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April 17, 2017 · Leave a Comment
Sebastian Vettel moved clear at the top of the world championship on Sunday when he claimed a well-judged victory for Ferrari in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 29-year-old four-time champion came home seven seconds ahead of three-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, who made a late charge for victory after collecting a five-seconds penalty for a pit-lane misdemeanour.
Hamilton’s new Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished third, after starting from his maiden pole position, ahead of compatriot Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and fifth-placed Australian Daniel Ricciardo.
It was Vettel’s third win in Bahrain and the 44th of his career.
April 13, 2017 · Leave a Comment
Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 100th European goal on Wednesday to give holders Real Madrid a 2-1 comeback win at 10-man Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final, first-leg.
“I wanted to reach this record. To be able to reach this mark is an honour and against a team like Bayern it is even better,” Ronaldo, who scored both goals, told BeIN Sport Spain.
Arturo Vidal headed Bayern into a first-half lead, but then skied a penalty attempt on the stroke of half-time before Ronaldo volleyed the defending champions’ level.
Bayern played the last half an hour a man down after centre-back Javi Martinez was sent off for two fouls on Ronaldo within three minutes of each other.
Four-time world player of the year Ronaldo then slotted in the winner between goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s legs for the winner 13 minutes from time.
“We believe we can still do it, we were the better team in the first half, could have made it 2-0 or 3-0,” Neuer told ZDF.
But Bayern were outplayed in the second-half and most of Real’s 23 shots on goal came after the break.
“We had everything under control in the first half, but didn’t use the room consistently,” said captain Philipp Lahm. “The tipping point was the red card.”
Security was tight at the Allianz Arena in the wake of Tuesday’s attacks on the Borussia Dortmund team bus and both teams arrived with a heavy police escort.
There was a large police presence and inside the stadium there was polite applause when the announcer made reference to Dortmund’s ordeal in the preceeding 24 hours.
Bayern suffered a blow before kick-off when top-scorer Robert Lewandowski, who has netted 38 goals this season, dropped out with a bruised shoulder and Thomas Muller deputised as striker.
Bayern were also missing injured Germany defender Mats Hummels against Real’s formidable BBC attack – Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo.
Bayern went ahead on 25 minutes when playmaker Thiago Alcantara swung in a corner from the right which Vidal powered through Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas’s hands.
The Chile midfielder could have added a second when he headed Arjen Robben’s cross wide of the post soon after.
Real made a poor start, rarely threatening Germany’s goalkeeper Neuer, back after minor foot surgery a fortnight ago.
A strong drive from Ronaldo on 41 minutes which Neuer blocked having palmed a Benzema header onto the woodwork with 18 minutes played were their best first-half chances.
Vidal could have finished with a first-half hat-trick when he stepped up to take a penalty after Dani Carvajal’s handball from a Franck Ribery shot.
However, the Chilean smashed the spot-kick high over the crossbar.
It was a miss Bayern were soon to regret.
Real were level two minutes after the break when Carvajal found space on the right and fired in a cross which Ronaldo volleyed past Neuer.
Bale, who has laboured with an ankle injury recently, came off on 58 minutes and Real raised the tempo after he trudged off.
Having already picked up a yellow card for pulling Ronaldo back on 58 minutes, Martinez was shown a red for again fouling the Portugal captain just three minutes later.
Real’s superstar then hit the winner as substitute Marco Asensio, on for Bale, put in a low pass for Ronaldo to tap the ball home between Neuer’s legs.
Real defender Sergio Ramos had the ball in the Bayern net with time running out, but the goal was ruled offside but the Spaniards have the upper hand for the second leg at home next Tuesday.
April 13, 2017 · Leave a Comment
The Western Stormers square off against the Golden Lions in a blockbuster South African derby while Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett sets a match record in Super Rugby this weekend.
The Canterbury Crusaders and Stormers are the only unbeaten sides remaining going into round eight of the competition, which next year will revert to a 15-team format from its current 18.
The fallout from governing body SANZAAR’s announcement to axe three teams — two from South Africa and one from Australia — has dominated the past week.
Threatened franchise Western Force have launched legal action against Australian rugby chiefs.
Seven-times champion Crusaders ease back into the fray following a bye by hosting the Sunwolves who won their first match of the season last week.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read is back for his first outing of the season having recovered from wrist surgery.
And the match will be a significant milestone for fellow All Black Crockett as he makes a record 176th appearance in Super Rugby.
The 34-year-old will overtake former All Black Keven Mealamu’s record of 175.
SANZAAR chief Andy Marinos described Crockett’s record as “a tremendous achievement for a player who is at the coal face of one of the hardest and most competitive rugby competitions in the world”.
The Crusaders feel comfortable enough to make a raft of changes to the side that beat the Waratahs a fortnight ago. Just five players of their 23 remain in the same position
In the showdown between the top two South African sides, the Stormers are brimming with confidence after inflicting the first loss of the season on the Waikato Chiefs last week while the Lions are coming off a bye.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes the week off came at the right time as it allowed several key players including Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Ruan Ackermann, and Elton Jantjies to get over niggling injuries.
The Stormers “are the team to beat in South Africa and it’s going to take something special to get the better of them at Newlands,” Ackermann said.
“They’re playing an exciting brand of rugby and their skill levels are extremely high so it’s going to be a huge challenge going there.”
The Stormers, though, have injury woes after the punishing outing against the Chiefs with flanker Cobus Wiese and locks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth unable to train early in the week.
They are also in a tough sequence of matches with home games against the Chiefs and Lions to be followed by a trip to New Zealand to face the Crusaders, Otago Highlanders and Wellington Hurricanes.
The Chiefs, looking to get their season back on track, are in Bloemfontein to face a Central Cheetahs side desperate to prove they deserve to survive the Super Rugby culling process.
