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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Adama Traore's double means Manchester City remain eight points behind Liverpool at the Premier League summit as Wolves stormed to a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Reds' last-gasp win over Leicester City a day earlier opened up a sizeable lead over Pep Guardiola's side, who were unable to reduce the deficit after an insipid display.
City were second best to their well-drilled opponents for long periods, with Traore's two breakaway goals in the final 10 minutes handing Nuno Espirito Santo's side a thoroughly deserved three points.
Wolves squandered a glorious opportunity to take a fifth-minute lead, Patrick Cutrone skewing horribly wide after being played clean through by Traore.
A sloppy pass from Riyad Mahrez almost cost his side midway through the first half, but two superb blocks by Fernandinho denied Raul Jimenez and Cutrone.
Jimenez then failed to get a shot away quickly enough when bearing down on Ederson after another wayward pass from City, this time from Nicolas Otamendi.
A sluggish City failed to test Rui Patricio inside the opening 30 minutes, although the Wolves goalkeeper did keep out Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker's efforts from outside the penalty area shortly before the interval.
City went agonisingly close to taking an undeserved lead in the 67th minute when David Silva's wonderful free-kick from 25 yards crashed back off Patricio's crossbar.
Substitute Bernardo Silva saw a goal-bound strike blocked 15 minutes from time – a reprieve that was clinically capitalised on by Traore soon after.
The Spaniard superbly slotted past the onrushing Ederson from Jimenez's pass after an incisive counter-attacking move to stun the home faithful.
The 23-year-old then wrapped up a notable win in stoppage time, again latching onto a Jimenez pass and clipping past Ederson in what was almost a carbon copy of his first goal.

The Wallabies did not look convincing at times but they did enough to post a 45-10 bonus-point win over Uruguay in their Rugby World Cup Pool D match at Oita Stadium.

The scoreboard will show the Wallabies scored seven tries to one to secure their second win in Japan, but their performance was inconsistent and marred by poor discipline.
Forwards Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto received yellow cards in the first half and the Wallabies were perhaps fortunate Uruguay did not take advantage of having the extra player on the field for essentially 20 minutes.
The Wallabies, who proudly wore their Indigenous jerseys, led 19-3 at half-time, before adding four tries in the second term when their intensity lifted against a spirited Uruguayan outfit.
They did have highlights, however, with teenage winger Jordan Petaia shining on debut with a try and some effective touches before he was replaced at half-time by Adam Ashley-Cooper.
It was just a precautionary measure on the part of the Wallabies, given the 19-year-old had been hampered by a hamstring injury before the World Cup.
Uruguay's points came via a try to Manuel Diana in the 77th minute. Felipe Berchesi kicked a conversion and penalty goal.
The Wallabies provisionally go to the top of Pool D ahead of Wales facing Fiji in Oita on Wednesday.
The Wallabies next face Georgia in their final pool match in Shizuoka on Friday and Uruguay closes out its tournament against Wales in Kumamoto.

Key points:

  • The Wallabies scored seven tries to secure their third bonus point in the pool stages
  • Teenage winger Jordan Petaia starred on debut with a try before being replaced at half-time
  • The Wallabies showed poor discipline in the first half, with Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto receiving yellow cards

