Bullring hits the bullseye as Birmingham raises its game

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Ronaldo reprimanded for not wearing a mask while watching Portugal

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo was reprimanded for not wearing a mask while watching Portugal in the Nations League on Saturday night. Ruled out of the game against Croatia with a toe infection that has been likened to a bee sting, Ronaldo was forced to sit in the stands as he saw his nation claim a convincing 4-1 victory. Goals from Joao Cancelo, Diogo Jota, Joao Felix and Andre Silva wrapped up the comfortable win for Portugal, who have now won nine of their last 10 matches. During the game, Ronaldo inevitably drew plenty of attention after a stadium official was filmed approaching the 35-year-old to remind him to put on a mask as part of coronavirus protocol. While seemingly not to pleased by the distraction, the Juventus attacker quickly complied and put on a mask as he watched the remainder of the match. Portugal next face Sweden on Tuesday night with manager Fernando Santos conceding on Saturday that Ronaldo may not be fit in time to feature. “I wasn’t resting him. If he was in good shape, he would have been [in the starting XI] able to play the game,” Santos told RTP. “Today he trained, feels better and, at the moment, he will travel to Sweden. Then we’ll see. There is no injury, but he has to recover from that infection.” Loading… Santos’ side managed to impress without their biggest star against Croatia and it came as no surprise to their coach. “From what they did during the week, they showed me this was possible. This team knows each other well, the job was to remember what has been done before,” Santos said. “The team corresponded, 100 percent. There were some less good periods, but that is part of football.” Portugal are looking to defend their Nations League title after winning the inaugural edition last year when they defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in the final. read also:Ronaldo struggling with injury, may miss Portugal, Croatia duel Ronaldo helped lead his country to that final in June, having netted a hat-trick against Switzerland in a 3-1 semi-final win. The Juventus star’s next match for Portugal could see him score his 100th international goal with Ronaldo currently sitting on 99 strikes across 164 games for his country. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 center_img Promoted ContentCouples Who Celebrated Their Union In A Unique, Unforgettable WayThe Best Cars Of All TimeBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made8 Ways Drones Will Automate Our Future10 Risky Jobs Some Women DoWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?6 Extreme Facts About HurricanesBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemWho Earns More Than Ronaldo?7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market ValueWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?7 Thailand’s Most Exquisite Architectural Wonderslast_img read more