“These are challenging and uncertain times,” the Cheetahs said in a statement this week.
“We strongly believe that through an honest and fair process we stand a strong chance of retaining our Super Rugby status.”
The defending champion Wellington Hurricanes are in Auckland to face a Blues side which has Sonny Bill Williams starting in a new unique jersey which does not feature the logo of team sponsor Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) to conform with his Muslim beliefs.
But Williams has agreed to wear, instead, the logo of child health service Plunket whose principal sponsor is the BNZ.
In the remaining matches, top Australian side ACT Brumbies play the struggling Melbourne Rebels, who along with Western Force are under threat of being kicked out of the 2018 competition.
Elsewhere, the Queensland Reds are at home to the Southern Kings and the Northern Bulls return to South Africa after an unsuccessful road trip to host the Jaguares.
Arsene Wenger faces renewed calls to resign after Arsenal’s miserable season spiralled out of control with furious fans turning on his flops during their humiliating 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace.
Wenger’s side hit a new low on a chastening evening in south London as struggling Palace condemned the shambolic Gunners to their heaviest Premier League defeat of the season.
Wenger’s side have lost four successive away league games for the first time in his 21-year reign as manager.
Goals from Andros Townsend, Yohan Cabaye and Luka Milivojevic gave Palace their first home win over Arsenal since 1979 and left Wenger in turmoil after his team’s fifth defeat in their last eight league games.
With many Arsenal supporters again demanding Wenger resign, the toxic atmosphere around the north Londoners boiled over as fans refused to give the ball back to Gunners right-back Hector Bellerin when it went into the away section in the second half.
Instead, they berated Bellerin and his team-mates with chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt”, with the Spaniard having to be consoled by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when he was jeered again at the final whistle.
Wenger and his squad were targeted for more abuse when they made their way from the dressing room to the team bus. Arsenal’s shocking surrender leaves them in sixth place, lagging seven points behind fourth placed Manchester City.
With Wenger’s record of leading Arsenal into the Champions League for 19 consecutive years in severe danger, the beleaguered Frenchman acknowledged he has to find a way to avoid the mutinous mood wrecking what may yet prove to be his final season in charge.
“I want the fans to support the team, but I can understand they are extremely frustrated, like we all are,” Wenger said.
“We came with the desire to win the game, but in the decisive moments of the game Palace were sharper.
“To see us lose in that way is disappointing. It’s part of my job to build the confidence. We have a week to do it. it’s our job. we will try to do it.”
Faced with the prospect of missing out on the Champions League for the first time since 1997, Wenger has hardly helped his cause by refusing to confirm if he will sign an extension to the contract which runs out at the end of the season.
The uncertainty over his future has been a major distraction for a team lacking the fighting spirit required to cope with adversity.
Wenger conceded Arsenal’s chances of making the Champions League via a top-four finish look bleak, but he refused to be drawn on whether or not he will stay.
“I think it will be very difficult certainly,” he said. “I don’t want to speak about me tonight. I’m not in the mood.
“At the moment I pay more respect to the fact we had a disappointing result.”
Looking shell-shocked and far less defiant than he often is at such downbeat moments, Wenger must have been devastated by the way the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott went missing when he needed them most.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright claimed Wenger has lost the support of his players and even the Gunners boss admitted Palace had shown more passion.
“They were sharper and more decisive than us,” he said. “In the second half they came out strong and scored again.
“After that it was more difficult. “I don’t say the players gave up. For a long time we were unbeaten away but since we lost a few we don’t have the confidence. “You could sense it had an impact on us after the second goal.”
Palace moved six points clear of the bottom three and boss Sam Allardyce hailed a magical 10 days that also included a win at leaders Chelsea.
“One or two more results and we should be safe, but it’s a massive night for everybody, and a huge week for us all,” he said.
Lewis Hamilton boldly christened himself “brave warrior” after winning the Chinese Grand Prix but the three-time world champion will have more than just title rival Sebastian Vettel to contend with this week in Bahrain.
As Hamilton celebrated a third Shanghai victory in four years with his Mercedes team, he unveiled a new tattoo on the left side of his ribcage bearing the Chinese characters “Brave Warrior” and “Love”.
But the Briton’s thunder had already been stolen by a jaw-dropping drive from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who finished third behind Ferrari’s Vettel after starting near the back of the grid.
The 19-year-old Dutchman began in 16th after an engine misfire in qualifying and tore past nine cars on the first lap alone, suggesting fears that the sport’s new rules had made overtaking harder were premature.
Both Hamilton and Vettel, who himself produced two breath-taking passes, will be casting nervous looks in their rear-view mirrors at Verstappen.
“He is right up there with all the best drivers,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who noted that Verstappen’s odds of reaching the podium after qualifying stood at 33-1.
“If it had not been insider trading, I’d have had a flutter. Max has a sixth sense in the wet. He is fearless. He explores all the boundaries of the track to find where the grip is.”
Verstappen’s aggressive approach has quickly made him a fan favourite and he has been compared with Formula One great Ayrton Senna, particularly after a seat-of-the-pants drive in Brazil last year when he stormed to third in pouring rain.
By the same token, he has ruffled feathers since making his F1 debut two years ago at just 17 with Ferrari’s Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both letting rip.
But Hamilton, who recognises a kindred spirit in Verstappen, retorted: “This young dude has been a real breath of fresh air for everyone.”
Wider cars and fatter tyres were supposed to make overtaking a dying art, but Verstappen and Vettel went some way to exploding that myth in China.
On a track still slick after morning drizzle, Verstappen pulled off an audacious piece of skill to pass Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, braking late to lunge inside on turn six.
Equally as impressive were Vettel’s pass on Raikkonen after early frustration, and his wheel-to-wheel clash in overtaking Ricciardo, which recalled the days before one team dominated the sport.
