Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The chances of winning Deccan Chargers are 80%
The 43rd match of IPL2 will be played on 13th May 2009 at 20.00 hours (IST) at Kingsmead, Durban. In this match Delhi Daredevils meet Deccan Chargers. At the time of start of match Sun occupies the Aries sign of Zodiac, Moon Sagittarius sign. Match results can be predicted by analyzing the birth charts of both the captains considering Moon as ascendant. Superimposing the position of planets at the time of match interesting results can be predicted. Virender Sehwag, the captain of Delhi Daredevils and Adam Gillchrist, the captain of Deccan Chargers.
According to planetary positions at the time of match, both the teams will perform well. Match will be quite thrilling and cricket fans will enjoy each moment of the match. However, team Deccan Chargers will have an edge over the team Delhi Daredevils in batting. It will be a high scoring match. The performance of some of the stars of Delhi daredevils may not match the expectations of cricket fans. Match may go in favor of Deccan Chargers.
The chances of winning Deccan Chargers are 80%.
The Astrospeak service suggests only possibilities and therefore makes no warranties/representations with respect to accuracy or significance of any aspect of the astrological horoscope. The astrologer's opinion on any particular point might differ. You may use your discretion before relying on any prediction/s, at your own. Astrospeak is not responsible for any claims for negative/non functioning of any prescription of astrological advice/remedy provided by any of our astrologers. The predictions are based on the study and views of our astrologers and Astrospeak or the Company disclaim their responsibility to the fullest extent as per applicable laws.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neal, a current member of the Phoenix Suns, is in Syracuse completing a two-day broadcast journalism course called 'Sportscaster U' at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
"After basketball, I'd love to have my own radio show, my own TV show," said Shaq, who spent Monday taping mock stand-ups, scripting material, and conducting interviews. Shaq even got the first on-camera interview with Greg Paulus since the former Duke point guard announced his decision to play football at SU.
On Monday night, Shaq Twittered about working out with the Syracuse men's lacrosse team. "Just left the weight room wit the NCAA lacrosse champions, dats right I said it, Syracuse is gonna win it all again," Shaq wrote.
SU play-by-play announcer Matt Park and ESPN announcer Dave Ryan created Sportscaster U, and will host another session for more NBA players later this summer. The Post-Standard's Mike Waters has more on Shaq's visit to Syracuse University.Form:www.syracuse.com/today/
Monday, May 18, 2009
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte UltraSwim showcased Michael Phelps’ vulnerability one more time Sunday night.
France’s Fred Bousquet beat Phelps in the 100-meter freestyle final in the last event of the highest-profile UltraSwim ever. Charlotte’s Ricky Berens finished third. Tyler McGill was fourth and Cullen Jones was fifth.
Phelps ended up winning two of the five events he entered at the UltraSwim in his first real competition since the 2008 Beijing Olympics last August, when he won a staggering eight gold medals in eight attempts.
Phelps finished second in two UltraSwim events — losing to Bousquet Sunday and to Aaron Peirsol in the 100 backstroke Saturday_and he dropped out of the final of the 50-meter freestyle. So his final tally here was two firsts, two seconds and one "incomplete."
"For my first meet back, I have no complaints," Phelps said.
Actually, he did. Phelps was angry with himself for the way he swam in the 100-meter final before a third straight sellout crowd at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. Phelps finished in 49.04 seconds, well behind Bousquet’s 48.22.
"My turn (at the 50-meter wall) and my finish were awful," Phelps said. "I took an extra stroke going into the wall and I needed an extra stroke going into the finish.... Two stupid mistakes."
Bousquet, who set the world record in the 50 freestyle a month ago, has experienced a career renaissance at age 28. He also won the 50 freestyle earlier in this meet.
"Whenever you race that guy," Bousquet said, speaking of Phelps, "you can’t rely on your back-half speed. I knew I had to use my strength and go out as fast as I could."
Bousquet led by a full second at the halfway mark and didn’t lose much of his lead in the final half.
Phelps alternated his new, straighter-armed stroke with his old one during the race, flip-flopping between the two several times while he tried to track down Bousquet. It didn’t work. But he was still smiling after the race and said the meet in Charlotte had been a pleasure.
"It was awesome," Phelps said of the UltraSwim. "To have the attention we had — both media-based and fan-based — you couldn’t ask for anything more."
Jones, also using a new straight-armed stroke, didn’t fare well in the final. His time dropped slightly from the Sunday morning preliminaries.
"I just wasn’t able to hold it tonight," Jones said.
Berens couldn’t participate for much of the UltraSwim because it coincided with some of his final exams at the University of Texas. Berens did beat Bousquet in a Sunday morning heat, but Bousquet obviously saved some of his strength for the evening.
Berens has competed in the UltraSwim for years. "What, it’s been 25 years of UltraSwims now?" he said. "I think this one may have been bigger than the first 24 combined. This was huge."From:www.bostonherald.com
Overheard: Nicklas Lidstrom: "They came out with good tempo. Once we got our legs going, we started controlling the puck more in their zone." ... Mikael Samuelsson: "They have four good lines, and we've got to respect them." ... Chicago coach Joel Quenneville: "I didn't like our game." ... Chicago forward Jonathan Toews: "We're going to have to work harder and be a lot smarter."
Big Mule: Franzen had a goal and two assists for his second three-point effort of the 2009 playoffs, his other was in Game 4 against Anaheim.
Hossa OK: Marian Hossa left briefly during the third period after getting hit by Andrew Ladd. "I just needed a little breather and walked around," Hossa said. "I was just a little shaken, but I came back."
Iron Lotus: Ben Eager attempted to hit Niklas Kronwall midway through the second period but instead flipped over Kronwall, and Eager's skate caught Adam Burish beneath the chin, a la the famous "Iron Lotus" move from the movie "Blades of Glory." "I don't know how my head's still connected here," Burish said. "Looked like he did a figure skating move. I just watched it go right under my neck. I don't know how I'm so darn lucky."It was centimeters, millimeters away from slicing. When I saw his skate come right up my throat, right away I grabbed my neck and said 'Something's coming out here.' Just a little couple drips (of blood)."From:www.freep.com/article
HOUSTON -- Is it possible for a team to be winning a series that's tied, a series in which they suffered a loss that equaled the worst in the franchise's playoff history? It sure feels like the Rockets are doing that. Maybe it's because they're 2-1 since Yao Ming last wore his uniform. Or maybe it feels like everything that can be lost is elsewhere, now that the Lakers are one defeat from watching their championship hopes evaporate in the second round and the NBA could be 48 minutes away from losing the possibility of its dream Finals of Kobe versus LeBron.
Not only are the Rockets smaller without Yao, they're lighter. They don't carry around the burden that the Lakers do, of a fan base and front office that will be satisfied with nothing less than a championship. They don't care about the millions of dollars in television ratings points that are in jeopardy here.
It's still hard to imagine the Rockets advancing past the Lakers. It goes against every bit of historical favor bestowed on home teams in Game 7s, and the Lakers' 41-6 home record this season. But if you think the Rockets are suddenly feeling the magnitude of the moment and are about to get crushed under the weight of playing a Game 7, just listen to this portion of Ron Artest's postgame interview.
