STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR St. John Vianney High School’s Sam Zietara (from left) fights for control of the puck with Red Bank Catholic High School’s Griffin Hurley and Steve Flego during the Dec. 12 game played at the Jersey Shore Arena in Wall Township. The Lancers fell to the Caseys, 6-2.
By Dane EmeryReports from London’s Evening Standard newspaper reveal that Jose Mourinho has criticised Portugal defender Pepe’s actions that saw him sent off during Germany’s 4-0 demolition of the Portuguese this week.Pepe was sent off in the first-half with the score at 2-0 for a ‘headbutt’ on Thomas Muller after the Bayern Munich forward made the most of the previous foul. This left Portugal with no way back in the match and up against it to qualify from Group G.Jose Mourinho has suggested that Pepe should have behaved in a better manner as he is “not even a Portuguese man” with the centre back actually being born in Brazil.Mourinho claimed that while the red card may have been harsh, Pepe pressured the referee into making a decision.“Maybe he doesn’t deserve a red card but because, in spite of not being a clear aggression, there is a body language that many, many times pushes the referees to have these kind of decisions.”Pepe and Mourinho have fallen out before while working together at Real Madrid where Pepe chose to criticise Mourinho’s management while the current Chelsea boss slammed Pepe on more than one occasion for his lack of discipline, something evident during Portugal’s opening defeat of this World Cup.For more articles and the latest football news, check out FTBpro.com
Perhaps a new challenge is exactly what these struggling players need.For more articles and the latest soccer news, check out 90min.com
The draw for the semi-finals of the Cyprus Cup was made on Tuesday, March 24 and is as follows:AEK v AELAPOEL v OmoniaThe two-legged games will be played on April 8 and 22
By Andrew DownieCristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the two best players in the world right now but Neymar will eclipse them both next year, former Brazil striker Ronaldo told Reuters.FIFA will release the names of the three finalists for the Ballon d’Or on Monday, with the choice of world’s best player to be announced on January 11.Brazilians have featured heavily in the voting over the last 20 years with Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka lifting the trophy eight times between 1994 and 2007.However, the Spain-based duo have had a stranglehold on the award since 2008, with Portugal’s Ronaldo winning it three times (2008, 2013 and 2014) and Messi winning four awards (2009-2012).“I would bet on Neymar next year,” Brazil’s Ronaldo told Reuters. “I think Neymar is still growing a lot and I think the growth of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi has reached its limit.“Maybe they will be there another year or two and I think it’s natural that Neymar takes over that position in which Brazil has always had representatives.”Ronaldo said he had hoped his countryman would break the duopoly this year but was not confident the Barcelona forward would even be in the running given the stiff competition.“I really want Neymar to win and interrupt the series of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi,” the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Barcelona striker said.“I think this year it will be between the two of them again. I don’t know if Neymar will finish in third.”Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, Paris St. Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski are among the other possible contenders for the trophy.
By Stephen EisenhammerTemporary power supplier Aggreko has pulled out of a tender to provide generators to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year, the spokesman for Rio 2016 told Reuters, dealing a major blow to organisers rushing to secure an energy source for the world’s largest sporting event.The temporary power contract is a vital part of Olympic preparations, guaranteeing a stable and secure energy supply for international broadcasters, the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as back-up electricity for the venues.The most experienced bidder pulling out on such a crucial contract is a worrying sign for Olympic organisers who are under huge pressure to cut spending as Brazil languishes in its worst recession in 25 years. The government has already warned that there is no money to cover any cost overruns.Aggreko did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Aggreko has been involved in nine Olympics and six World Cups, providing power to the 2012 summer games in London and the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup.Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told Reuters he was comfortable with the companies still competing for the tender, the winner of which will be passed to the board for approval on Tuesday.Two other sources with knowledge of the tender said they doubted any other temporary power supplier had the in-country capacity and Olympic experience to fully meet the needs of the contract. It is likely that whoever wins would have to lease generators from Aggreko, they said.It is unclear why Aggreko pulled its tender, but the sources said they thought the Glasgow-based firm had tired of negotiations that have been going on for two years, as well as constant changes in both the scope of the tender and who would be paying – the government or organising committee.Organisers are cutting it close. For London 2012, the winner of the power contract was announced 20 months before the games started. The August 5 to August 21 games in Rio are just eight months away.In 2012, the company’s pre-tax profits surged 11 per cent, helped by its London Olympic contract. Aggreko provided London 2012 with 550 generator sets, 1,500 kilometres of cable and 5,500 distribution panels across 39 venues.