Mercedes have enjoyed a stranglehold over Formula One for the past three years, the German team winning all but two races in 2016.
Before that, Vettel won four successive titles with Red Bull on a streak so monotonous he was repeatedly booed on the podium.
But Formula One suddenly has a title race with Vettel and Hamilton heading to Bahrain tied on 43 points after the German’s stunning victory in the season opener in Australia.
Verstappen is placed third on 25, with Valtteri Bottas on 23 for Mercedes, Raikkonen on 22 and Ricciardo 12, adding spice to this week’s dust-up in the desert.
All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett has escaped further punishment after receiving a red card in the Wellington Hurricanes’ Super Rugby win over NSW Waratahs last week.
The current World Rugby player of the year was sent off late in the match after receiving two yellow cards for deliberately knocking down the ball during Waratahs’ attacks.
The SANZAAR judiciary said it took Barrett’s exemplary disciplinary record into account before clearing him to play against the Auckland Blues this weekend.
“The player is therefore free to play and will serve no suspension,” it said in a ruling issued late Monday.
Barrett argued after the match that he was trying to intercept the ball but poor technique meant he knocked it down, rather than taking possession.
Waratahs prop Sekope Kepu was banned for one week after earning a yellow card in the same match for a dangerous tackle.
The judiciary said he received the suspension because it was his third yellow this season for similar offences.
Bayern Munich host Real Madrid in Wednesday’s mouthwatering Champions League quarter-final, first-leg, with Carlo Ancelotti’s Bavarians looking once again to be the Spaniards’ ‘bete noire’.
And the subplots to the Allianz Arena clash are fascinating.
Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti coached Real to the 2014 Champions League crown and is up against his former assistant from that triumph, Madrid’s current head coach Zinedine Zidane.
World Cup 2010 winner Xabi Alonso, who also won the 2014 Champions League before joining Bayern, will face his ex-club for the last time before retiring in June.
And Real’s Germany midfielder Toni Kroos is another to be coming up against his former employers.
Ancelotti says “little things will make the difference” between the star-studded squads that will see two goal-scoring giants go head-to-head.
Bayern’s top-scorer Robert Lewandowski, with 38 goals in all competitions this season, is up against Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, with 26 goals from 36 games.
That may be modest by his standards, but Ronaldo has tormented Bayern in the past with four goals in as many games and the Bavarians will be wary, especially with backup from Wales star Gareth Bale and France’s Karim Benzema.
Lewandowski suffered a bruised shoulder in scoring twice in Saturday’s 4-1 hammering of Borussia Dortmund, but expects to be “100 percent” fit.
Bayern are on a Champions League record of 16 straight European wins at the Allianz Arena and that’s a record Dutch winger Arjen Robben is keen to maintain.
“We have to up the ante, we have to signal (to Real) from the first minute that there is nothing to take in Munich and we want to win the game,” he said.
Bayern are looking to recover their ‘bete noire’ nickname, given to them by Real fans after Munich won eight of 14 matches against Real between 2000 and 2012.
All that changed in the 2014 Champions League’s semi-final when the team coached by Pep Guardiola was thrashed 4-0 in Munich, crashing out 5-0 on aggregate as Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos netted twice each.
That defeat remains Bayern’s record home European loss, yet there is no talk of revenge ahead of Wednesday’s clash.
“This is the quarter-finals, but it sounds like a final,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.
“We’re playing against an absolute top team, who have top players in every position. We will have to play to our potential.”
Both sides are missing key defenders, though.
Germany’s Mats Hummels was ruled out after damaging ankle ligaments on Sunday so Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez will form the centre-back partnership.
Hummels faces a race against time to be back for the return at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 18, while Real have defenders Pepe and Raphael Varane ruled out of both legs.
Pepe suffered a double rib fracture in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid, while Varane is out for a month with a hamstring injury.
Right-back Daniel Carvajal trained on his own on Monday and is struggling with a knock.
Bayern received a boost on Monday with Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer back in training following a minor foot operation 10 days ago, while Thomas Mueller is also fit after an ankle injury.
“We’re very confident. It’s a European cracker featuring two top teams,” said Mueller.
“We also notice it outside the club, not only in terms of the media, but also when talking to friends or acquaintances in Munich.
“Everyone’s talking about the game.”
The Miami Heat kept their NBA playoff hopes alive on Monday with a 124-121 overtime victory over Cleveland that dropped the reigning NBA champion Cavaliers to second in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavs, locked in a duel with the Boston Celtics for the top seed in the East, nevertheless rested stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving in Miami.
“The most important thing is for us to give those guys a rest,” Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said. “They have carried the load all season.”
Cleveland suffered their second overtime defeat in as many days, having squandered a 26-point fourth-quarter lead in a stunning loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.
Against the Heat, they took a 91-80 lead into the fourth, but Miami stormed back to force overtime and claim the win.
Tyler Johnson had 24 points and Hassan Whiteside added 23 and 18 rebounds as the Heat snapped a three-game home losing streak.
Deron Williams, starting at point guard in place of Irving, led Cleveland with 35 points. Kevin Love added 25 with 10 rebounds before he fouled out with 34 seconds left in overtime.
With the Celtics beating the Brooklyn Nets 114-105, the defeat dropped the Cavs one game behind Boston for first place in the conference.
James has said he isn’t concerned about the top seed, and teammate Kyle Korver said Monday that the Cavs just want to get the post-season underway.
“I think we’ve shown that when we’re focused we’re a really good team,” Korver said of the Cavs, despite a ragged end to the regular season.
The Celtics, however, are eager to go into the post-season as the top team in the East.
“Trying to finish the season with the number one seed, that means a lot to me, personally, so hopefully we can get that,” said Isaiah Thomas, who scored 27 points against the Nets.
For the Heat, the victory means they will be fighting with the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls for the last two playoff spots in the East when the regular season concludes on Wednesday.