‘DUMBFOUNDED’: LEGENDS REACT TO GF SHOCKER
The NRL Grand Final has been shrouded in controversy after a horrific call was ignored, leading to the final try of the game.
It wasn’t the only controversy of the game with the Raiders cost an early attacking raid when a trainer interfered with a loose ball to hand the Roosters a fresh set of six from which hooker Sam Verrills scored before a second half sin binning of Cooper Cronk.
But with less than 10 minutes remaining, the Raiders were attacking the line before a bomb went up, bouncing back to Canberra.
Referee Ben Cummins appeared to call six again with Canberra five-eighth Jack Wighton with the ball before sticking his arm in the air to signal it was the last tackle.
Wighton went to ground with the ball and got up to play the ball but the referee said it was a handover.
“I’m sure he indicated six more?” Channel 9’s Ray Warren said in commentary.
“They did, they waved six again and then they changed their mind,” Phil Gould said.
“Hang on, maybe the Bunker was telling them they made a mistake are they?” Warren said.
“Did they not wave six again? Wighton is saying ‘you waved six again’ otherwise I would have kicked,” Gould said before it was confirmed. “That is a wave of six again.”
CRONK BINNED ON FINAL OUTING
It almost looked as if Cooper Cronk was going home without a trophy and with a stint in the sin bin after the retiring great was pulled up for a professional foul against Raiders forward Josh Papalii. Cronk tackled Papalii before he had the ball as the Raiders weapon burst onto a ball at short range near the try line.
Replays showed Cronk had made contact with Papalii just before Papalii caught the pass.
“That’s not a sin bin,” Andrew Johns said.
Phil Gould said there was just a fraction of a second between Cronk’s contact and Papalii catching the ball.
“Extremely tough decision,” he said.
“I don’t know how they’ve created this. There is a split second in this, an absolute split second.”
“Hang on for me,” Cronk told halves partner Luke Keary as he left the field.
FANS LIVID AT TRAINER KERFUFFLE
Controversy met ANZ Stadium minutes into the grand final on Sunday when the Roosters were seemingly let off the hook after a stray trainer collided with the ball.
A charge down from Raiders star Sia Soliola saw a kick from Luke Keary ricochet into an unidentified Sydney trainer jogging behind the backline.
Incredibly, the Roosters weren’t penalised and were instead awarded the scrum feed deep into Raiders territory.
It was all the favourites needed to send young hooker Sam Verrills over for a try to take them to a cool 6-0 before the visitors could scratch their heads. NRL greats Phil Gould and Andrew Johns sat bemused by the incident, which has generated a storm of controversy on social media.
“This could have been a huge advantage to the Raiders, but it will be an attacking scrum to the Roosters,” Gould said on Channel 9’s coverage.
“It hits the trainer right in the head.”
“And have a look at Whitehead he is away there,” Andrew Johns added.
“Whitehead could have scored there.”
Fans on Twitter were furious, labelling the officiating of the sport’s biggest match of the year a “joke”.

Some dubious refereeing decisions in the second half of a thrilling grand final have stolen some of the spotlight in the Roosters' 14-8 win over Canberra to become the first team since 1993 to win back-to-back NRL premierships.
The Roosters matched the Brisbane Broncos' '92-'93 double — the last time a side won successive grand finals in a unified Australian rugby league competition, then the NSWRL — but this year's decider was not without controversy.
The tense grand final was tied until the 72nd minute, when James Tedesco finished off a long-range effort to give his side the victory, but it came on the back of a bizarre sequence of events at the other end of the field.
With the Raiders attacking at 8-8, referee Ben Cummins called for a repeat set of six and Jack Wighton, who won the Clive Churchill medal in a losing side, took the tackle, only to be called on to hand the ball over.
The Raiders' stingy defence was a major feature of their run to the grand final, but it took just six minutes for the defending champions to penetrate the green wall.
After Boyd Cordner almost crossed on the left, the Roosters forced a dropout and reloaded for a fresh set, with 20-year-old rookie Sam Verrills dancing through the defence from dummy half.
Through the first quarter of the game, the underdog Raiders had looked slightly overwhelmed by the moment — making silly errors and giving away a penalty to allow Latrell Mitchell to push the lead to 8-0 — but the second 20 minutes of the game belonged to the Green Machine.
Once they got some possession, five-eighth Jack Wighton took his turn in control of the game. He made some incisive runs and shouldered most of the kicking load, one of which even forced a mistake from Dally M medallist James Tedesco.
This time, the Raiders did not panic when given a chance close to the line and some fancy footwork by Wighton saw him wrong-foot Cordner, blow past Angus Crichton and touch down on the half-hour mark.
The scores remained at 8-6 until the break thanks to an exceptional defensive passage by inspirational Canberra captain Jarrod Croker, who rushed from his position on the other side of the field to stop a rampaging Mitchell before charging to the other side to mop up after a Joseph Manu knock-on forced by Wighton.
Then, 10 minutes after the break, came the game's first refereeing flashpoint.
The Raiders were on the rampage, with star prop Josh Papalii leading the way, and he was right under the posts revving up for another charge.
John Bateman floated across the field and popped a pass to him, but Roosters half Cooper Cronk saw him coming and, knowing he was giving up some 20-30 kilograms, tried to hit him early. Unfortunately he hit him a split-second too early and prevented Papalii from getting a play on the ball.
The referees sent the incident to the video referee for a potential penalty try and professional foul. After a review, the former was ruled out, but Cronk was sent for a 10-minute rest for the latter.
Referee Cummins was again the centre of attention as he waved his hand above his head, clearly signalled six more tackles. Wighton took the tackle, assuming he would be allowed to get up and play the ball, but he was called upon to hand the ball over.
Then, just when it was most needed, the Roosters' electric backline found the space they had struggled to locate for most of the match, going from Keary to Mitchell to Tupou to Tedesco for a game-winning 60-metre effort.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019


