Monthly Archives: April 2016

Warriors step up Durant interest amidst Curry injury problem

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Warriors step up Durant interest amidst Curry injury problem

The Golden State Warriors have stepped up on their interest in signing on Kevin Durant as Stephen Curry’s took a sprain to his right knee.

It was a fortunate turn of events for the team when it was announced that Curry only had a grade 1 medial collateral ligament (MCL) after taking a particularly nasty fall against the Toronto Raptors in the NBA playoffs.

While there are plans to re-evaluate him in two-weeks, most believe that he could make a return earlier.

But his absence jeopardizes his team’s attempt to reclaim their place as champions. This appears to be the reason that the Warriors are now more determined than ever to chase for Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant.

This was not the first time that the Warriors have queried Durant’s availability, even if they risk changing a good portion of their 73-win roster and the team’s chemistry.

Curry’s injury problem appears to be the core of their issue. The Warriors needed a core that would hold together even if they did lose their best, even if there is a possibility of losing team chemistry in the process.

On the other hand, since it was added from reports that because Curry’s injury does not actually “changes anything” for the Warriors, the notion was merely that adding Durant will be worthwhile.

The Warriors also have the salary cap issue to address. The team is unlikely to sign Durant on with their current salary cap space. They would likely have to clear salary, perhaps getting rid of the combined $22 million that Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut will make next season.

They may also lose restricted free agents like Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli should they sign offer sheets with other teams before the Warriors could secure Durant. In a nutshell, signing on Durant would need a lot of things to be handled first, before the Warriors even consider the possibility of creating their “super team.”

Villareal scores injury-time winner against Liverpool

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Villareal scores injury-time winner against Liverpool

Liverpool experienced a reversal of fortunes as the team suffered an injury-time winner against Villareal.

The first leg of the semi-final game was a drama-free event compared to their last game, as Liverpool scored an injury-time winner against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League quarter-finals.

The win had saw Liverpool upped and improved to become the favourites to claim the Europa league trophy.

However, both teams had looked content for a stalemate in their semi-final first leg at El Madrigal, before Liverpool’s defense essentially switched off to allow Adrian Lopez tap in Denis Suarez’s low cross. And the rest was history as it was crucial.

“We were lucky enough to score,” said Marcelino, the Villarreal coach. “But it was not an unfair result.”

It was just as well; little chances were created as Liverpool campaigned for their first European tournament final in almost a decade. Their closest chance was Roberto Firmino’s low shot, which hit the post.

But given the slim scoreline, it is almost easy for the Reds to rally and get back into the game as they renew the encounter with Villareal in Anfield. It is just as easy for Villareal to deepen Liverpool’s problems; should they just get one away goal, Liverpool needs three to counter, in the very least.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who had insisted that there was no thought on reaching the final, was not exactly thrilled either.

“Of course I’m not too happy with the goal we conceded in the last second. Counter-attacking in the 92nd minute makes not much sense – but it is only the first leg,” he said.

“It is 1-0 and they have to come to Anfield where we know how strong we are. We had our moments, we defended really good,” he added. “This race is not over.”

Villareal supporters unfurled a banner in tribute of victims in the Hillsbrough disaster

Villareal supporters unfurled a banner in tribute of victims in the Hillsbrough disaster

Still, the match may well pale in the significance of sportsmanship and togetherness displayed in El Madrigal. Villareal supporters unfurled a banner bearing the number 96 and Liverpool’s slogan “you’ll never walk alone”, alongside the Villareal logo.

The banner was held in remembrance and tribute of 96 Reds fans who died as a result of a crush in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, and who were recently ruled unlawfully killed.

“We were very saddened by the Hillsborough tragedy and we planned events to show the solidarity and support which our club and our fans have with Liverpool and those who were affected,” the La Liga club revealed in a statement.

Atletico takes slim lead in first leg against Bayern

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Atletico takes slim lead in first leg against Bayern

Bayern Munich has their work cut out for them as the Bundesliga champions went 1-0 down against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Saul Niguez scored the only goal in the match for Los Rojiblancos early, and the manner in which it was scored can only be described as sublime and Diego Maradona-esque.

In the eleventh minute, Saul brought down a high ball inside the center circle coolly, stopping it before making a run rightwards, heading nowhere in particular and followed loosely by Thiago.

That was when the Spaniard started moving. Putting in speed and moving goal-wards, he began his run as he left Thiago behind. Sensing the danger, Bayern defenders swarmed him; Xabi Alonso came from one side while Juan Bernat followed suit on the other.

Undeterred, Saul worked both his legs to get past his marks and into the area. David Alaba was waiting and made an effort to block, but Saul merely shifted his weight, opened up his body and curled the ball into the far corner past Manuel Neuer. Thus the Calderon erupted in rapturous rejoicing as Bayern lay stunned.

It was further testament to Atletico’s ability as Fernando Torres and Saul both had two attempts on goal attempt already at that point.

As with their match against Juventus, Bayern returned to life during the second half although it was to no avail this time. Still, they pressured Atletico hard enough to keep them on their toes as David Alaba’s 35-yard shot hits the woodwork, while in-form midfielder Arturo Vidal forced a save from Jan Oblak.

But both teams played the same football they had always played; players ran against each other with direct play and breathtaking pace.

One could almost say that Atletico’s first-leg win was more a triumph of will than tactics. However, plays and positioning did play their part: Bayern looked uncomfortable with the advanced pressing displayed by Atletico in the first half, a play of polar opposites compared to how the Spanish team nullified Barcelona’s hallowed attacking trinity.

Still, anything may well happen as both teams meet each other in Bayern’s home ground – the Allianz Arena, to decide who will meet either Real Madrid or Manchester City in the final.

Dele Alli charged with violent conduct in frustrating draw

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Dele Alli charged with violent conduct in frustrating draw

Tottenham’s already slim chances to catch up with Leicester City on top of the Premier League could be dealt a further blow as Dele Alli was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

Spurs were left frustrated as a sound West Bromwich team forced them to a 1-1 draw at home, in which defender Craig Dawson scored a goals at both ends at both intervals to redeem himself.

Tottenham players did spoke for themselves with a firm performance but could not find the net, hitting the woodwork three times instead.

The stalemate meant that Tottenham is seven points adrift of the Foxes, who in turn could win the Premier League should they defeat this weekend. May had expected that Leicester would be the ones to crack, but it seems that it was Spurs who buckled at the final dash.

Meanwhile, footage had appeared, showing that Spurs frontman Alli had deliberately punched West Bromwich player Claudio Yaccob.

The incident had escaped the attention of referee Mike Jones and Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. It was also not included in the referee’s match report.

As in the case of off-the-ball incidents not seen at the time by the match officials, a panel of three former elite referees will be called in to review such an incident.

Each referee panel member will review the video footage independently to determine whether they consider it a sending-off offence. For retrospective action to be taken, and an FA charge to follow, the decision of the panel must be unanimous.

20-year-old Alli, who won the PFA young player award a day before, could face a three-match suspension which effectively rules him out for the rest of season if found guilty of his charges.

Thus far, Alli has been a hugely influential figure in his debut season for Tottenham, scoring 10 goals so far and had formed an impressive partnership with striker Harry Kane. It is natural to assume suspension on Alli could hurt Tottenham’s title chances even more.

Pochettino said that Dele Alli was also known for his personality.

“Sometimes the opponents find him and try to provoke,” the Argentinian coach said. “They know he has a strong character and may react.”

Alli has until 1800 BST on the 27th of April to answer his charges.