The Pacers, with 27 points from Paul George, defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 120-111 on Monday and lie second in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls crushed the Orlando Magic 122-75 and at 40-41 have the same record as Miami with one game remaining for each.
But Chicago own the tiebreaker, so if they finish with the same record as the Heat, the Bulls will claim the eighth and final playoff spot.
Robin Lopez scored 18 points and Jimmy Butler and Jerian Grant had 17 apiece to pace the Bulls. Nikola Mirotic added 16 points and veteran Dwyane Wade chipped in 13 as Chicago won by their biggest margin of the season.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he didn’t try to keep track of what the Bulls and Pacers were doing on Monday.
“Our game was enough,” he said. “I don’t need the ancillary stress.”
In Oakland, Golden State starts Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were watching from the bench in the fourth quarter as the injury depleted Utah Jazz completed a 105-99 victory that ended the Warriors’ 14-game winning streak.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr opted to play safe with his key players, resting Curry, Durant and Draymond Green late while Klay Thompson sat out altogether.
The Warriors are already assured of top seed in the West and home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
For the Jazz, however, the win kept them level for fourth place in the West with the Los Angeles Clippers, who thumped the Houston Rockets 125-96 for a sixth-straight win.
Chris Paul scored 19 points and handed out nine assists and Blake Griffin added 18 points for the Clippers.
The Portland Trail Blazers, headed to a first-round playoff series against the Warriors, stunned the San Antonio Spurs 99-98 on Noah Vonleh’s layup as time expired.
All five starters scored in double figures for Portland, starting with Shabazz Napier’s career-high 32.
Result: Kandy won by 19 runs.
18:25 – Dambulla 317 all out in 48.5 overs
U. Jayasundera 40, D. Perera 27, L. Gamage 4/45
17:53 – Dambulla 287/6 in 45 overs
H. Cooray 109, L. Gamage 2/11
Result: Galle won by 188 runs
17:25 – Colombo 114 all out in 26.5 overs. K. Vithanage 26, T. Perera 25, M. Pushpakumara 5/29
17:23 – Dambulla 193/4 in 35 overs
K. Mendis 77, H. Cooray 81 n.o, L. Gamage 2/11
16:53 – Dambulla 130/2 in 24 overs
K. Mendis 75 n.o, L. Gamage 2/2
16:20 – Colombo 64/6 in 18 overs
K. Vithanage 26, M. Pushpakumara 3/23
16:04 – Dambulla 71/2 in 14 overs
K. Mendis 46 n.o.
15:24 – Colombo (target 303) 11/1 in 3 overs.
15:23 – Dambulla (target 337) 28/2 in 8 overs
L. Gamage 2/0.
14:27 – Kandy 336/7 in 50 overs
L. Madushanka 90 n.o, R. Rambukwella 52 n.o, A. Fernando 2/71, N. Kulasekara 2/72.
14:25 – Galle 302/4 in 49 overs
D. Shanaka 121, D. Karunaratne 86, M. Bhanuka 41
13:27 – Kandy 236/7 in 44 overs
C. Kapugedara 102, L. Madushanka 46 n.o, A. Fernando 2/30
13:25 – Galle 219/4 in 40 overs
D. Karunaratne 70 n.o, D. Shanaka 64 n.o.
12:02 – Galle 88/2 in 17 overs
M. Bhanuka 41, S. Samarawickrema 20.
12:01 – Kandy 100/5 in 23 overs
C. Kapugedara 28 n.o, C. Asalanka 25, N. Kulasekara 2/17.
11:28 – Galle 40/1 in 9 overs
S. Samarawickrema 20.
11:27 – Kandy 66/4 in 15 overs. N. Kulasekara 2/18.
10:15 – At CCC Grounds. Colombo vs Galle match delayed due to overnight rain.
10:09 – At Colts Grounds. Dambulla won the toss and elected to field vs Kandy.
18:10 – At full time. St. Joseph’s College 72. D. S. Senanayake College 10.
18:04 – At full time. Dharmaraja College 35. St. Peter’s College 24.
18:01 – St. Peter’s College score another try to reduce the lead. 24-35.
17:58 – Dharmaraja College put over a penalty to further extend lead. 35-19.
17:57 – D. S. Senanayake College put over a penalty to reduce the lead. 10-72.
17:53 – St. Joseph’s College score another try to increase the lead. 72-7.
17:40 – D. S. Senanayake College score their first try. 7-67.
17:39 – St. Peter’s College reduce the lead with a converted try. 19-32.
17:31 – Dharmaraja College score again to further extend lead. 32-12.
17:27 – St. Joseph’s College score their tenth try to further increase lead. 62-0.
17:23 – St. Joseph’s College further extend lead with a converted try. 57-0.
17:22 – St. Peter’s College put over another penalty to make it 12-27.
17:06 – At half time. Dharmaraja College 27. St. Peter’s College 9.
17:05 – Dharmaraja College score again to increase the lead 27-9.
17:04 – At half time. St. Joseph’s College 50. D. S. Senanayake College 0.
17:02 – Dharmaraja College further extend lead with a converted try. 22-9.
17:01 – St. Joseph’s College top the 50 point mark with their eighth try. 50-0.
16:58 – St. Joseph’s College further extend lead with a converted try. 45-0.
16:50 – St. Joseph’s College further extend lead with a converted try. 38-0.
16:49 – St. Joseph’s College score their fifth try to increase the lead. 31-0.
16:48 – St. Peter’s College put over another penalty to make it 9-15.
16:47 – Dharmaraja College further extend lead with a converted try. 15-6.
16:40 – St. Joseph’s College further extend lead with a converted try. 26-0.
16:39 – St. Peter’s College put over another penalty to make it 6-8.
16:38 – St. Peter’s College reduce the lead with a penalty. 3-8.