"'Five Dollar Foot-long' is one of the best songs," Artest said. "That's a hot song. You've got the FreeCreditReport.com, and then 'Five Dollar Foot-long' comes on. When 'Five Dollar Foot-long' comes on, they should play that in the club. They should play all those in the club."
Anytime a key player has more to say about commercial jingles than adjustments, it's the sign of a loose team.
"We're just playing to see how far we can take it," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said.
The journey goes at least another 1,373 miles, westward to Staples Center in Los Angeles for Game 7. The last time the Rockets set foot in that building, they were served with a 40-point whupping. It also became clear at the outset of Game 6 Thursday night that it had no lingering aftereffects.From:sports.espn.go.com
Johnny Damon homered in the 10th inning, giving the New York Yankees a 3-2 victory Sunday and their third consecutive comeback win over the Minnesota Twins that was capped by a game-ending hit.
With one out, Damon drove a full-count pitch from Jesse Crain (2-2) into the second deck of the right-field stands for his team-high 10th home run.
Damon tossed his helmet high as he trotted toward the plate, where he was mobbed by giddy teammates. Waiting to do a postgame television interview, he became the third Yankees player in three days to get a shaving cream pie in the face from pitcher A.J. Burnett, delighting the crowd of 44,804.
"Three walk-offs in a row. I know I've never seen it," Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer said.
# With four dismissals (2 catches and 2 stumpings), Dinesh Karthik [Images] has equalled the record for most dismissals in a match in the IPL. The first two players to achieve this feat were - Yogesh Takawale for Mumbai [Images] vs Rajasthan at Mumbai on May 7, 2008 and Morne van Wyk for Kolkata against Bangalore at Durban on April 29, 2009.
# Munaf Patel (23 not out) has posted his best IPL score.
# Patel's unbeaten knock of 23 off 10 balls is the highest by a No.11 batsman in the IPL, surpassing Makhaya Ntini's 11 off 12 balls for Chennai against Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur [Images] on May 4, 2008.
# Dinesh Karthik has performed exceptionally well in the IPL 2009. His batting average of 41.33 (248) is the second best after Abrham de Villiers' 67.50 for Delhi Daredevils .
# AB de Villiers [Images] is the second player after Matthew Hayden (546) to complete 400 runs in the IPL 2009, aggregating 405 at an average of 67.50, including one century and three fifties, in 12 matches.
# Villiers' unbeaten 79 off 55 balls is his second best innings in the IPL - his highest being an unbeaten 105 off 54 balls against Chennai Super Kings [Images] at Durban on April 23, 2009.
# Tillakaratne Dilshan's run-aggregate of 329 at 41.12 in 12 games is the second best after Villiers for Delhi Daredevils.
# De Villiers has received the Man of the Match for the second time in the IPL.
# Rajasthan Royals' 14-run defeat is the ninth out of 28 played so far in the IPL. They have won 18 apart from a "tie" - winning percentage 64.29.
# Rajasthan Royals have won six and lost six out of 13 played. One of their games was abandoned due to rain.
# Delhi Daredevils have registered their second victory in five games against Rajasthan Royals. Their first win over Rajasthan Royals was by nine wickets in the 2008 edition of the IPL at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi last year.
# Delhi Daredevils is the first team to post nine wins in the IPL 2009. With a 14-run win, they have 18 points and are on top of the points table.
# The aforesaid win is Delhi's 16th out of 25 played in the IPL - winning percentage of 61.54.
# Graeme Smith has posted his second duck in the IPL 2009.
# Aavishkar Salvi (2/19) has registered his best IPL performance.
# Johan Botha (37) has recorded his best innings in the IPL.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
FIFA TV Director Niclas Ericson said the new mobile viewing option was aimed specifically at supporters who do not have access to a television when the match is on.
"Not everyone can get to a TV screen when the matches are being played. Therefore we have worked out a way of ensuring that the matches, results and updates will be available on mobile phones. This is a big innovation and we believe it will be well received," he said.
FIFA estimate that they'll make $2.5 billion from the sale of media rights to the Confederations Cup and the World Cup next year but Ericson also doesn't expect on the television audiences of 26 billion that tuned in to Germany in 2006.
More on the mobile phone service as and when we hear about it.
ICC Twenty20 World Cup 2009 Indian Team
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Yusuf Pathan, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar, Rudra Pratap Singh, Ravindra Jadeja, Pragyan Ojha and Irfan Pathan.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Cataclysmic encounters in May between Manchester United and Arsenal always seem to go the way of the Gunners: there's the 1979 FA Cup final, and the 2005 FA Cup final, and the time Sylvain Wiltord secured the league at Old Trafford in 2002. So United are due some payback, and a point here today will earn it. Winning the league this afternoon won't hurt Arsenal directly, of course - Arsene Wenger's side were never in the title race - but they'll still have to watch United cavort around like giddy goats at the final whistle. Unless Andriy Arshavin goes on another of his preposterous sprees, that is, but what are the odds?
Friday, May 15, 2009
Fourteen residents’ associations and neighbourhood forums said they would appeal directly to Communities Secretary Hazel Blears, who has the final say on whether Warwickshire County Cricket club’s ground improvement plan can go ahead.
The committee rejected protests by more than 1,000 people living close to the ground who fear that the new 25,000-capacity Edgbaston with permanent floodlighting, more night matches and hotel development, will worsen existing noise and traffic problems.
The committee voted by 9-4 in favour of granting planning permission.
Warwickshire County Cricket Club chief executive Colin Povey said the ground improvements would safeguard the future of test cricket at Edgbaston.
MP Roger Godsiff (Lab Sparkbrook and Small Heath) said: “I’m disappointed that the planning committee ignored the views of local residents. I hope that the Government office will pull the application in and that the residents will have a proper opportunity to submit their views to an impartial inspector.”
Moseley & Kings Heath councillor Ernie Hendricks, who voted against, said the committee had a “moral duty” to support residents.
Cannon Hill Neighbourhood Forum chairman Leo Nation said the five permanent floodlights requested by Warwickshire would be as tall as a 20-storey building and would be a “blight on the landscape”.
But Coun Ian Ward (Lab, Shard End), deputy leader of the council Labour group said: “We are only approving an outline application. Matters such as layout, scale, appearance and access will come back to this committee.”From:www.birminghammail.net/news
Almost 100 children from around the country aged six and over descended on Hadar Yosef Sports Stadium in Tel Aviv on Tuesday as the Israel Cricket Association launched its revamped development program.
The children included 30 Beduin youngsters from the town of Hura in the Negev who had begun playing the game of cricket and were making their first trip to Tel Aviv.
The program is spearheaded by Herschel Gutman, who recently arrived in Israel to take up his position as national coach and development officer.
"The idea behind the day was to get as many youngsters who may have an interest in cricket involved, and now getting chugim and clubs started up in their areas so within a couple of months we have cricket established in as many cities and towns as possible," said Gutman.
