Daily Archives: April 4, 2016

Ronaldo hits winner at Nou Camp Clasico

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Ronaldo hits winner at Nou Camp Clasico

For the first time since 1965, Real Madrid claims a comeback victory against eternal rivals Barcelona in Nou Camp thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner.

But for a game between two teams that share a rivalry so bitter, there was little attempt to settle scores or show pride – it was not a classic clásico.

Even with Luis Enrique’s Barca playing quick in attack and Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid occasionally showed their worth, a game that also honours Johan Cruyff deserved more. Their attacking trio who scored 103 times between them even looked, at the best of times, ineffectual.

In the beginning of what the end of Barcelona’s 39-match unbeaten run, Gerard Pique broke the deadlock, sprinting past Pepe for a firm header past Kevlor Navas.

However, if anything, that goal had emboldened Madrid. Mrcelo led the charge, sprinting up the left and travelling across the edge of the area, to find Toni Kroos, whose blocked shot looped up near the six yard box where Karim Benzema leapt and, falling backwards, volleyed an acrobatic equaliser.

Then, with just 10 minutes up to go, Gareth Bale leapt to a Ronaldo cross and headed into the Catalonians’ net. He raced into the corner, celebrating, only to find the referee, Alejandro Hernández Hernández, standing with his arm up, disallowing the goal.

5 minutes later, Bale was the one who crossed to the far post, and Ronaldo made the finish superbly past Pique and Dani Alves.

The win was fitting retaliation for Real Madrid, whom Barcelona had humbled by a dazzling 4-0 early this season in La Liga. Furthermore, the winning goal only came after Madrid had captain Sergio Ramos sent off for two yellow cards, each for fouling Luis Suarez twice.

But he easily could have been removed earlier, as fouls on Messi, Suarez and Dani Alves all puzzlingly escaped the referee. The 30-year old even reacted to the sent-off in stunning fashion, joking that he would have got himself extracted earlier if he knew that his team would win.

Speaking after the match, Ramos told reporters: “We did plenty of damage on the break, with one player less. If I had realised what would happen with one player less, that we’d have won with the sending off, I’d have got myself sent off in the fifth minute.”

He added on the importance of the win for his team.

“You must always keep your feet on the ground. Our fans deserved this after so much suffering. It was important to arrive here at our best level. This is a way to recover our confidence, a prize. We are working very hard to do something important this season. We are on the right line.”

West Indies trumps England to World Twenty20 title

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West Indies trumps England to World Twenty20 title

ICC World Twenty20 Grand Final, Kolkata
England 155-9 (20 overs): Root 54, Buttler 36, Brathwaite 3-23
West Indies 161-6 (19.4 overs): Samuels 85*, Brathwaite 34*, Willey 3-20
West Indies win by six wickets

Carlos Brathwaite screams in delight after blasting four consecutive sixes to power the West Indies to their second World Twenty20 glory, chasing down England’s 155 in a thrilling final.

West Indies wobbled early after English part-time spinner Joe Root dismissed Johnson Charles and the dangerous Chris Gayle in his the first three balls to peg them back.

Then, coming in at number eight, Brathwaite joins Marlon Samuels at the crease in the 16th over with the West Indies on 107-6 and needing 49 from 27 balls. The tall bowler had only batted twice in the competition prior to the final, scoring 34 off 10 not out against South Africa and 13 against Afghanistan in the group stages.

West Indies were at 11-3, and needed 19 runs to win, which they did it in style. Joe Root’s 54 for England could not out keep them from joining their women as World T20 champions, as Brathwaite’s took his match-winning blitz off Ben Stokes.

“I can’t really express how much of a top knock (by Samuels) that was. We couldn’t turn back, it was a question of when not if,” said Brathwaite.

In their winning process, the West Indies also became the first two-time winners of the men’s World Twenty20.

Despite the devastating loss, England can take a lot of encouragement from their performance in this tournament, which has showcased an attacking philosophy and resilience that was completely lacking during their group-stage exit of last year’s 50-over World Cup.

Djokovic defeats Nishikori to claim sixth Miami Open

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Djokovic defeats Nishikori to claim sixth Miami Open

Novak Djokovic continues his current dominant form in men’s tennis, beating Miami Open sixth seed Kei Nishikori in straight sets by 6-3, 6-3 in the final to claim the title.

Dropping serve in the first game was perhaps the only flaw Djokovic had in what was otherwise an unblemished game for even the world number one. He essentially outclassed the Japanese player in every aspect of the game on the Key Biscayne hardcourt.

The Serbian took a mere 85 minutes to take his sixth Miami Open and level with Andre Agassi as the top winner of the tournament. This was also his 63rd career title, earning him $1,028,300 and the honour of being the sport’s all-time leading money-winner.

“It’s quite amazing,” said the Serb. “I’m very thrilled about it and hopefully I can make many more records.”

“I thought he started very well, breaking my serve in the first game and coming up with some aggressive play,” he added. “I needed to answer right back, which I did in the following game – that helped me mentally.”

This also marks the beginning of yet another good year ahead for Djokovic, having won three consecutive championships, his 28th in overall, in the Masters 1000. It was also his fourth title after winning this year’s tennis titles such as the Australian Open, Qatar and the Indian Wells.

The win would move Djokovic ahead of Rafael Nadal as winner of the highest number of Master titles.

Earlier, Victoria Azarenka kept up her impressive form this year by claiming her third Miami Open to follow up her triumph over Serena Williams at the Indian Wells.

Victoria Azarenka kept up her impressive form this year by claiming her third Miami Open to follow up her triumph over Serena Williams at the Indian Wells.

The Belarusian, who is currently fifth in world rankings, exploited Svetlana Kuznetsova weak serve to win by straight sets, 6-3 6-2 in just 80 minutes. Pouncing on Kuznetsova’s second serve, she managed to break the Russian five times in the first set alone.

Azarenka was not without her faults either; she was broken three times in the first set.

But the 13th seed of the tournament toughed up, and held on in the second set to finish the game with a strong backhand ground stroke. Thus, she earned her 20th career title and her third title this year, having also won at the Indian Wells and Brisbane.

“It was pretty tough conditions with being so hot,” she said. “It didn’t seem too windy but it was really difficult to serve because the ball was flying too much. I really took my opportunities, stepped into the net a lot.”

“This just gives me even more inspiration and motivation to keep working harder,” Azarenka added. “I’m very happy that all the work that I’ve been putting in is paying off. It’s such a great opportunity to play the whole month so consistent.“