16:37 – St. Joseph’s College score their third try to make it 19-0.
16:36 – St. Joseph’s College extend lead with an unconverted try. 12-0.
16:35 – Dharmaraja College extend lead with an unconverted try. 8-0.
16:34 – St. Joseph’s College open scoring with a converted try. 7-0.
16:32 – Dharmaraja College open scoring with a penalty. 3-0.
16:30 – Dharmaraja Vs St. Peter’s match kicks off
16:29 – D. S. Senanayake Vs St. Joseph’s kicks off
18:01 – Fulltime. Royal 48, St. Anthony’s 35
17:43 – Royal try by Sabith Feroze. Royal 43, St. Anthony’s 35
17:41 – Royal penalty by M. Shaqir. Royal 36, St. Anthony’s 35
17:35 – Royal try scored by Ovin Askey. Royal 33, St. Anthony’s 35
17:25 – St. Anthony’s try by Savesh Weerakoon. St. Anthony’s 35, Royal 26
17:24 – Royal try by Risith Fernando. St. Anthony’s 28, Royal 26
17:21 – St Anthony’s try by Chamod Wanasinghe. Royal 19, St. Anthony’s 28
17:19 – St. Anthony’s try Dinuk Amarasinghe. St. Anthony’s 21, Royal 19
17:08 – Royal score uncoverted try by Janidu Dilshan. St. Antony’s 14, Royal 19
17:00 – St. Anthony’s try by Jehan Seelagama. St. Anthony’s 14, Royal 14
16:55 – Royal try by Sabith Feroze. Royal 14, St. Anthony’s 7
16:51 – Royal draw level with converted try 7-7
16:30 – St. Anthony’s draw first blood. Lead 7-0.
16:00 – Royal vs. St. Anthony’s match kicks off
Lewis Hamilton, Formula One’s racing rock star who is a master of all conditions, has the edge over championship-leader Sebastian Vettel and remains favourite for this year’s title, according to former star Mark Webber.
Australian Webber, now 40, knows Vettel as a racer and a team-mate after their strained but glorious years together at Red Bull.
He believes the battle of the two multiple champions will be the centre-piece of the 2017 season as Ferrari and Mercedes slug it out in a development war with the ‘fatter and faster’ cars that made a record-smashing debut in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
“The CVs are getting similar aren’t they? That can re-fire the candle for Seb,” Webber told AFP.
“And don’t forget, Lewis can sometimes be a bit off it, not feeling quite right on a Friday.
“But ultimately, I think Lewis has more outright skill than Sebastian. He’s so good, so very, very good, in the rain and in all conditions.
“But if Seb gets a sniff of success, he can be frightening. I know about that! But for outright skill, it’s Lewis -– and Mercedes are the stable team, the team to beat.”
A veteran of 215 Grands Prix with Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull, Webber was a team-mate of Vettel during the German’s four-year pomp as champion and close rival to the younger pre-Mercedes Hamilton.
This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, where Hamilton seeks his first win of the season and his fifth at Shanghai despite the poor weather conditions, is expected to give a much more accurate guide to the year ahead than the race in Melbourne where, after dominating qualifying, Hamilton was held up in traffic and finished second.
Webber admitted it was Hamilton’s record-breaking charge to pole position that left the most serious impression.
“What we have seen is a supremely confident Lewis who, at 32, has been exceptional,” he said. “Remember, he hadn’t been there for 12 months and he went straight out there and he was just… exceptional!
“He was so confident. I think he looked like he was going to crash the car. He was that quick and that confident. He was on the edge straightaway.”
He was not, he said, surprised to see Vettel end Ferrari’s 18-month winless drought in Melbourne.
“I think Ferrari are going to win races, but a season? I think they’ve got Sebastian engaged again and that is crucial.
“The ‘marriage’ is back on, but if they are not winning consistently in the next eight months he will be looking over the fence.”
Webber, now working as an ambassador for Rolex amid other commitments, believes also that Vettel’s new life as a family man may have an effect on the battle with the Englishman.
“Sebastian, he is a very human guy,” he said. “He’s very private. We all love our families, of course — and I think he’s always had the big picture in his mind.
“Having said that, deep down, he is still a very tough competitor and he loves winning.”
Jose Mourinho suggested last weekend that he had considered abandoning a push for the Premier League’s top four to focus on European competition and failure to beat Sunderland on Sunday may see that pledge become a reality.
United’s best hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League increasingly appears to be by winning the Europa League, with the first leg of their quarter-final against Anderlecht in Belgium on Thursday.
Mourinho’s team face a congested fixture list — the visit to Sunderland will be their third of nine matches during April.
The first two ended in disappointing home draws against West Bromwich Albion and Everton, leaving United four points adrift of the top four with a game in hand.
At least, Mourinho has his leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic back.
The former Paris Saint-Germain striker was not at his best against Everton on his return from a three-match domestic ban, but showed the calmness required to convert the 94th-minute penalty that secured United a point.
Ibrahimovic, with 27 goals in all competitions for United this season, is a reassuring presence in an attack that is otherwise struggling.
Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford have scored 21 goals between them this season, but only nine of those have come in the league.
Rashford’s last league goal was on September 24, and he has looked desperately short of confidence lately.
A failure to convert chances is certainly a factor in United’s inability to close on the top four.
In the two matches against West Brom and Everton, they managed a total of 36 efforts on goal, yet scored only once.
“Looking to next season, I think it’s a good feeling to know we haven’t lost many matches,” Mourinho said.
“It’s good to know we’re 20 matches undefeated in the Premier League. Ten draws in 10 matches is 10 points; five victories and five defeats in 10 matches is 15 points. But the points are the reality.”
Mourinho is hopeful that Paul Pogba’s return to fitness will help in that respect.