Introduced to cricket by the ICA in partnership with UK charity Cricket4Change last month and smartly kitted out in their royal blue Hura Cricket Club shirts, the young Beduins, were unfamiliar with the finer points of the game, but nevertheless showed terrific enthusiasm and really enjoyed their day out.
Plans are underway to include some of the most promising Beduin children in weekly practice sessions for the best U-13 players in the country.From:www.jpost.com
May 14 (Reuters) - Indian Premier League results and
standings on Thursday.
Rajasthan Royals beat Mumbai Indians by two runs
Bangalore Royal Challengers beat Chennai Super Kings by two
Standings P W L T NR PTS
Delhi Daredevils 10 8 2 0 0 16
Chennai Super Kings 11 6 4 0 1 13
Rajasthan Royals 12 6 5 0 1 13
Deccan Chargers 11 6 5 0 0 12
Bangalore Royal Challengers 12 6 6 0 0 12
Mumbai Indians 12 5 6 0 1 11
Kings XI Punjab 11 5 6 0 0 10
Kolkata Knight Riders 11 1 9 0 1 3
* T denotes tied, NR no result
Playing on Friday
Delhi Daredevils v Kings XI Punjab, Bloemfontein (1430 GMT)
- - - -
(Edited by Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this story
Thursday, May 14, 2009
At the end of a day when Liverpool’s captain, Steven Gerrard, was inexplicably voted Footballer of the Year, Manchester United showed why they are the team of the year, why they will again be champions this year, and why they are brim full of stars blessed with an astonishing work ethic, players who deserve to carve up the individual honours of the year. Manchester United’s class of ‘09: Total football meets total commitment.
Fighting back from Hugo Rodallega’s shock opener for Steve Bruce’s excellent team, United reacted as great sides do, charging forward in red waves, refusing to cede one point, let alone three. This was glorious entertainment, drama in a downpour, a wonderful advertisement for the excitement and honesty of the Premier League. Wigan, their safety secured, competed as if their lives depended on it. United were put through the wringer, emotionally and physically.
In their defiant response to adversity, Ferguson’s side were breathtaking, switching to 4-2-4, equalising through Carlos Tevez, shifting to 4-1-5 and then winning it through their one remaining defensive-minded midfielder, Michael Carrick, who had forsaken his fort-holding duties to join a late attack. What a remarkable side they are, full of movement and ingenuity.
The heart still had to go out to Bruce, a man who once embodied United’s never-say-die attitude, because his athletic, positive team had thrilled their fans for long periods. Rodallega, Antonio Valencia and Lee Cattermole particularly shone but, in truth, none of Bruce’s players let him down. Poor Titus Bramble, excellent this season, defended stoutly but was ultimately overwhelmed by the sheer weight of United’s second-half pressure.
For United, the road from Wigan Pier now leads back to Manchester, back along coronation street again for Saturday’s visit of Arsenal, a fat lady keen on some singing, the Premier League’s chief executive, Richard Scudamore, and assorted dignitaries from sponsors Barclays. And the trophy. One point guarantees it remains at Old Trafford for another year. One point brings United level with Liverpool’s 18 titles.
Hull City, desperate for points with Alan Shearer’s Newcastle United leapfrogging them out of the relegation zone, will be praying that Ferguson’s side settle it on Saturday, so putting out a less star-studded XI at the KC Stadium the following weekend. Ferguson will inevitably rest the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo with the Champions League final so imminent. Shearer’s views on the possibility of a weakened United team heading to Hull will be worth recording; he has never got on with Ferguson.
Another Geordie, Bruce, enjoys a far more cordial relationship with Ferguson but he almost upset his old manager last night. For all the kind words of Bruce and his chairman Dave Whelan, United had known they were in for a test here. Bruce had crammed his five-man midfield with dogs of war in the centre, Cattermole, Michael Brown and Paul Scharner, with whippets out wide in the flying form of Valencia and Charles N’Zogbia.
Bruce’s tactics certainly confused United in the first half, the blue-and-white-striped wall limiting the champions’ chances while Wigan’s counter-attacking kept United nervously wary of over-committing themselves. A good surface made awkward by rain further unsettled Ferguson’s defence, particularly when the energetic Rodallega, resplendent in usual early-summer attire of short sleeves and gloves, began running at them, leading to his shock goal just before the half-hour.
Valencia, Rooney and Carrick had all missed good chances before the Colombian came calling, embarrassing Nemanja Vidic, the rock reduced to a pebble as an obstacle. Concerned about his footing on the greasy grass, Vidic had just dashed to the technical area to swap his studs.
New boots donned, Vidic charged back on and must soon have been regretting the footwear change. When Cattermole lifted a long pass through to Rodallega, Vidic slipped twice, the first under pressure from the Wigan striker, so gifting the Colombian his chance.
There then came one of those moments that seems to unfold in slow motion: as Vidic sought to rise from the ground, desperately attempting to get to Rodallega, the Colombian looked around, uncertain where the ball was. Locating it, Rodallega swung his left foot, and Van der Sar was beaten. Rodallega certainly has had a lot to celebrate recently; he has a new son, also Hugo, a family tradition, as the grandfather is called Hugo.
The middle Hugo Rodallega and his team-mates were applauded off the pitch at the break. United were first to reappear, clearly stirred up by Ferguson. So the siege began. Rooney appealed for a penalty when challenged brilliantly by Scharner. No penalty. Great tackle.
Ferguson moved again. Anderson off. Tevez on. United were now 4-2-4, risking the counter-punch in their desire to impose themselves on the game but gloriously going for broke. Tevez gave them hope, gave them focus, and vitally gave them a goal. And what a goal! In receiving Carrick’s pass, Tevez’s instant response was sensational, back-heeling the ball into the net with all the athletic grace of Denis Law. Magical.
Attacking the end containing fans chanting "Argentina, Argentina’’ and "Fergie, Fergie, sign him up’’, Tevez was inspired, continuing to scare Wigan. Ferguson may well desire to sign Tevez up but may also have reservations about dealing with his mysterious owner, Kia Joorabchian.
Tevez delivered another display of why he wants to stay. One Tevez pass sent in Ronaldo, who was knocked slightly out of his stride by Maynor Figueroa. Ronaldo kept going but never fully regained his footing and eventually fell. Rob Styles waved play on as Ferguson went into meltdown. But then came Carrick, running on to John O’Shea’s pass to shoot left-footed home from the edge of the area, really getting the title party started.
Manchester United are the most successful Premier League club having won the title 10 times. It all began in 1993 when manager Sir Alex Ferguson ended a 26-year wait to lift the Premier League crown.
The signing of Eric Cantona for £1.2million from Leeds United proved a masterstroke as the Frenchman was instrumental in the title victory, along with the likes of Gary Pallister, Denis Irwin, Ryan Giggs and Paul Ince.
United retained the trophy in the following campaign and romped to further titles in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003. More silverware was added to the Red Devils' burgeoning trophy cabinet with FA Cup success in 1994, 1996, 1999 and 2004, plus League Cup victories in 1992 and 2006.
Perhaps the most memorable time in the club's history was the treble-winning season of 1999 when they added the European Champions League trophy to the league title and FA Cup.
