered with the Grit bowlers ripping through the lower order to dismiss the Barramundis for 158 inside 43 overs.Assad Vala (35), Jason Kila (28) and Vani Vagi Morea (20) were the only Barramundis to score more than 20 runs.The Barramundis fly to Adelaide today to play the second half of the SACA Premier League.After four matches in Darwin; the Barramundis have won two, lost one and drawn one match.last_img read more

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Australia regain the urn

first_imgSeamer Josh Hazlewood finished with a five-wicket haul as England were bowled out for 218 before tea at the WACA, four years after Alastair Cook’s side meekly handed back the urn at the same venue, and with the same humiliating 3-0 scoreline.Play was delayed by three hours by damp patches on the pitch and rain squalls throughout the morning, but it was not enough to save England as they lost their last six wickets for 85 runs.”So many different emotions are coming out right now, I’m that excited,” Australia skipper Steve Smith said.”What an amazing feeling to win an Ashes series, my first as captain to be three-nil up…it’s quite incredible.”Even with some 28 overs lost to the weather, England resumed in peril at 132 for four, still 127 runs short of making Australia bat again on a pitch riddled with cracks at both ends.Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow was bowled for 14 by Hazlewood on the first delivery he faced, with Nathan Lyon trapping Moeen Ali lbw for 11.First innings centurion Dawid Malan raised his fourth test half-century but after being worked over by Hazlewood, a gloved catch behind for 54 when trying to pull the bowler.Hazlewood claimed his fifth victim of the match when tail-ender Craig Overton was taken in the gully for 12 where Usman Khawaja took a fine low catch.Stuart Broad lasted two balls before he was caught behind off Pat Cummins, with the same bowler wrapping up the match and the series by dismissing Chris Woakes for 22last_img read more

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Apoel seal title after win over arch-rivals Omonia

first_imgApoel won their fifth straight Cyprus football championship after beating arch-rivals Omonia 3-1 on Saturday evening.It is the 26th top-flight title in their history.It was a game that was decided by two big calls by the officials, first by referee Vassilis Demetriou who awarded a harsh-looking penalty to Apoel with the scores level at 1-1, and then by his assistant, who wrongly flagged Omonia’s Matt Derbyshire as offside as he headed past Apoel goalkeeper Boy Waterman from close range.Apoel deserved the win though as they were the better side on the day, with Omonia rarely being able to venture forward.However it was Omonia who took the lead against the run of play as Derbyshire rose above defender Inaki Aztiz to open the scoring in the 10th minute.Apoel equalised in the 37th minute through Stathis Aloneftis after Omonia’s keeper Constantinos Panayi could only parry Giannis Gianniotas’ goalbound shot.The second half started with the same pattern as the first, with Apoel on the front foot. In one their forays forwards, Apoel’s Giorgos Efraim went down in the penalty area after a challenge by defender Marios Demetriou. The referee pointed to the spot and after a 12-minute interruption in play due to crowd trouble, Pieros Sotiriou cooly sent Panayi the wrong way.Two minutes into added time Vander sealed the deal, sidefooting the ball past Panayi for Apoel’s third.In the other Championship Group game on Saturday, AEK and AEL drew 1-1 with two penalties settling the game.AEK took the lead in the first half through Jorge Larena, while Piti equalised for AEL in the second half.last_img read more

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Liverpool’s Lovren accuses Lukaku of deliberate kick to face

first_imgLiverpool defender Dejan Lovren has accused Romelu Lukaku of deliberately kicking him in the face in the goalless Premier League draw with Manchester United on Saturday.Lukaku’s heel struck Lovren below his left eye after the Croatian’s challenge on him before half-time and the Football Association backed referee Martin Atkinson’s decision by taking no further action against Lukaku.“I made a tackle and felt he was over me and he could just have moved away,” Lovren told a news conference ahead of Liverpool’s Champions league game against Maribor in Slovenia.“My honest view is that he did it on purpose. It was on the face.“If he did it normally, you would apologise after that. I saw that he was nervous during the game so maybe that was the reason.“That is what happens on a pitch. It is over. I cannot change it. It is what it is now. That’s football.”Liverpool are third in Group E behind Sevilla and Spartak Moscow after two draws from their two games.last_img read more

