Two moments of magic in the space of two second-half minutes helped Manchester City to a 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the English League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.Manuel Pellegrini’s favourites were trailing to Fabio Borini’s 10th minute strike for Sunderland and a shock looked on the cards until Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri intervened.Jesus Navas completed the turnaround late on.Toure curled in City’s equaliser after 55 minutes before Nasri thumped home the winner to snatch the season’s first silverware for Pellegrini’s title-chasing side.It was City’s first League Cup title since 1976.“We needed to win today, it was very important. And we deserved it the way we played in the second half,” Toure told Sky Sports.“Today we showed we are a great team. I think it was my best goal.”Sunderland spent the opening five minutes entrenched inside their own half as City, who scored 19 goals en route to the final, moved the ball around with ease on the lush turf.But minutes later the ball was in the back of the City net.There seemed no imminent danger as Borini closed down Vincent Kompany but City’s skipper was guilty of over-complication and Borini robbed him of the ball before bursting into the penalty area and thumping a shot with the outside of his right boot past Costel Pantilimon.City dominated possession for the rest of the half without ever carving open a Sunderland rearguard bolstered by former Manchester United stalwarts Wes Brown and John O’Shea.Phil Bardsley, who scored in Sunderland’s semi-final penalty shootout win over United, reacted superbly to deny Sergio Aguero a certain goal but keeper Vito Mannone was not required to make any outstanding saves.Sunderland were always dangerous on the counter-attack and could have doubled their lead when Borini ran through on goal from a suspiciously offside position but Kompany recovered to nick the ball away as the Italian cocked his leg to shoot.A city onslaught was expected at the start of the second half but again, Sunderland continued to impress.Ki Sung-yueng, part of the Swansea City side to lift the trophy last season, let fly from 30 metres, forcing Pantilimon to tip his dipping strike over the crossbar.Then the wheels fell off Sunderland’s bandwagon.One nonchalant swing of Toure’s right leg sent a curling 25 metre shot beyond the fingertips of Mannone after 55 minutes and two minutes later Nasri turned the final on its axis with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area after Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross was half cleared.It was cruel on Sunderland who until then had been worth their lead but a further demonstration of the formidable firepower available to Pellegrini.Sunderland refused to capitulate and once their heads had cleared from the shock of two lightning bolts they began to pose some serious questions of a city defence that still looked vulnerable to crosses.With Sunderland throwing men forward substitute Steven Fletcher hit a shot straight at Pantilimon and they battled gamely until the end to no avail.Substitute Navas made absolutely sure there was no way back for Sunderland with City’s third on the stroke of full time.
FOOTBALL’S world governing body approved the deepest reforms in its 112-year history on Friday in an attempt to put years of scandal and crisis behind it and transform itself into a trusted, modern sporting organisation.FIFA delegates voted by 179 votes to 22 to accept the reforms, which include replacing the Executive Committee with a 36-member FIFA Council, and limiting the president and other senior officials to three terms of four years.A new professional general secretariat, akin to a company’s executive board, will handle the business side of FIFA, leaving the 36-member Council, elected by national member associations and including at least six women, to focus on broad matters of policy and strategy.Both bodies will be overseen by a fully independent Audit and Compliance Committee.Francois Carrard, the independent chairman of the Reform Committee, presented the 62-page document to delegates, saying FIFA had a once-in-a-generation opportunity.“The reforms are necessary to bring a profound culture change to FIFA. There will be more democracy, there will be better governance through a separation of powers in the council, there will be more transparency, and more places for women.“This reform package will provide the foundation for the new president and the new leadership on which to build for the future.“It is not the end of the process, it is the beginning of one which will be developed over the years and is designed to restore the credibility and reputation that FIFA deserves.”Only one delegate spoke against the proposals. Chilean-born Gonzalo Boye, representing Palestine, said the reforms would not bring transparency.“There will be no balance or counter-balance in the new Council,” he said.Drawn up over the last eight months, the reforms are designed to end the scandals that have for decades dogged the organisation supposed to lead the world’s most popular sport.Criminal investigations in the United States and Switzerland since the current crisis began last May have already resulted in the indictment of several dozen soccer officials and other entities for corruption, many of them serving or former presidents of national or continental associations.The outgoing president of more than 17 years, Sepp Blatter, has been banned from the game for six years for ethics violations along with UEFA chief Michel Platini.In addition, FIFA has been forced to investigate a number of controversies surrounding the awarding of its biggest showcase, the World Cup finals, especially the decision to grant the 2018 tournament to Russia and the 2022 finals to Qatar.The proposals also place a greater onus on continental confederations and national associations to police themselves.