Chelsea briefly broke their league dominance with title wins in 2005 and 2006. But in the 2006/07 season, the Red Devils roared back to regain the Barclays Premiership.
They went one better last season, enjoying their most successful campaign since winning the treble. They saw off the challenge of Chelsea and Arsenal to win an exciting Barclays Premier League title race and defeated the Blues on penalties in the Champions League final after a 1-1 draw between the two sides in Moscow.
Formed as Newton Heath L&YR F.C in 1878, the club changed its name to Manchester United in 1902. Six years later they clinched the Division One title, then the FA Cup in 1909, and another title triumph in 1911.
Matt Busby became manager in 1945 and steered United to championship victories in 1952, 1956 and 1957. They became the first English club to compete in the European Cup and reached the semi-final, before going out to Real Madrid. Tragedy struck in 1958 when the plane carrying the team home from a European match crashed, killing eight players.
Busby survived and led his rebuilt team to an FA Cup win in 1963, then league titles in 1965 and 1967. United won the European Cup in 1968 with victory over Benfica in the final - the first English club to do so. When Busby resigned in 1969, his successors failed to continue his glorious triumphs and United were relegated five years later.
They managed to regain their top-flight status at the first attempt and later won the FA Cup in 1977. More FA Cup success followed in 1983 and 1985. But it was United's 1990 FA Cup replay win over Crystal Palace that proved to be the springboard to becoming the force they are today.
It saved under-pressure manager Alex Ferguson from losing his job and he went on to win the European Cup Winners' Cup the season after and began their Premier League dominance with the 1993 title.
1992/93 - Inaugural members of the Premier League
1992/93 - Eric Cantona signs from Leeds United for £1.2million
1992/93 - Win FA Carling Premiership
1993/94 - Win FA Carling Premiership and FA Cup
1995/96 - Win FA Carling Premiership and FA Cup
1996/97 - Win FA Carling Premiership
1998/99 - Win FA Carling Premiership, European Cup, and FA Cup
1999/00 - Win FA Carling Premiership
2000/01 - Win FA Carling Premiership
2001/02 - Juan Sebastian Veron breaks the British transfer record with a £28million move from Lazio
2002/03 - Win Barclaycard Premiership
2003/04 - Win FA Cup
2005/06 - American Malcolm Glazer takes control of club
2005/06 - Win League Cup
2006/07 - Win Barclays Premiership
2007/08 - Win Barclays Premier League, win European Cup
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
After a vote last week that was mired in claims of vote buying and perceived threats of violence, Bin Hammam came within two votes of being ousted after a 13-year tenure on FIFA's top body as well as the AFC presidency.
The 46-nation AFC congress voted 23 votes to 21 in favor of the Qatari against his Bahraini challenger, Sheik Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa. Two ballots were deemed spoiled and inadmissible.
Bin Hammam had made serious accusations of vote buying, claiming that the Olympic Council of Asia was offering financial inducements in the form of grants to those nations which cast their vote for Salman to win a seat on one of the key decision-making bodies in football.
"I think this is affecting the sport, I think everyone has a job to investigate these allegations," Bin Hammam said on the sidelines of the Soccerex convention at Wembley Stadium. "If they are wrong, let them blame me. I invite them (FIFA), I urge them and I wish they are going to go ahead and investigate."
Bin Hammam says the FIFA Ethics Committee must look into the vote-buying claims to preserve the integrity of the game.
"I think FIFA failed this time to protect the interests of football," Bin Hammam said. "In the election I won by 23 to 21 votes, with two disqualified, which were both for me. I can assure you that at least 10 national associations did not vote for me because of the interference their Olympic Committee and their bad behavior.
"If I had been talking directly to the national associations I should have more than 35 votes ... I have evidence that some of the votes were changed in the last 24 hours before voting."
Perhaps, he’s been an ardent buff of cricket right from his childhood days haunted with its mania. But now, the scenario hasn’t persisted as we hear him saying, “Once, I was much crazy about cricket, but I am fed up with it now. Every time, while viewing IPL I feel like wasting my precious time.”
Reason Tho Patha Nahi, Lekhin Irrfan has a different take on sports, “I don’t agree if one comes up with an assertion that Sportsmen play our Country… Altho’, it’s partially true that they’re concerned for fetching prestigious titles for their Nation, they get more promoted than the team.”
Back in home, there’s something catchier to spot Irrfan’s kid to be more at odds on sports. They’re obsessed with Cricket as they don’t intend to miss even a ball. Looks like Ho Sakta Hai whole lots of tiffs between dad-n-kids for getting remote on their hands.From:www.indiaglitz.com
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Lakers forward Lamar Odom is listed as questionable for tonight's Western Conference semifinals Game 5 against the Rockets after an MRI exam and CT scan showed he has a bruised lower back. Odom left Sunday's 99-87 loss with back spasms in the third quarter.
KINGS TO INTERVIEW WESTPHAL: Sacramento plans to interview Paul Westphal this week for its head-coaching vacancy.
Westphal is the Dallas Mavericks' executive vice president of basketball operations. His lengthy coaching resume includes a trip to the 1993 NBA Finals during 3 1/2 seasons in charge of the Phoenix Suns.
The Kings also plan to interview former Washington Wizards coach Eddie Jordan.
Interim head coach Kenny Natt was fired last month after the Kings finished 17-65.
BRIEFLY: 76ers interim head coach Tony DiLeo has withdrawn his name from consideration for the permanent coaching job and return to hisjob in the front office as a senior vice president and assistant general manager. ... Jay Triano signed a three-year deal to coach the Raptors, dropping the interim tag. Triano was promoted Dec. 3 after Sam Mitchell's dismissal.
Thirteen wins, three losses and a tie. It’s because of this overall record in 20/20 internationals that Pakistan, despite the anarchic violence, noisy struggles and doubts over its continuation (and that’s just me describing a Shoaib Akhtar run-up), is one of the favourites for next month’s 20/20 World Cup.
It is said that we’re so good in the shortest form of the game because it suits our temperament as a people. We lack discipline and concentration. We prize the quick fix solution over long-term strategy. We settle for easy, short-term gains over hard-earned, lasting achievements.
But we should also consider how our qualities are revealed in this format. I speak especially of the Pakistani inclination to take wickets. Ever since Fazal Mahmood took 12-99 at the Oval in 1954, we’ve been primarily a bowling team, relying on knocking over opponents with the ball in our hands, not beating them down with a bat.
Indeed, when one-day cricket was first introduced, it was thought that Pakistan would struggle. We were an attacking bowling team, geared to winning test matches with fiery spells, not grinding out victories with precise, orchestrated match-plans. 50 over cricket is a batsman’s game, and increasingly so. It has not been much fun to be an ODI bowler in the past ten years.
Since 1999, we have been on the decline in the 50 over game and other teams have surpassed us by relying on batting strength and making the most of flat pitches.
But the 20/20 format has , once again, matter. Our victory against Australia came on the back of some devlish spin and penetrative fast bowling: weapons typically in the arsenal of successful test teams, obliged as they are to take twenty opposition wickets to win a match.