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Man City stay clear at top, Liverpool get back on track

first_imgManchester City continued their superb start to the season with a 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday which kept them five points clear at the top of the Premier League.Leroy Sane put City ahead after 10 minutes with a left-foot shot into the corner of the net for his eighth goal of the campaign.West Brom equalised quickly when Jay Rodriguez got in behind the defence but City retook the lead through Fernandinho after the Brazilian’s long shot took two deflections before hitting the post and rolling into the net.City substitute Raheem Sterling added the third, tapping in from close range after a cross from Kyle Walker at the end of a patient move before Matt Phillips snatched a late consolation for West Brom following a mistake by Nicolas Otamendi. Elsewhere, Liverpool put their recent Premier League frustrations behind them to breeze past Huddersfield Town 3-0 with Daniel Sturridge’s goal setting up the victory.Mohamed Salah missed a first-half penalty for Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp’s side raced away after the break.Sturridge’s cool finish in the 50th minute put Liverpool ahead, the England striker clocking up his 100th goal in club competition, before Roberto Firmino doubled the lead with a header eight minutes later.Georginio Wijnaldum rifled home Liverpool’s third as Liverpool claimed only their second league win in seven games to move up to sixth spot. Arsenal meanwhile came from behind to beat Swansea City 2-1, with second-half goals from Sead Kolasinac and Aaron Ramsey helping them overcome the injury-weakened visitors.Victory for the Gunners in Arsene Wenger’s 800th Premier League match in charge means champions Chelsea, who play in the day’s late kick-off at Bournemouth, must win to retake fourth place in the table.Swansea, playing without injured striker Wilfried Bony, midfielder Renato Sanches and defender Martin Olsson, took the lead in the 22nd minute against the run of play, when Sam Clucas raced into the area and slotted the ball neatly beneath Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech.Bosnian left back Kolasinac equalised in the 51st minute, before Ramsey put the home side ahead in the 58th with his third goal of the season.Winger Wilfried Zaha scored in the seventh minute of added time to salvage a 2-2 draw for Crystal Palace against West Ham United at Selhurst Park.England goalkeeper Joe Hart was beaten by Zaha’s low shot into the bottom corner after making several fine saves that had seemed enough to give Hammers victory.Striker Javier Hernandez fired the visitors ahead after half an hour from Aaron Cresswell’s cross and Andre Ayew put them two up before half-time with a shot from outside the box into the top corner.West Ham, who had lost their previous league match 3-0 at home to Brighton & Hove Albion, were put under intense pressure in the second half and Palace pulled a goal back with Luka Milivojevic’s penalty in the 50th minute, before Hart saved Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick and an earlier effort by Zaha.Palace, whose only win in the league came against Chelsea two weeks ago, remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with four points from 10 matches, while West Ham are in 16th place on nine.Stoke upset the form book to earn a first Premier League away win of the season as they battled to a 1-0 victory over high-flying Watford at Vicarage Road.Midfielder Darren Fletcher scored his first goal for Stoke with a superb volley from a Xherdan Shaqiri corner to put the visitors into a 16th-minute lead.Watford created plenty of chances in the second half, but failed to find an equaliser with Brazilian Richarlison guilty of missing promising openings.Watford suffered their second successive defeat and slipped to seventh while Stoke climbed up to 13th.last_img read more

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Klopp praises ‘brilliant fighter’ Zidane before final

first_imgLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp called opposite number Zinedine Zidane “a fighter” before the Champions League final against Real Madrid and praised the Frenchman for his supreme record in Europe’s elite competition despite his short coaching career.Zidane took the leap from coaching Madrid’s reserve team to the top job at the Spanish giants in January 2016 and so far has won nine trophies, including back-to-back Champions League wins.“Zidane has been a fighter his entire life, when you grow up where he did in Marseille and had the career you have, you need to be,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday.“He was one of the best five players ever, he was such a good player that it looked like he didn’t need to fight but he did.“I’ve been at Liverpool longer than he has been a coach and he could win the Champions League three times in a row, that’s never happened before so either he’s lucky or he’s brilliant, I prefer to think he’s brilliant, like he was as a player.”Madrid have had an enthralling run to the final, squeezing through their quarter-final tie with Juventus 4-3 on aggregate with a last-gasp penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo. They also survived attacking onslaughts in both legs of their semi-final against Bayern Munich.“I’ve seen his team playing, I think it’s fantastic football, it’s organised when it needs to be, it’s chaos when it needs to be and when you have all those world class players I think that’s a good idea,” Klopp said of Zidane’s Madrid.The ever-jovial German coach’s news conference was peppered with outbursts of laughter and he smiled at the suggestion that Zidane lacks tactical nous.“If a lot of people think Zidane doesn’t have much knowledge of tactics – because people think that about me – that would be really funny,” Klopp added.“Two coaches in the final who know nothing about tactics. What would that say about the game?”last_img read more

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