Bony at the double for Swansea

first_imgWilfried Bony’s injury-time penalty snatched a vital 2-1 victory for Swansea as Newcastle succumbed to a fifth successive Barclays Premier League defeat. The Ivorian, who had earlier cancelled out Shola Ameobi’s opener, struck from the penalty spot in the second minute of stoppage time after substitute Marvin Emnes had been tripped by Cheick Tiote. Bony’s double secured just a second league win in 10 attempts and could hardly have been more timely with the Swans sitting just three points clear of the drop zone before kick-off. But despite the best efforts of midfielders Hernandez and Jonathan de Guzman, they were unable to create much of note other than a series of set-pieces, and that ultimately was to provide them with a way back into the game. The Magpies, who had not scored a single goal since Cisse’s late winner against Crystal Palace on March 22, were initially ponderous, and it was not until Debuchy’s arrival as a 21st-minute replacement for Cisse, which released Vurnon Anita from full-back into midfield, that they started to pose a meaningful threat. But when the opening goal arrived two minutes later, it did so by the direct route. Ameobi headed keeper Tim Krul’s clearance down to De Jong, picked up a neat return ball and then held off his man before shooting left-footed on the turn past Michel Vorm – his first league goal since December 2012. The home side briefly threatened to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but succumbed in stoppage time when Bony rose above Mike Williamson to head the latest in a series of inswinging Ben Davies corners beyond Krul. Newcastle returned in determined mood with Dan Gosling forcing Vorm into a 48th-minute save with a volley from Paul Dummett’s cross and Anita scuffing harmlessly wide from distance seconds later. But the pattern of the first half was largely repeated with Swansea playing the more cohesive game, although Remy might have made more of Gosling’s determined 56th-minute run and pull-back. With Remy occupying a position wide on the left and Debuchy doing much the same on the right, the Magpies started to pose a greater threat and Anita flashed a left-foot volley across the face of goal. Remy curled an ambitious effort from distance over the bar with 62 minutes gone and then drilled another dipping attempt into Vorm’s midriff. However, De Guzman curled a 78th-minute shot on to the roof of Krul’s net and the Dutchman had to come from his line to deny Bony one-on-one five minutes later as the Swans pushed for a winner. Krul had to be alert once again two minutes from time to keep out Shelvey’s well-struck drive at his near post, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Bony from claiming victory from the spot. But defeat piled further pressure on Newcastle boss Alan Pardew, whose side has now lost seven of its last nine home games and 12 of its last 17 anywhere. They took the lead against the run of play as Ameobi ended their six-hours-and-23-minutes-wait for a goal. However, Bony struck from a Ben Davies corner in first-half injury time and then completed the job from 12 yards at the death. It was perhaps no more than Garry Monk’s side deserved after enjoying the better of the game for long periods, and Pardew’s critics among a crowd of 51,057 were predictably less than impressed. Life is rarely dull at St James’ Park and a week which has seen Pardew come under intense pressure ended in eventful fashion. Pardew was able to recall leading scorer Loic Remy and full-back Mathieu Debuchy to the bench after injury, but was forced to use both before half-time as two of the three strikers in his starting line-up, Papiss Cisse and Luuk de Jong, departed prematurely. However, they were not the only men to head down the tunnel early as referee Chris Foy, who was knocked over just seconds into the game after Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini blocked Jonjo Shelvey’s shot into his face, had to be replaced by fourth official Anthony Taylor. There was also some football played during the opening 45 minutes, mostly by the visitors, who characteristically retained possession and attempted to create opportunities for Bony. Press Associationlast_img read more