20/20 has returned cricket to its fun-loving origins. If one can look beyond the leotarded dancers (if one wants to), one sees in 20/20 cricket, and the way Pakistan has played it thus far, chance, surprise, spontaneity and magic - all these things so lacking in the standardised world we are creating. (Test cricket also has these in abundance, though Pakistan’s impoverished cricket structure has meant we have not been as successful in the longer form of the game.) Is this not why we go to cricket? It is certainly not for line-length bowling and nudge-nudge batting. We have plenty of that sort of gradual accumulation in the rest of our lives.
What we want is what we saw in Thursday’s 20/20. The spirit soared at the predatory penetrations of Gul and the trickery of Afridi, Ajmal and Malik, with their doosras and quicker ones and arm balls and flippers. (One hopes the trickery was within the laws of the game: Ajmal has been reported for an illegal action. If it’s found that he bends his arm over the permitted fifteen degrees, he will miss the World Cup.)
Short bursts of madness and flair is the forte of Pakistani cricketers and while this tendency proves to be the cause of their downfall in the longer versions of the game, in Twenty20 cricket it is their biggest asset. Which leaves me, as a Pakistani supporter, to welcome the decline of 50 over cricket, and look forward to the 20/20 World Cup next month.From:dawntravelshow.com
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Chelsea secured a top three Premier League finish and entry into next season's Champions League group stages with a comprehensive win at Arsenal.
Alex powerfully headed Chelsea in front and Nicolas Anelka thundered in a 25-yard strike to dobule Chelsea's lead.
Arsenal's Kolo Toure put Ashley Cole's cross into his own net before a Nicklas Bendtner header pulled it back to 3-1.
The Gunners rallied but Chelsea wrapped up the win when Florent Malouda slotted in after Anelka's shot hit the post.
Arsenal will now be left to negotiate an open draw qualification for next season's Champions League, which could potentially pit them against a team from the German, Spanish or Italian leagues.
Both teams were coming off the back of elimination from this season's competition in midweek and, while the win will provide some consolation for Chelsea, Arsenal's misery will only be compounded by the loss.From:news.bbc.co.uk/sport1
The 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials champion in the men's high jump returned to Hayward Field on Saturday for the Oregon Twilight and put on a show before a crowd of 5,726.
Williams set a personal and meet record of 7-8, and came within 1/4-inch of the world's best mark this year.
He missed on three attempts at 7-91/4, but nearly cleared the bar on his first attempt.
"I don't think I've PR'd twice in the same meet since I was a wee little kid," said Williams, who lives in Eugene and represents Nike.
Williams was considered a medal contender at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, but did not make the event finals.
"Winning USA's last year, not doing well at the Olympics, really motivated me to do well this year," Williams said. "At the world championships this year, I definitely want to bring back a medal, preferably gold."
The world championships are Aug. 15-23 in Berlin.
"I feel like I'm definitely one of the best in the world," Williams said.
In other Oregon Twilight highlights:
Men's 400 meters
The cheering never gets old for Matt Scherer.
The former Oregon all-American no longer wears the Ducks' green and yellow, but fans have not forgotten Scherer.
That was apparent with the ovation that Scherer received before winning the 400 meters, and as a member of the Oregon Track Club Elite's 4x400 relay team.
"It's fantastic," Scherer said. "It always brings me back to the good days running with the Oregon team, and it's just nice to continue to train here and continue to have the support."
Scherer, who specialized in the 200 and 400 in college, focuses on the 800 these days. He reached the semifinals in the 800 at the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer at Hayward Field.
Competing in the 400 Saturday was "kind of a speed workout," said Scherer, whose time of 46.59 was a meet record.
Scherer ran the third leg on the winning 4x400 relay team. Although he misses the 400, Scherer does not regret moving to the 800 two years ago.
At age 25, he still considers himself young for the 800.
"It's gotten to the point now where I can see into the future and see myself running another four or five years which is a really good, positive thing for my mental training," Scherer said. "I'm still learning."
Jemma Simpson of Great Britain, a British Olympian in the 800 at the 2008 Olympics, experienced Hayward Field for first time Saturday. She won the 1,500 in 4:12.88.
Simpson moved from London to Eugene this year to train with Mark Rowland, coach of the OTC Elite.
"I'm told this is one of the best audiences in the world and I think they lived up to that," Simpson said.
Oregon's Zoe Buckman was second (4:15.66).
"You turn a corner this time of year," said Buckman, looking ahead to next week's Pac-10 championships.
Defending NCAA champion Ashton Eaton is halfway home to another Pac-10 title. The Oregon junior turned in a career-best 4,309 points on the first day, which consisted of the 100 (10.49), long jump (24-51/2), shot put (41-51/4), high jump (6-7), and 400 (47.12).
Oregon teammate Aaron McVein (3,784) is in second place. The remaining five events will be held today.
Oregon sophomore Brianne Theisen (3,584 points) is the leader through four events, with Ducks teammate Kalindra McFadden (3,424) in third. First-day events for Theisen included the 100 hurdles (13.86), high jump (5-10), shot put (39-1/4), and the 200 (24.02).
Theisen is ranked No. 2 in the nation and McFadden is No. 4.
MEN'S 400 HURDLES
Willamette University senior Drew Lackman was hoping to lower his provisional qualifying time for the NCAA Division III national championships.
It didn't happen, but Lackman enjoyed his day at Hayward Field.
"I love running at Hayward. It's the best place in the world to run," said Lackman, who placed fifth at 54.70. "It's not often you get a race against Division I guys. At Willamette, we get it a couple times a year, so it's kind of a unique experience."
Lackman was a freshman at Willamette during Nick Symmonds' senior year. Symmonds won seven national titles at Willamette, and the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 800. He did not place at the Beijing Olympics.
WOMEN'S 100 HURDLES
Oregon's Rebecca Rhodes, a freshman from South Salem High School, hit the seventh hurdle and fell in the first section of the 100 hurdles. Rhodes did not complete the race.
In the second section, Mandy Keifer of Western Oregon placed first (14.94).
The Oregon Twilight was the final regular season meet for 22 Oregon seniors.
Among the most decorated Duck seniors are four-time NCAA champion Galen Rupp, the American indoor record holder in the 5,000, and defending NCAA javelin champion Rachel Yurkovich for the women.From:www.statesmanjournal.com
Georgia football players Bruce Figgins and Justin Houston have been suspended for violating team rules, coach Mark Richt announced Saturday.
Figgins, a junior tight end, was suspended for the first six games of the 2009 season and Houston, a redshirt sophomore defensive end, for the first two games.
A third player, junior wide receiver Tony Wilson, also violated team rules, Richt announced, but he was not suspended because he is in the process of being medically disqualified from competition because of a slow recovery from a severe ankle injury suffered in spring 2008.
Richt did not disclose the rules violated.
“I’m very disappointed in the poor judgment of these players,” Richt said in a prepared statement. “They’ll have to pay an appropriate price, and I’m confident they will learn an important lesson from their mistake.”
Richt had no further comment Saturday, Georgia spokesman Claude Felton said.
Figgins, who started two of 13 games last season, missed spring practice while rehabbing from January shoulder surgery.
