Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Amazing skils by Cristiano Ronaldo 

  • Cristiano Ronaldo was the man of the moment yet again as he notched four goals for Real Madrid  
  • The Portuguese superstar scored his first with a brilliant strike when he fired in from 25-yards
  • Ronaldo then added a wonderful free-kick into the top corner of the net for his second goal of the afternoon
  • The 31-year-old completed his trio of strikes when he tapped in from six-yards after being assisted by Isco
  • He then powered in a header to make it an astonishing four goals as the rain began to fall at the Bernabeu
  • Jese hit a low effort to make it six before the returning Gareth Bale got in on the act firing in from edge of the box   
  • Former Liverpool flop Iago Aspas scored a consolation for the visitors when he delicately chipped Keylor Navas  
  • Pepe had headed the opening goal for Zinedine Zidane’s men after a fairly even first-half from both sides 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals as Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo 7-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, breaching two milestones in the process. Ronaldo now has 30 La Liga hat-tricks, the most in history, and has netted over 250 goals for Los Blancos.

Take a bow Bangladesh,its party time now,Revenge has been taken.

Shabash Bangladesh

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PARIS (AP) Maybe it’s because Novak Djokovic was only 19 at the time, young and full of bravado.

Or perhaps it’s because he simply was saying aloud what he certainly hoped, but couldn’t be absolutely positive, was true.

Then again, there’s also the possibility that Djokovic knew he had conjured up more winners that day than his opponent, despite playing with an aching back that led the Serb to quit a few points into the third set after losing the first two.

Whatever the case, it’s fascinating to go back and read Djokovic’s declaration on the evening of June 7, 2006, after facing a certain guy by the name of Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarterfinals: ”He’s the best on this surface, but he’s not unbeatable. That’s for sure.”

Djokovic, ranked 63rd at the time, had never been that far at a Grand Slam tournament. He hadn’t faced Nadal before, either.

All these years later, their rivalry – the best tennis has to offer these days – gets a 44th installment Wednesday, exactly in the same place, and under the same circumstances, as it began: Djokovic vs. Nadal in a quarterfinal on Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros.

No other two men have played each other so many times in the Open era of professional tennis, which began in 1968.

Nadal leads 23-20 overall, 14-5 on clay, 9-3 at Grand Slam tournaments, 6-0 at the French Open. They haven’t met as early as a quarterfinal at any major since that very first encounter.

”Of course I don’t like playing a quarterfinal against Novak, that’s for sure,” Nadal said, ”and I hope that Novak won’t like playing me in a quarterfinal.”

This time, Djokovic is ranked and seeded No. 1, and carrying a 26-match winning streak.

”He’s the best player of the world, without any doubt, today. Very dominant,” Nadal said. ”Probably everybody’s with me that probably he is the favorite here.”

Nadal is ranked No. 7, seeded No. 6, but he is No. 1 at the French Open, with a record nine championships and 70 victories in 71 career matches.

”Playing him here, and playing him in any other tournament in the world, is completely different,” said Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in the 2012 and 2014 finals at Roland Garros.

The reason this is only a quarterfinal is that Nadal’s right wrist injury and appendix surgery last season, plus poor-for-him results this year, dropped him out of the top five in the rankings for the first time in a decade.

That allowed him to be drawn into Djokovic’s quarter. Tournament director Gilbert Ysern said on the day of the draw no consideration had been given to seeding Nadal higher, in a nod to his unprecedented success in Paris.

”We did not even think about it,” Ysern said, ”and he did not ask for it.”

Here’s a look at what else is happening at the French Open on Wednesday:

MURRAY VS. FERRER

Third-seeded Andy Murray is becoming something of an expert on clay. His quarterfinal opponent, No. 7 David Ferrer, has been one for years. Murray is 14-0 on clay in 2015, including his first two titles on the surface. He was 63-37 on clay before this year, a .630 winning percentage. Ferrer, the French Open runner-up two years ago, has won half of his 24 career trophies on clay, and is 303-117 for his career, a .721 winning percentage.

