Daily Archives: May 6, 2016

Top seeds through in Madrid Open

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Top seeds through in Madrid Open

The top seeds of Madrid Open advanced through the stages of the tournament, as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray all secured victory against their respective opponents.

World number one Djokovic returns after a surprise exit out of the Monte Carlo Masters, and progressed by beating Croatian Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4 in just an hour and 18 minutes. He then went ahead to defeat tournament 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in round three, winning by a larger margin at 6-2, 6-1.

The Serb, who was defeated early by Jiri Vesely last month, won 85% of points on his first serve against the 19-year-old Coric, who is nicknamed ‘Mini Djokovic’ after his playing style that resembles the Australian Open Champion’s.

His victory against Roberto Bautista Agut places him in the quarter finals, where he will be playing against Milos Raonic.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal stayed on course for a historical 50 career titles on clay with straight sets win over Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-2.

However, the Spaniard had to recover from a poor start as Querrey led by 3-0 in the opening set. Approaching 5-2, Nadal called on his winning spirit to fight back, and it was smooth sailing for the world number five from then on.

The fifth seed also remains unbeaten on clay in Europe this year, and will be meeting Joao Sousa, with Andy Murray potentially waiting in the semi-final.

Murray himself got through to the round of eight as he won against France’s Giles Simon with a similar score sheet to Nadal’s.

Murray, the second seed of the tournament, broke Simon for the first time to take the opening set as part of a five-game winning run. The Scotsman went ahead to break his opponent a further three times in the second set to complete victory in one hour, 38 minutes.

Liverpool eases into final after downing 10-man Villareal

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Liverpool eases into final after downing 10-man Villareal

Liverpool stood tall against the European dominance of Spanish teams by downing 10-man Villareal by three goals to nil in Anfield, thus going through to the Europa League final by 3-1 on aggregate.

Indeed, the Reds showed no nerves on their home ground in their effort to set up a final’s meet against Sevilla on May 18. Villareal’s only home goal did came as a late and nasty surprise in the first leg, but the boys at Anfield shrugged it off as it was nothing as the second leg kicks off.

Daniel Sturridge opens the scoreboard after being benched on the first leg. Within just 8 minutes after the game started, Roberto Firmino turned the ball back into a crowded six-yard box where Sturridge lurked. The Englishman struck but failed to connect cleanly, but the shot deflected off Roberto Soriano and went in.

Unhinged, Villreal still maintained their dangerous breaks play whenever they could but hardly threatened. Simon Mignolet did well to save from Mario Gasper and Jonathan Dos Santos, who blazed over when Cedric Bakambu’s run presented him with an excellent chance seconds before the opener.

But as Adam Lallana pressed relentlessly while Emre Can and James Milner dominate in central midfield just as Firmino provided a constant distraction, Liverpool were effectively in control of the entire game.

Still, the team was in need of a few more goals as the threat of an away goal looms. Then, Roberto Firmino passes a through ball to Sturridge, and the striker finished it off the inside of a post.

Firmino then went forward for Liverpool again, leaving Mateo Musacchio behind to set up Sturridge for a close range. But this time, Sturridge miscued, and Lallana picked it up to steer it home. Then, the night worsened for Villareal soon, as their defender Victor Ruiz was sent off for another yellow.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was plenty happy with the performance, asserting that they are not in want of quality.

“Wonderful night, brilliant game from my side. What a performance,” he said. “Everyone spoke a lot about this team before I came here. It was all about quality and not good transfers. I came here because I thought they had a nice squad and now we are in the final.”

Meanwhile, Sevilla sets up the meet by beating Shakhtar Donetsk to set up a final encounter against Liverpool. After a thrilling 2-2 first leg draw, they defeated the Ukraine team by 3-1 to advance.

It’s a Madrid derby in the Champions League Final

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It’s a Madrid derby in the Champions League Final

Gareth Bale’s cross was deflected into the top corner of City’s net.

It turns out that Real Madrid needed just one goal to tame Manchester City in a rather draggy match in the Bernabeu; and with that 1-0 aggregate score, Los Blancos will set up yet another Madrid derby in the Champions League Final.

The goal did come with a considerable amount of luck too. Gareth Bale, making a cross to find Ronaldo and co., finds his ball deflected by Fernando Francisco. But that went totally awry for the City defender as it went into the top corner of his own net, and Bale wheeled away, celebrating.

But there was also a considerable amount of flaws in City’s game plan. They were timid, all too cautious and appeared afraid to press high, and as such were unable register a single shot on target. Even in the first leg, they managed only one shot on target albeit with a 91st minute free-kick.

But for the most expensively assembled team of players in English football, their attack was never executed with conviction.

Real was not one to boast either; their players hardly seemed formidable even on familiar ground. Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to have barely recovered from his hamstring problem, and the team appeared to drop their performances in order to accommodate their star.

This was probably the reason why City boss Manuel Pellegrini would feel doubtful towards the UEFA match statistics. Unconvincing as it may be to everyone who was watching, Zinedine Zidane’s men had apparently registered 15 attempts on goal.

Luka Modric applied a poor finish early in the second half, as he was probably suspecting that he was on an offside position. Joe Hart kept out Ronaldo with a couple of saves and Bale turned a header against a post from a second-half corner.

Then, Pellegrini brought on Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho but the game drifted to its finale without any real sense that City might conjure up some late drama.

Ever the crowd-pleaser Ronaldo, who else

Perhaps putting in an effort to entertain the home crowd, Ronaldo rose up close to the post, caught the ball with both hands and dunked it into the net. The Portugese was offside and he knew it, and was able to share a light-hearted moment with City keeper Joe Hart afterwards. Still, it does offer light relief even for the commentators watching a match that seemed to drag on for far too long.

Either way, there is a reason for the entire Spain capital would rejoice after Aletico withstood a Bayern assault in the Allianz Arena. For the second time in three seasons, it is an all-Madrid final; as it was 2 years ago in Lisbon, so it will be soon on 28 May in Milan.