Houston started only one game last season but seemed to get a jump on a possible 2009 starting job in spring practice, when he was one of only two scholarship defensive ends healthy.
Wilson caught one pass last season, missing most of the season because of the ankle injury that continued to affect him this spring.From:www.ajc.com/travel/content/sports/
In the 36th IPL match between Deccan Chargers and Punjab Kings XI, Symmonds celebrated his first appearance in IPL 2009 as he batted through the Hyderabad innings and blistered a 36-ball 60 not out to salvage his side which once was down to 73/4 in 11th over. But that was not enough to keep the Kings away from scalping the match as Jayawardhane led his side through distort times and Lee at the end stole the thrilling match sending the ball past a close fielding to chase down the target of 169 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.
Symmonds and Lee made their debut in IPL 2009 when they came face to face as Punjab sweat it out against Hyderabad on Saturday. Though Symmonds struck hard early to put Chargers on a strong platform, it was Lee who cheered up at the end of the day as his side celebrated a 3 wickets win scoring 170 runs in 19.5 overs.
Unable to sustain to a great start, both Gilchrist and Gibbs walked back before they could find a great foundation. Added to it were the slow bowlers of Kings XI, who made it difficult for the batsmen to taste runs amidst a tight bowling. But once Symmonds came out to open his 2009 IPL campaign, everything was shaping up for the Deccan Chargers. He with the help of 4 huge sixes and 2 boundaries, made his innings a remarkable one and scored his half century off just 28 balls. V Rao amply supported him as he found 32 off 25 balls before getting run out on the last delivery.
Kings openers had a great start by accumulating 40 runs off 4 overs but Gilchrist could well read the pitch when he brought Rohit on attack in the 5th over. Rohit conceded only two runs in it scalping both the openers in which Sohal (30) was more dangerous. Again the Punjab could get back on to the stage with Sangakkara and Yuvarj at the crease and they thrashed Symmonds for 20 in his first over. But once again another tight over by Maqsusi claiming two wickets put them under pressure. First it was Sangakkara who could not get enough bat on to the ball to avoid it from hitting the stumps while trying to sweep it and then Yuvraj also could not connect the ball well and ended up in the hands of Gilchrist. Still they managed to tick ahead but two run outs near the end made the match swing away from them. Crucial was Jayawrdhane’s removal after scoring an aggressive 43 which made them meander at the end.
Last two overs found them requiring 19 and Lee stealing a six in the penultimate over managed it to a comfortable 8 from the final one. First delivery of the final over by RP Singh edged for a third man boundary and then Chargers could not prevent Kings XI from stealing the victory at the end by 3 wickets as the score was leveled on the third delivery it self and lastly Lee got a double penetrating the close fielding on the penultimate delivery.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
1. Rehna Tu -Delhi-6
2. Kuchh Khaas - Fashion
3. Mar Jaava - Fashion
4. Kabhi Kabhi Aditi - Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na
5. Tum Se Hi - Jab We Met
6. Aaoge jab Tum - Jab We Met
7. Kya Mujhe Pyaar Hai -Woh Lamhe
8. Rozana - Nishabd
9. Sun Zara - Lucky
10. Tum Bin - Tum Bin...
11. Tauba Tumhare Ishare - Chalte Chalte
12. Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyan - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
13. Chand Chhupa Badal Mein - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
14. Jaane Kyon - Dil Chahta Hai
Electing to bat first, Chennai Super Kings scored 185/3 runs in 18 overs. Hayden slammed 89 runs off just 58 deliveries. He hit eight 4s and six 6s.
Skipper M S Dhoni made 56 runs off 27 balls for the Chennai team. Suresh Raina hit 32 runs off 20 deliveries.
Irfan Pathan, S Sreesanth and Piyush Chawla picked up a wicket each for Kings XI Punjab.
Chasing the huge total, Punjab got after a bad start losing Sunny Sohal early in the innings. However, opener Simon Katich (50) put on a brave fight with Karan Goel (14) as the duo went on to add 51 runs for the second wicket.
Captain Yuvraj Singh was the top scorer for the Preity Zinta-owned team. He remained not out on 58 runs, while Mahela Jayawardene was unbeaten on 44.
Albie Morkel, Shadab Jakati and Lakshmipathy Balaji clinched one wicket apiece for Chennai.
Hayden was declared Man of the Match.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
In its second week and Indian premier League is a big hit in the rainbow country. With an increasing involvement on the part of South African audience, IPL is slowly but steadily acquiring the global essence. However the glamour and glitz apart, IPL Season 2 is getting more and more attractive on its own right - that is cricket, all unpredictable. In its second half and you can not put your bet on a single team as clear favorite.
With a chaotic looking point table that indicates that only one team remained consistent with their performance - that is on losing side - is the Kolkata Knight Riders, it will be unfair to give away your vote to any particular team as a show stealer. But show stealers are there all right, not the team, but the individuals. Some stole the show with sheer excellence and some hogged the lime light for all reasons wrong. Had there been an award ceremony in true Mumbai filmy style, someone would pick up the award for rendering spectacular performance and someone for acting the perfect villain. Cricket360 conjure up the main categories and gives away its vote to the clear favorite in each category.
Every movie award ceremony begins with the best film, but IPL is no movie, and so we will start with the category of villain. The majority would give away his votes to Buchanan for spoiling the KKR broth by importing too many cooks and sparking off a cold war in KKR camp by sidelining Sourav, who has the experience of building up of a team from the scratch.
But in cricket360’s opinion, the man who backed Buchanan to crash the dream of millions of Kolkata fans make the more perfect villain. So our best villain award is for King Khan.
Yet another grossly down-rated category relates to the surprise factor of the year. And this year, Mandira Bedi added to the shocker. With cropped hair and a toned body, Mandira is a revelation for IPL Season 2. And you must have noticed that she has even learnt to make smarter cricket talks. Our vote is with the sportier Mandira.
In Houston, they believe Kobe Bryant(notes) is the one playing dirty, not Ron Artest(notes). They believe it so much, the Houston Chronicle reported that Artest threw his throat in front of Bryant's flying elbow.
The Chronicle wrote: What if Kobe's elbow had been injured. Wouldn't that be awful? Luis Scola(notes) did the same thing to Derek Fisher(notes). Oh sure, it may have looked like Fisher was throwing the elbow.
Bryant got away with two cheap shots in Game 1, and he'll get away with the one he threw in Game 2 as well. Besides, this series won't be decided by the NBA proving it has a separate set of rules for Kobe Bryant. We already know that, the Chronicle wrote.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and NBA MVP LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers highlight the 2008-09 NBA All-Defensive Team.
Howard led the NBA with 13.8 rebounds and 2.92 blocks per game this season, becoming just the fifth player in NBA history to top the league in both categories, while also averaging 20.6 points on 57.2 percent shooting.
Howard was the leading vote-getter among First Team selections with 55 points, including 27 First Team votes. The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant got 53 points (24 First Team votes), while James received 47 points and 22 First Team votes.
Rounding out the All-Defensive First Team are New Orleans guard Chris Paul (36 points) and Boston forward Kevin Garnett (35), who was last season's Defensive Player of the Year.