WILLIAMS VS. ERRANI

Serena Williams owns 66 career titles; the other seven women’s quarterfinalists have a combined 36. Williams has won 19 Grand Slam singles trophies; the other quarterfinalists’ total is one. The top-seeded Williams’ opponent Wednesday is No. 17 Sara Errani, who was the 2012 runner-up in Paris. They’ve played eight matches, and Williams has won all eight, although the most recent was close: a three-setter in a Fed Cup match between the U.S. and Italy in April.

BACSINSZKY VS. VAN UYTVANCK

Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky, seeded 23rd, has lost only 24 games en route to the quarterfinal, fewer than anyone else. Bacsinszky and Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck, who is ranked 93rd, will both be playing in a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the first time.

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The outgoing midfielder is often compared to Kenny Dalglish and Billy Liddell when it comes to the best in the club’s history, but his achievements and dedication trump the lot

Among the multitude of tributes, it was hard to beat the wonderfully eloquent, particularly brief tweet from a World Cup, double Champions League and double European Championship winner. “My mate. My hero,” wrote Xabi Alonso when Steven Gerrard announced he was leaving Liverpool.

Others nevertheless tried to. Luis Suarez, the man Gerrard regards as his finest team-mate, branded the Liverpudlian a “legend”. Daniel Sturridge, who may succeed him as the face of the franchise, described Gerrard as Liverpool’s greatest player.

Sturridge is too young to have watched Kenny Dalglish play, let alone Billy Liddell, the third man often touted as Anfield’s most illustrious individual, but he has a point. Jamie Carragher, who has a deeper understanding of history, started making the same argument about five years ago. Then Dalglish was appointed manager and Carragher diplomatically changed the subject.

But, as far as Liverpool are concerned, the banner in the Kop during Saturday’s farewell against Crystal Palace rang true. “The best there is, the best there was and the best there will ever be,” it read.

And without risking predictions about the future, it is a safer assertion about the past. How good was Gerrard? He touched such heights that he was named PFA Player of the Year in 2005-06, when he played predominantly as a right-sided midfielder, and Football Writers’ Footballer of the Year in 2008-09, when he operated as a No. 10. Try finding other players who have been named the best in the country in two different roles that were not even their preferred position.

It shows an extraordinary versatility. Gerrard’s gifts, of pace and power, of an ability to pass the ball incisively over both long and short distances, of a capacity to unleash ferocious shots, of fierce tackling and of being able to raise his game on major occasions, equipped him to play almost anywhere.

How good was Gerrard? So good that he was the catalyst for probably the greatest comeback of all and the man of the match in arguably the most extraordinary Champions League final yet. Ten years on, his performance in Istanbul remains as astonishing as it was then, and not just because he spent extra-time in Turkey as a wing-back. It was his masterpiece, but far from the only example of an almost unrivalled habit of determining games virtually single-handedly. Think of Olympiakos, the 2006 FA Cup final, the 2007 and 2008 trips to Newcastle or the 2012 visit of Everton, when he scored Liverpool’s first Merseyside derby hat-trick for three decades. He was the biggest of big-game players. When he decimated Real Madrid and Manchester United in the space of a few days in 2009, Zinedine Zidane felt he was the finest footballer in the world.

Gerrard was a force of nature, a one-man whirlwind. At his very best, he seemed unstoppable. Some of the other defining players of his generation only proved their excellence alongside similarly distinguished talents. Gerrard did so without them. Michael Owen and Fernando Torres were both lesser forces when separated from Gerrard, a sign a footballer always aware of his own goal tally was invariably selfless when serving as a supplier on the pitch, but he could prosper with inferior colleagues. In the modern era, where talent has been concentrated at the top, surely no great player has had as many mediocre team-mates as Gerrard.

No Liverpool player has since Liddell, and he was at his most prolific in the old Division Two. Dalglish spent the majority of his Anfield career alongside others luminaries, such as Graeme Souness, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen. In the 21st century, the other elite players have come and gone; Gerrard has stayed.

Others have won more in the past but none has played a bigger part in successes, and not just because Gerrard is the only Englishman to have scored in the finals of the Champions League, the Uefa Cup, the FA Cup and the League Cup. As Carragher said on Saturday: “Without Steven Gerrard, I would not have a medal.”