The France midfielder, recovered from a hamstring problem, hit the bar after coming on at half-time against Everton, and is likely to start at Sunderland.
Luke Shaw, who also returned as a substitute on Wednesday after a long spell out of favour, is set to be on the bench again.
Sunderland manager David Moyes has predicted a major summer upheaval as the Wearside club prepare for life in the Championship.
The Scot insists the fight to remain in the Premier League will go on until survival is mathematically impossible, but concedes his rock bottom side require a miracle in order to bridge the 10-point gap to safety with eight games remaining.
Despite imminent relegation, Moyes has been backed to remain at the helm in the hope the former Manchester United manager can lead a successful promotion campaign next season.
The 53-year-old concedes that will involve another massive shake-up in personnel at a club that has become accustomed to huge changes in the wake of fighting four successive successful relegation battles.
Top scorer Jermain Defoe is set to leave on a free, and Sunderland will part-finance their spending by cashing-in on England Under-21 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, who is a target for several Premier League clubs.
Record signing Didier N’Dong, Lamine Kone, Wahbi Khazri and Jan Kirchhoff are also set to leave if the Wearsiders’ 10-year stay in the top-flight comes to an end in May.
“There will be a change around of players again. Lots of players came in on loan or free transfers last summer and there will be a big turn around of players again,” Moyes said.
“We were short of players at the start of last season so I’d be surprised if it was much different going into the next season.”
World number two Novak Djokovic shrugged off his recent elbow injury to give Serbia a winning start in their Davis Cup quarter-final against Spain on Friday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Albert Ramos Vinolas.
Djokovic, who skipped the Miami Masters because of the injury and came into the tie in Belgrade with just seven wins on the tour this year, wrapped up the rubber in style, dropping just one point on serve in the final set against his 24th-ranked opponent.
Viktor Troicki, the world 39, then made it 2-0 for Serbia by seeing off 19th-ranked Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
“I am satisfied with my game, especially with the serve,” said Djokovic, who led Serbia to their only Davis Cup title in 2010.
“It worked well today and I won a lot of points off my first serve. At this level that’s important.”
Five-time winners Spain are without Rafael Nadal after the 14-time Grand Slam champion opted to stay at home to prepare for the clay-court season.
The winners of the tie will face either France or Great Britain in the semi-finals.
Spain’s Maverick Vinales, who won the season-opener in Qatar, continued his blistering form on Friday by setting the fastest time in practice for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina as his rivals struggled.
The 22-year-old clocked a best time of 1min 39.377sec after two sessions on the hot and dusty Termas de Rio Hondo circuit with defending world champion Marc Marquez second fastest on a Honda, 0.301sec behind.
Unheralded Czech rider Karel Abraham, on a Ducati, was third fastest at 0.403sec off the lead.
“I feel very positive. I feel great on the bike and physically I‘m really fit,” said Vinales.
“Step by step we are improving and we still have some work to do for the race, but I think we have the speed, so that’s really important.”
Marquez, the 2013, 2014 and 2016 world champion, recovered well after managing a mediocre 11th best in the morning run which saw the Spaniard suffer a fall.
“As always happens here in Argentina, today the track was quite slippery in the beginning, and I crashed this morning because I was pushing a little too hard and went a bit off line,” he said.
“Anyway, after that we worked really hard and found a promising setup. We’re still missing something, and tomorrow we’ll try to improve in the second sector, especially the acceleration at turns 3 and 4.”
However, it was a miserable two sessions for nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, the teammate of Vinales, who was down in 16th in both sessions and ended the day 1.054sec behind his Spanish Yamaha partner.
“We have a lot of problems to enter the corners fast with this bike and I don’t feel comfortable,” admitted Rossi, the winner at the track in 2015 and second 12 months ago.
Former champion Jorge Lorenzo, whose decision to join Ducati created the Yamaha vacancy for 22-year-old Vinales, fared even worse, ending the day in 18th place, 1.122sec off the pace.
Rossi was third in the Qatar Grand Prix two weeks ago but Lorenzo, the 2010, 2012 and 2015 world champion, was a disappointing 11th in a race where his Ducati factory teammate Andrea Dovizioso was runner-up.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook is still chasing history after finishing just shy on Friday of his 42nd triple double of the NBA season.
Westbrook missed his first 12 shots and finished with eight assists to go with 23 points and 12 rebounds in a lopsided 120-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
It marked the second straight game Westbrook failed to break the record as he remains stuck on 41 triple-doubles with Oscar Robertson who did it with the Cincinnati Royals in 1961-62.
He can find solace in Friday’s assist total as his sixth assist of the game ensured he would average a triple-double for the season, joining Hall of Famer Robertson as the only players to do so.
Westbrook’s chance at history was hampered by a miserable first half. He had five turnovers in the first quarter, including three in the first three minutes.
When it came down to crunch time late in the fourth quarter his teammates either missed shots or the Suns intentionally fouled, sending a message that the record wasn’t going to be broken in their building.
Westbrook came within one rebound of breaking the record Wednesday night in Memphis in a 103-100 win in which he contributed 45 points and 10 assists.
Westbrook’s triple-double quest began on opening week, when he posted 51 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists against the Suns on October 28.
Until Friday, the Suns had put up little resistence as Westbrook averaged 41 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in three previous contests against Phoenix this season.
Antonio Conte has warned his Chelsea stars not to worry about Tottenham’s results as the Premier League title race hots up this weekend.
With just eight games remaining Chelsea are clinging to a precious seven-point lead over second-placed Tottenham, but the Blues are showing a few glimpses of vulnerability.
Conte’s side ground out a barely deserved 2-1 win over Manchester City on Wednesday just days after crashing to a shock 2-1 home defeat against struggling Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have reeled off five successive victories, including an incredible escape act at Swansea on Wednesday when they scored three times in the final minutes to clinch a 3-1 success.