The Italian Guiseppe Farina was the first winner of the Formula 1 Championship back in 1950. Since then 31 more drivers have won it with German Michael Schumacher holding the record with 7 wins.Michael Schumacher also holds the record for most race wins (91) and shares first place with Sebastian Vettel for most wins in a season (13)The German also leads the race with most pole positions but Sebastian Vettel holds the record for most pole positions (15) in a season (2011)
CYPRUS star Marcos Baghdatis battled through to the second round at the Chengdu Open in China as he completed a rain-delayed match against Pablo Carreno Busta.Play was suspended on Tuesday evening with the score finely balanced at 5-5 in the third set, but at the resumption, Baghdatis clinched the decisive tie-break for a 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 7-6(5) victory in just over three hours.“The whole match yesterday and today was very tough,” Baghdatis was quoted by atpworldtour as saying. “I’m happy with my win. I think I was a bit lucky or maybe better than him in the important points. I made less unforced errors and it paid off today. I’m thrilled to be in the second round.”World No. 36 Baghdatis is back in action for the first time since his defeat to Frenchman Gael Monfils in the US Open fourth round. The Cypriot is chasing his first ATP World Tour title since 2010 and goes on to face Viktor Troicki for a quarter-final berth.
Both teams were neck and neck and by half time the score was 22-21 to the Pepes.Both teams scored seven goals each in the third quarter to leave the Pepes holding a 1 point lead.It went right down to the wire with 8 goals apiece scored in the last quarter from the two teams with the Pepes coming out victors.This is the fourth consecutive win for the Pepes.Today is an off day for all teams.Games resume tomorrow with the Pepes scheduled to take on Northern Ireland at 5pm (7pm PNG time).Photo Credit: Netball Singapore
Up for grabs is a berth in the final qualifying tournament for next year’s World T20 Championships in the West Indies.The PNG Lewas are strong favourites after winning last year’s 50 over regional qualifier in Apia.They’re up against Vanuatu in today’s opening round in Sano and assistant coach Arua Dikana backed them to do well.”The last couple of months we’ve been training well in PNG,” he said.”We are really good at the moment and we have some players who can win matches and cricket is a funny game where we expect anything.”We have prepared for this tournament as favourites so we are looking forward to the first game.”Vanuatu did not take part in the the 50 over qualifying tournament for East Asia Pacific but coach Eddie Mansale believed they could produce an upset.”Everyone knows we’re underdogs here – we rank last in the tournament,” he said.”But we still feel the team had a good year last year. All year as preparation we’re doing skills work a lot and yeah we’re ready.””None of these team here are going to look up to Vanuatu in a way,” said Mansale.”We are well prepared and we’re looking to do a lot of damage in this tournament – we’re going to upset some big names around here.”
The 15th edition of the annual tournament started on Friday and has 54 teams doing battle at Kone Tigers and Kaugere Oval.“We’ve had no hiccups and things are going well. No trouble and people are coming out in numbers to watch every day.“Thank you again to the NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, for continuing to support this. It’s a great way to keep the youths out of trouble during the festive period.”Mote said the total prize money for the tournament will be confirmed by next week.