Carragher can be called biased but that shows the scale of Gerrard’s contributions. He was that good. He shouldered that heavy a burden. He captained his hometown club for a dozen, often tumultuous years. John Terry has captained Chelsea for almost as long, but Liverpool’s trials and tribulations meant more responsibility rested with Gerrard; the gulf in class between him and some of his colleagues was larger.

Even in decline, even when deprived of dynamism, they turned to Gerrard in times of need. Even as his performances deteriorated, he threatened to conjure magical moments. He scored with a wonderful free kick against Basel that almost offered a Champions League lifeline. He had a header cleared off the line in the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Aston Villa. He raged at the dying of the light, trying to stamp his authority on the Manchester United game in March and succeeding only in stamping on Ander Herrera.

Greatness comes in part through longevity and loyalty and few have rejected as many chances to desert Liverpool as Gerrard, even when he allowed his head to be turned for a moment. It comes in part in the numbers and, with 185 goals in 709 games, Gerrard has scored more often than the strikers Torres and Suarez did between them and played more matches than Kevin Keegan and Souness’ combined tally. But it also comes through influence and Gerrard’s individual inspiration, his sense of drive and the blockbusting brilliance he displayed at his best propelled him into first place in the pantheon.

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The forward scored three times to take his total for the season to 61 goals as Carlo Ancelotti’s men rounded off the campaign with a ruthless attacking display

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to win the European Golden Boot as Real Madrid beat Getafe 6-3 in their final league game of the season.

Ronaldo’s eighth treble of the campaign took his tally for the season to 61 goals in all competitions as he took the Pichichi with 48 strikes, seven more than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.

He was also involved in a moment of history just before the hour mark, when he was replaced by 16-year-old Martin Odegaard, who became Real’s youngest ever Liga debutant.

Ronaldo, whose treble completed his most prolific league season, headed Real in front, but Getafe took a shock lead through superb strikes from Sergio Escudero and Diego Castro.

A Ronaldo free-kick and penalty restored Madrid’s advantage, but the sides went in level at the break as Mehdi Lacen equalised following a corner.

Quickfire goals at the start of the second half from Javier Hernandez and James Rodriguez put the hosts two clear for the first time, before Jese Rodriguez and Marcelo completed the rout.

An entertaining end-of-season affair ensured that if Carlo Ancelotti is to depart the Bernabeu, he will do so on the back of a crowd-pleasing performance.

After a quiet start to proceedings, Madrid went in front in the 13th minute through a familiar source.

Marcelo delivered a teasing cross from the left, and Ronaldo was left unmarked to power a header beyond Jordi Codina and into the far corner of the net.

But if Madrid thought they were in for a straightforward victory, Escudero and Castro demonstrated that the visitors had other ideas.

With 23 minutes gone, Escudero unleashed a rasping left-foot shot from 30 yards that flew past Iker Casillas into the bottom-right corner and, three minutes later, Castro curled a superb finish into the same portion of the goal from just outside the box.

Getafe’s lead lasted just six minutes, however, as Ronaldo took centre stage once more with a fizzing free-kick that curled around the wall and into the bottom-left corner with laser-like accuracy.

And with just 34 minutes on the clock the Portuguese had his hat-trick. Hernandez was bundled to the ground by Carlos Vigaray and Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot, blasting his kick straight down the middle.

Yet as half-time approached back came Getafe, who pulled level once more when Lacen hammered home from eight yards after Real failed to deal with a corner.

The entertainment continued at the start of the second half as Madrid scored twice in the first six minutes.

Hernandez drilled in a rebound after Ronaldo had somehow headed another excellent Marcelo delivery against the woodwork, before Rodriguez curled a stunning free-kick over the wall and into the top-right corner from 25 yards.

The scoring did not stop there, as Jese curled in a sublime finish from the left-hand side of the box after exchanging passes with Rodriguez.

Casillas, who has come in for criticism in recent weeks, was given a rousing ovation by the crowd during a break in play late on and Jese then teed up Marcelo for a simple 90th-minute tap-in as Real took their Liga goals tally to 118 for the campaign.