With Chelsea playing on Saturday evening at Bournemouth, Tottenham have the chance to turn up the pressure again by temporarily trimming the lead to four points with a win against Watford at White Hart Lane a few hours earlier.
But Conte is adamant his players must forget about Tottenham’s form because Chelsea have their fate in their own hands.
“This race is open. I think now I can see two teams, Chelsea and Tottenham, in this race,” Conte said.
“There’s always pressure. If they win, if they lose, if they draw. It’s the same.
“It’s very important for us to look at ourselves and not the others. Tottenham’s result is important, but our results are the most important things.”
The Premier League era is littered with epic collapses from teams who thought the title was theirs and, with Chelsea needing 18 points to be certain of top spot, Blues midfielder Cesc Fabregas isn’t getting carried away yet.
“We’ve been saying it since the beginning of the season: it’s one game at a time,” he said.
“We have to worry about ourselves, not what the others are doing. As long as we keep winning then we don’t have to worry.”
Tottenham’s title hopes looked over until Dele Alli equalised in the 88th minute before Son Heung-Min and Christian Eriksen struck in stoppage time to kill off Swansea.
The wild celebrations from boss Mauricio Pochettino, his coaching staff and Tottenham’s players and fans underlined their relief at a result that allows them to continue dreaming of a first English title since 1961.
Having choked last season when they failed to catch champions Leicester in the closing weeks, Pochettino’s side are back in the hunt and Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen said: “Chelsea look very strong but we can’t stop pushing and dreaming of the league.
“They have a couple of difficult games coming up. We have to keep winning and hopefully they get a bit stressed.
“I don’t know what is necessary to win the league, maybe a bit of luck, but I think this group has massive quality and is very special.”
The battle for Champions League qualification via the top four seems certain to go down to the wire.
Third-placed Liverpool, six points above fifth-placed Arsenal, can’t afford another slip when they face Stoke after allowing Bournemouth a late equaliser in a midweek 2-2 draw.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp urged his team to emulate Chelsea’s steely streak when points are on the line.
“Probably if it was Chelsea, for example, the opponent would not have the ball three times in the last 20 minutes, I think. We don’t have this experience,” Klopp said.
Fourth-placed Manchester City, who host Hull, are without a win in four games and sit only four points above Arsenal, who have a game in hand and travel to Crystal Palace on Monday.
Manchester United are sixth and head to bottom-of-the-table Sunderland aiming to add to their former manager David Moyes’s problems.
Home draws against West Bromwich Albion and Everton have damaged United’s chances of making the top four and a win at the Stadium of Light is essential.
Jose Mourinho’s side can also push Sunderland — a hefty 10 points from safety — closer to the Championship at the end of a week in which Moyes was forced to apologise after threating to “slap” a female reporter.
Live updates: Under 19 schools cricket semi-finals – Richmond College Vs Thurstan College; St. Peter’s College Vs Amanda College
April 7, 2017 · Leave a Comment
Result: Richmond College won on first innings.
16:53 – Richmond College 292/9 declared in 81.3 overs
A. Siriwardena 112, S. Mendis 29, N. Gunawardena 3/63.
15:20 – Richmond College 1st innings 217/4 in 59 overs
A. Siriwardena 90 n.o, K. Tharaka 25 n.o.
Result: Ananda College won on first innings
14:26 – Richmond College 1st innings 181/4 in 49 overs
A. Siriwardena 77 n.o, D. Lakshan 32
14:24 – Ananda College 1st innings 223/8 in 72 overs
S. Waragoda 33 n.o, S. Gunathilake 4/33
13:24 – Richmond College 1st innings 152/3 in 38 overs
A. Siriwardena 62 n.o, T. Abishek 42
13:22 – Ananda College 1st innings 204/7 in 61 overs
L. Hiranja 26 n.o, K. Wijesiri 20, M. de Silva 2/54.
15:18 – Ananda College 1st innings 223/9 declared in 72.5 overs at close
S. Waragoda 33, K. Wijesiri 20, M. de Silva 3/67, S. Gunathilake 4/47
12:14 – Richmond College 1st innings 116/2 in 30 overs
D. Lakshan 32, A. Siriwardena 47 n.o.
12:13 – Ananda College 1st innings 187/7 in 55 overs
K. Nirmal 52, S. Suraweera 24, S. Gunathilake 4/33
11:26 – Richmond College 1st innings 70/2 in 19 overs
11:26 – Ananda College 1st innings 156/6 in 43 overs
K. Nirmal 48 n.o, A. Sigera 43, S. Gunathilake 4/33
10:57 – Ananda College 1st innings 132/5 in 32 overs
10:22 -Richmond College 1st innings 20/1 in 7 overs.
