Monthly Archives: February 2016

English clubs through in Europa League

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English clubs through in Europa League

Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United are all through to the UEFA Europa League round of 16 as each club secured a victory in their respective match-ups.

Liverpool managed to scrap up a narrow 1-0 win against FC Ausburg, thanks to a James Milner penalty after a Dominik Kohr handball in the box. However, the Reds failed to exploit any further opportunities in the game.

With one away goal enough to help Ausburg pull through, the German side played with stride and fervor although to no avail. Liverpool keeper Simon Mignolet had done well to keep them out, with a late save from an otherwise brilliant Tobias Werner effort.

Meanwhile, Manchester United could all but forget about their awful previous fixture as they made a wild comeback to defeat FC Midtjylland by 5-1.

However, the club appeared to be headed for embarrassment again initially at Old Trafford as they conceded the first goal to Pione Sisto, adding to the Danish side’s 2-1 first leg advantage.

A somewhat incensed crowd calmed somewhat when the host managed to equalized through Nikolay Bodurov’s own goal, but was somewhat troubled as Juan Mata missed his penalty.

Then, 18-year old Marcus Rashford took center stage to replace an injured Anthony Martial, and struck twice to make it 3-1 after the break. Then, Ander Herrera converts a penalty and Memphis Depay thumped one more in to seal Midtjylland’s fate.

Tottenham managed to take down Serie A elites Fiorentina convincingly by 3-0 to underline their credentials as serious contenders even without the help of star striker Harry Kane.

Spurs pulled ahead on home ground as Ryan Mason strode through and side-footed home midway through the first half. Although the Italians came back in force after half-time, Erik Lamela’s close range made it two nil.

Later, an own goal from skipper Gonzalo Rodriguez extinguished any hope of a Viola fightback.

All three English clubs will go into the draw without knowing if they will play each other, given that there are no seedings or restrictions which prevents fixtures between clubs of the same country.

Dexter Fowler re-signs with Chicago Cubs in surprising deal

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Dexter Fowler re-signs with Chicago Cubs in surprising deal

In a surprising twist of events, MLB team the Chicago Cubs had re-signed their center fielder Dexter Fowler after trading outfielder Chris Coghlan to the Oakland Athletics.

Agreement between club and player was for a one-year period and worth up to $8 million, and was completed after Fowler drove down from Las Vegas for his physical.

The deal was completed two days after Fowler had been linked with a possible move to the Baltimore Orioles, with various media reports claiming that the player had agreed to 3-year deal with the club pending a physical.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said that Fowler’s insistence on a buyout clause was the chief reason the negotiations fell through.

Fowler then surprised his teammates and walked onto the club training grounds in street clothes as the team performed spring drills. Seeing him, everyone crowded around him in wild celebrations.

“With the social media these days, it’s hard to keep something quiet,” a smiling Fowler said afterward. “I owed it to the boys to tell them first.”

“This is where my heart is,” he added.

Djokovic retires in Dubai, ends 17 finals streak

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Djokovic retires in Dubai, ends 17 finals streak

Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic had retired from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, ending his run of ATP World Tour Finals at 17.

The Serb was playing against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez since winning a sixth Australian Open title at the end of January.

However, he uncharacteristically lost his opening service game and had to save three break points to avoid falling 3-0 behind. The 28-year-old then called for his trainer before continuing the match.

Six games later, after being broken once again to lose the set, Djokovic said he was unable to continue due to an eye problem.

“It started with an infection and then severe allergy,” said Djokovic.

“I have had it ever since I arrived in Dubai. It’s gotten worse in the last two days, unfortunately. It’s the first time that I have had such a problem with the eye. It was ultra-sensitive today.”

A day on from his 700th career win, Djokovic 14-0 run this year and and 7-0 Head2Head rivalry against Lopez coming into the match was cut short.

Juventus fight back for draw against Bayern

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Juventus fight back for draw against Bayern

Juventus fought back valiantly after they were two down, drawing against Bayern at 2-2 to even the odds in Juventus Stadium in their thrilling Champions League last 16 match.

The visitors easily dominated in the first half, taking control and making sharp attacks. The Serie A leaders’ defense barely held against the assault of their Bundesliga counterparts, and eventually yielded as Thomas Muller slotted in Bayern’s first two minutes before the break.

The German side took further control of the game as Arjen Robben curled in another 55 minutes after play. Their victory looked all but assured.

However, the Italian side appeared not to be done yet. After coach Massimiliano Allegri made three changes the team looked more youthful and energetic.

Paulo Dybala then hauled the first one back not 10 minutes after Robben scored, exploiting a mistake by Joshua Kimmich who essentially gave him the ball. then Stefano Sturraro, who came in for Sami Khedira equalized with just 14 minutes left in play.

An encouraged Juventus charged forward for a late winner, and Manuel Neuer had to save from Leonardo Bonucci in a frantic late game, far removed from the cool order of Bayern’s early dominance.

Pep Guardiola was no less satisfied with their performance, conceding that such a performance was allowed as Juventus were last season’s finalist, and adding that Bayern “showed character” in the game.