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Royal Challengers Bangalore have been known to be heavily dependent on their superstars to come good. This season, however, there has been a refreshing change with the likes of Mandeep Singh, Yuzvendra Chahal and Sarfaraz Khan supporting the mega stars in the team. Today was another example of RCB’s young guns coming to their rescue as Mandeep, Harshal Patel and Sreenath Aravind sparkled for the team to help beat Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 Eliminator in Pune.

It still needed one of RCB’s big stars to guide their younger players, with AB de Villiers playing a stunning innings with the bat. The right-hander slammed 66 off 38 and together with Mandeep Singh (54* off 34) helped RCB overcome a tough start. The pair added a sizzling 113-run stand to lift their side out of trouble and help them end with a daunting total of 180/4. Defending a strong total, RCB’s bowlers put in a clinical effort as they took wickets at regular intervals to restrict the inaugural champions to 109 and win by 71 runs. RCB will now play Chennai Super Kings for a spot in the final alongside Mumbai Indians.

Sreenath Aravind, who was brought in for this game in place of Ashok Dinda, repaid his captain’s faith as he struck early to send back Shane Watson in the second over. He also had James Faulkner out caught and bowled later in the innings to end with fantastic figures of two for 20 off his four overs.

Harshal Patel, too, chipped in with the important wickets of Sanju Samson and Karun Nair as RCB maintained a tight leash on the scoring despite Ajinkya Rahane (42) looking in decent touch. Rahane was the fifth wicket down for RR, when he top-edged a slog sweep off Chahal to be out caught in the 14th over. The wicket evaporated whatever little hopes RR had of an upset win as they went on to lose their last five for 17 runs to be bowled out for a lowly 109.

Earlier, having won the toss and opting to bat first, RCB made a steady start to their innings with Chris Gayle getting into his stride early. He looked in ominous touch, scoring the first 26 off the 38 his team added in the first five overs. However, Dhawal Kulkarni got his team the prized wicket of the West Indian by bowling him for 27. Kulkarni added another important wicket to his tally as he had Virat Kohli out caught and bowled in his next over. RCB had slipped to 46/2 and looked in danger of being restricted to a low score.

ABD and Mandeep Singh, however, had other ideas. They started slowly, scoring 4 off the first 13 deliveries they played, but Mandeep cut loose soon after. Kulkarni was smacked for a six and a four, before James Faulkner went for two fours in the over. de Villiers, too, got into the act as he slammed Ankit Sharma for two sixes and a four in an over.

The onslaught continued into the death overs with overs 16 and 17 giving RCB a combined 24 runs. ABD notched up his fifty in the next over with a top-edge for a six and a clean strike over long-on for his fourth six of the innings. He was run-out in the penultimate over of the innings, but he had already added 66 off just 38 deliveries.

The wicket did little to stall RCB’s momentum as Dinesh Karthik, Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep combined to whack 21 off the last eight balls to give their side 180/4. It proved to be 71 runs too many for RR.

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Old battles are set to reignite in the first qualifier at the Wankhede Stadium © BCCI
In Indian Premier League’s (IPL) short eight-year history, no matchup attracts the same billing as a clash between perennial heavyweights Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Mumbai Indians (MI). Two passionate cricket metropolises, superstar cricketers and seven domestic T20 titles between them (CSK 4 – 3 MI) is a sure shot recipe for a marquee clash.A lot has changed since Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith bulldozed MI early in the season, forcing Rohit Sharma to bemoan his team’s attitude. While CSK strutted to the playoffs for the eighth successive season on the back of sheer consistency, MI scratched around, huffed and puffed before eventually rediscovering their mojo to qualify second.

A defeat in the first qualifier is not the end of the road but both sides realize the benefits of a win besides the all-important place in the final – One match lesser, extra days of rest and lesser travelling – vital in a tournament as stretched out as this one. MI versus CSK is the most evenly contested rivalry with their past 22 meetings split 11-11. In IPL 2015 too, the teams split the league fixtures, with each winning at the other’s home.

Venue: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Date: May 19, 2015
Time: 20:00 IST
Weather: Mostly warm with a high of 33 degree Celsius and a 10% chance of rain.

