Daily Archives: August 16, 2016

Snodgrass winner for Hull City stuns Leicester

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Robert Snodgrass scored the winning goal for Hull City to stun Premier League Champions by 2-1.

Despite having just won their promotion to the English top flight, Hull City were already the bookkeeper’s relegation favourites. Not only did they have no transfer activity over the summer, the club was left without a manager after Steve Bruce parted from the club due to frustration with his higher-ups.

As caretaker manager Mike Phelan went into the match against the Foxes with just 13 senior players, Hull inadvertently took the lead when Adama Diomande and Abel Hernandez combined acrobatically to slot in a loose ball Kasper Schmeichel failed to gather. Diomande was awarded the goal later.

An underperforming Leicester managed to reply through Riyad Mahrez spot kick almost right at the start of the second half, after Demarai Gray had been fouled.

But Robert Snodgrass, who had been having a good match the entire afternoon, pounced on Danny Simpson’s failed clearance to drill home.

It was telling of the situation that on half time, a perplexed Phelan scratched his head, while Jamie Vardy slapped himself hard across the face.

Claudio Ranieri’s successful campaign last season had been built on a firm defense, but without regular starter Robert Huth, they seemed vulnerable as Hull weave in and around their back four.

“They were smarter than us,” the nice Italian had to concede. “We didn’t play like a team. We were 70%.”

On the other hand, Phelan, whose bench were filled youth players, were forced to make no substitutions due to the clear risk of inexperience. And as the final whistle sounded, he could not quite find the right words in his post-match interview.

“My emotions? Relieved, thrilled,” he said. “The players showed courage, stopped Leicester counterattacking. What’s happening has galvanised them.”

However, Phelan’s joy could prove to be short-lived as he will be informed if he will stay in charge beyond Monday, as Chinese investors looked to maneuver a takeover.

“It might be a big week for this club,” he said, and then added with a jab of pointed cynicism on the club’s previously mooted takeover plans: “But there’s been talk of it being taken over for eight to 12 months now.”

Andy Murray wins men’s singles gold at Rio Olympics

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Great Britain’s Andy Murray becomes the first tennis player to win two Olympics singles titles by beating Juan Martian Del Portro in Rio.

Murray, 29, was emotional after his thrilling 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory.

Both him and the Argentine looked spent after the fourth set of a testing encounter, and the two men broke into tears by the sheer emotion of it all.

Murray tried everything against the bigger man: he chipped, lobbed, played soft-ball and hard-ball, wide and deep, but perhaps therein laid the folly.

There had been 15 breaks of service, many of them consecutive, stolen from an astonishing 35 opportunities. 102 unforced errors were made, shared roughly equally, just as game points came and went, squandered mostly.

But by conquering nerves to compensate for dramatic imperfections, Murray managed to pull through in the end.

It was a fight that either could have won amidst the cheers of the 10,000 spectators in attendance. But it ended when Del Portro found the net one time too many, and Murray thus retains the medal he won in London four years ago.

“The fact it’s not been done before shows it’s very hard so I’m proud to have done that,” he said. “Four years is a long time and so many things can change. A lot has changed since 2012, I’m happy here competing for the biggest events.”

Earlier, Kei Nishikori claimed his first Olympic medal by defeating Rafael Nadal.

The latter had looked somewhat drain after winning the men’s doubles gold with compatriot Marc Lopez, but was able to recover from 5-2 down in the second set to equalize, before eventually losing 6-2, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3.

 

 

Lionel Messi rescinds international retirement decision

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Lionel Messi has made a U-turn on his decision to retire from Argentina’s international squad in less than two months.

Messi, five time Ballon D’Or winner, quit after Argentina’s Copa America final defeat by Chile in June. He missed a penalty in the shootout, and was forced to endure the South American nation’s third major final defeat in three consecutive years.

His decision had made all of Argentina, including local legend Diego Mardona, to beg Messi reconsider his decision.

Maradona himself had been critical of Messi’s previous performances for Argentina, claiming that his younger compatriot “was no leader”.

Now, in a statement reported by media in the country, the Barcelona forward said he decided to go back on his word for “love of the country” and “to help from within”.

“A lot of things went through my mind on the night of the final and I gave serious thought to quitting, but my love for my country and this shirt is too great,” Messi reportedly said.

“We need to fix many things in Argentinian football, but I prefer to do this from inside and not criticise from outside.”

Messi is now named in new coach Edgardo Bauza’s World Cup qualifying squad alongside Sergio Aguero, Marcos Rojo and his Barca teammate Javier Mascherano.