By Alexander McCowanWHEN Cyprus turned out against the Magyars at the ‘home ground’ of Paphiakos Stadium on Saturday they knew that no mercy would be shown by their opponents. Whoever lost was destined for relegation and the Cypriots were certain it wasn’t going to be them.The mercurial Turgot romped past four defenders and touched down for the first try giving the Moufflons a 5-0 cover. Zavallis, the division’s top scorer, made some penetrating runs culminating in frustration when his kicks through failed to achieve a score.Moufflons left the field at half-time 8-0 up due to a penalty from Matt King 35m out and into a fierce Paphos wind. Better management in the second half led to a converted try by King from a tactical kick through by the excellent Zavallis. Drop out led to a penalty for visitors.The final score: Cyprus 15-Hungary 3.
The weather was dull and wet but that did not stop a beaming Stan Wawrinka from having plenty of fun on Sunday as he enjoyed a mid-match rally with a ballboy before twirling 360 degrees on court to take a selfie-video with 10,000 French Open spectators.In between all the sideshows, the reigning champion lit up a gloomy Roland Garros with his lurid day-glo yellow shirt as he reached the quarter-finals with a dazzling 7-6(5) 6-7(7) 6-3 6-2 win over Serbia’s Viktor Troicki.In an entertaining match featuring between-the-leg shots, 105 sweetly-struck winners and an array of blinding backhands from Wawrinka, the Swiss third seed chalked up his fifth successive win over Troicki when the Serbian netted a backhand.“For me, it was a great win, a great match, a very robust match,” a soggy Wawrinka told reporters after playing the second set through a misty rain shower.“I managed to stay very calm, I didn’t get excited, or irritated, even though I lost the second set. I didn’t waste any intellectual energy because I was very serene.”The win earned Wawrinka an eighth successive victory on clay, following his triumph in the Geneva tournament last weekend, but more importantly it allowed him to set up a quarter-final meeting with unheralded Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.Troicki kept Wawrinka on his toes during the first half of the contest, with the Swiss winning the opening set on his eighth set point before the Serbian bagged the second set on his fifth.After surrendering the tiebreak with a miscued lob, Wawrinka gave himself a sarcastic thumbs up and repeatedly prodded the side of his temple with his index finger, no doubt wondering “what the hell was that?”All the running around Troicki did in the first two sets caught up with him midway through the third and he called on the trainer.As the Serbian lay flat on his back to have his hip manipulated, Troicki was the only person on Philippe Chatrier Court who missed out on watching “a bored” Wawrinka trading groundstrokes with a ballboy.“I asked the ballboy if he played tennis and I thought, ‘why don’t we go and hit a few balls’. He wasn’t afraid to be on centre court,” a smiling Wawrinka said.“We had a little chat. He was a nice kid. It was nice for him. It was fun for the audience. I was a little bit bored waiting for him (Troicki) so it kept me busy.”The treatment, however, failed to have the desired effect as Wawrinka “tightened a few nuts and bolts” to run away with the last two sets and condemned Troicki to a 20th successive defeat against top-three opponents.