Team News:

Chennai Super Kings

CSK’s ploy of giving Michael Hussey a game before the play-offs failed to serve the purpose after the Western Australian was dismissed in the first over against KXIP. He will, however, hold on to his spot in the clash along with Dwayne Smith, who will return to the opening slot vacated by Brendon McCullum’s departure. The team will take a call between the steady Ishwar Pandey (11 wickets at 7.19 RPO) and Mohit Sharma (11 wickets at 8.43 RPO) for the medium pacer’s slot.

Probable XI: Michael Hussey, Dwayne Smith, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, MS Dhoni (c&wk), Dwayne Bravo, Pawan Negi, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishwar Pandey/Mohit Sharma, Ashish Nehra

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians have a quick turnaround from their final league game in Hyderabad and the physios will be working overtime to ensure none pull up sore on the morning of the clash. Thankfully for them, they play the crucial qualifier at the Wankhede stadium where they hold a 4-2 advantage over CSK in all IPL. They are unlikely to make any changes to the side that has served them well in the second half of the season.

Probable XI: Parthiv Patel (wk), Lendl Simmons, Rohit Sharma (c), Ambati Rayudu, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan Singh, Jagdeesha Suchith, Mitchell McClenaghan, Vinay Kumar, Lasith Malinga

Stats and Trivia:

Suresh Raina leads the batting chart for most number of runs in MI-CSK clashes (557 runs at 34.89 and SR of 149.33)

– CSK hold a 4-1 edge over Mumbai in IPL play-off/knockout matches between the teams

– As many as 5 players who’ve played for both teams in the rivalry will feature in this game – Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Michael Hussey, Ashish Nehra and Parthiv Patel

Quotes:

We have made it quite simple, we adapt, we improve and keep the core of the team same.

MS Dhoni on the CSK’s secret to success

I talked to the boys about how we are actually playing two tournaments, we forgot the first half and do well in the next.

Rohit Sharma on how Mumbai Indians managed to qualify despite suffering a horrible start to the season.

Messi strike seals Liga title

Posted: May 18, 2015 in Football

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The Argentine struck the only goal of the game as the Primera Division crown returned to Camp Nou for the first time since 2013

Lionel Messi scored the decisive goal as Barcelona secured the first part of a potential treble by winning La Liga with a 1-0 victory at Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Barca had looked destined to bring the title back to Catalonia ever since Luis Suarez’s winner against Real Madrid in March, and the Catalans did exactly what was required a year to the day after Atletico won the crown at Camp Nou.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar have led the way for Barca, scoring 79 goals between them in La Liga, and, fittingly, it was the former who sealed the title with a typically clinical finish just after the hour mark.

Suarez missed out due to a hamstring injury picked up in midweek, and Barca were less fluid than usual in attack without the Uruguayan.

But Messi‘s brilliance eventually shone through 25 minutes from time, as he beat Jan Oblak from inside the area after taking a sublime touch from Pedro’s pass for his 54th goal in as many games this season.

Neymar should have doubled Barca’s lead shortly after, but the Brazilian’s wild shot from Messi’s perfect throughball mattered little as Barca wrapped up their seventh title in the last decade, with Copa del Rey and Champions League finals still to come.

Atletico made it clear early on that they would not relinquish their title without a fight, enjoying a particularly bright opening 10 minutes.

But Oblak was called into action to twice deny Messi, before the Argentina captain then grazed the roof of the goal with a free-kick after Diego Godin had brought down Dani Alves.

Alves then went close himself just before the interval, though Oblak confidently turned his speculative long-range drive over.

Atletico began the second period better, and Godin went close to putting the home side ahead in the 51st minute, heading just over following a fine delivery from Koke.

Fernando Torres was the next to try his luck, and the striker forced Claudio Bravo into a crucial save at his near post.

But Barca finally broke the deadlock with 65 minutes on the clock, Messi proving decisive yet again.

The 27-year-old received a pass inside the area from Pedro, coolly dragged the ball past a defender with his first touch and duly stroked it beyond Oblak’s reach through a crowd of players.

The in-form Neymar then uncharacteristically spurned a one-on-one chance that could have put the game – and title – beyond doubt.

Guilherme Siqueira’s long-range effort three minutes from time had Bravo scrambling and Barca hearts in mouths, but the Catalans held on with relative comfort to earn Luis Enrique the title in his first season in charge.