The NBA All-Defensive Second Team is led by San Antonio center Tim Duncan, who has been selected to the league's All-Defensive Team in 12 consecutive seasons. Also on the Second Team are Miami guard Dwyane Wade, Boston guard Rajon Rondo, and Houston forwards Shane Battier and Ron Artest.
The voting panel consisted of the league's 30 head coaches, who were asked to pick NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position. The coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own club.From:www.miamiherald.com
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao may be the world's top pound-for-pound fighter today but he didn't get there without help.
According to veteran sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielsz, Pacquiao's continued improvement inside the ring is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Pinoy powerhouse and his equally impressive conditioning and training team.
Composed of 2008's Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, Team Pacquiao has been an important factor in bringing out the power and speed of the Pacman.
Doing their homework
Indeed, it's hard to argue with the results of such rigorous training. Pacquiao defeated Diaz via knockout on the ninth round in their June 28, 2008 bout, garnering for the Filipino the WBC lightweight championship belt.
On December 6, 2008, Pacquiao again made history by defeating the Golden Boy via TKO on the ninth round of their match.
And in his most impressive showing yet, the General Santos native defeated Hatton via a second-round stoppage in their May 2, 2009 match in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nathanielsz said Roach and Fernandez trained Pacquiao for the Hatton fight by spending countless hours studying videos of Pacquiao and his opponents.
He related that after training, Roach would ask Fernandez to look for a certain match clip. Buboy would then go through the tapes for an entire night.
He said that they were “breaking down the tapes frame by frame.”
Among the things they studied is “how long it will take Pacquiao to go in and come it without getting hit.”
Dedication of a champion
All the best trainers in the world, however, would be useless if the person being trained is unwilling to learn.
According to Nathanielsz, Pacquiao has shown the makings of a true champion by his desire to improve constantly inside the ring.
"From fight to fight, Manny has hit harder and looked faster. He improves from fight to fight. From Diaz, de la Hoya and now Hatton he was sensational. Every fight he improves," he said.
Nathanielsz said the Pacman's impressive ring prowess is a far cry from his skills 12 years ago when he was knocked out by Pinoy boxer Rustico Torrecampo.
Nathanielsz explained that Manny was sent to the canvass because Asians mature late. His jaw back then was weak but Ronnie said that Pacquiao’s jaw “got stronger and stronger.”
Monday, May 4, 2009
Sunday, May 3, 2009
is looking unstoppable on clay for a fifth consecutive year.
The top-ranked Spaniard won his record fourth on Sunday, beating defending champion 7-6 (7-2), 6-2 for his third clay-court title in three weeks to add to his victories at the and Barcelona Open.
Nadal has dropped one set over the three-week stretch; it's tough to imagine someone taking three sets from him at the , which begins in three weeks.
He will be aiming for a record fifth consecutive title at , which would break a tie with Bjorn Borg, who won six French Opens overall.
"Every tournament is completely different," Nadal said. "In Roland Garros we will see. Important thing is (to) play well."
Missy Penna pitched a one-hitter and struck out 13 in her final regular-season game at Smith Family Stadium, leading the Stanford softball team to a 2-1 victory over Arizona.
Stanford (44-6, 13-5) remained tied with UCLA (38-9, 13-5) for first place in the with three games left.
San Jose State trailed 9-3 after seven innings.From:www.mercurynews.com
Newcastle United are staring in the face of another away defeat, this time, at the hands of title contenders Liverpool. Rafa Benitez's men are firmly in control of the tie after some questionable defending from the United back-four.
Fielding a make-shift side, due to injuries, Alan Shearer expected his team to at least push on for a draw. But, after a piece of disgraceful defending from the lines-man at Anfield, United went behind. Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli midfielder was clearly in an offside position from where he scored the first goal, but neither the referee nor his clueless lines-man ruled it out.
The second was a work of genius from Dirk Kuyt as he slotted a rocket header passed a hapless Steve Harper, who has had a phenomenal match in terms of saves.
The game was killed off with the first goal, the commentators will agree, and with shoddy refereeing an apparent plague at the moment, Newcastle United should not complain.
The away side did however put in a good 10 minutes into the game before slipping into their usual mediocrity. Ten minutes only? Really? Yes, sir. That's just a crying shame, we know.
Big Al has some tough decisions to make apparently now. However, in all fairness, the game is over. Psychologically, what's the point, right? However, one must never give up if down there - so, fight on, Newcastle United FC.
Jonas Gutierrez, Michael Owen, and Danny Guthrie are expected to come on sometime in the second half. The fans will hope it comes sooner rather than later. Maybe even local lad Andy Carroll - but I feel that should not even be in consideration.
In the eyes of this journalist- Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, and Nicky Butt should be benched.
However, most likely, Alan Shearer would remove Obafemi Martins, Joey Barton, and Alan Smith to facilitate those changes.
There's nothing more to say than 'good luck' if you're a fan, and if not a supporter, a grin and a sigh is all the Magpies will get on this day.
Newcastle United 0 - Liverpool 2
Saturday, May 2, 2009
• Hiddink: We must tighten up for Barca
Goals from Nicolas Anelka, Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba ensured Chelsea also kept the heat on second-placed Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League.
Guus Hiddink's side dented Fulham's own hopes of European football next season as West Ham and Manchester City both moved above the Cottagers in the race for seventh place.
The contest began in dramatic fashion with three goals inside the first 10 minutes.
The Blues opened the scoring inside 50 seconds.
Malouda and Anelka combined down the left before Malouda's cross was stabbed into the path of Anelka by Drogba.
The France international finished from the edge of the six-yard box.
But Fulham hit back immediately and were level in the fifth minute.
The integrity of Major League Soccer and its supplier of officials, U.S. Soccer, must be called into question after what happened last Saturday in Crew Stadium.
At halftime, Chicago Fire star Cuauhtemoc Blanco, a legendary rogue, snaked through security to scream epithets at the referee, Jair Marrufo.
In the second half, Marrufo swallowed his whistle on three obvious fouls that should have drawn yellow cards, at least. Then, in the 57th minute, Marrufo gave Crew defender Gino Padula a red-card ejection for … holding up a leg while Blanco ran into him.
Padula's leg was high, his studs were exposed and his calf brushed Blanco's midriff. Padula was playing the ball and displayed no intent to injure, but it was probably a foul.
Blanco went down as if struck by three Sidewinder missiles, grabbed his thigh and, presumably, asked for a priest.
A yellow card would have been strange but nearly digestible. Marrufo pulled the red, which was utterly unwarranted. The Crew played a man short for the remainder and lost a 2-0 lead in the last minutes of regulation. The Fire came away with a point from a 2-2 tie and remained undefeated.
After the game, Blanco again made his way to the officials' dressing room. He pushed through security and tossed his jersey to Marrufo -- who accepted it with pride, one witness said.
By all appearances, what we have here is a quid pro quo. Blanco yells at Marrufo, Marrufo red-cards Padula, the Fire gets a point, and the ref gets a game-worn jersey as a token of appreciation.
There are so many things wrong with this, one doesn't even know where to begin.