FOOTBALL’S world ruling body FIFA has promised “appropriate steps” after a report on Monday said a dozen positive doping cases in Russian football were among hundreds covered up by Moscow.However, FIFA did not comment directly on allegations in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) report that Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko, who sits on its supervisory FIFA Council, had ordered the cover-up in the cases of the footballers.The independent WADA report, which followed an investigation led by Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, concentrated on allegations of systematic doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.It said that Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping cases from a variety of sports, including football, in the run-up to the games.“FIFA will request from WADA all details concerning the individual cases of doping in Russian football that are referenced in the McClaren report,” FIFA said in a statement to Reuters.“Once FIFA receives this information from WADA, it will take the appropriate next steps.”The report said that Russian Deputy Sports Minister Yuri Nagornykh had decided which athletes would benefit from a cover-up, known as a SAVE order, although Mutko appeared to make the decision with regard to footballers.“The chief investigator is aware of at least one foreign footballer playing in the Russian League who had that benefit of a SAVE order,” it said.“That SAVE decision was made by Minister Mutko and not Deputy Minister Nagornykh.”Eleven Russian footballers also benefited from a cover-up after failing a doping test, the report said.“Email evidence available… shows that the SAVE decision for the football players was the final decision of ‘VL’. VL is the first name and patronymic name initials of the Minister of Sport, Vitaly Leontiyevich Mutko.”Mutko, president of the organising committee for the 2018 World Cup which will be hosted by Russia, has not commented since the release of the McLaren report.However, when the same allegations were made in June by German broadcaster ARD/WDR, he described them as “silly” and said that he and Russia were being smeared as payback for winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup.Asked bout Mutko’s situation, FIFA said “the Ethics Committee is an independent body of FIFA and only it can decide what actions to take in respect to this issue.”
UEFA announced significant changes to their flagship Champions League on Friday, saying they had managed to “keep it in the family” after staving off the threat of a breakaway league by Europe’s top clubs.From 2018/19 season, the top four European leagues – currently Spain, Germany, England and Italy – will each be guaranteed four places in the group stage, UEFA competitions director Giorgio Marchetti told reporters.Stung by criticism that the competition has become too predictable, UEFA emphasised that it would continue to be open for teams from Europe’s smaller national leagues although the number of places set aside for them would drop from five to four.Europe’s top clubs had discussed the possibility of forming a breakaway Super League but UEFA’s acting general secretary Theodore Theodoridis played down the threat.“From the very beginning, the feeling was the ideal solution for everybody would be a solution in the family,” he told reporters. “We spoke to everyone…the feeling we had was that they always wanted to stay.”UEFA also stopped short of guaranteeing captive places for certain big clubs, another possibility which sources said had been discussed privately in meetings over the past few months.Under the present system, the top three leagues have three places each while their fourth-placed teams must play off over two legs for a place in the group stage.The fourth ranked league, currently Italy, have only two guaranteed places plus one in the playoff round.UEFA uses a complicated coefficient to determine the rankings of the national leagues.Marchetti said the format itself would remain the same with a qualifying stage, followed by a 32-team group stage and then a knockout contest.The champions and runners-up of the fifth and sixth-ranked leagues, at present France and Russia, will continue to have two places while the champions of the seventh to tenth ranked leagues, currently Portugal, Ukraine, Belgium and Turkey, will also qualify automatically.The biggest losers were the 11th and 12th ranked leagues, currently Switzerland and the Czech Republic, who will lose their guaranteed places in the group stage.Instead, they will now compete in a qualifying competition with national champions from all other European leagues for four places in a qualifying competition played in July and August.Theodoridis said it was an achievement just to keep any places for teams from the smaller leagues who struggle to compete on level terms with the elite clubs.“We started this process by having one target, keeping the dream alive having all national associations having access,” he said.UEFA has been without a president since last December when Frenchman Michel Platini was banned for eight years by world football’s governing body FIFA for ethics violations, later reduced to four on appeal by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).UEFA will hold an election to find a replacement for Platini in Athens on September 16. Michael van Praag, Angel Maria Villar and Aleksandar Ceferin, the heads of the Dutch, Spanish and Slovenian federations respectively, are the three candidates.