Syracuse comeback falls short in 5-set loss to Duke after saving 3 match points

first_imgWhen Duke’s outside hitter Payton Schwantz tipped the ball over the net to win a point deep in the fifth set, Syracuse head coach Leonid Yelin didn’t see it that way. Furious with the referee’s judgment that it was a legal tip, and not an illegal fourth hit, Yelin threw the game ball behind him and demanded an explanation from the sideline referee.With the set tied at 15-all, Syracuse needed just two points to complete a two-set comeback. But the call went against Syracuse, instead setting up a match point that the Blue Devils converted. Duke (8-9, 1-3 Atlantic Coast) won the final two points of the match to defeat the Orange (4-7, 1-3). The match tipped on that one point, when SU celebrated as if they had they had won it, only to realize that the referee had given the point to Duke.“The reaction was that it wasn’t a block,” Yelin said on the controversial call. “It’s not a block. It was four touches.”Duke’s serve that started the point left Syracue’s backline scrambling, but senior libero Kendra Lukacs returned it on the third hit.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOne of Duke’s middle blockers connected with Lukacs’s hit, but it flew back toward the backline, as Duke raced to get the ball over in three hits. A fourth hit would have given Syracuse its second match point.When Schwartz tipped it over, the Orange stopped playing and celebrated. The referee explained that the initial hit by Duke’s Samantha Amos was not a hit, but a block that deflected back to Duke’s half. Having already using a challenge earlier in the fifth set to overturn an out call on a Polina Shemanova kill, Yelin had no other options.On the ensuing rally, Duke’s middle blockers Amos and Lizzie Fleming forced a double team on junior outside hitter Ella Saada. Saada, who led the Orange with 19 kills against Duke, tried to avoid the block by planting the ball on the left sideline. The ball bounced out of bounds, killing Syracuse’s chances of completing a 2-0 comeback.“I think we played much better today than Friday,” sophomore setter Elena Karakasi said on the loss. “It was very important that we came back after being down 2-0. Next time after we push more toward the end.”Even in a game where Syracuse was able to come back and limit its service and attacking errors, several return mistakes, attacking errors, and positional miscues plagued the Orange in the first two sets.Syracuse’s coaching staff experimented with formations early on, playing three at the back to return serves and moved usual freshman outside hitter Marina Markova to the middle to assist fellow freshman middle blocker Abby Casiano.The shifts in tactics didn’t work initially. Duke outside hitter Ade Owokoniran kept firing kills past Casiano and Markova. The Orange also failed to beat double and triple teams from Duke on their outside hitters. Duke took the opener 26-24.The second set saw Duke keep pounding the Orange’s middle blockers, providing the Blue Devils with a 6-0 start. Yelin quickly called a timeout. Shemanova came out of the timeout and delivered a kill that painted the right sideline.Markova’s play in the middle also improved coming out of the break. Markova combined with Karakasi to deliver a block that bounced off a Duke player to cut the deficit to 18-17. But several attacking errors from Shemanova, Saada, and junior Yuliia Yastrub caused Syracuse to drop the second set, 25-22.Yelin and his staff pulled his team off the floor and into a glass-enclosed conference room during the break. He told SU it had to stop living in the past and keep moving forward. He wanted the Orange to stop lamenting the mistakes that hurt them in those first two sets.“When you’re in the game you can’t think and worry about what has happened,” Yelin said. “What frustrated me the most was that people were almost in the past…the past was so dominant inside.”With the Orange up 15-12 in the third, Markova and Shemanova leaped into the air and rejected a Duke shot back into the Blue Devils’ half. When they landed, they both screamed and hugged each other.“We cheered her on a lot because she did a great job today,” Shemanova said on Markova’s performance in the middle.The Orange took the third set with a convincing 25-19 score line. The fourth set was more of the same. Saada smashed kills that found holes in Duke’s defense. Karakasi, who set her career high in assists with 43, helped avoid Duke’s double and triple teams.“I think Elena’s come a long way this year from last year,” assistant coach Derryk Williams said. “I think today she did a lot of really good things to put our hitters in really good spots to be successful.”Syracuse nearly pulled off the comeback, but not until SU saved three match points down 14-11. Shemonava and Markova killed off two match points, and an Orange block saved a third.Leading 15-14 after an attack error, the Orange couldn’t hold off a Duke attack to level the match again, and the Blue Devils took the lead for good on the controversial point that tipped the match against the Orange.“In the end we weren’t able to get what we needed, but at least we showed some fight and down 14-11 in the fifth [set] and coming back and tying it,” Williams said. “Once we get past that, there’s a lot of good things from today.” Comments Published on October 6, 2019 at 7:47 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

“We factor in referees when preparing for games” – Maxwell Konadu

first_imgHead coach of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, Maxwell Konadu, has disclosed that preparing for games in Ghana go beyond tactics to include the referees’ performances.According to the former Black Stars B head coach, tactics can amount to nothing if you do not factor in all the other things that influence results in Ghana.Konadu won the Ghana Premier League with Kotoko in 2012 during his first stint with the Porcupine Warriors and rejoined in December 2019 for a second spell.In an interview on Happy FM and GTV Sports+, he said planning for a game in Ghana is different, unlike in Europe.It is different when planning to play a game in Africa, you need to factor in a lot of things unlike in Europe. When Barcelona is going to play a match anywhere, they have a set system and it doesn’t change to suit anyone.But in Ghana, when playing away, you know very well you are playing at a place like Tamale, you cannot go and play whatever system you want to play.You have to factor in the angle of the referees and a lot more in during your preparations to make sure you at least run away with a draw and if you get a slim win, you thank God. That is what makes our work difficult as coaches in Ghana..When quizzed by William Graham on clarifying what he meant by factoring in referees in his pre-match preparations, Konadu said the match officials ought to improve a lot more although there has been significant growth as the league restarted in December.I am one person I have never spoken against referees in a post-match press conference. No matter how pushed I am, I don’t comment on referees.However, I am saying they are performing so well this season and they need to improve upon it too. All this will help us coaches play out our tactics well in a match. If that is really corrected, the game will be better. This is my honest opinion.last_img read more