17:42 – Thurstan College 1st innings 289 all out in 97 overs at close
P. Mendis 22, N. Lakshan 77, P. Prabash 73 n.o, S. Mendis 4/72, A. Theekshana 5/78.
17:20 – Ananda College 1st innings 74/5 in 21 overs at close
S. Suraweera 24. S. Gunathilake 4/15.
17:17 – Thurstan College 1st innings 289 all out in 97 overs
N. Lakshan 77, P. Prabash 73 n.o, S. Mendis 4/72.
16:25 – Thurstan College 1st innigns 256/9 in 84 overs
N. Lakshan 72*, A. Theekshana 5/68
15:48 – St. Peter’s College 1st innings 211 all out in 71.3 overs
S. Perera 68, R. Jayasena 43, C. Gunasekera 2/35
14:54 – St. Peter’s College 1st innings 200/7 in 62 overs
S. Perera 67*, C. Gunasekera 2/31
14:52 – Thurstan College 1st innings 190/4 in 61 overs
P. Mendis 22, S. Mendis 2/13
13:46 – Thurstan College 1st innings 113/3 in 43 overs
Y. Wickremarachchi 47.
13:42 – St. Peter’s College 1st innings 159/7 in 44 overs
R. Jayasena 43, C. Gunasekara 2/31.
12:33 – Thurstan College 1st innings 99/3 in 32 overs
Y. Wickremarachchi 47.
11:40 – St. Peter’s College 1st innings 89/6 in 24 overs
M. de Silva 26, A. Sigera 2/19
11:38 – Thurstan College 1st innings 70/2 in 23 overs
Y. Wickremarachchi 33 n.o.
10:52 – Thurstan College 1st innings 46/1 in 12 overs
Y. Wickremarachchi 24 n.o.
10:50 – St. Peter’s College 1st innings 40/3 in 13 overs
10:32 – St. Peter’s College won the toss and elected to bat
10:28 – Richmond College won the toss and elected to bat field
April 5, 2017 · Leave a Comment
The All Blacks hope to warm-up for the British and Irish Lions tour with a Test match against Samoa, New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has revealed.
Tew said the world champions wanted a hit-out before the first Test against the Lions on June 24 in Auckland and were in talks with the Pacific islanders, who are renowned for their hard-tackling rugby.
He said the All Blacks benefited from a similar warm-up against Fiji the last time the Lions toured in 2005, when they won the series 3-0.
“In 2005, we played Fiji and that set us up very well for a very good first-off Test match in Christchurch,” Tew told SkySports late Tuesday.
“So we’re looking at that option, Samoa’s definitely one of those things that we’re working our way through at the moment.”
Tew also rejected criticism of the Lions’ gruelling tour schedule, which sees them face all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams and the Maori All Blacks, as well as playing three Tests.
He said the tourists had asked for a challenge after their 2-1 series win in Australia in 2013.
“The Lions said they wanted a tougher itinerary than they got in Australia,” he said.
“They wanted to play the five Super Rugby sides and they deliberately chose to play the Maori All Blacks the week before the first Test.
“So they’ve actually got what they wanted.”
Tew joked that doubts about taking on the Super Rugby sides may have emerged after the Waikato Chiefs thrashed the touring Wales side 40-7 last year.
However, he believed the Lions would be a different story.
“They’re going to come out here with a lot of depth and a lot of talent,” he said.
“If they don’t get hit with injuries in critical positons we’re in for a hell of a series.”
April 5, 2017 · Leave a Comment
Russell Westbrook tied Oscar Robertson’s record for most triple-doubles in an NBA season on Tuesday, his 41st triple-double of the campaign fueling the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 110-79 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Westbrook drained a three-pointer just before halftime to finish the first half with 12 points.
Minutes into the third period he notched his 10th rebound and within seconds had delivered a 10th assist on Taj Gibson’s basket that put the Thunder up 67-42.
Fans in Oklahoma City went wild, and chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” rang out for Westbrook, who raised an arm in acknowledgement as the feat was recognized by the arena announcer when play was stopped.
“It’s something I could never have dreams of growing up,” said Westbrook, who can break the record Robertson set in the 1961-62 season on Wednesday night against the Grizzlies in Memphis.
“To be able to be on this stage with this group of guys, it’s unbelievable and a blessing.”
Westbrook finished the game with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists and the playoff-bound Thunder snapped a two-game skid.
“It was a special night,” Westbrook said. “Something I’ll definitely never forget. I am truly honored to do it here in Oklahoma City.”
With a seventh straight triple-double, Westbrook matched his career-high streak fashioned earlier this season.
Westbrook’s 41 triple-doubles this season are more than 10 NBA teams have amassed in their club histories.
Cavaliers great LeBron James took his career tally of triple-doubles to 54 on Tuesday with his 12th of the season, scoring 18 points with 11 rebounds and 11 assists in Cleveland’s 122-102 victory over the Orlando Magic.
The reigning champion Cavs limbered up for a Wednesday duel with the Boston Celtics for the Eastern Conference lead. Their victory pulled them level with the Celtics atop the East.
Cleveland, coming off a double-overtime home victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, got off to a slow start and trailed 55-53 at halftime.
The Cavaliers produced nine three-pointers as they seized control in the third quarter.
J.R. Smith made four of his five three-pointers in the third and Kyle Korver made two of his three from beyond the arc in the third.
“No one can survive that,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said.
Kevin Love led Cleveland with 28 points and 11 rebounds. Kyrie Irving added 24 points and Smith scored 19. Korver, back in action after a four-game absence with a left foot injury, scored 11 off the bench.
While James downplayed the significance of Wednesday’s showdown with the Celtics, Love said it would be a good test with the playoffs fast approaching.
“It will be good for us,” Love said. “I think it will get us even more prepared, even more locked-in, win or lose.”
There were wins for the top two teams in the West as the Golden State Warriors cruised to a 121-107 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves while the San Antonio Spurs battled to a 95-89 overtime victory over the Grizzlies.
Klay Thompson poured in 41 points for the Warriors, who won their 12th straight game.
Thompson’s second 40-point game of the season featured seven three-pointers in 14 attempts. Stephen Curry drained three three-pointers on his way to 19 points and handed out a game-high nine assists.
The Spurs and Grizzlies were tied 86-86 with 2:15 to play in overtime before Pau Gasol and Patty Mills nailed three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Spurs ahead for good.
Kawhi Leonard made three free throws in the final minute to seal it, finishing with 32 points and 12 rebounds.
The lead had changed hands three times in a frantic final minute of regulation, with San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, fed by a crisp inbounds pass from Gasol, scoring with 1.6 seconds remaining to force overtime.
Elsewhere in the West, the Portland Trail Blazers were left clinging to a half-game lead over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff seed after they were dominated 106-87 by the Utah Jazz.
The Nuggets pulled off a crucial 134-131 victory in New Orleans that eliminated the Pelicans from playoff contention.