GWS was hoping to complete a fairytale finals turnaround to win the flag from sixth but after the Giants kicked the first goal of the day, they then conceded the next 11.

GWS had beaten the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane before prevailing in a preliminary final over Collingwood.
But there were concerns over whether they would have the legs to run out four quarters against a Richmond side that had been shifting through the gears with wins over Brisbane and Geelong.
There were plenty of storylines going into the game, with huge attention on debutant Marlion Pickett, who became the first debutant in a VFL/AFL grand final since Collingwood's Keith Batchelor in 1952.
In a fierce beginning to the contest, it took more than 20 minutes for the first goal of the game, as Jacob Hopper kicked an inside out ball high for Jeremy Cameron to outmark Dylan Grimes, outside 50 on the left.
He went back and kicked it truly to give the Giants a five-point lead. GWS looked like they had weathered the storm, but the Tigers were still putting immense pressure on GWS.
With just over a minute left in the first term, Richmond forced a turnover on the wing, Jack Riewoldt pounced and drilled a ball to Norm Smith Medallist Dustin Martin, who took a mark inside 50, drawing a huge roar from the Tiger Army.
Martin's second grand final best-on-ground came from 22-disposals, eight score involvements, four goals, three clearances and four inside 50s.
"It's amazing, that's the thing I love about this team the most. We don't care who gets the disposals or who gets the goals," Martin told Channel Seven after the match.
"We're a team and we all play a role. That's what I love most about the group."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

England's relentless march towards Euro 2020 continued with a thrilling victory over Kosovo, who scored after just 34 seconds.
However, a shoddy defensive display and the fearless approach of their opponents meant this turned into a night of concern for manager Gareth Southgate.
The result leaves England top of Group A with a 100% winning record after four games, while the Czech Republic moved into second place with a 3-0 win over Montenegro.
Kosovo arrived in Southampton on a 15-match unbeaten run and with confidence lifted by victory over the Czechs on Saturday - and when Michael Keane's error gifted Valon Berisha a goal inside the first minute they briefly contemplated a huge upset.
It did not last long as rampant England, inspired by the magnificent Raheem Sterling, responded ruthlessly with five goals inside the first 45 minutes.
Keane swiftly made amends to set up Sterling to head home after a corner then Manchester City's unstoppable attacker set up captain Harry Kane for his 26th goal in 41 England appearances.
England extended their lead when Mergim Vojvoda turned Jadon Sancho's cross into his own net before Borussia Dortmund's 19-year-old got his first two goals for England, both expertly provided by Sterling.
As an occasionally chaotic encounter swung from end to end, Berisha's fine finish reignited Kosovo's hopes early in the second half before more awful defending from Manchester United's Harry Maguire ended with him conceding a penalty, which Vedat Muriqi scored after he was brought dow.
Kosovo were not going to wait and wonder what fate held for them as they fulfilled colourful coach Bernard Challandes' boast that they would come at England with positive intent.
Backed by a magnificent, noisy support, they had the boost of that early goal and in some ways their front foot approach cost them as England cut them apart when they poured forward.
It would have been easy to give up or go into their shell at 5-1, but they came out for the second half to a huge ovation from their fans.
And how they responded, to occasionally have England living on their nerves.
They could not complete the miracle turnaround but they fully deserved the standing ovation from their fans at the final whistle and they will still harbour hopes of being at Euro 2020 next summer.

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