It's OK for players to barrel through security and scream, if not threaten, a referee? Was the referee intimidated? If so, should he even wear a whistle? Is it coincidence that the referee winds up making a call that changed the course of the game? And when is it ever kosher for a referee to accept a gift from a player? When he gets yelled at, and then changes the course of a game?
Is anyone else wondering what Marrufo would do for two jerseys? Or cash money?
It gets worse.
MLS took no action against Blanco. Why? Because Blanco is a player known throughout the world and he is a legend in his native Mexico. The league wants more Blanco types -- aging stars from premier leagues -- in the pipeline. So, rather than mess with Blanco, the league will send the message that berating referees at halftime is acceptable behavior.
Blanco is a dry-land Sean Avery, with better bank. Over the years, he has punched, head-butted and eye-poked opponents, thrown haymakers at reporters and clashed with teammates and coaches. Blanco being Blanco.
Kudos to U.S. Soccer for banning Blanco from U.S. Open Cup competition after an eye-gouging incident last July.
Shame on U.S. Soccer for merely slapping Marrufo on the wrist this week.
Marrufo received a one-game suspension for accepting Blanco's jersey. Otherwise, the national governing body merely shrugged and said, "Don't you know, Marrufo's family goes way back with Blanco in Mexico?"
Which begs the question: How is it that Marrufo is officiating Blanco's games? The phrase conflict of interest comes to mind.
And why is U.S. Soccer going so light on Marrufo? It's not because he's the son of a famous FIFA referee. Probably, it's because Marrufo is a darling American with upside.
Marrufo was one of the first referees hired full-time by U.S. Soccer in its effort to hone world-class officials. He is in a pool of candidates to work the World Cup next year. Getting him there would be a boon. So, rather than mess with Marrufo, U.S. Soccer decides that an appearance of impropriety is acceptable.
Yesterday, U.S. Soccer slapped his other wrist and added another game to his suspension. It's not enough. Not nearly enough.
Soccer has had its scandals, and they are accepted as part of the game in some corners of the world. But if you're paying attention, you know that when the integrity of the game is threatened anywhere on Earth, harsh judgments are meted out more often than not.
Harsher judgment is required in the Blanco-Marrufo case, because MLS can't afford to look like a joke, not while the league is so desperately trying to grow the game here in the U.S.
What's next? "Bring a Gift for the Ref" night, coming soon, to a soccer-specific stadium near you.
Michael Arace is a sports reporter for The Dispatch.From:www.columbusdispatch.com/live
MIAMI — A season-saving victory in the books, guard Dwyane Wade and most Miami Heat teammates walked off the court Friday night with stoical looks. No celebrating or smiles.
"Strictly about business," Wade said. "Now we move on."
To Sunday. To Game 7.
Wade scored 41 points, Michael Beasley busted out of a slump with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and the Heat stayed alive by routing the Atlanta Hawks 98-72 in Game 6 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round playoff series Friday night.
A back-and-forth series — three decisive victories for the Hawks, three decisive victories for the Heat — will be decided Sunday in Atlanta.
"No pressure on us," Wade said. "We're the underdogs in this series."
Mike Bibby scored all 20 of his points in the first half for Atlanta, which fell behind by 15 in the first quarter, cut the deficit to nine points by halftime, but never really challenged again. Ex-Sonic Flip Murray and Joe Johnson added 13 apiece for the Hawks, who lost a first-round Game 7 last season against Boston.
The Heat-Hawks winner goes to Cleveland to open the second round against LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Tuesday.
"Game 7. That speaks for itself," Hawks forward Josh Smith said. "It's two young teams that want the same thing. We're going to have to come out focused and with energy. Hopefully, we'll answer the challenge."
Atlanta's victories have been by 26, 10 and 15 points. The Heat has prevailed by 15, 29 and 26 points.
"They did what they had to do tonight and played extremely well," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "We were just there."
Wade spent two days imploring teammates to be more productive. He mentioned Beasley by name, asking the rookie from Kansas State to live up to his star billing.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Put your check books away people, the Kolkata Knight Riders are not for sale according to Shahrukh Khan. Recently sources have said that all Shahrukh Khan wants to do is wash his hands of the team. After losing 5 out of 7 games in South Africa for the IPL, reports began to fly that Shahrukh was in talks with three companies to sell his team. However, King Khan has shut down these accounts and notes, "The amount of love I have invested in it, nobody in this world can afford to buy it."
Nokia, a major sponsor of the Knight riders along with Sahara and the Anil Ambani group were interested in taking the team off of Shahrukh Khan's hands which he paid 300 crore for last year. Shahrukh Khan offered some encouragement on his blog for the Knight Riders: "One lakh people out there have only one prayer in their hearts, god give our kids strength and a bit of luck to beat the shit out of their opponents. God will listen and deliver today, but just to make sure run faster, hit harder and go out destroy the opponent. Let's play this like our first game ever as if we have to prove it to the world that we are good and can hit, then let's play this game like the last game of our lives, because we need to prove it to ourselves...that we can take being hit and get up from the floor."At the moment Shahrukh Khan has returned to Mumbai to vote in the election. Think he's going back to South Africa to support his team? Nope, according to Khan, he won't be heading back to South Africa unless his team starts winning. I think that might be some encouragement for the Kolkatta Knight Riders. But we want to know what do you think about Shahrukh Khan's latest decision. With the worst record in the IPL, should Shahrukh Khan keep the Kolkota Knight Riders, or should he have sold them, let us know at Desi From:Hits!www.desihits.com
Rafael Benitez is confident Liverpool will not have to sell any of their key players to fund a summer spending spree despite persistent speculation over the likes of Javier Mascherano and Xabi Alonso.
Comments attributed to Mascherano suggested he would consider his position at the club over the summer, while Benitez remains coy over whether Alonso, arguably the club's best player this season, will be sacrificed as he seeks to strengthen his squad.
But the Spaniard, adamant his midfield duo are going nowhere, insists he will keep the spine of his team together as he bids to launch another genuine Premier League title bid next season.
He said: "We want to keep the key players together at the club, we are very clear on that.
"I spoke with Javier this morning and he is really happy here and really pleased to be at Liverpool. What he meant with his comments was that he cannot stop top sides asking about him. He is a key player for me so I think he is OK."
The Liverpool manager also revealed central defender Daniel Agger is "close" to signing a new contract at the club after further progress in talks. The Danish international is believed to be a target for Barcelona and AC Milan but Benitez is keen to keep him at Anfield.
Benitez will welcome his captain Steven Gerrard back into the Liverpool side for Sunday's game after he recovered from the groin injury which has ruled him out of the club's last four games. Liverpool have coped admirably in his absence, beating Blackburn and Hull and drawing with Arsenal and Chelsea, scoring a remarkable 15 goals in the process.
But while the Spaniard is full of praise for the way in which the likes of Alonso, Dirk Kuyt and Gerrard's partner in crime Fernando Torres have shouldered extra responsibility in his absence, he is clearly relieved to have his talisman available for selection as Liverpool's season reaches its climax.
He said: "He is fit, he is in training and I hope he will be available for the game. The team has been doing really well without him but everyone knows we are stronger with him on the pitch. He is very important for us."