FC Morobe dominated the first half and took a 2-nil lead at the break thanks to a double from Joshua Gwae.Strikers began their fight back in the 53rd with a goal to Pettyshen Elizah.But the boys from Morobe put the deficit back to two points when Phillip Steven powered one past the keeper.Two goals to left flanker, Kenneth Arah in the space of three minutes put the game right back in the balance, with the score now locked up, and with twenty minutes left on the clock.The winner came in the 85th minute through the boot of Gregory Togubai who flicked it into the nets to give the city boys their first taste of victory in the National Soccer League.The match however was marred by player violence that saw Striker’s Laventine Munou and FC Morobe’s Jason Farrock red carded in additional time“The plan at half-time was just to get back to the basics. I’m happy with the win but there are still a lot of areas that need improvement, said Strikers coach, Margaret Aka.In other results from round four, Madang FC def. Buang FC 6-1 at Laiwaden Oval and Toti City FC def. FC Momase 2-1 at the Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
Manchester United have agreed a £75 million deal for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, a source close to the negotiations told Reuters on Thursday.The move, which is not connected to any talks of a Wayne Rooney deal in the opposite direction, is expected to be formally announced within the next 36 hours.Lukaku had been United’s number one target for next season, the source said.United will not now be pursuing any interest in Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata.“Chelsea’s interest in Lukaku allowed United to fly under the radar on this,” the source said. “But he has been the club’s number one target.”There had been much speculation that the Belgian international would return to Chelsea, which he joined in 2011.Last season Lukaku became the first Everton player since Bob Latchford to score 25 goals in two consecutive seasons in all competitions.The Belgian was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time, and was also included in the six player shortlists for the PFA Player of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards.
Manchester City were forced to defend deep in the final stages at Watford on Tuesday but ensured their juggernaut kept rolling on with a 2-1 victory that extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points.The champions, who are unbeaten in the league, were again without Sergio Aguero but close-season signing Riyad Mahrez showed his worth by setting up Leroy Sane for the first goal before scoring himself.Bournemouth moved up to sixth with a 2-1 home win over lowly Huddersfield Town, while there comfortable wins for West Ham United and 10-man Brighton & Hove Albion.City were having trouble finding a way past Watford keeper Ben Foster at Vicarage Road but the Englishman will not want to see the replay of him being beaten by the chest of Leroy Sane five minutes before the break after a Mahrez cross.Algerian Mahrez then fired home himself shortly after halftime to set Pep Guardiola’s marauding side on the way to what looked like an easy victory.Watford did not give up and Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in from close range five minutes from time. The hosts, without a win since October, pushed City deep into their own half but could not stop them claiming a 13th win in 15 league games this term.Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser notched a goal and an assist each to snap the south-coast side’s four-game losing streak with a 2-1 home win over Huddersfield Town.Wilson gave the hosts the lead after five minutes with a superb header from a free kick that Fraser whipped in. Wilson returned the favour 17 minutes later by passing to the unmarked Fraser who slotted the ball past keeper Jonas Lossl.Terence Kongolo pulled one back for the visitors seven minutes before halftime as Bournemouth’s shaky defence failed to clear a high ball and the defender headed in. But it was not enough to stop Eddie Howe’s side moving up to sixth.Brighton were reduced to 10 men in the ‘M23 derby’ against Crystal Palace but still ran out comfortable 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Glenn Murray, Leon Balogun and Florin Andone.Murray converted a 24th minute spot kick for his ninth goal of the season before Shane Duffy was sent off for a clash with Patrick van Aanholt after a penalty appeal was turned down.The hosts doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark through substitute Balogun before Andone scored the third in first half stoppage time.Luka Milivojevic converted a late penalty for Palace after a foul on Wilfried Zaha but it was too late for Roy Hodgson’s side who slipped to 15th, three points above the relegation zone.Three is a magic number for West Ham with the 3-1 victory over Cardiff City at the London Stadium being their third successive win and they have scored three goals in each.Lucas Perez came off the bench to score twice shortly after halftime before Michail Antonio headed home a third.Josh Murphy bundled in a consolation for 16th-placed Cardiff at the end but, with the bottom three sides all playing on Wednesday, Neil Warnock’s men could be in the relegation zone by the time they welcome Southampton on Saturday.